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How to Care for your Antique, Estate, Vintage & Modern Jewellery

Taking Good Care of Your Antique, Estate, Vintage & Modern Jewellery Is Important

The best care you can give your antique, estate, vintage and modern jewellery is careful wear, regular cleaning, and an annual checkup. Perfume, makeup and hair sprays should be put on before jewellery. These products can damage some gemstones.

Oils, soap and day-to-day dirt can accumulate on gemstones causing them to appear less beautiful. Regular cleaning in jewellery cleaning liquid can restore the shine of your jewellery. An ultrasonic cleaning machine should be used with care. Gems such as pearl, opal, coral, turquoise, emerald, peridot, tanzanite and ruminate should never be put into such a unit; your jeweller can advise you about the safest methods to use.

As diamonds and other gems can scratch each other, they should be kept separated, protected from each other. Storing your jewels individually is wise. Cultured pearls especially are easily scratched. They should be cleaned with a soft cloth after each wearing, and should never be worn with gold chains or other items of jewellery that might come into contact with them

Diamond is the hardest of natural substances; but hard does not mean invulnerable. Under certain conditions a diamond can chip if it is struck. Fine Jewellery is meant to be worn and enjoyed, but not under all conditions. Activities as simple as contact sports, lifting weights, work around the house and even gardening may expose the gemstones in rings to damage.

Once a year you should visit your jeweller to have the settings of your gem-set jewellery checked to wear. Loose stones should be tightened and any worn claws (the metal holding the stones in place) should be repaired. Preventative maintenance can ensure years of wearing pleasure.

Types of Jewellery Appraisals

Jewellery appraisals are calculated in a number of different ways and each has a particular purpose. THEY ARE NOT INTERCHANGABLE. There are three major types of appraisals.

INSURANCE APPRAISAL: Unless otherwise indicated, appraisals are generally produced for insurance purposes. These are calculated assuming that items, if lost or stolen, will be replaced by a professional jeweller based on the specifications in the appraisal. It is your responsibility to see that the values are kept current through regular updates. Because prices can fluctuate, an update is recommended every three years.

FAIR MARKET VALUE: These appraisals are prepared for divorce settlements, charitable donations or other tax applications. These values represent the estimated price that would be paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller, both parties being aware of all the relevant facts, where there is no compulsion to sell and time is not important.

PROBATE AND COLLATERAL: The probating of an estate, valuation for collateral purposes and other quick disposal situations are calculated at the lowest appraised values. These represent the prices that would be paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller where there is a need to sell and time is important.

Diamond Grading Terminology

A diamonds cost is based on the characteristics known as the “4 C’s”. Clarity, Colour, and Cut (proportion) are the quality elements which together with the Carat weight determine the value of the stone.

Carat is the unit of weight for all gemstones. One carat is subdivided into 100 “points”. Therefore a diamond weighing 75 points is ¾ carat in weight, or .75ct. There are five carats in one gram.

A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and colour of internal characteristics called “inclusions” and surface features called “blemishes”. Clarity is measured on a scale measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included (1-3).

Ideally, a diamond should have no colour at all, like a drop of crystal clear spring water. Increasing amounts of body colour are measured on a scale ranging from no colour (D) to deeply coloured (Z). Beyond “Z” is the range where the diamond’s colour is vivid and rich, called “fancy” colours.

Cut, sometimes the forgotten “C”, ensures that a given diamond has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case were the stone cut for weight alone.

Cut Grading Explained

Ideal/Excellent Cut (Grade 0 to 2)
Diamonds cut to “ideal” proportions. This cutting yields a diamond of maximum brilliance and beauty.

Very Good Cut (Grade 2 to 3)
Diamonds cut just outside the tolerance of the ideal cut.

Good Cut (Grade 4 to 5)
Diamonds cut to average proportions, with somewhat reduced brilliance and beauty to the trained observer.

Fair/Commercial Cut (Grade 5 to 7)
Diamonds cut with reduced brilliance to the untrained eye, or considerable retention of weight from the rough. The appraisal is based on a hypothetical recutting to more regular proportions.

Reference: Harold Weinstein LTD.