Thursday, December 1, 2016

What to Know About Buying Jewelry Gifts Online

Online holiday shopping is big business. Last year in the U.S., Americans spent $56.43 billion shopping for the holidays via their desktop computers. And $2.3 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday alone, making it the biggest online shopping day ever, according to a survey

If you plan on shopping online for jewelry this holiday, here are some important things to know and do so you can “Buy Now” with confidence, courtesy of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

Benefits of buying online

Clearly, there are myriad reasons to shop at home on our computer, or on-the-go on our tablet or smartphone. Certainly, the convenience of being able to buy wherever and whenever we want is appealing. Also, shopping online eliminates the pain of driving in traffic, wading through crowded stores, and waiting on long lines for sale items that may or may not be sold out. 

Another big benefit is the research aspect of online buying. Whatever type of jewelry you’re looking to buy, from vintage estate jewelry to high-end diamonds and luxury watches, you can research the online vendor via  third-party reviews and consumer feedback. 

On many online jewelry shops and consumer review websites, you can find comments from customers who’ve bought products from that shop. This is a great way to find out what kind of experiences people had, and if there are any trends in either a positive or negative direction.

Also, like most websites, online jewelry shops have a “contact us” section, where you can ask questions about the products available, and specifics such as colors, sizes, grading, availability, shipping, payments and other purchase details. 

Here’s some GIA advice on buying jewelry online. 

Smart buyers do their research

As with any significant purchase, start by researching your specifics about the piece you want to buy, such as how the price is determined and variations in quality. With diamonds, for example, understanding the 4Cs—Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut will help you understand the variations in price and quality. The more you know about what you want, the better deal you’ll be able to find. Also make sure the website you are considering purchasing from is reputable—more on that below. 

Beware of counterfeit jewelry

One downside to buying online is that you can’t see the piece you are buying up close, in your hands. Still, there are ways to confirm if a piece is authentic or not, starting with shopping at reputable websites. 

Buying signed jewelry is one way to ensure you are purchasing a high-quality item — as long as it is the real thing. Genuine signed jewelry is any piece of jewelry stamped by the company that makes it, such as Tiffany & Co., David Yurman, Cartier, Harry Winston, etc. 

Signed jewelry pieces are almost always made from precious metals and genuine gemstones. That is the main reason they are more expensive than non-signed pieces — you’re paying for higher quality materials and craftsmanship. 

Conversely, most replica jewelry pieces are made of non-precious metals and synthetic stones because it is much cheaper to produce and they are usually made in mass quantities. So, when looking to buy a signed piece — especially if it is pre-owned — make sure that it is made of the exact same metals and stones that the designer uses for that specific line or design.

Know who you’re buying from 

Here are a few things to check regarding the seller, before you buy.

How long has the company been in business?

What kind of reviews has the company received?

 Does it belong to any jewelry trade associations, such as the GIA?

 Do they offer secure transactions?

 Are the online representatives helpful?

 What is the return policy?

 Where is the seller located?

 How will the jewelry be shipped? 

 Is the shipment insured? 

 Is a signature required for delivery?

In addition to the above, if you’re buying from online auction sites, you’ll also want to look into buyer feedback and ratings and determine if the seller is providing sufficient evidence of the quality of the jewelry offered for sale, such as photographs, a grading report, or report number that can be verified.

Consider the payment method

Each online retailer or auction site will specify how it will accept payment. If you paid with a credit card and if there is a problem with the purchase, most credit card companies provide recourse. Using a check or a money order for your purchase can reduce your options.

Proceed cautiously with out-of-country online sites

For example, U.S.-based consumers have options for recourse when buying from a U.S.-based company, such as filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Jewelers’ Vigilance Committee (JVC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), etc., or pursuing a legal case in civil court. Websites that do not have a physical presence in your home country may be insulated from recourse and attempts to recover funds can be frustrating.

If you like it and can afford it … 

Finally, remember that choosing the right piece of jewelry for yourself or others is also subjective: Don’t just focus on the price or rating —go with what looks beautiful to you and is in your budget. If you’re buying for someone else, apply the same logic. Know his or her tastes. Does he or she prefer size over quality, or quality over size? If he or she prefers size and quality, you may need to do some real comparative shopping! Also, make sure you know the person’s ring size, as well as the jewelry store’s return policy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Benefits of Buying Diamonds on eBay

You love diamonds, but don’t want to pay retail. Have you considered buying from an online auction site? Of the many online sellers of diamonds, whom can you trust? Adina Jewelers is proud of our long-standing relationship with eBay. Here’s why.

