Treasured Gift Ideas…for Babies

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

These days’ shoppers for baby gifts are parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles. All are searching for special gifts that the baby will have as a keepsake. Many times this is a shopping challenge with the number of relatives wishing to shop for something meaningful.

Girls are easiest to buy for with baby rings with or without gemstones the classic choice. Orienta® cultured pearl necklaces are the #1 legacy present with additional pearls able to be purchased individually or by the inch. Available with gold or silver chains, prices start under $30. Cross pendants hand engraved or high polished in either gold or silver are also a favorite. Bangle bracelets, mini sterling silver bracelets with a heart charm are much appreciated especially when engraved with a personal message. Starting a diamond Add-A-Link bracelet is one of the newer options for the baby girl. A loose gemstone of her birth month would be a creative choice.

“Baby’s First Dollar” – the American Eagle is the current most popular item for baby boys. First minted by the United States Treasury in 1986, it is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce .999 silver. The silver eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the West Point Mint. Pricing is based on the daily silver price fluctuating with the precious metals market.

Engravable identification bracelets or dog tags in sterling silver as well as classic gold band rings are a popular choice, too.  Novelty banks are available in dozens of designs: football, soccer ball, motorcycle, fire truck, frog, elephant, bear, owl, whale and many more.

We have a variety of gifts for every budget.  Some are suitable for all babies such as birth record frames, rattles, and traditional baby cups. The cups are priced depending on the quality of the metal from sterling silver, silver plate or stainless steel. Personalizing with engraving adds to the remembrances.

These loving tokens to welcome the little one will be cherished for a lifetime!

CHAIN ISSUES

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

It is an everyday occurrence. The door opens at 9AM and a customer brings in a chain to us either broken, or stretched and not safe to wear. Sometimes it can be repaired. Many times replacing is the only option.

Most have a sentimental pendant dangling from the center that they have not have not had off their person for years. Even though I have never recommended sleeping or showering in any jewelry, it is a common practice by many. Our backlog of repairs is evidence of this!

A few manufacturers will warrant chains by either repairing or replacing. Some customers are unaware that everyday wear and tear can stretch a chain sometimes one to even three inches from its original length!! White and yellow karat gold chains are typically soldered links. But sliding back and forth hundreds of times each day can cause wear on the soldered links. Silver chains are even more susceptible to stretching and eventually breaking.

No style of chain is exempt from wear, although some styles do wear better. Lightweight chains have a tendency to be more prone to a short life, while heavier ones do last longer. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link!

The weight of the pendant is partially to blame. A tug by a child can be another reason for the increase in length. “Fidgeting” with the pendant can also lengthen a chain. Gold is malleable. A quick pull can break some chains but over time each link elongates and will simply weaken the entire chain. Then the chain breaks and the pendant can be lost. It is recommended that prongs on rings be checked every six months yet few people have their chains and pendant bails checked. Note: The bail is the top portion of the pendant where the chain travels through it. It, too, can be repaired if wearing thin!

Stop in today and have your chains cleaned and inspected for weakness. Chain bracelets are also included in this check-up. This is another complimentary service provided by Eichhorn Jewelry. If your chain is in need of repair we can estimate the cost or provide a replacement chain with a trade-in allowance for your worn or damaged chain.

NEW YEAR 2016 RESOLUTIONS

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

After 50+ years in the jewelry business, I thought it was time to help create some New Year resolutions for our customers. Every year we hear many customers tell us on the street, at an event or even in a phone call that they have been ‘thinking’ about remounting a diamond, restoring a favorite heirloom, or purchasing the one carat diamond of their dreams. Some do follow through and stop in at Eichhorn Jewelry. But more often than not we just hear the ‘considering’ stories. We are all procrastinators at some level. But when one of my customers last year finally made the decision to buy the two carat diamond she wanted for more than ten years she announced, “Eileen, I wish you would have made me buy it when I first started looking.” In her case, she would have saved a bundle. Others have found jewelry or watch repairs that they thought would be expensive are very reasonable once given an estimate.

