A customer really wanted to purchase a beautiful vintage Diamond Watch, but wasn’t completely certain although there were numerous photos showing details of the watch.
Her question about our providing a video of the watch is worth sharing. Of course we could provide a video of the watch! And we did. As good as a range of photographs can be, there still may be lingering questions about the detail of any piece of jewelry. Understanding this, we’re happy to provide a short video of any item that may provide greater detail than just the photographs.
Just use our Contact Form and send us a note telling us what additional detail you would like to see: close-up of front, back, sides, purity marks, whatever. We’ll do our best to provide what you need to be comfortable with your purchase decision.
And don’t forget, we accept returns for up to 2 weeks from date of delivery with no questions asked. See details for item returns on our “Purchasing, etc.” Page.
It is usually rewarding meeting with clients to discuss acquiring estate jewelry. We hear often that others had offered much less and they were more than happy to accept our offer. We believe it possible to offer a fair price to the estate, while still being able to offer estate, vintage, and antique pieces at prices that are most often well below similar pieces offered through "brick and mortar" venues.
But to the point of this post: Counterfeits and Outright Fakes. We recently visited with a family who had asked that we look at an estate ring and provide a valuation. They produced the item, a purported Platinum and Diamond Ring by Cartier. This was quickly shaping-up to be one of those meetings with a client that would not have a happy ending. It was immediately obvious, really without the need for detailed examination, that the ring was a counterfeit.
We've posted the documents and photo of the ring here as an example of what you might find when navigating the off-venue (buying from Craigslist, Marketplace, etc.) secondary market. To many, the envelope, certificate case, and certificate itself have the look and feel of the legitimate article - down to the embossed "Double C" Cartier Maker's Mark. But the ring itself was absent a metal purity mark, the Cartier name or Trademark, and the Cartier registration/product identification number. We shared our suspicions, much to the dismay of the client who apparently had invested heavily for the ring. We offered to test the ring to be absolutely certain. We were able to test using two industry-grade instruments measuring thermal conductivity, and determine the refractive index of the gemstone. We were also able to electronically and using the industry-standard acid test to determine metal purity. Plus we conducted a detail visual examination of the ring. At the end of testing we found that the ring had no precious metal content at all and that the stones in the ring were all glass. A terrible outcome for the client.
We take the time to post this just to advise extreme caution on the "gray" market. This set of credentials and this ring were obviously counterfeit to the trained eye - there are many other counterfeits on the market that do have metal purity inscribed, and the Cartier trademark, and the registration number. Thieves and charlatans are becoming increasingly adept at offering products that will tempt you to be separated from your money. Be careful, and we advise to NEVER conclude a gray market jewelry transaction without first having the item examined by a qualified jewelry.
At Aloha Estate Jewelry it truly is the case that we have no idea what type of Jewelry we will encounter next. Of late, however, we have begun seeing more and more exceptional pieces of Jewelry with uncommon Gemstones.
When it comes to Precious Stones we typically think of Emerald, Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire and a few others. Semi-Precious Topaz, Amethyst, Citrine, and possibly Tourmaline. But in especially the Semi-Precious there are so many, many other fabulous Gems to be found, and we just wanted to point that out.
There's Tsavorite, and Chrome Diopside having gorgeous, almost neon, shades of deep green; Peridot - the lime-green gemstone and birthstone for August. There's Tourmaline in colors from deep green to bright red; and Labradorite in browns, yellows, reds, and blues. There's Heliodor in its distinct yellowish-green cast. We love the Beryls - such as Precious Beryl and Golden Beryl - same family as Emerald, but in colors of gold, golden green, green, and pink. And let's not forget Apatite and Iolite and their beautiful colors of blue.
Many of these stones are considered "Collector Gems." Collectors such as gemologist, jewelers, and geologist who have a professional appreciation for these gemstones and their color, crystal structures, and polished brilliance. So, if you encounter a gemstone that you don't recognize, take the time to do a little research. Everyone can own the more well-known semi-precious stones. Be the one to own the beautiful but uncommon.
To start, we can tell you that these are very good pearls.
