What Does Hand Sanitizer Do to Our Jewelry?

I am, on the best days, a germaphobe. My obsession with keeping germs at bay went into overdrive when I became a mom, and then throw in a pandemic, and I’m considering fashioning myself a hand sanitizer holster. Oh yeah, I’d wear it.

Years ago when I worked in retail, even then I had a small bottle of hand sanitizer close at hand. I remember being told that too much could eat away at the rhodium plating on my ring (I had a white gold wedding set at that time). Still, a quick rub here and there kept my hands feeling clean, and, though my ring definitely bled yellow over time, it’s hard to know if that was the reason why—or if it was just general wear and tear.

Currently, constant hand-washing and sanitizing isn’t just for peace of mind; it’s highly recommended. I don’t even want to write the word COVID-19—I swear it echoes in my dreams. But it’s keeping us prudently cleaning our hands, and in turn, cleaning our jewelry, too—at least, the pieces we wear on our fingers.

Let me please preface this by saying that yes, you should absolutely positively wash wash wash, spray spray spray, scrub scrub scrub—whatever keeps your hands clean. Jewelry is precious, that is true, but your health is all the more so.

However, given that I’m sporting a newly redesigned wedding ring, I can’t help but wonder what I might be doing to it with my constant use of chemicals. Am I causing damage?

I always take my ring off to shower, lotion, make meatballs—you get it. Not trying to gunk up the jewels here! But I almost never take it off to wash my hands, and certainly not to sanitize. I’m betting most wearers are the same.

I spoke with Shan Aithal, a metallurgist at Stuller, to get the dirt (pardon the pun) on keeping hands—and rings—clean.

“To my knowledge, hand sanitizers are not capable of removing tough, albeit thin, rhodium that’s on a piece of jewelry,” says Aithal. “Hand sanitizers come in two varieties: alcohol-based and non–alcohol-based. The ones with alcohol are benign to jewelry items as alcohol is the main germ-killing ingredient. However, non–alcohol-based ones typically use chlorine-based compounds as germicides. These chlorine compounds could react with water and release free chlorine. Free chlorine radical is very reactive and could cause tarnishing of jewelry, especially if it is made of sterling silver. Also, halogens are known to cause stress corrosion cracking in low karat golds, in particular, nickel white golds.”

It is worth noting, in this case, that the CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content. As long as you’re doing that, your metal will probably stay in great shape.

Soaps, according to Aithal, are a different story. “Soaps can contain abrasives, like Lava or that orange goo dispensed near hand-washing stations, that could damage the surface of jewelry and cause rhodium to be worn away.”

What about my diamonds and sapphires? It won’t damage them, but can leave a filmy residue on the stones over time, dulling the sparkle. But it’s not permanent, and nothing a quick soak in an ultrasonic can’t fix.

“If anything, people should be cleaning their jewelry more,” says Susi Smither, founder of The Rock Hound. “Think of all that horrid buildup of crud under rings and behind the setting of claw-set earrings. Hand sanitizer kills the baddies then evaporates fast—this shouldn’t have any detrimental effects on your gemstones, even materials such as gemstones and pearls. If you’re worried, at the end of the day give them a rinse and dry when you get home.”

Peggy Grosz, senior vice president at Assael, suggests erring more on the side of caution when it comes to pearls. “Sanitized skin should not come into contact with your pearls until completely dry and evaporated—wait about five minutes before putting on your pearls,” says Grosz. “As with perfumes and hairspray, the alcohol in the hand sanitizer can change the surface of the pearl, the two noticeable differences being a loss of luster and a change in color—white pearls, for example, will become yellowed if repeatedly exposed to such chemicals. Pearl rings should be removed when applying hand sanitizer, but because they have a mounting which separates them from direct contact with the chemicals, it is safe to put rings back on after a few minutes.”

Bottom line? Most, if not all, jewelry will be just fine, and of course you don’t want to discourage your customers from prioritizing their health. But it is a good idea to arm them with this information, perhaps a little extra bottle of ring cleaner, and a welcome back to the store to have their jewels cleaned professionally, regularly.

Article Provided by: JCK The Industry Authority

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30th Anniversary for Geiss & Sons Jewelers

In celebration of our 30th Anniversary providing the Upstate of South Carolina with luxury brands from around the world, we are offering up to 50% off select jewelry and watches during our Anniversary and Holiday celebrations, now through January 19, 2020.
We have set ourselves apart as one of the finest luxury jewelry stores in the Upstate putting quality and customer experience first. We invite you to come experience our first class service and carefully curated selections of jewelry and watches… and take advantage of our first SALE of this kind, in honor of 30 Years of being a part of Greenville community.

