Friday, February 3, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Birthdays and the Garnet

Celebrating all our January birthdays! You have the gorgeous Garnet to claim as your birthstone. The history and lore of your birthstone goes back to what is believed to be its naming in Roman times. It was called "garabatus" in Latin for seed-like referring to the seeds of the Pomegranate. Garnets were the symbols of protection for travelers and soldiers. They were even thought to protect from nightmares. The Garnet represents sincerity, loyalty, devotion, trust and friendship. The heart shaped garnet ring is a wonderful gift to combine a January Birthday gift with an early Valentine's day gift.

Garnet Heart Ring

Garnet stones come in cabochon form, step cuts, checkerboard cuts, and faceted cuts. Some garnets are not cut but polished into a round shape called a cabochon. The cabochon is more appropriate for garnets that are more opaque and would not look good as cut gemstones. (First stone pictured below: checkerboard cut; second stone pictured: faceted cut; third stone pictured, cabochon; fourth stone pictured: step cut)

Garnets are modestly priced stones and as such can be used to make beautiful and reasonably priced jewelry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

JEWELRY INSURANCE IS ASSURANCE. If any of your special moment jewelry was damaged, lost or stolen, how would you feel? Here are some tips to prevent issues and ...give you peace in wearing your jewelry:
- GET A CURRENT APPRAISAL (Independent appraisal companies provide written documentation with photos of your pieces that insurance companies require to give accurate insurance.)
- INSURE FOR REPLACEMENT VALUE (Whether you insure with a Rider on your Homeowner's Policy or you select one of many Jewelry Insurance products, buy appropriate coverage.)
- PROFESSIONAL JEWELRY INSPECTIONS EVERY 6 MONTHS (Just like your car needs oil regularly, your jewelry needs an inspection every 6 months to be preventative with damaged or lost stones and proper upkeep of the precious metal setting.)

Visit our website for more tips on care and maintenance of your jewelry:

Viridian Gold

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why are larger diamonds so much more expensive?

A customer who recently requested a quote for an upgraded diamond on one of our engagement rings had a good question.  He wanted the 1/4 carat diamond in the standard ring to be replaced by a 1/3 or 1/2 carat stone of the same quality.  My quote to him for both sizes showed the 1/2 carat diamond costing much more than he expected, given my quote for the 1/3 carat one.  He asked why the larger diamond was so much more.

You would think that the 0.5 carat diamond would be about 1.5 times more expensive than the 0.33 carat one, right?  After all, 0.5 is about 1.5 times 0.33.  But, in actuality, the 1/2 carat diamond costs us over 2.5 times what the 1/3 carat costs us from our diamond supplier!  So, even though we don't mark up the larger diamond as much, we still have to sell it for a lot more than the smaller one.
Cross and Diamond Engagement Ring

The other problem is that upgrading from a 1/4 carat to a 1/3 carat is a small jump, and our supplier's cost/carat is about the same for those two sizes.  So, the added cost for the 1/3 carat is fairly small.  But, the cost/carat of a 1/2 carat stone of good quality is, again, much higher than for the smaller ones.  That makes the "upgrade cost" much higher.  Needless to say, the cost/carat goes up with diamond sizes, so a 2 carat diamond is much more than just 4 times the price of a 1/2 carat of the same quality!

Why is that?
So, why are larger diamonds so much more costly on a per-carat basis?  It's because diamonds are not manufactured, but mined.  "Mined" is just another way of saying "found!"  In nature, smaller raw diamonds are much more common than larger ones.  In other words, finding a raw diamond that can be cut to yield a high-quality 1/2-carat finished diamond is much, much, much more unlikely than finding smaller stones that will yield 1/4 or 1/3 carat diamonds.  And, on top of that, a larger raw diamond can always be cut into smaller stones if it contains serious impurities--they just cut the smaller stones from the portions that have fewer impurities.