In our opinion, the industry benchmark for fine jewelry from Akoya Pearls is Mikimoto. There is a "Hanadama" Grade of Pearl, and we have discussed these individually certified pieces in other posts. Also as we have said in other posts, although Mikimoto does not produce Pearls, they do reap the best of the best of the Akoya Pearl harvests. In fact, they select the top 5% of production Akoya Pearls. (Consider Hanadama as the top 1% of the top 1% !!!)
In 1893 Kokichi Mikimoto successfully created the world's first cultured pearls. Ever since then, Mikimoto has been seeking to harness the allure of pearls, keeping alive Kokichi Mikimoto's dream of “adorning the necks of all women around the world with pearls.”
To possess Mikimoto Pearls is a testament to good taste, and appreciation for the finest pearls.
"Blue Lagoon" is a company directly owned by Mikimoto Pearls. They offer a fine quality of Akoya Pearl and they are produced to the same exacting Mikimoto standard. The difference? Whereas Mikimoto Pearls represent the top 5% of the finest Akoya Pearls, Blue Lagoon represents the finest of the top 6% - 10% of all Akoya Pearls. To only the most discriminating eye, the difference physically is almost unnoticeable. But for that up-to 5% difference, there is a nice price difference, and it brings Kokichi Mikimoto's dreams of "adorning the necks of all women around with world with pearls" one step closer to reality by their being more affordable. And they are still very good quality pearls!
But remember, both Mikimoto and Blue Lagoon are "Trademark Names," not pearl types or pearl classifications. Both will carry their own distinctive Trademark - ALWAYS. For Mikimoto Pearls the clasp will be adorned with the "M-In-Clamshell" Mark; Blue Lagoon will be marked with "BL" on the clasp.
Aloha. Since the death of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, there has been a renewed interest in Pearls. Amongst the die-hard "Classicist" Pearls always have a place in any collection of fine jewelry, but seeing so many pictures of The Queen adorned often in Pearls has created wider interest.
Your question would actually be, "What is the difference between Matinee Length and Opera Length Pearls." It is not so much that one length of Pearls is worn to Matinees and others to the Opera, but rather these terms describe the length of the strand - whenever and wherever worn.
According to the American Gem Society (AGS), Pearls Strands are classified according to length:
Hope this helps.
I just received my Jadeite Pendant and it's beautiful, but the box says Made in China. Is That were my pendant was made?
Aloha. A great, and fair, question. And the answer in your case is, No. Your Jadeite originated in Myanmar, Burma and was likely carved there.
But before further discussing Jade, let me further my explanation about your box labeling. In dealing day-to-day with Estate, Vintage, and Antique pieces of jewelry we would like to provide each piece in its original box. Unfortunately, that is usually not possible. Either the original box has been long since discarded, or it is in such bad condition as to be unusable. We source packaging through a provider who acquires fine and attractive presentation boxes for pendants, rings, bracelets, watches, and so on from suppliers worldwide, including China. When we receive an order of packages we usually will remove the "Made in China" label to prevent confusion between the origin of the box versus the origin of the item. In your case, the pendant display case was "Made in China" - is of excellent quality, by the way, and we merely missed one of the labels.
But more to your Jade and Jade, generally. There are numerous sources for Nephrite and Jadeite Jade across the globe, and Jade in its "Raw" form is purchased by buyers around the world. These buyers may again retail the raw Jade, or they may transform the raw Jade into a beautifully carved piece of jewelry or other item. China, incidentally, produces some of the world's most beautiful pieces of jade jewelry, and many of our Jade pieces can be traced to Chinese carvers. Nonetheless, we thought it important to distinguish between the source of packaging versus the source of the item contained in the packaging.
When selecting one of the Categories in "Our Collections" all of the jewelry items are shown, antiques, vintage, amethyst, 18k, 10k, and so on. Can you add way of browsing that better groups items? Thank you.
Aloha Marsha. Great Question.
We presently group items from "Broad" to "Narrow." For example, if you select "Rings" you'll find a sub-menu to the left that allows you to select "Diamond Rings," "Colored Gem Rings," "Wedding Rings," and so on. Because there are so many possible variations, however, if we tried to create sub-menus for everything it would quickly become confusing. So instead, we have added a robust "Search" Function.
