Karat versus Carat versus Carrot

Having owned a fine jewelry store in Tucson for over a decade, I get asked many questions. None of them are dumb, I'm happy to educate. Gemstone and diamond jewelry buying is not easy, the smarter you are, the better decisions you will make. And frankly, I want you to make the best decisions possible, even if that means not acquiring anything. I've posted several new tools on my website to help you. For example, this explains the 4C's of diamonds.

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Why the Four Cs of Diamonds is NOT the Whole Story

I sell diamonds, diamond engagement rings and wedding bands from my Tucson jewelry store to consumers all over Tucson and nationwide. Some diamond buyers come to me with very little knowledge while others have spent hours and hours Googling and researching - I'm happy to help both groups and everyone in between. And while you're looking, here's a selection of my diamonds.

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Engagement Ring and Diamond Designs Over the Decades

As your Tucson diamond engagement ring specialist, I'm often asked about diamond shapes and ring styles from decades ago. So I thought you might like to read a recap of what's changed over the last 100 years. Today's most current bridal ring styles are displayed on my custom designs page. Of course you can browse other Tucson jewelry stores for ideas, then please make an appointment to met with me.

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How to Care and Clean your Fine Diamond and Gemstone Jewelry

Caring for your Jewelry

As a knowledgeable and experienced Tucson jeweler I have serviced, repaired, cared for and cleaned thousands of pieces of Tucsonan's fine gemstone and diamond jewelry. Since diamonds and jewelry are valuable, you should protect and take good care of them. Start by keeping them stored in felt lined jewelry boxes with multiple compartments and separators.

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The History of Royal Wedding Jewelry

As a respected Tucson jeweler with one of Tucson's top jewelry stores and an A+ from the Tucson Better Business Bureau (BBB) I'm often asked about celebrity diamond and gemstone engagement rings and wedding jewelry.

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Your Engagement Ring Budget

As a premiere Tucson jeweler and Foothills jewelry store, I regularly assist dozens of men and couples with the most important piece of jewelry they will ever acquire and gift: their engagement ring. The good news is: the hard part is over, you've found her! And you're now ready to spend the rest of your life with her. Selecting an engagement ring is easy and I make the process fast, simple and affordable.

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Mother's Day: Celebrating Our Favorite Person

Did you know that second only to Christmas, Mother's Day is the biggest jewelry gifting day of the year? Sons and daughters from the Foothills and all over Tucson are right now shopping at jewelry stores, looking for the perfect gift for the woman that's loved them since the day they were born. The closer the calendar gets the more calls I receive for mother's rings, lockets, pendants and all sorts of birthstone designs. My Tucson jewelry store in Sabino Canyon starts hopping from May 1.

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Acquiring a Fine Watch

Being as well respected as any of Tucson's jewelers, I'm often asked about acquiring a fine timepiece. About half of the time men are contacting me directly about a watch they've seen online. The other fifty percent, are women who call me for assistance with their husband's birthday, anniversary or Christmas present. My Tucson jewelry store buzzes in December with Christmas watch questions.

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This History of Valentine's Day

February 14th is important not just for Tucson jewelers but lovers and couples worldwide.  Valentine's Day is typically the third highest jewelry buying holiday after Christmas and Mother's Day.  My Tucson jewelry store is always flooded with last minute requests for heart pendants from my jewelry collections and ruby earrings and alike.

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Ten Worldwide Diamond and Jewelry Records

I thought you'd like to read about these worldwide industry records and interesting facts about the diamond and jewelry industry. Though my Tucson jewelry store is not as old and my jewelry collections are not quite as rare and valuable, I do have some stunning custom designs.

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Five Wedding Hacks That Can Save You a Bundle

Jewelers are the "tip of the spear" of weddings. In other words, we're first and nothing much really happens before our involvement. As you know, I'm quite different than a typical Tucson jewelry store and having sold hundreds of diamond engagement rings and wedding rings to couples here and nationwide, I'm often asked for wedding planning advice.

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The Origin of Diamond Engagement Rings

Of course Tucson jewelers can't claim to have invented the diamond engagement ring, its history predates The Old Pueblo.

Did you know, until the 15th century, only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Over the centuries, diamonds acquired their unique status as the ultimate gift of love. In fact, it was said that Cupid's arrows were tipped with diamonds which have a magic that nothing else can ever quite equal.

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Seven Fascinating Facts About Diamonds

Here are a few facts about diamonds and the diamonds industry. These are true for the diamonds in my custom designs and the diamonds on your finger.

