Spotlight on August’s Birthstone: Peridot

Peridot’s rich history, along with its beautiful yellow-green brilliance, give it a deserved place of pride among gemstones. Its use as a gemstone dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians, who called it “the gem of the sun,” mined it from the island of Zagarbad in the Mediterranean, one of the few known ancient sources of the gem. Many historians now believe that Cleopatra’s famed collection of emeralds was actually peridots. The stone was frequently mistaken for emeralds in medieval times, before more sophisticated gemological analysis was available.

Spotlight on August's Birthstone Peridot | Auction King

Fortunately for modern aficionados, many sources for peridot exist nowadays, including Arizona, New Mexico, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, and China. This gem-quality variety of the mineral olivine is found in igneous rocks and brought to the earth’s surface from deep in the mantle by volcanic activity. It ranges from a pale yellow-green to brownish-green, with a deep olive green considered the most desirable hue. Peridot has also been found in meteorites, although usually not in sizes large enough for use in jewelry.

The origin of the name “peridot” is unclear—while some say that it comes from the Arabic “faridat,” meaning “gem,” others speculate that it comes from the Greek “peridona,” meaning “giving plenty.” The stone has a wealth of meaning attributed to it. It has long been associated with healing properties, protection from evil spirits, abundance, and luck. On Hawaii, peridot is associated with Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.

It’s not hard to see why peridot has been a popular gemstone throughout the ages, nor why many cultures have attached meaning to it. The stone looks beautiful under both natural and artificial lighting, which has given it the nickname “the Evening Emerald.” Readily available, it’s an attractive option for those looking for beautiful green gemstone jewelry at an affordable price point. As with other transparent gemstones, its value increases with the size of the individual stone, lack of visible inclusions, and greater intensity of color. While peridot is often cut in standard faceted shapes from round and oval to marquise and triangle, it can also be made into beads and cabochons as well.

Peridot is a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it is relatively resistant to scratching. However, the stone can be chipped by a careless blow, and is vulnerable to high heat or rapid temperature changes. You should not clean peridot with steam or with an ultrasonic cleaner.

Whether your birthday is in August or not, peridot makes a fine addition to anyone’s jewelry wardrobe. Auction King carries an assortment of peridot earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets, which we regularly update as new finds become available. Our live auctioneers are happy to answer your questions to help you find the exact piece for your taste, and you’ll find your budget goes further when you’re buying at below-market auction prices! Sign up for a free account today to get started.

How to Select Blue Topaz Stones

Blue topaz is one of the most popular colored gemstones on the market today. It’s no wonder—this stone combines beauty, durability, and affordability in one desirable package. If you’re interested in purchasing blue topaz, what should you be looking for?

How to Select Blue Topaz Stones | Auction King

The first thing to know is that topaz is an abundant mineral in nature, but most natural topaz is colorless (or nearly so). To produce a range of blue shades, topaz is generally treated with heat and/or radiation. This is a standard industry practice, and is considered permanent, though you should avoid exposing treated stones to extreme heat. Naturally occurring blue topaz is quite rare, and should you find one for sale, expect the price to reflect its scarcity.

Blue topaz has a Mohs scale hardness of 8, which makes it resistant to scratching and thus suitable for all kinds of jewelry. However, like diamond, topaz exhibits perfect cleavage, so the mineral can be prone to chipping. You may want to consider a bezel setting for blue topaz pieces that would see hard wear, such as rings worn on a daily basis, to avoid damage. It has a high refractive index, which gives it a brilliant sparkle.

Blue topaz stones should be evaluated on the basis of their clarity, color, cut, and carats. Stones should be transparent and free of any visible inclusions, which would reduce the value of the stone significantly. Blue topaz is available in a range of hues, so judging the color is somewhat subjective, although as a rule darker, more saturated colors tend to be more valuable. If you are purchasing a necklace, earrings, or bracelet, you’ll want to be sure that the color of all the stones is well matched.

