Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts & Susan Sarandon Wear La Loop. Get Yours!

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La Loop has a patented, 360-degree swivel that keeps glasses safe & in place without bending, twisting or falling to the floor. The necklaces can be updated seasonally and are made from precious metals, coral, turquoise and gemstones.

Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon have all been spotted wearing La Loop.

Hmm… I guess that makes it a quality piece of jewelry??

Whatever….be like the stars!!

Via: I love Bling

How The Internet Has Changed The Diamond Industry

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With the recent passing of Rockdoc, who was a pioneer of consumer advocacy for diamond and jewelry buying on the Internet, I found myself thinking today how the Internet has totally and dramatically changed the face of the diamond industry.

In this recent blog entry on Excel Diamonds, I focused on the tremendous difference in pricing between the same diamonds and jewelry sold in the stores vs. on the Internet.

However, that is certainly not the only way the Internet has changed the face of the industry.

Here are a few more:

Transparency

Full disclosure of all products and policies.

Everyone selling diamonds on the Internet lives in the proverbial “glass house”. They will either earn your business with full customer support, service and actual information; or they will lose the sale to the next guy.

As a result, no longer can a store sell a diamond to a savvy consumer who found the net, by showing a diamond without proper information and attribution related to the diamonds certification, cut precision and light performance. To be sure, many consumers will still opt to purchase their diamonds and jewelry from a local jewelry store, but often only after an exhaustive on-line research and education. This has forced jewelry stores to reevaluate and adapt to the changing market, by actually selling a diamond with real info. in addition to the romance and fluff (which are important too..)

Quality

Internet websites will typically have the ability to showcase far better quality diamonds than you will find in the typical jewelery stores. These are often loose diamonds with ideal cut diamond parameters and quality grading reports (GIA and AGS Diamond Certification). This is because most Internet savvy shoppers would never touch some of the frozen spit being passed off as “diamonds” in some of the mall (a.k.a. maul..;-)) stores. Stores make more money selling inferior merchandise to the unsuspecting and uneducated consumers who care primarily about diamond size and still make up the market share of mall/jewelry store clientele.

Selection

Diamond & jewelry websites typically work off listings of wholesale diamond databases of many thousands of diamonds they do not own. This method, although not without its own problems, also gives them the ability to offer a much greater selection of loose diamonds in all shapes, sizes, colors, clarities and cut qualities.

Build Your Own Ring

Most jewelry stores will sell pre-fab or pre-set diamond engagement rings, where the customer must be satisfied with the combination of all of the important diamond variables and even the selection of the actual ring setting.

Not so with internet diamond websites, who will typically offer their clients the ability to literally build their own diamond engagement ring from scratch. The customer will first pick the loose diamond and then the perfect engagement ring setting to go along with it. The completed engagement ring is then shipped to the customer in a beautiful presentation case.

The truth of the matter, is that many traditional “brick & mortar” jewelers who have seen the “writing on the wall”, so to speak; have actually embraced the age of the Internet.

They have built their own websites for their clients and will offer many of the same services and opportunities as the Internet diamond websites.

Certainly, this creates a win-win situation for the traditional jewelery stores and provides customers with a great and way to shop for diamonds and jewelry within the traditional jewelry store framework.

The Flip Side.

Not everything is always “peaches and cream” with websites selling diamonds and jewelery.

1. Not all Internet websites selling diamonds are reputable.

2. Many Internet websites never actually see the diamonds they sell. This is a BIG problem.

The bottom line, just like with anything else is that proper research should be done before buying diamonds and jewelery.

In the final analysis however, there is little doubt that the Internet has had a tremendous and positive impact upon the diamond industry and will continue to do so for many decades.

Bill Lieberum (“RockDoc”) Appraiser & Consumer Advocate, 57

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Willium R. Lieberum {“Rockdoc”}

It is with tremendous sadness that we report the news of the untimely passing of one of our dear friends and a true “gem” in the diamond industry; Bill Lieberum of Boca Raton Florida, at age 57.

Bill, who was affectionately known all over the Internet as “Rockdoc”, was a diamond and gem appraiser par excellence. He was also a tremendous consumer advocate for over 25 years.

Bill, operated two websites that were oriented towards consumer protection and education for all things related to diamond jewelry and diamond engagement rings.

He was an independent diamond appraiser of the highest order and his comprehensive diamond reports were unrivaled and legendary.

