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Keep Your Engagement Ring in Tip Top Shape February 19, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry Care, Just Jill , comments closed

You have a gorgeous sparkly diamond engagement ring on your finger and the metal shines like new fallen snow, here are some hints on keeping your engagement ring in tip top shape for a long time to come.

Once you come down from the high of being newly engaged regular life will resume. This means cooking, cleaning and work related activities.  All of these things will dull the appearance of your engagement ring and diamond. The good news is that this can easily be kept in check with a few simple steps.

Make-up, lotions, perfumes and hairspray will all build up on your engagement ring, cutting down on its sparkle. We recommend cleaning your engagement ring in an ammonia solution made up of 1/3 cup ammonia to 2/3 cup of hot tap water. To remove caked on dirt such as cooking sauces or play dough soak your engagement ring for ten minutes and then gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Do not use an old toothbrush because toothpaste remnants are too abrasive for your engagement ring!

It is also a great idea to have the prongs that hold the diamonds in your engagement ring checked by a jewelry professional one time per year to make sure all is well and that none of the prongs have loosened up. If you follow these simple suggestions your engagement ring will continue to look great year after happy year!

Purchasing Ring Insurance: The Right Decision September 29, 2008

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry Care , 3comments

Have you ever thought about purchasing insurance for your ring?  If you have insurance for your home and car, would it stand to reason that you should also insure your jewelry?  I’m sure you value your jewelry as much as you value your home or car, if not more, but buying insurance for a ring is not necessarily an easy decision for everyone.  Many factors need to be weighed.

There are two main ring insurance policies: a floater insurance policy and a standalone policy.  In a floater policy, if something happens to your ring, you either get the value of your ring back in money or you are given a brand new ring.  A standalone policy has a very important difference. In a standalone policy, a jewelry appraiser will appraise the value of the ring. Some policies will also cover damage .You can purchase your ring online and it often comes with an appraisal or you can ask your local jeweler for an appraisal referral.  You will get the appraisal value of the ring if you need to replace it.

There are several different insurance options, and it is best to read all the details of your policy because they will change from company to company and state to state.  A general guideline is that the insurance should cost about $10 for every $1000 dollars of value. For example a $10,000 engagement ring should cost about a $100/year to insure.

You could of course choose not to insure your ring.  This is a gamble, but it obviously is the least expensive option, and if you plan on taking extremely good care of your ring, then it may be the best one for you.   The odds of a ring being stolen or lost are very low but it does happen.  I think everyone knows someone who has lost a piece of jewelry either through theft or accident.

If you can afford to replace your ring without having insurance, you may want to go without it. However, this is not something I would recommend. I have accidentally thrown away a very expensive watch and lost a ring in the ocean when a small child was squeezing my hand! I was very happy to rely on my insurance policy both times.

Another way people damage their ring is with chemicals. It is always best to remove your rings and all jewelry if you believe you are going to be around chemicals or paint.  It is best to not attempt to paint your home with a sapphire and diamond ring on your finger.  You’ll just be asking for it to get damaged.   So if you believe in finding a practical solution to the question of whether or not you should insure your diamond ring, you may find that the solution that fits you best is to not get your ring insured at all.  But if you want to remain on the safe side, then by all means, purchase ring insurance.

And be sure to check out our selection of diamond engagement rings so that you can determine what ring you wish to purchase that insurance for

Buying Green Engagement Rings June 14, 2007

Posted by Jill Renee in : Buying Engagement Rings, Engagement Rings, Green Weddings, Jewelry Care , 6comments

I get lots of questions posed to me, but the one that I seem to be hearing a lot of lately is in regards to Earth friendly, or “Green” jewelry. Most recently I received an email from a gentleman that was concerned about picking out an engagement ring for his girlfriend as she was very passionate about the environment and he didn’t want to spoil his proposal by giving her a ring that would cause a conflict in her life, given her beliefs on mining. He had been doing research on Earth Friendly jewelry and came across Danforth as a supplier, and had questions about Green gold, synthetic stones, and Palladium.

