Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Testing the Quality of Gold

All that glitters is not gold, and you should know how and when to test the quality of gold jewelry. Gold quality varies throughout the world and small differences in gold content can equate to a large difference in value for the collector or investor.

Jewelry markings indicate the parts per thousand of gold to base metals which are added for strength and durability. 24K gold is the purest form with 1000 parts per 1000 and a quality mark of 1000. 24K gold is rare in jewelry manufacturing due to the fragile nature of pure gold, and the prohibitive cost associated with pure gold.

22K gold is the second purest form with 916 parts per 1000 and a quality mark of 916. 22K gold is encountered on occasion when handling vintage jewelry; however it is rarely used in modern jewelry manufacturing.

18K gold is the standard for high quality jewelry throughout the world, with 750 parts per 1000. 18K gold carries a quality mark of 750. 18K gold is very pliable and will often bend with the slightest pressure. Great care should be taken when handling 18K gold jewelry.

14K gold is the most common form of gold on the market today, with high quality and lasting durability. 14K gold contains 585 parts gold per 1000 parts and carries a quality mark of 585. 14K gold is almost always marked 14K or 585 on modern jewelry.

10K gold is affordable, durable, and the most common form of gold jewelry on the market today. 10K gold contains 416/417 parts per 1000 with a quality mark of 10K, 416, or 417. Do not confuse the markings with the common markings on gold plated jewelry of 1/20 10K.

The basics of testing jewelry for quality have remained unchanged over time. Basic testing supplies include an Arkansas test stone and various test acids designed for jewelry testing. Advanced collectors and jewelry shops often carry an electronic tester for faster results; however electronic testers can present problems such as dead batteries. The tried and true methods are simply the most reliable over time.

Always wear protective gloves and goggles when testing the quality of jewelry. Always test jewelry in a well ventilated area and avoid breathing the fumes. Remember, testing solutions are acids and the utmost care should be used while handling and storing test equipment.

To test the quality of gold, gently brush the piece against the Arkansas stone to remove metal flakes and expose fresh metal. It is always best to test the piece in an inconspicuous place such as the inside of a ring. Place a small amount of test fluid on the flakes and note any reactions. If there are no reactions to the fluid the gold content is the quality tested or higher, repeat testing using the next higher test fluid until you are certain of the quality.

Testing solutions should be changed every 3 months to ensure accurate results. Keep all testing supplies away from heat, direct sunlight, and children at all times. If you have placed the test fluids on the jewelry itself, use a neutralizer and clean the piece prior to storage to prevent damage. Test acids will continue to react with pieces for an extended period of time if the acids are not neutralized!

Editor: aikencoins
Eric Murphey, owner of aikencoins


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Smart Bidding

Online Auctions are a great way to find unique, hard to find items and bargains, if you know how to shop smart. Smart shopping starts by recognizing a trusted and professional auction seller. Knowing what to look for in a seller will save you time, aggravation, and money.

The most important consideration when choosing a seller to do business with is to review the feedback or ratings left by other buyers. Don't just look at the numbers and percentages, but actually look at a few pages of the actual ratings. Is there a pattern of satisfied buyers, was shipping prompt, customer service friendly, did the seller go above and beyond expectations, if there was a problem was it quickly resolved? Sometimes, the seller has no ratings and there will be other indicators that will show professionalism. Read on

Review the Seller's Refund Policy

  • Is it clear?
  • Does the seller offer a full money back guarantee?
  • If there is a restocking fee, is it reasonable?
  • Be leery of sellers that state no refunds.
  • At the least, a trusted seller will refund if there is a mistake in the listing or the item has been grossly misrepresented, and will state their policy in the listing.
  • What payment option does the seller offer and is the time frame for receiving payment reasonable?

Find a Trusted Seller

A trusted seller should accept a variety of payment methods. One of those options should be credit card payment through a reputable online payment service such as PayPal or Google Checkout. The time frame for payment should be within 3-10 days. Think twice about purchasing from a seller that only accepts cash, money orders or cashier checks, and expects immediate payment mailed overnight.

Seller Communication

Buyers should always e-mail the seller with questions, any question. Is the item authentic, is there damage, how soon will the seller ship? Did the seller respond quickly, was the reply friendly, and did it address your question completely? If a seller doesn't answer the same day, or sooner, rethink purchasing from them. This is a good indicator that the seller either doesn't have time and that their auction business is not their top priority, or they are avoiding the question for other reasons, such as the item is not authentic or is not as described. Asking questions about the item, and saving the sellers reply may give buyers some recourse if the transaction goes sour.

