Moh About Jewelry

Chain Length Math

So your pendant doesn't hang at the right length, how to figure out the correct length?  Keep in mind that the chain will travel twice the distance that you need since it's coming down from both sides of your neck.  In other words, if your chain is 16 inches long, but you'd like the pendant to hang 2 inches lower that means you'll need a 20 inch chain.

Precious metal chains are usually manufactured in 16, 18, 20, 24 and 30 inch lengths.  Anything else will require a jeweler cutting and soldering the chain to the correct length. Most chains are not easily made longer.  Some chains are more difficult to alter, either to  shorten or lengthen.  Shortening chains you'll end up with the cut off segment that only has scrap value and his usually not worth what it has cost the jeweler to shorten the chain; all the costs of making a bit of gold into chain has been lost.  However, the GOOD NEWS is that you have the exact length you wanted!

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March 11, 2017 Add a comment 0 tags (show)

Pairing - Chains and Pendants

You have a pendant, now what chain to get?  While mixed metals looks great, it's not so good for pendants to have a different metal content than the chain they're on.  Why?  The softer metal gets worn down by the harder metal at a faster rate than if the pendant and the chain were of the same metal.  Your choice...but just so you know.

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Buy Custom Animal and Fine Jewelry Online

What sets our jewelry from All Animal Jewelry and Tosa Fine Jewelry apart from the crowd on the internet and in the malls...

Designed and made by us

Made in the USA - nothing is outsourced

Finished inside and out

Detail on all sides

Cast with nice weight, not stamped

Each wax has the detail sharpened, no blurred images or details

We can customize your jewel, just ask

Give us a little time and we can make your selection in just about any precious metal including 14k yellow, white or rose gold, 18 karat gold, platinum or sterling silver

Environmental Packaging - recycle

Quick response

And for that afternoon pick-me-up: Local handmade treats included with each order


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Plated and Other Foibles at Christmas

There's a few priorities most gift givers have, and one is that the present is well received.  Once past that point, we then hope that the purchase was a good deal and that it is what we were told.  Sometimes these two variables are a challenge. I wish I could say that this was only true in the jewelry industry but it seems that this phenomenon is quite pervasive with all products these days. Let's stick to the point: jewelry...

Christmas time is absolutely the worst for misleading advertising.  Jewelry with "real" brand name stones does NOT mean that the stones are actually gemstones, just a name brand fake.  Rings with genuine rhodium plating does NOT mean that the base metal under that rhodium plating is anything other than some pot metal.  "Black" diamonds are basically crystalized carbon that in years past were made into saw blades, sandpaper, and tool bits until an unsuspecting public willing to pay for a "bargain" became too busy, too hopeful, or both, to educate themselves. "Genuine" Marjorca pearls are not, in fact, pearls at all; they are an imitation pearl.  

The simple rule is this; if you're going to spend a considerable portion of your budget then take the time to do a little comparison shopping and ask questions.  Ask me for that matter, it's a quick email.

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It's what you don't know, right?  So here's some information to help you get it right when you're trying to do your best. 

    Q: What's the difference between sterling silver jewelry and silver jewelry?

       A: Sterling silver has been alloyed. It is 92.5% silver.

    Q: Why is my silver ring marked 925?

         A: Refer to the above Q & A.  92.5% sterling silver is purity stamped as 925.

    Q: Why is my silver pendant marked 585? 

        A: Because someone made a mistake! Back story: in almost every country but the U.S. the metal is stamped with it's purity as a                  percentage. In the U.S. the standard for gold is referred to as karat."Pure" gold is considered 24 karat (24k) although it actually isn't pure.  So, 14k means 14 parts gold.  Here's the math, (don't be afraid): make the fraction 14 over 24. Do the division: 14 divided by 24 equals 58.5%. Voila!  A 14k ring is marked 585 in most countries. Now, back to the question: The most likely answer is that the person who made the pendant didn't change the mark in the wax before casting and making the pendant. The other possibility is that the pendant is white gold. 

     Q: Doesn't yellow gold have more gold in it than white gold? 

     A: Which weighs more: a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers? Trick questions!!!  If they have the SAME measure then they're the SAME.  A pound is a pound and 14k is 14k. 

     Q: So what's 18k?  

     A: Apply what you learned: 18 divided by 24 is 75%. This means 18k is 75% pure gold and is purity stamped 750.  Similarly, 20k is 83%, or 830, and 22k is 92%, or 920. 

    Q: Well, my ring isn't stamped at all, does that mean it's fake!?

