How To Choose & Pack Jewellery When Travelling

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Typically the summer months are synonymous with two things – rising temperatures and holidays. So whether you’ re heading for foreign shores, hitting the beach for a few days of surf and turf or just hitting the road with your SUV,  chances are you may have unanswered questions about what jewellery you need to carry and what you should leave behind.

So we at GemAtlas decided to share a few simple pointers that will help you finalise the kind of jewellery you need to carry (regardless of your destination) and how to pack it as well.

For starters what you need to remember is that it’s never a good idea to leave your accessory planning for the very last minute. The thumb rule when packing for leisure vacations is to never include items of high monetary or emotional value, unless you need them as part of your ensemble for a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday celebration.

What To Pack:

A simplified solution to this problem is to go with a handful of neutral accessories that could be used with any outfit. Prime examples here would include a small pendant, a simple necklace, a small hoop or stud earrings and an elegant bracelet.

If you do have any special occasions planned, you could add a couple of finer pieces – that make a statement. But do remember to get them insured as a precaution against unexpected mishaps along the way.

Try to stick to a preferred colour scheme instead of packing every piece into your jewellery box. Bold coloured gemstones like red spinel, aquamarine or amethyst usually make for excellent choice against a neutral outfit.

The decision whether or not to carry an expensive wedding or engagement ring presents a problem. Should you carry it or leave it behind? While a lot hinges on the destination and the type of activities you have planned, it’s always a safer bet to leave the flashier and expensive pieces of jewellery behind and this includes your wedding/engagement ring.

Alternately, you could opt to wear the less expensive of the two, or swapping your pricey diamond engagement ring with one made of the much cheaper white crystal or white topaz.

Last, but not the least, remember to account for the weather at the places you intend to visit. For example, colder places where you will be bundled up in jackets and gloves, mandate wearing lighter pieces like a brooch or smart earrings while shiny pieces that sparkle in the sunlight can be used best at beach venues.

How to pack jewellery for travel:

Now that you have made a list of the jewellery pieces that you intend to carry along on your vacation, the second challenge is how to pack them in an efficient, organized manner that ensures that they don’t get tangled or damaged enroute.

Here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Do ensure that all the expensive pieces of jewellery you intend to carry with you are insured and have an updated appraisal value.
  • Any piece that includes high value gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds should preferably have a report from a certified laboratory – to help with potential insurance claims in case the piece goes missing.
  • Make it a point to take pictures of the high-end jewellery you will be carrying. This is to help prove your ownership in case you lose it and it turns up with the lost-and-found later.
  • Pearls need a bit of moisture to retain their shine, so remember to pack them last and unpack them first.
  • Earrings should be stored in a pill organizer to prevent damage, similarly you can use straws to string your necklaces and keep them tangle-free.
  • Use individual, sealable, transparent plastic bags to pack every piece. This will allow you to see and choose quickly when it’s time to get dressed.
  • The most important tip. Never make the mistake of packing all your high-end pieces in your checked baggage – which could get lost or worse still, stolen. It’s a lot safer to carry them with you in your carry-on bag.

Follow these pointers and your troubles with what jewellery to pack and how, will be a thing of the past. Just remember, the objective behind taking a vacation is to help you relax, unwind and forget your daily grind. Keeping your jewellery list simple and inexpensive will ensure you make the most of your time out.

Happy Holidays.

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How To Choose & Pack Jewellery When Travelling

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY

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Amethyst: For clarity & peace of mind

People born in February: Ruled by Uranus, those born into the sun-sign of Aquarius are sensitive and get easily hurt by others. However, they are also blessed with lots of common sense, ingenuity and strong willpower. They also display tremendous loyalty to people who matter to them and can weather many a storm with a smile.

About Amethysts: A semi-precious stone hailing from the violet variety of quartz, Amethysts are found in abundance in certain regions like south India, Minas Gerais (Brazil), Russia, South Korea and Zambia.

Interestingly, until the 18th century this gemstone was grouped along with the current “Big Four” (diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires), also considered among the precious gemstones, but lost much of its value after the discovery of massive deposits in Brazil. 