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Six Greatest Records of the Fine Jewelry Industry

Here are some worldwide records from the fine jewelry industry. Unfortunately, these stunners weren't sold by Tucson jewelry stores, but as a private jeweler I have similar and significantly more affordable pieces in my collections.

  1. $30.3 million was paid in 2015 at a Sotheby’s auction for the Sunrise Ruby, the world’s most expensive ruby. The 25.6 ct.

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Five Reasons Why a Private Jeweler is Better than Traditional Jewelers and Tucson Jewelry Stores

  1. Significantly lower overhead equals a better value for you.

    Because I don't pay incredibly high shopping or strip mall rent, nor am I financing a building, my expenses are lower than other Tucson jewelers. Because I don't have a staff requiring salary, high commissions, bonuses and benefits my overhead and cost of running my business is lower than all other Tucson jewelry stores. And I pass these savings on to you, my clients.

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Emerald is the Birthstone for May

As a leading Tucson jeweler I thought you might like to know that Emerald is the Birthstone for May. Here's a little folklore about this stunning gemstone that few jewelers in Tucson stock, though I do, in many jewelry styles and custom designs.

The ancient Egyptians mined emeralds nearly 4,000 years ago.

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Buying Rule: Diamonds and Gemstones Online

Did you know, professional jewelers are extremely particular when choosing exactly which diamonds and gemstones to offer to their clients. They select only the best and on average, reject ninety-nine out of every one hundred seen. Where do you think the rejects end-up?... online. Think twice before acquiring diamonds, gems or jewelry that educated professionals have rejected.


Quartz is found in abundance from every corner of the earth. In its purest form, quartz is colorless, but is most prized for its purple variety: amethyst. The traditional birthstone for the month of February, is available in small and large sizes, although as with all gemstones, very large sizes in rich, deep colors have always been rare.

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Amethyst is the Birthstone for February

With purple long considered the color of royalty, it's not surprising that amethyst has been in demand throughout history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Leonardo da Vinci believed that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and heighten intelligence. Amethyst is available in all sizes, although very large gems in rich, deep colors are rare.

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Garnet comes in a Rainbow of Colors

January's birthstone garnet comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian demantoid and African tsavorite. The oranges and browns of spessartite and hessonite hail from Namibia and Sri Lanka and subtle pinks and purples can also be found.

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Garnet is the Birthstone for January

Garnet the birthstone for Jan traces its roots to the Nile Delta in 3100 BC, where Egyptian artisans would craft the gemstone into beads. Did you know, Jan's birthstone garnet comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian demantoid and African tsavorite.

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Tanzanite is the Birthstone for December

Tanzanite is an exotic vivid blue gemstone, kissed by purple hues. Legend has it that tanzanite was first discovered when brown crystals lying on the dry earth were caught in a fire set by lightning. Masai herders driving cattle in the area noticed the beautiful blue color picked-up the crystals and became the first tanzanite collectors.

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Christmas Jewelry Buying Tip

Christmas Jewelry Buying Tip: Jewelers can't afford to overstock their inventory. In Dec they offer just enough of a selection so they'll run out. The most attractive jewelry and best values always sell first.

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Topaz is the Birthstone for November

Egyptians said Topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god. Early discoveries from Brazil in rich reddish cognac colors to vivid pinks, were used to grace the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas, hence earning the moniker of "Imperial Topaz.

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How Rare are Diamonds?

Diamonds are incredibly rare and there hasn't been a substantial new discovery in over 25 years. A few facts:

  • Diamonds form 250 miles underground and are violently forced to the surface by volcanic eruption. (The most recent occurred 100 million years ago.) Very few diamonds survive the trip from the Earth's core to its crust.

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Tourmaline is the Birthstone for October

Vivid reds, hot pinks, verdant greens and blues abound in this stunning gem variety. Earth tones as varied as a prairie sunset are available. Not only does tourmaline occur in a spectacular range of colors, but it also combines those colors in a single gemstone called bi-color Tourmaline.

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Diamonds on the Ocean Floor: Marine Mining

Did you know, diamonds are mined from the sea floor? This vessel (there are only 5 in the world) is mining off the cost of Namibia in SW Africa. Recovering diamonds from the ocean floor is like scattering 1lb of sugar over a football field, then trying to recover the sugar at night, using a Dustbuster.

