Monday, February 23, 2015

Introducing Rose and Kate Unleashed

Rose and Kate Unleashed: Observations, Humor and Advice from Two Very Opinionated Dogs

 Now available for Pre-order from for delivery March 8, 2015.

Rose the Irish Setter and Kate the English Springer Spaniel, best friends for more than a decade, discovered several years ago that they had an amazing talent: they can blog. Since then, they have been writing down their observations, experiences and fun times and now they are ready to share them with you in their brand new Ebook, Rose and Kate Unleashed"Edited by Brian Hill and Dee Power.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pearls Pretty and PInk

The value of cultured pearls is based on five factors.

Cleanliness refers to the skin of the pearl and any imperfections. There may be tiny blisters, irregularities or bumps. Since the pearl was created naturally by a biological animal some imperfections are to be expected. Large irregularities devalue the pearl significantly. If there is only a modest blemish it may be hidden by the setting of the pearl. Or if the pearl is in a necklace or bracelet the drill hole may hide the imperfection.

Shapes in pearls comes in three varieties, round, baroque and symmetrical. The rounder, or more spherical the pearl, the more valuable. Symmetrical pearls can be flattened but evenly shaped, think of a button. Baroque means any pearl that didn't make the grade for symmetrical. Baroque are the most common shape of pearls and the least expensive. Pearls can't be cut to shape like gemstones, what you see is what you have to work with.

Size matters. Yes it's the bigger the better for pearls. Size is partially determine by the size of the mollusk (oyster), how big the nucleus or seed is, and how long that nucleus has been in the mollusk being covered with nacre, the pearly substance. Tahitian pearls, or South Seas pearls are the biggest because the mollusk grows up to 12 inches in diameter.

Color - the most valuable pearls, with the exception of South Sea black pearls, have a body tone of pure white with an overtone of rose. The more cream colored the pearl, meaning it has tints of yellow, the less valuable. South Sea pearls are valued different because they have a dark body tone overlaid with rainbow colors. These pearls also come in white and gold.

Luster is the reflective glowing attribute of pearls. They're not sparkly like diamonds or colored gemstones, nor do they glisten like opals. When you look at a pearl there is an iridescent factor like a rainbow being reflected back at you. This is called orient. High luster and orient means you have a valuable pearl.

While this has nothing to do with value, don't go looking pearls when you're shucking oysters for dinner. Pearl oysters are non edible.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

More on how diamonds are valued

Color: Diamonds come in colors including black. Most of the darker colors are used for industrial purposes and not for gems. The white-blue color of pure water is the most valued color for white diamonds and these are rated D-F. (There is no A-C on the scale.) As the diamond color progresses toward yellow (K-M) it becomes less valuable. Diamonds that have a noticeable yellow (N-R) to champagne color (S-Z), are the least valuable. Because the color can be influenced by the color of the gem's setting, the color is judged when the stone is unset.

To complicate matters and value, diamonds that come in colors, called fancies, are very rare and very valuable. Deep blue, red, and green diamonds are among the rarest and most valuable gems on earth.

Carat: Diamonds and other precious gems are valued on weight, or carats. A carat is 1/5 of a gram. Sometimes diamonds under a carat are valued in points. One carat is 100 points, so a quarter carat diamond can be referred to as 25 points. Diamonds are not valued on their apparent size, since the size can be either enhanced or diminished by the cut. And different gemstones have different densities. An emerald is lighter than a diamond and a ruby is heavier. A one carat diamond, one carat emerald, and one carat ruby would be three different sizes.

The more the diamond weighs the more valuable it is. The price of a diamond is based on carats, but the more the diamond weighs, the higher price it has per carat, all other things being equal, meaning the diamonds are the same in color, cut and clarity. In other words, a one carat diamond may be priced at $10,000 per carat, while a two carat diamond will be priced at $20,000 per carat. The one carat diamond costs $10,000 and the two carat diamond costs four times as much or $40,000. The discrepancy increases the higher the carat weight.

Diamonds of one carat or more can be graded by an independent lab as to the quality of the cut, weight, color and clarity. The certificate is often available at the diamond seller's.

When you're buying a diamond you can choose which factors are more important to you. If you want more carats, you can trade off clarity. If it's important the color is as close to pure white as possible, you can get a stone weighing less carats, or perhaps one that has a minor, but not visible to the naked eye imperfection.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Diamonds: How are They Valued?

Cut: A diamonds' cut influences the brilliance, or light reflecting qualities of the gem, at the same time it enhances the fire of the diamond, or that rainbow quality. A good cut enhances both qualities, fire and brilliance, without sacrificing one for the other. A well cut diamond balances the depth of the diamond to the breadth of the diamond. A poorly cut diamond of the same size can look flat and be more vulnerable to cleavage and breakage.

Clarity: Diamonds are crystalline carbon. The clarity of the diamond refers to the purity of the stone and imperfections within the crystalline structure and on its surface. There is no such thing as a flawless diamond in nature. Sometimes this clarity factor is referred to as the cleanliness of the stone. If a stone is viewed under 10x magnification and no imperfections can be seen, either internally (inclusions) or externally (blemishes), the stone is referred to in the trade as flawless. A microscopic speck of carbon, undetectable by the human eye, can bring down the value of the diamond substantially. There are five commonly used methods for grading clarity. Just keep in mind the cleaner the stone, the more valuable it is, the more it costs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fancies? Yes. Diamonds come in colors.

Think of diamonds and you think of breathtakingly clear stones, clear as water, pure as ice. But diamonds do come in colors. Diamonds are normally graded from colorless or rare white, to brown. Colors deeper than light yellow are not usually used in jewelry making, although on occasion, champagne diamonds or cognac diamonds appear. These are really, in most cases, white diamonds of an inferior color grade, rather than fancy diamonds.