What Amethysts signify: According to legend, the ancient Greeks, known for their love for wine, swore by the powers imbedded in this gem and even had drinking vessels made from it in the belief that it would prevent them from getting too drunk.

As per ancient Indian Vedic beliefs, wearing amethyst is said to bestow the wearer with clarity of thought, a calm mind and enhance true love and loyalty. Said to improve concentration, these stones are believed to cure alcoholism, headaches, depression, despair and insomnia.

It is a gemstone of tremendous spiritual values, especially useful in balancing the body’s chakras. Amethysts are also considered to be an affordable alternative for a sapphire, with the cosmic energies of the planet Saturn.

Famous personalities born in FebruaryActors Abhishek Bachchan (Feb 5), Madhubala (Feb 14), Shahid Kapoor (Feb 25), Maratha warrior king Shivaji (Feb 19), freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu (Feb 13), pop singer Rihanna (Feb 20), former international model Cindy Crawford (Feb 20), popular TV show host Julian Cummins (Feb 20) and basketball star Charles Barkley (Feb 20).      

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY

Common Mistakes Jewellery Salespeople Make While Interacting With Customers

Jewelry salespeople must enhance their knowledge about the product they are selling – gold, diamond jewelry, etc, as well as about the guarantees and policies of the particular jewelry store. Sales people should always be positive, motivated and confident. They should have a friendly disposition, a smile on the face and offer a warm welcome to customers. One must be polite, listen to customers’ precise needs, and help them in all possible ways. Jewellery retail salespeople are the point of direct interaction with customers, and their attitude and behavior towards them is what brings customers back again to your jewelry store.

Every salesperson is different and has his / her own style of communicating with customers and attempting to win them over. But, there are a few common mistakes jewelry salespeople make while interacting with customers.

The following are some common mistakes the jewelry sales people commit while interacting with customers and some of them are listed below:

  • Leaving the sales floor empty when the customer arrives. In fact, customers should be greeted at the door. Failing to do this will leave customers feeling unsure about whom to approach and what to do.
  • Leaving customers to fend for themselves: When customers ask about something particular like rings or bracelets and sales persons just tell them where they are instead of walking with them to show them the products, customers are left feeling uncomfortable and neglected.
  • Not paying attention to the price-point interest: Showing a customer less expensive jewelry first is a lost opportunity. However, one must not try to push expensive products on someone if it beyond their planned budget. It’s best to find out the price point the customer is interested in.
  • Ignoring one person over another: This should never be done. No matter how small a purchase a customer is making, and even if he / she is just browsing around at your store, every customer deserves proper attention.
  • Treating customers differently based on how they are dressed: Besides the fact that this is tantamount to discrimination and is wrong, judging a book by its cover usually results in an inaccurate summing up of spending capacity, etc. Salespeople should be trained to treat all customers alike.
  • Pushing customers to buy and not giving them a chance to think about the pros and cons of making the purchase: This stresses people out, and they get put off. Jewellery is an expensive product category. One should not aim to make a sale at the expense of a customer’s happiness. The customer should have no regrets about the purchase later.
  • Interrupting customers when they are explaining about the kind of jewelry they are looking for. Talking too much and not listening to the customer is another common mistake made by sales staff at jewelry stores.
  • Not cleaning showcases that are dirty with smudges and finger prints. Salespeople should take care to see they do not leave fingerprints on glass displays. They should be attentive to this and have showcases cleaned if they have handled them.
  • Lying to customers: One must never lie to a customer about anything – be it the features of a product, when delivery can be made, or anything else. Promising something that cannot be a hundred percent delivered on should be an absolute “no”.
  • Turning a customer over to another sales person when another customer arrives: Once you have begun a conversation with a potential customer, it’s best to see it to its conclusion. Otherwise, there’s every likelihood the second salesperson will say the same things, which wastes a customer’s time. Additionally, he customer will be left feeling less important, and the new salesperson will have to start from scratch as far as establishing a relationship goes.
  • Yelling across the showroom: This is in very poor taste. Salespeople must never speak to each other from across the room. And they must certainly never have a loud difference of opinion.
  • Neglecting personal appearance: Salespeople must always be well-turned out. They must appear fresh, clean and neat. Nail polish must never be chipped, hair must never be out of place or messy, Hands and nails must never be dirty, etc.
  • Bad-mouthing competitors: Sales people must never indulge in talking badly about market competitors. Doing this reflects badly on one’s own brand.
  • Answering phone calls and texting while attending to a customer or when he / she is waiting for you: The customer should get a jewellery salesperson’s undivided attention. It is disrespectful to the customer’s time to attend to phone-calls and messages at the same time.