1. Average of 50% off retail. When buying a diamond, paying retail can be cost prohibitive, both in-store or online. Purchasing a comparable, pre-owned, diamond through an online auction on eBay is the smart way to get what you want without paying fullprice. Diamonds on Empire Jewelers’ eBay site, for example, typically average 50% less than retail.

2. Consumer protection policies. In addition to costsavings, a smart consumer also must know that their purchase is protected, should they be dissatisfied for some reason. eBay has a number of consumer-friendly safeguards in place. One of the most telling is the “positive feedback” rating. This numbered rating is based on various buyer’s feedback on the seller regarding their purchase transaction. Criteria include “item as described,” “communication,” shipping time,” and “shipping and handling charges.” Obviously, the more positive feedback a seller has, the better you should feel about buying from them. If a seller has a less than 98% positive feedback score you may want to avoid that seller. Empire Jewelers’ eBay store has a 100% positive approval rating in the last 12 months.

eBay also has a no-risk policy: If you do end up buying a diamond you are not pleased with due to the seller or quality of the diamond, or other reason, eBay has a 100% money-back guarantee. If your purchase was covered by eBay Buyer Protection, and you contacted the seller and they did not satisfy your request, eBay’s customer support specialists will work with the seller to resolve the issue on your behalf. If you still do not get satisfaction, eBay will refund your full purchase price plus original shipping.

3. You can refine searches. When searching on eBay for diamonds or other items, there are multiple ways to refine your search, which helps narrow down results and increases your chances of finding exactly what you want. In the “advanced search” option, use the “exclude these words” function. Enter words like “zircon, “enhanced,” and “lab” to make sure you’re only searching for real diamonds. You can also view results as a list or in gallery form. Be sure to use the “sort by” functions to narrow down auction time and price options.

Understand the 4 Cs
Before buying a diamond on eBay or anywhere else, make sure you buy only a “certified diamond” that has been appraised by a reputable GIA-trained or certified appraiser.

In the ‘40s and ’50s, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), an educational and research non-profit organization founded in 1931, developed the “4Cs” and the GIA International Diamond Grading System™ to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds. Today, even if you buy or sell a diamond in another part of the world, the jeweler will likely use the same GIA grading systems.
  • Color: Most diamonds run from colorless to near-colorless, with slight hints of yellow or brown. “Color” is not how much color a diamond has, but the degree to which it is colorless. The GIA set the industry standard with its D-Z scale (D is colorless while Z means the diamond has the most yellow.) The exception to this rule are fancy colored diamonds which aren’t included in the GIA’s D-Z scale. Colors beyond the Z color are considered fancy colored diamonds.
  • Clarity: Most diamonds have tiny crystals, feathers, or clouds within them, called “inclusions.” Surface imperfections are called “blemishes.” The rarest diamonds are flawless and have no internal inclusions or external blemishes. The GIA uses a Clarity Scale of 11 grades that are measured using 10X magnifications.
  • Carat: Signifies the weight—not the size—of the diamond. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Since heavier diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, the heavier the carat weight, the higher the value.
  • Cut: The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions, symmetry, and polish. When evaluating cut, two aspects are assessed: shape (round, marquise, square cut, etc.), and how well the cutting was executed. It must be geometrically precise, since it will affect a diamond’s fire (the flash of rainbow colors from within) and brilliance (its sparkle). The cut was historically the most subjective and difficult to standardize during appraisal, but due to advances in technology, the GIA introduced its cut grading system in 2005.

