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Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of questions that our customers frequently ask us. Whether you have questions related to Gold, Silver and Platinum Jewelry or need advice on how to determine the quality of your jewelry.

If there is a question that is not featured on this page, plese complete our contact form or give us a call and we will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Diamonds & Stones

What should you look for when buying a diamond?

When shopping for a diamond, you should look for cut, color, clarity, carat weight, sparkle and fire.

The cut of a diamond, otherwise known as the shape, does not really affect the value of the diamond unless there are flaws in the cut. Whether you choose an emerald cut, a brilliant cut, a marquis cut or a pear cut is really up to your personal preferences.

The color of a diamond does affect its value. You should look for a colorless diamond if possible. Champagne diamonds, or diamonds that have a yellowish color are less valuable than diamonds that are clear or white.

The carat weight definitely affects the value of a stone. How much you spend on a diamond will be greatly determined by its carat weight. The average carat weight of an engagement ring is between .05 to 1 carat.

Sparkle and fire are also important characteristics and the more sparkle and fire a diamond has, the more a jeweler will be able to charge for it.

What Is The Difference Between Carat & Karat?

When shopping for jewelry, its not unusual to start wondering what the difference is between a karat and a carat. However, with a little research its not hard to understand the differences between these two measurements.

A karat is a measurement used to measure the purity of gold, with 24 karat being the purest. The measurement gauges how much gold vs. how much alloy is in the piece of jewelry. All jewelry that is real gold will have its karat weight stamped somewhere on the jewelry. In rings it is usually stamped on the inside of the band and on bracelets and necklaces its usually stamped somewhere on the clasp.

The word carat originates from the carob bean, which was once used to measure fine gemstones. A carat is a measurement that is used to measure the weight of a diamond. One carat equals 200 milligrams or .2 grams.

What Are The Each Month's Birthstones?

Each month of the year has its own birthstone. Below is the list of birthstones for each individual month.

  • January's birthstone is the garnet. 
    It is said to bring friendship and loyalty. 
  • February's birthstone is the amethyst.
    It is said to bring peace of mind. 
  • March's birthstone is the aquamarine. 
    It is said to protect health. 
  • April's birthstone is the diamond. 
    It is said to strengthen body and soul.
  • May's birthstone is the emerald. 
    It is said to help tell the future. 
  • June's birthstone is the pearl. 
    It is said to be aphrodisiacs.
  • July's birthstone is the ruby. 
    It is said to bring love.
  • August's birthstone is the peridot. 
    It is said to help bring divine inspiration.
  • September's birthstone is the sapphire. 
    It is said to relax and soothe the mind.
  • October's birthstone is the opal. 
    It is said to sharpen emotions.
  • November's birthstone is the citrine. 
    It is said to make its wearer lighthearted.
  • December's birthstone is the blue topaz. 
    It is said to bring patience.

Platinum Jewelry

How Can You Tell If Platinum Jewelry Is Real?

Platinum is rarer, heavier, more durable and even more expensive than gold. It is also very dense, therefore showing fewer scratches and requiring MUCH LESS UPKEEP than other precious metals!

The appeal of platinum is in its appearance. Its white luster is unique and also the strongest precious metal. It is almost twice as heavy as 14-karat gold. The metal appears silvery-white when pure, and firm.

The metal is corrosion-resistant. If you suspect a fake, bounce the jewelry in your hand and judge how heavy it feels in comparison to a gold jewelry. If it feels a lot heavier, it probably is platinum.

Is Platinum the same as White Gold?

No, it is quite different. To create white gold, yellow gold is alloyed with copper and silver along with small amounts of nickel and zinc to achieve a white look. However, it does not have the same purity, strength, rarity, durability or natural white color as platinum.

Why is Platinum so expensive?

Because platinum is so pure, it is hypoallergenic, resists tarnish, is one of the world’s strongest jewelry metals and is extremely durable.

Can you wear Platinum with Gold Jewelry?

It is very fashionable to wear platinum with your karat gold jewelry. In fact, many platinum designs combine the two metals. Platinum’s white color beautifully contrasts with yellow gold and adds versatility to your jewelry wardrobe.

Gold Jewelry

How Can You Tell If Gold Jewelry Is Real?

In the United States, anything that is not at least 10 karats (42 percent gold) cannot be legally sold as gold. Anything that you purchase that is real gold should have the karat amount stamped into the jewelry. On rings the stamp will be on the inside and on necklaces and bracelets the stamp will usually be somewhere on the clasp.

If the jewelry you are purchasing doesn't have a stamp stating that it's 10k, 14k, 18k, or 22k, chances are that it isn't real gold.

If the jewelry is stamped and you still question whether or not it is real gold, you can take it to certain jewelers to find out whether or not it is real gold. A jeweler will be able to perform a chemical test or look at the piece under a jewelers loop to determine the quality of the piece.

If you're thinking of purchasing a piece of gold jewelry and something is making you question whether or not it's real, it's probably best to pass and find another piece that you can feel confident about.

Whats The Difference Between Different Gold Types?

