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Showing posts from February, 2008

Just call or email to get special service!

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Normally, we tell our customers that they should allow up to 5 days for custom-sized rings, but sometimes they just can't wait that long! We had a California customer call after 5:00pm two days ago, and he needed a "stand-in" ring because he was planning to propose on Friday (today)! Apparently, he was experiencing some unforeseen delay in purchasing a diamond ring (from another jewelry store) because of the rarity of the colored diamond. But, he needed a nice ring so he could propose! He had selected the white gold Joined by Christ Wedding Band, #1018, and needed it shipped immediately. He preferred a size 5 1/2, but the quickest we could get that one to him (because it required custom sizing) would have just cut it too close, so I suggested he purchase a size 6, which is a stocked size for that item. And, though we prefer to not do this, we also arranged to have the ring and gift box shipped overnight directly from our supplier. He got it on Thursday, in plenty of time…

Dear Abby and diamond rings: What affects cost?

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Today "Dear Abby" had a letter from a woman whose fiancé had given her yellow gold jewelry, which she does not like--she is asking if it is OK to return it because she has always preferred white gold. For some reason, her finacé got the impression that he could save money by buying yellow gold instead of white gold! I was trying to figure out how that could be possible. One possibility is that his jeweler was pricing the white gold stuff higher than yellow gold--however, most pieces at Viridian Gold, if available in both colors, are priced the same (there are a few small exceptions). Is there maybe another reason, other than just pure fraud on the part of the fiancé's jeweler?

Well, you probably already know that for a gold, diamond solitaire engagement ring, the biggest cost swinger is the diamond itself (unless it is a very small diamond). And, diamond cost goes up as the quality goes up. One big measure of quality in a diamond is its color. It is well-known in the jewe…

Ancient Christian rings

My wife, Josie, and I recently went to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth to view the exhibit "Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art." The exhibit featured artwork from the catacombs in Rome, carved sarcophagi from the 4th and 5th centuries, and miscellaneous religious artifacts used the sacraments of the Church. Some of the most interesting displays, however, were of rings worn by Christians in the 3nd and 4th centuries (200-300AD). Most of them were made of carved carnelian stone, a variant of chalcedony. Unfortunately, I have been unable to get any photographs of any of those items (no photography is allowed in the exhibit), but I am working on locating some photos to put here soon! The rings typically were caved with the ichthus symbol, the chi-rho symbol, or sometimes a crucifix or "the good shepherd". Watch the blog for more information about these artifacts!

Another happy customer...

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Gee, I know I just wrote about one of these, but we just got another unsolicited "thank you"! This one from a customer of our Christian Jewelry Shop:

"Just wanted to let you know we have received our rings and we are very pleased. Thank you so much!" Pam W., Harrisburg PA

These folks had ordered our 1/4-Carat Diamond Cross Wedding Ring Set, #1381, and had the matching woman's rings joined together (an option we offer). It's a beautiful set of rings, and notice that the diamonds that we put in this set are very nice--clean & white, not a cheap off-white diamonds filled with inclusions. You should always check the diamond quality when comparing rings, whether it is on the Internet or in a store! Pay special attention to the largest diamond, because it is the most costly and because its size makes imperfections more visible.

It's always gratifying to hear from a customer!

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This morning when I checked email, I found this unsolicited note from one of our recent customers (in South Carolina), sent through the contact form on our Viridian Gold website:

"I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with the two crosses that I purchased from you. They are beautiful and your price is reasonable. I will order from you again in the future." Olga T.

She had ordered two crosses, one of the yellow gold St. Olga Orthodox Crosses with Enamel Inlay, #5216, and the sterling silver Enameled St. Olga Orthodox Crosses with Chain, #5217. We are glad she liked those, because we quit carrying another similar type of the St. Olga cross, because although it was less expensive, it was too thin, and felt "cheap". That's just another example of why we are so selective in the items we carry in our store!

What is ring sizing, and why charge for it?

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You will notice at Viridian Gold that our rings are available in sizes. Many jewelry websites will sell you a ring, but in an unspecified size, and it's easy and cheap for them since they don't have to do any work! You see, rings are manufactured in non-exact sizes--usually around a size 6 or 7 for a woman's style ring, and 10 or 11 for a man's style ring.

At our store, some rings are stocked in whole and/or half sizes, such as the first row of our Gold Wedding Bands page, and some are also available in sizes, or "unsized", meaning the ring is just like what "the other guys" sell, as described above (like the Crown of Thorns Wedding Band #1397, on the second row of that page). The bottom line is that we size the ring for you, and our charge for that varies depending on the ring size and style. So, our rings will show a drop-down menu in which you select the ring size--the added cost for sizing, if any, is shown in parentheses, such as (+24), which …

Don't miss our Clearance Sale page!

