Steve Duke Presents Tradio Gems: Christmas (Any Day of the Year Gift Giving) Primer/Diamonds

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[audio:|titles=Christmas (Any Day of the Year Gift Giving) Primer/Diamonds ]

Steve Duke:
I’m going to help you a little bit more on your Christmas primer. You had, like, a question on your face.

Ken Lovejoy:

You didn’t?


Well then, do something with that face. Okay. All righty. We’ve talked about gold. We’ve talked about gemstones. We’ve talked about diamonds. All these things that you’re going to encounter. Now another thing that is a little more technical this week – and maybe some of the women will enjoy it, some of the guys might like it – but it’s just some of the things that I want to talk to you about because these are going to be things that when you’re shopping for jewelry, you may have some of your salespeople mention to you and they take for granted that you understand what they’re saying.

A lot of times, people look at them and – it’s just human nature, we’re not going to say, “Wait a minute. What do you mean there?” Because most of us don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s just human nature.

Each piece of jewelry, if it has any kind of gemstone in it, whether it’s a sapphire, ruby or a diamond, it’s going to be set in that piece of jewelry. A lot of the styles that you’ll see refer to the way that they’re actually set.

The first thing I want to talk about are what we call prongs. Now if you’ve got just a plain diamond ring, a solitaire diamond ring, you’ll notice that you might have four little finger-like things holding it in place, or maybe six little finger-like things. These are what we call prongs. And lots of times, you may look down and your diamond is gone. “Oh my God, what happened to it?” It just fell out. We constantly hear that over at Westchester Gold and Diamond. People come in and, “I had a diamond here and it’s just gone and it just fell out. I don’t understand. For twenty years it was there and now it’s not.”

Well, what you have to realize is, these prongs are pieces of gold. And when we set a diamond, we cut a little notch in that piece of gold, on either the four pieces or the six pieces. We put the diamond in there and then we bend the piece of gold over the top of it. That’s what holds your diamond in place. And it’s under pressure, we sort of put them on an angle and it holds your diamond with these finger-like things called prongs.

Over a period of years, you’re wearing that piece of jewelry, you’re hitting it on tables, you’re running it across floors, on the walls, you know, it takes a lot of wear and tear. Gold is fairly soft and eventually over a period of time, those prongs tend to wear down. And if you wear one of those prongs off and there’s only four of those prongs holding your diamond in place, it’s very easy to hit those prongs and have your diamond come popping out.

Now, what do we do to eliminate that? You can bring it in and we’re more than happy to take a look at that. If those prongs are worn very flat, very smooth – another thing that can happen, you can catch it on a piece of thread, on a towel. And that piece of thread will actually pull that gold up off your diamond and you can lose it.

It’s a very easy process to fix. We take another piece of gold, we add it on top, we solder it or we weld it with a laser, and bingo-bango, your diamond is safe. It’s much less expensive to turn around and replace that tip of the prong than it is to replace your diamond. It’s just simple economics.

So if you’ve got older jewelry and you’re not sure, you can bring it by Westchester Gold and Diamonds. We’re more than happy to do an inspection for you. If it needs to be worked on, we can work on it for you. Not a big deal.

But you’ll hear people say, “Oh well, that’s a prong set diamond.” And this is what they’re referring to. The way it’s held in place with these little fingertip type of prongs.

Now one of the things that you’ll encounter this year, and it’s very big in engagement rings and different types of diamond rings, is a Micro-Pave. You’re talking about a lot of little diamonds set around a bigger diamond to make the bigger diamond look even larger. You may hear it called a “Halo” setting. A Halo setting would refer to either a square setting with lots of little diamonds set into it, with a square diamond in the middle of it or a square gemstone, you could hear it with little round diamonds set into it, into a circle and then the round diamond sets into the middle of the circle, so it forms a halo, like an angel.

So this is what we talk about when we talk about a “halo effect.” Very small little diamonds, but they are set on prongs. Now the prongs are set very close together, so it’s a neat looking effect, and you get a big diamond look for not quite as much money.

Now you’re going to love the way they look, but there’s one problem. At Westchester Gold and Diamonds, when we sell these – and we’ve got them in stock, we’ve got all kinds of Micro-Pave settings in stock – you’re going to find at some point in time, some of those little diamonds are going to come out. Why? Number one, they’re small. Number two, the prongs – like we talked about before – are very small, to hold these in. So if you hit them from the side, it’s a very good possibility that some of these diamonds are going to come out.

If you’re a very rough and tumble person and you’re tough on your jewelry, Micro-Pave is probably not what you really want to wear, even though you love it. If you’re a patient person you’re going to realize that, “Okay I love this mounting. I don’t care what Steve says, I’m buying one.” You can expect some of those diamonds to come out. It’s just the nature of the beast.

And what we do with our customers, what we’ve told our customers before is, “You know what? This is one of the problems with this type of a fashion ring. You could have some diamonds fall out. If that’s the case, bring them back in, we’ll replace them at no charge.” Why? Because it’s not really going to be your fault. It’s not going to be our fault. It’s not really even the manufacturer’s fault. It’s just the nature of the beast.

So when you look at Micro-Pave, whether you buy it from us or whether you buy it at the mall… And one question out of your mouth should be, to the salesperson, “Look, if some of these diamonds fall out, are you going to charge me to put them back in?” If they say yes, you might want to stop by Westchester Gold and Diamonds. We’re going to tell you, “We will replace those for you.”