This was my answer to his dilemma:
Your dilemma is not so unusual and I have been wondering what I can do to be a responsible member of our fragile planet in regards to jewelry and diamonds.Recently, one new option has been brought to my attention. Some jewelry manufacture companies have been using recycled precious metals to make their jewelry.

This metal was previously mined and made into jewelry and then remelted and turned back into pure metals to once again be alloyed and used. The challenge here is to choose a responsible refiner who only uses earth wise methods for refining. In the past harmful chemicals were used in this process but now new methods have allowed the refining process to be clean and environmentally friendly. Palladium is a metal that is also mined from the earth but the company that mines the Palladium that we use is right here in the and they are earth friendly. We can also purchase recycled Palladium. I am making a decision to offer a line of rings that are made from recycled metals only. These rings will require no mining to get the metal. The metal will be totally recycled. I think your girlfriend could feel proud and good about wearing one of these rings.As far as diamonds go I am committed to sell only conflict free diamonds from responsible vendors who comply with the Kimberley Process and all of their guidelines. Another option would be to purchase a synthetic diamond. Charles and Colvard is a company that sells moissanite which is man made silicon carbide that closely resembles a diamond. You can easily research this online. Of course there are other man made options that you could also use. If you would like to purchase a recycled ring let me know and I can help you with the setting. I only sell conflict free diamonds so I cannot help you with the synthetic stones. Hope this helps you with your decision.

Thank you and Best Wishes
Jill Renee

Danforth Diamond Warranty – After the Sale January 4, 2007

Posted by Jill Renee in : Buying Jewelry, Jewelry Care , add a comment

Question: Does DanforthDiamond.com have a store? If you order a ring from Danforth, how do you get it fixed or cleaned, and do they come with warranties?

Answer: We have a factory that assembles and polishes our product. Our jewelers can size and fix any problems you may have with your ring. Our return policy allows you to return any product to us that has not been engraved for 30 days after purchase however we do resize and reset rings for our customers all the time. You may not want to return the ring ring to us for a simple cleaning because you would have insurance and shipping costs.

Many people get their rings cleaned at stores where they live even if it is not the original place of purchase.

Box Chain Necklace Twisting January 4, 2007

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry, Jewelry Care , add a comment

Question: I received a small box-chain 14K gold necklace for Christmas and it twists when I wear it. Even when I am not wearing it the twists will completely straighten out. Does this indicate a problem in the quality of the necklace’s construction?
PS- There are not any kinks or knots, just twisting. (Not uniformly twisted throughout the chain either.)

Answer: The problem you are having does not sound consistent with normal box chains. I would suggest returning the chain. A well constructed box chain will not twist and kink the way you describe from only one day of wear.

How to Care for Your Jewelry March 13, 2006

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry, Jewelry Care , 2comments

Jewelry is a substantial investment and therefore great care should be taken to keep your fine metals and gems looking bright and sparkling.

· Remove your jewelry when cooking, deep cleaning or gardening. Chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting on your jewelry.

· Remove jewelry before showering. Soap can cause a film to form on karat gold jewelry making it appear dull and dingy. By preventing the formation of this film you reduce the occasions your jewelry will need to be cleaned.

· For protection of your jewelry and for safety reasons jewelry should be removed when working around machinery with movable parts.

· Have your fine jewelry inspected annually by a professional. Inspection will insure that deep crevices are cleaned and settings are solid and secure preventing loss of valuable stones.

· Clean your jewelry as needed using jewelry cleaner made especially for this purpose or with a non abrasive soap or mixture of ammonia and water mixture. Use caution when cleaning jewelry to avoid damage to your precious metal. A soft chamois cloth is an effective way to keep your pieces shining and your jeweler can give you specific advice as to which commercial cleaners are available and suitable for your needs.

· A soft, discarded toothbrush is ideal for cleaning jewelry as the bristles will get into tiny spaces where dirt likes to hide and the brush accustomed to cleaning delicate surfaces is designed to clean without scratching.

· Sterling silver will oxidize and tarnish unless covered with a protective layer of rhodium to help prevent tarnishing. Over time this covering may breakdown. Commercial polish will restore the original color and luster. However, you may also clean sterling silver by mixing mild soap, water and a drop of ammonia and wipe with a clean soft cloth. Never use vinegar on sterling silver.

