Tag Archives: Jewelry Insider

The Jewelry Insider

December 16, 2010

Resetting diamond jewelry is one of the most cost effective ways to get more use out of those jewelry box lingerers that never get to see the light of day.

Old rings that have been relegated to those dark corners like a diamond you’ve inherited or a generous gift that well, just isn’t your taste – now’s the time to hunt them out.

While some folks want to sell their jewelry these days, remember the resale price of a diamond ring is way below the price paid for it. Most people after finding out how much they’ll receive decide it’s not worth selling, but then have no idea what to do with the ring.

Why not reset it and forget it? One of the most popular ways to reset a diamond ring is either to take out the diamond and set it as a pendant, or reset the diamond with smaller gemstones surrounding it, to give it an entirely different look and feel.

If you have an heirloom the question of to reset or not can be fraught with emotional issues. After all, this ring may have been passed down from generation to generation and to take it out of its originally setting is almost like breaking the chain. If you do decide to reset, then when you talk to your jeweler, find out about having an antique setting that is more to your taste, but still keeping within the era of the original setting. If you do decide to take the resetting plunge, make sure you go to a reputable jeweler that specializes in resetting. Spend time with the jeweler and make sure you’re confident that they understand what you’re looking for.

A good idea is to have the diamond graded by a professional gemological laboratory such as IGI or GIA. They’ll examine the stone and you’ll receive a diamond certificate detailing the diamond’s properties. That way if any queries arise when you receive the diamond back in it’s new setting you can re-check that it is the same stone. Make sure the jeweler insures the stone during the period they have it. If they don’t make sure your insurance covers the diamond during this time.

Find out how long it will take to reset the stone – you don’t want any nasty surprises. If you’re having additional stones in the new setting, make sure they’re the quality you want, ask to see a sample of the types of gems of diamonds that will be surrounding the diamond, together with your diamond. Some colors or diamonds reflect in the main stone, making the stone appear duller than it is (and vice-versa, they may bring added brilliance to your gem).

The same applies if you’ve having it set in gold. Some diamonds appear to have a more pronounced yellow tint when set in yellow gold. White gold or platinum may make the stone appear more colorless.

No matter what you decide, giving your diamonds a facelift is a great way to get more bang for your buck in these trying times. And you have recycling bragging rights you can cart out in front of all your eco-friendly pals. Seems like a win-win to me. Good luck!

The Jewelry Insider

October 29, 2010

(This is a popular older post that seemed appropriate to share again before the Halloween weekend. Be safe and bedazzle, jewelry hounds!)

Most of us associate jewelry with happy occasions like weddings, birthdays and Valentine’s Day. But many folks are wearing jewels these days that symbolize quite the opposite.

Mourning jewelry is apparently all the rage right now, according to TrendHunter, and with vampire chic taking over our pop culture – from Twilight to True Blood – it’s no wonder.

So what is mourning jewelry exactly?

The earliest examples of mourning jewelry were found in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Black and white enameled heads or skulls were often set into both rings and brooches and worn to signify a period of mourning after the death of a loved one.

The jewelry category reached its height of popularity in England with Queen Victoria after the premature death of Prince Albert in December 1861. Black jewelry soon became a must-have accessory, as thousands of Brits sympathized with their grieving Queen.

In the United States the use of mourning jewelry increased with the outbreak of the Civil War, which included the emergence of hair jewelry – lopped off locks given to loved ones by soldiers who went off to war, often worn as pendants or in closed lockets.

Today, mourning jewelry is making a comeback, with young designers like Anna Schwamborn from London designing a range of styles made with the hair and cremated ashes of loved ones mixed with black bone china. Her “Mourning Objects” collection includes a rosary, necklace and a watch chain tear catcher, among other styles.

So what do you think about this ‘trendy’ jewelry category? Would you wear the remains of your loved one around your neck, for example, or in the form of a ring? Or is the thought of it too morbid to even consider?

I’m curious. Has anyone out there worn mourning jewelry before? Share your story!

Peridot: It’s So Easy Being Green

August birthday girls, you’ve got pretty peridot as your birthstone. Ever wonder what’s behind all the green glam? Here is some peridot history and lore to arm you with plenty of fun facts when you drop hints to the gift givers this year.