Blue topaz is available in a full range of standard cuts. Oval, pear, and emerald cuts are all popular, as they tend to take advantage of topaz’s natural crystal shape and to maximize the depth of color. Whatever the cut, it should enhance both the hue and the light-reflecting properties of the stone. You should never purchase a blue topaz that looks dull.

In smaller sizes, blue topaz is fairly inexpensive, but the price rises as the size of the stone increases. However, relative to other blue gemstones such as sapphire and aquamarine, blue topaz is still reasonably affordable in larger sizes.

Auction King regularly features blue topaz pendants, rings, and more in our auction. Feel free to browse our selection and ask us anything you’d like to know about any of the pieces on offer—we pride ourselves not only on our convenient-to-use bidding platform and great deals, but also on our commitment to friendly, responsive customer service. Register for a free online account to start bidding today!

How Much is a Natural Opal Worth?

Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, where the vast majority of the precious variety of this stone is mined. It is known for the striking display of shifting rainbow colors that the finest specimens exhibit, called play-of-color. No two opals are alike, from their base color to the hues found in their play-of-color, which means that determining the value of an individual stone is less straightforward than for other gemstones.

How Much is a Natural Opal Worth - Auction King

Take diamonds, for example. To determine the value of a diamond, you take into account the four Cs—color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Evaluating an individual stone on these primary factors allows you to easily compare it to other diamonds. Opals, on the other hand, should be evaluated not only on the size of the stone and how skillfully it is cut, but on the base color, the stone’s clarity, and the colors and pattern of the play-of-color. Each of these factors will influence the value of the stone.

In general, opals tend to be cut in cabochons, which best display the shifting colors for which it is known. (The exception to this rule is fire opals, which may also be found in faceted cuts.) A jeweler may cut an opal into a free-form shape to best display an unusually striking play-of-color, but in general, symmetrical cabochons that are neither too thin nor too thick are preferred, and will be valued more highly.

The base color of an opal can range from white to black, with a white or light background being most common. Darker stones are preferred, as they tend to show a more vivid and thus more desirable play-of-color. Black opals, which have a jet-black base color, are the most valuable, and can go for thousands of dollars per carat, depending on the other factors affecting a stone’s overall appearance.

Opals can be found with a clarity from transparent to opaque, with greater transparency increasing the value of the stone. Clear opals of any base color are called crystal opals, and are coveted because their transparency makes the play-of-color throughout the stone more visible. Inclusions are evaluated solely on how they affect the overall appearance of the stone.

Many factors are considered in evaluating the play-of-color itself. First, the play-of-color should ideally be centered on the stone and not include any dead spots (i.e., places in the stone that exhibit no play-of-color). It should be bright and visible under any lighting conditions to command the best prices. How many and which colors are included in the play-of-color matter—colors on the warm end of the spectrum are rare, and a more varied display-of-color is better than a limited one. Finally, larger or rare patterns of play-of-color are more valuable than small patterns that may show only pinpricks of color across a stone.

Ultimately, the value of an individual opal is somewhat subjective—the beauty of each opal is unique to that particular stone, because of the geologic processes that form it. To find precious opals at below-market prices, visit the online auction at Auction King. Our live auctioneer can answer any questions you have about individual pieces via our chat module, so you can feel confident you know the characteristics of the necklace or ring you choose before you buy. Sign up for a free account to get started.

How to Get a Rolex for Cheap

Among high-end luxury watches, Rolex is the brand everybody recognizes, even if they don’t know much about watches. With a reputation for reliability, durability, and classic style, it’s no wonder that this has become the go-to luxury purchase for watch collectors or those looking to celebrate a significant career achievement or life event. Of course, with even the least expensive new Rolexes retailing for thousands of dollars, this isn’t a purchase most can make lightly. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to waiting until you can save up the money to pay full sticker price on a brand-new Rolex. If you know where to look, you can get a Rolex for a fraction of the retail price.

