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Turning Carats into Cash: How to Sell Your Diamonds

June 17, 2018

diamonds

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to own fine jewelry and eventually pass it down to future generations. Unfortunately, negative events often intrude, and you need cash more than your beloved diamonds. In some instances, you may not have an emotional attachment to the stone, particularly if it’s the symbol of a failed love affair. In others, the diamond may mean a lot to you, making the sales process more difficult. If you need to sell your diamond rings or other diamond pieces, you should understand the process and proceed cautiously in order to maximize your earnings.

Appraisals

Once you have made the decision to sell your diamonds, you need to get a professional appraisal of its worth. Sometimes, people misrepresent the value of an engagement ring or even an heirloom, so that fine jewelry may not be so fine. If your ex-spouse wasn’t honest, you might find that your engagement diamond is really a zircon, which looks great but is worth little. Aunt Bertha’s earrings might only be cubic zirconia. So getting an appraisal is absolutely necessary before you attempt to sell your diamonds, both to protect you and the potential buyers. When it comes to precious stones, knowledge is power.

Pricing

Once you get the appraisal, you need to understand the difference between what your items are worth and what you will actually receive when you sell them. When people choose to buy a “second-hand” piece of jewelry, they expect a bargain. If they don’t find one, they will simply go to a jewelry store and buy a “new” diamond piece. Realistically, you should expect to get around 70% of the original price of your stone if it was purchased in the last decade. Older diamonds may have appreciated considerably, so you may lose less money on those. You can still receive a significant amount of money from a sale, depending on the size and quality of your stone.

Stone Demand

Your chances of satisfactorily selling your diamond depend on several factors. Certain shapes are in more demand than others. Most buyers prefer round diamonds, while princess stones are next in popularity. In recent years, the most popular sizes have been stones near one carat, one and one-half carats, and two carats. This strategy means buyers pay less for a stone that gives the illusion of being larger than it is. If your diamonds are these popular sizes, you should receive more buyer interest.

Of course, the stone quality is also a big factor in buyer interest. For many people, the naked eye test is the most important. If the diamond looks clear and is a good color, many buyers will be satisfied. Others will want a clear, nearly unflawed diamond that will withstand examination under a jeweler’s loupe. All of these factors help determine the demand for your particular stone. Again, what your stone should be worth and what someone is willing to pay for it are two entirely different things.

Markets

You will find a number of markets for your diamonds, some more lucrative than others.

Jewelry Stores

Selling to a jeweler means realizing a smaller profit. They already get a good price from their established dealers and usually only buy from individuals if the piece is truly special and worth the investment. To cover their overhead, jewelers will need to make 25% or more on the sale. Some jewelers will trade other merchandise for your diamonds, but that process doesn’t help you if cash is what you need.

Pawn Shops

Pawn shops are great for super-fast loans or sales. You pay a price for that convenience, however. If you simply need cash for a month or two, you can pawn your item and then recover it later by paying back the loan with interest. If you do not retrieve your diamond within the specified loan period, the pawn shop owner resells it, often making an excellent profit. If you sell your item outright, you can expect to get a small percentage of its appraised value. If you can afford to wait, exploring other sales avenues will pay off.

Online Dealers

A reputable online dealer that specializes in fine jewelry sales can deliver more money than other markets. First, check the dealer’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau and customer reviews. Then carefully study their guidelines. Pay particular attention to their insurance policy so that you know your item will be protected en route. Also, investigate their buying and return policy. You need to know how much time you have to accept or decline the buyer’s offer. Find out how long it takes to get your item back if you do reject the offer. Also, realize that you may need to “shop around” in order to get the best price. The entire process may take a few weeks or a month to complete, but the increase in your profits will be well worth it.

Private Sale

You can advertise your diamonds in local online rummage sale sites or even run a traditional newspaper ad. This method does expose you to some danger, however. First, you end up revealing some of your contact information to strangers. Also, if either of the parties is not satisfied, legal problems can arise. A professional third party can ensure that the transaction is handled properly. Many sellers prefer paying a percentage of the sale to a dealer to protect their interests.

