Jewelry - A Gift for Men

Classic Cameo Brooch Styles You Might Find At An Estate Sale

The cameo brooch is an iconic image. They are synonymous with Victorian era jewelry. They were also very popular during the early part of the 20th century. You might have seen them on the popular television show Downton Abbey.

If you are interested in finding unique jewelry, specifically cameo brooches, then you might want to investigate estate sales. You can still buy cameo brooches today, but the new ones are usually made with agate. If you are looking for one made from ivory, glass, or shell, you should look for antique jewelry. This is why an estate sale is a fantastic place to look. The jewelry will be old. You might find authentic Victorian era brooches.

Here is an overview of the designs, the materials you should be aware of, and how to tell if it is genuine.

Cameo Materials

Cameo brooches were originally made from stone. Later on, craftsman started to use shell. The first shell cameos were made in Italy during the 14th and 15th century. Italy had the benefit of being a fishing culture. The cameos were carved out of mussels. Later on, in different cultures, other shellfish such as conch were used.

The second material that was used to make was Ivory. This is no longer being produced due to bans on ivory harvesting. However, there are plenty of examples of Ivory brooches in existence. The jewelers liked to use Ivory because of its beautiful color and the ease with which they could carve it. You will not find a modern cameo brooch made of Ivory, so if you want one you will have to look for antique brooches.

Italian cameos were often made of lava rock. This was because of the abundance of the material and how easy it was to carve. The lava rock was taken from Mount Vesuvius.

Finally, there are the agate brooches. These are the most common cameo brooches today. Agate is a type of rock. It is perfect for making cameos because it is multicolored. This helps the artist create depth and add shading.

Cameo Design

The most popular cameo motifs are Greek and Roman figures, along with female portraits.  One of the most popular designs during the Victorian era was the Cameos Habille. These cameos featured a woman who was wearing a necklace. This became a very popular design. You can see examples of the “dressed” cameos here.

How To Tell If The Cameo Is Vintage

If you are going to an estate sale, you still should check to make sure the cameo is vintage. You don’t want to buy a plastic mock up of real estate jewelry. There are two popular methods to check if the cameo is an antique.

First, remember that antique cameo brooches would never be made of plastic. They would only be made of stone, ivory, shell, or some other hard organic matter. So, the first test is called the “hot” pin test.  The process involved taking a pin and heating it with a cigarette lighter. When the pin is hot you press it against the cameo. If the material is stone, agate, shell, or Ivory, the pin will not make a mark. If the cameo is plastic, the pin will soften or press in.

Some people find this intrusive, so the prefer to do a less invasive test. This test involves using a magnifying glass. You are going to look for marks on the surface of the cameo. Plastic cameos are molded and are completely smooth. Classic cameos that were carved should bear marks from the engravers chisel. This method requires a good eye.

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Discover The True Beauty Behind Used Engagement Rings

Far too many people believe that the only benefit that comes with buying a used engagement price is a lower price tag. While it is true that these rings can often be bought for far less than a new ring, this is only one of the impressive benefits that used rings have to offer. In fact, once you discover the true beauty behind used engagement rings, the size of your budget will likely have little to do with your decision to buy a used ring.

Used Rings Have A Story To Tell

Engagement rings have always played a major role in any great love story. After all, a great love story simply would not be complete without the perfect proposal. When you choose to buy a brand new engagement ring, this ring will simply tell your love story. However, when you choose to buy a used engagement ring, you and your future spouse will be able to share in the great love stories that came before you as well.

If you are looking for an engagement ring that tells a specific tale, many jewelers who offer used and antique engagement rings will be able to help you find the ring that is perfect for you. For instance, if your future spouse is obsessed with royalty or the rich and famous, purchasing a ring that once belonged to a member of the royal family or to a Hollywood actress could really give your engagement ring the extra touch needed to transform it from a simple ring to a symbol of your undying love that should be shared with generations to come.