Bill would always tell the story of how he got involved in diamond and jewelry appraisals over 25 years ago “having bought some diamonds for investment, that graded lower than the seller represented them to be.”

From that point on, he decided to dedicate his life’s work to consumer advocacy in the diamond and jewelry trade.

Bill grew up in the Philadelphia area, was a Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist, a former American Gem Society retail store owner, and a Certified Gemologist Appraiser.

In the early 1980′s, Lieberum closed his AGS retail store and started working as an independent appraiser gemologist. By the mid ’80s, Lieberum served as an expert advisor for the Philadelphia district attorneys’ office of economic crimes. He was a member of the International Society of Appraisers, and was an expert witness in several high profile legal cases, including the infamous 1986 diamond fraud case against Ron Perlstein of Sansom Street, the once famous Philadelphia jeweler who plead “no contest” to criminal charges.

However, it was with the evolution of the Internet that Bill got his chance to shine. It was on the net that Bill became a legend and where he is being remembered as a consumer advocate who left an indelible and irreplaceable impression upon the diamond industry.

In 1991, Lieberum opened Consumers Gem Laboratory in Boca Raton, Fla. Bill had turned his attention to the Internet with the purpose of helping the many new consumers who were turning to the net to purchase their diamond engagement rings.

Bill understood the tremendous potential, both good and bad, of the Internet as a medium for selling diamonds and jewelry. He was determined to become the voice for the consumer on the Internet and began disseminating his vast knowledge on Internet diamond forums long before they were popularized.

In fact, in a short period, Bill became recognized on various popular diamond discussion forums, like www.diamondtalk.com, www.pricescope.com, www.diamond.info and www.diamondchitchat.com for his incredible efforts to educate readers and trade members in the legal/practical ramifications relating to gemology and valuation science.

Bill was recognized and respected by prominent diamond appraisers across the country, including Dave Atlas of Accredited Gem Appraisers and Marty Haske of Adams Gemological Laboratory, to name a few.

It was also during this time that our family diamond business decided to embrace the age of the Internet and launch our diamond websites at www.superbcert.com and subsequently at www.exceldiamonds.com

We quickly formed a very close friendship with Rockdoc who offered us of his knowledge and expertise during those early years of selling diamonds and engagement rings over the Internet. Bill introduced us to some diamond retailers and jewelers with whom we formed strong partnerships.

My Dad, Barry Gutwein (President of www.exceldiamonds.com), even traveled to Florida on occasion to meet with Bill personally.

I will never forget Bill’s hearty laughter and his uncanny ability to hold a 2 hour conversation with me over the phone which never got boring or stale! He was literally a treasure trove of information related to diamonds, jewelry and basically anything of interest!

His incredible passion for diamonds (he affectionately called them his “pet rocks”!) was infectious and his desire to empower consumers absolutely astounding.

He desired to teach on his own terms and was adamant about his positions even when they engendered some opposition from within the diamond trade.

I distinctly remember my Dad and Bill being at odds over the issue of “diamond strain“. In fact, most industry experts took the opposite position from Bill on this issue. However, to Bill it didn’t matter. He was never one to back down from a firmly held belief even when it wasn’t popular or accepted.

Just about 2 weeks ago, I received what would be the final phone call from Bill. He was just calling to “chat” about this and that. He was upset that he couldn’t go to the annual JCK show in Las Vegas (he was exceptionally committed to his elderly aunt who he lived with) etc.

After shmoozing it up for about 25 minutes, I remember hanging up and thinking, “boy that was a short conversation”!

Now Bill is gone and we will truly miss those conversations and our friendship.

The diamond industry and diamond consumers (specifically on the Internet), have lost a critical and powerful voice and advocate.

Most importantly, the world has lost a wonderful and decent human being who put aside his needs, both emotional and financial, to help others every chance he got.

Bill Lieberum, “RockDoc”, we will sorely miss you!

May you rest in peace.

How Custom Engagement Rings & Custom Jewelry Is Created! {Pictures}

There are select companies selling engagement rings in both traditional (“Bricks & Mortar”) jewelry stores, as well as Internet diamond stores, who actually have the ability to create custom diamond engagement rings to the exact tastes and parameters of their customers.

These companies utilize specialized software programs that can create a 3d rendering of an actual engagement ring, based upon certain applied variables and design elements.

