- Education & Resources
Education & Resources
What is a Gemstone?
A gemstone is a mineral or rock, which can be used in jewelry after cutting or faceting and polishing. Gemstones are diverse in their beauty and many gems are available in a stunning variety of colors.
What are Gemstone Treatments or Enhancements?
Gemstone treatments or enhancements are any human-controlled process beyond cutting and polishing that improves the appearance, durability, or value of a gem. Gemstones are commonly treated to deepen, change or improve color, create or improve phenomena such as the star on a star sapphire, improve appearance by reducing or eliminating inclusions, and in some cases to fool consumers. Our blog provides a list of the types of treatments gemstones can receive. Check out our fine gemstone jewelry!
What Are Potential Treatments Gemstones Might Receive that are Commonly Used by 100 East and Sas E Gems Fine Jewelry?
Gemstone treatments can have a significant impact on the desirability of a gemstone. This, in turn, increases supply and makes them more affordable. A specific treatment can increase the demand for a gemstone (heating a brownish zoisite to create a blue tanzanite) or it can decrease desirability for some customers (laser drilling a diamond). Since each person has their own unique reaction to specific gemstone treatments, we at 100 East and Sas Gems Fine Jewelry believe it’s important for anyone interested in our jewelry to understand the treatments our gemstones receive. Our gemstone treatments blog post provides our philosophy towards disclosing gemstone treatments and lists the range of treatments the gemstones used in our jewelry could receive. We disclose actual treatments in our product detail pages.
Are Irradiated Gemstones Safe to Wear?
A number of the colored gemstones used in 100 East and Sas E Gems fine jewelry are disclosed as being irradiated. Our blog presents a brief overview of irradiated gemstones and their safety.
How Common is Surface Coating Gemstones?
The practice of coating (aka surface coating or surface modification) gemstones remains a common treatment. Coating is not considered permanent and therefore we do not use coated gemstones in our 100 East and Sas E Gems branded jewelry. Our blog post discusses gemstone coating techniques and provides a recent example of someone attempting to sell coated gemstones without disclosing it.
What are GIA’s Four C’s of Diamond Grading? For more detail, visit the GIA website at www.gia.edu
The 4 C’s of GIA’s Diamond Grading system are color, clarity, cut and carat weight. Some additional explanation:
Color - A diamond's color grade in the D-Z scale is actually a measure of absence of color. Diamonds containing little or no color are quite rare and receive higher color grades than those with visible color. The GIA color scale considers color in a range from colorless to light yellow or brown and how noticeable the color is.
GIA’s color grading system contains 23 letter grades from D to Z, where D represents the least amount of color and Z, the most. Each letter actually represents a range of color with differences which are so subtle that they are not noticeable to the untrained eye.
- D, E,F are grades of colorless diamonds
- G through J are grades of near colorless diamonds
- K, L, M are grades of faint yellow or brown
- N through R are grades of very light yellow or brown
- S through Z are grades of light yellow or brown
Clarity – Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections (inclusions, blemishes, etc.) which occur in the course of the diamond’s formation or during the cutting and polishing processes. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. The clarity grade is a measure of the number, size, location, nature and relief (darkness or lightness) of these imperfections. Many of the imperfections are microscopic and do not affect a diamond's beauty in any discernible way. Diamond clarity grading only considers imperfections which are visible at 10 times magnification and when viewed in a controlled environment.
The GIA clarity scale has 11 individual grades, ranging from Flawless to I3.
- Flawless – F
- Internally flawless – IF
- Very very slightly included – VVS1, VVS2
- Very slightly included – VS1, VS2
- Slightly included – SI1, SI2
- Included – I1, I2, I3
Cut – When many people hear the term diamond cut, they immediately think of the shape of the stone (round, heart, pear shapes, etc.) or the way it is faceted (brilliant, emerald, step cuts, etc.). However, a diamond's cut grade is actually an objective measure of its ability to interact with light, called light performance. A diamond’s proportions affect its light performance, which in turn, affects its beauty and overall appeal. When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond to your eye. If a stone is poorly cut, light can be lost, negatively affecting the beauty of the diamond.
