Dec 292010
 

blog-ringI have always considered myself extremely fortunate that I have an opportunity in my work to see things that have perhaps never had a pair of human eyes clapped on them before.

In the course of examining gemstone inclusions I see many truly wonderous things and every now and then, I find something that tickles me.  Recently, I was suitably tickled!

This orange sapphire came in for valuation and under microscopic examination something truly beautiful and very amusing was revealed. Continue reading »

Dec 222010
 

Admin: Antoinette Matlins is a Guest Author for the AIJV.
Here, Antoinette warns of the dangers surrounding the new “composite ruby” and reflects on the trade’s responsibilities to educate.

Rubies remain one of the most popular of all the precious gems, and following the recent publicity surrounding Jessica Simpson’s ruby and diamond engagement ring, are likely to become even more so.

A few years ago this would have been good news to the jewelry trade, but today it may spell disaster for many retailers, designers, buyers and sellers of estate jewelry, and bench jewelers when serious and irreparable damage occurs to a “ruby” in the course of normal wear or, worse yet, when being mounted, re-mounted, re-sized, and so on. Shock sets in when a ruby becomes a molten glob on the workbench, or when its appearance is horribly marred by acid etching from top to bottom, around the entire stone. And some appraisers are making matters worse. Continue reading »

Dec 162010
 

Probably the most frequently occurring questions I am asked are those relating to the insurance of jewellery and why good valuation documentation is so important.

So here is some advice for you that I hope will help to ensure full protection of your most precious items.

Note – some of the amounts, definitions and terms relate to the New Zealand insurance environment and may not apply in other countries.

The Insurance Valuation

The most fundamental of all questions posed by clients are the ones asking why they should have their jewellery documented and valued in the first place. Continue reading »

Dec 122010
 

Dyed Chinese freshwater pearls sold as Tahitian pearls on eBay

Admin: Renee Newman is a Guest Author for the AIJV.
Here, Renee warns of the perils of following through with a deal that looks too good to be true.

Last January, a jewelry designer sent me an e-mail asking if the pearl market had crashed. She said she was searching on eBay for “black pearl” and the auctions came up with black pearls at ridiculous prices; costume jewelry cost more than the winning bids on these supposedly “Tahitian” pearls being sold out of China.  On pure impulse, she bought a “genuine Tahitian” black pearl necklace (see photo) when there was one minute left, and got it for $24.99, including priority shipping from Shanghai. Continue reading »

Dec 062010
 

As a valuer and an unapologetic watch ‘nut’ I often despair when people say they can’t see the logic of owning and collecting fine timepieces because they ‘only tell the time’. My stock answer usually is that if that was true of all things then everyone would drive Nissan Micras because the only function of an automobile is to get you from A to B!

But I digress (as I often do). In order to illustrate how important watch and clockmaking is I thought I’d share with you all the story of John Harrison and his marine chronometers. This mans ability to produce a compact and accurate timepiece is probably responsible for saving thousands of sailors lives and allowed Britain to become the formost sea power in the world. Continue reading »

Dec 032010
 

The unique diamond set in the engagement ring

As an independent jewellery valuer I have the pleasure of appraising beautiful jewellery every day, and I meet some very interesting people along the way.  None more so than a gentleman by the name of John Alderson, who had a very special diamond ring for me to value recently. You see, the diamond was no ordinary diamond; this round diamond was cut in a way I had never seen before. When I mentioned this to John I noticed a little twinkle in his eye, ‘that’s because I designed the cut and cut it myself’ he said. Now my ears pricked, how fabulous, a unique experience for me, how many people can say that they designed and cut a diamond all by themselves? Not many for sure! So we embarked on a trip down memory lane, John remembered everything like it was yesterday. Continue reading »