One of our goals is to make learning and buying fine jewelry transparent and easy. How do I know if a diamond is of good quality? How do I take care of my pieces?
Grab a cup of coffee, let's chat about jewelry.
The simplest way to keep your gemstone jewelry beautiful is to mix mild liquid detergent (hand soap works) with warm water and use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub away the dirt and film. (Remember to clean the underside of the jewelry too!)
If possible, remove your jewelry when doing physically-intensive work, like working out, or cleaning with harsh household chemicals.
You should keep your jewelry in a jewelry box that has a tough exterior and soft interior (ahem, your ITR box works!). A jewelry box with compartments will also come in handy because you will want to separate your jewelry into separate categories (silver, gold, diamond, pearl) to prevent them from damaging each other.
Also remember to store your jewelry away from excessive heat or direct sunlight because this can cause long term damage. Excessive heat can cause certain metals to change colors or even cause certain stones to lose its deep colors.
A carat represents the weight of a stone. It is evaluated on a point system where one carat (1.00) is equivalent to 100 points.
A karat represents a standard measurement for gold. A karat is divided into 24 parts where pure gold is 24 karats which means that 24 out of 24 parts are gold.
The magical 4Cs: color, clarity, cut and carat weight.
The most valuable diamonds are completely colorless and the lower quality diamonds have a slight yellow hue.
Diamonds are generally viewed at 10x magnification. The fewer inclusions or flaws in a diamond the more valuable it is. The more flaws the lower the quality.
Flawless – No inclusions or blemishes
Internally Flawless – No inclusions, minimal
VVS1, VVS2 – Very, very slightly included
VS1, VS2 – Very slightly included
SI1, SI2 – Slightly included
I1, I2, I3 – Included
To get the most sparkle out of a diamond it needs to be cut well with ideal proportions. Lower quality diamonds are not as well-proportioned and reflect less light.
The size and quality of a diamond has no correlation. But if two diamonds are equal in quality; the larger diamond would be considered more valuable.
Full and single cut diamonds refer to the amount of facets that are arranged on the stone.
A single cut diamond usually features 8 facets on the top, 8 facets on the bottom, and 1 facet on the table of the diamond.
A full cut diamond features a total of 58 facets. The large amount of facets gives light the opportunity to reflect through the diamond which in turn creating the most sparkle and revealing the brilliance of the diamond.
Full cut diamonds are typically more expensive than single cut diamonds since it involves more labor and more stone waste during the cutting process.
Unlike some of our counterparts who pitch the weight or carat of diamonds as a selling point and cut corners on delivering the other 3Cs, we pitch high standard in all 4 Cs and make sure our diamonds capture the MAX amount of sparkle and value.
All diamonds used by our shop are natural diamonds from reputable sources, conflict free, G-H color, SI, full cut diamonds.
Gold is naturally yellow in color. To get the color of white gold; yellow gold is mixed with alloys to give it that nice white color.
Platinum is naturally white. Although platinum is stronger than gold it is at the same time softer! In other words, platinum is more durable, but more prone to scratches.
The 585 stamp on your piece of jewelry indicates that the jewelry is composed of 58.5% solid pure gold which is the equivalent of 14K gold. You may see other types of stamps on the jewelry you own. For example, a 750 stamp indicates that the piece of jewelry is composed of 75% solid pure gold or the equivalent of 18K gold.
When it comes to caring for your metals it's important to remember that every metal is different. While little maintenance is needed for durable metals such as tungsten, other metals require some attention.
For instance, platinum is a strong metal but is susceptible to scratches.
Silver and gold are sensitive to harsh chemicals, corrosives and strong household detergents such as chlorine. Avoid applying perfumes, hairspray or makeup directly onto the metal.
Silver is prone to tarnishing, so regular polishing can help retain its beautiful color.
Soap film can easily builds on the surface of gold. Periodic cleaning using a soft bristle brush and mild detergent is recommended.
Rubies, sapphires and emeralds are considered precious gemstones. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. Some examples of semi-precious gemstones are garnet, turquoise, aquamarine, amethyst, and peridot.
Simulated stones mimic the appearance of natural stones, but holds no real value. The most popular example of a simulated stone is Cubic Zirconia. Simulated stones are created in a lab and often times cheap materials are used to keep costs low.
The millimeter is the standard unit of measurement for jewelry dimensions. By using millimeters, we can provide you with the most accurate height, width, and length for your jewelry! To give you a better idea of your jewelry's dimensions here are some simple conversions.
3 mm is approximately 1/8 inch
6 mm is approximately 1/4 inch
13 mm is approximately 1/2 inch
19 mm is approximately 3/4 inch
25 mm is approximately 1 inch
50 mm is approximately 2 inches
75 mm is approximately 3 inches
We measure our jewelry in inches because we are currently only selling within the USA and believe it is easier for our customers to gauge.