GIA has established 5 cut grades, but the cut grade applies only to round brilliant diamonds in the D to Z color range. The 5 cut grades are:
- Very good
Carat weight - A carat is a unit of gemstone weight based on the metric system. One carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams. All gemstones are sold by carat weight.
Many people erroneously associate carat weight with a diamond’s size. Just as a person's weight does not give a complete picture of his or her size, carat weight alone does not accurately reflect a diamond's size. To gain a better understanding of diamond size, carat weight should be considered along with the face-up dimensions of the diamond (girdle diameter of a round diamond; girdle length and width of an emerald cut, etc.), as well as the diamond's cut. Cut is an important consideration of diamond size because with a poorly cut diamond, much of the weight may be "hidden" in the girdle or pavilion of the diamond, making it appear smaller than its carat weight would imply. Just as height, weight and build give you a better idea of a person’s size, carat weight, cut and face-up dimensions give a clearer picture of a diamond’s size.
What are colored diamonds and how are they evaluated?
Often, diamonds are only thought of in terms of colorless and near colorless stones. We may not be aware that diamonds come in a variety of colors, including yellows, pinks, reds, blues, greens as well as many other colors. Only one in every 10,000 gem quality diamonds possess enough natural color to be classified as a colored diamond. Colored diamonds are purchased almost exclusively for the intensity of their color. Criteria considered when purchasing a diamond on the D-Z color scale, such as cut proportions and clarity, take on a different relative importance when purchasing a colored diamond.
After color intensity, carat weight has the most impact on price for colored diamonds. Just like colorless and near colorless diamonds, large colored diamonds are quite rare, making them much more expensive.Cut, just as it is with D-Z scale diamonds, is quite important for colored diamonds. The emphasis, though, is on creating the most desirable color rather than focusing on dimensional proportions.Because the face-up color of the diamond is the most important factor, clarity doesn’t carry the same importance in determining a diamond’s value as it does on D-Z graded diamonds.
What are precious metals?
Eight Periodic Table elements are considered precious metals; gold, silver and the six metals comprising the platinum group of metals (platinum, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium and iridium). Check out our blog to more answers to "What are precious metals?" Generally, precious metals are too soft to be used in jewelry; therefore we like to use precious metal alloys.
What is a metal alloy?
Alloys are elemental metals that have been mixed with one or more other metals or elements to take on new properties. The alloy is created to retain many of the positive characteristics of the pure precious metal, while reducing or eliminating key deficiencies. You can learn more about metal alloy jewelry on our blog.
Which precious metals does 100 East Fine Jewelry use in our products?
The primary precious metal alloys used in our jewelry are gold, silver, and platinum. Our blog provides more information about the precious metal jewelry we sell.
Gold use in jewelry
As early as 3000 BC, gold jewelry was worn by both men and women in Mesopotamia (today mostly Iraq, but also parts of Syria, Iran and Turkey). Gold purity or fineness (the amount of pure gold contained in the product) is described with karat designations. All of our jewelry has gold in it, whether 14kt, 18kt and 22kt gold. Learn more about using gold in jewelry, market and government regulation, and more on our blog.
Silver use in jewelry
Pure silver possesses a unique, lustrous white color, which makes it very desirable for use in jewelry. The alloy known as sterling silver originated in continental Europe around the 12th century, well before white gold was created in the 19th century and before platinum could be produced in commercial quantities. The lustrous sterling silver alloy is a combination of 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% most frequently copper. You may also find sterling silver designated as 925 silver. Learn more on our blog about why silver is used in jewelry, as well as marketing and government regulations so you can buy safely and confidently. Right now we use sterling silver with 22kt gold, known as vermeil, in some of our jewelry.