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Sapphire is the Birthstone for September

Sapphire is the ultimate blue gem. Ancient Persian rulers believed the earth rested on a giant Sapphire and its reflection colored the heavens blue. Did you know, Sapphire is available in every color of the rainbow? Just as rose is a family of flowers that bloom in many colors, Sapphire is a family of gems that Mother Nature created in many colors. However, she sprinkled them throughout the Earth. Sapphire symbolizes a pledge of trust and loyalty.

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Buying Rule: Downgrade the Diamonds in Studs

The second most requested piece of jewelry (after an engagement ring) is a matched set of diamond stud earrings. Elegant, timeless and worn with everything, diamond studs are a staple of every woman's jewelry collection. Unlike her engagement ring, which she'll show-off and look at herself one million times during her lifetime, she will never see the diamonds in her ears. And no one else will closely examine those diamonds either.

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Peridot is the Birthstone for August

Peridot (pronounced PAIR-ih-doh) is treasured in Hawaii as the goddess Pele's tears. The island of Oahu even has beaches made from tiny grains of Peridot. Its fresh lime green color is its distinctive signature. Fine large Peridot is found in Burma, China and at 15,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains. Peridot is harder than metal but softer than most gemstones, so it should be carefully stored to avoid scratches and protected from bumps.

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Buying Rule: Never Acquire Jewelry on Vacation

Resort destinations, border towns, islands, even cruise ship retailers all know, you are visiting for a very short time, and likely, will never return.

This invites ethical lapses, and even fraud. Now, I know, many people have made this mistake, so now that you know, be smart and spend your vacation dollars elsewhere.

Ruby is the Birthstone for July

Ruby is all about passion, nothing says "I love you" quite like them. Ruby has been recognized for centuries as the world's most valuable gem. Far rarer than diamonds, Ruby is found in only a handful of mines worldwide. Madagascan Rubies are mined at a high altitude deep within an impenetrable jungle.

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What is the best product to clean my jewelry?

Did you know that gold, diamond and precious gem jewelry can be easily cleaned with warm water, mild soap and a soft brush? Be sure to first pull-up the sink stopper or cover the drain, and then carefully dry your jewelry after cleaning. Stay away from steam and ultrasonic cleaners which can damage many gems. These should only be used by trained jewelers.

Pearl is the Birthstone for June

According to ancient Chinese legend, the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery. Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since the dawn of mankind.

Pearls are unique in the world of gemstones - they are the only one formed within a living creature.

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Jewelry Buying Rule: Always Ask for 3 Documents

When you acquire fine jewelry, always request three documents:

  1. Statement (or invoice) that describes in detail your jewelry. This should include: number, size and weight of all gemstones and the type of gold or precious metals used and of course the value paid.
  2. Guarantee: A written document that explains, that what you acquired is genuine. (In other words, that whatever the jeweler told you, was the truth and that he's backing-up his statements in writing.

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The Best Way to Compare Values of Gemstones

With colored gems, value begins with rarity. The rarer the gem the more valuable it is. Ruby is the rarest gem, followed closely by diamond, emerald and sapphire. For color gemstones, "color" is always the second most important factor. A .50ct pigeon-blood red (yes, that's what it's called) ruby is rarer and more valuable then a pinkish-red .75ct ruby.) Size/ct weight is the next consideration, so if the gem and color are identical, the larger one is usually more valuable.

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Diamond Mining Facts

  • About 1 ton of dirt must be moved to discover one half carat of diamond rough.
  • 80% of diamond rough located is considered "industrial quality" that is, not good enough for jewelry.  It is used for cutting and grinding.
  • It costs $10 million to simply identify a location for a mine and then $1 billion to open it.
  • Fewer than 1% of all mine deposits located in the last 25 years have contained enough rough diamonds to make mining economically viable.

Diamond is the Birthstone for April

Rare and fascinating, mysterious and magical, the diamond has ignited romantic passion throughout history. The word alone conjures up a thousand images of rare, precious and desirable sparkling tokens of love.

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Aquamarine is the Birthstone for March


The very name aquamarine brings to mind the clear blue tint of the sea. Legend says that Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to mermaids and from then on, it has brought love to all who have owned it. The gem was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift. It is the symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity.

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What does "lab created" really mean?

Gemstones created in a laboratory can be practically identical to gems created by Mother Nature visually, physically and chemically, but they didn't come from a mine deep within the Earth's crust.  If a gem is created in a lab, that affects its value. (Some gems are manufactured for just a few dollars each.) Because consumers can be easily fooled, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that lab created stones must be identified as such.

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