Let us help you find the next amazing piece for your special someone or create a wish list in time for the holidays at Geiss & Sons Jewelers of Greenville.

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Good Time to Buy Natural Color Diamonds

It’s a good time to buy natural color diamonds. “The recent price declines in the white goods created an overall negative psychological effect on all diamonds. This is probably the reason we also witnessed a decline of 0.1% in the Fancy Color Index in Q2,” said Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF) advisory board member Eden Rachminov.

According to the FCRF, yellow diamonds displayed a decline of 0.8% vis-a-vis the 0.2% increase in the second quarter of 2018. The prices of yellow diamonds declined by 0.8% overall in this quarter, primarily influenced by the 1–3 cts. categories, with the sharpest downturn of 2.7% in the 1 ct. category.

Blue diamonds showed a 0.3% decrease in the second quarter of 2019 compared to a 1.5% increase in the same quarter in 2018. Blue diamond prices decreased overall by 0.3%, affected mainly by the decline of 0.9% in the weight category of 8–10 cts.

Only pink diamonds showed an upturn of 0.4% in the second quarter of 2019, compared to a 0.5% decrease in the same quarter in 2018. The pink category continued to outperform all other categories, showing an increase of 0.4%. All fancy vivid pinks rose by 1.3%, with fancy vivid pinks of 2 and 3 cts. showing a rise in the second quarter of 2019, increasing by 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively.

Despite the temporary psychological negative effect at the moment, the long-term price trend for natural color diamonds looks positive. According to research by Knight Frank, within the last 10 years, the price of colored diamonds went up by 85%, outperforming some “classical” luxury investment objects such as art and watches. “It’s definitely a good time to buy colored diamonds now,” says Rachminov.

One of the opportunities to buy is the upcoming True Colors auction by Alrosa, the worlds’ largest diamond miner. The diamonds will be available for viewing during the September Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair (Sept. 16–20). For the first time, the auction will be conducted via the Alrosa online platform, diamonds.alrosa.ru. The first True Colors auction was conducted in 2018. It finished with a total sale of 210 diamonds. The bidding was very active, and most of the lots were sold for well above their starting prices.

At this year’s auction, Alrosa is offering a comprehensive origin story for every stone for the first time. Thanks to Alrosa’s traceability programs, the consumers can witness the diamonds’ fascinating journey from mine and market. “With a closed production cycle, the company can guarantee the origin of every polished diamond, especially since it has its own unique ID,” revealed the miner.

This year, the collection includes about 200 polished diamonds of various shapes and colors, and all have GIA certificates. Each of them is a masterpiece of diamond production created by skillful professionals who put their hearts into their work, keep the traditions, and know what a real Russian cut is (Russian cut describes both the origin of the diamond and the location where it was cut).

Alrosa operates its own in-house cutting and polishing branch, Diamonds of Alrosa. Beginning in 2018, it concentrated on fancy color and unique diamonds. Alrosa’s goal is to become the leader in the natural color diamonds market. Being the largest miner, Alrosa aims to be the largest producer of natural color diamonds by volume.

Article Provided By: JKC

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Citigroup Sees Gold Heading to $2,000

The second gold rush may just be getting started, with a Citigroup report released today predicting that the yellow metal will cross the $2,000 an ounce mark within the next year or two.

That would be a new record. Gold’s previous high was in August 2011, when the price hit $1,917 an ounce.

Citigroup senior analyst Aakash Doshi tells JCK that the rise will be fueled by a combination of factors, including global economic uncertainty and historically low interest rates.

“We think there is a probability the Fed will take the policy rate back down to zero, as global central banks converge,” he says. “We think that recession risks, which are exacerbated by the U.S.-China trade war, are far from resolving. We believe that trade tensions will persist through 2020 and that the recession risks will likely increase.”

All of which will cause investors to look for safe haven assets, he says, and gold has traditionally filled that niche.

The environment is “bullish to the investor case for gold in the long run,” he adds, noting he’s been bullish on the metal since January.

He adds that central banks have also increased their gold purchases since the beginning of the year.

Doshi says certain events could send the price of the yellow metal in the opposite direction, including a “surprise trade deal,” a sudden increase in worldwide manufacturing, as well as a “sudden hawkish turn” from the Federal Reserve and other central banks.