Consider shipping fees

Does the shipping fee sound reasonable for the item you want to purchase? Buyers can check shipping fees at USPS online. Guesstimate the weight and enter the sellers zip code if available, and you will get a good idea of what the shipping fee should be. A lot of sellers should, and do charge a small handling fee, and buyers should take that into consideration.

Item Photos

When looking at the item you are considering, are there plenty of clear pictures from different angles? Does the picture look like a stock photo or is it the actual item? Items should be clean and laid out in a pleasing manner. Reconsider your purchase if the item is dirty, thrown in a crumbled pile, or a stock photo. Are descriptions clear and grammatically correct? If not, the seller has not made an effort, and that will reflect in other areas of their business such as misrepresented items, slow shipping and poor communications. Sloppy sellers give sloppy service.

Knowing what to look for in auctions will most likely result in a safe and pleasant transaction. Trust your intuition. If you feel uneasy about any aspect of a sellers listing, do not purchase.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Diamonds: Round Or Princess Cut?

This guide will explain the difference between round brilliant and princess cut diamonds.


While there are many different diamond shapes, two of the most popular are the princess cut and the round brilliant.



A princess cut diamond is a square brilliant cut diamond with sharp and uncut corners, forming a square and sometimes rectagular shape, whereas a round brilliant is circular in shape. While the most common diamond shape is a round cut, the most popular fancy shape diamond is the princess cut.


When considering a princess cut diamond, there are no set "ideal proportions," although some are undeniably cut better than others.


The design of a princess cut diamond has approximately 76 facets and the design of a round diamond consists of 58 facets which add to the brilliance and fire of each diamond. Extra facets are often on princess cut diamonds because cutters sometimes have to work more precisely to produce a sharp corner free of extensive abrasions. The greater number of facets in a princess cut assists the diamond to compete with the visual performance of a well cut round brilliant. Hence, with its many sparkling facets, the princess cut is one of the newest and most popular choices for the diamond engagement ring. PrincessCut.jpg RoundCut.jpg


Traditionally, a princess cut diamond sells for less than a round brilliant cut diamond of similar characteristics because it wastes the least of the original crystal in the cutting process. In comparing a round brilliant to a princess cut, one should note that the round came from a larger rough stone, making the cost increase.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Saving Money On Shipping

One of the most tedious aspects of online selling is the endless trips to the Post Office. Print a pre-paid label online, schedule a pick-up, and toss it out on the porch (breakables should be set out carefully). USPS now picks up all Domestic and International packages.

USPS has a prepaid online label option. It is necessary to create an account with USPS online to use this feature. Sign up is free and there are no surcharges for prepaid labels. Labels may be printed on plain white paper, and taped on, or printed on adhesive labels. USPS shipping boxes and envelopes can be ordered online at no cost and are delivered for free.

PayPal has made it even easier. When a buyer pays for their item, the seller can go directly to the payment details page and can process their shipping label by adding only the shipping method (priority, parcel, 1st class, media) and entering the date, weight, and optional insurance. Click on print label and the shipping fee is automatically deducted from the users PayPal balance and a prepaid label is printed.

International labels require a customs form that can be filled out online. The shipper simply adds details about the package, prints the forms (3-5 pages), signs and dates them, and attaches them to the parcel in a special, clear plastic envelope that USPS provides at no cost. Any parcel up to 4lbs can be conveniently picked up. Domestic or International Express (overnight) mail, and International packages over 4lbs, have to be taken to the Post Office.

There is no need to spend valuable time standing in line at the Post Office. Save gas and time: ship online.

Source: http://omuse.overstock.com/wiki/Saving_Money_On_Shipping

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How To Buy A Diamond

This guide will explain how the 4C's, color, clarity, carat and cut, combine to give you the best value diamond, regardless of your budget.

This guide is meant to assist you in finding the perfect diamond for you. There are several factors that combine to determine the overall cost of a diamond, and you should be aware of all of them in order to make an educated decision when comparing two or more diamonds or diamond rings. Understanding that diamonds are valued by their rarity, you can see that a colorless diamond with flawless clarity in a 5 carat size could easily fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, because it is amazingly rare!