How to Get a Rolex for Cheap - Auction King

Rolex built its reputation on precision and durability, crafting its watches to function accurately in the most extreme environments. While Rolex watches come in a variety of different models, the overall iconic style has remained consistent and timeless. Classics like the Oyster, Submariner, and GMT-Master are still manufactured today in versions not radically altered from their initial iterations. This doesn’t just aid in brand recognition; it means even Rolexes that are decades old remain stylish rather than looking dated, and of course their superior workmanship means they still keep time perfectly. Savvy collectors take advantage of these facts to purchase used Rolexes at lower prices than can be found in retail stores.

As with many other kinds of luxury goods, your best odds of finding a good price on a Rolex are at auction. However, you need to be certain that you are buying from a reputable seller. Counterfeit watches are a big business precisely because luxury watches are such a desirable commodity, and Rolex is a prime target for those wishing to dupe unwary purchasers. While there are several ways to help distinguish a real Rolex from a fake, your first step should always be to take care in who you’re buying from.

You’re most likely to find a Rolex at a lower price at an auction that specializes in seized or abandoned goods. This is because these auctions won’t have a reserve, or minimum price, they are trying to meet before they’ll sell their goods. Rolexes are known for retaining or even increasing their value over time, so traditional auctions will set opening bids at a significant fraction of the retail value of the watch, while auctions of seized goods can start with bids as low as one dollar.

Just like a work of art, a Rolex is an investment that brings personal enjoyment to its owner while it appreciates in value over time. If you purchase one wisely, you can have the added satisfaction of knowing you got it at below-market prices. Auction King regularly features Rolex watches, along with other luxury watch brands. With deep experience in the auction business, we offer the convenience of online shopping with attentive customer service, answering all your questions on any piece so you can be satisfied that you are getting exactly what you want. Sign up for a free online account to get started today.

Rolex vs Cartier: Which is Better?

High-end luxury watches are a must-have accessory for both men and women of discriminating taste. Far beyond being simply a method for telling time accurately, such watches are a discreet way of conveying one’s fashion style and elegant taste. Although there are several well-known brands of luxury watches to choose from, two of the most venerable and respected are Rolex and Cartier. If you’re considering buying a luxury watch, you might wonder which of these two is better. The companies’ respective histories and philosophies may help guide you to the watch that is right for you.

Rolex vs Cartier: which is better? | Auction King

Rolex, perhaps the name most associated with luxury watches, was founded in 1905 by Hans Wildorf. His early focus in developing wristwatches was on producing the most accurate possible timekeeping movement, an effort that quickly garnered awards for precision never before bestowed on wristwatches. In 1926, the company produced the first waterproof wristwatch, called the Oyster, and in 1931 it invented and patented a self-winding mechanism. Throughout the years it has introduced innovations to its watch designs to make them suitable for professionals working and adventuring in a variety of extreme environments, from Mount Everest to the Mariana Trench, with an ongoing reputation for accuracy, durability, and enduring style.

Cartier was founded in France in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier to make jewelry and watches. Associated with both royalty and celebrities, the company was called “the jeweler to kings and the king of jewelers” by King Edward VII of England. Cartier designed its first men’s wristwatch, the Santos, in 1904 for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted a watch more practical for flying than a pocket watch. The design was a hit, and the company still produces variations on its classic square-bezel look today. The Tank, another long-standing Cartier line, inspired by the mechanized military equipment used on the Western Front in World War I, was introduced in 1917. Cartier is known for a fashionable design sensibility evident in their varied lines of watches.

Both brands offer outstanding timepieces well worth adding to anyone’s collection. However, if a company offering a focus on the quality and innovation of the watch’s mechanism appeals the most to you, then Rolex might be your preference. On the other hand, if you’re most interested in a luxury watch designed with a jeweler’s eye, then you might be leaning toward Cartier. The truth is, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these esteemed companies, so you can safely let your personal aesthetic taste guide you in your ultimate choice.