        A: If it was sold by a reputable jeweler chances are it is exactly what they told you. Here's the law in the U.S., only if a piece of jewelry is stamped with a purity mark (a metal mark like 14k) THEN it has to also have the maker's stamp. There doesn't have to be any mark at all; it's an IF...THEN situation. 

    Q: So what's IRID mean?  It's stamped on my mother's wedding ring.

        A:  IRID is an abbreviation for iridium, a metal that belongs to the platinum group of metals. Platinum was the standard for wedding             rings for a very brief time.  WWII brought an end to that standard when platinum, a very rare metal, was strategic and for military use; it is integral to the function of spark plugs. 

    Q: I'm allergic to gold! 

    A: No, you're not. Gold is an element and so we are not allergic to it. You are allergic to the other metals in the alloy. Remember the 58.5% gold alloy in 14 karat gold; the remaining 41.5% is an alloy of other metals and at least one of those metals is what you are actually allergic to.

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April 16, 2013 Add a comment 0 tags (show)


You saw it, you loved it, you bought it, you wear it all the time, now how the heck do you take care of it?!

    Q: My ring doesn't look as pretty as it did in the store, how do I clean it?

       A: Complicated question.  Let's answer the first part.  Most jewelry stores have special lighting.  The bulbs are referred to as jeweler's twinkle lights.  Note I wrote "most." In our store we use standard outside floods.  Not as efficient, definitely hotter in the summer for us in the store, but it more closely mimics the lighting in your own home.  So, when trying on jewelry, you and the salesman should step outside with it! Ta Dah! 

    Q:  How do I clean my jewelry?

       A: Well, that depends on the type of jewelry.  Silver, gold, pewter, other metals, platinum, they all have their own quirks but there are some generalities.  Even gold has a variety of care and cleaning methods depending on the karat.  For example, you can re-polish 14k but don't touch 20k or higher.  Even 18k yellow gets a beautiful finish over time; if you have someone polish it, the resulting finish can make the gold appear to be a lower karat.

    Q:  OK, so how do I clean silver jewelry?Dragonfly Pendant

       A: Silver jewelry, without any gemstones, can be "dipped" but many of those solutions are nasty and carcinogenic (causes cancer). I'd recommend against dipping.  The best for your health and the planet is to use either lemon juice and baking soda or just baking soda.  Make a paste the consistency of mustard in a small bowl.  Then, while you sit and listen to music or watch a program, mindlessly rub the tarnish right off your jewelry.  If you'd like to add some polish, then buy some jeweler's rouge from your local hardware store and rub a little on a cloth, then rub your silver jewelry with it.  You can also buy a "Sunshine cloth" that is already impregnated with polishing compound.  Now, if there are gems, but NOT all gems, the best home solution is a cap full of non-detergent ammonia in a small bowl of warm water.  Let it soak while you shower, not longer, then rub the back of the stone with a toothpick to loosen the last of the grime and cookie dough, grease and hair products. Finish by brushing with a NEW soft bristle toothbrush. Why "no longer" ? Because the addition of heat to the chemical bath (water and ammonia and heat) can cause electrolysis and truly all of a sudden the jewelry is plated, usually a bizarre dark surface.  So, be careful!

    Q: What about using toothpaste and a toothbrush?

       A:  For most toothpastes, the answer is no, No, and again, NO! Toothpastes are abrasive and scratch the surface.

    Q:  Hmmm.  OK, so how about my gold jewelry?

       A:  Well, what do you want to accomplish?  If you want the scratches gone then realize that's going to take a tiny bit of metal off.  I recommend buffing before summer, before the holidays, or before a big event to have your jewelry look it's best but not to otherwise in order to help your jewelry last as long as possible. And, and this is important, DO NOT buff the side or back shanks.  These areas get a lot of wear and are out of sight, so why the heck buff them and reduce your jewelry's longevity? 

    Q:  So, how do I clean my gold jewelry?Ivy

       A: Not with baking soda. Let the ring soak in a small bowl of warm soapy water then brush with that same new soft bristle toothbrush.  Add a bit of shine by polishing with a little bit of jeweler's rouge rubbed on a soft cloth. For jewelry set with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and many other gems, you can add the half cap full of non detergent ammonia to the water and clean as with stone set silver jewelry.

    Q:  What gems can't you clean with ammonia?

       A:  To start with: emeralds. opals, pearls, peridot, and glue set "gems".  There are more exceptions, so the best thing to do is ASK the salesperson when you purchase the piece AND get it in writing on your receipt.  