The program will create an animated result with the desired diamond shape and specs., as well as any accent diamonds the customer may have indicated etc.

Once the customer is happy with the depiction of this engagement ring, final steps are taken and exact measurements and specifications applied.

An initial wax mold is then created from the final output. The mold is refined and ultimately used in the creation of the actual engagement ring in the desired precious metal type etc.

Companies who sell custom jewelry and custom engagement rings, offer this process to their customers. This is truly the finest way to turn a dream and vision into a reality!

Here is what a computerized rendering of a custom diamond engagement ring and matching diamond wedding band looks like:

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The Disingenuous Attack Against Diamond Engagement Rings

These articles are a bit like the herpes virus; every so often they crop up again and die down, but not before they nag the reader with a “a sour grape” and dour attitude regarding the accepted practice of giving a woman a diamond engagement ring as a symbolic token of love and one’s hand in marriage.

A recent write up by Meghan O’Rourke in Slate, re-hashes the argument that giving an engagement ring is somehow sexist, patronizing and downright stupid.

“Why should an engagement ring be symbolic of a union/marriage any more than a bouquet of flowers, or something far less expensive?”

“Why should some poor guy subsiding on a “hand to mouth” salary, have to dole out 3 months of his paycheck for a diamond engagement ring as a prerequisite for his girlfriends hand in marriage??”

What does the poor shlub (the guy) get, anyway??
Why shouldn’t the same “fallacy” of the engagement ring apply to him as well…and why is he left holding the proverbial bag, with 3k (or more) out of his pocket??

The real gutsy bloggers and writers who (invariably) put these disingenuous postings up for some targeted spider-food for the major search engines, will push the envelope a step further.

They will rally against the purchase of a diamond engagement ring by claiming that diamonds are “all from conflict sources” (see conflict diamonds) and that “little kids in Africa are getting their limbs cut off” so that women could enjoy the shiny diamonds they wear on their fingers.

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In these predictable scenarios, polished loose diamonds, diamond engagement rings and the people who have the nerve to sell them, are all made out to be reincarnations of the devil himself……………..and to what end?

Usually, to promote an entirely different agenda; not the least of which in many instances revolves around the promotion of their own blogs or website on the search engines.

Now to be completely transparent here, (just in case this wasn’t already obvious to all of you readers) I also have a vested interest on this subject, being that our company is engaged in the retail sale of our loose diamonds and engagement rings.

Still, I’d like to go on record as saying that this whole approach and entire argument against buying diamond engagement rings, is of itself a crock of nonsense and one of the biggest scams going.

I will preface by saying that nobody should feel obligated to purchase a diamond engagement ring if they cannot afford one. Additionally, I think it is self understood that nobody is implying that one needs to purchase a diamond ring in order to get engaged…

First off; the argument that kids in Africa are being mutilated for these diamonds, by today’s standards is a bunch of hooey. Yes, there were real problems with conflict diamonds until very recently. However, these issues have been brought to the forefront of the diamond industry by both tradespeople and consumers alike. Initiatives like the Kimberly Process and others, have ensured that diamonds are mined with the highest standards and can be guaranteed to be free from illegitimate sources and dubious origins.

Indeed, most companies selling diamonds and jewelry today, will have a clearly stated policy regarding their position on Conflict Diamonds and will usually have the ability to guarantee their diamonds against illegitimate procurement.

An excellent video tutorial on Conflict Diamonds (and what initiatives are being taken to deal with these issues) was created by Brian Gavin of Whiteflash and ‘A Cut Above Diamonds’. Watch this informative video here.

The issue of Conflict diamonds has thankfully become the exception to the rule in today’s marketplace.

Therefore, the scare tactics perpetrated by some of these writers, is unfortunate, misguided and incorrect.

Let’s address the other angle used by some of these writers; namely, the idea that De Beers actually created a romance surrounding the gift of diamond engagement rings, which until that point had no greater social, emotional, or intrinsic value over any other functional or practical gift.

They will use this argument to support the idea that the gift of a diamond engagement ring is a market that has been “created and promoted” with all of the people who buy into it, nothing more than blind sheep drinking from the “cool aid”.

This entire argument is not only an insult to the millions of consumers who have purchased diamond engagement rings as a token of their love all throughout the centuries, it is also patently untrue.