Peridot, the gem form of the mineral olivine, traces its jewelry roots back more than 3,500 years. It was first mined by the ancient Egyptians on the island of Zebargad in the Red Sea. Zebargad was known as the “serpent isle” because it was infested with snakes that interfered with mining activity until one Pharaoh finally had them all driven into the sea.

Found in various shades of green, peridot is most prized in lime hues. The Romans called peridot “evening emerald” because its green color was said to glow at night. The gem was also used to decorate medieval churches and was most likely carried back to Europe by the Crusaders. Large peridots of more than 200 carats in size adorn the shrine of the three magi at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

Small crystals have been found in volcanic rock – in fact, Hawaiian legend called peridot the divine tears wept by Pele, goddess of the volcano. Samples of the gem also have been discovered in meteors that have fallen to earth.

The ancients believed that peridot had the power to ward off evil spirits, nightmares and enchantments. It was also used as a medical remedy to treat asthma and other ailments. Its power was considered most potent when the stone was set in gold. Peridot was also said to strengthen any medicine drunk from goblets carved from the stone.

Most of today’s peridot is mined by Native Americans on the Carlos Reservation in Arizona. It is also mined in Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, Norway, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. A new deposit was discovered in Pakistan in 1994, yielding some of the finest peridot ever seen. Numerous fine, large crystals were discovered, including one stone of more than 300 carats.

Peridot’s relative affordability and lively green color has made it a popular substitute for those who cannot afford emeralds. The birthstone for August, peridot is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary.

Shop Peridot Gems on Jewelry.com


Ruby Lore – Learn About This Month’s Birthstone

Perhaps no gemstone has been as prized throughout history as the ruby. Celebrated in ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have adorned emperors and kings and inspired countless legends and myths with their rich, fiery hues.

As the ultimate red gemstone, rubies have symbolized passion and romance for centuries. Ruby is the birthstone for July and is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

Also the color of blood, the stone is symbolic of courage and bravery. Warriors were said to have implanted rubies under their skin to bring them valor in battle and make them invincible. The stone has also been used as a talisman against danger, disaster, to stop bleeding, and a number of other ailments. Its intense color was thought to come from an undying flame inside the stone – or, as some legends would have it, a piece of the planet Mars.

Ruby is the red variety of corundum, a sister of sapphire. Like sapphire, ruby rates a “9” on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the second hardest material known after diamonds.

The most important factor to consider when buying a ruby is its color. It comes in a variety of shades ranging from purplish- and bluish-red to orange-red. Like sapphire, there is also a translucent variety of ruby that can display a six-point star when cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut.

Rubies are rarely found perfect in nature – which is why many are heat-treated to intensify or lighten their color or improve their clarity. Heat enhancement is a permanent, stable process. Some rubies also have surface fractures and cavities that are filled with glass-like materials to improve their appearance.

For both treated or untreated stones, the safest cleaning method is to just use soapy water or a mild commercial solvent and a brush.

My Diamond in the Rough

Well, jewelry hounds, she’s here! Roxanne (Roxy) Parker Rataj was born on February 10th to the delight of her mom and pops. She came out 8 pounds 20 inches but has eaten her way to 9 pounds 6 oz and 23 inches in two weeks’ time(!)

I think I have an over-achiever on my hands…

Wanted to share a few pics with you all so you can see what’s been occupying my time since diamonds and divas have taken a back seat this month. Ain’t she swell?

While my daughter’s birth was perfectly timed for numerologists and folks who care about such things (2/10/2010 has a nice ring to it, right?), I did miss covering New York Fashion Week and was shocked to hear of Alexander McQueen’s untimely passing. The fashion world will never find a replacement for his apocalyptic, whimsical, down-the-rabbit-hole stylings – – truly tragic.

But on to sunnier skies. Namely? Oscar! The party scene has been rolling non-stop leading up to the big night on March 7th, so I’m sure there will be lots of ground to cover next week. Stay tuned – and thanks for all of your good wishes and support during my brief sojourn. In the meantime, Roxy and I are busy prepping for red carpet gawking from our feeding spot on the couch.


The Jewelry Insider

February 15, 2010

Jewelry hounds, I have good news and better news. The good news is: I am just about ready to give birth to my first baby!