Monday, October 3, 2016

October Birthstone True or False: Opal

Opals, the birthstone for the month of October, have a mystery and history as interesting as their iridescence. Whether you were born in October or not, test your knowledge of opals with the Empire Jewelers true or false quiz! Scroll down for the answers—but don’t cheat!
  1. The opal is an ancient mineral known as petrified silica gel that are found near the earth's surface where geothermal hot springs once existed.
  2. Many opals contain a rainbow-like iridescence known as "opalocka,” which changes the colors that appear in the stone depending on the angle it is viewed.
  3. Opalescence is caused by a hydrous silicon dioxide material that causes the gemstone to flash iridescent colors when the opal is viewed from different angles.
  4. The subcategory of opals known as precious opals are the most common and in demand because of their "opulence.”
  5. The word opal is derived from the Latin word "opalus," meaning precious jewel, as well as “upala,” the Sanskrit name for precious stone.
  6. Opals are given to celebrate a 13th wedding anniversary, and are a symbol of faithfulness and confidence.
  7. The ancient Romans called the opal “Cupid Paederos,” which translates to “a child beautiful as a heart.”
  8. In ancient Rome, opals were ground up and consumed because they were believed to have healing properties and the power to ward off bad dreams.
  9. The Great Bard, Shakespeare, loved opals so much, he nicknamed them the “queen of the gems.”
  10. The opal is Australia’s national gemstone, and its indigenous people call opals “the water in the desert.”
  11. Goober Pedy, Australia is known as “The Opal Capital of the World” because 51 percent of the world’s supply of opals are mined there.
  12. In 2008, NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars! Since opal is made up of mostly water, Mars may have contained water for billions of years.
October Birthstone True or False Answers:
  1. True.
  2. False. The rainbow-like effect in opals is called opalescence.
  3. True.
  4. False. Precious opals are the most in demand because of their "opalescence” or “play of color.”
  5. True.
  6. False. Opals are given to celebrate a 14th wedding anniversary, and are a symbol of faithfulness and confidence.
  7. False. “Cupid Paederos” translates to “a child beautiful as love.”
  8. True.
  9. True.
  10. False. The indigenous people of Australia call the opal “the fire in the desert.”
  11. False. The name of the city is actually Coober Pedy, Australia.
  12. True.
Whether you’re birthstone is an opal, you’re looking for a gift for an October birthday, or you just love this fiery gemstone, shop Adina’s eBay store for estate, vintage and antique opal jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection of opals and other fine gemstones, and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September Birthstone Q&A: Sapphire

September’s birthstone, the sapphire, has a rich history. Blue sapphires have been associated with royalty for centuries. One of the most recognizable pieces is the sapphire and diamond engagement ring given to the late Princess Diana by Prince Charles, now famously passed down a generation to Kate Middleton by Prince William.

Test your knowledge of sapphires, and learn some interesting facts about September’s royal birthstone.
  1. In addition to being the birthstone for September, what number wedding anniversary do sapphires celebrate?
  2. Blue sapphire is a variety of the mineral called corundum. What other gemstone comes from corundum?
  3. The blue sapphire is derived from the Greek word, sappheiros. What does the word mean?
  4. Sapphires come in many colors. What is the most valuable and in-demand color?
  5. The Star of India is the world's largest gem-quality blue star sapphire, and is around two billion years old. In what famous museum is it displayed?
  6. On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphires rate a 9.0. What gem is harder?
  7. What did the ancient Greeks believe sapphires were a symbol of?
  8. The ancient Persians believed the earth was supported by a giant sapphire and that it gave what its blue hue?
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from where?
  10. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, famously chose a blue sapphire and diamond ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. Replicas of the ring became so popular with people, that it was given what nickname?
September Birthstone Quiz Answers:

  1. Sapphires celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary.
  2. Rubies also come from the mineral corundum.
  3. The Greek word sappheiros meaning blue stone.
  4. Blue sapphires are the most expensive and desirable of all sapphire colors.
  5. The Star of India is on exhibit in the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
  6. Diamonds are the only gem to rank a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
  7. The ancient Greeks believed sapphires were a symbol of wisdom and purity.
  8. The ancient Persians believed a giant sapphire gave the sky its blue hue.
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from the throne of God, making them the most precious gemstone.
  10. Princess Diana’s ring became so popular with the public that it became known as “the commoner’s ring.”

Monday, August 1, 2016

What to Know About Selling Gold

The United Kingdom’s recent announcement that it’s leaving the European Union has added to economic uncertainty but helped drive the price of gold and other precious metals up to new heights. On July 6, gold prices soared to more than $1,350 an ounce—its highest amount in 28 months. Is it time to sell your gold? Here’s what to know before you do. Gold price information courtesy of

What kind of gold sells?

The kind of gold you can sell ranges from inexpensive gold trinkets to solid gold coins to fine jewelry and even dental gold. A jeweler, pawn broker, gold refiner, or scrap gold dealer will buy the gold at a price based on the weight of its gold content, minus a handling fee. The purer the gold content, the more it’s worth.

When assessing your jewelry, consider the condition of your gold pieces, and if other people would be interested in buying and wearing it. The better condition yours is in, the more likely it will sell for a good price. If a valuable piece looks too worn, consider selling it for the gold and silver it contains.

Make sure the buyer is legit.

