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Bridal Shopping Guidelines

Your special day is approaching. Here are the things to keep in mind when shopping for your bridal jewelry.

  • Find a Preferred Jeweler Use this website to find your nearest Preferred Jeweler. Select a Preferred independent owner-operated jeweler and avoid the national chain and Internet jewelry websites. They often sacrifice quality for mass marketing. If you do not know jewelry, know your jeweler!!!
  • Determine Your Budget Salespeople can tug your heart strings and you’ll pay for it, literally. If you are a guy shopping for an engagement ring, beware of salespeople who will tie your love to how much you’re spending on a ring. Be prepared and figure out how much you can afford to spend before you step foot in a store. The standard rule is two months’ salary – but – this is also a rule that the diamond industry created! However, it’s still a decent place to start, but still figure out your personal budget.
  • Pay Attention You’re going to have to make a lot of choices. Platinum or gold? Modern or traditional? Flashy or understated? It’s easier if you’ve done your homework beforehand. Look at the jewelry your sweetheart wears on a daily basis. If it’s all silver with intricate designs, look for a platinum engagement ring with intricate designs (often called filigree). If it’s just a few heavy gold pieces, then go in that direction.
  • Choose a Diamond While jewelers will sell you a preset ring, you can often get a better deal if you choose the diamond separately. It helps if you know what shape your sweetheart prefers – round, pear, marquis, etc. The most classic shape is a round solitaire. Here’s some more homework: read The Four Cs of Diamond Buying. You can save a little more money if you look for a diamond with high color and cut, but with slightly lower clarity. Make sure you look at the diamond with a jeweler’s loupe (that little eye glass). Most flaws (also called inclusions) can barely be seen even with a loupe.
  • Choose the Setting Once you’ve selected your diamond, it’s time to choose the setting. Here come more choices. Simple? Filigree? Side diamonds? Gold? White gold? Rose gold? Platinum? Titanium? Yeah, more homework. Click on the SHOPPING TIPS link at the top of the page.
  • Plan Ahead You may not be able to just walk out of a jewelry store with a ring. Even with cash in hand, it could take a couple of weeks to size and set and engrave the ring you selected. Custom rings can take longer. If you want to propose on a certain date, start working on the ring early.
  • Get it in Writing You wouldn’t buy a house without an inspection, so don’t buy a diamond without an independent diamond-grading report from an accredited gem lab. It should include the 4 Cs of color, cut, clarity and carat, as well as the shape and size. And, like your house, get the ring insured.
  • Get a Warranty Make sure to get a Preferred Jewelers International Warranty for FREE! Click on the tab at the top of the page to learn more.

Diamond Care

Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man and one of the most durable but that doesn’t mean they are unbreakable or completely scratch-proof. You can, for example, chip a diamond if uch an occurrence would certainly significantly reduce the value of the stone.it makes contact with a hard surface with sufficient force. S

Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man and one of the most durable but that doesn’t mean they are unbreakable or completely scratch-proof. You can, for example, chip a diamond if uch an occurrence would certainly significantly reduce the value of the stone.it makes contact with a hard surface with sufficient force. S

A key component of diamond protection is the setting it is in. A diamond that is mounted on a ring that has elongated prongs is at more risk of being damaged or being popped out of the setting than one with a more modest setting. Keep that in mind when deciding on what you would like your ring to look like.

It is not widely-known outside of the jewelry industry but diamonds can be discolored, particularly by chemicals like chlorine or those found in hairspray. Brief contact with those compounds is not usually a problem but a gradual accumulation of these chemicals could discolor the gem.

Cleaning

An ammonia solution a “one part ammonia to six parts water” is your best bet for cleaning diamonds. Apply it to your diamond jewelry and gently massage it by hand to loosen any dirt or contaminants. Do not use any commercial cleaning solutions or compounds that are not made specifically for jewelry even if they say that they are soft. They will not restore the sparkle the way that an ammonia solution or a professional cleaning done at your friendly, Preferred Jeweler can. Be careful, though about applying this solution to other gemstones as they have other properties and not all react well to ammonia. Consult with a professional if you have questions about how to treat other gems.

Storing

It is also important to store your jewelry properly. There’s a saying that only another diamond can break a diamond and it is somewhat true. (Other things can certainly break a diamond.) But you don’t want to take a chance with yours so don’t simply toss it into a pouch or box or drawer with other jewelry. Wrap the item in a soft cloth, like the kind often provided by jewelry stores. At the very least you could put each piece of jewelry in a small plastic bag so that it will have at least a minimal amount of protection from collisions with other jewelry. Remember, you have invested quite a bit of money into that diamond jewelry. Treat it properly and it will last for many generations.


Precious Metals: A Jewelry Care, Cleaning and Purchasing Guide

Precious metals have played an integral role in jewelry, the arts, currencies and trade since before the beginning of recorded history. Precious metal jewelry has maintained a significant symbolic value, in addition to high economic value, for thousands of years.

Precious Metal Jewelry

Precious metals have played an integral role in jewelry, the arts, currencies and trade since before the beginning of recorded history. Precious metal jewelry has maintained a significant symbolic value, in addition to high economic value, for thousands of years.