Designs Change Over The Years

Engagement ring designs have changed dramatically over the years in order to reflect the most popular styles of the time. However, not all brides-to-be will share the style of the masses. If you are planning to propose to a truly unique woman, you will need a truly unique ring as well. Choosing to purchase a used engagement ring will give you a much wider selection to choose from as you will be able to choose from both modern designs, and designs of days gone by.

The differences between engagement rings from one era to the next can be subtle. So if you are looking for a ring from a specific era, such as the Victorian Era, you will want to ensure that any ring you are considering is appraised by a professional who specializes in Victorian jewelry before committing to your purchase.

If you prefer a new ring, but also want that unique aspect, consider purchasing a custom-made ring from a professional jeweler like those at P.K. Bennett Jewelers.

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Buying An Engagement Ring On A Tight Budget

If you are interested in asking your partner for their hand in marriage, selecting an engagement ring is probably on the top of your list of priorities. Selecting an engagement ring can quickly become an overwhelming experience, especially if you are strapped for cash. Here are some tips to help you pick out the perfect ring when you are on a tight budget.

Learn The Basics

Before you head out to a jeweler, learn about the different diamond types so you are more prepared when asked what you are looking for. There are four grading methods used to distinguish between different diamonds. These are often called the four “C’s” and consist of the cut, the clarity, the color and the carat. If you are on a budget, you will not be buying top of the spectrum in any of these four factors. However, buying on the lower end for one of the four “C’s” allows you to get higher-quality on one of the other four “C’s”.

For example, buying a smaller carat diamond will allow you to upgrade on the color or clarity. Buying a diamond with less clarity will allow you to buy a larger diamond. Decide which factor is most important to you and look a diamonds within the range you select for this factor.

Know When To Shop

Many jewelers will hold sales throughout the year. Take advantage of a sale to get the best possible price on an engagement ring, instead of going to the store on a whim. Look up sale information online for the jeweler you have in mind to see when sales were held in the past. Often, sales are held right before Christmas and in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, because they are holidays where engagements take place. 

Stay Within Budget

Figure out how much you can comfortably afford for a ring before you start shopping. Stick with this predetermined number no matter what and take your time to find something under this price. Let salespeople know this number, and do not let them make you feel inferior because of the amount you are able to spend. If they start looking down on you because they want a larger sale, walk out of the store and move on to another. Consider looking in antique shops or jewelry stores going out of business, as they will have rings at substantially less than an established jewelry store. 

Try Something Different

If your partner enjoys unique jewelry, consider selecting a stone other than a diamond. This non-traditional choice is becoming increasingly popular in engagement rings. You can still use the same type of setting and band, but have the stone swapped for an emerald, ruby or sapphire. If you want to stick with a diamond, consider getting a ring with a solitaire diamond. The carat would be all placed into the one diamond instead of a bunch of smaller ones, making the overall appearance of the stone much more impressive.

For more information about buying a ring, check out jewelers such as Rinehart Brothers Jewelers.

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3 Tip To Think About When Starting Your Coin Collection

When you want to be sure that you are able to start a great coin collection, you will need the tools and advice to do so. There is a bit of a learning curve to get started with your new hobby, especially if you are looking to collect rare and valuable coins. With this in mind, take advantage of some of the following tips, as they will get you started with your new collection in a way that makes the most sense. 

#1: Get Your Hands On The Tools Of The Trade

If you are truly going to have an appreciation and understanding of coin collecting, you will need to collect the items that will help you to store and appraise your coins. You’ll want to purchase a high-quality magnifying glass so that you can zoom in on your coins and appreciate each and every detail. Next, you’ll need a Red Book, Black Book or some form of price guide so that you are able to easily find out what your coins are worth on the collector’s market. Since you generally are not supposed to clean collected coins, you will want to also purchase the right storage tools, such as folders, flips, and tubes. These storage mechanisms will help you keep your coins safe and sound while also putting them on display. 

