Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Be Mine...Bejeweled...Beware. Advice for Buying Gemstone Jewelry

Larry Denton

Gemstones can be naturally mined, laboratory-created or total imitation. Natural gemstones (like rubies, sapphires, diamonds), as the name implies, were made by Mother Nature. Stones created in a lab can look identical to stones mined from the earth since they have essentially the same chemical, physical and visual properties as natural gemstones. The major difference is the cost. Laboratory-created stones do not have the rarity or uniqueness of naturally colored stones and, consequently, are much less expensive than naturally mined stones. Because these synthetic stones look similar to the real stones, they must be identified (labeled) as being lab-created. In contrast, imitation stones look like natural stones in appearance only, and may be glass, plastic, or less costly stones.

Gemstones can be measured by weight, size or both. The basic unit for weighing gemstones is the carat (with a C), which is equal to one-fifth of a gram. Carats are divided into 100 smaller units, called points. For example, a half-carat gemstone would weigh .50 carats or 50 points. When gemstones are measured by dimensions, the size is expressed in millimeters (for example, 7x5 mm.). Many gemstones are treated in some manner to improve their appearance or durability, or even change their color. Jewelers should tell you whether the gemstone you are considering has been treated since it may affect its value or require some special care.

Diamonds, the proverbial girls' best friend, are valued on four basic criteria: color, clarity, cut, and carat. The color of a diamond is usually "graded" on a scale. However, scales are not uniform: a "D" may be the best color on one scale, but not for another. Clarity refers to the presence or absence of internal flaws, called inclusions, which occur naturally within the stone, or to external blemishes, such as scratches or chips. A diamond can be described as "flawless" only if it has no visible surface or internal imperfections when viewed under a 10-power magnification by a skilled diamond grader. Make sure you know how a particular scale and grade represent the color or clarity of the diamond you are considering. Cut refers not only to the shape of the diamond, but also to size, angle, uniformity and polish of the facets (faces of the stone). Carat weight may be described in decimal or fractional parts of a carat, as described above.

Imitation diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, resemble diamonds in appearance but are much less costly since they are made in a laboratory. Other synthetics such as lab-created moissanite, also resemble diamonds and may not be detected by the instruments used to identify cubic zirconia. Ask your jeweler if he has the latest testing equipment to distinguish between real diamonds and lab-created stones.

Natural or "real" pearls are made by oysters and other mollusks. Cultured pearls are also grown by mollusks, but with human assistance: that is, an irritant introduced into the shells causes a pearl to grow. Imitation pearls are completely man-made using glass, plastic or organic materials. Because natural pearls are very rare, most pearls used in jewelry are either cultured or imitation. Cultured pearls, because they are produced by mollusks, are usually more expensive that imitation pearls. A pearl's value is largely based on size, usually state in millimeters, and the quality of its nacre coating, which gives it luster. Jewelers should tell you whether a pearl is imitation or cultured.

Some black, bronze, gold purple, blue and orange pearls, whether natural or cultured, occur that way in nature. Some, however, are dyed through various processes and jewelers should tell you whether the colored pearls are naturally colored, dyed or irradiated.

When you're in the market for a piece of jewelry for yourself or someone you love, shop around. Whether it is online, in catalogs or at a traditional store make comparisons. Compare quality, price, and service. Ask about refund and return policies before you buy. Check for the appropriate markings on metal jewelry. And make sure you get a sales receipt containing any information you relied on when making your purchase.

Best wishes for an enjoyable and rewarding shopping experience!

Larry Denton is a retired history teacher having taught 33 years at Hobson High in Hobson, Montana. He is currently Vice President of Elfin Enterprises, Inc., an Internet business dedicated to providing valuable and accurate information and resources on a variety of topics. For a treasure chest full of additional information about jewelry please visit

Yes, There Are Opportunities For Christian Work from Home Businesses
Randy Wilson

There are specific Christian work from home businesses around, with more opening up every day, although some would argue that any business can be a Christian one. Before you make any decisions though, ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • What are my talents and skills?
  • Is my goal to have a new full-time business or to add to my existing salary?
  • How will having a Christian work from home business affect my family?
  • Am I looking to help others through my business?
  • What quality of life do I really want?
  • What's necessary to achieve that quality of life?

These questions are just to get you thinking about what your true purpose is in pursuing Christian work at home opportunities. Without an idea of what your goal really is, you can't achieve it.

You especially need to consider your own special skills and abilities. For instance, if you love kids and are good with them, you might consider starting a Christian daycare center for them in your home.

Focusing on what your talents and skills are will keep you from going into any Christian work from home businesses that you're truly not interested in or good at, and help you choose what you will be successful at doing.

Maybe you love to write. There are many opportunities for Christian work from home businesses in the desktop publishing area. You can produce programs, brochures, tracts, church histories, and directories for churches in your area. You can also go bigger with this once you get started and have a few successes under your belt.

You could also consider writing inspirational literature, especially e-books. The demand for all sorts of Christian literature is out there, just waiting for you!

There are also many Christian work at home opportunities in MLMs (Multi-level Marketing). Some of them center around selling products like cleaners, vitamins, and family-oriented books. With this sort of Christian work at home business, you also usually get income from people you bring into such programs.

These types of Christian work from home opportunities can also be done predominately online. Just do your research to be certain that the company you're selling goods or services for isn't a scam of some kind. You can check with BBB (Better Business Bureau) or the SBA (Small Business Association) for information on companies you are considering signing up with.

Christian work from home businesses you might also want to consider is assembling Christian-related items in your home. These items range from putting together crosses to making jewelry. Some companies pay you outright for your work, others charge a small fee and allow you to sell the goods yourself.

If you love to work with your hands and be creative, this is a wonderful Christian home business opportunity for you to look into. Again, be certain that the company you choose is a legitimate one.

Now that you have Christian work at home ideas, what do you do next? Consider these things:

  • Do I have the space I need for an office?
  • Is there any special equipment I need to purchase?
  • Are there any licenses required?
  • Should I obtain any additional insurance?
  • Do I need to hire people to help me?
  • What sort of accounting system will I use?
  • How do I plan for taxes?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you need to make a business plan that maps out the steps you need to take to get your Christian work at home business up and running.

The more planning you do in the beginning, the better off you'll be. You'll be more efficient and won't waste time or money this way. And those things are key to any successful home business.

© Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved

Randy is has more home based business articles at Profitable Home Businesses F to J such as Advertising Business Opportunity.


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