If you’re thinking about selling your gold jewelry, the first and most important thing to do is to make sure the potential buyer is legitimate. A Google search for “sell my gold,” or something similar, returns thousands of hits. Almost every jewelry store, pawn shop, and flea market in the country is now buying gold, not to mention online buyers, and many are unlicensed and uncertified.

Like any business, the reputation of pawn shops and jewelry stores differ from shop to shop. Some are more professional and offer better prices than others.

Research multiple companies beforehand—ask plenty of questions and find out if they are a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association. Unless you know for certain that a company is legit, we recommend you don’t mail your jewelry out of town or to an unknown source, as you may never see it again.

Instead, take your pieces to two or three local buyers and get them appraised. Make sure the shop is a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association, and its appraisers are certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

If you have multiple pieces, you may want to get individual offers on each piece as one buyer may be willing to pay more for some items than others. Make sure you agree to the appraisal estimate and terms and conditions of the sale before agreeing.

Beware of scams.

While many jewelry buyers are legitimate, many more are not, especially if they only do business online. One of the most common online scams is when a company asks a seller to mail their valuables to them for an appraisal offer. The seller often ends up with nothing; either the buyer claims they never received the piece, or, after making an offer, they never return the piece and claim it was lost in the mail.

A second type of scam is when a buyer offers a price far below what the piece is worth. While this is an unfair business practice, it’s really the fault of the seller if they agree to the offer. That is why it’s so important to have an idea what your piece is worth new, as well as what it goes for in its existing condition.

Another gold buying scenario to be aware of is known as gold buying parties. These are gatherings or parties organized by a local sponsor. The sponsor invites their friends and family over to their house, where a “gold buyer” will appraise the guest’s pieces and offer appraisals and cash on the spot. These buyers often pay far under what the pieces are worth, which is how they make a profit. The sponsors also usually get a cut of the sales. Again, know what your pieces are worth and understand what the arrangement is between the sponsor and buyer.

Understand how gold is valued.

The purity of gold jewelry is indicated by its karat stamp. Most gold jewelry, especially antique pieces, are 14-karat, which means they are only about 58 percent pure and you will only receive about half its current gold value. A 24-karat gold piece is pure gold and will be worth approximately the current price of gold per ounce.

Generally, the gold content of any piece of jewelry—indicated in karats—will be marked on it somewhere such as the inside of a ring or bracelet, on the clip of a necklace, or the back of an earring. For example, a 14-karat piece of gold jewelry will have "14 karat" inscribed on it, or the numbers "585" (which is the numeric identification for 14-karat gold) or "14K." Be aware, however, that sometimes pieces are stamped even if they’re not real gold.

If there’s no karat stamp on the gold piece, it’s usually because it’s not real gold. In some instances, the karat stamp may have worn off. A quick way to test if a gold piece is real is to place it next to a magnet; if it sticks, then it’s not real gold.

Know your gold’s weight.

Whether you weigh it yourself or take it to an appraiser, make sure you know how much your gold weighs. Note that gold, silver, and other precious metals are measured in troy ounces (equal to 31.1034768 grams). Certain jewelers also use the term “pennyweight” when referring to precious metal, and a troy ounce equals 20 pennyweights.

Bring it to an appraiser.

To truly know your gold’s value, take it to a reputable jeweler to have it appraised, especially if it’s an heirloom. This will ensure that your piece will be appraised for its craftsmanship as well as its gold purity and weight. A reputable jeweler will also explain how your gold is weighed, and how you will be paid (dollar amount per gram, troy ounce or pennyweight) and explain the purity level of your gold.

Start with scraps of gold from broken jewelry pieces before you sell a more valuable item. That way you can personally gauge your reaction to the buyer, whether you felt that they treated you fairly and were trustworthy, and whether you should deal with them in the future with your better pieces.

Realize the market fluctuates.