The difference between the different types of gold is in the purity of the gold. The karat weight of gold is measured by a gold's purity, with 24 karat gold being pure gold. Therefore,

  • 22 karat gold would have a purity of 22/24 or 91.7 percent
  • 18 karat gold would have a purity of 18/24 or 75 percent
  • 14 karat gold would have a purity of 14/24 or 50 percent
  • 10 karat gold would have a purity of 10/24 or 41.6 percent.

As the purity of gold decreases, the alloy in the jewelry increases. Copper and silver are the most common alloys used when making gold jewelry and white gold is usually made with a nickel alloy.

The higher karat weight a gold piece of jewelry has, the more valuable that piece of jewelry will be.

Can Yellow Gold Be Converted To White Gold?

No, once it is yellow you cannot change it to white.

  • Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with alloys such as copper and zinc.
  • White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium.

The only way you can change the color of your ring is to have it plated or dipped. Both methods are not permanent as the coating will wear off through normal wear and tear.

What Is Gold EP?

Gold EP stands for gold electroplate. it means that a very thin layer of gold has been electrolytically plated over another metal, usually a base metal of little value.

Silver Jewelry

What Causes Tarnish On Silver Jewelry?

The chemical reaction of the silver with the air causes silver to tarnish. Any silver jewelry that is exposed to air will tarnish. If you're thinking of buying a piece of silver jewelry that is showing signs of tarnish, you may be able to get a better deal on it because it means that piece of jewelry has been at the jeweler for a longer period of time. Simply clean the silver jewelry when you get it home and you will have gotten a great deal on a piece of real silver jewelry.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between White Gold & Silver?

White gold is "labeled" by the karat weight on the inner rim of the ring....ex: 10K, 14K, etc. Also, real gold will leave a black mark on your face if wearing base makeup.

How Can You Tell If Silver Jewelry Is Fake?

If it is silver in color and it turns your skin green then it is not silver.

What Is The Difference In Value Of Sterling Silver, Silver Platinum, & Titanium?

These are three different metals. All three are approximately the same color.

Silver is a base metal. You can mine for silver out of the earth. When talking about jewelry, Silver (without any qualifiers) denotes that it has some silver in it. No guarantees can be made about how much silver is in the piece.

  • Silver plated means that the object is made of some other metal (such as zinc or copper) and then a thin layer of silver is applied to the outer surface of the object.
  • Sterling silver means that the object is made of a minimum of 92.5% real silver. It is often called 925 silver, or 92.5% silver for that reason. Sterling silver has a hallmark stamped on it represengint 925.
  • Platinum is a completely different metal, again which is found naturally in the earth. It is relatively rare, about 35 times rarer than gold.
  • Titanium is again found naturally, however usually along with other minerals. It's notable feature is that it is as strong as steel but only has 60% of its weight.

Cleaning & Repair

Whats The Best Way To Clean & Care For A Diamond?

To clean your diamond, prepare a bowl of warm water and add a gentle dish soap. Stir the water and soap until it becomes sudsy. Soak the piece of diamond jewelry for about five minutes. After the jewelry has soaked, brush it with a soft bristled toothbrush to get the dirt off. After you have scrubbed the piece, rinse it with clean water and let it dry on a paper towel or in a colander.

In order to avoid damage to your diamond and to prevent your diamond from becoming excessively dirty, avoid wearing your diamond when cooking, doing yard work and performing other harsh activities. With proper care and maintenance, your diamond should last you forever.

How Do You Remove Tarnish From Silver?

The best way to keep silver clean is to avoid tarnish to begin with. To do this, make sure that you store your silver in a zip-lock baggie. When silver gets dirty or tarnished, create a baking soda paste with water and baking soda and gently rub the paste all over the silver with a damp cloth until the silver is clean. Rinse the silver off and make sure you dry it well before storing it or wearing it. People have also been known to use this same method using toothpaste instead of baking soda and water.

How Do You Clean 14k & 18k Gold Jewelry?

The best way to clean them is with steam. other cleansers and polishes can leave a film. There is a way to do it yourself, without the help of a specific jewelry cleaner. Boil some water on the stove and place a veggie stemer on top and place your jewelry in the steamer and let it steam for about 20 minutes. 

That's ok for Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires but really BAD for emeralds, pearls, opals and a number of other stones. They might discolor, loose oil (emeralds), crack or simply fall off (glued pearls). The safest way for delicate stones is to use a tooth brush and soap and lukewarm water. Be careful about going from hot to cold water as the stone may fracture internally (such as Tanzanite).

How should I care for and clean Platinum Jewelry?

Platinum jewelry should be cleaned the same way you clean other fine jewelry. Use a prepackaged jewelry cleaner or have it professionally cleaned by your jeweler. As with all precious jewelry, store with care, not allowing pieces to touch or scratch each other.

Store Information

Gem Design Jewelers, Inc.
3350 Delaware Ave.
Tonawanda, NY  14217

(716) 447-0217

Mon Tues, Wed, Fri Thurs Sat
10:00am - 5:00pm 10:00am
10:00am - 7:00pm 11:00am