· To clean stainless steel simply moisten a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean.

· Take special care of silver jewelry making sure it does not come into contact with swimming pools, hot tubs or the ocean. Silver will react with chlorine causing discoloration and then there is also the issue of loss at a public pool or in your own filter system.

· Pearls should be kept away from chemicals including hairspray, perfume and detergents. Use fragrance and hair products prior to donning pearls. Pearls when cleaned should be done so with a mild soapy water solution and rinsed well, never put in an ultrasonic cleaner. Before storing you pearls, wipe them with a soft, damp cloth to ensure that they remain free from any harmful buildup. Pearls are easily scratched and should be stored in a soft cloth pouch or in a separate lined jewelry box to avoid being bumped by other jewelry. If you wear your pearl strand several times a week, consider having your jeweler restring it once a year to prevent strand breakage. Pearls aren’t just for formal occasions they look just as fashionable when you’re having a dress down day

Using Palladium in White Gold Jewelry Means No More Allergic Reactions March 8, 2006

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry, Jewelry Care, Palladium Jewelry , add a comment

White gold jewelry can cause allergic reactions in some people. This is due to the fact that the majority of white gold jewelry is manufactured using alloys containing nickel as the bleaching agent and a percentage of the population is allergic to nickel. For these individuals, contact with nickel can result in dermatological problems that range from a mild skin rash to severe open sores and permanent scaring. In Europe, there are laws governing the use of nickel in jewelry. The European law is known as “The Nickel Directive” and states that no nickel can be used in a material that sits in an open wound, such as after piercing, until healing is complete.

What is a jewelry buyer to do when faced with this information? First of all relax, most people do not have severe reactions to nickel. And jewelers are starting to use alloys that contain less nickel to develop white gold jewelry.

Some nickel-free white gold alloys were originally developed in the 1920s using palladium as the primary bleaching agent. Palladium is part of the platinum group of metals. It is a steel-white metal, does not tarnish in air, and is the least dense and lowest melting of the platinum group metals. Palladium has very good corrosion and tarnish resistance, and it mixes well with gold, offering almost complete homogenization throughout the range of gold-palladium compositions. All these factors make it a good choice for white gold jewelry manufacturing. It also yields alloys with excellent mechanical properties superior in many respects to the nickel-whites which can be difficult to work with and contain pockets of gold and nickel because the two metals don’t like to be mixed. Jewelry made from a palladium/gold alloy will not result in allergic reactions.

You might be asking: “If palladium is so much better than nickel to make white gold, why don’t all jewelers use it?” The answer is cost. Palladium jewelry is a bit more expensive to use. The cost of an ounce of palladium is around $300 currently and consumers don’t like paying higher prices for what appears to be the same jewelry product. However, once people know the facts about nickel white gold and the allergic risks it presents many are willing to pay a little more.

Another white metal on the horizon is 950 Palladium. Some jewelry manufacturers are making product from new palladium alloys that can be cast into jewelry. This is a wonderful metal because it is a bright white color, very similar to platinum, but has a much lower price. It is still relatively new so jewelers are still learning how to work best with this metal. Keep your eyes open though, because you will soon be seeing more of this product, especially with the cost of platinum currently above $1,000 an ounce.

About the Author
Jill Renee is the president of Danforth Diamond, an online jewelry store offering platinum, white gold and yellow gold jewelry. With 50 years in the jewelry business, the Danforth family developed their site as a resource to help you find the best value in high-quality jewelry.

Care for Diamond Jewelry February 6, 2006

Posted by Jill Renee in : Diamond Jewelry, Diamonds, Jewelry, Jewelry Care , add a comment

Does Your Diamond Ring Still Sparkle?

Care & Cleaning of Diamond Rings
We are often asked how to care for and clean diamond rings. We have to consider the diamonds, the ring mount, and any other stones apart from diamonds. Other Stones
On this page, we will limit ourselves to the care of the diamonds and mount, for information about any other gemstones, please refer to our A to Z of Gemstones page.