You can find both Rolex and Cartier watches, as well as many others, up for auction at truly incredible prices at Auction King. Access their live online auction conveniently from the comfort of your own home to view the latest finds in luxury watches, jewelry, and other high-end goods. Auction King’s auctioneers can answer your questions in real time via their chat module to help you get exactly what you’re looking for. Register for a free online account and get started today!

3 Tips for Spotting a Fake Diamond

Whenever you have a highly valuable, coveted gemstone like diamond, you’re going to have fakes. Of course, nobody wants to be fooled into paying top dollar for a cubic zirconium, moissanite, or even glass fake that is being passed off as a real diamond. People are justifiably wary of falling for an imitation, because some counterfeit diamonds look convincingly real. So how can you avoid getting scammed?

3 Tips for Spotting a Fake Diamond | Auction King

Of course, the only way to be 100 percent sure that the stone you have is a real diamond is to have it professionally appraised. Some DIY methods of trying to determine whether or not a diamond is real aren’t easy to carry out if you do not have special equipment or if the stone is already in a setting, and they may damage the stone you’re trying to test. But there are some safe, quick ways you can separate out inauthentic stones before you go to the trouble of seeking out the opinion of a gemologist.

  1. The fog test: Genuine diamonds do not retain heat well. If you breathe on them as if you were trying to fog up a mirror or a pane of glass, any haze you manage to produce on the stone will dissipate quickly. A fake diamond such as moissanite, on the other hand, will build up condensation as you breathe on it. (Make sure the gem is clean before you try this; dirt and oil buildup on the stone can affect your results.)
  1. Examine the setting: It is highly unlikely that a genuine diamond would be mounted in a cheap base metal setting. Check for symbols that indicate the setting is a precious metal, such as 10K or 14K for gold, 925 for sterling silver, or Plat or Pt for platinum. While a precious metal setting is no guarantee that the stone you’re looking at is a diamond, it is much more likely to be a precious or semi-precious gemstone. If the setting has rough edges, an obviously fake finish, wear that exposes dull metal underneath a coating, or is magnetic, then you’ll know it isn’t precious metal.
  1. Look at the edges of the stone: A diamond’s edges will be sharp and exact. An imitation diamond, especially one made of glass or a polymer, is more likely to have dull or worn-down edges. While a sharp edge won’t guarantee you have a real diamond on your hands, a dull edge is likely to indicate that you don’t.

If you’re considering investing in a diamond, taking the trouble to obtain an official appraisal is worth the cost. Of course, reputable sellers regularly provide appraisal reports from gemological laboratories for the diamonds and other fine jewelry available on their site, as we do on ours. This professionalism gives you the confidence that the diamonds you purchase at Auction King’s live online auction are the real deal, even if their below-market prices seem too good to be true. Sign up for a free account today and check out the deals today!

Thinking about selling luxury items online? Here are some must-do’s before you let them go.

The luxury item market is booming, thanks to the growing popularity of online auctions. That said, letting go of your precious items requires you take a few necessary steps to ensure you earn top dollar:

Get your jewelry appraised: If you’re selling jewelry, it’s always wise to get your items appraised before you sell. This will help you understand the true value of your jewelry, which can fluctuate up and down. You may find your item is worth more or less than you think, which may cause you to change your mind about selling.

Gemological reports are a good option, too: A gemological report will let you know everything there is to know about your precious gem, with a grading and carat weight, color, clarity, and internal characteristics. These reports are option used as a component in the appraisal process, too.

Get your luxury watched serviced: If you don’t have a certificate of authenticity but want to prove your watch is real, take it to an authorized repairperson, not to a dealer. Watch dealers will not provide authenticity, but repairpersons will be able to tell if a watch is authentic or not (and likely won’t service a watch that isn’t authentic.) Keep any records of the inspection, service or repair.

