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What To Know About Buying/Selling Estate Jewelry January 22, 2020 12:24

 

Selling Your Estate Jewelry

The first thing we tell anyone who inherits jewelry - be it a little or a lot - DO NOT TOSS ANYTHING OUT! We have seen too many instances where people mistake the real thing for costume jewelry and vice versa. Take all the items to a trusted professional with experience, test equipment and a solid reputation. Let them tell you what you have.

The second most important thing to know is that generally speaking, Estate jewelry is like any other used item - it is not going to sell for the replacement cost or any where near the cost of a new piece. There ARE exceptions, but a general rule of thumb for a sales price if the item is in good, very good or excellent condition is 50% of the cost of a similar new item. 

Exceptions might include Rolex watches, designer pieces, collectible items - signed pieces, etc. 

A popular misconception is that diamonds and diamond jewelry appreciate in value. Some of this is because of misunderstanding appraisal value. For example, say I do an appraisal on a 1.00 ct G color SI1 clarity round diamond mounted in a 14kt white gold solitaire for someone today. I might advise them to insure the ring for $6,700.00 as a replacement value. Should Ms X pass away tomorrow, will her family be able to sell the diamond ring for $6,700? NO, not even close. I am advising them with the appraisal that in my professional opinion based on 23 years in the business that if they lost the ring, $6,700 would be enough to replace it with a similar ring. Who in their right mind would buy something used for the price of the same item new?

Think about it - pick any item you own that might be covered by insurance. A musical instrument, your car, electronic equipment, smart phone, etc. If your house burned most insurance policies will cover replacement cost (the good policies anyway), but would you use that as a tool to sell your used car, TV, phone, or guitar? No, because no one is going to pay you the same amount for a used whatever as they would for a NEW one. They would be silly. The same principle applies to Aunt Susie's diamond tennis bracelet that she had insured for $7,000. It is used, so expecting it to sell for the price of a new one is not realistic. (Exception, it was a Tiffany piece made in the 1920s in mint condition.....then MAYBE.)

People like to think that this process somehow means jewelry prices are super inflated or fake or what ever. Simply not true. The replacement or new value of ANY ITEM is generally considerably more than what you can sell the used item for. People want to hold used jewelry to a different standard some how and I do not understand it.

We have 20 years experience in the jewelry business and we also have test equipment that helps us find the gold and diamonds in the midst of costume jewelry.

So - what does this help cost? Well, if you will allow us to buy the silver and gold, we don't charge you to look for it. If you just need a general evaluation and to separate out the fine jewelry from the rest, we work on an hourly basis (Cliff is pretty darn fast at this, too) We charge $40 an hour.

If we find some really nice pieces, we can sell them for you on consignment here in our store OR we have a network of people we work with in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, and LA who buy big, estate pieces. We have been able to help people realize more money in their pockets by this networking.


In Which Cliff Changes His Mind About Moissanite March 16, 2019 17:52

Cliff was never a big fan of Moissanite. That all changed in 2015 and he explains why in this blog post.


We Can Help You With Inherited Jewelry February 20, 2019 15:44

Inherit some jewelry and not sure what is or is not valuable? Chimera Design can help you.

Chimera Design Now Offers Pocket Watch Repair & Service August 8, 2018 10:50 1 Comment

We now offer service, repair, and restoration of pocket watches. 

 

 


Learn To Be A Bench Jeweler - Get a Job Anywhere in The Country July 10, 2018 13:27

The jewelry industry has a need for skilled workers. There is a demand for trained bench jewelers all over the country.

Cliff Explains Karats, Carats, and Carrots June 29, 2018 15:53

Ever wonder about karat, carat, and carrot? Three words that sound the same but have nothing to do with each other.

Chimera Design Has The Solution For Curved Engagement Rings July 15, 2017 10:22

The Loving Embrace curved bands will fit 95% of all engagement rings.

 


Estate Jewelry Sale At Chimera Design in Lowell 4/27/17 March 3, 2017 16:12


Taking Care of Your Pearl Jewelry May 25, 2016 11:38

Shout out to our favorite Californian, Elizabeth, for suggesting we put more "How to take care of your jewelry" information up here. Your wish is our command!

How to care for your pearls

Good rule of thumb for pearl jewelry - especially necklaces, earrings, and bracelets: "Last On and First Off."

The nacre of the pearl is the outside part of the pearl we see and love. It is what gives the luster to pearls and provides the depth of color - think of the term pearlescence. Well, you want to put your pearls on AFTER you put on any make-up, hair treatment, and even perfume. That kind of material can build up on the pearls and a) ruin the luster or b) in extreme cases even damage the nacre by eating away at it. 

At the end of the day, you want to remove your pearls BEFORE you start your ablutions for the same reasons. You don't want soap or some other cleaning product that may be harsh to come into contact with your pearls.

Taking care of pearl jewelry - learn how here.

We often tell people to do the dishes with their wedding rings on - the hot soapy water disolves the oily residue that makes diamonds lose their sparkle.

If you have a pearl ring - NEVER do the dishes with it on. They way the vast majority of pearls are attached to rings (like the one above), and many earrings and pendants for that matter, is when the pearl is half-drilled and then attached to a post using expoxy. Even the best epoxy will loosen after exposure to water.

I cannot tell you the number of pearl rings I have seen over the years where there is nothing left of pearl's nacre. The seed pearl is still on the ring, but the good part with the luster and shine has been eaten completely away.

