Day: January 11, 2023

Lesa Knows Best: Tips For Cleaning Your JewelryLesa Knows Best: Tips For Cleaning Your Jewelry

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Rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and MORE! We love receiving and gifting these small, sparkly treasures but how many of us think twice about cleaning them?

Jewelry cleaning is essential to keeping that engagement and/or wedding ring looking brand new. Don’t forget about those anniversary earrings or the heirloom pearls your grandmother gave you on your birthday. Over your lifetime, you will probably find yourself with a collection of jewelry that will remind you of some of the happiest moments of your life. Now, in order to keep those memories sparkly we need to learn how to take care of them. Here are my top three tips on keeping your jewelry looking great.

Tip #1: Soak
Enhance your gold, diamond and silver pieces by soaking them in ½ a cup of an antibacterial/degreaser solution such as Summer Citrus or Mr. Clean. and 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Then scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush, targeting the smaller, hard to reach areas. Rinse with warm water, and lay on a tissue to dry.

NOTE: Another cleaning alternative is club soda. Place diamonds, rubies and sapphires in a cup of it overnight to regain their original shine.

Tip #2: Rub
For pearl jewelry rub each one individually with a soft, clean cotton cloth dampened with a solution of two cups warm water and a few drops of a mild dishwashing liquid, like Joy or Woolite (DO NOT SOAK). Let air-dry overnight.
Tip #3: Pour
Get rid of silver tarnish by lining a tray (ex. glass casserole dish) with a piece of aluminum foil and place your jewelry on the foil. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the jewelry, then pour boiling water over it. After ten minutes remove the jewelry and rinse with water.

Throughout the year we often have jewelry cleaning and repair services on sale (if you’d rather leave jewelry cleaning to the experts).

Which Came First: The Engagement Ring Or The Wedding Ring?Which Came First: The Engagement Ring Or The Wedding Ring?

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If you guessed the wedding ring, you were correct! The tradition of the ring to symbolize a special bond between two people has dated back since the Egyptian times, 4800 years ago. Back then, the rings were braided and formed with reeds. These rings would not last long and were eventually replaced with strands of leather, bone or ivory. Through the years, the circular shape has maintained its same meaning since. It is a sign of the never-ending love and commitment between two individuals.

Later on, the Romans added a new material to the mix when they decided to make their rings out of iron and engrave them. The origin of the engagement ring came to be in the Third century in the shape of a key made out of brass, bronze or iron. The idea of the key ring was to unlock a new life for the woman. Some of the rings indeed opened up jewelry boxes with beautiful treasures inside.

A more traditional engagement ring style (more similar to rings you see today) made its way to the stage in the 15th century and was first worn by royal families. Brides in the upper class were given engagement rings with hidden messages. For example, a ring with a diamond and a ruby displayed would stand for commitment and passion.

Fast-forward to the Eighteenth century and you will spot the beginning of the Diamond Age. As diamonds in Brazil became more accessible for the upper classes, so did their popularity. It also was at this time that a second ring (aka a wedding band) was united with the engagement ring at the time of the ceremony. One of the lead trendsetters, Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England, opted to nestle a diamond band with her engagement ring.

Fun Facts:

  • The earliest and smallest engagement ring was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. She was two years old at the time.
  • The first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when King Maximilian I of Germany (1459-1519) proposed to Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482) and offered her a diamond to seal his vow. (So guys, you now know who to blame!)
  • The most popular month for engagement? December.
  • In 1886, the Tiffany setting took the engagement ring by storm. The design’s creator, Charles Lewis Tiffany, knew the importance of a diamond engagement ring and wished for a stage to display its prominence and symbolism of love.
  • Today, in Norway, Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Spain, the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand and not the left. In Jewish tradition, the groom places the ring on the bride’s index finger, and not the “ring” finger at all.
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Natural vs Freshwater Pearls: What’s the Difference?Natural vs Freshwater Pearls: What’s the Difference?

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You may have seen advertisements or displays of “cultured freshwater pearls” and noticed two things: the appearance of the freshwater pearls was drastically different than that of traditional, white “natural” pearls. The other noticeable difference is typically the price. Freshwater pearls are generally far less expensive than natural pearls.

Aside from their drastic difference in appearance and cost, there are some other major differences between freshwater and cultured pearls. For example, natural pearls occur randomly and spontaneously in the wild—which makes them very rare.

Freshwater pearls, on the other hand, are farmed from freshwater mussels, allowing them to be produced and harvested on a much wider scale—hence the lower price.

Both freshwater and natural pearls come from a living organism, which makes them somewhat fragile. However, freshwater pearls, because of their appearance and lower cost, are often worn on a more casual basis. Natural pearls, with their elegant and timeless style, are usually saved for special occasions.