These are a few common mistakes jewelry salespeople make, which should be avoided. Doing this will undoubtedly help increase sales and profit, as well as improve your company’s relationship with customers. Beyond avoiding mistakes, one should constantly work on improving sales skills of staff.

Common Mistakes Jewellery Salespeople Make While Interacting With Customers

Bridal Jewellery – Different Buyer Profiles & What Brides Look For

If there is a market that never sees a dull day, it is the bridal jewellery market. Wedding season never comes alone. It brings along a lot of excitement, preparations, not to mention expenditure, which is primarily on bridal jewellery. In fact, many a time, brides-to-be choose their wedding dress after they have picked out their jewellery. Clearly, it is a huge deal, which can turn into a window of huge opportunities with just some basic understanding of the target group.

Broadly, bridal jewellery consumers can be divided into two main categories – those who are getting married or their immediate families. Additionally, the families of the bride or groom could gift jewellery to very close relatives and friends. Most certainly, the bride has a budget that is much larger than family and friends. Brides also spend a significant amount of time browsing through the market, latest trends, and spend a lot of time on research and looking around before they make up their minds. This category rarely makes a compulsive purchase. In fact, many brides these days pick designs after browsing through various jewellery magazines. Once they are done, they approach jewellery-makers who gladly duplicate designs but not without charging a whopping sum of money.

Different people have different budgets, which brings us to one solid learning – it is always great to have variety, in terms of designs as well as pricing. There must always be a slightly affordable version of a stellar jewellery piece. Of course, there’s nothing like a bride whose budget has no bounds but there has got to be something for everyone, if a brand wants to reap profits and become popular. Offering affordable jewellery doesn’t mean compromising on exclusivity. It only means that a brand is making exclusivity available to many, which is a great thing from a consumer’s point of view.

Moving on to the second category of the bride’s family, these people are almost always on a smaller budget than the bride. But, for a wealthy family, mothers and sisters of the bride or groom could very well buy more expensive pieces than most brides can dream of. This category of “wedding jewellery shopper” (wedding family) may or may not be offer-led. Rarely does this segment pick something that exceeds a pre-set budget. They look around for the best prices, and wait for discounts. Brand loyalty isn’t their trait though exceptions do exist.

For gifting to friends and relatives as memorabilia for the special occasion, the most characteristic behaviour is the jewellery almost always comprises of small pieces – ear studs, rings, nose studs and never jewellery sets. A great offer on two small jewellery pieces is just right to win over this category.

The Wedding Season is a huge opportunity for jewellers. Staying up-to-date on trends and keeping stocks for these segments are practices all must follow.

Bridal Jewellery – Different Buyer Profiles & What Brides Look For

5 Things you need to know before buying diamonds

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A diamond’s quality & price is determined by the 4Cs.

Choosing a diamond is a celebration in itself. But choosing the right diamond, whether online or at a brick and mortar retailer can be a difficult task for most people. Most buyers don’t know what to look for in a good diamond and it is this lack of awareness that creates a slew of misconceptions.

Let’s face it – Diamonds can be very confusing. You might be faced with two diamonds that look deceptively similar yet one diamond is a lot cheaper than the other – leaving you, the buyer, perplexed! This happens in reality all the time when you do not know what to look for in a diamond.

However alike they may seem to you, the fact is that no two diamonds are exactly the same ever. There will always be subtle differences in clarity and colour that may be invisible to the naked eye.

If all this sounds familiar to you, we at GemAtlas have prepared a list of five useful pointers on the correct approach to buying diamonds, so that you never have to get confused (or conned) into buying inferior quality stones ever again.