The price of gold and silver changes daily based on various factors, including market demand, manufacturing supply, and the financial markets. It’s important to understand that the price you are quoted for a piece applies to the day that the piece is appraised and is based on the market value in the industry at that time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

All About Rubies Quiz

Think you know rubies?  Test your knowledge of July’s birthstone with our quiz! Answers are at the end, but don’t peek!
  1. The word ruby is derived from what Latin word for red?
  2. What does the Sanskrit word for ruby, “ratnaraj,” mean?
  3. Ruby is the birthstone for July, as well as what astrological sign?
  4. Ruby is the red gem quality form of the mineral corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. What is the first hardest natural mineral?
  5. What causes the red coloration of rubies?
  6. What are all colors of corundum other than red known as?
  7. What are pink shades of rubies known as?
  8. On what wedding anniversary are rubies given?
  9. The finest rubies in the world were once found in Burma in Southeast Asia. What is the country Burma called today?
  10. Rubies from the legendary mines in Mogok often have a pure red color. What avian term is sometimes used to describe this color?
  11. The most expensive ruby ever sold was an 8.62-carat, pigeon's blood cushion-cut ruby set in an 18-karat gold rectangular mount. How much did it sell for and where was the auction?
  12. In ancient times, ruby was thought to give its wearer what?
  13. True or false: Rubies are considered more valuable than top-quality diamonds.
  14. At the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy she can return home to Kansas by clicking the heels of her ruby slippers together three times and repeating what phrase?
  15. In 1960, how did scientist Theodore Maiman change the world with a ruby?
Ruby quiz answers:
  1. The word ruby comes from the Latin for red, “rubeus,”  “ruber,” or “rubens.”
  2. The Sanskrit word for ruby is “ratnaraj” which roughly translates to “king of the gems.”
  3. Ruby is also the gemstone for the astrological sign of Capricorn.
  4. The diamond is the first hardest mineral with an absolute hardness of 1600, four times more than corundum, which has an absolute hardness of 400.
  5. Trace amounts of the element chromium is what causes rubies to appear red.
  6. Colors of corundum other than red are called sapphires.
  7. Rubies in shades of pink are simply referred to as pink sapphires.
  8. Rubies are traditionaly given to celebrate both the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
  9. Today, Burma is known as Myanmar.
  10. The color of the pure red rubies from the mines of Mogok is sometimes referred to as "pigeon'sblood.”
  11. The most expensive ruby ever sold at auction was purchased at Christie’s in 2006 for a reported $3.6 million.
  12. Ruby was thought to give its wearer good health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
  13. True. Flawless top-quality rubies are more valuable and rarer than top-quality colorless diamonds.
  14. To return to Kansas, Dorothy must click her heels three times and repeat, "There's no place like home."
  15. Theodore Maiman invented the world's first laser, known as the "ruby laser" in 1960. The first generation of lasers were solid state using a ruby crystal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Appeal of Pearls and Other Interesting Facts
What is it about pearls that appeals to us so? Maybe it’s because fine natural pearls are so rare? Or that we associate them with class, royalty and femininity? George Kunz says, “The pearl, like a lady of old, pure and fair to look upon, is the emblem of modesty and purity.” Whatever your reasons, here are some interesting facts about this mysterious and beloved orb.

The pearl was adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 as the official birthstone of June, along with alexandrite and moonstone. Pearls are also the birthstone for the sun signs of Gemini and Cancer, and are traditionally given as a 30th wedding anniversary gift.

Pearls are organic gems created when a tiny irritant, usually a parasite, enters a mollusk, such as an oyster, mussel, or clam. Annoyed by this foreign invader, the mollusk begins coating it in a natural substance it produces called nacre (pronounced NAY-ker). Nacre is made up primarily of aragonite (a carbonate crystal) bonded with weaker materials, such as proteins and chitin. The oyster slowly coats the irritant in layers of nacre, over time forming a pearl.

Not all pearls are round, but perfectly symmetrical pearls are generally the most desired and expensive. Pearls are primarily found in oyster beds in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, whereas Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water.

It’s an interesting mechanical phenomenon how round pearls are created. When you look at a pearl up close under a microscope, it’s actually not smooth, but covered in tiny sawtooth-like steps or terraces. When a mollusk is forming a pearl, water molecules around the pearl warm up, pushing off the small terraces, causing a tiny amount of rotation in one direction. The oyster very slowly and naturally turns, like a ratchet, thus creating a round-shaped pearl.

There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured and imitation. Because of today’s technology, there are many cultured pearls that are not only stunning to behold, they are affordable to the average jewelry fan. Natural pearls, on the other hand, have always been a rarity, and are an expensive indulgence usually reserved for the rich and famous. You can tell if a pearl is real by sliding it across your teeth. If it’s gritty, it’s probably real.

For some pearl perspective, in 1913, Pierre Cartier traded a single strand of 55 natural pearls valued at $1.2 million to banker Morton Plant in exchange for his mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City! That same property is now Cartier’s U.S. flagship store at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street.

