QUESTION 1- My grandmother recently passed and left a whole box of different strands of Pearls. Is there a simple method to determine if they're real or not?
Maryanne- There is an extremely simple method. Take a pearl and gently rub it against your teeth. If it feels gritty it is a cultured pearl. If it feels smooth, it's most likely a plastic synthetic.
QUESTION 2- My engagement ring is constantly filthy as I am a baker and never take it off. I can't always run to your store for a clean and steam, any suggestions? Someone told me to boil it!!
Diane- Do NOT boil it. Despite being the "hardest substance", you can still crack a stone in boiling water.
We're always happy to clean and steam your ring. But when you cant get in here are a few ideas:
A) We sell jewelry cleaner that comes with a small brush. you can let it soak for a bit, use the brush on the bottom of the stone and by the prongs, and rinse in tepid water.
B) They do make portable ultra sonic cleaners and home steam machines. They are not commercial quality, but they get the job done and they're not terribly expensive. Both under $100.
C)Pour 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda into a shallow bowl. Mix the solution so that the baking soda is completely dissolved. Soak your diamond ring in the solution for two to three hours. Then rinse your ring under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
D) In a pinch take toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Brush the paste (toothpaste does not leave a film like certain soaps do) well throughout the diamond and then rinse the entire engagement ring thouroughly in tepid water. It wont be perfect, but you'll see a marked improvement.
QUESTION 3-I bought a stainless steel ring while in Aruba. It was too snug, but the salesperson told me to just have it sized when I returned to the states. Upon returning, I couldn't find a jeweler who was willing to size it. Can you help?
Jimmy- I'm afraid the salesperson mislead you. While stainless steel is extremely durable, it is also very difficult to work on. You probably have to find a stainless steel manufacturer and they may not be willing to help you. Our torches do not reach sufficient heat to size stainless, as gold, silver and platinum are far more malleable and require far less heat. Another alternative is finding someone who does laser solder. Be prepared to pay dearly.
QUESTION 4) I keep hearing about watches having "Complications". What does this mean?
Lincoln- Wristwatches have been around for a very long time and their is a fascinating history of the creation of Complications as far back as the 16th century. A watch complication is any function that exists in addition to telling time (displaying hours, minutes and seconds) on a timepiece. These watch complications enable special functions that are performed and displayed on the watch to enhance and/or simplify your life. Examples are a chrongraph, i.e. stopwatch function or a world time function. Actually, day/date and calendar and even moon phase are considered complications. Any watch that only tells time is referred to as a simple movement.
There is also something called a Grand Complication. Grand Complications are considered the most complex and highest achievement of haute horology (People who study the measurement of time) . While watchmakers and collectors debate over what really qualifies a grand complication, the generally accepted definition of a Grand Complication is a portable timepiece that includes a minute repeater, moon phases, perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph and a grand and petite sonnerie which is a quiet gong that strikes every quarter of an hour.
QUESTION-I'm trying to decide between Platinum and White Gold for my Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands. Does it matter? Is one better than the other, stonger?
Dashka- I get this question a lot. Platinum is denser and therefore more durable than White Gold. It is also harder to work on and generally more expensive due to it's density. Platinum is actually softer than gold, but density is the key to durability. As for aesthetics, Platinum is naturally white, while Gold is naturally yellow. This means Gold has to be mixed with alloys to become white and then is usually rhodium plated to give it that lustrous white shine. Over time rhodium wears away and some yellow could come through. Nothing a good polishing and re-rhodium won't take care of. Because platinum is softer it tends to scratch more easily and sometimes takes on a grayish tinge over time. Once again a good polishing and some rhodium will bring back the original sparkle.
So generally speaking, there isn't a lot of difference. I recommend 14KT Gold with a Platinum head to hold the diamond. 14kt is stronger than 18kt-the more gold content, the softer the metal. The Gold ring will be less expensive and probably more comfortable since it will weigh less than platinum. And if you need to resize or do any other work on the ring it will be far less expensive in Gold!