To work around this cost issue, it is customary for a jeweler to quote a lower-quality stone if the customer wants a larger diamond.  Sacrificing a slightly lower color and clarity rating can lower the price by a huge amount. Once again, it is because of the rarity of larger sizes being found with good color and clarity.  It works the other way around, too:  this is the reason that we use high-quality diamonds in our rings--why give the customer a poor diamond just because it is small?

To learn more about diamond quality as measured by color, clarity, and other parameters, see our Diamond Quality explanation page.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Online Ratings: Is rating the seller or the item more important?

See reviews from actual customers.
When you shop for items online, what is important to you?  Perhaps you have noticed that many online stores show "customer" reviews of individual items. Some items that you shop for online need to be scrutinized to see if they are going to perform the way you expect.  For instance, if I buy an electronics device which is complex, say a disc drive for my computer, I want to make sure that it hooks up and works as advertised, and that it does not fail in the first few months of use.  So, it is helpful to see what people say about that.  But, a hugely problematic issue with individual item ratings on most websites, is that they are so easily faked.  There is no safeguard to prevent anyone, including the seller, from posting a number of positive reviews of a particular item.

But, for many purchases, the quality of the seller is more important than reading an individual's personal opinion about a particular item:
  • Does the seller honestly describe the items they sell on their website?  
  • If you call them with questions, will you get a knowledgeable and helpful person rather than someone who only works for an organization that is hired to answer the phone for an absent proprietor? 
  • Do they have a reasonable return policy?
  • If you have a problem with the item or delivery, does the company care? 
  • If you need the item by a particular date, are you able to get someone to help you with that?
  • If the item is customized with engraving or special sizing, are you confident it will be done correctly?
  • Do they return phone calls and emails in a timely manner?
  • How long have they been in business, and do they have a good reputation with their customers?
  • Can you trust them with your credit card information and your money?
The above issues relate to the quality of the selling company and are not particular to the item you are ordering.

At the company, you will not find ratings of individual items.  Taste in jewelry differs greatly from one person to the next, but everyone would agree on the importance of the above issues relating to the company who is selling the item.  Also, the vast majority of customers do not bother to review an item they purchase, so out of the many thousands of items on our website, even if we offered a review option, only a very few items would show reviews.  That is precisely the reason so many websites fake those item reviews!

Instead, we show validated reviews that come from our actual customers.  Since our store website is hosted by Yahoo Inc. Merchant Solutions, we show customer reviews that can only be obtained from customers who really purchased items from our store.  Each of those reviews are prefaced by the words "By a customer via post-transaction survey".  We are not able to edit or delete those reviews, so what you see are also unfiltered. Some customers only reply to the survey by giving us a rating on each of the five categories, and don't enter any written comments--these are counted as "ratings" and those who add comments are counted as "reviews."

By checking those unedited ratings and reviews on our Ratings Page, you will find that our customers have had an overwhelmingly positive experience buying from us. These ratings are supplied to us by Yahoo Stores when our customers elect to submit a review form.

We hope you will visit us at and experience not only our quality products, but also our outstanding customer service.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The "Illusion Setting" explained

Many of our diamond rings at are made with a special type of mounting for the diamond, called an illusion setting.  This type of setting was created to enhance the appearance of the diamond mounted within it.  The diamond is surrounded by a white gold "platter" which contains ridges to catch and scatter the light into and out of the diamond.  The prongs of the setting may be spaced to hold the platter as if it were a larger stone (with the diamond mounted on another set of prongs within the platter), or the prongs may support the diamond within the platter as shown at left. The first type is used in our Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings #1229 illustrated below.

The intention of such a design is to highlight the beauty of the diamond--a poor-quality stone will actually look worse in an illusion setting!  Diamond pricing is directly proportional to the quality of the diamond, that is, its color, cut, and any impurities embedded within it (called inclusions).  With an illusion setting, a ring with a high-quality, smaller diamond will look better than a ring with a larger, poor-quality diamond of the same price.  Always place a greater emphasis on quality over size when purchasing a diamond--you won't regret it later!