Certainly, De Beers may have had a hand in “building the engagement ring brand,” so to speak. It is probably also true, that they have helped support, shape, and increase a consumer awareness in the magic and romance of proposing with a diamond engagement ring.

However, De Beers most certainly did not “create” the concept of a diamond engagement ring as the ultimate token of love and for the marriage proposal.

This “trend” if you will, predates De Beers by many centuries.

A recent blog entry on this topic by Issac at Janus thinking makes a few excellent and cogent points.

Issac says:

“The question is not whether or not whether De Beers created this market, but whether it is a ‘good’ market for those that choose to participate……

“Whether diamond engagement rings fulfill a human need – to commit, and to feel a moment of transcendence beyond our own lives…….

In short. It is. And they do.

But the luxury in these cases is not the ‘What’ of the diamond, but in the ‘Why’ of engagement. The gift is a symbol is in choosing make a personally costly commitment by giving something eternal, pure, and natural and individual…

If you can find a better symbol which is more ‘Why-level’ luxurious’ for the giver and receiver alike, then go ahead exchange it.”

These are great points, in a concise and straightforward manner by an authority on “luxury products” in general and diamonds and jewelry in particular.

In the final analysis, here is what I would like to say to all the detractors of diamond engagement rings. Click on my video.

Palladium Jewelry Starting To Surge

Due to the rise in prices of precious platinum, many customers are now turning to palladium as an alternative to platinum and white gold.

Unlike white gold, palladium is a naturally white, precious metal that does not yellow or tarnish over time and requires no rhodium plating.

It is less dense and heavy than platinum, but entirely comparable to white gold.

The price point makes it less expensive than platinum and comparable to 18kt. white gold.

We will be featuring palladium jewelry on our website, very shortly.

Is Paris Hilton Asset Or Liability For Online Diamond Retailer?

Online diamond retailer Abazias.com recently introduced millionaire Paris Hilton’s designer watch brand on their e-commerce site and indicated:

“Paris Hilton has made a name for herself on the fashion scene with her newly launched watch collections that tie together her exceptional sense of fashion with classic and wearable pieces. Available only at exclusive retailers, Abazias Diamonds is proud to carry exclusive pieces from Paris Hilton’s newest watch collection.”

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Paris Hilton with Oscar Rodriguez, CEO of Abazias.com

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The “Paris Hilton Watch”

Typically, a company selling a luxury product will associate themselves with a high profile, celebrity “ambassador,” to help promote a stable, consistent, refined, upscale, classy, etc. brand image…

For obvious and well known/well documented reasons, Paris Hilton’s name doesn’t exactly conjure up any of the aforementioned attributes and characteristics……

In my linked article above, brand expert Ramesh Thomas, mentions the following guidelines for companies looking for a celebrity to help endorse their own brand image:

a. “Articulate with clarity on the brand promise (What am I?) and the brand personality (Who am I?).

b. Create consensus among the brand team on what the communication objectives for the campaign are.

c. Focus on the characteristics the chosen celebrity should possess, in order to provide synergy with the brand to be advertised.

d. Overtly establish what the celebrity is going to communicate.

Once these criteria are met, endorsements can work as a force multiplier. On the flip side, the greatest danger is that because celebrities already carry a strong brand character, a mismatch could be counterproductive to the brand. It is very tempting to be carried away by the short-term exposure and interest that an endorsement could generate. ”

If you subscribe to the aforementioned approach, then showcasing Paris Hilton as a quasi “Ambassador” of sorts and in tandem with the sale of any luxury item; be it watches, diamonds, engagement rings, etc… might not be such a great idea.

Indeed, Paris Hilton has just been released from her 45 day stint serving time in prison for yet another infraction. It seems even by her standards, she has hit a new low in her imploding life and is the fodder for every tabloid this side of the continent.

To be sure, she is getting some amazing press…none of it good.

However, the flip side of this equation is the age old expression “no publicity is bad publicity”.

The fact of the matter is, Paris Hilton is a fashionista and celebrity with huge appeal and a significant fan club to rival her many detractors.

An endorsement by Paris, or a market driven focus or initiative, using her as a springboard might have an even greater impact given her newfound…err….social status as an ex con.

So while Abazias continues to feature Paris Hilton prominently on its website, I am left wondering again, is it really true, the expression; “there is no such thing as bad publicity”????

