I own a jewelry store on Main Street in Anytown, USA. I write newsletters for my
customers. They like them. Maybe you’ll like them, too. This site has articles from
the 34 newsletters I’ve written so far.
Cynical, Eh? See below.
What’s In It For Me?
Ego. Not too much, because (surprise!) I’m an old guy. Your ego gets smaller and
your father gets wiser when you get older.
Rollover for old guy lessons.
Express myself. I write. Somebody has to read.
Book plug. I wrote a book on diamonds. I want to sell it. You can buy it here.
"Aha", you say. "Found you out."
You’re probably not going to hop on a plane and come to my store and buy something,
so if you're in diamond shopping mode, read the book plug on the next page.. (You
mean you're about to spend a fortune on a diamond without doing your homework first?)
And if you really enjoy this newsletter, see “You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet” on page
The carat, the unit of weight for gems, is derived from the carob bean. The carob,
or locust tree, grows in the Middle East. In ancient times, merchants found that
dried carob beans were very uniform in weight. The modern carat is defined as 2/10ths
of a gram. A dollar bill weighs 1 gram or 5 carats!
The most unusual engagement ring I ever made was for a woman whose hobby was raising
rabbits. She got a ring that looked like a carrot: a pear shaped orange sapphire
for the carrot and 3 small marquise green tsavorite garnets for the leaves. A one
carrot engagement ring!
Something For Nothing
Clueless? Unsure of yourself? Orna-mentally challenged? Problem solved! Just buy
a gift certificate and let the giftee do all the work while you get the credit!
Low Bandwidth Causes
Time Out Error
Watch strap keep popping off? It’s probably because there is a gap between the watch
case lugs and the strap, exposing the pin. Sometimes people get a strap that is the
wrong size and sometimes the leather compresses over time.
A too-narrow strap slides back and forth and grabs the springy part of the pin and
off it comes. A new strap that fits snugly between the case lugs cures it. I can
squeeze a slightly too large strap in and it will work, although it looks a little
pinched, but too narrow will create problems.
Straps are measured in millimeters. 16-20mm is the usual the range for men, with
18mm being the most common. Women’s watches usually take from 10-14mm. For a woman’s
watch with a man-size strap, I can order a man’s short as a replacement.
Of course, the pins come in inches.
Shell It Out
Remember wampum? It’s a redskin to paleface word for money in a bad western.
Actually, wampum is the shell of the Cohog clam. Its mother-of-pearl has purple swirls
and it really was used as money by the Indians.
It comes from old Cape Cod, where you can still find it set in silver jewelry.
But Was It Crunchy Or Creamy?
Soon after the first synthetic diamonds were made by General Electric in 1954, Robert
Wentorf, one of the researchers, in a whimsical tour-de-force, made diamonds out
of peanut butter.
The peanut, like you, is a carbon-based lifeform (according to Mr. Spock) and diamonds
are pure carbon. The result was tiny crystals of green diamonds. According to Wentorf,
the green color was caused by nitrogen in the peanut butter.
A Diamond is Forever Wasn't
"A diamond is forever" sounds like an old folk saying, but the slogan was created
in 1948 by the N.W. Ayers advertising agency on behalf of DeBeers, the South African
It is arguably the most famous slogan ever created and the most successful advertising
campaign in history.
It got you, didn't it?
No, trigons are not Star Trek aliens. They’re natural features on the surfaces of
The Picture of a diamond above was taken through the microscope. It shows a natural
with a trigon.
A natural is the original surface of a rough diamond that wasn’t ground away during
polishing to save weight. Naturals are usually on the girdle (edge) of a diamond
and are not considered defects if they are small and don’t intrude into the stone.
Often a diamond will have two naturals on opposite sides of the girdle, an indication
that the cutter was trying to maximize the diameter of the diamond.
Naturals look like shiny irregular facets with angular striations that are related
to the underlying atomic structure of the diamond crystal.
But occasionally a natural will show ghostly little triangles: trigons. An intact
rough diamond is shaped like two four-sided pyramids set base-to-base, called an
octahedron. Trigons occur on the triangular faces of the pyramids.
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
I sold an excellent sterling silver ring with a large opal, a nice heavy ring. A
week later, the customer came in with the bottom of the ring bent out of shape. It
seems that she had gone to a Broadway show and had applauded vigorously.
Silver is quite soft and even heavy pieces are easily bent, so practice Zen applause.
Attention! Joseph's does not carry those 5 year watch batteries you're always asking
for. They're only sold at gas stations where they sell the 35 miles per gallon gas.
Actress Paulette Goddard (1910-1990) was quite the jewelry collector. During the
McCarthy era she said that if anyone accused her of being a Communist, she'd hit
him with her diamond bracelets.
Amethyst, the purple form of quartz, is derived from the Greek amethustos which means
"not to be drunk." The ancient Greeks thought that wearing amethyst while imbibing
would prevent drunkeness.
Of course, they also believed that Windex would cure whatever ails you.*