My father always said, “It’s later than you think.” Truer words were never spoken. Why not today? Make today special and act on your dreams. You may have old gold or diamonds to trade-in to help offset the cost? Clean out your drawers. Jewelry that you are not wearing may be more valuable than you ever imagined. This is the year to get it done! This is the year you have been waiting for! This is the year to check off your list the jewelry project(s) you have put off. Treat yourself in the New Year!

A ring you loved for many years may be able to be restored or restyled. Pearls that have lost their style may be cleaned and restrung with fashionable silver beads or chain extenders to combine sentiment and newness. Most clip earrings can be converted to pierced styles. That brooch you inherited from your great aunt that you would never wear can be converted to a fashionable slide-pendant-enhancer. Even some rings can be transformed into a pendant. Bring in your ideas or leave the options to us. You will be surprised how affordable and FUN some of these projects can be for both of us! We have many before/after photos that will spark your imagination.

Pass it on! There is no time like the present to get started on your jewelry bucket list. We are here, ready and waiting at Eichhorn Jewelry. No job is too large or too small for consideration. No appointment needed but recommended. Call us today. 260-724-2621.

 

Famous History

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Who would have guessed in in the year 2015 two stone rings would be so popular again! Do you know the history of this love gift? The ring style has a famous past: “Toi et Moi” means “You and Me” in French and refers to a ring that showcases two stones.  These were common engagement rings during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, symbolizing two souls that are intertwined.  The ring that is believed to have started the trend was the gorgeous sapphire and diamond engagement ring Napoleon gave to Josephine in 1776.

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The engagement ring the young Napoleon “must have broken his wallet” to buy for his fiancée Josephine shattered expectations on March 24, 2013 at the Osenat auction house in France when it sold for close to $1 million according to Osenat’s expert, Jean-Christophe Chataignier.

The winning bidder, who wanted to stay completely anonymous, paid $949,000, almost 50 times the $20,000 Osenat had expected to bring in. Including the buyer’s 25 percent commission to Osenat, the total price for the ring was $1.17 million.

“In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times,” said Osenat’s Emily Villane, who led the auction. “We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.”

There was intense interest in the ring, she said. In addition to the 300 people in the Fontainebleau auction house, about 50 more international bidders were hooked up by phone.

Osenat, which is in Fontainebleau, outside Paris, also received more than 40 written bids by email from the U.S. alone, she said.

The auction house set up extra phone lines and hired 10 additional people to be prepared for the sale.

“It was 15 minutes of relentless bidding,” Villane said. “We opened at 10,000 euros, I raised it to 50,000 euros. From then on it was going up by 10,000. When the hammer went down at 730,000 euros there was a huge applause.”

The sale was timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of Josephine’s birthday.

The golden ring is in an 18th century setting called “toi et moi,” “You and Me,” with opposing tear-shaped jewels — a blue sapphire and a diamond. The carat weight of the two gems is little less than a carat each.

Osenat already had clues that it had a blockbuster on its hands several days before the auction.

MANY THANKS!

By Eileen R Eichhorn

A wonderful thing happened recently at Eichhorn Jewelry. On the day of our 50th Anniversary in business, August 5, 2015 over 500+ friends, family, customers, and former employees, showed up to with well-wishes for our milestone event. Even one of our bench jewelers attended to surprise us as did one of our vendor representatives!

Eichhorn Jewelry Team

Sally, Laura, Heather, Eileen, Kate, Matt, Carla and Kathy

We had prayed for good weather and the Lord provided. You have to be careful what you pray for, however. What we didn’t plan on was the traffic jam in Downtown Decatur! We considered valet parking. We should have had it since some people are still coming in nearly a month later telling us they circled the block three times and couldn’t find a parking place. But, our wonderful customers continue to visit us.

