Jewelry tips for the novice

Published 8:30 am Thursday, April 5, 2012

A cloudy yellow citrine may be the stone to avoid if seeking out a gem for investment. (Photo credit:

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori

I have heard many men, at various venues across the country, report they don’t buy jewelry for their wives or girlfriends because they don’t know enough about jewelry to make an informed decision. I have had my fair share of cheap boyfriends and let me just tell you what most women think of that lame excuse — you sound cheap. So, in order to educate the masses and help my girlfriends get gifts of fine bling, here are some tips about jewelry.

If you are interested in purchasing a colored gemstone, diamond or strand of pearls, a jeweler with a GIA certification and a strong, honest reputation in the community is your best ally.

If you are just starting out or your girlfriend is not buying your excuses anymore, here are some things to remember. When it comes to colored gemstones such as garnets, sapphires, rubies, amethysts, citrines and emeralds, remember that stones develop differently so they will look different to the naked eye.

Color forms

Color has the greatest impact on value. Generally, the most valuable colored gemstones have a medium to medium-dark tone. Light-colored or cloudy-colored gemstones are typically not as good as their dark or clear counterparts. Some colored gemstones, such as the amethyst, can actually fade.  Be careful and avoid prolonged exposure to light.

While clarity relates to value, inclusions are like birthmarks on a gemstone showing a stone’s individuality, not necessarily its flaws. Inclusions impact the look of a gemstone and its value.

Carat weight is the standard unit of weight for most gemstones and the per-carat price will increase as size increases. I’ll just say it, size matters.

Security first

When buying estate jewelry, be sure the prongs on a setting of a ring or pendant are secure. Check the prongs holding a gemstone in place. It is a good idea to replace old clasps, install security chains and other safety clasps to protect the investment of your piece of vintage estate jewelry.

Today, there are certain jewelry styles and trends that are making a comeback. For instance, contemporary designers are re-introducing deep red garnets, popular in the early 1900s, into their new designs. Tiaras, cameos and lockets are also making a strong statement in the fashion world as they did in the Victorian era when they were among some of the most popular pieces of jewelry.

One of the most interesting trends in jewelry design is the return of rose gold, which was in favor from the late 1890s to 1920. Rose gold has a distinctive rosy color thanks to its high copper content and mixture with yellow gold.

When buying jewelry, set your budget and don’t be afraid to shop around. Forget the excuses, do your homework and get some beautiful bling for your favorite someone.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on the hit TV show, Auction Kings on Discovery channel. Visit, or call (888) 431-1010.