    Q:  Any other helpful hints? 
       A:  Yes, I know it's not always easy to get back to the store to have the store clean your jewelry and sometimes you just want a quick clean before going out, so it's really helpful to know the basics on cleaning.  There are lots of "important" dos and don'ts but the one I would stress right now is this: ALWAYS close the trap on your drain before starting to clean your jewelry. Inspect you jewelry before cleaning so you know if there are any missing stones; after you clean it inspect the jewelry again.  Anything missing?  If so, it's in the sink!  Retrieve the stones and THEN let the water out!

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April 16, 2013 Add a comment 0 tags (show)


 You bought it, you wear it, but, OMG!!!, is it fake!!!!!  (Note: the following incidents are true, the names have been know why.)

    Q: My diamond wedding ring, that I've had for 43 years, broke! The diamond BROKE!  My husband is gone and I'm so upset, it's like we were never married!

        A: Hold your horses!  Diamonds break.  Yes, they are the hardest stone known, however, that doesn't mean they can't break.  The use of the words 'hard' and 'hardness' as jewelry terms means: how easily a gemstone scratches. SCRATCHES, not breaks. How easily a gemstone breaks is referred to as how tough, or durable, the stone is and is relative to the stone's cleavage, which is similar to how wood will split along it's grain.  Oak is very tough, balsa - not so much.  Diamonds are very tough, opal - not so much.  Nonetheless, even the titans can fall and so surely can oak be nicked and diamonds be chipped.Diamond Ring

    Q:  So, how do I keep my jewelry safe?

        A:  Is that why you bought it?  If so, put it in a safe and you're done.  If you bought it to enjoy, then wear it and fix it and replace it as needed.  Can any man imagine buying a nice car, motorcycle, or truck and not driving it?  If I had a Cobra, I'd be driving it, no two ways about it!   

    Q:  My ring that I've had for a long time turned my finger black!  Is it not real? 

        A:  First, check if it's stamped.  Even if it's stamped the metal could possibly be something other than what it is, but, if you've got a receipt for a 14k gold ring, then that should be what you've got!  The laws in the US are very straightforward about this.  Now, what your situation probably is is all about chemicals.  Something in your life has changed.  Either your body chemistry or some product you use such as soap, hair products, laundry detergent, etc.  Something in your environment is having a chemical reaction with the other metals in your gold alloy.  Wash your finger, wash your ring.  If it really bugs you you could paint some clear nail polish on the inside shank to create a barrier between your skin and the metal. 


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April 16, 2013 Add a comment 0 tags (show)


Such a pretty strand of gemstone beads, but they're broken, what to do?

     Q:  I've had my grandmother's strand of hand cut crystal beads restrung so many times, last time I had it done they didn't last a day! Whats' wrong?

    A:  Not all beads are created equal nor are all beads drilled in a standard manner.  The beads can have a smooth drill hole, or not so much, depending on both what they are and how they were drilled.  Crystal and glass can cut through silk, cotton or poly blend stringing thread just rattling around in a drawer! Even beads that don't normally cut through thread will do so if the drill hole is all raggedy.  The only solution is to string the beads on a specialty wire thread made for stringing.  My favorite is Accuron, a stainless steel and nylon coated thread.  You don't get the "look" of knotting between beads, but then again, your strand will stay intact!

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April 16, 2013 Add a comment 0 tags (show)


So, you've got bits and pieces of broken, worn out, or unwanted jewelry.  You could sell the gold and get some value out of it but you'd really like to make something new out of it.  Just how does that work?

    Q:  Can I melt my jewelry into a new ring?

    A:  Yes....and no!  Yes you can but with some knowledge and accepted risks.  First, know that the amount of metal in your pieces may not be as great as you think it is.  Watch the attached video and you'll see what we mean.  Gold is very malleable so a little can go along way. One ounce of gold can be hammered into one hundred square feet of gold leaf!  The other important thing to know is that there are a variety of other metals and possible pollutants in your old jewelry, like solder and lead and on and on.  This brings us to the risk.  The jeweler will do the work...they'll take your gold, dedicate one casting flask to your project (instead of several), cast, finish and polish and voila! Your new piece of jewelry with the old gold MAY have pits, discolorations or even cracks.  There's no going back, however, the work has been done and is only right to be paid for; the jeweler did their level best with the materials given.  What you do have though is something new made from pieces that had some sentiment for you...and that's worth it!

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April 16, 2013 Add a comment 0 tags (show)