Questions

  1. How can you be price competitive with diamond wholesalers?
  2. What’s the difference between a GIA diamond certificate and an EGL diamond certificate?
  3. How often should I clean my jewelry?
  4. Why should jewelry be appraised?
  5. What product should I use to clean my jewelry?
  6. What are the birthstones for each month and do people really buy jewelry featuring their birthstone?
  7. Why is your gallery only open by appointment?
  8. Why would I want 18 karat gold? Isn’t it too soft?
  9. Is platinum harder than gold?
  10. What does “ideal cut” mean?

Answers

Q: How can you be price competitive with diamond wholesalers?

A: There are two ways to answer the question. First, if they are selling to consumers by FTC definition they are retailers. Often companies will say they import from the source or wholesale to the public, but in reality, the very complex diamond distribution network and the law ensures that retailers sell to the public and wholesalers sell to retailers, and there isn’t any cross-over. Second, in terms of price competitiveness, we all have businesses to run and required margins to support those businesses. As a consumer, you should consider more than just the veneer of the business. What is a company’s perceived overhead? Do you have rapport and trust developed in this important transaction? Is the company established and reputable?

Q: What is the difference between a GIA diamond certificate and an EGL diamond certificate?

A: The Gemological Institute of America or GIA is the gold standard for the diamond industry. Gemstones are graded by a panel of 3 graduate gemologists against a set of master diamond stones to determine color, and are graded by the panel for clarity as well. Science plays a role in the precise measurement and weighing of a diamond to establish a plot, which is rendered in the form of a detailed certificate. EGL and other agencies that evaluate diamonds operate on a for profit basis, which sometimes begs the question, “Can they be impartial when grading a retailers diamond?” Austin & Elkins only presents GIA graded diamonds.

Q: How often should I clean my jewelry?

A: The answer varies based on the type of jewelry. While we recommend cleaning your pieces such as engagement rings and gemstone earrings frequently, these items should also be checked by a professional twice each year to ensure the security of the gemstones. Contact us to make an appointment for our complimentary evaluation and cleaning.

Q: Why should jewelry be appraised?

A: We strongly believe that you should have all of your valuable jewelry appraised. Each insurance company and policy will have different recommendations for their clients on the threshold of value for which a piece should be appraised. Another reason for an appraisal is to take detailed information about a piece that would allow us to recreate that piece or identify it should it be lost or stolen. So don’t think of an appraisal simply as an insurance document, also think of it as a record of your personal treasure.

Q: What product should I use to clean my jewelry?

A: You might not believe this, but we recommend a 3 to 1 ratio of tap-water to Mr. Clean. Use a soft child-size toothbrush and get brushing. Of course if you are cleaning anywhere near your sink, always keep the sink plugged. Rinse with cold water and you will be amazed by the difference.

Caution: Do not use this mixture for organic stones, pearls or any materials that you believe are dyed or enameled.

Q: What are the birthstones for each month and do people really buy jewelry featuring their birthstone?

A: The chart below shows the corresponding birthstone for each month. Sure, some people purchase jewelry featuring their birthstone. And some parents will collect their own pieces of jewelry representing each of their children’s birth months. It just depends, and certainly not everyone is expected to love or even like his or her own birthstone.

January = Garnet
February = Amethyst
March = Aquamarine or Bloodstone
April = Diamond
May = Emerald
June = Alexandrite, Pearl or Moonstone
July = Ruby
August = Peridot
September = Sapphire
October = Opal or pink Tourmaline
November = Topaz or Citrine
December = Turquoise or Zircon

Q: Why is your gallery only open by appointment?

A: As a personal and private jeweler we feel this is the best way to offer you the most focused and attentive service. During the holidays we extend our hours for your convenience, and we try to keep our appointment books as flexible as possible.

Q: Why would I want 18 karat gold? Isn’t it too soft?

A: Actually 18 karat gold, because it has a higher gold content, is more valuable and also more forgiving. So when you ding, scratch and dent your jewelry as everyone does, 18 karat often shows these beauty marks more favorably than 14 karat. We also simply prefer the warmth and elegance of 18 karat’s luster.

Q: Is platinum harder than gold?

A: Yes, platinum is the hardest metal typically used in jewelry making. And it takes a special type of metalsmith to work with platinum because of its very high heating point and hardness. Great features of platinum for the consumer are not only its toughness, but it is a non-reactive metal meaning it will not tarnish upon contact with chemicals or body oils or most other substances.

Q: What does "ideal cut" mean?

A: The term ideal cut has become cliché in the diamond industry. However, at Austin & Elkins we support and adhere to grading standards published by the American Gemological Society and the Gemological Institute of America. While you will hear "ideal cut" frequently in conversations, it does mean different things to different jewelers. To Austin & Elkins it means that the diamond is cut with the highest degree of precision ensuring that light entering the diamond reflects internally from facet to facet and is reflected back only through the top. This creates the diamond's brilliance. If a diamond is not cut to ideal proportions, light entering from the top will disperse through the bottom and sides of the stone, resulting in a glassy, dark and dull appearance -- without fire and sparkle -- regardless of its clarity or color.

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