Natural pearls are often passed down from generation to generation, making them extremely delicate as they are handled and worn throughout the years. In order to keep pearls safe from damage there are some precautions you can take:

  • Restring your pearls every 3 years or so—depending on the level of wear—to avoid a potential break.
  • Avoid wearing makeup, perfumes, or other chemicals when wearing pearls—these can damage the surface of your pearls.
  • When storing your pearls, make sure they are free of contaminates and avoid hanging them for long periods of time—this will stretch and eventually break the silk string holding them together.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your pearls looking beautiful for many years to come. Feel free to stop by the store and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your prized jewelry.

Here at Gold Definitions, we believe jewelry is meant to be worn. So don’t be afraid to show off those pearly whites—jewelry, that is!

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Why Should I Restring My Pearls?Why Should I Restring My Pearls?

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Do you have a pearl necklace or bracelet? If so, did you know that your pearls can and should be regularly restrung to protect their beauty and quality?

Stringing pearls is a process by which pearls are carefully threaded onto a silk strand and knotted between each pearl. These knots provide two functions. The first function is practical, in that they keep the pearls from rolling everywhere in the event that the strand breaks. The second function is aesthetic, in that they provide a refined and elegant look by maintaining an appropriate and equal amount of spacing between the pearls.

Over time, however, the silk strand slowly begins to weaken, stretch out, and may even begin to appear dull or dingy from regular wear. These effects not only take away from the beauty of your pearl necklace or bracelet, but they also increase the likelihood of the strand fraying or breaking.

Most experts recommend restringing your pearls every three years or so, depending on their age and their amount of usage. To ensure the longevity of your pearl necklace or bracelet, consider bringing them to an expert and spending a relatively small—yet worthwhile—amount to have them restrung.

Pearls—like diamond rings or other pieces of valuable jewelry—are an investment and should receive proper care. In many cases, pearl necklaces or bracelets are passed down from one generation to the next as symbolic and meaningful family heirlooms. Regardless of whether you received your pearls from your mother or grandmother, or whether your spouse purchased them for you a few years ago, be sure to preserve the beauty and quality of this valuable piece of jewelry through regular restringing.

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The Origin of Wheat Carving and EngravingThe Origin of Wheat Carving and Engraving

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Ring designs are often deeply symbolic, conveying profound significance with small, but important colors, styles, and more. For example, wheat carving and engraving on rings is often represented with a series of detailed hash marks across the width of the ring. Behind such designs as wheat carving and engraving are often rich stories of how humans have interpreted those designs for centuries.

What does such a style symbolize? And how did this style emerge?

Wheat carving and engraving on rings is typically understood to symbolize a bountiful harvest. In the 19th century, farmers’ wives wore rings with this design as a way to signify a successful or productive harvest that year. As one can imagine, doing this was a display of pride and gratitude for the wife and her family. Some have also speculated that wheat carving and engraving on rings emerged during the Renaissance, symbolizing fertility.

Today, this design—found predominately on vintage rings—might be interpreted along these historical lines. However, it might also be understood to symbolize a connection to the natural world. Or, perhaps it could be seen as a tribute to the agricultural background of one’s family.

Whatever ring design you choose, you should know that every design comes full of symbolic significance—whether that be a historically inherited significance or a personal significance you choose to give.

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Why Solder Your Wedding Rings?Why Solder Your Wedding Rings?

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So, you just got married and now you have two rings—an engagement ring and a wedding band—on the fourth finger of your left hand. While some wives choose to keep these rings separate, doing so can lead to both rings becoming damaged. Due to the friction caused by the two rings rubbing and scraping against each other over time, the intricate details of each ring can easily wear out, gradually transforming a clean and beautiful design into a marred and lackluster one.

The best and most common way to protect these two important investments is to solder them together. Generally speaking, soldering is the process by which two metal items become joined together through melting down and adding a filler metal—or solder—into the joint between the two. The filler metal has a lower melting point than the two metal items being joined, so the structure of these two items remains unchanged. This is what separates soldering from welding, a process by which two metal items are joined by being melted together. Believe us, you don’t want to weld your engagement ring to your wedding band!

By soldering your two rings into one with a delicate, yet solid bond, you are choosing to preserve their beauty and quality for years to come. (In addition to preserving these things, it’s simply easier and more functional to wear one “ring” as opposed to two.) When joining your two rings together, be sure that the soldering process meets the following important criteria:

  1. Proper fit: both rings having equal inside diameters
  2. Proper alignment: both rings maintain their individual artistic quality
  3. Proper amount: the rings are bonded together at two points
  4. Proper spacing: the bond should give the appearance of two separate rings
  5. Proper quality: joining the rings with a lasting, professional-level bond

Soldering your engagement ring and your wedding band together is a wise choice. Doing so will enable you and your spouse—as well as future generations—to enjoy your rings as they currently are. Just as you would choose to work hard to preserve your marriage, so, too, you should choose to work hard to preserve the rings symbolizing that marriage.…