Diamonds have maintained their desirability over the course of centuries, and their allure is not diminishing. Given their preference, most people would own many diamonds and keep them for a lifetime or beyond. When unpleasant realities intrude, selling these precious stones may be your best option to raise money. Before you sell, you need to properly prepare. Seek a professional appraisal and then determine which sale method will work best for you. Selling your diamonds may be a difficult emotional decision, but if you approach the process correctly, you will at least bring in some much-needed cash.


Six Necklines for Sleeveless Wedding Dresses

May 7, 2018

wedding dress

Wedding dress styles for the bride, bridesmaids, and guests can vary from the modest to sexy, depending on the design of the dress. Besides the fit, the silhouette, neckline, and sleeves will influence if the style is conservative, sensuous, or seductive. Brides and guests of all body shapes can find a sleeveless wedding dress to suit their style. Consider these six necklines that are classic silhouettes popular for any bride’s wedding dress.

Sleeveless vs Without Sleeves

A “dress without sleeves” and  “a sleeveless dress” are not actually synonymous. “Sleeveless dress” specifically refers to a dress designed without fabric on the arms, but features fabric extending beyond the bust line, over the shoulders, and continues down the back. Strapless, halter, spaghetti strap, and one-shoulder dresses do not feature sleeves, but are uniquely identified by their shoulder strap (or lack thereof.)

Pairing

Bateau, also known as boat neck, is a wide neckline that mimics the curve of the collarbone and extends to the shoulders. This style neckline can expose a horizontal glimpse of shoulder, but it pairs well with a sleeveless dress. The extra material covering the chest and decolletage puts showcases the bare arms while adding a bit of modesty. Women with large busts should use caution, as this neckline can add emphasis to the chest.

Cowl neck is a draping neckline that exposes the collarbone. It can appear messy, as stretch or knit fabrics have a tendency to hang or flop. For a formal wedding dress, consider a structured cowl neck made from a firmer fabric that will not need re-positioning during the ceremony or reception. This style neckline can add a touch of elegance to a simple sleeveless column dress.

Plunging necklines create a deep V from the shoulders to the center of the bust. This style is typically the most revealing of the neckline choices. Choosing a sleeveless wedding dress with a plunging neckline will expose significant swaths of skin. Provocative, seductive, and sexy would describe this pairing.

Square necklines feature a horizontal line across the bust, which meets at a ninety-degree angle with the vertical straps. This neckline frames the face and neck. The square neckline can vary in levels of modest, depending on the cut of the bust line. Paired with a sleeveless wedding dress style, a square neck can add a touch of glamour to the look.

More Tips

Try on one wedding dress in each style. Remember to take pictures. Hint: Take four pictures: front, back and each side. The purpose of this fitting is to determine which style the bride is most comfortable in, and which style is most flattering. If several styles suit the bride, use this fitting to whittle down the options and definite “no’s.”

Create a mood board for each wedding dress style. Tech-savvy brides will use Pinterest. This allows the bride to quickly window and save her favorites in a visual medium. Hint: also create a Pinterest board for wedding dress embellishments and accessories.


How to Pick the Perfect Flat Shoes for Your Wedding Day

April 12, 2018

wedding shoes

Weddings are big, fancy events for most people. When you’re getting married you spend months looking for the perfect wedding dress, but that pair of shoes that you decide to wear may not get too much consideration right up until the end. While many brides think heels are the only choice for a wedding day celebration, you can opt for flats if they’re more your style or you don’t want to be taller than the groom.

Use this guide to help you pick the perfect flat wedding shoes for your big day.

Match Your Dress

Your shoes don’t have to be the exact color of your dress, but they should share similar details. If your dress contains a lot of lace, try a shoe with lace accents. If the dress contains sequins, go for a flat that sparkles in the same way when the light hits them.