The colorless is the most expensive of the white diamonds. Diamonds with a faint tint of yellow are less valuable and a yellow color visible to the naked eye are the least valuable.

Fancies are the term used for colored diamonds. Diamonds can be found in every color and intensity: red, blue, yellow, green, and lavender. The intensity of the colors can range from palest pink to red, lightest blue to sky blue and so forth. Fancy diamonds are rarer than white diamonds. The most common fancy colors are yellow ranging from canary yellow, orange, and brown. Colors such as pink, lavender and light green occur much more rarely than the yellow colors. Most valuable of all are the deep reds, greens and blues.

One word of caution: colored diamonds can be created artificially by subjecting inexpensive yellowish and brown stones to radiation or heating. Fancy diamonds, other than green, can be tested to see if the color is natural or the color has been induced.

The Hope diamond is an example of a fancy blue diamond. The Argyle Mine in Australia produces a small number of red diamonds and is the world's largest producer of pink diamonds. Several of their pink diamonds have sold for over $1,000,000 per carat.
The Dresden diamond is an apple green diamond weighing 40.70 carats. The Tiffany diamond is orange.

At certain times of the day the sky is colored. At sunrise you have what colors? Yellow, orange, and red. Suppose your diamonds take shape at these moments. They are reflecting the yellow or the red, and it becomes a part of them. Or if it is not sunrise or sunset, but the middle part of the day when the sky is blue, they reflect the blue. Just at the moment they turn hard they take on the color of the sky. If they are formed at night when there is no color for them they become pure and colorless, what we call white.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sapphires, Rubies, and Emeralds: How Colored Gemstones Are Valued

The colors of the rainbow caught forever in glittering jewels that take your breath away. Colored gemstones can rival diamonds for their beauty but how are they valued?

Even though sapphires, rubies and emeralds differ in color and weight for example, there is a consistency in how they are valued. And that includes lesser known gemstones like tourmaline, alexandrite, peridots, and garnets as well. The four characteristics that determine value in a colored gemstones are color, clarity, cut, and carats, but the most important is color, color, and more color.

The intensity of the color and the closer it comes to the true spectral color means the stone has more value. Emeralds should be a pure green, rubies the reddest red, and sapphires a deep rich blue. As the color varies from the spectral ideal, the value declines. For example: Burmese rubies have the best color. Rubies that are a lighter red, reddish orange, or with a touch of brown or a bit of blue aren't nearly as valuable.

Color is measured in intensity or saturation, in other words the vividness of the color. It also reflects the hue, or how close the color approximates the pure spectral color; tone which is how light or dark ie., how much black or white is in the color; and finally the distribution of the color or how even the color is across and within the stone.

The other factors of clarity, cut, and carats are not as important to the value of a stone that has the best color and inversely have a greater impact on the value of a stone that is not as pure a color.

Clarity is the absence of internal flaws that can be seen with a magnification of 10. Most colored gemstones naturally have inclusions or flaws. A prime example are emeralds which very rarely don't have flaws. The lighter the color of the stone the more visible the flaws become, while the darker the color of the stone the less obvious. The type of flaw and where it occurs in the stone affects its value as well.

Cut is the way a stone is faceted to bring out the best characteristics of that particular stone for its type. The cut brings out the color, fire, and brilliance of the stone, not sacrificing one for the other. Unlike diamonds colored gemstones can also be presented as a smooth rounded surface known as cabochon cut. Cabochon cut sapphires and rubies often reflect a star and are known as star sapphires and star rubies.

Carat is the weight of the stone, not how big it is. Different types of gemstones have different weights when cut to the same size. The density of rubies is greater than the density of emeralds so a one carat ruby will be smaller than a one carat identically cut emerald. Stones can be cut to look bigger as well. Some gemstones are more readily available in larger weights such as amethysts or tourmalines, that say emeralds. For example: An 18 carat tourmaline will have a lesser value per carat than a 5 carat alexandrite because large tourmaline stones are more common than large alexandrite stones.

The best safety precaution when buying gemstones or gemstone jewelry is to buy from a reputable jeweler. You will get what you pay for. Peace sign jewelry from heavenly Treasures does just that

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pearls before Swine

Pearls, beautiful, lustrous, glowing pearls. And to think it all started with a grain of sand.

The mollusk, that' s oyster to you and me, opens its shell to pass fresh water over itself and snag tiny bits of food. Sometimes what it snags is a grain of sand or piece of shell. If the mollusk can't get rid of the bit of grit it begins to coat it with a substance it produces called nacre. Coating the grain of sand makes it less irritating. As time passes the grain is coated with many layers of nacre. Eventually you end up with a lustrous pearl.

Not all pearls are gem quality. The pearl can be lopsided, have an irregular surface, or the coloring of the pearl is grayish instead of glistening. If the irregularity is only on one side and the pearl looks good otherwise it can be set in jewelery with the flaw at the back of the piece where it won't be noticed.

Pearls can be from fresh water or salt water mollusks. Salt water is more expensive.

Colors range from white, yellow, pink, to gray. South Sea Pearls, sometimes called Tahitian pearls, are some of the most expensive pearls. They are larger, because the mollusk is larger, and the colors are iridescent black, purple, and dark gray. The pearl looks like a rainbow is playing against the dark surface.

Natural pearls are very expensive and difficult to find in jewelry since the Japanese began culturing pearls. Cultured pearls are simply oysters in an oyster bed that has been seeded with a nucleus.

Good cultered pearls have been left in the oyster over several years to build up layers of the pearl. Cheap cultured pearls start with a much bigger seed core and then left in the oyster only long enough to gather a few layers. Those layers can wear off.

The value of a pearl is based on 5 factors: cleanliness, shape, luster and orient, and color.