Frequently Asked Questions About Jewelry

You have questions? We might have answers!

#1 How should I clean my diamond ring?

In our opinion, the best way to return the sparkle to your diamond, moissanite, or other diamond substitute ring is to use some soapy dishwater and a soft toothbrush. Really.

Chimera Design recommends warm soapy water to clean diamond jewelry.

Usually what makes diamonds and other gems lose their sparkle is when hand lotion, hair products or other oil based materials build up underneath the gems. Diamonds actually are attracted to oil and vice versa. Just get some warm soapy water and put your ring(s) or other diamond jewelry in it for a while and then if need be, give it a little gentle scrub with a soft tooth brush. Then rinse in warm water. 

Two Cents From Cliff - most Jewelry Cleaners are jars of soapy water!

ONE MORE THING - if you are in the neighborhood, stop in and let us put your jewelry in our heated ultrasonic and inspect the tips and prongs for you - we offer this service FREE. 

#2 Question How Often Will I Need New Tips or Prongs On My Ring(s).

Generally speaking, most people can wear a ring for 8 to 10 years before they need tips or prong work. There are exceptions in both directions - we have seen tips worn down to nothing in two or three years. We have also had ladies swear they have gone 20 years with no work done on their rings.

When a ring is new, the tips come up over the top of the gem in nice little beads of metal to hold the gem firmly in place - like this ring that actually has 2 tips on each corner of the gem. See how the gold (rose gold in this case) comes up over the diamond?

New tips on a ring look like these.

The tips on this ring are worn to nothing. Another example of worn and missing tips on a diamond ring.

These are pictures of rings that came in for repairs. As you can see, in both cases the people were lucky they did not lose their diamonds as the tips are so worn down that two or three are actually missing. 

Because there is no answer that applies to everyone, we encourage you to stop in once or twice a year to let us take a look. We don't charge to look and we will most likely give your ring a nice warm bath while it is here. 

#3 - Can I Wear My Ring To The Gym or When I Work Out

Cliff's Sarcastic Answer - sure can - especially if you want to pay us to FIX it when you are done!

Seriously, if your ring(s) are made of gold, platinum, silver, or paladium, they are going to lose when they come in contact with the steel equipment at your gym or out in your garage or basement. STEEL WINS EVERY TIME. Sterling silver is extremely soft - Cliff is pretty sure he can bend some thin silver rings just by yelling at them.

Platinum is very durable, but it is also very malleable. A couple of summers ago a lady came in with a beautiful, heavy platinum wedding set that was bent flat across the bottom. This got Julie's attention, so she started asking questions. Turns out that her riding lawnmower was in the shop, so she mowed a rather large yard using a push mower. The vibrations of the steel handled mower handle combined with her grip, flattened the ring out. Really.

Your wedding ring might look like this if you wear it to the gym.

And for those of you who wear tungsten, stainless steel or some other alternative metal ring(s), they might not bend, but they can get nicked, scratched or even shatter (tungsten) in an extreme case. Not to mention the fact that your finger is sitting in the middle of all this heavy metal action!

#4 - How Should I Take Care of My Pearls

If you retain nothing else about taking care of your pearls, commit this to your memory: Last On And First Off.

Put your pearls on last and take them off first.

The nacre of the pearl is the outside that provides pearlescence to them - that wonderful pearly luster that makes them so attractive. Anyway, the reason you want to put them on LAST is because you don't want cologne, body spray, hair spray, or make-up de-lusterizing the luster. I might have made that word up, but you get my drift. And we want you to take them off before you start your evening ablutions. 

Never, ever, ever go swimming in a pool or dip in a hot tub with your pearls on. Don't shower with them on either. Especially if they are on knotted silk (with a knot between each pearl of a small group of pearls) because the silk will stretch and get dirty to say nothing of what chemicals would do to the nacre and the luster of your pearls.

Jeweler's Mutual Insurance Company (they only insure jewelry and know their stuff) has a great page of information about caring for your pearls. Since this is the internet and we like to bounce around, here is a link:

More Information About The Care of Pearls

#5 What Is The Best Way To Untangle Chains That Are Knotted Up?

So glad you asked this one - it is much easier than you might think.

Here is an easy to follow video - if Cliff can do it, anyone can!


#6 - What is the difference between 18, 14, and 10 karat gold?

Gold Karats Explained at Chimera Design 18kt, 14kt, 10kt

Karats and Carats - Jewelry talk is confusing, right? We have a 1.25 carat diamond mounted in a 14 karat white gold ring - and if you buy one today, we will throw in 2 pounds of Organic Carrots FREE.

When it comes to gold - the karatage is a reference to the percentage of gold in the piece of jewelry. If you found some gold while panning in the Flat River, the gold is probably going to be in its pure form - 100% gold and no alloys or other metals. 24 karat gold is beautiful, but it is also very, very soft (malleable) so you would not really want jewelry made from it.

The malleability of Gold explained quickly

In order to make jewelry last longer and be more durable, we add other metal alloys to it in order to reduce the percentage of gold (also helps change the color of the metal - see below).

  • 18karat gold is 75% gold and 25% alloys. 

  • 14karat gold is 58.5% gold and 41.5% alloys

  • 10karat gold is 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloys.

  • In Europe they sell 8karat gold which is 33.3% and 66.7% alloys.

COLOR - gold only comes out of the ground in one color: YELLOW (except if it is mined near chocolate milk cows, but that is another story for another day). By adding certain alloys in the process of reducing the percentage of gold, we can get white, rose (pink), green, and other colors of gold. 

NOTE: the karatage of gold is the same no matter what color the gold is. 18kt white, yellow, and rose gold are all 75% gold with 25% alloys. 

 #7 - Are Loose Diamonds or Diamond Jewelry A Good Investment?

In a word: NO!

I just had a customer ask me this question in the store yesterday. The short answer is NO. I say that for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, diamonds and diamond jewelry are purchased to mark an occasion or to celebrate something or because they look GRRRRRREAT, not with the thought of building wealth.

I have always believed this and NEVER use the word "investment" in reference to any diamond or diamond jewelry we have in the store. With the current trend toward diamonds grown in laboratories I would double down on that sentiment. There are some who argue that mined diamonds will become MORE valuable faster with the influx of lab diamonds. In my opinion that is a risky supposition.

I do use the word "value" sometimes when selling a diamond or diamond jewelry that we have in our Estate case and/or available on consignment. For instance, we have a gorgeous rose gold ring set with Morganite and diamonds in the Estate case right now selling for less than $2,000.00. For us to make you a similar ring new would probably cost close to $4,000.00, so the one in our case is a good value. But is it an investment? Maybe, if you could find someone willing to pay you the price of a new ring for a used ring. Would I sell it to you as an "investment"? No, I would not.

The last time (1976-79) there was a flurry of buying and selling of "investment" diamonds, there were some people who made money (my guess would be that those making money were the ones fanning the fires), but there were a lot of people left owning diamonds that they over paid for and from which they would not recoup their investment, never mind make a profit.

DISCLAIMER: All of this is my opinion after being in the jewelry business for over 20 years. You can carefully consider it or disregard it completely. Cliff