This type of setting can also be made in shapes other than round, such as shown below in our Religious Marquis Engagement Ring #1380.  In this design, three diamonds are used, a larger one in the center and one in each half of the marquis shape. Illusion settings may also appear in pendants, bracelets, lapel pins and other diamond jewelry.

For an engagement ring, a couple may select a ring with a nice diamond mounted in an illusion setting and, years later when they can better afford it, they can have the setting and diamond replaced with a larger stone. Also, many of our rings which are shown on the website with illusion settings may be modified to a traditional setting, so that we or the customer may supply a larger stone.  As always, feel free to call or email us if you have questions about our jewelry. is a full service jeweler, so we can custom size and engrave your ring, too.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hollow/Tubular, v.s. Solid Wedding Rings

Because the price of gold has gone up so much in the last 5 years, we are seeing more gold jewelry that uses techniques to reduce the gold content of the piece, and thereby lower the cost.  One recently resurrected concept is the manufacture of wedding bands which are hollow on the inside.  So, your ring will look exactly like a solid ring, but it will weigh much less, and therefore cost less!  But....

Hollow rings, sometimes referred to as tubular, or "Silk Fit Ⓡ", cannot be re-sized like a solid ring.  And, because they are hollow, they can be easily dented in normal use.  Once dented, they cannot be easily repaired, if at all.  And, they may not even cost less...

For example, I found a size 10, 14K white gold "Silk Fit Ⓡ" band on eBay, listed for $170.  The gold weight is listed as 1.2 grams.  Our 14K White Gold Comfort Fit Gold Band in a size 10 is shown on our website today as $239.00, and the gold weight is 3.1 grams, over two and a half times more gold!  To equalize the price of the hollow ring to our gold price, that seller should have his ring priced at about $65.00 instead of $170.00.  So, it is no bargain, and in fact, is way, way overpriced for the quality of the ring.  Or, looked at another way, if we priced our ring the same way they are pricing theirs, our ring would be selling for $454.00!

The image to the right shows a cross section of different style rings.  Wedding bands on our website are solid all the way through, so the yellow color in the image above is all gold.  In a hollow, or tubular ring, the yellow color in the above image would be just air, or possibly a non-metallic filler, and the black outline is the actual gold, although it would probably be a little thicker than the black line indicates.

A wedding ring is a purchase that will stay with you for a long time, and most of us will notice that our fingers "gain weight" over the years.  If you have a solid band, it can easily be stretched to accommodate your new measurement, but a hollow band would have to be scrapped.  Even if you lose weight, and want the ring reduced in size, that can be done, too. Don't compromise, always buy a solid ring that can be re-sized if needed, and it will last a lifetime--you won't regret that decision.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Christian Jewelry Shop now part of

Silver Fish Ring

The Christian Jewelry Shop website was created by us in 2007 to feature rings, wedding rings and pendants of interest to Christians. We have decided to close that site, and redesign, our main site created in 2005.
Child's Pearl Cross Gold Necklace
Back then, our main site did not have much "religious jewelry" on it. However, over the years we have added all of the items that used to be on Christian Jewelry Shop, along with many more, in all price ranges, in our Faith and Family section.

You will find many more Christian items now, such as our Sterling Silver, Ichthus Fish Ring, shown above, which carries the ancient symbol of early Christianity. Other jewelry now available are numerous children's religious items, such as our Child's Pearl Cross Necklace, in yellow 14K gold, including a 15" gold chain (also available in white gold).