The color scale ranges from D to Z. D is a pure white colorless diamond, while Z shows noticeable yellow.
N - Z
Diamonds in the JKL range and below are often set in yellow gold rather than white gold to mask the natural yellow color of the diamonds.
Color beyond the "Z" classification go into a range called "Fancy Yellow". Fancy Colored diamonds are natural and are caused by other elements being present during the process of carbon transforming into a diamond.
This is an example of a natural fancy yellow diamond set in a ring. http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=2176658&IID=prod2176658

The Clarity of a diamond describes the level of inclusions or flaws, naturally contained inside the diamond. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare, flawed diamonds are quite common. Diamonds are naturally hard substances, the hardest of any natural stone. However, diamonds with severe inclusions (I2 and I3 grades) actually weaken the stone, and are more prone to breaking.
Flawless/Internally Flawless
Very Very Slightly Included
Very Slightly Included
Slightly Included
Included 1
Very Included

Carat is a measure of the weight of the diamond. While a heavier diamond is often times also larger (as you can see on the chart below), it is not uncommon for two diamonds of the same carat weight to have slightly differing length and width.


There are several companies in the world today issuing diamond certification. Of them, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), and the International Gemological Institute (IGI) are considered to be the most reputable.
BEWARE many jewelry vendors may try to sell "unauthorized" or "home made" diamond certificates to convince consumers that their diamonds are of higher quality than they actually are. Honest websites such as Overstock.com will only call a diamond ring certified when it has been sent to one of the above independent gemological laboratories. Diamond certificates include descriptions of the diamond's color and clarity, as well as its measurements. A plot is also included to illustrate the location of any inclusions as well as the type of inclusions in the diamond.
http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=1082725 http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=1736874 http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=488300 http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=2274832
Click below for GIA explanation of a diamond grading report


Appraisals from companies like IGI are used for insurance purposes, as they establish a "replacement value" for each piece of jewelry. Many jewelry stores will appraise your jewelry for you. If your center diamond is certified, be sure to bring it with you to have your jewelry appraised.


Buying Guide - Collectibles

This guide will help you in picking and buying collectibles.

Buying collectibles can be one of the most enjoyable things to do. An excellent source to find collectibles is online. Buying collectibles can be a good investment as many collectibles increase in value over time. Collectibles are usually limited production items and are retired by manufacturers after the production run. Many sports collectibles are also licensed. Usually, the longer that a collectible is retired, the harder it is to find and therefore its value increases. However, if buying a collectible at the peak of that collectibles popularity, then its value can decline. A 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card, sold for $2.35 million. What will sell next? Sporting card? Bobble Head? We shall wait and see.
Overstock.com is a great place to shop for collectibles as offerings change often and discounts are significant. Overstock.com has featured collectibles such as toys, dolls, licensed bobble heads, art, antiques, and much more.


What is a "Deal"?

deal (plural deals)

  1. (archaic) A division, a portion, a share.
    We gave three deals of grain in tribute to the king.
  2. (often followed by of) A quantity, a lot (usually qualified by great or good.)
    Skydiving requires a good deal of courage.
    I'm a good deal older than I used to be.
    That doesn't make a great deal of sense.
  3. (informal) A situation.
    What's the deal?
  4. (informal) A thing, an unspecified or unidentified object.
    The deal with four tines is called a fork


to deal

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to deal (third-person singular simple present deals, present participle dealing, simple past dealt, past participle dealt)

  1. (transitive) To distribute among a number of recipients, to give out as one’s portion or share.
    The fighting is over; now we deal out the spoils of victory.
  2. (transitive) To administer or give out, as in small portions.
    I dealt him a mighty blow
  3. To distribute cards to the players in a game.
    I was dealt four aces.
    The cards were shuffled and dealt by the croupier.
  4. (baseball) To pitch.
    The whole crowd waited for him to deal a real humdinger.
  5. (intransitive) To have dealings or business.
    Now you'll have to deal with me.
  6. (intransitive) To trade professionally (followed by in)
    She deals in gold.
  7. (transitive) To sell (illicit drugs.)
    This club takes a dim view of members who deal drugs.
  8. (intransitive) To be concerned with.
    The film dealt with a sensitive subject.
  9. (intransitive) To handle, to manage, to cope.
    There's only one way to deal with people like her.
    I can't deal with this.
  10. (distribute among a number of recipients): apportion, divvy up, share, share out, portion out
  11. (administer in portions): administer, allot, deal out, dish out, dispense, distribute, dole out, hand out, lot, mete out, parcel out, shell out
  12. (distribute (cards)):
  13. (baseball slang: to pitch): pitch, throw
  14. (have dealings with)
  15. (trade): sell, trade in
  16. (sell (illicit drugs)): sell
  17. (be concerned with)
  18. (handle, cope)




deal (plural deals)

  1. The distribution of cards to players; a player's turn for this.
    I didn’t have a good deal all evening.
    I believe it's your deal.
  2. A particular instance of buying or selling, a transaction
    We need to finalise the deal with Henderson by midnight.
  3. An agreement between parties; an arrangement
    He made a deal with the devil.
    It's a deal!