While on their honeymoon in Japan in 1954, Joe DiMaggio presented Marilyn Monroe with a 16-inch, single-strand Akoya pearl necklace consisting of 44 Mikimoto pearls. The necklace has been shown around the world as part of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Field Museumin Chicago. It is currently owned by Mikimoto (America) Co., Ltd. as part of a valuable collection of pearls and pearl jewelry.

Many First Ladies have loved the simple yet classic elegance of pearl necklaces and bracelets. Barbara Bush was known for wearing her three-strand costume pearl necklace while in the White House. They became so popular that many companies created replicas and sold them as “First Lady Pearls” or “Barbara Bush Pearls.”

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis loved her pearl necklaces and made them wildly popular while she was in the White House. Her signature piece as First Lady was a triple-strand faux pearl necklace designed by jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane. The necklace went on to sell for $211,500 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Shortly after her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina pearl necklace was sold at Christie’s “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” auction for $11.8 million — the highest amount any pearl has ever sold for at auction.

Pearls also have a rich history of mythology and lore attached to them. Cultured and freshwater pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are also thought to give wisdom and keep children safe.

Ancient legend also associates pearls with fertility, and pearls still have a strong feminine energy today. Pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods, and the Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.

Are you in the market for pearls? If you’re looking for a unique gift for a June birthday girl, or you’re looking for a strand of pearls for yourself, shop Adina’s Ebay store for stunning estate, vintage and antique fine jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection of pearl jewelry and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Getting to Know Ametrine

One of rarest and most beautiful of the gemstones is ametrine, a bi-color combination of amethyst and citrine quartz. Read some interesting facts about the history and lore of ametrine, courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America.

People have used quartz in jewelry for thousands of years. When quartz displays the colors of amethyst and citrine in a single gem, the material is called ametrine or amethyst-citrine. The contrasting colors give it an intriguing appearance, and because the color zoning effect is natural, no two ametrines will ever be exactly the same.

Fine ametrine shows medium dark to moderately strong orange, and vivid to strong purple or violetish purple. Larger gems, usually those over five carats, tend to show the most intensely saturated hues.

Ametrine is popular among artistic gem cutters and carvers who play with the colors, creating landscapes in the stone. Cutters sometimes fashion ametrines as mixed cuts or brilliant cuts and use internal reflections to mingle the amethyst and citrine colors. Ametrine is also popular in free-form or fantasy cuts. Ametrine is often cut as a rectangular step cut because this style nicely displays the bi-color effect. Dealers look for an attractive half-and-half distribution of each color, with a sharp boundary between the two colors at the center of the fashioned gemstone.

Only one source

Ametrine’s only commercial source is the Anahi mine in Bolivia, a deposit in eastern Bolivia, close to the Brazilian border. Legend has it that a Spanish conquistador discovered the mine’s location in the 1600s and introduced the gem to Europeans when he presented several specimens to his queen. The mine had been given to him as a dowry when he married a native princess named Anahi.

After that, the mine was lost for more than three centuries. Rediscovered in the 1960s, the mine’s ametrine began appearing on the market again during the 1970s. Today the mine, named Anahi for the legendary princess, also produces natural amethyst and citrine.

The Anahi mine area is remote. Travel to and from the mine is limited to a flight in a small airplane or by a combination of roads and boats. Supplies and mine production move by boat. Knowing this, it’s understandable that the mine’s location was lost for centuries, and today ametrine is one of the rarest and most beautiful of all quartz gemstones.

Some people believe that ametrine, like other gems, contains special healing powers. It is said that ametrine is very helpful in treating depression and promoting inner peace and tranquility. Some believe that since it contains the powers of amethyst and citrine in one stone, it is a very powerful money stone as well as an excellent conduit to higher psychic awareness and spiritual enlightenment.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Diamond Facts

Those born during the month of April have one of the most regal and desired gems as their birthstone: the diamond. Here are some interesting facts about diamonds you may not know.

Diamonds are a naturally occurring allotrope of the element, carbon. Diamonds are formed deep inside the earth’s interior when carbon is crystallized over a long period of time due to two factors: heat and pressure.

Diamonds were first mined in India around 800 B.C. Today, the four top diamond producing countries in the world are Australia, Zaire, Botswana, and Russia. Interestingly, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is the only diamond-producing location in the world that allows the public to dig for and keep the diamonds they find.

Diamonds are appraised and priced based on a standard grading system by the Gemological Institute of America (the GIA). The grading system is known as “The 4 Cs” and consist of color, clarity, carat weight, and cut.