At press time, gold was trading at $1,496 an ounce, below the $1,500 an ounce mark it hit last month.

All in all, though, gold has had an impressive year so far, rising 17%—its best year since 2010. Doshi notes that at the beginning of the year he predicted gold would hit $1,400 within six months—and it has. He expects gold to stay under the $1,500 mark for the next few weeks before starting to climb again.

Article Provided By: JCK

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Peridot Gemstone

History of Peridot.

This gemstone is named after the French word peritot, meaning gold, because the mineral can vary towards this color. Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August. It is also the stone given to celebrate the 16th year of marriage. Peridot has a very long written history. Ancient papyri record the mining of these stones as early as 1500 BC. The main source of peridot in the ancient world was Topazo Island (now Zabargad or St. John’s Island) in the Egyptian Red Sea. In Ancient times, peridot stones were used for carved talismans. Island habitants were forced to collect the gems for the Pharaoh’s treasury. Legend says that jealous watchers who had orders to put to death any trespassers guarded the entire island. The story continues that the miners worked in the daytime as well as night, as the gems could be found after nightfall due to their radiance. The miners would mark the spot at night for retrieval the following day.
Peridot is the National gem of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians knew it as “the gem of the sun.” Peridot was mined for over 3,500 years on St Johns Island. As late as the 19th Century, the Kedhive of Egypt had a monopoly on the mines. At one point, the island’s exact whereabouts became a mystery for several centuries until being rediscovered in 1905. Joel Aram, from the “Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones 2nd Edition,” writes “Zabargad is an island in the Red Sea that is often shrouded in fog, making it difficult for ancient navigators to find. The location has been lost in fact, for centuries, and was rediscovered in about 1905. The island is located 35 miles of the Egyptian coastal port of Berenica.” In the 19th Century, the mines on Zabargad Island produced millions of dollars worth of peridot. After 1905, production of the gems peaked, but by the late 1930’s it tapered off to practically nothing and reached a virtual stand still in 1958, when the mines were nationalized. Although parcels of St. Johns peridot still come into the market once in a while, it is not known whether it is new or old. Most assume it is old.
Peridot is also very beneficial when it comes to treating psychological afflictions as well. It is a wonderful stone to help someone who is going through depression. It is a stone of lightness that counters the effects of negative emotions. It has the ability to balance the process of emotional release and detoxifies negative emotions, bringing them to comfortable levels. Peridot fosters emotional balance, security, and inner peace. It soothes nervousness, heals emotional and physical pain, and lightens suffering. Such usages date back to ancient Roman times when rings of peridot were worn to relieve depression. Because it is calming to the nervous system, peridot is also useful in promoting sleep. Peridot banishes lethargy, which can attack someone who is experiencing depression. The stone’s energy balances bipolar disorders and other forms of depression and helps one’s self esteem or bruised ego. It also brings about necessary change, which is much needed to someone who is depressed.
Peridot is a relatively soft stone, rating a 6.5 to 7 on the hardness scale, making it a little softer than amethyst or emerald. Peridot should be spared rugged wearing if mounted in rings. The stone is also highly sensitive to rapid temperature changes. Peridots can also lose their polish if they come in contact with commonly used hydrochloric of sulfuric acid.
the best and safest way for you to clean your peridot, is with warm, soapy water. You should take special care of your peridot to ensure that it does not come in contact with drastic temperature changes, which can damage the stone. You should also protect your stone from scratches and sharp blows and avoid any contact with chemicals. Peridots should not be cleaned in ultrasonic or steam cleaners.

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April babies get one of the most popular and most precious gemstones as their birthstone: the diamond.

The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength. Wearing diamonds is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance. diamond jewelry is an ideal gift for a loved one born in April. As the gemstone with the highest rating on Mohs Hardness Scale, with a score of 10, diamonds have the unique ability to be cut and polished with the utmost brilliance. Their incredible shine and luster have captivated wearers for centuries. diamond add light and beauty to any occasion—especially birthdays!

HISTORY AND MEANING OF APRIL’S BIRTHSTONE: diamonds are billions of years old—in some cases more than three billion years old. There is evidence that diamonds were being collected and traded in India as early as the fourth century BC. In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny is quoted as having said, “diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.” During the Middle Ages diamonds were thought to have healing properties able to cure ailments ranging from fatigue to mental illness. diamonds are the traditional birthstones for those born in April. However, it’s no surprise that diamonds are known as the “love” stone. The ancient Romans believed that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds (perhaps the earliest association between diamonds and romantic love). It is believed by some that diamonds enhance the longevity and honesty of relationships. Since they are the strongest of the precious gems, they are also thought to increase the wearer’s strength. Many ancient cultures believed that diamonds gave the wearer strength and courage during battle, and some kings wore diamonds on their armor as they rode into battle.