Provide documentation on sports memorabilia: Sports memorabilia is among the easiest type of luxury item to forge or fake, making it imperative to have a certificate of authenticity. Submit your items to the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and get them certified to earn the most money on your collectible.

Temper your expectations: Remember, you’re selling items that are ultimately worth only as much as someone is willing to pay for them. Be realistic, and know that you might not always get the appraised or expected value you were hoping for.

Stick with these tips and sell your item with confidence!

Pantone Released the 2017 Color of the Year – What This Means for Jewelry

Every year since 2000, Pantone, the company best known for standardizing colors from manufacturer to manufacturer and across industries through its Pantone Matching System, has selected a Color of the Year. They choose this hue as, in their words, “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” These color selections invariably influence fashion and design going forward.

2017’s Color of the Year is Greenery, a shade of yellow-green that recalls new leaves and buds and the freshness of spring. The company cites the desire of modern people to immerse themselves in nature, to unplug from the hectic demands of everyday life, as the inspiration for this choice. As Pantone states, “Greenery is nature’s neutral,” and it is an easy shade to incorporate in your look through jewelry.

Emerald is classically known as the must-have green gemstone, popular not only for its beauty but for its resistance to scratching, which makes it a practical choice for rings as well as for earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. While emeralds come in a variety of different shades of green, those mined in Brazil tend toward the yellow-green end of the emerald spectrum. Emeralds are quite rare, especially those that are exceptionally large, free of inclusions, or deeply colored, which makes them more expensive than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

Another well-known green gemstone is jade. What we call jade can actually be one of two materials: nephrite or jadeite. Both can be found in a variety of shades of green, and they have been used as highly prized gemstones since ancient times. The most valuable jade has a beautiful green hue and is semi-transparent. In jewelry, jade is most often found as beads or cabochons, which best show off its color and touchably smooth texture.

Peridot, a beautiful yellowish-green gem-quality variety of olivine, is another green gemstone well worth adding to your collection. The iron in its mineral makeup accounts for its beautiful green color. It has been used in jewelry since the time of the pharaohs, and the Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.”

Best of all, you can pair any of these gems with other colored gemstones—just as the foliage of a rose provides a gorgeous backdrop for its color, green-colored gemstones can be beautifully matched with almost any other color to produce a striking look. Consider a field of wildflowers, and you’ll realize that nature most often presents beautiful colors in profuse variety. Why not echo that feeling in your jewelry?

To find a variety of green (or other) gemstones at below-market values, look no further than the live online auction at Auction King. Their wide, constantly updated selection of fine jewelry gives you the opportunity to bid from the comfort of your home in an auction conducted in real time by live auctioneers, who can answer your questions via our chat module. Sign up for a free account today to see what you’ve been missing!

What Determines an Emerald’s Value?

Emeralds are considered one of the “big three” in precious gemstones, a classic jewel regularly used in high-end jewelry. But what differentiates one emerald from another? There are many factors that determine their value. If you’re in the market for emerald jewelry, here’s what you need to know about the most desirable qualities of this beautiful gemstone.

What Determines an Emerald's Value | Auction King

Clarity

Generally speaking, when you’re shopping for gemstones, the most valuable stones are those with no visible inclusions. However, that isn’t really the case for emeralds, because all natural emeralds have some inclusions that are visible to the naked eye or with a jeweler’s loupe. In fact, most emeralds receive some treatment to reduce the appearance of these inclusions during the lapidary process, which is not considered to affect the value of the stone. Only a synthetic emerald (much less valuable) might be perfectly clear—some are even given artificial inclusions to look more genuine. Thus, inclusions are a sign of an emerald’s authenticity. Emeralds that are considered “eye clear” are extremely rare, and quite valuable. It is only when inclusions are so numerous that they negatively affect the stone’s transparency that they can reduce an emerald’s value.