As always, you get free shipping, and you can have many items engraved, as well has have our rings custom sized to your specifications.  In addition, many of our Wedding Ring Sets offer discounts when two or three rings are purchased together. Please visit our newly re-designed site, and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gifts for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Looking for that perfect gift for those special members of your wedding party?  At Viridian Gold, we are pleased to offer a selection of gifts to honor your bridesmaids, maid of honor, best man and groomsmen. Make your selection from affordable items of pearl jewelry, sterling silver jewelry, and non-jewelry gifts, such as small jewelry cases.  For pearl gifts, we suggest our Freshwater Pearl Station Necklace and Earring Set #2092, pictured on the left, or our Pearl Bracelet #3036, which is available in six, pearl color combinations.  For sterling silver bridesmaids' gifts, two of our most popular items are designer Deborah Birdoes' Friendship Heart Necklace #2064 and our Sterling Silver Diamond Heart Locket #5168.

You may also choose from a selection of sterling silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings. 
Charm bracelets, such as our Sterling Charm Bracelet #3073, make wonderful bridesmaids' gifts, or view
CZ Drop Earring and Necklace Set #2179.  And don't forget to check out our Bridesmaids' Gifts page for even more suggestions, including small jewelry boxes and jewelry travel bags.

Cross Pendants also make memorable, wedding party gifts for both bridesmaids and groomsmen ~ choose from a selection of both men's and women's crosses in sterling silver and stainless steel.  For men, may we suggest an engravable money clip, such as our Sterling Silver Money Clip #9055, or a pair of men's cuff links, such as our Titanium Cuff Links #9086.  As always, if you need assistance with your selection, please give us a call ~ we're always happy to help!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Crosses for Children

Child's Budded Cross Necklace We have recently added a number of small crosses which are ideal gifts for children.  These crosses include a 16" yellow-gold-filled chain at no charge.  Options are offered for 14K gold, 14" chains, as well as other lengths, and these can be selected when you order the cross.

Child's budded cross necklace in sterling silverFor instance, at left our Child's Budded Cross Necklace is available in 14K yellow or white gold and is 9/16" tall -- is perfect for a baptism gift.  A colorful alternative is our Child's Dedication Cross, at right, which is made of sterling silver, with a blue or pink enamel interior.  It includes a 14" sterling silver chain, too.

See our Children's Religious Jewelry page for a huge selection of cross pendants and necklaces, as well as earrings, in both sterling silver and 14K gold.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Determining Spacer Bead Size

Many people use spacer beads to separate charms on bracelets, necklaces and charm holders, but figuring out what size to purchase can sometimes be challenging.  At Viridian Gold, we carry a selection of spacer beads, and each bead is available in several different sizes (see:

When determining what size spacer bead to purchase, first take into consideration what item of jewelry the bead will be added to - will it go on a chain necklace or bracelet, or a charm holder?  Next, figure out the millimeter width of the item on which you want to add the bead.  If it's a chain, how wide is chain?  How wide is the clasp?  If you are unsure, reach for the nearest ruler.  Rulers frequently have millimeter measurements opposite the inch measurements, and millimeters are what are needed for a chain width measurement.  Place your ruler on a flat surface in a horizontal position, and then place your chain across the ruler in a vertical position.  Make certain you are looking at the millimeters, not inches - now determine an approximate chain width.

The measurement and weight table, found at the end of each spacer bead description on our website, will provide you with information to help you in your selection.  For example, our Round Spacer Bead #8131, pictured above, is available in 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7mm widths.  Take a 5mm bead - the outer diameter of that bead measures 5 millimeters (for inches, divide the 5mm width by 24.5 - the number of millimeters per inch.  The result is 0.20 inch, or approximately 3/16 inch).  The "hole diameter", or bead opening, is also found in the measurement table.  The table tells us that the opening for the 5mm bead measures 2mm.  This is large enough to accommodate a 1 to 1.5mm width chain.  But first check the clasp - if it's wider than the bead opening, you (or your local jeweler) may need to temporarily remove one end of of the clasp in order to place the beads.