In any "Search Box" - found on the Home Page, Our Collections Page, and Jewelry Blog Page, you can enter the specific type or sub-type of jewelry you would like to find. For example, "Amethyst" will show all the jewelry contained the Amethyst Gemstone; "Antique" will show all the jewelry classified as antique; or "18K" will show all of our jewelry with gold of 18K purity.
Below we have shown how these searches would look. Give it a try! And, of course, should you need any assistance, please, please reach out using our "Contact Form" found on the "Contact" page from our main menu.
A great question. One that volumes of books have been written to answer. And even with all those books, it can still be confusing. While our answer may be greatly simplified, it will be a good overview.
First, there are really only 3 categories of Pearls:
1. Shell Pearls. These are manufactured pearls that use ground shells and other ingredients to create a pearlescent appearance and luster. They are cast in many shapes: round, near-round, and baroque, knotted and strung, and often embellished with gold clasps. While they are legally called "Pearls" the industry, generally, does not accept them as such.
2. Natural Pearls. Natural Pearls occur in mollusks in both Fresh and Saltwater. While Fresh Water Natural Pearls of gem quality are somewhat rare, Natural Saltwater Pearls are virtually non-existent. Many argue that all Natural Saltwater Pearls have long since been harvested.
3. Cultured Pearls. These are the mainstay of the Pearl Industry. Cultured Pearls, like Natural Pearls, are created within the bodies of mollusks. The mollusk responds to irritants within the shell by coating them with successive layers of Nacre. In Natural Pearls, the irritant is introduced by nature and may be of any shape. In Cultured Pearls, the irritant is introduced by man and is round, resulting in most cases in round pearls. Cultured Pearls may be Fresh or Saltwater. In both cases the mollusk creates the pearl in the same way. However, the industry position is that Pearls cultured in Salt Water result in a better quality and more lustrous nacre than the Fresh Water counterpart, although BOTH fresh and salt water have pearls of beautiful quality.
In the Salt Water Cultured Pearl Category there are essentially 3 types:
a. Akoya Pearls. So called because MOST of the world's quantity of cultured Salt Water Pears originate in Japan in the Akoya Region. You may have heard of Mikimoto Pearls - often considered among the best of the best Cultured Pearls. What isn't routinely known, however, is that Mikimoto Pearls, too, are cultured pearls and are purchased, not produced, by Mikimoto. What's the difference then? Well, first, Mikimoto purchases only the best-of-the-best of every harvest of Akoya Pearls. Literally only the top 5% of Akoya Pearls or better are good enough for Mikimoto. However, given two strands of top 5% Pearls, what’s the difference between the Mikimoto strand and the other strand? Believe it or not, it's the Mikimoto Clasp and hallmark. Take a strand of Mikimoto Pearls and replace the hallmarked clasp with any other, and you have Akoya Pearls. Without the clasp it’s impossible to distinguish Mikimoto from non-Mikimoto of equally high-quality Akoya Pearls.
b. Tahitian Pearls. These are the beautiful, large, and expensive multi-colored pearls that are highly coveted by Pearl enthusiasts worldwide. These Salt Water Cultured Pearls are grown in the area of Tahiti.
c. South Sea Pearls. These are the beautiful, large, and expensive white pearls that sell in the range of tens of thousands of dollars - and higher. From the brilliant whites, to softer creams, to the highly coveted Golden Pearls, there are none better.
Now, while the above 3-Types of Salt Water Pearls is true, it's important to discuss one additional type of Pearl and that is the "Keshi" Pearl. The word ”Keshi” is Japanese for ”seed pearl” and indicates a very small irregularly shaped Pearl that was originally produced as a by-product of Japanese Akoya Cultured Pearls. Today Keshi Pearls can be found in larger sizes, as also the big South Sea and Tahiti Pearl Oysters produce Keshi.
