Buying jewelry while traveling

We thought it was a good time to update this post!  One of our favorite (and most supportive clients) just made two purchases while traveling, which have turned into a nightmare.  Thankfully, they are taking it in stride (“It’s not the first time I’ve been taken”).  Rings purchased at even the most reputable stores in tourist areas, recommended by the most elite of cruise lines,  might not be what they seem.  In this case, of the two purchased, one cannot be sized without falling apart and one is not as represented (an assembled gemstone instead of a solid gemstone and it’s glued in place, not set into the metal).  Here’s a repeat of our advice:

We all love to travel.  (Most of us do, anyway!)  Bringing back souvenirs is one way to keep the memories of the trip alive.  Jewelry is a popular one; it’s small and portable!  However, we have a note of caution.  It’s easy to get caught up in the moment.  It may feel like a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.  Don’t spend more than you are willing to lose!  We end up helping clients with their bad travel purchases every year!  Values are misrepresented, rarity is exaggerated (“there are no more tanzanite being mined”), and many times our clients are just plain lied to.  We’ve had clients buy what they thought were brand names at bargain prices at reputable stores only to find out the brand and quality were totally misrepresented.  Colombian emerald has turned out to be chalcedony (They paid $1000. for jewelry worth $100.  Yes, you read that right.)  Getting money back, even from credit cards purchases, can be a time consuming nightmare.

Here’s how to minimize your risk:

*Make sure you have contact information from where you are purchasing.  Name, mailing address, phone, email.  These people count on never seeing you again and that you won’t follow up.

*Get recommendations from other sources besides the cruise and travel companies.  Many times they work together.  Talk to other travelers.

*If you are considering buying a bigger ticket item, do your homework.  We’ve had clients think they bought Hearts On Fire Jewelry at a significant savings from a Hearts On Fire retailer out of the country.  The ring was even stamped Hearts On Fire.  It wasn’t.

Jewelry is a fun way to bring home the memories of your special trip.  Just don’t spend more than you are willing to lose!


Great Reminders on Summer Jewelry Care

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Summer Jewelry Care

Summer is hard on our jewelry. The pool chemicals and salt water are not friendly. Packing lightly means your jewelry is thrown together in a Ziploc bag. Did you manage to fit everything in the car, with bikes on the back and maybe canoes on top? You didn’t bruise or cut your hands because your rings took all the abuse. Even just a day at the beach, managing chairs, coolers and umbrellas (or a beach cart if you’re a NJ beachgoer) can cause prongs to break or chains to snap. What can you do?
First, take a minute to think about which pieces might hold up best. Costume jewelry is inexpensive but if it’s sentimentally important, leave it home. Repairing it can be tricky and the summer elements of water and chemicals (pool, lotions, sunscreens, perfumes, sweat containing all of them) are likely to damage it. Be aware that the metals used in costume jewelry might react with those same summer chemicals and stain your skin. If you consider your costume jewelry disposable and replaceable, then wear and enjoy it.
Gold, silver and platinum will hold up to more wear and tear. Sunscreen won’t necessarily harm precious metals but it will dull them. Best to get a travel jewelry case so they don’t clank against each other. Occasionally we see discoloration on gold or silver where parts are soldered together after exposure to pool chemicals. This is due to the alloys added to precious metals in the solder. This can be polished off (the sooner, the better).
Although diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, they are not indestructible. A knock or blow can chip them (internal characteristics and the property known as cleavage can make them susceptible). The best way to prevent chipping is to be aware of any heavy work you are doing and to be careful.
Colored gemstones and pearls are more easily damaged than diamonds. Even though pearls grow in the ocean, they are a more fragile gem material. The shell they grow in provides protection from the sea. That beautiful lustrous nacre coating can wear off when exposed to sand and salt or fresh water. Keep them away from other chemicals as well.
On an entirely different note, guys seem to lose more wedding bands while swimming in the ocean than anywhere else. If the water is cold, fingers can shrink. If it feels a little loose while out of the water, take it off. But remember to put it back on!
After a day of picnics or beach time, rinse your fine jewelry off in warm water and dry it gently. When you get home stop in and we’ll professionally clean it for you. It only takes a few minutes and we’ll go over everything to check for security.
If you have summer jewelry care questions we haven’t answered, let us know!