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A Girl’s Best Friend: The History and Timelessness of Diamonds

Written by sol-jewel on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard the slogan “a diamond is forever” or the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Diamonds’ hardness, beauty, and reflective quality have made them the most popular gemstone in the world.

Diamond jewelry has existed for thousands of years, but diamonds themselves have existed much longer. Diamonds had their beginnings 900 million years ago, deep within the Earth.

Early Beginnings

Diamonds form deep in the Earth’s mantle under the right pressure and temperature. Diamonds were first discovered in India at least 3,000 years ago, but perhaps as far back as 6,000 years ago. Indians valued diamonds as a religious symbol. They also wore them as jewelry and formed them into cutting tools.

With time, traders sold diamonds to other areas of the world. In Europe, diamonds were rare enough that only the aristocracy could afford them. In fact, Louis IX made a law that rare, valuable diamonds must be reserved for the king. However, diamonds’ popularity continued to increase among non-royalty as well. In 1887, the French crown jewels were sold and bought by wealthy citizens in the United States.

When most people think of diamonds, they think of engagement rings. The precursor to the engagement ring, the truth ring, didn’t have diamonds. It was actually made of braided hair or twisted copper.

Rings were first given as a symbol of engagement in 1215. The upper class showed off their position with engagement rings made of glittering jewels. In 1477, Mary of Burgundy reportedly received the first diamond engagement ring from Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Today, the diamond is the most popular stone used in engagement rings.

Diamonds in Modern Times

As diamonds’ popularity increased, the diamonds in India’s mines began to disappear. In 1866, people discovered a new diamond mine, the Kimberley Mine in South Africa, ushering in the largest mining operation of our time. Soon, diamonds became available to people of all classes.

Diamonds are now mined from 25 countries, so they are certainly not as rare as was once believed. In the mid-20th century, the world’s largest diamond operator, De Beers, launched an aggressive marketing campaign promoting diamond jewelry as the choice of royalty. The company also coined the phrase “Diamonds are forever.” By portraying diamonds as the choice of the upper class, they were able to increase diamond sales.

Diamonds are still a huge part of popular culture. “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” was first sung by Carol Channing in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Rihanna’s 2012 hit “Diamonds” includes the lyrics “shine bright like a diamond.” Diamond jewelry has appeared in many well-known movies, such as Titanic.

The Appeal of Diamonds

There’s a reason why aristocracy has always valued the diamond and why De Beers’ marketing campaign worked so well. In the world of gem stones, diamonds really do stand out. Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Strength. Diamonds have a harder structure than any other bulk material. After all, the word “diamond” means “unbreakable.” Plus, diamonds are almost impossible to scratch, and they can resist pressure of up to 600 gigapascals.
  • Purity. Due to their tight structure, diamonds are very unlikely to become contaminated.
  • Color. Colorless diamonds aren’t the only option. Diamonds can come in a variety of different colors, including blue, green, brown, yellow, black, pink, orange, red, and purple. Diamonds also scatter white light into a variety of colors, leading to a colorful sparkle.
  • Notoriety. From royalty to celebrities, millions of people have worn diamonds throughout history. A diamond tiara originally worn by Queen Mary has been passed down to Queen Elizabeth II. At the 2013 Grammys, Carrie Underwood wore a diamond necklace worth $31 million.

Diamonds continue to welcome high revenue, earning $74.2 billion between 2005 and 2013.

How to Find a Real Diamond

Because diamonds are in such high demand, today you can find many knockoff versions of diamond jewelry. Materials like cubic zirconia and silicon carbide resemble diamonds but are not as valuable. You can tell that a stone is simulated if:

  • It is less expensive than a natural diamond.
  • It has no flaws. Diamonds have some kind of defect that you can see under a microscope.
  • It retains heat. A simulated diamond will stay foggy after you breathe on it.
  • It can scratch and chip. Simulated diamonds aren’t as hard as natural diamonds.
  • It is very colorful and sparkly. Simulated diamonds, particularly cubic zirconia, are more colorful than natural diamonds.

Before you buy or sell a piece of diamond jewelry, consult with an experienced jeweler or pawn broker. He or she can help you determine the authenticity and worth of your diamond jewelry.

If you wonder which type of jewelry to buy, diamond is always a classic choice. Visit Sol’s Jewelry and Loan to see our exciting collection of diamond jewelry.

5 Famous Gems From Around the World

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Glittering gems can be mesmerizing, and the bigger the gem, the more awe it generates. High-quality gems can also go decades without growing dull or wearing down, and over the years, there have been several large gems dug up and cut into beautiful, dazzling jewels.

Some of these large gems have made an impact on history and have been passed through several famous hands, such as those of royalty. To learn more about five of these famed gems, read on.