The better news? It’s a GIRL!!! (Do they make Dior diapers? Just asking…)

The not so great news is: I will obviously be otherwise occupied for a spell while I welcome our little bundle of joy into the world (and get used to life as a feeding machine). But don’t worry – I will be posting updates every now and again during the next month, and will be back to my regular weekday post schedule in March (defintitely in time for the Oscars!).

In the meantime, I hope you all continue to gawk at bling with wild abandon on the Jewelry.com homepage (peruse their Celebrity, Fashion and Jewelry News items), and on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Until then, I remain your humble, diamond-loving, jewel-hunting, celebrity-worshiping, baby-birthing Jewelry Insider! Stay tuned!

The Jewelry Insider

December 30, 2009

Another year down, jewelry hounds, another year of frivolous fun in jewelry land. We’ve seen red carpets sparkle (and stink up the joint), the entire D-list attempt to start their own jewelry lines, stunning diamond auction sales despite a Bernie Madoff-induced luxury melt down, and plenty of ‘lower jaw-drop’ moments.

As we bloggers are predisposed to do this time of year, I’ve taken a look back at 2009 and culled together some of my favorite jewelry moments with some of yours. The result? This little Top Ten list for your reading pleasure.

Thanks to all for joining this shiny place of jewel-filled sarcasm, schadenfreude and joy. Here’s to another bling-filled year!

10. Brad Pitt’s Diamond Daughter

The third most popular post this year involved a random tidbit detailing Brad Pitt’s diamond jewelry gift to his daughter, Shiloh. Lesson learned? Some kids have all the luck. And always write about Brad Pitt.

9. Technicolor Diamonds

Lower jaw-drop moment of the year alert: Despite the economic woes taking most of us mortals to our knees this year, some lucky as*&, I mean, folks snapped up some stunning natural-color diamonds off the auction block in 2009 – inlcuding the Wittelsbach blue diamond that broke the record for most expensive rock ever sold at auction.

8. Woodstock/Mad Men Mania

The 60s came back with a vengeance this year, with Woodstock celebrating it’s 40th anniversary and Mad Men taking the entertainment and fashion worlds by storm. Jewelry fashion followed suit, with this fourth most popular post for 2009.

7. Celebrity Jewelry Robbery Ring

Just when you thought Hollywood couldn’t get any more tawdry, a ring of wannabe reality star youngster thugs robbed D-listers like Paris, Lindsay, and that vacuous brunette from The Hills of their beloved family jewels. The horror! And they didn’t even get an agent out of it…

6. Paris Rules

Nope. Not talking about ‘the Hilton’ – despite writing about her over a dozen times this year (sorry ’bout that). Paris, France was – yet again – my favorite Fashion Week by far, with jewelry exploding all over the catwalks. Bigger, better, bling-filled bliss.

5. Vampire Chic

From Team Edward to True Blood, it was all about the undead in 2009. Enter: blood red rubies, cross necklaces, vampire-inspired jewelry lines, and lots of black eye-linered brooding. Oh – and angst.

4. Paula Abdul – From Mess to Maven

Oh, Paula. How you confuse me so. You gave us some of the absolute worst fashion moments on the red carpet in 2009, yet somehow your jewelry line sells out in minutes? And recently, you’ve made some classic red carpet appearances with jewelry that actually fits the occasion. Let’s hope you have enough sense (and money in the coffers) to keep your current stylist now that Ellen is stealing your spotlight.

3. Celebrity Engagement Rings

From The Bachelor bungle, to my second most popular post – Ivanka Trump’s engagement ring bling – the celebrity world of betrothal never disappoints. Here are some of the year’s highlights for your drooling pleasure.

2. Angelina’s Oscar Emeralds

The most popoular post of 2009 was my early report of Angelina Jolie’s emerald Oscar jewelry. Sorry, Jen – 2010 is gonna be your year.

1. Michelle Obama

Mighty Michelle jump-started a sinking fashion industry when her husband’s historic campaign and election took the country by storm. So I joined the throngs of other fashion bloggers who followed her every move in those first few months of 2009. The good news is, she continues to breathe fresh life into the jewelry world with statement pieces, brooches and classic pearls akimbo. No matter your political persuasion, you gotta give it up for bling you can believe in.