Derived terms

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Inkjet And Laser Toner Purchasing

This guide will help to understand the differences in inkjet and toner cartridges offerings.


The supply industry for inkjet and laser printers consists of different choices for the consumer. The printer manufacturer offers their version of the cartridge which is called the Original Equipment Manufacturer, or O.E.M. In addition, there are companies that offer new compatibles which involves copying the product without violating any patents that exist.

At times,there are patents which do not allow for any type of copying. In this case, the cartridge can be remanufactured. This process opens the door for many differnt kinds of products and diffrent quality. A good remanufacturer will use only a core which has been tested. You must check the circuts and make sure pins fire and/or drums are not scratched.

At the end of each remanufacturing process, a good company can at times replace inside parts and make them as good as new. In addtion to performance, there is also a sustainable side to remanufacturing. Tons of plastic are saved from landfills as these componets are collectted and remanufacted and put back into the marketplace.


Inkjet printers work by firing ink onto the paper out of tiny pins. There are two basic differences in inkjet printers. One is where the chip to drive the printer is on the inkjet cartridge, and the other, the chip is built into the printer.

The rule of thumb is when the chip to drive the printer is on the inkjet cartidge, then it must be remanufactured. If the chip to run the printer is in the machine, then a compatible tank is usually available.

Compatible ink tanks are very reliable and perform well. They typically are engineered to avoid any patents that exist and emulate the original print cartridge. The savings to the consumer is significant and quality issues are rare.

A remanufactured inkjet cartrige is one where patents exist and a copy cannot be made. There is usually a chip on the inkjet cartidge which runs the printer. When choosing a remanfactured inkjet, quality can be a concern. A true remanufacturer is one that removes the foam and top and totally recycles the inkjet cartridge. Unfortunately, not all remanfacturers do this. When you pick a company, look for one that takes the extra time and steps to give you a quality product.

Drilling and filling with the use of Inkjet Refill kits can be trying. There is usually a great deal of mess and the proper testing to ensure pin firing cannot happen. Although this is the most economical way to go, it is not always the best way to go.

Laser Toner

Laser printers use a technology which transfers the image you wish to print onto an organic photo conductor drum, where the toner adhers to the charges on the drum and prints to the paper. These machines are fast and more expensive to use and operate.

Laser toner cartidges are remanfactured two different ways. One is when the empty cartidge is collected and checked for damaged parts. After cleaning the cartridge, it is refilled with new toner and sealed.

In addtion, there are times when the cartdige is collected and completely refurbished. All parts are replaced inside the plastic core and it is as good as a new cartridge. In this case, they are referred to as new compatible laser toner cartridges.

Laser printers are avaible in the black - monochrome and color in newer models. The expense increases with color laser printing significantly. Each color toner cartidge is sold separately, and you require 4 toner cartidges for each machine. You will typically find these in an office environment versus a home environment.

Fax Thermal Roll

Fax thermal rolls are for fax machine ink which use a thermal technology. Heat senses the print and puts the print to paper. Each time a fax is received the fax roll spends thru the paper length.

New fax machines use both inkjet and laser toner technology. The most economical printer is the thermal.

Color Sticks

A cross between and inkjet cartridges and laser toner, is a solid ink technology using color sticks. This application produces high quality print. The printer heats the color sticks to melt the color to print to paper. These machines are often expensive and used in an office environment.

Printer Ribbons

Printer ribbons are plastic casetts with inked nylon fabric which uses a pin technology to press the pins into the nylon and put the print to paper. A typical dot matrix printer uses 24 pins to form the characters on the page. The nylon advances as each print is made and continues in a circle until there is no more ink on the nylon.

Printer ribbons apply impact needed for multi-part forms and that is the major application. In addtion, most point of sale machines need printer ribbons.

Sources: http://omuse.overstock.com/wiki/Inkjet_And_Laser_Toner_Purchasing

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Get Ready!

Get ready for the launch of a blog consolidating the best deals online!