Frequently Asked Questions



(1) What are the 4 C's of diamonds?

(2) What are the birthstones for each month?

(3) What does Karat gold mean, as in 10k, 14k, 18k, etc?

(4) Is platinum better than white gold?

(5) Large Knuckle Problems

(6) What is Clarity Enhancing and how does it affect diamond prices?

(7) Can you convert my yellow gold jewelry into white gold?

(8) How do you make a custom piece of jewelry from a picture or idea?

(9) What are the gifts for each anniversary year?


The 4 C's of diamonds

Carat -(Information on the 4 C's from Jewelers of America)

This word for the measurement of a diamond's weight is derived from the carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, and there are 142 carats to an ounce.
Carats are further divided into points. There are 100 points in a carat. A half carat diamond may be referred to as a 50-point stone (about 100 milligrams). Because large diamonds are rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.



Clarity -

A diamond's clarity is affected by any external irregularities and internal imperfections created by nature when the diamond was formed. Imperfections such as spots or lines are called inclusions. Although these marks make each stone unique, the fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the stone. Inclusions can interfere with the passage of light through the stone, diminishing the sparkle and value of the diamond.

According to the quality analysis system of the Gemological Institute of America, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from internally flawless (IF) to imperfect (I). To be graded flawless, a diamond must have no inclusions visible to a trained eye under a 10x magnification in good light.


Color -

Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, but the most popular gems are colorless. Truly colorless, icy-white diamonds are extremely rare and therefore the most costly. Stones are graded by color and given designations dependant on how far they deviate from the purest white. Colorless stones are graded D. Color grading continues down through the alphabet, with each letter designating a more yellow tint. The best way to see the true color of diamond is by looking at it against a white surface. Although the great majority of diamonds come in shades of white, the gems also come in a spectrum of majestic colors, from red and canary yellow to blue, green, and brown. These colorful diamonds, known as fancies, are valued for their depth of color, just as white diamonds are valued for their lack of color.


Cut -

Each diamond is cut according to an exact mathematical formula. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed the yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer. This reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond. A poorly cut diamond will actually lose light and appear dull. The widest circumference of a diamond is known as the girdle. Above the girdle of a brilliant cut diamond are 32 facets plus the table, the largest and topmost facet. Below the girdle are 24 facets plus the culet, or point. Cut is also used to describe the shape of a diamond. In addition to the round brilliant, other popular cuts include princess, emerald, pear, marquise or oval.

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What are the birthstones for each month?

Click on each stone name to view pictures and information
January: Garnet July: Ruby
February: Amethyst August: Peridot
March: Aquamarine September: Sapphire
April: Diamond October: Pink Tourmaline & Opal
May: Emerald November: Topaz & Citrine
June: Pearl & Alexandrite December: Tanzanite, Blue Zircon & Turquoise

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What does Karat gold mean, as in 10k, 14k, 18k, etc?

Pure gold is defined as 24k, and can be formed into pure gold jewelry items, as if frequently done in the Far East. However, pure gold is generally considered to be too soft for many jewelry applications, so other Alloy metals are added for strength. The amount of Alloy added to a given amount of pure gold determines the purity--and value--of the resulting metal. The higher the gold content, the more valuable the metal.

All gold alloys, primarily used in jewelry construction, are expressed in fractional parts of 24k. For instance, 10k gold is 10/24 pure, or 10 parts of pure gold + 14 parts of alloy. Since 10 divided by 24 is .4167 or 41.67% pure gold is in all
10k gold items. Similarly, 14k is 14/24 pure or 14 parts pure gold + 10 parts alloy and results in 14k being 53.88% pure gold, while 18k gold is 75% pure gold.

Pure gold is a highly inert metal, and has almost no tendencies towards oxidation or tarnishing. Gold alloys below 50% pure, such as 10k gold, can show some oxidation--tarnishing--under certain conditions, due to the presence of more reactive metals, such as silver and copper.

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Is platinum better than white gold?

14k white gold jewelry items, when properly rhodium plated, look exactly like the same items made in Platinum. Both are strong and durable metals suitable for normal jewelry wear. Both metals have a bright silver colored surface and are permanently tarnish-free; however, the Rhodium Plating on white gold is more scratch resistant that Platinum itself, so white gold holds its' shiny polish longer.

