Buying a watch is an exciting prospect. Reviewing these important facts will help you make a savvy purchase – a timepiece that can be passed down to future generations.
Understand the Technology
Watches technological wonders. They have so many working parts, it is important to understand the terminology. Knowing the technology and the terminology will help you find the perfect watch for you and your budget.
Buy from Authorized Retailer Outlets
Be sure the professional jeweler or watch dealer you're purchasing from is authorized to sell the brand. This is especially true in the case of higher-end luxury watches when sometimes the watch warranty or guarantee is not considered valid by the watchmaker if the dealer is not authorized.
Consider the Metals Used
The metal used in a timepiece will effect its wear and the price. Generally, fine watches are offered in steel, 14 or18 karat gold, or platinum, and combinations thereof. Each metal possesses different benefits. Gold is softer than steel and in very rugged conditions, it might scratch. It is, however, the top metal of choice for fine watch-making, as it offers old world elegance. Platinum, too, is often used by prestige brands as it is the rarest and hardest of all precious metals. Stainless steel and titanium are durable materials that work well as flexible bracelets on sportier watches.
Look at Variable Cost Considerations
The price of a watch isn't always contingent strictly upon the materials used for the case, bracelet or crystal. Often, 50 to 75 percent of the cost of a watch comes from what's inside it. If it's a mechanical timepiece, or a complicated timepiece that offers additional functions and can have as many as 600 or more individual parts, the price is immediately significantly higher because of the work that went into creating the movement. Price is also varied by the extras that a watch may offer, such as a diamond bezel or gemstone markers. These additions make the timepiece more valuable, thus more expensive.
Consider the Watch Features/Benefits
Besides the time-keeping functions; many watches have more to offer. There are chronographs (watches that combine stopwatch functions for measurement of continuous or discontinuous intervals of time), alarm watches (that offer an alarm mode), dual-time zone watches (that offer the time in more than one zone), watches with moon phase indicators or power reserve indicators (that indicate power life left before needing rewinding), and perpetual calendars (that offer a calendar day/date readout that automatically adjusts for months of varying length and for leap years).
Know About Durability and Reliability
Reliability is a key factor in choosing a watch -- especially a sport watch. To be deemed water resistant, most fine watches are subjected to a pressure test equivalent to a diver's depth of 100 feet. If the watch shows no sign of internal humidity or damage, it can be called water resistant. Degrees of water resistance vary: 50 meters is almost standard, but many watches are resistant to several hundred meters or more. Chronometers, that are tested in a Swiss observatory under stringent conditions in various positions, and extreme temperatures, heights and depths, and are then certified, are considered among the more reliable and durable wristwatches.
Look for Warranties/Guarantees
Every watch manufacturer offers some warranty on its timepieces. Typically, the warranty is for one year, but some companies offer several years and some even offer extended warranties that cover the case or bracelet as well as the movement. Make sure the watch comes with its original packaging, boxing and informational materials. Be sure to get a detailed, itemized receipt.
Ask About After-Sales Service
Before buying, know about the back-up support of the brand and the retailer. Be sure to find out if the retailer has an after-sales service facility on premises if repairs are needed, and if the brand has a U.S. service center.
Watch a video of Lucido Fine Jewelry Ambassador Dan Cleary.
When buying a diamond, it is vitally important to know about the 4 C's. They are cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Together, the 4 C's determine a diamond's value. It is essential to learn about each of the 4 C's before purchasing a diamond because each C speaks differently to each individual. For some, the carat weight is the most important while for others it is the cut.
To many, cut is the most important of the 4 C's. Each diamond is cut using an exact mathematical formula that unleashes its brilliance and fire. It also refers to the number of facets that the diamond has. The most common cut is the round brilliant. The round brilliant has 58 flat, polished facets that reflect the maximum amount of light. The mathematical formula also takes into account the depth of the cut. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep it will lose some of its fire. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light and refract it back out to your eye. Cut is not to be confused with shape.
While diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, the most valuable diamond color is colorless. Truly colorless diamonds are extremely rare and as a result are expensive. They are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Diamonds range from D (colorless) to Z. The further down in the alphabet the diamond is, the more yellow it appears. Color can best be determined by looking at a loose diamond on a pure white surface, and by noting any contrast.
Some people believe that carat refers to the size of a diamond while in actuality; carat is the term used to measure a diamond's weight. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, and there are 142 carats to an ounce. One carat is made up of one hundred points. The larger the diamond, the greater its rarity. Because larger diamonds are more rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.
Internal imperfections and external irregularities affect the clarity of the diamond by interfering with the passage of light throughout the stone. Imperfections such as spots, lines, or bubbles are known as inclusions. The diamond is more valuable when it has fewer inclusions. According to the GIA's quality analysis system, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from flawless (FL or IF) to imperfect (I). The system is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.
While these are the 4 most recognized C's, a fifth and less recognized, yet equally important C does exist. That is Confidence. Confidence in your jeweler is extremely important when buying this piece of jewelry that will last forever, and be passed down among generations. It is important to shop at a professional jeweler, one that is a member of a professional trade association such as Jewelers of America (JA). JA requires high ethical standards of its members and provides them with ongoing education.
Bring in your old jewelry in ANY condition and we will BUY it from you or restyle it.
White metals’ cool allure has captured imaginations for centuries. You may prefer one kind of white metal, or you may be surprised to discover a new favorite among the wide range of white metals used in jewelry today. Each has its distinct advantages and some have unique looks and applications for jewelry. Understanding the qualities of each different white jewelry metal can help ensure that the piece you select today will offer a lifetime of joy and satisfaction.
