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By: Shmukler Design 

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to eight jewelers for promoting laboratory-grown diamonds in advertising that the agency claims might be deceptive or at the least, not in line with its own Jewelry Guide.

That particular code of federal regulations — formally known as the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries,” describes what businesses must do to avoid making deceptive claims about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products. The intent is to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices; practices that almost always lead to unsuspecting consumers being ripped off or worse.

FTC April 2019 Diamond Warning

And while the FTC has determined that laboratory-grown diamonds are real diamonds, the agency’s April 2, 2019 announcement said businesses must be crystal clear in their advertising that their product is man-made. In an article posted on here on the Custom Jewelry Blog last month (please see: Understanding Lab-grown Diamonds), we reported the FTC’s finding that lab-created diamonds share the Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

If you’re in the market for a diamond — often the case at this time of year what with love and engagements are in the air — you’ve likely come across laboratory-grown diamonds and may still have questions about, well, everything having to do with lab-grown diamonds (aka, synthetic diamonds).

The first laboratory-grown diamond was created more than 60 years ago when a Swedish industrial firm successfully developed a high-pressure, high-temperature process that mirrored the same chemical, physical and optical properties as traditional diamonds mined from the earth.

Side by side comparison lab-grown and mined diamonds

And while lab-grown diamonds have been around since the Eisenhower administration, their popularity didn’t really take off until recently, when commercialization of the technology put it on the same footing as “real” diamonds — those sparkling minerals created deep in the dirt over billions of years.

It was within the past decade that a new technology — known as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) — made it possible to rapidly produce high-quality diamonds in a laboratory setting at prices between $300 and $500 per carat instead of the $4,000 per carat price tag for such lab-grown gems before 2008.

When the cost of producing lab-grown diamonds began to decline, so did retail prices for these gemstones. As a result, lab-grown diamonds are now 25 percent to 30 percent less expensive than mined diamonds. Indeed, prices are expected to fall even more as production efficiencies increase, new competitors enter the market and the segment commoditizes.

And make no mistake about it: Laboratory-grown diamonds are real diamonds. That determination was made just last year when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended its jewelry guides, asserting that “a diamond is a diamond,” no matter its origin. The FTC determined that lab-created diamonds share the Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

If you were born in the month of March, you are fortunate to have the option of selecting between two gems as your birthstone — Aquamarine and Bloodstone. And while the two stones couldn’t be more different in appearance, each is steeped in history and each is defined by the purported power within these mystical birthstones.

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), both stones are noted throughout history for providing protection to those who wear them. Aquamarine — also known as the poor man’s diamond — features colors of the ocean, ranging from deep greens and blues to warmer light greenish blue, hues that might be seen surrounding a Caribbean island, whereas Bloodstone is a variety of quartz that is barely translucent and appears mostly as an opaque, almost black-green jasper, speckled with bright red spots of iron oxides, which defines its name. It is this “blood” that purportedly brings strength to anyone who wears the stone.

Here’s what you need to know about both of March’s birthstones:

Aquamarine: Known as the Sailor’s Stone

Because aquamarine is tied so closely to the ocean (aqua is Latin for water and mare means sea) the gem was known for providing protection against storms at sea and provide safe passage for those who traversed the Mediterranean Sea as far back as 500 years before the birth of Christ. Roman sailors associated aquamarine with Neptune, the god of the sea, and Greek mariners were offered the same protection from Poseidon, their Greek god who held the same oceanic occupation.

Aquamarine Gemstone with Peridot

Aquamarine Gemstone (center) with Peridot (on the left and right)

Besides saving sailors, aquamarine reportedly took on other powers, including:

  • Keeping marriages together
  • Providing protection against foes in battle and lawsuits
  • Power to quicken the mind

The Romans believed the translucent stone possessed Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

We all wear it but how much do we know about the history of jewelry? Today’s post introduces the first in a five-part series on the history of jewelry, offering insights gained from thousands of years of advancement in jewelry making. These historic innovations range from simple beads in prehistoric times to the development of synthetic gems that can fool the layman — but not the professional jeweler.

Today’s column is an overview of that history — from 110,000 BC to the present day. It will be followed on March 27 with a description of jewelry accessories. Other historic columns will discuss wealth identifiers on April 24, and the religious connection on May 22. The series will conclude with a column on June 26 about the history behind engagement and wedding rings.

Egyptian bracelet with vintage engraving

Above: Egyptian bracelet with vintage engraving.