Choose a trusted jeweller: Much like a doctor or lawyer, an expert jeweller can help you make an educated choice by showing you quality stones that match your budget and needs. If you don’t know of any, ask around and then make an informed choice.

Do your homework: Saying you don’t know anything about diamonds or gems for that matter – is the easiest thing to do. But if you don’t intend getting cheated of your hard-earned money or conned into buying inferior stones, do your due diligence online or talk to a trained gemmologist.

Learn the 4Cs: A diamond’s quality and price is ascertained by the 4Cs – Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight.

Colour: Colourless diamonds are extremely rare. A majority of diamonds have a slight yellow or brown tint. These are categorised from a D (colourless) to a Z (light yellow or brown). There is a separate colour grading system for fancy coloured diamonds.

Clarity: Most diamonds have unique clarity characteristics. Most inclusions are invisible except under magnification while flawless diamonds are rare and very expensive.

Cut: This term refers to a diamond’s reaction to light, in terms of how light strikes the surface, how much enters the diamond and in what form it returns to your eye. Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish have the best interactions with light leading to enhanced fire, brightness and scintillation.

Carat: Diamonds are weighed in metric carats. Two carats weigh about the same as a small paper clip. A carat is divided into 100 cents, points or pointers, so a diamond of 50 points weighs approx 0.50 carats.

Invest in a grading report: A grading report can tell you the exact gemmological quality of your diamond. For example, is it a natural diamond or a synthetic one? Has it been treated, if so, how? What are its quality ratings (4Cs)?

You can also opt for a laser-inscribed personal message or the diamond’s unique grading report number on the diamond’s girdle.

Get your diamond appraised & insured: While the diamond grading report will detail the precise gemmological qualities of your stone, you will still need to take it to an appraiser to know its exact value. Last but not least it’s always preferable to get high-value gems insured for that much-needed peace of mind.

5 Things you need to know before buying diamonds

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JANUARY

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Tanzanite: The most exciting gemstone of this century

Among all the gemstones that have excited the hearts of buyers and connoisseurs alike in the recent past, none can come close to the overwhelming success of tanzanite – also known as the sapphire doppelganger.

In barely fifty years since it was first discovered among zoisite mineral deposits, this fiery blue gem today is at the very pinnacle in terms of its popularity, and rates just below the Big 4 (namely diamonds, rubies, emeralds & sapphires).

History of Tanzanite:

First discovered in Tanzania (hence the name), there is an interesting story behind the discovery of this stone. Legend has it that it was the Masai tribe who first found these blue stones scattered on their grazing grounds near Mount Kilimanjaro, after a rather severe lightning strike.

Later in 1967, a prospector of Indian-origin, Manuel D’Souza who was infact seeking sapphires, was led to these blue stones by the same tribe in a region known as Merelani Hills in north-eastern Tanzania.

Not surprisingly, D’Souza first thought he had stumbled on a treasure trove of precious sapphires. Upon learning that it was not so, he staked a claim with the government and began mining them.

Word of his find spread soon after and it wasn’t long before the stones became the rage all across the US and Europe. It was Henry Platt of Tiffany & Co who named them – Tanzanite – after their country of origin and also played a huge part in their instant popularity among buyers.

Vital Statistics of Tanzanite:

Rating a 6.5 on the hardness scale, tanzanite gemstones are relatively soft and brittle though they can be worn daily. Colours may range from a deep, dark royal blue with flashes of red to a light cornflower or even a periwinkle blue. Roughs are routinely heat treated to permanently bring out their exotic bluish-purple colour.

The colour of the gemstone is what determines its price. Darker stones are more highly priced while the lighter shades (in cornflower blue and lilac shades) are the more affordable variety.

This brilliant gemstone also has a special three-dimensional pleochroism – making it a trichroic specimen – meaning Tanzanites have the ability to appear in different colours when viewed from different angles.

Tanzanite, a Sought-After Gemstone

Often found in round or oval cuts, large specimens of this gem can cost as much as USD 2,000 (per carat) at jewellery stores. This may sound a bit much, but is in fact a lot cheaper than buying a sapphire of comparable quality.

It is a stone that normally has few inclusions, but as with most gemstones, large, clear, nearly flawless tanzanites are extremely rare.