The Star of Africa

Also known as Cullinan I, the Star of Africa is the largest gem to be cut out of a 3,106.75-carat diamond called the Cullinan, which was mined out of an African mine in 1905. The Star of Africa is pear-shaped with 74 facets and weighs 530.2 carats. It sits atop the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and remains the secondlargest cut diamond in the world.

Today, it’s on display in the Tower of London alongside gems from the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, which include other jewels cut from the enormous Cullinan diamond.

The Millennium Star

As an uncut diamond, the Millennium Star was around 777 carats, but it shrunk to 203.04 carats when it was cut to its current clear, pear-shaped form. Like the Star of Africa, the Millennium Star was also discovered in Africa but at a much later time.

The diamond was found in 1990, and it was purchased by a diamond mining and trading company called De Beers a handful of years later. The diamond was then cut and put in the De Beers Millennium diamond collection in 1999.

Out of all the colorless, or top-color, diamonds in the world, the Millennium Star still stands at second largest.

The Moussaieff Red

When most people think of a diamond, they often think of white diamonds. But the Moussaieff Red is actually a brilliant, stunning red diamond. It has such excellent color that the Gemological Institute of America has rated the Moussaieff Red as a Fancy Red.

When compared to the Millennium Star or the Star of Africa, the Moussaieff Red is much smaller. It weighs
5.11 carats in its current triangular shape but is still the largest red diamond on the globe.

It was originally found in the ’90s by a farmer in Brazil, weighing 13.9 carats uncut. The William Goldberg Diamond Corp. bought and cut the diamond and originally named it the Red Shield. The diamond was then sold to a man named Shlomo Moussaieff in 2001 or 2002 and is still in possession of Moussaieff Jewellers
Ltd.

The Star of India

The breathtaking Star of India is actually a grayish blue star sapphire that weighs an impressive 563.35 carats. A star sapphire is a stone that contains the mineral rutile, The rutile gives the stone its milky color, and the rutile also reflects light in such a way that it looks like there’s a star on the surface of the stone. The Star of India is unique because you can see a star on both sides.

The Star of India was actually a part of the gem exhibit for the Paris Exposition of 1900. The stone was found by a Tiffany & Co. gem specialist named George Kunz, who was commissioned by J.P. Morgan, a wealthy investor, to collect a large collection of gems for the exposition.

It was originally unearthed in Sri Lanka but was donated alongside other gems to the American Museum of Natural History after the exposition. The Star of India still holds its title as the largest and most famous star sapphire on Earth.

The Hope Diamond

Whether you are a great admirer of gems or have a mild interest in rare jewels, you may have heard of the Hope Diamond. The brilliantly blue Hope Diamond has a long and interesting history, and it’s seen quite a bit in the last few of centuries.

It’s unclear when and where the diamond was found, and it’s even more unclear who first owned the gem. However, from written records, it’s suspected the Hope Diamond was mined in India in Andhra Pradesh. The first known owner was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who managed to get the gem sometime in the 1600s.

In Tavernier’s possession, the diamond was uncut and weighed around 115 carats, and when he brought it back to Paris, it was named the Tavernier Blue. The diamond was sold to King Louis XIV sometime around 1670, and the French king had the stone cut by the court jeweler. After it was cut, it weighed 67.125 carats, and it was renamed the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France.

The diamond was stolen from the royal family in 1792, and the whereabouts of the diamond was largely unknown for a couple of decades until it reappeared sometime in the early 1800s in the United Kingdom. During its disappearance, it had been recut, having been shaved down to 45.54 carats.

Historians suspect the stone was owned by King George IV shortly after it’s resurfacing, but the jewel was later lost sometime after 1830. It was then purchased by Thomas Hope and renamed the Hope Diamond in 1839.

The Hope family owned it for several decades until it was sold in 1901 to pay off debts. It then passed through several hands and developed a reputation for being bad luck with a trail of financial struggles and deaths behind it. It was eventually donated to the Smithsonian in 1958, where it is still happily on display.

 

These are only five examples, but there are many other famous stones throughout history and the world. And while you may not have something quite like the Hope Diamond or the Moussaieff Red in your collection, even small gems can be valuable.

If you have jewelry in your collection you’d like to sell, trust in Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. Our honest jewelry experts can take a look and give you a reasonable price for any piece.

5 Tips for Spotting an Excellent Blue Sapphire

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People across the globe are often mesmerized by the clear, sparkling beauty of a quality diamond. But when you want a little color, you may look towards the more colorful cousins of the diamond, such as the emerald or ruby.

One vivid gem is the blue sapphire, with its rich, eye-catching cobalt hue. It has a unique elegance, and the bold color can be a great alternative to diamonds.

When you’re purchasing anything with a blue sapphire, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality gem. However, you may not be sure how to spot a fine sapphire from a dud, and you may be worried you’ll be fooled by a more experienced jeweler.

Before you go hunting for a truly blue sapphire, take a look at the tips below. With a little education under your belt, you can avoid the occasional scam and score the perfect piece for your jewelry collection.