Usually, the wider the bead diameter, the wider the hole or bead opening.  Smaller spacer beads are frequently used to separate charms on a charm holder, such as our Safety Pin Charm Holder #8042.  The openings of the smaller beads can easily accommodate the width of the gold wire on our charm holders. You may choose from round, corrugated and roundel beads, such as our Roundel Spacer Beads #8130 - all available in several sizes.  If you are still unsure of what size you need, please feel free to call.  We are happy to assist you with your selection.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Matching a Lost Earring -- A Success Story

Matching a lost huggie earring

Ever lose one of your favorite earrings from a pair, and want replace it with an exact match?  This is a common problem, especially with gold prices having shot up in the last several years.  Why replace an expensive pair of earrings, if you can simply purchase another matching, single earring?  At, we have realized that some of our customers are trying to do just that, usually with huggie earring styles.  So, we try to make this process as easy as possible by providing, on our website, photographs and a table of dimensions for each of our earring styles. For most earrings, we include the length of the earring, which is the same as the diameter across, in the title.

Photo comparing a lost earring with a dime
Recently, we had a customer order a single 14K Gold 10.25mm Hinged Huggie Earring, #4163 .  After receiving her order, she contacted us to get an RMA number so that she could return the earring.  As we spoke, I realized that she was trying to match a lost one from a pair, and she did not have a means of making any exact measurements.  So, I asked her to email me a picture of the one she was trying to match, and to include a dime or penny in the photo so that I could determine the dimensions of her old earring.  We could then see if we could locate a match for her.  This process also made me realize that for some of our earrings, the website photograph does not show a perspective which allows you to match the exact shape--in her case, our #4163 earring (on the right in her picture) was horseshoe-shaped, but hers (on the left) was round, so we added a side view to our website's #4163 photograph to show that shape.

After receiving her photo, I could then determine it's diameter in Photoshop by referencing off the dime by using the dimensions given in our Jewelry Dimensions Helper Page, which enables you to compare the measurements and weights of US coins.  From that information, I determined that her old earring appeared similar to our 9.5mm Hinged Huggie Earring, #4076.  So, she returned the #4163 and we exchanged it for a single #4076.  She is now a happy customer, with a matched set!

If you need our assistance in matching a lost earring with a style on our website, please check our selection of gold, silver and platinum earrings to find a similar style, and then refer to the How to Match a Lost Earring page on our website.  Feel free to email or call if you need assistance.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dog Tags

We have recently added some new, men’s jewelry for Father's Day ~ among them are several dog tag necklaces (with more coming soon).  After doing a little research on dog tags, I learned that the first military ID tags were issued during the beginning of WWI by the British Army and their imperial forces.  Two round tags, one of red and one of green fiber, were hung around the neck by butcher's twine. 

On December 10, 1906, the Army tags were authorized in the US.  These were aluminum discs that were stamped with the name, rank, company, regiment or corps of the wearer.  In July, 1916, Army regulations decreed that all soldiers be issued two tags ~ one to remain with the body and one to be collected.  Two years later, the serial number system was adopted.*

One common tale regarding notched dog tags that were issued between 1941 and 1970 was that the notched end was placed between the front teeth of casualties to hold the jaws in place.  But the notch was actually to hold the blank tag in place on the embossing machine.*  
During the Vietnam war, US soldiers were allowed to place rubber silencers on their dog tags to prevent the enemy from hearing metallic clinking.  Some taped their tags together with black tape, while others wore one tag around their necks and the second on the lace of one boot.*

Non-military dog tags have become popular over the years.  Some are worn with personal or medic alert information; others reflect religious affiliations or favorite quotes.  At Viridian Gold, we offer a selection of engravable styles in sterling silver, such as our #5098, pictured above, as well as in stainless steel.  You may choose from a simple, unadorned tag or one that is fashioned with a religious motif, such as this Double Dog Tag with Cross #9048, or a patriotic one like our Dog Tag with Eagle Design #9059.  All include a 24 or 30" bead chain.