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The store from the late 60’s

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Gemstone Surprise Packages

We have really been celebrating our anniversary the entire year since it is such a monumental occasion. It is amazing what a little advertising can do for a big jewelry store in a little town! Thanks to Heather Cruse, our marketing director, without whom we would never have been able to embrace social media.  A huge round of applause, too, goes to Bob Shraluka who wrote the story for the Decatur Daily Democrat. Making the front page was unexpected and very much appreciated. The back page photo with the Eichhorn Junior League Softball Team winning the championship was a bonus! John Eichhorn would be very proud.

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It was SO much fun! All of us were dressed in the attire of 1965. The windows and showcases were decked out in 50 champagne flutes with shredded gold metallic sparkle everywhere! Gold helium balloons added to the decorations. Our original store photo remains on display. One of our first employees, Peggy Lengerich visited the store that day and was photographed with a gold Swarovski tiara and gold plated rose.

Peg Lengerich

Peg Lengerich

Our 1965 Christmas Catalog was displayed with similar items we STILL sell today – the classics. Longtime customers gave us a special treat wearing the jewels they purchased from us over the years reminiscing how and why they acquired them. We were honored by those stories. My husband of nearly 35 years, John Hebein sang the songs of Frank Sinatra to entertain us all day. How can I ever thank him enough?

John Hebein singing Frank Sinatra for us all day.

John Hebein singing Frank Sinatra for us all day.

Everyone enjoyed ALL the day’s festivities. $50 cash was awarded to Jackie Conrad who presented the oldest sales receipt – 1977 for a watch she purchased with her Diamond Club Winnings. We also gave away free nephrite jade gemstones to everyone who stopped in that day. We offered $5 surprise packages with gemstones valued up to $500. Those sold out in less than two hours! In addition, we gave away 50 – $50 gift certificates and 50 champagne diamonds.

Eileen Eichhorn and Jackie Conrad

Eileen Eichhorn and Jackie Conrad

Jennifer Mitchel winner of the $500 gemstone at Eichhorn Jewelry

Jennifer Mitchel winner of the $500 gemstone at Eichhorn Jewelry

The entire staff was amazing! Their smiles were worth a million dollars. Thank you: Kate Dyer, Matt Dyer, Laura Ditto, Heather Cruse, Carla Meyer, Sally Hoeppner, and Kathy Jenkins. Even the most recently retired staff, Charlotte Sheets stopped in that day along with our pearl stringer, Kim Simon. Mary Ann August our inventory control specialist stopped by, too. Chuck Eichhorn, our subcontractor-bench jeweler, was on hand for the festivities. Flora Walters GG, who has assisted me for many years with appraisals, drove up from Indianapolis for the day. One of our best customers even had lunch delivered for us. Some of us did not get to eat because we were so busy! Photos are the best evidence of the highlights of the day thanks to my brother-in-law, Ed Dyer.

Charlotte, Kim & Laura during our 50th Anniversary Celebration at Eichhorn Jewelry

Charlotte, Kim & Laura during our 50th Anniversary Celebration at Eichhorn Jewelry

I would like to personally thank everyone for their support over the years. If you were not able to attend that day, you were with us in spirit as you may have sent a note, text or email with your kind words. Eichhorn Jewelry, Inc. hopes to continue adding new customers daily for another 50 years. With your referrals we can make it happen!

-Eileen Eichhorn

EICHHORN – of San Jose California

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

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

One of our suppliers shares our same surname! Some years ago while visiting a trade show people kept coming up to us and saying “YOU are the Eichhorns!” Since we had badges on with our names we thought it odd for the outburst, maybe a prank or perhaps they thought they knew us? This seemed strange enough because we did not know what EICHHORN they were referring to. We had to find out just who these people thought we were.

In the discovery process, we found a couple who really know gems! Originally dealing exclusively in loose emeralds, sapphires and rubies, Eichhorn of San Jose added a new dimension by designing and manufacturing an extensive line of classic and contemporary jewelry featuring exquisite gemstones.