Since the two (2) metals basically look alike, the decision of which to purchase is usually based on cost. Due to factors such as the cost of base metals (Platinum 2x pure gold), the fact that 14k gold is only 58% pure gold, the fact that Platinum items weighs almost twice as much as their gold counterparts, and the costly specialized casting equipment and procedures that are required to cast and finish Platinum, most Platinum items cost 4 to 6 times what an identical gold item would cost.

Since there is no visible difference, consumers can decide for themselves which they prefer.

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Large Knuckle Problems

One troubling aspect of wearing rings is when the middle knuckle becomes larger than the back part of a finger. If a ring is large enough to fit over an enlarged knuckle, it is generally too loose on the finger itself, and if top-heavy, will spin around constantly. In some cases, it is appropriate to replace the bottom half of a ring (the shank) with an adjustable shank, usually hinged in some fashion so it can be opened several sizes to fit over the knuckle, and then closed and locked down to the proper finger size. Unfortunately, many ring styles do not lend themselves to this solution for various reasons--also, this is a relatively expensive solution.

One alternative solution which we have utilized for years is called Sizing Beads. This procedure involves sizing the ring to fit over the knuckle easily, and then soldering two (2) small beads of gold, smaller than BB's to the lower inside of the ring shank. The location of the beads has to be about 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock, using a clock face reference, and looking at the ring down the center of the shank. Although this sounds uncomfortable, it isn't and when passing over the knuckle, the beads are oriented to be low enough to press into the muscle part of the finger, missing the tendon area higher on the knuckle. Once the ring is on the finger, these little beads tend to stabilize the ring on the finger and largely eliminate spinning and turning. Believe me this works if the beads are the right size and in the right place, and the entire procedure costs under $50.00!

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What is Clarity Enhancing and how does it affect diamond prices?

Clarity Enhancing is a high pressure/high temperature process in which a clear, colorless synthetic material is forced into visible internal imperfections in a diamond to make them invisible to the unaided eye. This process is a permanent treatment that results in a diamond's clarity grade being raised from an Imperfect grade (visible, noticeable imperfections) to an SI or VS grade, wherein imperfections are no longer visible to the unaided eye. A diamond's body color, or color grade, is not affected by this process.

Clarity Enhanced diamonds are priced as much as 40-50% below the price of an equal grade non-enhanced diamond. This is because the selling price of an Enhanced diamond is based on its original value before enhancement, plus the minimal enhancement processing costs. The end result is the purchaser gets either a larger diamond for their money then they would have been able to get in an un-enhanced diamond, or pays less for the same size and quality diamond they originally planned on purchasing.

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Can you convert my yellow gold jewelry into white gold?

The short answer is YES!

One of the most interesting aspects of jewelry finishing is the process called electroplating. This is a process in which metal is transferred onto an electrically conductible object by running an electrical current through an electrolytic liquid. As an example, gold can be electroplated onto brass, silver, etc. Silver can be plated onto pewter, brass, gold etc. Many jewelry items are made with silver, and then gold plated, producing a product called, Vermeil gold. The addition of the gold layer can completely cover the object, or selectively cover some areas, leaving other areas with the silver surface showing.The most commonly used plating metal for jewelry is Rhodium. This is a Platinum group metal that produces a bright silver-like coating on receptor metals.
We frequently get inquiries about converting yellow gold rings, etc to the more popular white gold. We can duplicate most designs in White gold and reset your stones. However this can be rather costly, for several reasons. First, yellow gold cannot be converted directly to white gold, so new white gold must be purchased. In addition, there are various methods of duplicating the original design, most of which are labor-intensive, including wax modeling and casting. Finally, all stones involved must be reset by hand. 

An alternative method of getting the "white gold look" is to use Platinum (Rhodium) plating to cover the original item in a layer of Rhodium metal. This gives the exact same appearance as White gold, since all properly finished White gold is Rhodium plated. Now, there is labor involved in this process as well, since all visible signs of normal wear—scratches, dents, dull areas—have to be completely restored and polished by hand before plating. This is because plating does not hide visible blemishes. 