*Historical information condensed from

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Silver Wedding Bands are replacing Gold

Sterling Silver Wedding Rings
With the price of gold at all-time highs, couples looking for traditional, white gold wedding bands are finding that sterling silver wedding rings are an economical, yet high-quality alternative.  Our silver bands are made in the same USA factory as our gold and platinum bands, using the same molds.  This means that the quality is unsurpassed--these are not cheap, flea-market rings that are imported from India or China, but are fully .925 silver, highly polished and free of pits and voids.  To be termed "sterling silver", the silver content must be at least 92.5%, so these rings are marked "STER" on the inside surface to so indicate their fineness.  Over the years, these sterling silver rings will acquire a unique and pleasing patina which is the classic hallmark of quality silver jewelry.

Sterling Silver Wedding BandOur domed, "Comfort-Fit" sterling silver bands are available in widths from 2mm up to 6mm.  We also offer the more traditional, domed half-round style in sterling silver.  Stock sizes are available from 4 up to 15, in 1/2-size increments, as well as custom 1/4-sizes if required. Be alert to unscrupulous sellers of rings who will sell you a 4mm-wide ring, when you actually ordered a 5mm width!  When you purchase a ring from Viridian Gold, you can rest assured that it conforms to the weight and width specifications provided on our website
Silver plus Gold Wedding Ring
If you wish to have some gold in your silver wedding rings, consider either our gold & silver milgrain style wedding bands, or our gold & silver brushed style rings.  Both are 6mm wide, and are available in stock half-sizes from 4 up to 15.

Of course, our silver rings can also be engraved on the inside surface, just like a solid gold ring.  Each is individually inspected, and packaged in our Viridian Gold velvet ring box.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rosary Beads, Rosary Rings and Bracelets

Rosary Bracelets
The Rosary, "rosarium" in Latin, means "garland of roses", and is prayed in honor of the Virgin Mary, since the rose is one of the flowers that symbolizes her.  A set of specific prayers, the rosary begins with introductory prayers.  Between those prayers and the closing prayer of the rosary are what is known as the decades.  Each decade consists of the Lord's Prayer, 10 prayers of "Hail Mary...", and a single "Glory be to the Father".  A meditation of one of the "Mysteries of the Rosary" (there are fifteen Mysteries, each of which recalls an aspect of the life of Christ) accompanies each decade.  For most people, "praying the rosary", consists of praying five decades.

Rosary Rings in Gold or Silver
To help those who pray the rosary keep count of their prayers, rosary beads ~ in necklace, bracelet or ring form, are used.  At Viridian Gold, we have a sampling of all these.  Each of our Rosary Rings is available in 14K yellow or white gold, 10K yellow, and sterling silver.  Some of our customer favorites are our Rosary Ring #1010, which is available in two different millimeter widths, 2.5mm and 4mm, and our 5mm Rosary Ring #1059.  Or you can view all of our Rosary Rings in Gold and Sterling Silver.  Each ring is designed with braille-like prayer beads and a single, small cross on the band, representing one decade of the rosary.  All rings can be custom sized.

Our rosary beads are for five-decade rosaries, and are available in sterling silver and 14K gold in a variety of styles, lengths and gemstones.  Take, for instance, our 22" Hematite Rosary #2077, or a beautiful, 43" Pink Freshwater Pearl Rosary #2023.  Both are fashioned with polished sterling silver and genuine gemstones, and most styles are suitable for both men and women.

Rosary Wrap Bracelets
We also offer a sampling of bracelets, such as the one pictured at the beginning of this blog, Pearl Rosary Bracelet #3093.  This is for a single decade rosary, and is designed with 14K gold and pearl prayer beads; it comes with a crucifix and either a miraculous or a communion medal.  If you are looking for one in sterling silver, we carry rosary wraps, such as our Gemstone Rosary Wrap Bracelet #3090.  This is a five-decade bracelet that includes a sterling silver crucifix and a miraculous medal.  It is available with black onyx, rose quartz, or mother of pearl prayer beads.  For further browsing, see our Religious Bracelets.