Hmm….food for thought…..I guess.

Not Insuring Your Diamond Engagement Ring Is A Stupid and Dumb Mistake!

There, did I get your attention now?

It amazes me that people do not purchase insurance on their engagement rings right after they buy them.

Insurance for your loose diamond, or diamond engagement ring, should be part of your budget for the ring in the first place; that is how important it is.

You wouldn’t think twice about driving your car without insurance, right?

Well, some of you will say, driving a car without insurance can get you into hot water, whereas wearing a diamond ring without insurance won’t…right?


Wrong, bonehead!!

I’m not talking about getting pulled over by a cop…I’m talking about protecting your investment!!

In many cases, your car doesn’t even cost as much as as your diamond engagement ring and is not nearly as easy to lose, or have stolen from you!

Your engagement ring is not only sentimental, it is also quite valuable.


Engagement rings get lost and stolen every single day.

An engagement ring can get lost or stolen just as easily when you are wearing it, as when you are not.

Unfortunately, people get mugged all of the time. People also lose their rings. Consider, you are at a fancy restaurant and you go to the sink to wash your hands. Many times you will take off the ring while you are washing up. If you would only know how many phone calls we have received over the years from devastated gals who had inadvertently left their rings behind on the sink counter after washing in a public place, only to return and find the ring lost/stolen.

A car might get lost/stolen when it is left parked in a garage or on the street. However, it is hardly a likely scenario when you are actually driving it.

Not so with an engagement ring, where it is possible for your diamond to pop out of the prongs (given the right knock on a hard surface..etc.) and be lost forever, even as you are wearing it.

An engagement ring is one of the most expensive, sentimental, valuable and memorable items you will ever own.

If you lose it, misplace it, or have it stolen, you and your spouse would be devastated.
In fact, I have (unfortunately) actually seen marriages suffer as a result of such an episode…and especially when there was no insurance coverage on the engagement ring.

This is one of the first things I instruct our clients to do after they purchase a diamond engagement ring from our company.

GET INSURANCE!

It is really not that difficult today to secure insurance on a diamond engagement ring.
Many people choose to add the coverage of the ring to their existing home owners insurance policy, as a rider or “addendum” to the plan. Others, choose to purchase a separate and entirely exclusive insurance plan for their jewelry and engagement rings.

Either way, insurance rates today on diamonds and jewelry are very competitive and there are many really good insurance companies offering comprehensive insurance policies to protect your diamond ring investment.

Speak to your insurance broker or agent to find out which policy is right for you. The insurance policy will take into account the purchase or appraised value of your diamond engagement ring and ensure that you have adequate coverage in the event of loss or theft.

To all of you who have already purchased your diamond engagement rings and have procrastinated on getting the ring insured; I implore you to do this immediately.

Believe me, I know the feeling of euphoria when you first put that beautiful diamond engagement ring on your finger. You are elated and all you wish to do is stare at that beauty all day long…….

The “mundane” task of securing insurance for the engagement ring, suddenly becomes the last thing on your mind and you push it to the recesses of your consciousness as just another item on your “to do list”.

This is a HUGE MISTAKE.

G-d forbid your ring gets lost or stolen…(and it only has o happen once), you would be completely devastated.

Please take my advice and make this (insurance coverage) your second highest priority after securing your diamond engagement ring.

……..Your first priority is to fall in love with the ring and express appreciation to each other for this token of your love..;-)

Most Popular Mother’s Day Jewelry Gift?

Of those who purchased jewelry as a Mother’s Day gift this year, one-third selected yellow-gold items, according to the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council (JCOC).

The JCOC found yellow gold the most popular metal choice for jewelry, followed by sterling silver (selected by 25 percent) and white gold (selected by 21 percent).

Just under half of survey respondents (45 percent) purchased a Mother’s Day gift this year, and 13 percent of those respondents bought fine jewelry or a watch. Among those who bought fine jewelry, 24 percent bought earrings or necklaces, 15 percent selected fashion rings, 15 percent chose pendants and 13 percent opted for bracelets.

By material, 26 percent bought diamond jewelry, 18 percent selected gemstone jewelry and 18 percent chose precious-metal jewelry without gemstones.

Of those who did not give fine jewelry or watches as a Mother’s Day gift this year, 40 percent cited budgetary reasons, and 26 percent said their mother did not want jewelry or watches.