1. Examine the Hue

The best blue sapphires are truly blue, or “cornflower blue.” It doesn’t have any violet or green overtones. You’ll also want to take a look at the tone of the gem. If the color is too dark or almost black, the tone detracts from the value, and if the color is too light, it makes the gem look washed out. Generally, you want a blue sapphire that’s somewhere in the medium to medium-dark range.

In addition to the tone and color, you should take note of the color saturation, or the intensity of the color. When a blue sapphire has a high saturation, it’s rich in that coveted cobalt color, upping the value of the gem. But when the sapphire has a low saturation, or isn’t intensely colorful, the gem’s color looks a little weaker with a grayish hue.

Be careful when you look at the hue, tone, and saturation of a blue sapphire. Try to look at the stone in different levels of lighting. Some sellers can trick you with a little bit of well-placed illumination, giving the gem a lighter color than it really has.

2. Check for Blemishes

Most sapphires have to be treated to improve the clarity of the gem. Out of the sapphires pulled straight from the ground, only about 0.5% to 1% don’t need to be treated, making these gems extremely valuable. These sapphires have blemishes called “silk,” and because these small imperfections indicate that the gem wasn’t treated like most others are, they are perfectly acceptable in a sapphire.

But for gems that have been treated, these small imperfections have been eliminated, and you shouldn’t see any kind of obvious flaws in the sapphire. Imperfections can affect the clarity, therefore reducing the value of the stone. The seller is ethically bound to tell you if the gem is treated or not, so ask-if the gem is treated but still has flaws, the value shouldn’t be as high.

3. Avoid Stones with Windows

Windows are essentially areas in the stone that allow you to see clearly through the gem. For instance, if you had an oval cut and can see perfectly through the oval center of the gem, you’re looking at a window.
Avoid any sapphires with these, as they can negatively affect the value and look of the gem.

4. Look at the Cut

Blue sapphires are commonly cut in cushion, round, or oval shapes, but they can be cut in some of the more unique forms, such as heart or marquise. If you have a particular cut in mind and can’t seem to find it, you can get a stone custom cut and find the perfect setting for it.

But there’s more to a cut than shape. An experienced gem cutter will take the color into account and adjust the cut accordingly. With dark sapphires, they may make shallow cuts to allow more light reflection and improve the color and lighten the gem. For paler sapphires, gem cutters may make deeper cuts to darken the gem for a better hue.

5. Consider the Size

Just like any other gem, sapphires have more value when they’re bigger. When a decent-sized stone is combined with excellent clarity, cut, and color, it can be somewhat pricey.

Also, keep in mind that a one-carat sapphire is a bit smaller than a one-carat diamond. Sapphires are denser and heavier than diamonds, so expect sapphires to be smaller than you would expect a diamond to be for the same carat weight.

 

As you shop around for your next breathtaking piece of sapphire jewelry, use the tips above. Examine the gem closely to ensure you spot everything, but most importantly, find a sapphire you love for a price that works for you. Just make sure you aren’t being swindled out of your money for a low quality stone.

Also, don’t only rely on the popular jewelers at the mall. Try other dependable shops or jewelers, such as Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We specialize in jewelry, and we can help you find the perfect piece out of our wide selection. And if you’re looking to sell a piece of jewelry, we can handle that too.

Looking for New Jewelry? Learn About Your Birthstone

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Even if you don’t know what your birthstone is, you’ve probably heard of the concept before. Most people know that each month is associated with a different type of precious stone that supposedly reflects the wearer’s personality and brings him or her good luck throughout the year.

Of course, you don’t have to believe that birthstones bring health and luck to purchase one. Each month has a gorgeous stone that can add sparkle, pizzazz, and personality to your current jewelry collection.

If you want to find out more about your birthstone, keep reading. Once you’ve learned more about what sets your gemstone apart, visit our jewelry store to search for necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings that contain your favorite stone.

Where Did the Idea of Birthstones Originate?

Most scholars agree that the idea for birthstones originates from ancient Israel. Aaron, the brother of the biblical hero Moses, had a breastplate with 12 gems on it that signified the 12 original tribes of Israel. Each tribe had a uniquely colored stone associated with it.

Some theorize that the 12 biblical gemstones may have also corresponded to the phases of the moon, which is how the idea transferred from tribes or social groups to months.

Many cultures around the world associate different gems with people born at different times of the year. In Western society, there’s still some dispute about which gem should be associated with each month. In most ancient cultures, gems were often divided by color rather than by type, so while we think of September’s birthstone as a sapphire, ancient cultures might have simply used a lapis.

The American Gem Society keeps a list of all the recommended birthstones for each month. Below, we list the most popular stone for each month, but we’ll also tell you about alternative stones for months that have multiple stones associated with them.