So - please keep ALL of your pearl jewelry our of water - even showers or baths. And because of chlorine in pools and even WORSE chemicals in hot tubs - never, ever, ever ever go in a pool or hot tub with your pearl jewelry on.


Bring Your Ring in For a Day at The Spa - $15 January 30, 2016 11:52

Your rings work hard to glamorize your hand - give them a Spa Day at Chimera Design.

We will start with an inspection of the ring. We will make sure the tips, prongs, channels, and bezels are in good shape for keeping your diamonds and gemstones secure in the mounting.

The it is off to the back room for an invigorating 2850 rpm session with our Handler Buffer. This will remove surface scratches and return your precious metal to a nice shine. Our jewelers rouge is especially formulated to clean and polish.

Chimera Ring Day Spa starts with an invigorating buff

From there your ring will be transferred to our Branson 2510 heated ultrasonic where any dirt and debris will be gently shaken by the soothing 40kz sonic waves.

Your rings day at the Chimera Design spa includes a warm, ultrasonic bath

Then it is a short hop over to our 1300 watt Steam Dragon steamer for a purifying blast of vaporized distilled water at 90-125 psi. This will remove any residual jewelers rouge and gra-do!

Your ring will finish with a blast of steam at Chimera Design

A day of luxury for your ring - including a FREE inspection - is only $15.00 per ring.

Ideal Cut Diamonds Without the Huge Price Tag At Chimera Design December 9, 2015 15:00

Did you ever notice how some diamonds sparkle a whole lot more than others? Well, it could be because of the way they were cut. A round diamond cut deeply causes the light to go out of the bottom - we call extreme cases of this Nail Heads. If the cutter shapes it too shallow - then the diamond can appear lifeless - we call them Fish Eyes.

A diamond cut to ideal proportions will return light like nothing else. No other gem can take light in and shoot it back at you like a diamond.

Learn about ideal cut diamonds at Chimera Design

A couple of years ago we met Michael. He is a diamond cutter from New Jersey and is a master of his craft. When he stopped in the shop to show us what he could do, we bought one of his diamonds on the spot (Cliff never does that!). Since then we have introduced couples to his sparkle-fest diamonds. Laurie was so impressed, she wanted two of them for earrings!

 

Ideal cut diamonds at Chimera Design

 There is one company that has been marketing ideal cut diamonds by showing customers the hearts and arrows visible in their diamonds using a viewing device. Te result is the heart shape patterns (above left) seen from the bottom of the diamond and the arrow patters (above right) seen from the top down.

.50 ct ideal cut diamond engagement ring at Chimera Design

The diamonds Michael cuts are done so well, you do not even need a special viewing device to see the arrow patterns! The ring above is set with a .50 ct VS2 I diamond Michael cut and the one below features an .81 ct from Michael.

.81 ct ideal cut VS2 I diamond ring at Chimera Design

Ideal cut diamonds at Chimera Design - all the sparkle for less money!
Please come in and let us show you what a well cut diamond looks like -
we love to show off Michael's skills.

Learn About Lab-Grown Gemstones September 5, 2015 14:28

Spend any time at our store and you will probably hear one of us talking about gemstones that are "lab grown" or "lab created". Or you might read that somewhere on the net or hear it on one of the jewelry channels. So, what the heck does it mean?
There is a very big difference between a "synthetic" ruby and a "lab created" ruby. A "synthetic" ruby can be any material that is manufactured to have the same color as a ruby - it can be any number of materials including plain old glass. A lot of antique jewelry contains colored glass that looks like ruby, sapphire or other gems.
On the other hand a "lab created" or "lab grown" ruby is a gemstone where the crystal material is grown in a laboratory that duplicates the temperatures and conditions that exist when natural ruby crystals grow in the Earth.
Many people believe growing gem crystals in a lab is a fairly recent development, but Carroll Chatham perfected growing emerald crystals in 1938. Once he had the process down for emeralds he went on to grow perfect rubies and sapphires. 
These are emerald crystals we purchased from Chatham Labs in California. It takes almost a year to grow emerald crystals big enough to facet into gemstones. (It takes about 90 days to grow sapphires and rubies.)
After a year, emerald crystals are big enough to be cut and polished into gemstones that are ready for jewelry. Natural emeralds as free of imperfections as those pictured above are possible to find, but they can cost tens of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, lab-grown emeralds cost hundreds of dollars.
Here at Chimera, we love ALL kinds of gemstones. We have a great source in Michigan for natural rubies and sapphires, but we also make a lot of our jewelry using lab-grown gems from our supplier in New Jersey (they have great prices, which we pass along to you.)
We also have beautiful jewelry from our friends at Strellman's. Almost all of the pieces in the Strellman line utilize lab-grown gems. This has been the case since the beginning when Mr. Strellman perfected his Lighthouse Lens cut (seen below). In order to produce this unusual cut, the amount of waste that occurs by cutting the stone along both axis' would make the use of natural rubies and sapphires not only cost prohibitive, but it would be a terrible waste of gem material.
One last note - diamond crystals, made of pure carbon, are also being grown in laboratories. I do not mean Moissanite, cubic zirconia or other diamond substitutes, but pure carbon crystals. However, at this point the price difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is only 15-20% and has not really captured jewelry shoppers with the exception of those who would prefer to buy a man-made gem because of the environmental aspect.
But you can be sure as the technique for growing diamonds spreads and is put into practice more places, the price will drop to a place where it will be similar to what has happened with rubies, etc.
If you have a question about jewelry, diamonds, or gemstones - send to Cliff and he will do his best to answer it for you.