Round cut diamonds on black.

A blue diamond on a black background with reflection. 

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So what makes emerald cut one of a kind?

So what makes emerald cut one of a kind?

Emerald cut is a distinctive step cut that plays with light and creates hall of mirror effect. The exquisite long facets and short corners showcase dramatic flashes of light and highlight the smooth luster and pristine clarity of the diamond or the gemstone. However, this type of cut is not for people looking out for sparkling brilliance and fire that is common with other diamond cuts and shapes. It is more about crystal clarity and depth of its planes, which makes any imperfections and flaws easily visible to the naked eye.

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Jeweler David Yurman opens Michigan Avenue boutique, keeps the brand fresh

Chicago Tribune

Legendary jewelry designer David Yurman has been creating chic designs for nearly 40 years. After starting out as a sculptor, Yurman quickly began producing wearable art, and over the years, his classic-with-a-twist designs have garnered him legions of fans. His iconic Cable Bracelet, first created in 1983, has been produced in numerous iterations, from elegantly minimal to heavily embellished, and has become recognized as his signature motif.

Along with his wife and partner, Sybil, and their son, Evan, who is chief creative officer, Yurman continues to expand the brand, gaining a new generation of clients as he goes.

I caught up with Yurman at his newly opened boutique in Chicago, to talk about his creative process and a few of his favorite things.

This is an edited transcript.

Q: You started out in 1980. What is the secret of your brand’s success?

A: I think that the reasons are still the same. We’re a craft-art-founded company. We’re not a fashion brand, although, if you’re living in this moment, you can’t not be touched by fashion.

Q: How did you make the change from being a sculptor to being a jewelry designer? With fine art, isn’t there more freedom to do what you want?

A: I thought so, too, but the reality is there’s no total freedom anywhere. As Bob Dylan said, “We all have to answer to someone.’’ I was in high school, and I was making (bronze) sculptures. They were all small, figurative pieces. I sculpted halfway through the alphabet of hand signing. I had all these little hands around, so I put loops on them, got leather laces and sold them in the cafeteria for $5.

Q: What’s the brand’s aesthetic?

A: It’s rooted in a classicism. (The jewelry is) kind of relaxed; it’s not fussy. There are sculptural lines. I think what signifies my jewelry more than anything is a sense of balance and proportion.

I came up through nine years of apprenticing. I worked with (sculptor) Jacques Lipchitz — classic, classic training — (and) Theodore Roszak, who was very disciplined. I needed discipline, I was a little wild, but I was fine with discipline as long as I liked the subject.

An amethyst and diamond version of David Yurman’s iconic Cable Bracelet and the DY Signature Pinky Ring with Cognac diamonds in 18-karat rose gold. (David Yurman)

Q: How do you keep the brand fresh?

A: I think there’s a lot of dynamic conflict in the company that I allow. Sybil is an editor, and she’s the brand watchdog.

Q: Is designing minimal pieces like your Continuance necklace more difficult than designing more elaborate pieces?

A: With Continuance, we did seven iterations that I know of until we got it. It’s an asymmetric twist with a loop. Those (more elaborate designs) are easier — you can hide more there. This one’s unclothed; it’s just the rhythm of it.

Q: Your new Chicago boutique devoted a large space to men’s jewelry. Men can be funny about wearing jewelry. Is it difficult building a men’s audience?

A: I think so. But it’s so rich — they’re out there. The men’s line is very masculine. The men’s line has a higher attention to detail than the women’s line. They go back and hand-finish so many pieces. They’re all hand-engraved. My approach (to the men’s line) is give it to my son and let him design it. He’s been doing it for nine years.

Q: What music do you listen to at work?

A: To get in my own zone, I’ve been listening to Charlie Musselwhite. Lately, I’ve been listing to a lot of Sonny Boy Williamson — a lot of harmonica. Then I’ll listen to Pablo Casals if I’m drawing, or the Rolling Stones if I need a break.

The bronze Dante necklace that Yurman made for his wife, Sybil, in the 1970s, and a Barrels Bracelet with diamonds and amazonite in 18-karat gold from Yurman’s new collection. (David Yurman)

Q: If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?