January: Garnet

Most people think of garnets as red, but they actually come in a range of colors, from orange and yellow to deep green. Currently, garnets are sourced from Sri Lanka and various African countries, but they were used by ancient peoples, including ancient Egyptians, as far back as 3000 BCE. Garnets symbolize friendship and trust.

February: Amethyst

Amethyst is a type of violet quartz. It can range from shades of violet so deep they look almost red to pale lavender shades. The name “amethyst” originates from the Greek work for “sober,” so amethysts are believed to give the wearer a clear head.

March: Aquamarine

Aquamarine reflects all the colors of the sea, from a rich green-blue to a deeper cerulean. Greek and Roman sailors believed the stone could protect them from storms while they were away from home. Today’s wearers use aquamarine to symbolize serenity and calm.

April: Diamond

Diamonds might be one of the most commonly worn gemstones, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable or precious. They also come in more than just one color-look for precious, rare, colorful diamonds to give someone with an April birthday a unique gift. Diamonds symbolize endurance, love, and loyalty.

May: Emerald

Most emeralds come in shades of green-which is the perfect color for a spring birthday-but you can also find emeralds with a bluish hue. As a spring gemstone, emeralds symbolize fertility and prosperity.

June: Pearl

Pearl is a unique birthstone, since it’s formed from underwater creatures instead of from the earth itself. Celebrate your individuality by choosing pearl jewelry to celebrate your June birthday. If you’d rather have a gemstone, June birthdays can also choose from alexandrite and moonstone.

July: Ruby

Most people think rubies are always dark red in color, but they can actually appear pale pink as well. Along with diamonds and emeralds, rubies are some of the most highly valued gemstones. Their rich color symbolizes bravery, passion, and luck.

August: Peridot

Peridot is another green stone, but unlike the other green stones described here, it only come in one shade: bright green. And unlike many of the other birthstones, it’s sourced from the United States-Arizona, to be specific. Peridot is associated with healing, confidence, and power.

September: Sapphire

After diamonds, sapphires are some of the hardest, most durable stones. They also come in a wide range of colors-in fact, any non-red type of corundum is considered a sapphire (and any type of red corundum is considered a ruby). Many ancient cultures believed that cerulean blue sapphires would protect the wearer from harm.

October: Opal

Opals are some of the most beautiful gemstones on the planet. The way the colors play against the stone’s background determines how many colors the stone reflects and how vivid those colors are. Each opal is as unique as the individual who wears it.

November: Topaz

Topaz comes in an assortment of colors, but one of the most popular is a pale, fiery yellow, gold, or orange. These fiery topazes symbolized the sun’s power for the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it currently symbolizes clarity and strength. Those with November birthdays can also wear citrine, a deeper orange stone.

December: Turquoise

Turquoise is an opaque blue stone with one of the oldest, richest histories of any gem. Multiple cultures have used it widely for thousands and thousands of years. Like sapphire, turquoise is believed to keep its wearers safe.

Visit Us to Find Your Favorite Gemstone

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for the perfect present for a loved one’s birthday, visit Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We have jewelry that ranges from vintage, antique necklaces to unique wedding rings, so come to us the next time you want to add some variety or significance to your jewelry collection.

3 Fascinating Facts About Opals

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Australia is a country of extremes-extreme heat in the vast Outback, incredibly deadly snakes and spiders, and uniquely bizarre animals not found anywhere else on earth. Luckily for jewelry-wearers everywhere, Australia’s singular conditions make it home to one of the most unique and most sought-after gems in the entire world: the opal.

90% of the world’s opals come from Australia, but the country only exports certain types of opals. Unless you’ve been to Australia and come back with jewelry as a souvenir, you probably haven’t seen the diverse range of colors and shapes this gemstone comes in.

At Sol’s Jewelry and Loan, we have a wide range of jewelry that our customers bring to us. If you’re interested in unique jewelry, swing by to see what we have for you. In the meantime, read through this blog to learn more about opals.

1. There Are Many Types of Opals

When you think of an opal, you probably picture a pearlescent, shimmery stone that reflects all the colors of the rainbow. This type of opal is called a “precious opal,” and the way the stone broadcasts the entire rainbow spectrum is called “play of color.” Common opals don’t exhibit play of color-instead, they have one basic color. They look nice, but they’re not as interesting or sought-after as precious opals.

Although most Americans picture light, creamy, or milky opals that contain flecks of rainbow colors, opals actually come in varying shades that range from light to dark. Some of the most common types of opals include the following.

Dark/Black Opals

These opals have a much darker background (or “body color”) than the whiter opals Americans are used to seeing. Instead, the body color looks black or navy and reflects a deeper rainbow palette, including dark blues and forest greens.

Most black opals are mined from a few sites near the city of Lightning Ridge in New South Wales,
Australia. Because they come from such a specific spot, black opals are the rarest type of opal. Black opals with red flecks are the rarest type of black opal.

Light/White Opals

These opals look more translucent than dark or black opals do. They’re also much more common than black opals. The name “white opal” can be misleading-light opals can have a body color as dark as light gray.