Diamond settings are different techniques that professionals use to secure diamonds. Depending on the type of setting and how well it is executed it can complement the beauty of the piece.
The most commonly use settings are: Pavé, Bezel, and Prong settings.
The pavé setting is particularly beautiful because the small diamonds are set so closely that it looks like one continuous stream of sparkle. These diamonds are held by small beads of metal that seem to disappear into the background.
The bezel setting encloses the diamond in a metal rim securing it in place. This type of setting can create the perception of a larger stone.
The prong setting is a classic setting where three or more metal prongs make-up a basket where the diamond sits. The prongs are then wrapped around the crown of the diamond to secure it in place.
The type of finish on a piece of jewelry determines how the surface will appear when completed. Most of the pieces we offer are high-polished. There are also other types of finishes like brush, satin, hammered and sandblasted.
High polish finish is the most common of all jewelry finish. This finish leaves the piece of jewelry with a shiny and reflective surface.
Brush finish leaves the surface with a type of look that somebody has used a brush on the piece hence the name brush finish. One example of a brush finish is our piece named Rae. This finish adds dimension to the piece and hides scratches well.
Pearls are the result of a reaction that takes place in a shellfish or oyster after an introduction of something foreign. The oyster secretes a smooth and hard substance, called nacre, around the foreign irritant. Over time, these layers of nacre turns the irritant into a beautiful pearl.
Natural Pearls are formed naturally in the wild when grains of sand or specks of coral make their way into the body of an oyster.
Cultured pearls are human-induced. In other words, instead of mother nature inserting an irritant, it's a person.
Pearls are graded based on the following 6 value factors:
Size - All factors being equal, a larger pearl is generally more valuable.
Roundness - Spherical and symmetrical pearls are more valuable.
Fine nacre - The layers of nacre vary with water temperature and the oyster's metabolism. In cold weather, the oyster's metabolism slows down therefore causing the layers to become finer. The finer the layer, the more valuable the pearl.
Luster - Luster is the amount of light that is reflected off of the surface of the pearl. Usually pearls with many layers of nacre will have the shiniest luster whereas pearls with less layers of nacre tend to chip, crack or rapidly lose their luster. The more layers of fine nacre, the better the luster and the better the quality of the pearl.
Blemishes - The fewer the imperfections, the more valuable the pearl is.
Pearl overtone - The pearl overtone is the secondary color reflected on the surface of the pearl. For example, a white pearl may get a pink or silvery sheen, or a black pearl may have a green sheen.
Sea water cultured pearls
1. White & Golden South Sea Pearls
They're from the South Sea (hence the name). This type is cultured in humongous oysters called the Pinctada Maxima aka Silver or Golden Lip oysters. These oysters live at 20 to 100 meters deep along the coast of the South Sea between the north edge of Australia and the southern edge of China.
They're large. South sea pearls generally range between 8mm to 14mm with some reaching as large as 16mm to 18mm. They typically need between 2-3 years to cultivate and do not need to be treated or enhanced besides cleaning and a slight polish after harvesting. An example of a gem quality, natural color, untreated 8.25mm white South Seas Pearl is our Alessandra necklace.
They have the classic pastel hue and color. Oh baby! White south sea pearls are typically creamy white in color with a silver overtone. Golden South Sea pearls are usually found in the Philippines and have a wide variation of shades of light to dark golden colors.
They're stronger than you think. They have extremely thick nacre which adds to their durability and strength.
2. Tahitian Black Pearls
They're a rare beauty. These pearls are cultured in an oyster that is considered rare, the Pinctada Margaritifera aka Green or Black Lip oysters. These oysters are from Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. They produce giant pearls with substantial thickness of nacre. It's brilliant black and mirror-like luster makes these pearls extremely unique. If black isn't your color, Tahitian pearls come in other overtones such as peacock green, silver green, eggplant, etc.
They're large. Most Tahitian pearls range between 8mm to 15mm. They typically need between 1-1/2 to 2 years to cultivate and do not need to be treated or enhanced besides cleaning and a slight polish after harvesting. Check out our gem quality Alessandra necklace for a 9.5mm, natural color, untreated Tahitian Black Pearl with a silver green overtone.
3. Akoya Pearls
They're super round and shiny. These pearls are cultured in the Akoya oyster aka the Pinctada Fucata. This oyster is primarily found in Japan which is why you will sometimes hear these pearls referred to as Japanese Akoya . Akoya pearls are known for their roundness in shape and their appealing high luster.
It usually takes between 10-18 months for an Akoya oyster to produce a pearl. Processing of the Akoya pearls is a skillful and time-consuming process. After the initial cleaning, almost all Akoya pearls must be bleached to lighten and even out the pearl color. This treatment is permanent and has been practiced for over 100 years in the pearl industry for production of white pearls. An example of a quality Akoya pearl is our Nora earrings. It has a diameter of 6mm with a beautiful high luster.