General Diamond Jewelry Care
Diamonds are extremely hard and durable, but there are things which can damage them, so it is important to know what to avoid. Diamonds can be broken by a sharp impact on a hard surface, so dropping a ring onto a concrete floor could cause the diamond to cleave, especially if it struck at precisely the wrong place. This is not very likely to happen, and diamonds are so durable, that you may get away with dropping it onto concrete 1,000 times without damage. We would not recommend the experiment! Rings do come in for a large amount of wear and tear when they are on fingers, and an accidental blow on metal or other hard surface could have a similar or greater effect than being dropped.

This sort of collision damage is more likely to wear or break the ring mount, so it is worth inspecting the ring carefully after any hard knock to ensure that any claws are still intact and the stone is tight.

One of the worst things for causing wear and damage to diamonds is allowing them to rub and knock against other diamonds. This will cause abrasion and chipping, particularly around the girdle of the stone. If you wear several rings next to each other, it is better if there is a metal to metal contact between them. Although this will cause wear, it can be repaired fairly easily. We do see a number of older ladies, who have acquired a number of rings over a long period of time, wearing two, three or more rings on one finger. We even had one customer who had seven diamond rings on one finger. They were all quite large, and the thought of the damage to the diamonds made us cringe. This particular little old lady knew that her enjoyment of her rings was more important than the cost of any damage to them.

A number of years ago, we sold a large cubic zirconia ring to a lady, who brought it back less than six months later with all three stones almost worn away and looking very dull. We replace it, but advised her not to wear against her other diamond rings.

Reasonable care should be taken not to catch diamond settings with filaments of thread, particularly strong synthetic threads which may bend claws, and loosen the stones they are meant to be securing.

It is worth having your ring checked by a jeweller occasionally for wear or damage to the settings, particularly with claw set rings. Of course, you can do this yourself, but most jewellers have suitable magnifying glasses which make close inspection much easier. If you notice a stone which is loose, this should definitely be checked by a jeweller as soon as possible.

Cleaning Diamond Jewelry
When jewelery is worn next to the skin, it will become covered and clogged in oily debris mainly composed of dead skin. Dust and grit become lodged in this. Wearing rings while washing up can also allow a greasy film to coat the backs of stones (diamonds just love grease!), and the inside of settings.

The main purpose of cleaning diamond rings is to remove all this greasy debris, and allow light to enter and leave the diamonds, restoring their sparkle. Nothing you would ever use to clean your ring is likely to damage the diamonds without damaging the mount, so we will describe how to clean the metal part of rings. The mount will normally be made of gold, preferably 18 carat gold, of platinum, or of a mixture of the two. Other gold alloys are not as suitable, for an explanation of this, please refer to our Durability of Gold Alloys page.

The Ring Mount
Most gold or platinum jewelery can be cleaned in warm soapy water, detergent is equally good. It can be gently brushed if necessary using an old tooth brush especially to remove debris behind the stones. It is better to avoid cleaning agents containing abrasives, including toothpaste. Some people swear by gin. All alcohol will dissolve grease, but this is a waste of good gin.

Gold Alloys

High carat alloys such as 18 carat and above, will not usually become tarnished, and will not be harmed by household chemicals.
Lower carat gold can be harmed by contact with chlorine based bleach and cleaning chemicals.

Chlorine can cause stress corrosion cracking in lower gold alloys of 14 carat and below, although it will be worse if the jewelery contains porosity through less than perfect manufacturing treatments. Because of this it is best to avoid cleaning your jewelery with bleach or other cleaners containing chlorine, and also to avoid wearing it when in contact with bleach.

Proprietary jewelery Cleaner

Most jewelers now sell tubs of “jewelery Cleaner”. Although it will clean your jewelery, it will not necessarily work any better than the warm soapy water we recommend above.

Ultrasonic Cleaners
jewelery manufacturers and workshops use ultrasonic cleaning tanks. In these, the actual cleaning is performed by the cleaning solution, usually a mixture of ammonia and detergent, the ultrasonics merely provide the agitation to speed up the process. Small domestic ultrasonic cleaners are now available, and many jewelery stores sell them as gift items. We are not convinced that they work better than soap, water and a brush.