Diamond jewelry has gained fame as a result of its presence in legendary films. Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Actress Jane Russell later sang the signature song in the same film, in court, while pretending to be Monroe’s character, Lorelei.

In the 1963 film, The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers played clueless police inspector Jacques Clouseau, on the trail of a jewel thief known as The Phantom. In the movie, “the largest diamond in the world” is called The Pink Panther.

And who can forget James Cameron’s movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, in which the fictional blue diamond called “The Heart of the Ocean” is tragically lost to the ocean. 
Diamonds have also gained notoriety as a result of record-breaking auction sales. In December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s renowned jewelry collection was auctioned at Christie’s in New York. One of her most famous pieces was the Taylor-Burton diamond ring, given to her by husband, Richard Burton. The Taylor-Burton diamond is a 69.42 carat pear-shaped stone estimated to be worth $3.5 million. Taylor sold the diamond in 1978 following her divorce from Burton to fund her charity work.

On December 10, 2012 at the final lot of Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction, a new world auction record was achieved for a reddish-orange fancy colored diamond. The rare 3.15 carat diamond is the largest reddish-orange diamond ever graded at the GIA, and sold for $2,098,500, setting a new per-carat record price of $666,200.

In the market for diamonds? Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, a tennis bracelet, diamond stud earrings, or more, shop Adina’ eBay store for stunning estate, vintage and antique fine diamond jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection of certified diamonds and other gemstone jewelry for women and men, and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

All About Aquamarines

Happy birthday March babies! Your official birthstone is not only beautiful, it’s full of history and mythology. Here are some interesting facts about your birthstone, the aquamarine.
  • In addition to being the birthstone for March and the Zodiac sign of Pisces, aquamarine is also the gemstone used to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary.
  • The aquamarine is a transparent pale blue variety of beryl (beryllium aluminum silicate) — the same mineral family that emeralds belong to.
  • Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings.
  • The word aquamarine is derived from the Latin phrase “aqua marinus,” meaning “water of the sea” because they are said to resemble the beautiful blue green of ocean water.
  • Aquamarines were once said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. March’s birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages.
  • Aquamarines come in a wide range of shades and colors, from pale sky blue to richer blue, and blue-green.  The rarest and most valuable aquamarines are those with a deep blue color.
  • The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues.
  • The color of aquamarine is due to trace amounts of iron that works its way inside the crystal. Most commercially sold aquamarines are heat treated to produce a more desirable blue-green color.
  • Aquamarines have a hexagonal-shaped crystal system. They are pleochroic in nature, meaning they can show three colors, depending on the angle they’re viewed.
  • Like many gems, aquamarines are said to have metaphysical powers, including the ability to clear and cleanse, refresh and uplift the mind. They are also said to promote courage, calm, compassion, tolerance, love, communication, self expression, reasoning, intellect,  and connection to one’s higher self.
  • Aquamarines are also said to aid in the healing of sore throats, swollen glands, 
calming nerves, improving vision, and cooling sunburns and fevers.
  • The ancient Romans believed that Neptune, the god of the sea, obtained aquamarines from the jewelry boxes of the Sirens. Legend has it that Neptune gave aquamarines as a gift to the mermaids.
  • Because of its bond with the sea, aquamarine is the gemstone of several sea
goddesses, including Aphrodite, also known as the Greek goddess of love.
  • Aquamarines are also said to bring safety to sailors, who are known to wear aquamarine talismans engraved with the likeness of Neptune, as protection against dangers at sea.
  • Aquamarines are mined in exotic locations  including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique, but most modern aquamarines come from Brazil.
  • One of the largest aquamarines ever mined weighed 110.5 kg (243 lbs). It was found in 1910 in Marambaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • In the United States, the only location where you can mine for aquamarines is Mount Antero in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The elusive gem is said to be found at altitudes of 14,000 feet or more!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Popular Valentine's Day Gifts
Wondering what to give your loved one for Valentine’s Day? Take a look at the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts in the U.S., according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Not surprisingly, romantic standards such as candy and flowers are still among the most popular Valentine’s gifts given. Flowers are still number one among men, while women prefer to give greeting cards or candy to their spouses, friends or family members.
Here are the percentages of what American men and women over age 18 gave in 2014.
Greeting cards

44% men
58% women

47% men
50% women

61% men
15% women

An evening out
39% men
36% women

29% men
9% women

14% men
18% women

Gift cards
11% men
17% women

What people are spending
The NRF did a Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey last year, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. According to the results, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day planned to spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 in 2014, and total spending was expected to reach almost $19 billion.