Matrix Opals

A matrix opal is an opal that fills in the cracks in a host stone like ironstone. This type of opal occurs most frequently in Queensland, Australia, and it rarely forms anywhere else in the world.

Boulder Opals

These unique opals bond to their host stones. Usually, a thin layer of opal forms across the rock, which is usually ironstone-though in one unique area in South Australia, quartzite is the host rock rather than ironstone. All opals might seem to show every color of the rainbow, but boulder opals are actually the only ones that can show the entire spectrum, from red to indigo and violet.

Most Americans are used to light or white opals rather than dark/black or boulder opals. If you encounter another type of opal, count yourself lucky! They can be hard to find outside Australia.

2. Opals Do Come From a Few Other Countries (Including the US)

Again, at least 90% of all the opals in the world are sourced from Australia-the number could actually be as high as 95%. However, you can also find opals from countries as diverse as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Turkey, Hungary, Indonesia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Guatemala.

There are even a few cities in the United States that mine opal. In Humboldt County in Nevada, miners have found black and white opals alike. Spencer, Idaho also hosts an opal mine, and visitors can dig for their own opals at a “mini-mine” where miners place opals from the larger mine for adults and kids to dig up.

3. There Are Several Conflicting Superstitions About Opals

Unlike certain gems or precious metals that have always been considered lucky (for instance, gold or gold coins), opal’s reputation has run the gamut between incredibly lucky and incredibly unlucky. In the Middle
Ages, for example, some people considered opals lucky and thought they might have healing powers.

On the other hand, others during the same time period considered opals unlucky (or even evil) because their luminescence made them look similar to cats’ eyes or toads’ eyes, which were associated with witches and the evil eye.

In 1829, Sir Walter Scott published the book “Anne of Geierstein,” where one of the characters wears a piece of opal jewelry that supposedly contained an evil spell. When a little holy water came in contact with the dastardly jewelry, the spell is broken.

After the novel’s publication, sales of opals in Europe dropped exponentially and opals were known as extremely unlucky, even though Queen Victoria is said to have loved them.

Of course, opals aren’t actually unlucky-but they are gorgeous, unique, and extremely versatile. You can find them in gold and silver jewelry alike and in both men’s and women’s wedding rings. They appear in necklaces, rings, earrings, and metallic headbands. Every single opal is unique; they all reflect a different pattern of colors, which means that your opal jewelry is one of a kind.

Visit Our Jewelry Store

At Sol’s Jewelry and Loan, we both sell and accept jewelry. Stores like ours are perfect places to find unique jewelry options-people bring us everything from family jewelry and heirlooms to more recent and exotic purchases. If you’re looking for opal jewelry or any other type of stone, swing by our location today!  

4 Must-Have Jewelry Essentials for Every Occasion

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Your life consists of one special occasion after another: birthday parties, work dinners, black-tie dances, date nights, weddings, graduations, concerts, and funerals. The many events you regularly attend seem to string together, one after another, like beads on a bracelet.

Each of these affairs, ceremonies, and celebrations requires a different look, from formal to informal. How you accessorize that look could impress, inspire, attract, or intrigue those around you, and achieving the right balance of casual and classy takes a little finesse and a lot of planning.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pair each outfit you wear with a specific bracelet, pendant, or ring. When you stock your jewelry box with these timeless staples, you can mix and match your accessories to achieve the perfect look for every occasion.

1. Menswear-Inspired Watch

You likely carry your smartphone with you wherever you go, so you no longer need to ask others for the time. However, a menswear-inspired watch does more than simply let you know when you’re running late or when happy hour has begun.

A classic, large-faced watch adds sparkle to your wrist while grounding your otherwise dainty gear. A bold timepiece oozes confidence, and it lets others know that you can look polished and professional no matter what you happen to wear. But if you prefer a little more eye candy, feel free to layer your watch with a few choice bracelets and bangles.

2. Diamond Stud Earrings

Ready to turn heads whenever you turn your head? Then slide in a new pair of diamond stud earrings. These are the most popular kind of earrings for a reason: they look classy and understated while adding just the right amount of glamour and charm.

Diamond stud earrings are some of the most versatile pieces of jewelry you’ll ever keep in your jewelry box. They look fantastic with almost every outfit, as their dew-drop clear color allows them to match your current style, no matter if you plan to attend a wedding or run to a last-minute business meeting. And with their screw-on backs, you don’t have to worry about your lovely gems falling off at a dance or concert.

Keep in mind that simplicity is key when wearing diamonds. If you want your earrings to truly shine and attract attention, tone down the rest of your jewelry and only pair your earrings with one or two basic rings or bracelets.

3. String of Pearls

Pearls have a long history as a symbol of wealth and status. But despite their age, pearls never cease to make a fashion statement.

