Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peridot: August Birthstone Jewelry

August is almost over, but if you forgot someone's birthday or are in need of a Christmas present idea, think... Peridot! This lime-green, almost yellow green, gemstone offers quite a striking color. Handiwork has the following finished peridot jewelry available for sale. With nearly all of these designs, we are also able to customize the piece with your preferred color and gemstone!

These natural, round cut peridot stud earrings are mounted in 14K yellow gold.
Cost: $39

This natural, oval cut peridot has a total of 0.20 Carats in round cut diamonds mounted in the 14K yellow gold band.
Cost: $195

This natural, emerald cut peridot weighs has a total of 0.33 Carats in round cut diamonds mounted in 14K yellow gold.
Cost: $385

This natural, oval cut peridot has a total of 0.35 Carats in round cut diamonds mounted in 14K yellow gold.
Cost: $385

This natural, pear cut peridot weight 1.56 Carats. A total of 0.75 Carats in round cut diamonds are channel set mounted in platinum and 18K yellow gold.
Cost: $1250

This natural, oval cut London blue topaz has a total of 0.33 Carats in round cut and baguette diamonds mounted in 14K yellow gold. I have included this ring because it is also available with an oval peridot.
Cost: $335

This natural, round cut peridot is mounted in a simple, 4 prong 14K white gold mounting.
Cost: $75

This natural, princess cut peridot is mounted in a simple, 4 prong 14K white gold mounting. The princess cut is set in a unique, diamond shape.
Cost: $75

This natural, oval cut peridot is mounted in a simple, 4 prong 14K yellow gold mounting.
Cost: $75

Replace a Watch Battery

At Handiwork Jewelry, replacing a battery costs $6 and takes 5 to 10 minutes. Some people, however, may be more adventurous and want to learn how to do this at home. If you feel like you are going to damage the watch, however, it is best to simply take it to your local jeweler. Cheap or non-sentimental watches would be okay to experiment on. While we mostly take a look at the front of a watch, the real action starts at the back of the watch.

Let's start with this lady's, stainless steel Fossil watch.

First, place the watch on a soft towel so the crystal does not scratch.
When we look at the back of this watch, we see there is a small lip.
Second, if you are at home, take a thin, blunt edge to the lip and with some pressure, lift the case back off. Jewelers usually use a case knife, which is made for this purpose. You will hear a small "pop" as the case back releases.

Once the case back is off, you will see where the small round battery is located. This particular lady's watch has two batteries. Each battery is held in place by a small lever. Sometimes a small spring keeps the battery in place.

After pushing the lever aside, you can easily remove the watch battery with your fingers or a small tweezer. Once the battery is removed, look for rust or dirt as other possible causes of the watch stopping. Rust is a sure sign that water is the culprit. You will probably need to visit a watchmaker or contact the watch company to replace the entire watch movement.

Once you remove the battery, you will see a three digit number or a a seven digit alphanumeric code. In this case, the battery number is 319 (or SR527SW) and it was made by Energizer. You will also notice a positive (+) sign on the battery. This (+) side should be visible once the battery is replaced.

You can buy batteries from Walgreens, RadioShack, or even online. They usually are sold in packs of five and are quite economical if you can get the case back off.

The last step - replacing the case back - is usually the easiest, but it can also pose some difficulties. If you are having problems pressing the case back onto the watch, try laying the watch face down on a soft towel on a hard surface and pressing with your thumbs till you hear it "snap" into place. If you are truly in a conundrum, take it to your local jeweler where he or she can use a device that clamps the case back into place.

Other watches have different case backs. Some have a small depression, while others have an arrow on the case back showing where to start. Other case backs have small screws at each corner. You will need miniature screwdrivers, similar to the ones used for repairing eyeglasses. Some watches, like a Swiss Army watch, have a more complicated watch case back. You may need a tool that fits into 3 of the 5 notches, like the one pictured here:
You will need to rotate counter-clockwise to screw the case off.
If you want to try this at home with other tools, take a look here.

If your watch doesn't fit in the above category, you may have an automatic watch that does not need a battery! Authentic Rolex watches and Seiko Kinetic watches, for example, will continue running as long as they are worn. After two or three days of no motion, however, they will stop ticking and need to be re-set.

After taking the case back off, you may notice a thin strip of black rubber, also known as a gasket. This is used to prevent water from entering the watch. When you take off the case back, be careful to not break the gasket so it will remain water resistant when you place the case back.

Please feel free to offer suggestions or pose other questions you may have! If you have replaced a watch battery at home by yourself, it would be great to hear your thoughts on how easy or difficult it was for you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Choosing an Engagement Ring

Whether you are a jewelry person or not, most people (especially gentlemen) will make at least one purchase from a jewelry store in their lifetime. You guessed it, the engagement ring. Sometimes people refer to it as a bridal set, wedding ring, or proposal ring. Whatever the name, it's the ring with a center diamond (usually) and accompanied by a kneeling man (usually). It is also, often times, the first jewelry purchase the gentleman has ever made.

There are 5 questions one should be able to answer:

1. What metal does she usually wear?
yellow gold, white gold or platinum, rose or pink gold

two-tone or tri-color

2. Which diamond shape or cut does she like best?

3. How would you describe her style?

simple and traditional

antique or vintage



4. What size is her wedding finger (left ring finger next to the pinky finger)?
Blue Nile, a leading online retailer of jewelry, offers this useful ring measurement guide. Besides asking her directly or taking her to a jewelry store, you can do the following:

a. Ask her mom, sister, or best friend. The "surprise" effect, however, might be lost if the ladies talk so mum is the word.

b. Steal or borrow one of her rings, preferably one worn on the left ring finger, next to the pinky. You can take it to a local jeweler for sizing or you can use the ring measurement guide above.

c. If she is a heavy sleeper, you can take a piece of string and measure her left ring finger, and convert according to this guide.

d. If you completely do not know, it is best to get a standard size 6.

Rings with a wide band (5mm or larger) require 1/4 or 1/2 size larger than a thinner band (around 3mm). Another important consideration? Some people have hands that swell more than others depending on temperature or sodium intake. Be sure to measure hands at room temperature because fingers will swell in the summer heat and shrink in the winter or A/C cold.

5. How much do you want to spend?
Ah, so this is what it comes down to... In all honesty, it is best to have a budget because with emotional purchases, those strings can get tugged, especially if you have a very persuasive salesperson. Having a final figure in mind also helps you shop accordingly because $1,000 and $10,000 opens up different doors. The truth is that all doors have beautiful rings behind them. A good salesperson should be understanding, and if he or she pushes you too much, you should be comfortable telling them you would like to stay within your budget. If the jewelry store is willing to negotiate, a budget will also help with bargaining.

People often ask me what is the average amount. I would say most customers spend somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000. DeBeers recommends a figure equivalent to a three month salary. While a diamond is definitely an investment and can always be passed on to your children or grandchildren, the realities of a first home mortgage, wedding expenses, a honeymoon, etc will help you decide on the appropriate budget.

Any questions or thoughts would be wonderful!