While most (53.2%) plan to buy candy for the sweet holiday, spending a total of $1.7 billion, one in five (21.1%) plans to buy jewelry for a total of $4.8 billion, the highest amount seen since NRF began tracking spending on Valentine’s gifts in 2010.

Additionally, 37.8 percent will buy flowers, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. Celebrants will also spend nearly $2 billion on clothing and $1.5 billion on the gift that keeps on giving: gift cards.

The survey found nine in 10 (91%) plan to treat their significant others/spouses to something special for the consumer holiday, with plans to spend an average of $87.94 on them, up from $78.09 last year. Additionally, 58.7 percent will spend an average of $26.26 on other family members and $6.30 on children’s classmates/teachers. A record one in five (21.2%) say they will include Fluffy and Fido in their Valentine’s Day gift-giving plans, looking to spend a mere $5.28 on average – which equates to a whopping $703 million on pint-sized gifts of all varieties.

Discount (35.2%) and department stores (36.5%) will be among the most visited locations for those looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, as will specialty stores (19.4%) and florists (18.7%).

One-quarter (25.1%) say they will shop online and 13.3 percent will shop at a local or small business to find something unique for their loved one.

Men will spend nearly double what women plan to spend ($190.53 versus $96.58 on average, respectively.) Additionally, adults 25 to 34 will outspend other age groups at an average of $213.04; 35 to 44 year olds will spend an average of $176.21, and 18 to 24 year olds will spend an average of $168.95.

Looking for a unique, special gift for your Valentine? Shop Adina’s eBay store for stunning estate, vintage and antique fine jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection for women and men, and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Auction Record Set by "Blue Moon Diamond"

On November 11, 2015, a new record for any diamond ever offered at auction was set, according to a Reuters report. The "Blue Moon Diamond" sold for 48.6 million Swiss francs — the equivalent of $48.4 million — at Sotheby’s in Geneva, Switzerland to a Hong Kong buyer, making it the world’s most expensive diamond. Surprisingly to those in attendance, the successful bidder renamed the diamond, “Blue Moon of Josephine.”

At 12.03 carats, the Blue Moon is the largest cushion-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction. It is mounted on a ring and has the top grading of fancy vivid blue. Sotheby’s gave the diamond a pre-sale estimate of $35 million to $55 million.

Auctioneer David Bennett called the Blue Moon the "highest price per carat" ever obtained for any kind of stone, and the diamond set a world record for any jewel at more than $4 million per carat.
The blue diamond stone was found in South Africa’s famed Cullinan mine in January 2014. The distinctive blue color in diamonds is attributed to trace amounts of the element boron in the crystal structure.

The Blue Diamond Tops the Graff Pink

Until recently, the auction record had been held for five years by the Graff Pink diamond, which British billionaire jeweler Laurence Graff bought for almost $46 million at another Sotheby’s auction in Geneva in 2010.

Graff paid 45.4 million francs — almost $46 million — for the diamond and quickly renamed it, the “Graff Pink.” The rare pink diamond is rectangular shaped, and weighs 24.78 carats. It is among less than two percent of the world’s diamonds categorized as “potentially flawless” because it needs repolishing.

Graff’s buying price of $46 million at the time topped a previous world record for the selling price of a jewel at auction.

In 2013, Sotheby’s auctioned a pink diamond called the “Pink Star” for $83.2 million, but the buyer ultimately defaulted on the payment. The stone remains in the auction house’s inventory.

Other Big Sales at Sotheby’s

At the November 11 Sotheby’s auction, royal jewels, colored gemstones, and designer pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Harry Winston were among 410 lots that found new owners, bringing in $139 million.

A fancy vivid purple-pink, pear-shaped diamond ring sold for 13.9 million Swiss francs — approximately $14 million — the second-highest lot of the night.

An 8.48 carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring that belonged to the late Maria-Jose, the last Queen of Italy reached just 5.2 million francs, surprising those in attendance that it failed to meet the reserve price set by the seller.

Of interest to history buffs, a Cartier diamond and pearl tiara that survived Germany’s sinking of the Lusitania cruise liner 100 years ago — along with its Canadian owner Marguerite Lady Allan — sold for $800,000 after heated bidding, doubling its estimate.

A 15.20 carat fancy orange-pink diamond pendant owned by former James Bond actor Sean Connery sold for more than 4 million francs, tripling its estimate.