Did I miss any of your favs? Weigh in, jewelry hounds!

The Jewelry Insider

August 12, 2009

And you thought swine flu was our biggest pork-related concern?

The Daily Mail in the UK reports today that a large pig has swallowed the diamond from a woman’s $2500 ring.

Ginger, a Kune Kune pig, clamped her jaws around the jewel after Anne Moon put her hand into its pen at Easingwold Maize Maze in North Yorkshire, England.

When Mrs. Moon pulled away, the diamond was nowhere to be found. Now farmer Paul Caygill, who owns the attraction, has been given the task of sifting through Ginger’s sty to find the glorious gem.

Caygill told the reporter, “It wasn’t malicious or anything, it didn’t take her finger off but took the central stone of her diamond ring.”

“So far it hasn’t turned up, but we are still hoping. I don’t know how long it takes for nature to take its course.”

I don’t know what’s worse, losing the diamond or having the illustrious task of finding it.

Mrs Moon, from Thirsk, had been visiting the farm with her husband Les, 63, who bought the ring for her about 30 years ago, and their grandchildren Josh, four, and Emilia, aged 20 months.

She isn’t hopeful the gem will turn up, but you can bet she’ll be dreaming of old Ginger there on a platter with an apple in her mouth if the diamond is gone for good.

“People might think I’ve made this up,” says Moon, “but I’m not telling porkies.”

The Jewelry Insider

August 7, 2009

Like millions of Americans, I too watched the riveting finale of So You Think You Can Dance last night. And while you all might think that finding out that underdog, Jeanine Mason, won was the most shocking turn of events for me (I thought Kayla was a shoe-in), well think again.

Did you get a load of Mary Murphy’s crazyass jewelry?

I mean, if the lobster bib diamond necklace wasn’t enough to put you over the edge, her gi-normous diamond earrings, palm-sized flower right hand ring and flowery diamond arm wrap certainly should have.

I swear the woman had more jewelry on than a drag queen convention of Marilyn and Liz wannabes. And NOT in a good way.

I may be the only one who is so ‘over’ the judge-as-personality part of these godforsaken reality shows that get under your skin like a bad case of scabies (nope, I’m not sad that a rambling, nonsensical Paula is leaving AI), but I could certainly go a long while without hearing that crazy woman speak another word to these talented youngsters. Let alone look at her nuttier-than-thou jewelry style.

That said, there is something to be said for being larger than life. I guess I just want the dancing to take on that role instead of a former ballroom dance champion who acts like a nut to get ratings – and accessorizes like one too.

Am I being too harsh here? Does anyone out there like Mary’s wacky jewelry and judging style? Talk me off the ledge here…

And Happy Friday!


My Twitter pal posted this hilarious pic of Mary when she first saw the jewelry calamity on screen. My hat’s off to anyone who is so in shock you just have to take out your camera to capture the moment. Visit her site at: http://www.jewelrywhore.com

The Jewelry Insider

August 6, 2009

Of all the recent celebrity diamond rings I’ve been spotting this summer (from Ivanka Trump to Bethenny Frankel), this one takes the cake! True Blood’s first couple is getting hitched in real life!

For those of you who aren’t into HBO’s latest vampire screen sensation (if not, you really oughta be), Anna Paquin plays telepathic Sookie Stackhouse who falls in love with a sexy 200 year-old vampire played by Stephen Moyer. You follow?

The lovebirds hit it off during the audition two years ago and news hit yesterday that they’re making things official.

No wedding details are available yet, but OK Magazine spotted Paquin flaunting her stunning new diamond engagement ring while walking her dog in Venice this morning.


Moyer, 39, has two children from previous relationships: a son, Billy, born in 2000, and a daughter, Lilac, born in 2002. This will be the first marriage for both.

Last month, Paquin, 27, said of her steamy love scenes with Moyer: “Obviously, if you’re already with that person then you’re not having to sort of get over the ‘Wow, I’m naked with someone that I don’t even know the middle name of!”

Anna? You are one lucky telepath.

What do you guys think of the happy couple? A match made in TV heaven or an odd couple destined to fizzle?