Know Your Venue

Where you’re getting married is an important part of knowing how to pick the right shoes, and it’s one that many brides overlook. If you’re getting married indoors, you can pretty much get away with any shoe that looks good to you. However, if you’re having a location wedding, you’ll need to be more selective.

For example, if you’re getting married on the beach, those ultra-low-cut lace flats may result in you having sand in your shoes during the ceremony. That perfect pair of white flats isn’t going to look good if you’re getting married in the country where dirt and mud could be a problem, either.

Knowing what surface you’re going to be walking on and what could make your shoes look bad is essential.

Something Blue…

The old bridal tradition is that every woman must wear something blue as part of her wedding day attire. While you could choose a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a simple ribbon in your hair, blue shoes can help you make a statement that really stands out.

If the idea of blue shoes is immediately off-putting to you, you’re probably thinking about the wrong shade of blue. You don’t want electric-Elvis blue – something simple like a soft chalky powder blue can be elegant and classic. The right blue shoes can also perfectly complement almost any style of wedding dress from a very formal gown to a simple design perfect for a beach wedding.


5 Reasons to Skip the Expensive Engagement Ring

April 9, 2018

engagement

Looking at the price of engagement rings is enough to give almost anyone sticker shock; it’s not uncommon for one to cost thousands of dollars. Do you really need to spend a chunk of savings in order to promise marriage? While it’s subjective, of course, you don’t necessarily have to shell out that much if you can’t or don’t want to. Read on for some of the reasons it might be beneficial to skip the expensive engagement ring.

It’s the promise behind it that matters

Ask a group of people what an engagement ring means to them and you’ll likely get a variety of answers. What it boils down to, however, is that it’s a symbol of love and devotion and an agreement of eventual marriage which, in itself, is a hope and promise of forever with that person. That means more than any piece of jewelry.

Expensive doesn’t mean desired

Some feel that a ring with a huge price tag is much more desirable than a ring that’s a fraction of the cost. However, not everyone has the same taste in rings. A particular $30,000 ring might be hideous to one person while a different ring that costs less than $200 might be everything they could hope for. Don’t automatically assume that a higher price tag means a higher interest by the recipient.

It might feel like a burden

Some will feel perfectly comfortable regularly wearing expensive jewelry while it might not be so simple for others. There are those who might want to wear it but are afraid they’re going to damage it or that it will get lost or stolen. Keep in mind that it’s the recipient of the engagement ring who will be wearing it on a daily basis, so it’s important to keep their feelings on the matter in mind when going shopping.

You can use the money in a different way

Say you spend $4,000 on an engagement ring. Of course you feel the recipient is worth spending that money, but there are many other things the both of you can do with that cash. For example, you can put that toward a down payment on a house, use it for rent for an apartment, buy some new furniture pieces for your home, put it toward the cost of a car, go on a trip, donate to charity, adopt an animal or two and put money aside for emergency pet expenses that might come up, etc. As you can see, if you’d rather not spend a lot on an engagement ring, that money can be used for quite a few things.

There are plenty of cheaper rings

There are a multitude of gorgeous engagement rings out there that don’t cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Some may cost less than $100; others might cost a bit more. The point is that there are so many options out there that won’t have a few or more zeroes at the end of it.

The aforementioned is just to let you know that there’s more than one path to go. The cost of the ring does not equate to the amount of love you have for the recipient or the level of devotion you have to the relationship. There’s absolutely no set amount that you have to spend on an engagement ring, so don’t let anyone make you feel as though you should be following a particular set of guidelines.


5 Perfect Last-Minute Mother’s Day Jewelry Gift Ideas

May 4, 2018

mother's day

Are you looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift this year? Choosing the perfect gift can be tough and being original and creative can be a major challenge. If you are stuck for inspiration, here are five perfect last-minute jewelry gift ideas you may like.

Personalized Bracelets

Every mom will love a personalized bracelet this Mother’s Day. Personalized Mother’s Day bracelets are sentimental and elegant. Personalized bracelets feature crystal round beads and sterling silver alphabet beads. Simply order a bracelet bearing your mother’s name and it will be a guaranteed hit. These bracelets combine the beauty of silver with pearls and birthstone crystals for a unique look that your mom will love.