Color

An emerald’s brilliant green color is produced by trace amounts of chromium, vanadium, and iron. An individual stone can have a varying amount of each, and thus an emerald’s color can range from bluish green to yellow-green. The exact hue may hint at a stone’s origins—for example, emeralds from Zambia tend to be on the blue-green side, while emeralds from Brazil and Colombia are a more pure green. In general, the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone. Stones that are extremely light or extremely dark (so much so that the transparency is reduced) cost less per carat.

Cut

Emeralds are often cut in a rectangular shape, known as an emerald cut, to both enhance the natural color of the stone and to protect against chipping or breaking. Although they are resistant to scratches, emeralds tend to be somewhat brittle, and their natural inclusions can make them prone to fracturing. However, whatever the cut of the stone, it should enhance its natural sparkle and color.

Carats

While you can find emeralds in sizes ranging from truly tiny to huge, very fine grades of emeralds over one carat are rare. In general, a larger emerald will be worth more if its color and clarity are also good. If you have two stones with the same overall color and clarity, the larger one will be more valuable.

The overall value of an individual emerald is determined by a combination of these factors—a small but unusually clear emerald of gorgeous green may very well cost more than a much larger light-green emerald that looks cloudy from numerous inclusions. The best way to get a feel for the way these combinations can affect price is to shop around and compare prices.

Auction King regularly stocks emerald bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings in a variety of sizes, cuts, and styles. Our live online auction gives our buyers an opportunity to find exquisite pieces at below-market values. Sign up for a free online account today and browse our selections. The piece you’ve been looking for may be just a click away!

What Determines the Value of Tanzanite

Tanzanite, discovered only fifty years ago in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, is a relatively new entry to the list of desirable gemstones. Given its short history compared to more familiar gemstones like emeralds and diamonds, it’s not unusual to encounter some confusion about what factors contribute to the value of an individual tanzanite.

What Determines the Value of Tanzanite | Auction King

While many of the categories that determine the value of other stones—cut, clarity, and carats—also apply to tanzanite, it’s important to know that color is the most important thing to consider with this rare gemstone. The finest tanzanite not only displays an intense blue or blue-violet color, but it is also pleochroic, meaning that it displays flashes of different colors depending on which direction it is viewed from. In fact, its unusual and beautiful color is what has propelled its unparalleled rise in popularity since its discovery. The most valuable tanzanite has a deeply saturated color; while paler stones are also attractive, they do not command the same price as more vividly colored gems.

Tanzanite is cut into a variety of shapes for jewelry. The primary consideration in determining a good cut is showing the stone’s color and pleochroic properties, which means the cutter must properly determine the direction of crystal growth to achieve the best effect. A secondary consideration is the overall size of the stone. The cutter will generally try to achieve the largest possible cut stone from the raw material, unless this will result in significantly inferior color. A well-cut tanzanite will be brilliant and symmetrical, no matter what the shape chosen.

Because of the geological processes that form this stone, tanzanite can readily be found without inclusions visible to the naked eye. As with other gemstones, tanzanites with fewer inclusions are more valuable, and those that do have inclusions that can be seen without the aid of a jeweler’s loupe sell at a significantly lower price.

As with other gems, when all other factors are equal, a large tanzanite will cost more per carat than a small one. However, the most intense colors tend to be seen in sizes of five carats or more; stones of one to two carats tend to be much lighter in color than larger stones. In large sizes, the best-quality tanzanite can sell for $700 per carat or more. While tanzanites are available in a variety of sizes, gem-quality stones over thirty carats are quite rare.

One final factor to take into consideration is tanzanite’s rarity. The entire world’s supply of tanzanite comes from a single location only one and half miles square. While experts may disagree on exactly when the mines will run out, they agree that it will happen. Therefore, prices can only be expected to rise.

You may believe that a high-quality tanzanite is beyond your reach, since it is so rare and valuable. However, you can still find excellent deals on large, dark-blues tanzanite by shopping at auction. The live online auction at Auction King regularly features beautiful tanzanite necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings for a fraction of their retail price. Sign up for a free online account today and get this rare gemstone before it’s gone for good.