#2: Begin Small And Simple, By Using Current Coins

Since you are a beginner, the last thing you want to do is be intimidated by your collection. That can easily happen when you start out by acquiring coins that are incredibly valuable and you aren’t quite used to handling and appraising them. To get a feel for being a coin collector, you should start out with coins that are in circulation right now. This takes a lot of the risk out of the equation and lets you get used to collecting, with no pressure. Some great places to start are limited edition commemorative coins or state based coins. 

#3: Scope Out Quality Coin Dealers 

Finding reputable coin dealers is your bread and butter if you’re trying to start a quality collection. In order to make sure that you are finding the best online coin dealers, check their accreditations and seek references from your numismatic organization or publication. The right dealer will help you to not only get some of the best pieces, but fair and trustworthy trades and appraisals. 

Follow these tips, and you will get off to the best start with your coin collection. 

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3 Places To Find Gold To Sell For Quick Cash

Once you weed out all of your unwanted gold jewelry to trade with gold buyers, you may be wondering where to find your next haul. Thankfully, you can find gold in great quantities if you know just where to look. The beauty and vast utility of gold ensures artisans will continue to use it for a number of man-made objects until someone identifies a suitable substitute. Furthermore, you can still use time-honored techniques to pull gold from the Earth in certain locations. Here are three ideas to get you started on your gold search mission.

Inside Electronics

Electronics utilize gold as conductors on their circuit boards and connectors. The conductive properties direct heat and electricity to the proper places without much loss. The never-ending production of new electronics means you’ll likely never run out of your gold supply if you know how to extract it.

The extraction process doesn’t take a lot of effort once you gather the right tools and learn the procedure from beginning to end. Many people strip gold from circuit boards using a mixture of hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide. After straining the gold out of the mixture, a rinse with water and methanol completes this process. Make sure to wear protective gear, like gloves, goggles and a facemask, to protect your body while working with these chemicals.

At The Stream

You can still pan for gold in mineral rich streams to net a tidy little profit. The amount of gold running through the stream varies day by day, so you have to stay diligent with this endeavor. However, if you stick with it, you’ll likely collect enough gold to make the process worth your while. You may even find gems, like rubies and diamonds, on your panning trips. Furthermore, panning for gold often turns into a fun hobby that you can share with friends and family.

You may want to try out several different streams known for gold accumulation before settling on the best one for your needs. You can also just rotate through the available streams in your area for a frequent change of scenery while trying your luck.

In The Sidewalk Cracks

A modern variation of panning for gold in streams is picking it out of the sidewalk cracks with tweezers. One man in New York has mastered this practice well enough to make a living doing it. In fact, he can gather nearly $1000 a week performing this simple task in a week’s time.

The gold fragments fall off the shoes of jewelry makers and lie in the cracks of the sidewalk just waiting to be discovered. Since gold is lighter than rocks and dirt, people tramping above push the gold deeper and deeper into the groove. During the search, gem pieces often come up to the surface with the gold as the man digs deep with a butter knife. If you have a jewelry-making district in your area, consider breaking out the butter knife, tweezers and small cup to give it a go.

Selling Your Finds

Once you gather a few grams of gold, you can bring it down to a gold buying facility to collect your reward. Make sure you weigh your gold before you go and pack it up in a secure container for the trip down there. The price of gold fluctuates frequently, so it’s important to check the prices before you head into the shop. On a day showing increased values, hurry in to net the highest price for your gold collection. The buyers will weigh the gold on a precise scale to determine the total amount you have on hand. Make sure this weight matches your prior calculations before finalizing the sale. 

For more information, contact Gold for Cash or a similar company.

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How To Use Simple Jewelry Pieces In Different Ways

Unless you have the cash to buy a lot of jewelry, you need to know how to use simple pieces in different ways. Luckily, with some planning, you can take one item and mix it with other pieces you already have to create a unique item to complement most of your clothing.