Platinum use in jewelry
Platinum’s popularity for use in jewelry comes from its beautiful luster, resistance to tarnishing and its ability to move with force rather than break. When scratched, the metal is displaced, not lost, whereas a scratch on white gold causes minute bits of gold or rhodium to be lost. It is also denser than gold, making a piece of platinum jewelry heavier than if made from gold. It is ideal for jewelry worn every day because it exhibits little material loss, even after prolonged wear and is considered hypoallergenic. Currently, we do not have any platinum jewelry, but we do have a great selection of white gold jewelry, containing a similar brilliance and shine.
What is vermeil?
- Made using sterling silver as the base metal
- The gold portion must be of reasonable durability and a minimum of 2.5 microns thick
- The gold must be 10 karats or higher in fineness.
Check out our blog for more answers to "What is vermeil?"
How To Determine If A 100 East Fine Jewelry Ring Will Fit You
When considering buying one of our rings, if you’re not certain our ring will fit and you're located in the US, 100 East Fine Jewelry will send you a complimentary set of plastic ring gages to assist you. Just email us at email@example.com or call 812-202-2143. There is no purchase obligation. Our jewelry blog contains tips on how to determine if our ring will fit you.
How to Determine if Our Bracelets Will Fit You
Reduce the guesswork of buying jewelry online by reading our blog about measuring your wrist and determining ideal bracelet length. Now you can shop and purchase our bracelets with confidence that they will fit you the way they should!
If properly cared for, over time, fine jewelry can become a treasured family heirloom. When a problem is found, you should immediately arrange for your jewelry to be repaired. There are many highly skilled retail jewelers in the United States capable of performing inspections and making repairs to a piece of jewelry. However, no one has the knowledge of your piece like the people who crafted it initially.
We strongly recommend that you send your piece directly to us for all repairs and adjustments. This will provide you with the peace of mind that the integrity of the original design will be projected into the future.
How should I care for my 100 East and Sas E Gems jewelry?
It’s tempting to wear your favorite pieces of jewelry all the time. Such treatment of your most precious possessions can, unfortunately, shorten their life or put them in danger of being damaged or lost. Tips about wearing your jewelry:
- Some pieces of jewelry are more delicate than others. We recommend you consider the day’s activities when choosing the piece(s) you’ll wear that day.
- When dressing, jewelry should always be put on last and taken off first. Put your jewelry on after you have finished your hair and makeup to avoid spraying or getting unnecessary amounts of perfume, hairspray, cosmetics or other beauty products on it.
- Remove your jewelry when playing sports, working out at the gym, doing heavy work or gardening.
- Avoid extreme temperatures, bright sunlight and contact with alcohol, salt water, ammonia and chlorine. Accordingly, don’t wear your jewelry when:
- Performing household chores
- Going in the ocean, pool, spa or sauna.
- Protect your jewelry from impact against hard surfaces and avoid contact with abrasive surfaces. All gemstones, including diamonds, can chip, scratch, or abrade under the right circumstances.
- Don’t sleep in your jewelry.
- Avoid forcing clasps and joints.
- Never remove rings by pulling on the stone; the prongs or bezel can be damaged causing the stone to loosen or fall out.
It’s always good practice to wipe your jewelry off with a cotton cloth after wear. We also advise that when storing your jewelry, you not jumble pieces together in a drawer or jewelry case as they can nick, scratch or dull one another. You should instead, always store them in a good quality and properly sized jewelry box or in the original display box or soft pouch they came in.
If your jewelry suffers a shock or hit, the stone and setting may need to be checked to prevent loss.
You should have your jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected every 6 months. Just like a fine watch, this periodic cleaning, inspection and follow-up maintenance helps reduce the potential for future costly repairs or replacement. While it's advised to have jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected twice a year, you should also regularly inspect your jewelry between visits. When examining your jewelry, look for:
- Chipped, loose or missing diamonds and gemstones
- Worn, damaged, bent or missing prongs, clasps or chain links
- Visible cracks or break in the metals
- Abnormal wear
Not cleaning your jewelry regularly or — perhaps even worse — cleaning it improperly can damage it as well.