Importing from the mines and dealers in Colombia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, each gem is hand selected for its uniqueness and beauty by Dottie and Michael Eichhorn. Their dedication and attention to detail is their trademark. For over 20 years, Eichhorn Jewelry in Downtown Decatur has been dealing with Eichhorn of San Jose building a special relationship that continues today.

Trivia: Matt Dyer proposed to Abigail Murray in 2002 with a platinum diamond engagement ring mounting supplied by Eichhorn of San Jose!

Ruby

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone. Even diamond was considered common in comparison to the supreme beauty and value of this glowing red gem. Named from the Latin word for its hue, ruber, ruby is the epitome of the boldest of colors: the gem of desire, passion, courage, and emotion.

In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In the Bible, only wisdom and virtuous women are “more precious than rubies.”

Early in the eleventh century, Persian sage al-Biruni was only conveying the popular wisdom of the time when he wrote that ruby has “the first place in color, beauty and rank” among all gems.

Nine centuries later, British author Max Bauer, in his 1894 Masterpiece Precious Stones, writes: “A clear, transparent, and faultless ruby of a uniform red color is at the present time the most valuable precious stone known.”

Granted, the value of fine ruby relative to other highly prized gems wasn’t as extreme in Bauer’s day as it had once been. Around 1550, Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini reported that the finest one-carat ruby cost eight times more than a comparable-quality one-carat diamond. By Bauer’s time, the same ruby was only two times as expensive as its diamond equivalent.

Nevertheless, a 2:1 value ratio between fine rubies and diamonds is impressive. Certainly, ruby’s status as the most valuable gem of the age helps to explain why England took the rather drastic step of invading and annexing Upper Burma in 1885 when it learned a French company would begin mining of this gem at the famed Mogok ruby tract—the most celebrated source for ruby ever known and still the most important today.

Although certain color tones are associated with different country’s mines: Burma, now known as Myanmar, with pure reds, Vietnam with vivid pinkish rubies with exceptional clarity, Sri Lanka with more pastel softer pinkish reds, Thailand with dark red to burgundy, Kenya with translucent stones with juicy pure reds, Madagascar with pure transparent reds, color alone cannot tell you where a stone was born: a laboratory report may be required. When confirmed, stones from Burma’s famed Mogok mine command a premium, particularly if the color is natural.

Most rubies are heated almost to 2,000 degrees in order to maximize the red and remove secondary colors of blue and brown. Some rubies are also heated to improve clarity. Sometimes glassy residue can be trapped in fractures when the ruby cools. Heat enhancement is stable, does not require special care, and does not reduce the stone’s value unless significant residue is present.

If ruby shows no signs of heating, it is very rare. The stone’s natural color must be confirmed by a laboratory report if it is to command a premium. The ruby must also possess a pleasing color and appearance.

Ruby is most common in oval and cushion shapes. Other shapes may be difficult to find in sizes above a carat. Rubies above five carats are extremely rare and valuable.

Ruby, like sapphire, is the mineral corundum, one of the most durable minerals, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely tough. In its common form, it is even used as an abrasive. As a result, rubies are the most durable of gems. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

CHURCH & COMPANY

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

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

One of our favorite suppliers is Church & Company of Toms River, NJ. Founded in 1922 by Charles Church, this line is made in the USA! Eileen Eichhorn received her first piece of fine jewelry – a 10K gold citrine ring for her 10th birthday made by Church & Co. Subsequent rings, self-purchased and as gifts for others continue as Eileen also presented her husband a black onyx ring – his wedding ring made by Church.

Known for fine quality and craftsmanship their signet rings consist of 129 styles. Each is available in six different metals, 10K yellow gold, 14K yellow or white gold, 18K yellow gold, platinum or sterling silver. In addition, these are also available in standard weight (which is really a heavy die-struck ring) or husky weight – 33% heavier! Each can be enhanced by the finest hand engraving in the world, for corporate awards or milestone graduation, anniversary or wedding gifts for the discriminating client. Family coat of arms, script or deep relief monograms are typically delicately carved on these by a Master Hand Engraver to achieve the utmost in detail for both men and women.

