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Buying Jewelry Online with Confidence

  • Customers have often asked us why our product descriptions are so detailed. Buying jewelry online has some advantages over buying in a store: one being that you can comparison shop very easily. The big disadvantage is that you cannot hold the item in your hand. To give our customers the most complete picture of our products, we provide detailed descriptions. This also allows for easy comparison to other sites. Well, it would if the other sites provided as much information as we do. Therefore, we are providing the following guide of what to look for when buying jewelry online:

  • 1. Fine Jewelry versus Costume Jewelry: Our site sells only fine jewelry, meaning our products are silver or gold all the way through. Costume jewelry consists of a plating of gold or silver over a base metal such as brass or nickel. There is nothing wrong with costume jewelry, we just think it should be very clear when an item is only silver plated versus 0.975 stamped sterling silver.

  • 2. Rhodium Plating: All our silver jewelry is rhodium plated to provide a shinier look and to prevent tarnishing. Some sites refer to their jewelry as being plated with platinum. While rhodium is shiny like platinum, it is much less expensive, but more than adequate for the task. We have sometimes seen jewelry that is plated with platinum, but the vast majority of plated silver jewelry is plated with rhodium. Buyers should be careful about sites that claim all their jewelry is platinum plated, as this is not the norm.

  • 3. Cubic Zirconia: People often ask what, “What exactly is cubic zirconia?" Cubic zirconia, also known as “CZ”, is not a diamond and, in fact, has a completely different chemical composition than does a diamond. Since they are made in a laboratory, and not mined from the earth, CZs are not as rare, and hence not as expensive, as are diamonds. Many sites use the term “diamond CZs”, but this should not imply that the product contains diamonds. We use the term simply to distinguish a white CZ (which resembles a diamond) from colored zirconia, which may resemble other gems (please see below).

  • 4. Colored Zirconia: Cubic zirconia can now come in many colors. Many sites, including ours, will often refer to them as being, say, purple zirconia. This is just a purple CZ. We also sell amethyst on our site. We will always make it clear if you are looking at a CZ or a genuine precious or semi-precious stone.

  • 5. Natural Gems: Just when you thought you understood colored CZs and natural stones, now many sites are selling composite gems. These stones are an amalgam of smaller stones. While the pieces are natural stones, the final product is a combination of the smaller stones plus glue and color that has been fused together. We do not sell these.

  • 6. Cubic Zirconia Sizing: We always tell you the diameter of our CZs. Diamonds are always described in terms of carats, which is a measure of weight, not size. A one carat diamond, assuming it is a round (brilliant) cut, and cut to the proper proportions, will be about 6.5mm in diameter. Therefore, a 6mm CZ will appear to be a little smaller than a one carat diamond. Some sites describe their CZs in terms of carats. This can lead to confusion as CZs are actually denser than diamonds -- a 6mm CZ looks like a 0.84 carat diamond but will actually weigh 1.3 carats. So if a site says it is selling a 1 carat CZ, do they mean it is the size of a 1 carat diamond or that it actually weighs 1 carat? To avoid this confusing practice, we always have the diameter in the name and include the diamond carat equivalent in the description. We are not sure why anyone would do it any other way.

  • 7. Gold Color: The gold used in jewelry is an amalgam of gold and other metals such as zinc and copper. This is because pure gold is too soft to be used in jewelry. Adding the other metals actually improves the product. However, the ratio of the other metals also changes the color of the final product. You may have noticed that jewelry from India or the Middle East has a darker hue than does jewelry that is normally sold in the US. This is due to a higher proportion of copper. This does not change the price very much, but can lead to some unexpected surprises. All our gold is 14 karat and conforms to American color expectations.

  • 8. Diamond Cut: Sometimes a piece of metal jewelry can be machine cut in such a way as to create facets that sparkle like diamonds, known as a diamond cut. We sell a number of such pieces. But please note that ‘diamond cut’ jewelry does not contain any diamonds. Just thought you should know.

  • 9. CZ Quality: You may be familiar with the grading system used for diamonds: color and clarity. CZs, being synthetic, do not suffer from the internal flaws that naturals diamonds can have, but they do have different grades that reflect the whiteness and sparkle of the stone. CZs are graded on a five point scale from A to AAAAA (5A). Good quality jewelry will use AA to 4A. Single A looks pretty cloudy, and 5A is dazzling but very expensive. Most of our pieces use AAA, but when we do sell something with AA or 4A, we always point that out.

  • 10. Enjoy. Shopping for jewelry should be fun. We take pride in offering a wide range of quality jewelry at very reasonable prices. If you have a question or do not see what you want on our site, please call us. Our customer service team really likes helping our customers and helping to make potential customers into folks who will come back again to visit our site.


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