Freshwater cultured pearls
Pretty and easy on the wallet. Freshwater cultured pearls are mostly cultured in lakes, ponds and rivers in the Hyriopsis Cumingi, a freshwater mussel mostly found in China. They can range from different shades of white and pastel and generally are less lustrous and reflective as saltwater pearls. They're typically mass produced, making them the least expensive among all pearls.
Here at In the Rough NY, we focus on Sea Water Cultured Pearls such as the South Sea Pearl, the Tahitian black pearl and the Akoya Pearl. We carefully pick and choose gem quality, AAA grade lustrous sea water cultured pearls for our collection in view of their durability, value and beauty.
Fancy colored pearls are very likely treated with an organic dye and do not occur naturally. Sometimes freshwater pearls are dyed to mimic the color of saltwater pearls at a much lower price too. For example, black freshwater pearls might be dyed to look like Tahitian pearls.
Real pearls are cool to the touch whereas imitation plastic pearls are much warmer.
Another way of authenticating a pearl is by rubbing 2 pearls against each other. You should feel the friction (uneven feeling) as the outer layer of nacre is not perfectly smooth. There is usually a small residue of fine white powder left on your hands as well. On the contrary, imitation pearls have smooth coatings and will usually slip past each other when rubbed.
The last way to test a pearl is by rubbing the pearl against your front tooth. If it is a real pearl, it will feel gritty and rough. A fake pearl will have a smooth feel.
Pearls are made of calcium carbonate so they should avoid high temperature. After wearing, we recommend to wiping the pearls with a soft cloth, wrap in a soft pouch and store properly.
Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners to clean your pearls.
Avoid wearing your pearls during beauty treatments, while showering or swimming.
Always keep pearls separate from diamonds and other hard stones to avoid scratches.
Keep your pearls away from chemical products such as detergents, perfume, hairsprays, cosmetics, bleaches, vinegar, or acidic liquids.
Pearls will lose their natural oils over time and turn yellow. You can prevent this by storing your pearls in places with circulating air and wearing your pearls often.
Opals were formed 65-140 million years ago under a very special series of geological conditions. The physical element of a Natural Opal is Silica. Its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight. The brilliant colors of opals result from the diffraction of white light passing through the extremely tiny silica particles. About 90% of the world’s top quality precious opals come from the mine of Australia in Coober Pedy and Mintabie, and the rest can be found in Africa (Ethiopia), Mexico and Peru.
- Black opal - Natural black opals are the most valuable opals in the world. Lightning Ridge, Australia is the only place in the world which possesses Black Opals. Black opals have a dark body color and can be crystal or opaque.
- Solid/crystal opal - If a natural opal is translucent and visible on both surfaces, it is defined as solid/crystal opal. One example of the Australian precious solid opal is our "Nova" Earrings.
- Boulder opal – Boulder opals are thin, beautiful opals which appear on ironstones. To keep the entire precious opal, the ironstone is left attached to the opal. Due to the natural ironstone at the back of the opal, the colors of the opal could be so brilliant.
- Doublet opals consist of a layer of natural opal with an ironstone boulder put together. The color of the opal is enhanced due to the added ironstone.
- Triplet opals are a combination of natural opal and glasses combined together. Same as doublet opals, the color of the opal is enhanced due to the added glasses.
- Mexico Opal – Mexican opals have more water and is transparent or extremely translucent. They are very different from the Australian opal with body color ranges from yellow to orange color.
The play- of- color is what makes the opal a very unique gemstone. Opal is the only precious gemstone that possesses the color of rainbow in the world. A single opal can flash every color of the spectrum from violet to red. Precious opal is based upon color intensity, diversity, uniformity and its ability to be seen from different angles. The best opals can command prices per carat that rival rubies, emeralds, and even diamonds in some cases.
At In the Rough, we demand high standard in our opal collection. All opals selected are natural solid/crystal Australian opals and we take pride in using only quality opals to give you the best 'natural' play of color.
Opals are softer than most precious stones and require some proper care as below:
- About 20% of the silica structure is water so it is recommended not to expose the opal to direct sunlight, bright artificial light, extreme temperature or low humidity for extended periods. If they dry out, they can crack.
- Be careful when you step out from a heated area into an extremely cold environment and vice versa. The opal might be susceptible to this sudden temperature change and crack.
- Avoid using ultrasound devices for cleaning and chemicals such as harsh detergent and cleansers.
-Opals jewelry should be cleaned gently with mild detergent in warm water and a soft brush. Clean promptly and patch dry.
-Opals are very fragile. Handle your opal jewelry with care. Hitting or dropping the opal against hard object might crack the gemstone. After use, wrap your opal jewelry in a soft pouch to avoid scratches and store it in room temperature condition.