DIAMONDS ARE NOT INDESTRUCTIBLE

By Eileen Eichhorn

Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. They are also uniquely resistant to heat and scratching. Yet a surprising fact to some is that diamonds are not indestructible.

Diamonds can chip or crack, if subjected to a sharp blow or knock. Diamonds are even more prone to chip/cracks at the girdle. Every major jeweler speaks about diamonds chipping or cracking, as it unfortunately does occur.  It is distressing to chip or crack your diamond, so always do your due diligence by not wearing your diamond(s) when performing active work or play. Making sure your ring is properly fit to your finger is paramount to avoiding damage exposure. If your ring turns on your finger, especially upside down, the diamond is much more prone to chipping.

It is always recommended to have your precious gems insured. After all, this is exactly what insurance is for! Most homeowners and renters have insurance riders that cover jewelry. They will replace the diamond and/or have the original diamond recut. Again, we highly recommend that you contact your insurance company to protect your diamond(s).

The Gemological Institute of America explains, “Toughness: Any stone, including a diamond, will break if it’s hit hard enough in the right place. Toughness is a measure of how well a gem can survive an impact and resist breaking, chipping, or cracking.
Diamonds are tougher in the directions where the atoms are bonded tightly together, less tough where they’re not so tightly bonded. Cutting styles with pointed corners or ends are often set with prongs to protect the corners from chipping. The weakest directions are the ones where the atoms are farthest apart. It’s easier to break a diamond in those directions, which are called cleavage directions. A cutter can cleave a diamond by hitting it sharply in the cleavage direction. But even after cutting, a hard blow can still cleave a diamond. This can happen during the setting process, or even when it’s being worn.”

“Resistance to breaking and resistance to scratching are two different things. Wood, for example, is generally very soft and easy to scratch but pretty strong when it comes to breakage. Pine is easy to scratch with your fingernail but buildings made from it can last a lifetime and beyond. Glass is at the other extreme. Under normal circumstances it doesn’t scratch all that easily but it can be terribly fragile. Diamonds fall in between. Although they are nearly impossible to scratch under normal wear, they can chip with just the right impact.”

Most people are naturally concerned with what they can do to minimize their risks, even when they’re insured or under warranty. To some extent, it helps to be just plain lucky but chips generally happen when the edge of the stone is knocked against something hard. Granite countertops, porcelain sinks and other jewelry items with diamonds in them are the most common culprits. When you’re wearing your jewelry be careful about these surfaces and, when you’re not wearing a piece, put it in a soft bag or compartment in your jewelry box to prevent knocking things against one another. Be careful about putting it in your pocket or purse where it can knock against other things. Have it checked periodically by a professional.

“There is no such thing as perfect toughness. Any gem will break if it’s hit hard enough. Diamonds are very tough, but remember that a diamond cutter can cleave a diamond by giving it a sharp blow in the right direction. The same thing can happen if a diamond accidentally receives a severe knock or drops onto a hard surface. Less severe damage, in the form of chipping, can also occur. Some proportion variations (for example, the combination of a shallow crown and thin girdle) make a diamond vulnerable to chipping. Fancy shapes with points – like princess-cuts, pears, hearts and marquises – are also more susceptible to this kind of damage. If the shape is thin or the mounting exposes the point, the risk is heightened.” 

LEYS, CHRISTIE, & CO., INC.

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen Eichhorn

LEYS, CHRISTIE, & CO., INC.

Only a few of our vendors have been in business over 100 years. Leys, Christie, & Co., Inc. is one of them. They are an importer of the lustrous Japanese saltwater Akoya Orienta® cultured pearls. Providing us with many styles of completed cultured pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings, we rely on them mostly for our Start-Her-Pearls. Purchasing an inch of cultured pearls at a time is our most popular jewelry gift item due to affordability. Due to the consistent high quality of their Orienta® brand cultured pearls, year after year additions of very similar size, sphericalness, color, and luster can be blended to create a beautiful necklace. Cultured pearl stud earrings to match are another favorite gift.

Originally, founded in 1896, Leys, Christie, & Co., Inc. specialized in natural pearls. Due to their high cost and limited supply, cultured pearls were born. When pearls skyrocketed to the forefront of wearing multiple layers of them the process of implanting a small mother of pearl bead into an oyster and farming changed the entire industry. The demand for pearls fueled their popularity. Throughout the years fashion icons such as Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Kennedy caused such a huge stir that every woman wanted pearls! Today, more than at any other time in history, cultured pearls are still all the rage!

Trivia: The 16-inch Akoya cultured pearl necklace, consisting of a single strand of 44 Mikimoto pearls from Japan, gets its name from its one time owner Marilyn Monroe, the most beloved star in the history of Hollywood, whose beauty, charisma and lasting appeal, propelled her into the status of an international celebrity and icon, becoming one of the most famous and most adored women in history. The celebrated necklace was a gift from her second husband Joe DiMaggio, the baseball legend, who purchased the necklace from Mikimoto, in Japan, while on their honeymoon in 1954. The necklace is now part of the valuable collection of pearls and pearl jewelry belonging to Mikimoto (America) Co, Ltd. and has been exhibited in many countries around the world, as part of the worldwide traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in collaboration with the Field Museum, Chicago.

KIM SIMON: ONE PEARL OF A GIRL

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

It is amazing how I acquire great employees! It was 25 years ago a phone call inquiry brought one great pearl to our door. Mike Simon answered the volunteer electrician request I had mentioned in the Decatur Daily Democrat for the local community theatre. I put him on hold twice during the conversation because we were so busy! He said, “You need more help, my wife needs a job.” The rest is history. Kim interviewed in literally the next few minutes and has been with us ever since. I’m sure she never imagined all the things she would do during her quarter of a century at Eichhorn’s especially how she became our pearl stringer.

For many years she worked in sales as well as doing minor jewelry repairs, cleaning, errands, and just about anything you can imagine needed done. Her dedication, punctuality, organizational skills and especially her ability to ‘pinch hit’ during challenging times made her the perfect fit for Eichhorn Jewelry.

For the past half of her career, she has mainly been stringing pearls. Some seasons, she is pretty overwhelmed with stringing. Confirmation, First Communion, Mother’s Day, and Christmas are her busiest times. With the hectic Wedding Season about to begin she will be adding extra hours to her work week, too. With the advent of the internet, customer’s purchasing additional pearls for their Orienta® Start-Her-Necklaces changed the game plan for Kim. They mail their pearls to us and Kim goes to work knotting between each pearl by hand. She probably never envisioned how many varied style pearl necklaces and bracelets she would create. In addition to pearls, she also creates colorful gemstone bead necklaces, bracelets and earrings for Eichhorn’s extensive inventory.

Thank You, Kim, for continuing to string pearls for us. Looking forward to many more lustrous years!

Trivia: While Kim was taking an advanced pearl stringing home study course, Mike Simon claims he could string pearls after watching the video and Kim stringing! Is he up to a challenge?