Said to be 585 million years old, tanzanite gems are coveted for their colour, rarity, durability and the fact that they are a relatively new gemstone species. High quality stones are rarely put up for sale and are a sought-after collector’s item.

Tiffany & Co. and the New York-based Smithsonian Institute are said to have an impressive collection of this gemstone on display.

Healing Powers of Tanzanite:

As with most gemstones, tanzanite gems are also said to possess a lot of healing powers. The gem is said to be especially helpful in hastening recovery from serious illnesses. It’s said to strengthen the functioning of vital organs like the heart, lungs throat, head and the immune system.

Some believe the gem has the ability to detoxify the body and the mind and reduce inflammation. Wearing a tanzanite gem in a way that it touches the skin for a long period is also said to enhance positivity and the physical wellbeing of the wearer and heal diseases.

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JANUARY

HOW TO CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY EMERALDS

With a name said to be derived from the Sanskrit term Marakata, which means – the green of growing things – emeralds have fascinated the world for over six thousand years. There is evidence to indicate this green gem was sold in markets in Babylon as far back as 4000 BC.

A much sought-after gem, the emerald symbolises beauty, status and power and is coveted particularly for its rich color. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was said to be a huge fan of this green gem and believed it enhanced the owner’s social and business standing, improved eyesight and prevented the onset of diseases like epilepsy.

Emeralds are gemstones from the beryl family. Often described as a deep-green stone that is harder than quartz, but softer than a sapphire, ruby or a diamond, the best quality emeralds are mined high up in the Andes mountain range of Columbia, though other countries including Zambia, Brazil and Zimbabwe also produce significant quantities of emeralds.

As with most colored stones, it takes a trained eye to recognise the subtle quality variations that decide the true value of an emerald, more so in the case of the highest quality stones.

Here are some important pointers that can help you choose the right high-quality emeralds before you decide to buy them.

 Colour:

The best quality stones often vary in colour from a bluish green to deep green and are highly transparent. For example, Columbian emeralds exhibit a more intense green colour while those from Zambia are more bluish green. These fluctuations in colour are caused by the presence of trace elements like iron, vanadium and chromium in varying degree.

USEFUL TIP: If the colour of the stone betrays a yellowish or intense blue hue, it may not be an emerald but a different kind of beryl with a lower value.

Clarity:

High quality emeralds are known to contain certain inclusions called jardin (French for garden) that are often visible to the naked eye. For example, three-phase inclusions found in some high quality emeralds from Columbia are known to contain tiny crystals of liquid, rock salt and a bubble of gas. Gems without any inclusions are extremely rare and are considered to be very valuable.

USEFUL TIP: Small inclusions in an emerald are acceptable because they make an emerald unique. However too many can cloud the gem’s transparency and clarity lowering its value proportionately.

Cut:

Emeralds tend to be brittle stones and hence the way they are cut assumes added significance. Cutting a rough wrongly can result in a significant weight-loss reducing the gem’s final value substantially.

Experts cutters are known to execute cuts that minimise the effect of fractures (also referred to as fissures) found on an emerald’s surface. If done right, cuts offer credible protection from damage with the vulnerable spots being faceted.

Finely cut emeralds are also known to showcase better hue, tone and saturation. This is achieved by balancing the gem’s proportions with the number of facets.

USEFUL TIP: A master cutter can easily darken a pale rough with a deep cut and lesser facets or make a darker rough lighter with a shallow cut and more facets.

Carat Weight:

A well-cut emerald can weigh anything from a fraction of a carat to hundreds of carats like those in private collections or on display in museums.

A case in point here are the emeralds mined from Zimbabwe’s famed Sandawana mine. They are known for their vivid colours but seldom weigh over 1.50 carats, with a majority of the roughs averaging a miniscule 0.05-0.25 carats – the kind used for making jewellery. Custom made jewellery may include larger emeralds weighing well over 20 carats.

USEFUL TIP:   The smallest size emeralds range between 1-5 mm, weighing between 0.02- 0.50 carat. Larger ones, between 1-5 carat are popular as centre stones.

HOW TO CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY EMERALDS