Year after year, pearls continue to grace the necks of celebrities, actors, royals, and models alike. Some of history’s most iconic women have wowed the world with their simple, yet elegant, strings of pearls, from Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to Princess Diana and Kate Middleton.

While many people view pearls as part of the vintage look, you can still keep your style fresh and new when you wear pearl necklaces. If you want to wear fun and flirty off-the-shoulder or spaghetti-strap tops, consider pearl collars and chokers. For more formal events, an extended pearl rope or layered pearl strands will draw the eye upward to your face.

4. Sentimental Pieces

Your jewelry says a lot about you. Large hoop earrings and thick dangling necklaces could hint that you’re an active, social, or bubbly person. Bangle bracelets paired with shell necklaces will let others know you love nature and can’t wait to explore the outdoors.

Shouldn’t you have a lot to say about your jewelry as well?

When you pick your pieces, consider wearing a necklace, bracelet, ring, or earring with a story. Perhaps your grandmother gave you her wedding ring, or you found a stunning turquoise pendant in a gas station while on a road trip. Maybe your father bought you a locket with your mother’s picture inside.

The right piece of jewelry can do more than complete your outfit; it can serve as a conversation starter as well. So feel free to wear something that you’ll always love to talk about.

Need to Expand Your Collection?

These four staple accessories will look great during any occasion. However, you may need to do some shopping before you find the perfect watch, earrings, necklace, or bracelet for you.

As you look for your next pieces of jewelry, don’t leave any stone unturned. Browse your local pawn shop for a unique selection of must-have gems and jewels. 

Looking for a Used Vehicle? Check Out Your Local Pawn Shop

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When you need to buy a used vehicle, you might have a list of places to look first. You could go to a used car outlet or dealership in hopes of finding a sale. Or you might browse your local newspaper listings to see if any of your neighbors are giving up their family jalopy.

But before you stop by either location, visit your nearest pawn shop.

Pawn shops have the intimacy of a private seller and the reliability of a dealership. When you come to a pawn shop for your next vehicle, you can often find a variety of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles to fit your needs.

Still hesitant to make a purchase? Here are a few more benefits to car shopping from a pawn shop.

1. You Can Use Personal Items to Cushion the Purchase

Used cars and trucks can be expensive, especially if the vehicle is only a few years old or has extra features installed. Even though you won’t have to pay retail price, you might not have the immediate funds to afford a used car.

If you were to buy a used car from a dealership, the company may help you finance your vehicle. If you were to buy from a private seller, you could potentially finance through your bank. In either case, you’d need good credit to complete the purchase.

However, at a pawn shop, you can cash in your personal items to help buy your vehicle. Any electronics, jewelry, home improvement tools, and musical instruments could give you the extra cash needed to buy your car. And if you still don’t have enough, many pawn shops allow you to take out a collateral loan. No credit necessary.

2. You Can Skip the Pressure From the Sales Team

Many sales teams depend on commissions to fill in the gaps in their income. As a result, the staff at some used car dealerships will try to make as many sales as they can, as fast as they can. To encourage you to buy, sales professionals may use pressuring tactics such as “another buyer wants this car” or “we’re already losing money on this deal.”

In contrast, pawn shop employees have a consistent wage, and good store managers understand that some items take longer to sell than others.

When you step into a pawn shop, you won’t have to worry about aggressive sales tactics or judgment based on your credit history. Instead, you can enjoy assistance from a helpful, knowledgeable team willing to work with your needs and budget.

3. You Can Learn More About Your Vehicle’s History

Large used car dealerships often buy and sell hundreds, or even thousands, of cars per year. Consequently, they might not have time to understand the ins and outs of each vehicle. When you buy from a dealer, you may ask for a CARFAX or AutoCheck report to pull up a few details on your vehicle, but you might not fully understand your vehicle’s condition or quirks.

A private seller may be able to give you a history of his or her vehicle if the seller bought it directly from the lot. But if he or she bought the car from another friend or family member, or if the seller neglected to document any repairs, you might not receive any more information from a private seller than a dealership.

At a pawn shop, however, owners recognize that their reputation depends on providing quality products at competitive prices. When managers buy a used vehicle, they have to gauge that vehicle’s price based on the car’s history, usage, condition, and current market value. If they don’t have all the details, they’ll ultimately lose money on their investment and lose future customers. Many pawn shop owners will fully inspect a vehicle before agreeing to the purchase.

Consequently, when you buy a car from a pawn owner, you can feel confident that the vehicle will be in good shape for the price. And if you have any questions about the car, you can easily ask for more information.

Check Out Your Local Pawn Shop for Your Next Vehicle

Pawn shops present countless opportunities to find great deals on tools, electronics, and antiques-why not look there for your next car or camper as well? Stop by your pawn shop to see what it has to offer. 

Pawning vs. Selling: Which Is for Me?

Written by sol-jewel on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve seen the television shows. A guy walks into a pawn shop with a ring he inherited from his grandmother. A pawnbroker takes the ring in exchange for a handful of cash. End scene.