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Our suppliers constantly introduce new designs and close out old ones. It doesn't mean that the old designs are "out-of-date", it just means that they weren't selling well enough. When that happens, they reduce our cost, and we pass the savings on to you by putting those super deals on our Clearance Sale page. We are constantly amazed at some of the beautiful items that get discontinued, but that creates a great opportunity for you! Just the other day a customer called us inquiring about a pair of rectangular hoop earrings from our extensive hoop earring collection--it turns out that the very pair she was interested in was put on clearance that very day, and she saved about 30% over our regular, already-discounted price! There is a catch, though--all clearance items are subject to prior sale (meaning they can sell out before we have a chance to remove them from the clearance page), and all clearance items are non-returnable.

Platinum is going through the roof!

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Most folks never think about the price of raw metals, but when you are in the jewelry business, those "spot price" changes can make a big difference in your cost! Today we noticed that our platinum goods are under priced by about 15%, so I checked the latest platinum market and got the last 60 days of history. That chart is shown here, courtesy of Platinum Price. Notice that in the last 30 days or so, platinum has increased from about $1,500 per ounce to $2,100 per ounce--up by 37% in only a month!

We have left our prices alone for the time being, but if platinum continues to rise at this rate, we will have to raise our platinum jewelry prices. Remember, if you prefer white metal jewelry, we have lots of white gold items, as well as a broad array of Sterling Silver jewelry!

Gold as 14K or 18K?

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Most of the gold jewelry items we carry at Virdian Gold are 14K gold, and many are available in either yellow or white gold. One of the calls I took today was a customer asking if our Two Tone Bypass Ring, #1305, was available in 18K gold. I checked with our supplier, and indeed it is available in 18K, but it would be a custom item, and would likely cost about double the 14K version! Needless to say, the caller was not interested!

So, what is the difference in 14K and 18K, anyway? As described in an earlier post, it has to do with the gold-alloy mix. So, 18K is 75% gold, and 14K is 59% gold. 14K is stronger and less easily scratched because of this. Both types of gold appear as yellow (for yellow gold), though, so why pay more for 18K? There really is no reason, except that 18K is perceived as higher quality by some folks, because it has more gold content. But, what a waste of money when you cannot tell the difference! White gold, for instance, is more difficult to obtain for 18K, beca…

Faith, Hope & Love

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Wow--everybody likes those words! People used to name their children with those! And, of course, St. Paul said "So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

We recently added this beautiful Faith, Hope and Love Necklace to our store(yes, it is shown as a pendant, but it includes a chain!)--it is so affordable because it is Sterling Silver, and it's striking design is one of the loveliest by Deborah Birdoe. Click the link to see it on our website--we have other designs by Deborah, too!

Keep those Engagement and Wedding rings together!

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Here at Viridian Gold we sell so-called "Bridal Sets." That's just a handy name for a matching engagement ring and wedding ring, such as our Interlocking Diamond Wedding Ring Set, #1380. Even though the petite wedding band interlocks with the engagement ring at the top, that still does not keep it from moving around on the finger, because the interlock still allows the rings to be separated. And, some of our sets, such as the Tiffany-Style Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings with Matching Bands, #1230, (also shown here) do not interlock but simply match in appearance.

So, if you really want the convenience of having your rings stay together, we offer the option of joining the rings together with gold solder. That means that our jeweler will join the two rings on their lower halves with 14K gold. Unlike some jewelers who just put a couple of dots of gold solder, he makes a continuous joint of gold in about a 90-degree arc to join the two rings together, permanently. Though …

What is "white gold" anyway?

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Isn't gold yellow, after all? So what is "white gold"? Back before World War II, folks really like wearing white metal jewelry because it looked so good with diamonds--so diamond rings were commonly made of platinum. For instance, this beautiful Victorian diamond ring would probably have been made of platinum back then, but now you can get it in 14K white gold (or yellow, if you prefer!). But, when WWII broke out, platinum was restricted to government use, so jewelers introduced "white gold." Now, as you recall, gold used in jewelry is always mixed with other metals for strength. So, 14K gold means that the piece is about 59% gold, and the rest is other metals. Those metals can be chosen to make the piece take on a different color, and for white gold, those alloy metals are varied combinations of copper, zinc, nickle, aluminum or palladium.

There are many variations of alloys of white gold used by various jewelry manufacturers, but until recently, all of them ha…

Really Ugly Jewelry

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Being in the jewelry business, we get to see all of the newest jewelry fashion, and we find that there are some really beautiful designs out there, and that most jewelry designers strive for beauty and good taste. Regularly, though, we run across some really good examples of fashion gone bad (in our humble opinion, anyway). So, for some comic relief, I thought I would show you a couple of examples of jewelry that pass for "fashion".First, check out this model, showing off her pearl waterfall. Pearls are beautiful, and so are flowers (like the giant magnolia), but give me a break! This poor girl must be trying not to laugh behind her ridiculous get-up! Even if you wore this to a party, you couldn't have a conversation with anyone if they were standing to your left: "Speak into the flower, please". If you tried to sit down at a table and eat, you would really have a hard time getting food into your mouth! And can you imagine the looks from your fellow table-mates…

That darned Post Office!