A Family Ring

A family or birthstone ring is a guaranteed way to celebrate any Mother’s Day in style. Your mom has always been there for you and a family ring is the perfect way to display your love and affection. Many people choose to decorate family rings with pretty birthstones. All traditional birthstones have a history and you can learn which birthstone correlates to your mom’s birth month on the website of the American Gem Society if you wish. You can set crystal birthstones on a family ring. The prongs on the ring will safely cradle the stones.

A Family Tree Necklace

The most common type of family tree necklace is a silver or gold disc encircling a tree with the names of family members etched around the outside. Some necklaces are shaped to form a tree with initials in the branches or separate discs with initials on. Your mom is sure to love any necklace bearing the names of close family members.

A Music Box

Music boxes are typically used to celebrate the birth of a granddaughter but would make beautiful Mother’s Day gifts as well. The prettiest boxes are porcelain and painted in hues that compliment your mom’s birthstone. To create an exquisite box that your mom will cherish, you could use hand-set crystal birthstones on the clasp and have a hand-painted message on the inside of the box. Every time your mom opens the box, she will be reminded of your love for her.

A Birthstone Pendant Necklace

Set birthstones into a beautiful custom necklace and you are guaranteed to create the perfect Mother’s Day gift that your mom will cherish and pass down as a family heirloom. Most people favor colorful Swarovski birthday crystals and set them in an arrangement of their choice. This creates a beautiful birthstone necklace that reflects your mom’s birthday and heritage. If you are stuck for ideas this Mother’s Day, a necklace will make the perfect last-minute gift.

Final Thoughts

These five last-minute gift ideas should help anyone choose the perfect gift for their mother this Mother’s Day. Whether your mom would love a ring, a box or a pendant, you can pick up the perfect last-minute gift online or in a jewelry store.


Here’s What You Need to Know About Ear Piercing Jewelry

March 19, 2018

ear piercing

Finding the right accessories is essential, especially if you have pierced ears. Many beauty, jewelry, and piercing shops offer a variety of ear-piercing services and post jewelry. If you’ve been considering pierced ears, here’s what you need to know about ear piercing items.

How old do you have to be to get your cartilage pierced?

Although there is no age limit required to get a cartilage piercing, minors who want to get their ears pierced must have parental permission to do so. It’s important to speak with your youngster about the right time to have this done. Each little one is different, so understand that what works for one kiddo might not work for another.

When can you get your baby’s ears pierced?

If you’re wondering when the right time to select an earring is, you aren’t alone. Many parents want their child to receive a piercing in their ear. Before you decide to select piercing items for your child, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Cleaning: You’ll need to sanitize the post regularly to avoid infection. Make sure you’re ready to handle managing the piercing for your little one.

  • Changing: It’s important to avoid changing the earring when your little one first receives their piercing.

  • Care: Make sure you properly care for your youngster’s earrings once they’re able to be changed. This may include washing after each use.

What are starter earrings made of?

Youngsters who receive an ear post will typically receive a surgical steel piece, which is less likely to irritate an ear than other materials. Does your youngster have any allergies or sensitivities to metal? If so, this is a solid choice that typically doesn’t irritate the skin. Other options include silver and gold, so make sure you speak directly with your piercer about which choices are right for your little one. Remember that no matter how old your youngster is when you take him or her to get their piercing, your child must learn to care for the site of the piercing. Your attendant at the store can guide you through which additional pieces to purchase and which cleaning supplies you’ll need to keep your little one in tip-top shape.

Final thoughts

No matter what type of earrings you decide to purchase, make sure you select a pair that makes you feel great about yourself. The right earrings should be comfortable and easy to use, especially if they’re for a child or teenager. When you choose a stylish, yet comfortable pair of earrings, you’ll have the best possible experience with your jewelry.