Distinctive in use and interpretation to each culture and society, precious metals in jewelry are representative of a wide array of symbolic significance. Rings, pendants and coins made from precious metals have been worn as jewelry, symbolizing life-long promises, social status and wealth.

Cleaning, Storage and Jewelry Care

It is the rare metallic and transitional components of precious metals which make it possible for jewelers to create the transcendent treasures of the jewelry seen today. New discoveries in industrial, alternative and noble metals fuel a constantly evolving world of jewelry design.

Through proper cleaning, care and elemental exposure, precious metal jewelry can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The most widely recognized precious metals are  Gold (Au) and Silver (Ag). The platinum group of precious metals (PGMs) includes Palladium (Pd), Platinum (Pt), Rhodium (Rh) and Iridium (Ir).

 

Gold (Au)

An indestructible material, gold, in its pure form, is not only impervious to tarnishing, but also has the unique ability to be simultaneously dense, soft, shiny, and malleable. Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals.

To create various colors in gold metal jewelry, it is alloyed with other metals to yield the desired result. For example, ‘white gold’ is an alloy of gold and nickel.
The purity of gold is expressed in karats (kt), on a scale of 24, or in fineness, on a scale of 1,000. Pure gold is 24 karat, or 1,000 fine. Using this standard we know that 18 karat gold is an alloy containing 75 percent gold.

 

Reference Guide to Gold in Karats:

  • 10k = 10/24 = 41.67% pure gold
  • 14k = 14/24 = 58.33% pure gold
  • 18k = 18/24 = 75.00% pure gold

Gold is the most highly regarded of the precious metals. With a distinct yellow color, gold also has the unique and impressive ability to maintain its luster. This precious metal is also resistant to oxidation in the air, water, or by solid chemical elements.

Gold Jewelry Cleaning and Care

  • Gold responds well to a simple buffering with a soft cloth, giving gold a renewed shine easily.
  • Most gold jewelry is completely safe to clean in a warm soapy water solution,  and able to be intricately cleaned with the bristles of a toothbrush without any visible harm.
  • Many experts advise avoiding contact with household chemicals to avoid tarnishing gold jewelry.
  • Bleach will definitely damage lower karat gold purities, and should be avoided completely in the care of any precious metal.

 

Silver (Ag)

Silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals. The brilliant white metallic luster of pure silver is one of the many reasons it is commonly used in jewelry. More affordable than gold, with strong ductile and malleable properties, silver is a popular choice in precious metal jewelry.

While silver remains stable in pure air and water, it does possess the lowest resistance to contact with various other elements. Silver is easily susceptible to tarnishing when exposed to sulphur, hydrogen sulphide and various naturally occurring elements of the ozone.

Pure silver has the ability to maintain a vibrant luster for long periods of time when properly stored, cleaned and cared for. Silver jewelry is commonly used as a budget-friendly alternative to gold or platinum in diamond ring settings. The distinctive bright luster is a complementary metal to enhance the diamond of an engagement ring.

Silver Jewelry Cleaning and Care

  • To maintain the brilliant luster distinctive to pure silver, avoid unnecessary exposure to moisture, peroxide and household solvents.
  • The most effective approach to removing mild tarnishing and brighten up your silver is by buffing the metal with a soft, dry cloth.
  • If silver jewelry is severely tarnished, it is recommended that the item be taken for a professional cleaning by a Preferred jeweler.

 

Platinum Group Metals (PGMs)

Platinum in jewelry is actually an alloyed group of six other metals. Referred to as the platinum group of precious metals (PGMs), these include Palladium (Pd), Platinum (Pt), Rhodium (Rh) and Iridium (Ir).

Platinum (Pt)

With its distinct whitish-gray color, platinum is vibrant, dense and malleable. Platinum is also one of the rarest elements found within the Earth’s crust.

Not only is platinum elegant in appearance, but it is also resistant to corrosion by air, water or oxidation. With the added benefit of hypo-allergenic elements, platinum is a favored choice for all types of jewelry.

Platinum is quickly becoming the pre-eminent metal for fine jewelry, having seen a rapid growth in popularity over the recent years. It is a metal more rare, and as a result, more expensive than even gold.

Platinum is the strongest precious metal found in jewelry. Commonly used in bridal and engagement ring settings, platinum is often attributed to bringing out the brilliance of diamonds through its unique shimmery luster.

Platinum Jewelry Cleaning and Care

  • While platinum is extremely dense and strong, this precious metal is susceptible to scratching. It is recommended that you store platinum jewelry separately, in a velvet pouch if possible.
  • Avoid the use of heavy cleaning solutions and be sure to remove platinum jewelry prior to manual labor.
  • With platinum jewelry, an occasional professional cleaning by a Preferred jeweler, an expert in the handling of platinum, is strongly recommended.

 

Palladium (Pd)

Palladium resembles the vibrant coloring of silvery-grayed platinum. However, there are strong differences between the two chemically.

Palladium exhibits strong ductile and malleable qualities, yet it is the least dense and has the lowest melting point of all the precious metals. Palladium is among the top three most commonly used metals in manufacturing white gold alloys.

Rhodium (Rh)

Rhodium is one of the rarest of precious metals. It is also among the most expensive. Considered a noble metal, Rhodium is resistant to corrosion, which is in large part the reason it is utilized as an alloy in platinum jewelry.