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We offer several shipping options here at Viridian Gold, but one thing never changes, and that is that every order is eligible for free shipping. (That's the main reason we have a minimum order amount of $50). Our free shipping method is US Postal Service (USPS) First Class Mail, insured, with delivery tracking and signature required. We try to make sure everybody knows that a signature is required--that is for your protection and for ours!But, what happens when you are not home to receive the package? This happens with FedEx, too (our other shipper). Well, with the USPS, they supposedly leave a note, and you have to go to your post office and pick up the package. They won't try to deliver again, at least not officially. And, they are not supposed to get a neighbor to sign for it, either!Each and every order we ship (except for our $2.00 ring sizer kit), is assigned a tracking number. When you place your order with Viridian Gold, an order confirmation email is automatically se…

Sterling Silver--a great choice for jewelry!

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Because of soaring gold and platinum metal prices, lots of folks are re-thinking sterling silver jewelry. Since silver is the standard by which metal whiteness is measured, a sterling silver ring will look great on your finger, and no one will know it's not platinum! Because silver is much less expensive than gold (and is only slightly less dense than 14K gold), a silver ring can be made with more of the metal, giving it good "heft" and feel. At Viridian Gold, we also have many items which combine sterling silver and 14K gold, such as our Silver & Gold Cross Ring and our Silver & Gold Amethyst Cuff Bracelet, just to name a few!
Silver items will tarnish, of course, but many silver jewelry items are worn close to the skin, such as pendants and rings, and these items tend to stay tarnish-free on most people. If not exposed to harsh chemicals (such as pool chlorine or sulfur), these items will rarely need polishing. Other types of silver jewelry that are not worn dai…

Bridal wedding ring sets

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We really like helping folks prepare for their wedding! We understand how critical the wedding rings are for them, and that's why we offer so many services to help get those rings just right.First, you need to select the style. Viridian Gold offers several styles of traditional and religious rings, many of which you will not find anywhere else on the Internet! Most of these styles can be customized with a particular size and quality of diamond for the engagement ring, and we can help you with that decision.Second, rings have to be sized--we can size in 1/4 size increments from the smallest to the largest fingers. Even though the average finger size is about 6 or 7 for a woman, and 10 or 11 for a man, we have had customers who had the exact same finger size (size 6) for both the man and woman! And, just today we had an order for a man's ring in size 7. So, "non-average" sizes are not unusual!
After those two big decisions, some folks might want to modify one of our rel…

Memorial Jewelry: Remembering loved ones

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Every day my 91-year-old mother picks up her morning newspaper from the front door of her apartment in her Mississippi retirement home and the first thing she does is turn to the obituaries! It's not a morbid fascination, it's just because she is at that age where most of her friends and peer-relatives (her husband of 55 years, her only brother, etc.) have passed on. Last year, my wife's father died at the age of 93, and she is still finding acquaintances and distant relatives who were unaware of his passing. Many folks like to remember deceased loved ones with a piece of jewelry--typically a pendant or locket worn close to the heart. One customer recently ordered a gold locket, which she had us engrave with a friend's husband's birth and death dates--she was buying it on behalf of a group of friends who were going to present it to the widow as a memorial gift.Photo lockets make it easy to keep a picture and perhaps a lock of hair from your loved one. We also offer…

What about religious jewelry? Some news....

We have started a sister site, http://www.christian-jewelry-shop.com/, to help spotlight some of our more specifically Christian jewelry items, with product descriptions that are written with a more theological bent. You can find specifics about types of crosses and crucifixes, for instance, with many historical and scripture references in the descriptions. Also, there is a resources page which provides some helpful links (IMHO!) to socially and theologically responsible sites. All of the items on that site are also on our Viridian Gold site, but the descriptions are a little different to accommodate different audiences, 'cause we think folks who browse the Christian Jewelry Shop are more interested in those details!And, you will find and ever-growing pot load of gold Religious Jewelry on our Viridian Gold site with a more extensive selection than our Christian Jewelry Shop site. For instance, dangle cross earrings with both post and hook styles, religious charms and religious med…

Whew! What a year!

Yes, lazy bum that I am, no postings since spring of last year???!!!
Well, I do have some excuses--death in the family, and responsibilities that follow such things have helped contribute, but really I could have done better! We have kept the store running through all of this, so now it's time to get back to a reasonable routine. So, hopefully posts will occur on a fairly regular basis from now on!