How should I care for pearl jewelry?
In addition to the general care tips shown above, there are some specific things to consider when caring for pearl jewelry:
- Like your other jewelry, to prevent scratches, pearls should be stored away from other objects in the original display box or pouch. However, do not store them in an airtight package such as a plastic bag. Pearls, as well as opals, require humidity. When storing them, make sure the environment is not too dry or they may crack.
- Never use a steam or ultrasonic cleaner or chemicals (including bleach or ammonia) on organic gems such as pearls, opals and coral.
- Wash pearls periodically with mild soap (not detergent) and a soft cloth. Rinse pearls in clean water and wrap them in a thin, damp cotton towel to dry.
- If worn often, pearls should be cleaned and restrung professionally once a year.
How should I clean my 100 East and Sas E Gems Jewelry?
Our jewelry contains a variety of gemstones, many of which have an affinity for oils and lotions which can cause them to appear dull.
Never use steam or ultrasonic cleaners or the bottled liquid jewelry cleaners often provided in many jewelry stores. Some of the gemstones used in our jewelry can be damaged by the heat or vibrations of the steam and ultrasonic cleaners or by the chemicals in the bottled liquid cleaners.
- NOTE: The process of cleaning your jewelry offers a great opportunity to carefully inspect your jewelry pieces as described in the care section above.
- Pick a location that is either free of drains or where the drain can be stopped and covered to prevent the jewelry or any gemstones which might work loose from being lost.
- Add a touch of gentle dish soap in a bowl of lukewarm water.
- Place the jewelry in the bowl of lukewarm soapy water and let it soak for a while.
- Use a soft baby’s toothbrush to gently clean the jewelry. Be careful not to move or bend the prongs holding the gemstones in place.
- It can also be helpful to use a water pic to pinpoint spray areas that are harder to clean.
- After cleaning, place your jewelry in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse.
- Place the clean jewelry on a soft, lint-free cloth, not on a hard surface like a counter top, being careful not to hit or bang the jewelry or gemstones.
- To dry the jewelry pieces, gently pat them with a lint-free cloth, taking care not to snag the prongs.
- When done, before emptying the bowl and sink, check them and the entire work area carefully to make certain no jewelry or gemstones could be lost down the drain.
Sterling silver jewelry poses an additional cleaning issue; tarnishing. Tarnish occurs when the copper portion of the silver alloy comes in contact with ozone, hydrogen sulfide or sulfur. To slow the rate of tarnishing, 100 East Fine Jewelry will include a tarnish resistant bag for you to use when storing your sterling silver jewelry. We also recommend storing it in an air-tight container, such as a zip-lock bag or a lined jewelry box.
To keep your sterling silver looking like new, occasionally the tarnish must be removed. All of our sterling silver jewelry is made of beautiful, high quality and delicate materials. They can contain just about any variety of gemstone, including very delicate mother of pearl and cultured pearls. Do not use most commercial or do it yourself jewelry cleaners and tarnish removers or polish. There is a tarnish removal product we use which is gentle on even the most delicate gemstones including pearls. We provide the name of the product with every sterling silver jewelry piece we sell.
There are two types of cleaning your 100 East Fine Jewelry sterling silver jewelry will periodically require, depending on the condition of the item:
- Your sterling silver jewelry becomes dull looking from finger oils or dirt and grime from everyday living. When this happens, follow the cleaning instructions detailed above; cleaning with a gentle dish soap and child’s soft bristled tooth brush and drying with a lint-free cloth.
- Your sterling silver jewelry becomes dark with tarnish and you want to get the metal looking like new. In this case, you’ll need to follow a 2 step process. First, clean the jewelry item as referenced above. Once the dirt, grime and finger oils are removed, the jewelry piece will need to be cleaned with the very delicate tarnish removal product we recommend. The product comes complete with instructions on proper use.