Large Pendant

A large pendant is one item you can use with multiple chains to complete different looks. You can choose a pendant that has a solid gem or one that has a decorative piece of metal such as a cross or heart. To be able to use the pendant several ways, you need to make sure that the connector or top loop is large enough for one or more chains to go through it.

The simplest way to use a pendant is to string it onto multiple chains at one time. This gives you a layered look and you can use different types of chains, such as one that is silver and one that is gold.

Another option is to string a piece of leather through the top loop of the pendant and then tie the leather strap behind your neck. Longer pieces will allow you to create different looks such as a choker or you can keep it long to create a necklace that dangles. If the strap is long enough, you can wrap it around your neck to create a layered look, while keeping the pendant as the focal point of the necklace.

Simple Chains

Simple chains are a good resource to have when your jewelry collection is limited. You can use these chains in different ways to create necklaces and bracelets. An added benefit is that you can buy these chains in both silver and gold to create unique pieces to wear with almost any outfit you own.

One option for using chains is to wear two or three of them in different sizes. You have the ability to wear one metal type or you can wear one silver chain paired with a gold chain for a layered look. Making sure that each chain is a different size will help each one stand out, while they also complement each other to complete the layered look.

Another option when it comes to chains is to wrap more than one around your wrist. This option allows you to customize a bracelet using both silver and gold chains. To customize the bracelet, you can attach small charms to the chains, which makes a unique charm bracelet suitable for any occasion.

Unless you have several unique jewelry pieces, you need to know how to create your own. Taking simple pieces like pendants and chains, you can create one of a kind pieces that should match most of the outfits you own. For more inspiration, check out companies like Touch Of Gold Fine Jewelry.

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3 Tips For Choosing The Right Guitar For Your Child

Music lessons can be a great thing for your child. Learning to play an instrument can give your child a rewarding hobby that helps them build confidence, and music lessons have even been shown to help increase IQ and improve academic performance. The guitar is a challenging choice, but it’s also a natural choice for kids who are likely to be more familiar with guitar music than with instruments that they’re less likely to hear on the radio, like flutes or violins. Learning to play the guitar starts with choosing the right guitar for your child. Here are a few tips to help you choose a guitar for a child.

Go Acoustic

There are a few good reasons to choose an acoustic guitar instead of an electric guitar for your child to learn with. For one thing, it’s a practical choice – acoustic guitars are more easily portable, because you don’t have to bring an amp along everywhere you go in order to hear it. That makes sense for a child taking lessons outside the house or who needs to be able to practice in different locations.

When it comes to learning to play the guitar, an acoustic is also a better choice for a child who eventually will want to play both types of guitars. It’s easier to learn on an acoustic and progress to an electric than the other way around.

Choose Nylon

Another good idea is to choose nylon guitar strings instead of steel to begin with. Steel can be hard on the fingers, and for children with softer, more sensitive skin, trying to get used to the sensation of steel strings underneath the fingers can be difficult, and could discourage them from practicing.

Nylon strings are much easier on the skin, and choosing nylon allows your child’s fingers to gradually acclimate to the feeling of strumming the guitar and holding chords. When their fingers become more desensitized, they can switch to steel strings.

Don’t Spend A Fortune

It’s rarely a good idea to make a huge investment into your child’s first musical instrument. For one thing, they’ll eventually grow out of a smaller guitar and into a larger model. For another thing, you don’t yet know if your child will be a musical prodigy, a casual player, or whether they’ll give up and move on to something else in a year or two. Consider renting a guitar or buying one used instead of investing in an expensive new guitar.

Also, don’t buy a very small guitar that your child will grow out of too quickly. By the age of six, most children can handle a ¾ size guitar instead of the smaller 30” guitar. If your child is starting guitar lessons later, around the age of 12, you may be able to skip smaller sizes and go straight to an adult sized guitar. It’s important to find a guitar that your child can hold and play comfortably, but if the next size up from the recommended size for their age does fit them comfortably, go with the larger size and save yourself the cost of upgrading later.

With the right guitar and the right tutor, your child will be making beautiful music before you know it.

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