So, did the guy sell or pawn his ring, and what’s the difference? If you’re unfamiliar with the pawn shop industry, you may be confused by the services a pawnbroker offers. This blog will explain what it means to pawn an item for a loan and sell an item for cash.

What Is Pawning?

When you pawn an item, you’re essentially taking out a collateral loan. You use an item of value as collateral to borrow money. When you repay the money-plus interest and fees-you get the item back.

At a pawn shop, you initiate a collateral loan by meeting with a pawnbroker to appraise your item. The pawnbroker will offer you a loan amount based on a percentage of your item’s estimated value.

If you accept the loan, you “lend” your item at the shop in exchange for cash and a pawn ticket. You’ll use the pawn ticket to reclaim your item, following repayment. In the event you can’t repay the loan, you permanently surrender your item. The pawnbroker sells the item to recoup the cost of the loan.

What Is Selling?

Selling an item is exactly what it sounds like: exchanging an item in return for money. The process is similar to pawning an item. You’ll bring your belongings to the pawn shop for appraisal. A pawnbroker will offer you an amount of money based on the estimated value of your items. If you accept the offer, you exchange your items for the agreed-upon price, and the transaction is complete.

The difference between pawning and selling is that when you sell an item, you no longer have claim to it. Items become property of the pawn shop once you accept the money. The only way you can retrieve your items is by repurchasing them from the pawn shop-likely at a higher price.

On the other hand, you don’t have to repay the money. You are not accountable to the pawnbroker once you surrender your items.

Which Option Is Better?

Having trouble trying to decide which option is for you? Before you pawn or sell any of your belongings, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Will I want this item back?
  2. How much money do I need?

Selling is a good option for unwanted items you can easily live without. Selling provides the opportunity to make some fast cash without obligation. In this one-time venture, you have no further responsibility to the pawnbroker.

But, what if your item has sentimental value? Is it a family heirloom? Is there any chance you’ll want or need it back in the future? If so, pawn it. You’ll get the cash you need while maintaining ownership of your item.

Additionally, if you’re seeking maximum cash, you usually receive a larger amount when you pawn an item. Pawning presents less of a risk to brokers. Unless you don’t repay your loan, a broker doesn’t have to worry about resale value.

You can even re-use high-value items-like jewelry or precious metals-as collateral for subsequent loans.
Since these items tend to appreciate over time, you may even get a higher amount in the future.

However, there may be some high-value items you can’t re-pawn. Because technology is rapidly updating, electronics tend to depreciate in value. Therefore, gaming consoles and televisions may be better suited for sale.

Since pawn shops accept different items and offer different incentives, it’s okay to shop around. While one broker may offer you $50 for that rare coin, a broker up the street may offer $75. Whether you’re pawning or selling an item, check with each pawn shop to confirm eligible items, loan rates, and applicable fees.

5 Ways to Care for Your Jewelry

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Fine jewelry is designed to last for generations. However, jewelry owners must properly care for their jewelry to ensure lasting quality. When you practice proper care for your jewels, you will increase your chances of enjoying their beauty and elegance for many years.

Here are a few things you can do to care for your jewelry.

1. Remove Your Jewelry Before Participating in Hands-on Activities

Jewelry owners should avoid wearing fine jewelry during hands-on activities, such as gardening, cleaning, or playing sports. These activities could dislodge a precious gem or cause metals to wear down. Additionally, you should remove jewelry before playing contact sports to avoid injuring yourself or others. Jewelry owners should also refrain from wearing their jewelry to bed.

2. Avoid Exposing Your Jewelry to Extreme Light and Heat

Similar to how the sun can damage a person’s skin, the sun can also damage metals and gemstones. Sunlight often causes gemstone color to fade. Gemstones that are particularly at risk for sun damage include kunzite, amethyst, and topaz.

If your jewelry has ivory pearls, you should also avoid extreme light as the impact could bleach the delicate material. On the other hand, some materials could darken from extreme exposure to light, such as amber gems.

Exposure to sudden temperature changes or extreme heat may also fracture some gemstones. Extreme heat removes the moisture that most gems need to keep their natural beauty. For instance, pearls may dry out, discolor, or crack when exposed to extreme heat. When opals lose moisture, they typically turn brown or white, lose play-of-color, or develop small cracks.

3. Keep Your Jewelry Away From Any Chemicals

Never wear your fine jewelry when handling cleaning products or chemicals. Exposure to certain chemicals may discolor the precious metals such as platinum, silver, or gold. Avoid exposing your jewelry to cleaning products that contain ammonia. Typically, this chemical is too harsh on precious metals and gems.

Even common beauty products contain chemicals that could harm your jewelry, such as lotion, perfume, makeup, or hairspray. Do your best to apply any beauty products before putting on your fine jewelry.