Adams Memorial Hospital selected these for their 20 year employee award rings each with one diamond set in each shoulder and the AMH logo hand engraved on top.

Church & Co. also supplies Eichhorn Jewelry with ancestry jewelry, coat of arms research, wax insignia rings, cufflinks, crosses, bracelets and other custom engravings. Fine quality precious gemstones of every variety in a vast number of styles in lady’s rings, pendants, and earrings in traditional styles and classic fashion designs are what make this one of our favorite vendors!

Trivia: Eileen Eichhorn worked for J.B. Hudson Jewelers while going to college in Minneapolis. She reminisces that the most discriminating of her elite customers chose Church & Co. jewelry for their corporate award gifts, too.

SPARKLING: SALLY HOEPPNER

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

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Of all the many employees over the past 50 years, none have had such endearing qualities as our dear Sally Hoeppner. Finding her way to our door several years ago, Sally has the distinction of being our most loyal diamond ambassador. Always in the forefront of fashion, Sally truly loves jewelry.  She makes a fashion statement daily in her vast selections to compliment her style. Diamonds are her favorite accessory!

Sally’s husband has presented her with two milestone diamond gifts in recent years. For their 30th Anniversary she received a one carat Artcarved diamond ring. Just this past April – her birthstone is diamond – Sally was presented with an item from her ‘wish list’ – the Diamond Marriage Symbol necklace.

You will find Sally polished to perfection in her sweet voice. Having the distinction of the one who will call to remind you about the Diamond Club, Sally takes her phone job seriously.

I am sure Sally never realized all the many tasks she would perform while working at Eichhorn’s. One of her favorite is taking photographs of the multitude of watches and jewelry taken in for repairs daily.

Sally is a personal shopper, too. Extremely conscientious of value, Sally is great at finding the best buy for the young man who wants to become engaged on a budget. She will steer him to the wide selection of estate diamond rings.

Trivia: Having “adopted” her into our family, we lovingly call her another ‘sister’.  Sally adds a unique blend to the makeup of the mixed staff of Eichhorn family member-employees and the other adoptees.

Eichhorn Jewelry's employee; Sally Hoeppner of Berne Indiana

Eichhorn Jewelry employee; Sally Hoeppner of Berne Indiana

Alexandrite: JUNE BIRTHSTONE

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem, with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. Alexandrite is a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl discovered in 1830 in Czarist Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colors are red and green it was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age.

How does the color change work? Most gems transmit and absorb light throughout the visible spectrum and we interpret the mixture of the transmitted wavelengths as the gem’s color. Alexandrite transmits light only in two discrete windows of the spectrum, in the blue-green and red regions. The rest of the spectrum is absorbed. When viewed under light sources active in those particular regions of transmission, you see one of the two colors. In daylight, or in artificial light that simulates it, like fluorescent light, light waves in the green region predominate. In candlelight, or artificial light that simulates it like incandescent or tungsten light, light waves in the red region predominate. The gem is displaying changes in the light, not changing itself.

Today, fine alexandrite is most often found in period jewelry since newly-mined gems are extremely rare. You’ll see fine gems offered at auction with impressive estimates. The original source in Russia’s Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing for only a few decades and only a few stones can be found on the market today. Material with a certificate of Russian origin is still particularly valued by the trade. Some alexandrite is found in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and Brazil but very little shows a dramatic color change. For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available.

Then in 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil at a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green. Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation of jewelers and collectors have been exposed to this beautiful gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand.

When evaluating alexandrite, pay the most attention to the color change: the more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green, without the bleeding through of brown from one color to the next, the more rare and valuable the stone. The other important value factors are the attractiveness and intensity of the two colors, the clarity, and the cutting quality. Due to rarity, large sizes command very high premiums.