A: Neurobiology. Biophysics. I think it’s a little more, you know, life-saving, and it’s really interesting. Understanding how a jellyfish actually responds — and can we learn something from the world around us.

Q: What’s the most important lesson that this journey has taught you

A: Be careful of what you wish for; you may get it. What do you do with it now?

A few of David Yurman’s favorite things:

Item I can always be found with: Pilot razor pen

Painter: Cy Twombly

Sculptor: Jacques Lipchitz

Reading: Western Horseman magazine

Way to relax: I don’t

Destination to get inspired: It’s between the Western wilderness — Montana, Wyoming — and small Italian towns.

Restaurant: Giorgione

Style icon: Bruce Willis. I think he’s underrated.

Indulgence: Reining. Riding Western horses.


Article Provided By: Chicago Tribune

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David and Sybil Yurman: Out of Africa…and the Subconscious

When the SoHo jewelry-design power couple David and Sybil Yurman bought the adjacent penthouse in their building two years ago, converting much of it into studio space, it gave them the opportunity to stretch out stylishly in their original loft just across the hall. Since then they have been rearranging and adding to their collections of furniture and art.

The masks are mostly African in origin or inspiration. Other objects have an Asian aesthetic. A few of Mr. Yurman’s jewelry pieces and small sculptures — he began his career as an apprentice to Jacques Lipchitz — and Ms. Yurman’s paintings are included too.

Their favorite pieces enjoy places of honor on a living room cabinet, but arrangements are not firmly fixed. “It’s constantly evolving depending on where David and I have been and the mood of the day,” Ms. Yurman said. “I’ll just wake up from a dream about being in Morocco. Then I’ll want something that came from the windows of a harem.” She pointed to a marble sculpture from Morocco adorning a wall. “My tastes are like a consistent river that runs through me,” she continued. “I don’t think of myself as a collector. I don’t even use the word ‘collect.’”

Mr. Yurman piped up: “Actually, we collect a lot. Constantly.”

His wife just smiled.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Masks from the Fang, a Central African people from Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.


How do you decide what you display?

SYBIL YURMAN What attracts me are things that have memories attached from my own life. I often paint at night and they influence me. One of David’s sculptures, for example, which I absolutely love, is the story of Icarus, which always inspires me.

DAVID YURMAN The piece was interesting to do, but it wasn’t a self-portrait. Although maybe that’s what I’ll look like when I get really old.

When it comes to furniture and design, you clearly appreciate midcentury modern. Where does your furniture come from?

MS. YURMAN About 15 years ago we went to Denmark and bought beautiful Danish pieces and shipped them back to America. The container included two Ole Wanscher tambour cabinets and a dining room table that belonged to the writer Isak Dinesen. My father, Murray, was a furniture designer and poet. He loved Danish design and joinery. He used to pull me out of school to go on scavenger hunts for furniture and treasures.

You mentioned you care a great deal about things Japanese.

MS. YURMAN It goes back to my father and the year he spent with the Navy in Japan. He was on one of the first ships into Japan after the armistice. He would send home pictures of himself surrounded by little Japanese schoolchildren. He brought just one thing back, this carving of Fukurokuju, the Japanese deity of prosperity. My father thought this piece was exquisite and whoever created it was a true artist. Years later he gave me the ceramic piece we have on the cabinet now. This piece is totally different. It has a rough glaze finish. I’ve made raku pieces that have the same roughness and crudeness. It’s the aesthetic of the wabi-sabi school of pottery. It’s about accepting imperfection and accident.

What’s up with these pictures of mounds?

MS. YURMAN Well, I painted them. I truly don’t know if they’re mounds or houses. They come out of my subconscious. The pictures here are actually prints. I sold the originals years ago, which helped finance the business for quite a while.

The picture of a mermaid riding a whale’s tail — surely there’s a backstory.

MS. YURMAN It’s by Jeannie Weissglass, a local artist. I grew up involved in the story of “Moby-Dick.” My father would tell it to me often, about what happens when you’re involved in pride and spend your life involved with an adversary. When I saw the mermaid riding on the whale’s tail, I was touched by it.

You have quite a few masks and totems. Where do they come from?

MR. YURMAN From all over. One on the table my grandchildren love. Unfortunately, they tend to take them apart. One is pre-Columbian. We bought it at the Park Avenue Armory. It’s a burial piece.

MS. YURMAN It might have been used to club somebody.

Does it have a ceremonial use?

MR. YURMAN Not for us, hopefully.


Article Provided By: The New York Times

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