Christian Apparel and Jewelry: The Meaning Behind The Symbols

March 19, 2018

christian apparel

Wearing Christian jewelry and other apparel is a glorious way to subtly display our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Necklaces, rings, earrings, and other accessories and clothing (most often T-shirts) adorned with Christian faith symbols allow us to carry our belief out of the sanctuary and into the world God wonderfully created for us, and be fashionable at the same time!

Crosses and other religious emblems are often worn as fashion accessories, even by those who are not religious, or the wearer may not truly understand what the symbol represents. Embrace the opportunity to spread the Good News by having a ready explanation for the symbols you wear.

Others may admire and compliment the Christian jewelry or apparel you are wearing, which gives you the opportunity to explain the meaning of the emblem, and perhaps introduce unbelievers to the true purpose of Christianity. The increasing secularization of church worship leads many pastors to tell their parishioner what they want to hear, not the truth of the Word of God.

A chance encounter with a true Christian may lead these lost sheep down the right path, and your visual display of faith can enable you to reach out to others and spread the Truth. In Middle Eastern countries, sheep aren’t driven before the shepherd as we do in the West, but instead follow the shepherd faithfully. Live your life as an example that others want to follow. No one was ever saved by being beaten with a Bible.

Cross symbols predate Christianity, and ancient objects bearing crosses have been found in most parts of the world. The shape of the cross varies among different cultures. The cross is the most well-known symbol of the Christian faith, and represents the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a reminder of our own sins and our need for redemption.

The Celtic cross is one of the most ancient crosses, and was used by early Christians in Ireland and Great Britain. A circle surrounds the intersection of the crossbars. Legend tells us that it was introduced to Ireland by St. Patrick during his time of converting pagans to Christianity. It is believed he combined the cross with the symbol for the sun, so the pagans would understand the connection between Christianity with the life-giving importance of the sun (Son).

The Ankh, or ansate cross, bears an inverted teardrop shape above the horizontal crossbars. It is an Egyptian hieroglyphic that represents life and life and regeneration. Early Christians adopted it as a symbol of eternal life.

In the Roman Catholic church, Jesus is displayed on the cross (a crucifix), reminding us of Christ’s atonement for our sins. Other churches display an empty cross, reminding us of his resurrection. The Passion cross has pointed ends that represent the suffering of Christ. The Pommel Cross, with knobs on the ends resembling apples, represents the spiritual fruits of Christian life. Denominations may be represented by different forms of the cross, but they all carry the same message: Christ carried our burden of sin to the grave, and rose again, so that we too may all have eternal life.

The fish is probably the earliest emblem of the Christian faith. In Galilee, fish was a diet staple, and fishing was a common occupation. Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen. In Matthew 4:19 he tells them “Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Fish are referred to many times in the New Testament. It is the duty of all true Christians to be fishers of men; but we must leave it up to Christ to clean the fish!

Early Christians, who were severely persecuted by the Romans, used the fish symbol as a way to secretly recognize each other. When two strangers would meet, one would draw an arc in the sand. If the other was a believer, he would draw an arc that met the first one to create the shape of a fish.

The fish emblem may be empty or may contain the letters “ICHTHUS,” which is an acrostic, an arrangement of words in which the first letter of each word combines with the others to form a recognizable word. The initial letters of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” from the Hebrew word for fish.

The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, are often used together as emblems of Christianity. The reference is similar to our phrase “from A to Z.” Revelations 1:8 (KJV) states “I am the Alpha and Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” This verse refers to Jesus who, as the second person of the Trinity, has existed from the beginning of time and will exist throughout eternity.

The Dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. A dove descended upon Jesus on the occasion of his baptism (Mark 3:16) and is also the symbol of peace. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 KJV)

The anchor symbolizes the Christian’s hope in Christ. “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure . . . ” (Hebrews 6:17-19 NIV)

Wear your Christian symbols proudly. We are not to hide the Light under a bushel. Use each small opportunity to boldly witness to others, but do it gently and kindly. Some may disregard your words, or even become offended, but at least you have planted the seed. Leave it to Jesus to water the seed so that it may grow!


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