Keshi is virtually all nacre and considering its growth pattern, very close to a Natural Pearl. A Keshi Pearl comes into existence in the Akoya, South Sea, and Tahiti oysters by coincidence when the Pearl Oyster has managed to rid itself of the inserted pearl nucleus, but the process of creating nacre continues. The South Sea and Tahiti oyster will always present either a Pearl or a Keshi. As a difference to this, the Akoya Keshi can be found in the mantle tissue of the oyster and can be additional to the cultured pearl.
Just as Champagne must originate in France to be called Champagne (otherwise it's just Sparkling Wine using the Champagne Method) the name Keshi can only be used for pearls coming from saltwater pearl oysters. Still, but incorrectly, you will frequently see the term "Freshwater Keshi Pearls." And don't dismiss this Pearl Type - some incredibly beautiful Keshi Pearl Jewelry is created and is perfectly at home with your other fine jewelry pieces.
Pearl Shape. Pearl shapes vary from round to near round to baroque. ALL can be excellent quality pearls, and in most cases shape is a personal preference. Some prefer completely round as the standard of a well produced pearl, others find the variations in shape attractive and more natural as found in the baroque pearl.
Pearl Quality. Now that you know the types, here's a few words on quality. There are really only 4 discriminants of quality amongst pearls. Size, luster, nacre, and inclusions. You may see AAA, AAAA, AAAA, AAAA+ gradings and similar, but these are mostly gradings provided by re-marketers or producers. Most are surprised to learn that there is NO international standard for pearl grading, and gradings within the industry vary greatly from producer, to wholesaler, to retailer.
Pearl Color. So much to be said about color. white to cream with various overtones such as rose and peach. The multi-colors of Tahitian Pearls. The almost legendary Golden South Sea Pearls. To us, they're all beautiful and we believe color is both subjective and personal choice.
Bottom line. Fresh and Salt Water Cultured Pearls can both be of excellent quality. Look for a good size - 6 - 8 millimeters is normal. Look for a medium to thick nacre - these are less prone to chipping. Look for a high to very high luster - this is the "Glow" that fine quality pearls possess, and which varies from strand to strand. Finally, the pearl should be free or mostly free of inclusions - pitting on the surface of the pearl. Highest quality pearls with have from 0 to 10 percent surface inclusions, depending on pearl type, but less inclusions on pearls, like Diamonds, is always best.
Aloha! Yes. Yes we have. Black carbon flecks that are eye-visible in a natural Diamond resemble flecks of ground black pepper. Following is an example of a Marquise Cut "Salt And Pepper" Diamond. The clearness or whiteness of the Diamond would be the "salt." So a Salt and Pepper Diamond is a way of saying the Diamond is included by black carbon spots/flecks. These are usually very low-grade diamonds, typically having a clarity rating of I-3 (very heavily included). Mahalo for the question. We don't sell such Diamonds so we don't often hear that term.
Our "Make Us An Offer" Page received quite a bit of attention. Regrettably, not the best of attention. It became a target for anonymous submissions that, unfortunately, was consuming too much time to review and screen. This has necessitated our removing the page temporarily until our back-office can come up with an innovative way to screen out the insincere (we received 50+ offers for 90%+ off using invalid return email addresses - all of which had to be screened-out). We hope to have this sorted soon. Mahalo for your understanding. In the interim, please use our "Contact" form should you like to extend a good-faith offer on any item in our collection.
As we've mentioned before, we think our prices are well below retail on any item-to-item comparison of quality and cost. Still, we, like most jewelers, want our customers to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Not only with the item itself, but the price they've paid. So if we can help by shaving a percent or so on this item or that, of course we will. Any merchant should extend that courtesy. In fact, yours is such a good question that we've added a "Make Offer" Page to our website. If you see an item but think the price could be a little bit better, let us know. Worst we can do is say no, and if we have to do that we will say it politely. Mahalo for your question.
Yes. There will be a Christmas/Hanukkah Sale. We like to think that we already offer the lowest prices around, but we do offer 10% off during the Christmas/Hanukkah Period. Look for our sale to begin 15 November and run through 25 December. Just use the Coupon Code HOLIDAYS21 at checkout, or we will deduct 10% if using Venmo via Venmo email or our Contact Form. Mahalo for asking.