You should also try to remove jewelry before going into swimming pools with chlorine. Chlorine may discolor the gems or cause structural damage to the metals in your jewelry.

4. Store Your Jewelry in a Safe Location

Many jewelry owners are not careful about where they store their jewelry. For example, if you store your jewelry in a drawer, you risk losing gems or scratching the metal.

Instead, store your jewelry away from other accessories in a tarnish-resistant pouch or Mylar plastic bag. Never use trash bags made of polyvinyl to store jewelry. Polyvinyl liners typically contain rubber or sulfur compounds that tarnish sterling silver. You should also avoid storing jewelry in direct sunlight and in the bathroom.  

A better alternative is to store jewelry in the box or pouch that you received when you first purchased the piece. Additionally, jewelry boxes that have separated compartments are also a good place to store fine jewelry. If possible, hang bracelets and necklaces to prevent them from tangling with other accessories.

If you plan to travel, pack your jewelry in a container separate from other luggage. Ideally, you should pack your jewelry in a padded container to prevent scratches during travel.

5. Take Your Jewelry In for Regular Checkups and Cleanings

As a rule of thumb, you should visit your jeweler for a checkup once every year. At this checkup, jewelers can repair any damage and prevent any potential damage to your jewelry. You should also try to get your jewelry cleaned at least twice a year.

Use these tips to prevent damages to your fine jewelry. If you exercise proper care and maintenance, you can keep your jewelry in excellent condition for years to come. For more tips on caring for your jewelry, talk to a jeweler at your local pawn shop.

Factors That Determine a Gemstone’s Worth

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If you own a piece of jewelry that contains a colored gemstone in it, you likely wonder how much the stone itself is worth. You may even wonder what factors jewelers, gemologists, and pawn shop dealers use to determine a stone’s value.

Whether you inherited an heirloom ruby ring from your great-grandmother or you purchased a new pair of sapphire earrings, the factors that determine the gem’s value remain the same. Below, we discuss some of those factors so you understand what affects your stone’s price and worth.

The Four C’s

You’re likely familiar with the four c’s that gemstones display: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Let’s take a closer look at these four features.

Cut

When miners excavate gemstones, the stones themselves appear rough and coarse. They aren’t perfectly round or square—that shape comes from cutters who trim and cut the raw stone into a specific shape.

The way the stone is cut greatly affects its value. If it isn’t cut properly, the stone looks imperfect and less desirable, and the stone’s value drops as a result.

Clarity

Anyone who wants to purchase a precious or semi-precious gemstone looks for a stone that is free of blemishes. Any imperfections make the stone more difficult to cut, and they also make the stone less desirable. After all, many people purchase gemstones for their purity and brilliance.

When you have an expert examine your gemstone, he or she will look for imperfections that impede clarity. For example, if a blemish causes the stone to look murky in one area, the stone won’t be worth as much on the market.

Color

Gemstones reflect light within them to produce an array of colors. Sometimes, mineral deposits or other items affect the stone’s overall color. While ideal diamonds should be colorless, colored stones should display rich, deep colors to maintain intrinsic value. So the more intense the color of the stone, the higher its value.

Carat Weight

As with most things in life, the bigger a stone is, the more money it’s worth. But the stone’s weight alone doesn’t determine its value. Experts look for large stones that have rich colors, are cut precisely and cleanly, and have optimum clarity. These types of stones are rare, so a one-carat ruby that displays these features is worth significantly more than other gemstones.

The Stone’s Enhancements

When a stone is processed and treated, it is cut and polished to improve its overall look. But the enhancements refer to any other treatments used to further improve the stone’s look and value.

For example, blue topaz stones don’t exist in nature. Gem experts allow the stone to undergo high-tech irradiation to give it the iconic crystal-blue hue. This process is an enhancement used to further improve the stone’s appearance.

The type of additional treatment can greatly affect the stone’s value. Typically, however, enhanced stones are worth less than those that only underwent cutting and polishing.

The Stone’s Class

Precious stones include rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Semi-precious stones include every other type of gemstone on the market. While gem experts don’t rely on preciousness to determine a stone’s value, they do classify stones into two categories: diamonds and colored stones.

The stone’s class plays a small role in determining its value. Ultimately, gemologists look to a stone’s overall quality to discover its worth.

The Stone’s Supply and Demand

Finally, the market supply and demand greatly affect how much a stone is worth. The rarer a stone is and the more people want it, the higher its value. For example, tanzanite is becoming rarer each year. Since people still covet the stone, its worth has increased significantly to accommodate the diminishing supply.

 

As you consider your gemstone’s value, keep the above factors in mind. If you decide that you want to sell your old, unworn jewelry, visit your local pawn shop. The staff there can inspect the gemstones in each piece and determine its value.

Additionally, these dealers will often give you better upfront pricing on your valuable items. Stop by your local pawn shop and discover just how much that old ring or necklace is worth.

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Omaha, NE 68137
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