To begin, we look to 10 distinct periods of history in order to explore the origins of jewelry and its development over the centuries. Each of these periods were marked by skilled and innovative craftsmanship, advancements in jewelry making techniques, new mineral and gem discoveries, and trends that advanced the art of jewelry creation through each era.

Specifically, the 10 eras we’ll be covering today are: Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

The Rolex brand has been in the news a lot lately, and if you caught the 91st edition of the Academy Awards on Sunday night, you probably saw a Rolex commercial featuring film notables James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Then, earlier this week, Artisans de Genève — a Swiss-based watchmaking house known for its Rolex modifications — unveiled a stunning watch that serves as a tribute to Rolex’s rare 1966 Daytona 6240 watch. For Rolex collectors, aficionados, and wannabe owners, it’s a great time to be a fan.

Explaining the Rolex watch shortage

However, finding the Rolex model you desire, whether at an official licensed retailer, a Rolex store, or the secondary market for that matter, is another story. Why? Because there’s a Rolex shortage. And observers of this luxury watch brand that is renowned for its performance and reliability, say they have no idea why a Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

There’s a sense of well-being when working with a jeweler who has gained your confidence when making an investment in a beautiful piece of jewelry, whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a loved one. Equally comforting is knowing that same jeweler can be trusted to take your treasured piece of jewelry and either repair it when broken or damaged, or to restore it to its original glory when it has lost some or all of its sparkle.

But first, we think it’s important that you understand the difference between repair and restoration when it comes to your fine jewelry. Simply put, repairs are performed by the jeweler to improve the integrity of an item. Restoration is performed in order to give new life to that glittering treasure.

Jewelry-Restoration-and-Repair

The Jewelers of America (JA), a 113-year-old network of jewelry businesses with more than 8,000 members nationwide, suggests fine jewelry be inspected at least once a year. That’s because such items are susceptible to wear and tear. Here at Shmukler Design in Laguna Hills, California, we offer the following five tips for jewelry repair and five additional suggestions for jewelry restoration: Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

Every business — whether it’s through the use of words, imagery, or a combination of the two — seeks to create dramatic effect (i.e., grab or divert attention from one thing to another) when positioning itself in the marketplace of goods and services. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the tag lines and slogan’s businesses and brands use in concert with their marketing and sales efforts. For example:

  • “The happiest place on earth” is what Disneyland and Disneyworld use to divert our attention
  • “Just do it” is used by Nike to sway and associate our thoughts
  • “What’s in your wallet” is the primary diversionary message employed by the bank holding company Capital One
  • “The ultimate driving machine” has been a part of BMW’s identity — and therefore ours — for the last half-century

At Shmukler Design, “Assistance Above SalesSM” is closely associated with our brand, but as you’ll learn by reading today’s post, unlike others in our sector who use tag lines to divert your attention (think: “Every kiss begins with Kay” and “The Diamond Store”)ours is engrained in the very fabric of what we do and how we do it.

Understanding Assistance Above Sales

At the heart of every custom jewelry project is you, the customer. Whatever you have in mind cannot magically make its way to the jeweler’s workbench without you and the jeweler discussing the project in person or by phone or video. The process of creating custom made jewelry demands Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

Beginning with this article, and continuing each month through January of 2020, we here at Shmukler Design are going to highlight the birthstone representing the current month of the year. And the first in this “Your Birthstone” series is February’s stunning gem for the U.S. market — the amethyst.

The Origination of Birthstones

So where does this tradition of a birthstone originate? Most researchers believe the celebration of stones stems from the Bible and specifically, the book of Exodus. Among those verses is a detailed description of the sacred breastplate worn by a priest that featured 12 gemstones purportedly representing the 12 tribes of Israel. These dozen gems were later transcribed to represent the months of the year on the Hebrew calendar.

Following more than a century of updates, replacements, switches and changes, the Jewelers of America (a trade association of professionals in the jewelry industry) has adopted an official list of birthstones with one and sometimes more gems highlighting each month, with amethyst posing as February’s calendar sparkler.

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), amethyst has  Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

Some people believe no gift is more representative of Valentine’s Day than classic heart-shaped jewelry, which can range from a necklace, ring or even colorful earrings. Of course, adding a romantic engraved message or symbol will add a personal touch to any jewelry gift purchase, which automatically increases the piece’s value to its recipient.

You can buy flowers and you can buy candy, but few things really express your love and appreciation as much as a piece of jewelry, beautifully stored in a box, and wrapped with classic papers and a bow.

Below we offer a number of do’s and don’ts for anyone considering a jewelry purchase for their loved one this Valentine’s Day. We suggest you jot a few of these down before heading off to find the perfect gift for your beloved. In no particular order: Continue reading…