Yes. As of 18 Sep 2021 we are accepting venmo. When purchasing with venmo you will not use our Shopping Cart, however. Go to our "Payment, Shipping, & Returns" Page for details for using venmo. Just 3 steps: 1) Use our "Contact" page to let us know you would like to use venmo; send us a note with your venmo @username, phone, or email, and SKU or Ref: Number of the item you would like to purchase; 2) We will send you a venmo request for payment/invoice; and 3) Your jewelry will ship immediately upon receipt of payment. Yes - it's that easy!
Most jewelry buyers are familiar only with the traditional "White" or "Yellow" Gold. However, Gold actually is produced in a number of colors. To achieve the different possible colors of Gold, pure Gold is alloyed with different metals.
Let's take, for example, Red, Rose, or Pink Gold. Here some historical background, and the percentages of Gold alloyed with different metals to achieve these colors:
Rose Gold is a Gold–Copper alloy widely used for specialized jewelry. Rose Gold, also known as Pink Gold and Red Gold, was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and was also known as Russian Gold, although this term is now obsolete. Rose Gold jewelry is becoming more popular in the 21st Century, and is commonly used for wedding rings, bracelets, and other jewelry.
Although the names are often used interchangeably, the difference between Red, Rose, and Pink Gold is the Copper content: the higher the Copper content, the stronger the red coloration. Pink gold uses the least Copper, followed by Rose gold, with Red Gold having the highest Copper content. Examples of the common alloys for 18K Rose Gold, 18K Red Gold, 18K Pink Gold, and 12K Red Gold include:
You can read more about the different colors of Gold at this link. Wikipedia Article on Colored Gold.
Good question! Simple answer - No Difference. Transparent/Transluscent and primarily Clear Jadeite used to be called Water Jade or Glassy Jade. Crystal Jade was coined as a commercial name for this Jade. Today the name has evolved in common usage to become Ice or Icy Jade. Here’s a great article by Eric Hoffman that further clarifies how Glassy Jade became Icy Jade.
by Eric J. Hoffman, ASJRA Contributing Editor
What is icy jade? Jade that was left out too long in the winter weather? Or is it something rare and valuable?
Newsletter readers know that nearly all jewelry jade is Burmese jadeite, one of the two types of true jade. (The other true jade is nephrite, usually seen as carvings and ancient Chinese artifacts.) The term “icy jade” has become more commonplace in the past few years to refer to Burmese jadeite of exceptional translucency.
The important attributes of jewelry jadeite are color, texture, clarity, and translucency. The most highly prized color is “Imperial Green,” a deep emerald green imparted to the jade by chromium ions. Texture refers to the compactness and uniformity of the jadeite’s microcrystals; the finer the texture, the better (brighter) the polish the stone will take. Clarity is absence of distracting inclusions. And translucency refers to how much light can be transmitted through the stone. At its best translucency becomes transparency, the ability to actually read printed text through the stone. Exceptionally translucent (or even transparent) jade that is highly compact and free of inclusions is called “icy” jade, and commands premium prices in the jewelry trade.
Years ago icy jade was referred to as “water jade” or sometimes “glassy jade” and was not considered especially valuable. In a triumph of marketing Christie’s introduced the sexier term “crystal jade,” which later evolved to “icy jade.”
Unfortunately, most of these measures for jadeite are subjective and without strict definitions, unlike, for example, grading diamonds. This can lead to all kinds of exaggeration depending on the whether the dealer is buying or selling. One attempt to bring objectivity to measuring translucency is the six-grade scale introduced by Ouyang Qiumei in her book Jadeite Jade: a Stone and a Culture. On this scale icy jade (she uses the older term “glassy”) grades out as 1 or 2 (“transparent” to “very transparent”). Keep in mind that the thickness of the stone must be considered when evaluating translucency. The best defense for the prospective buyer is to see and handle as much icy jade as possible before making a purchase. And as always, the more reputable the dealer, the more likely you will be happy with the purchase
Our Jewelry Blog
Use the Search Box to search our Blog for articles of interest.
Let's Talk Jewelry
Have a question that you would like us to answer about Estate Jewelry? Drop us a note using the form on our "Contact" page with your question and we'll do our best to post your question and our answer here.