All surfaces of the item will be completely covered by a layer of Rhodium metal. This metal is harder and more durable than either gold or Platinum, and is totally inert—that is non-reactive to chemicals, including strong acids. It is very scratch resistant, and is completely permanent on low-wear items such as earrings, broaches, pendants, pins, etc.—many of which, such as hollow hoop earrings—cannot be hand made anyway. In the case of rings and bracelets, which are subject to being rubbed and dinged against hard objects during normal wear, occasional retouching may be required wherever the Rhodium layer becomes thin enough for the yellow gold surface to become visible.

The cost of this process is a combination of labor and the material used. Rhodium—one of several elements in the Platinum group of metals—is sold in liquid form by the gram, and is roughly ten (10) times the cost of Platinum, but fortunately, only minute quantities are actually deposited on the item's surface. Most items can be refinished and Rhodium plated for $25 to $50—retouching worn spots is much less.

We feel Rhodium plating is a more practical alternative to achieving the White gold look than total re-manufacturing for the following reasons:

Cost:   under $50 versus hundreds
Time: Overnight versus 2 weeks
Sentiment:  Still your original item, just a different color
Durability:  Permanent--removed only through abrasive action

The only drawback to Rhodium plating is the process is not reversible—if you change your mind after plating, it is too late!

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How do you make a custom piece of jewelry from a picture or idea?

This is the main focus of Jack Hood Jewelers, Inc. As the name implies, we have the capability -- and willingness-- to make the article of jewelry you desire exactly the way you want it. To make a long story short, with us, you can have it your way!

There are many techniques that can be employed in making a custom designed piece of jewelry. They range from a simple assembly process, in which various parts and/or stones are selected from available picture catalogs and assembled by the goldsmith to create a finished piece. For example, one might own or select for purchase a diamond or colored gem of a certain shape and size, and then select a band style and the appropriate setting (head) style and size to secure the stone. When all parts are permanently assembled and polished and the stone is set, the finished piece is unique to your taste.

Many designs visualized by our clientele cannot be accomplished strictly by the assembly process described above for various reasons. Sometimes the principle stone is of non-standard dimensions, and cannot be set in any available standard dimension setting. There are several gold fabrication techniques for making a setting to fit the stone.

Perhaps a desired band style is not available as a "ready made" in the width or finish desired--it can be custom made in a number of ways. These and other techniques are available in our custom workshop. In addition to these, however, one of the most versatile ways to make a desired piece to custom dimensions is through the Lost Wax Casting process, which is another option at Jack Hood Jewelers, Inc. and is discussed below.

The Lost Wax Casting process basically starts with rendering the design of the desired piece of jewelry in a sketch or drawing, detailing all parts and styles needed, and then fabricating each part in wax, then assembling all the wax components into a full size wax model of the item. This wax model can be easily adjusted to finger size, in the case of rings, and the settings (or heads) can have the proper stones temporarily mounted, so that the finished model-- at actual size--can be shown to the client for approval. At this point, with the stones removed, the wax model can be weighed, and the finished weight in gold, silver, or platinum can be calculated. The finished price of the item based on metal used, stones used, and labor can be projected, usually to within 2 or 3 percent accuracy.

The meaning of the term Lost Wax become apparent when the next step of the process--casting--is accomplished. In the casting phase of this process, the wax model is converted into the desired metal. No, this is not alchemy! What actually happens is the wax model is enclosed in a plaster/water mixture within a steel cyclinder, called a flask. The plaster is allowed to harden, after which the flask, with the wax model enclosed in plaster, is placed in an electric or gas high temperature oven, called a Kiln, and heated to 1350 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours. During this phase, called Burnout, the wax model is eliminated from inside the plaster, included all ash or residue (note the term "Lost Wax") leaving an exact reverse impression of the wax model. The next step is to fill up this cavity with metal--this is called Casting.

During the Casting phase, molten metal is forced into the cavity left by the wax model. There are several ways to accomplish this--we use the centrifugal force method, whereby the molten metal is placed in a horizontally-mounted centrifugal caster, in line with the hot flask. The core of the caster is a high tension coiled spring, when released, allows the molten metal--gold, silver, platinum-- to be centrifugally forced into the cavity of the flask left by the wax model. In this way a perfect reproduction of the wax model can be produced in the precious metal of choice. Normal finishing, polishing, and stone setting, if applicable, is then performed, and the item is checked and certified ready for delivery.

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What are the gifts for each anniversary year?

Download the complete list of Traditonal & Modern Anniversary gifts by clicking the link below.

Anniversary Gifts (PDF File)



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