Low carat gold alloys will tarnish or discolour through exposure to air. This tarnish is not removed by ordinary cleaning. To remove it will usually require the application of gentle abrasive to rub away the layer of tarnished gold. In jewelery workshops, acid may to used to dissolve the tarnish layer, but this is not practical at home.

The best way to avoid tarnish is to buy 18 carat gold jewelery, which hardly ever becomes tarnished.


It is unusual for diamonds to be set in silver as it is too soft to be used for diamond rings.

If jewelery with polished surfaces becomes matt and dull over long periods of wear, it can usually be repolished, but we believe that this is not really necessary. Items like diamond rings are bound to become scratched, but we believe that, particularly with high carat golds and platinum, the intrinsic colour of the metal retains its beauty even when scratched and worn.

Gemstone Settings

It is advisable to avoid cleaning stone-set jewelery in a hand-basin. If stones become loose in cleaning, they can easily become lost down the drain.

Right after cleaning is a very common time to discover that stones are missing. Occasionally careless cleaning can be the cause, but usually wear and tear over a period of time are the real cause, and the cleaning merely appears to be the cause. Damage and trauma to jewelery can occur in everyday use, and sometimes the stones are only held in their settings by a build up of grease. When this is removed by cleaning, the stones drop out.
Reprinted from http://www.24carat.co.uk/

Tarnishing and Tarnish Resistance in Jewelry November 17, 2005

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry, Jewelry Care , add a comment

One of the great advantages of gold is that it is chemically resistant to both tarnishing and corrosion under almost all circumstances. Unfortunately, the majority of jewelry is not made from gold, but gold alloys.

Which Gold Alloy Has the Best Tarnish Resistance Properties?
As a general rule, the higher the karat, the more gold present therefore the greater the resistance to tarnishing. 18 karat gold will have superior resistance to 14 karat gold, which in turn will have superior resistance to 10 karat gold.

So what tarnishes in jewelry? Base metals tarnish because they are chemically attacked from the atmosphere and any liquid that may come into contact with your jewelry. The main culprit here is copper. This reacts readily with sulfur from the atmosphere to form sulfides. These are dark in color and your jewelry starts to look dull with time. Solders contain other base metals that are chemically attacked, which is why solder joints can quickly tarnish and become visible after a period of wear.

What About Silver?
Unfortunately, although it is classed as a precious metal, silver suffers from significant tarnish problems. The main culprit again is sulfur, which will form purple, brown and black sulfides on your sterling silver jewelry. And this isn’t confined to sterling silver jewelry. The silver in your karat gold jewelry will also be attacked and start to discolor over time.

Why Does My Clothing Sometimes Turn Black?
Discolored clothing and skin usually occurs for one of several reasons. Firstly, your jewelry will tarnish as described above. This chemically attacked layer will rub off on clothing or skin in varying amounts, causing “dirty” stains. Also, as your jewelry wears, it becomes abraded and creates fine particles of tarnished material. Any fine dispersion of a metal powder will always look dull or dark, so if it is tarnished as well, this exacerbates the problem. Jewelry is very susceptible to body fluids – sweat and grease from the skin. These fluids can contain chemicals that will attack your jewelry, and they will also readily adhere. If particles form from abrasion during everyday use – and don’t forget many cosmetics are abrasive and will make these matters worse – the particles will stick to the fluids on jewelry and only detach or rub off after they have built up. This means you will definitely see a dark stain! Regular cleaning of jewelry helps prevent this problem. Learn more about jewelry care.

What is the Answer?
There are several answers to this problem. First, purchase jewelry at the highest karat you can afford. As we have outlined above, this will have improved tarnish resistance over lower karats. Also, make sure you clean your jewelry regularly, removing any deposits that may be detrimental to it.

The ultimate answer to tarnish-resistant jewelry is to purchase platinum jewelry. Platinum alloys are typically 95% pure, platinum is as resistant to chemical attack as gold, and will not discolor with age under the majority of circumstances.

Please visit DanforthDiamond.com to learn more about your jewelry.