Sterling silver is a versatile metal and can have a high polish, matte, brushed, satin, sandblasted, oxidized (chemically blackened), or antiqued finish.
Silver is a naturally soft metal and must be mixed with other metals to create an alloy; it is commonly mixed with copper. For jewelry to be labeled sterling silver, it must contain at least 92.5% pure silver. Genuine sterling silver jewelry will be marked with a 925, .925, 92.5 or “Ster.”
Advantages & Disadvantages
Sterling silver’s versatility and affordability create limitless options for fashionable jewelry. While sterling silver can tarnish or darken, you can return silver to its natural finish with proper care and cleaning. More tarnish-resistant sterling silver is offered at many jewelry stores these days.
Platinum’s luster complements the sparkle of diamonds and gems. Its finish can range from a bright polish to a soft matte texture.
Jewelry made with platinum will have markings of Platinum, Pt, or Plat, meaning that it contains at least 95% pure platinum. If marked “iridplat,” it contains 90% platinum and 10% iridium, another platinum group metal. Platinum content is shown as 999 for 99.9% pure platinum, 950 for 95%, 900 for 90%, 850 for 85%, and so on.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Platinum’s strength assures you that your most precious diamonds and gems will be protected and secured. Platinum’s purity makes it hypoallergenic and thus the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin. Platinum's durability makes it ideal for wearing every day, as it sustains very little metal loss over a lifetime of wear. Some wearers of brightly polished platinum don’t like the “patina” platinum that naturally develops with time, but the shine can be restored with regular re-polishing. Others may find platinum’s heaviness doesn’t suit certain styles, such as large earrings.
White gold gets its color by mixing yellow gold with alloys like nickel, zinc, and palladium. Due to the variety of the alloys used, white gold colors will vary. Sometimes, white gold is covered with rhodium plating to create a bright, pure white finish.
White gold is available in karatages up to 21 karat; it is not possible to have 22k or 24k white gold. Eighteen-karat gold is 75% pure, 14k is 58.5% pure, and 10k (the lowest karatage legally sold as gold jewelry in the U.S.) is 41.7% pure.
Advantages & Disadvantages
White gold is a more affordable yet still durable and precious alternative to platinum. It doesn’t tarnish like silver. But some rhodium-plated white gold can “yellow” over time and may need to be occasionally re-plated with rhodium. When gold is alloyed with nickel, it can be allergenic to a small percentage of wearers who have skin allergies. In response, many refiners and manufacturers are now offering white gold that doesn’t contain nickel, and others are creating white gold alloys that are white enough to not need rhodium plating. Be sure to ask your jeweler about these newer alloys.
Palladium has garnered much attention from jewelers since it offers the benefits of platinum – bright white color, purity, and strength ¬– at a more affordable price. Jewelry designers are taking advantage of palladium’s strong, light characteristics and creating new white-metal jewelry that is solid and big but affordable.
Palladium, like platinum, is a very pure metal. Look for 950 Palladium, which means that the metal used is 95% pure, and usually mixed with 5% ruthenium. Sometimes jewelers use a 90% palladium/10% iridium combination. Both ruthenium and iridium, like palladium, are among the group of metals related to platinum.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Palladium does not require plating to maintain its lustrous white color, and it is hypoallergenic. It will not tarnish. However, palladium is neither as rare nor as heavy as platinum.
Titanium, Stainless Steel & Tungsten Carbide
Although not commonly used in fine jewelry, Titanium, Stainless Steel and Tungsten Carbide are gaining popularity in jewelry, especially with men, as complements to watches of the same metal. Used for their durability in active accessories, like golf clubs, the metals are well suited to active consumers who will wear the jewelry on a daily basis and do not want to worry about its care and condition.
The metals’ steely, gray appearance especially appeals to men. Titanium also has a unique property that allows it to be transformed, using heat or chemicals, into bright colors like blue, purple, and black. The metals are often used in inlay designs, with contrasting metals and patterns in rings and bracelets. Jewelry made from these metals usually features contemporary designs in rings, bracelets, cufflinks, earrings, money clips, and necklaces.
Unlike the precious metals – platinum, gold, silver and palladium – these metals are not rare. Titanium is the ninth most common element found on earth; stainless steel was created in a laboratory. However, the metals are very pure. For example, commercially pure titanium is composed of >99.2% titanium plus elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon. They have the dual benefits of being very strong, but also light weight. And they are durable. In fact, tungsten is considered the world’s hardest metal substance; it ranks 8-9 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamonds are a 10). It is roughly ten times harder than gold and four times harder than titanium.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Titanium, stainless steel, and tungsten carbide offer affordable alternatives to precious white metal jewelry. They are non-corrosive and hypoallergenic. Jewelry made using these industrial metals is scratch resistant and will retain its polish longer than other metals. When used in chain or link bracelets, the metals are less likely to snap or break – making the need for repair infrequent. However, titanium and tungsten carbide’s strength also limits their jewelry options. They cannot be used to make delicate designs. They are so tough that resizing rings is difficult for most bench jewelers – though many manufacturers do offer a resizing service to retailers who cannot resize the rings themselves.
Quality White Metal Purchases
When purchasing white metal jewelry, always look for quality construction. Pay special attention to fasteners or clasps, making sure catches work easily but are secure. Pin backs and earring posts should be strong and firmly attached to the piece with no visible marks. Lay chains flat to make sure the links don’t kink or bend. If you’re purchasing rhodium-plated items, inspect the piece to ensure that the plating completely covers it.