Now if your hand got stuck in a car door and got crushed or something like that, yeah, that’s a different story. But through normal wear and tear, if some of the diamonds happen to fall out of that setting, we’re more than happy to replace those for you.

Saying that, you might want to stop in and see what a Micro-Pave setting looks like. It’s beautiful. You’ll really like them and they’re extremely popular this year.

Another word you’ll hear is Pave. Now I just used that with the Micro-Pave. What’s the difference between Micro-Pave and Pave? Pave is a process where we take a piece of gold. It might be a ring, it might be a pendant, it could be a bracelet. We drill a hole in it about the size of the diamond. We put the diamond into that little hole. Then what we do is we take what we call a graver and we work the gold around that diamond. We actually dig into the gold and push it up so that it forms a little bit of a curl and actually holds the diamond in place.

A lot of times you’ll see three or four different little graver marks and it sits very flush. What’s so nice about this setting: Number one, if you’re in some sort of profession where you’re putting on gloves all day long – a lot of people in the medical profession have to do this- the diamonds don’t have prongs. Nothing sits up high. It’s going to sit flush so it looks basically like a wall of diamonds.

A lot of times people will come to me and they’ve taken a ring apart – they have a lot of different size diamonds. Big, little, medium size – and they want to make a pendant. That’s great. And I’ll suggest to them, let’s do it in a Pave rather than trying to do prongs. Number one, it’s going to look better and what we do is, a lot of times we’ll set all these different size diamonds into a piece of gold for them, put a bale on it and make a pendant. It looks like a wall of diamonds. It’s a beautiful look. You get a lot more bang for the buck, I like to say and it’s beautiful.

Now if we do it in a ring, same thing, it’s all going to sit flush, you’re not going to catch it on anything, it looks like a nice attractive type of thing. Again, you’ve got all this flash coming off your diamonds. A lot of times not all your diamonds are of really fine quality. If you mixed two or three different rings together – one was a fairly expensive ring, one was a medium priced ring and one was fairly inexpensive.

And we’ve talked about light colored gemstones a lot. Sometimes your diamonds will be transparent, some will be sort of translucent, which means some of them will have a lot of fire, a lot of scintillation to them. Some of them won’t.

If we Pave it, you put one diamond that’s not quite as shiny next to two or three of those shinier diamonds, it kind of blends in. So you’re able to use all your stones, all your diamonds, and still get a great look without having to have all these high priced diamonds. If you do have all the high priced diamonds, yeah, sure, it’s going to look nicer, but diamonds are diamonds and if you want to use them, Pave is probably going to be the way to go.

We also have something that’s called “bead set.” Bead set is a form of Pave work. We drill a hole, we tool all the gold around it, but then we polish it all. And there’s nothing sticking up, there’s nothing to catch at all. It’s completely flush into the gold. Sometimes we’ll do a pendant like that, but a lot of times you’ll find them on rings, set into the gold, polished down so that it’s completely flush and there’s absolutely nothing to catch on your clothing, nothing to catch on a plastic glove of any sort. So this is bead work. This is a bead set type of a diamond.

Another thing that you’re going to see lots of, it’s becoming extremely popular, is called “channel set.” You’ll find this in what we refer to as your Eternity bands. These are where we have diamonds that go all the way around your entire ring. In the back and the front. They’re usually fairly thin. And channel set, it almost looks like if you took a railroad track – you have two parallel pieces of gold, we put little grooves in and then we put the diamonds into those grooves. And again, what’s nice about it: no prongs, it sits flush, it’s not going to catch on anything, it really shows your diamonds off because there’s nothing hiding them, and it gives you a beautiful look.

Now sometimes you’ll find the diamonds that are channel set with gold behind them and that’s usually what you’ll find in a lot of your bands. You’ll find a nice channel set band that will go with your diamond solitaire. This happens to be a really great style and it’s extremely popular.

You may find another type of channel set where the diamonds are in a channel and there’s very little gold behind them so you can actually see between each diamond. This is kind of a neat look and depending on the type of ring, again, it’s quite popular.

So again, if you’re a very active person, this channel set might be the way to go for you. Because again, there’s nothing to catch. If it gets dirty, we can polish it up for you. We can clean it out. It’s very easy to keep clean. Actually a little bit easier than prong work. And the channel set is a beautiful type of a setting.

Now another thing you’re going to see this year… It’s been popular. It started back in the mid-eighties. Gotten really really big. You’ll see this with a lot of your colored diamonds. It’s what we refer to as “invisible” setting.

Now invisible set is kind of a neat setting. It was originally created in Israel by a fellow, and what he did, he took some Princess cut diamonds, or square cut diamonds and he cut a groove into the bottom of them. Then he took another one and he lasered two grooves into that one. Which left another little piece of diamond sticking up.

And if you’re familiar with tongue-in-groove flooring, this is what they actually do with diamonds. They would actually slide these diamonds together and they would do two or three if it was up and down – you’ll find what they’ve done now is make square designs and the reason being is this: they would slide all these diamonds into each other, almost like a parquet floor, a tongue-in-groove floor, and if they put gold on all four sides, you could put even pressure on that stone and it pushes all the stones together – keeps pressure on them. And it forms nothing but an invisible wall of diamonds. Now I don’t mean the diamonds are invisible, but the type of setting is strictly invisible. There’s not a prong set anywhere. There’s not Pave work anywhere. The diamonds are nothing more than a flat, flush wall with nothing more than four pieces of gold around the outside of them holding them in place.

You’ll find various types of earrings. A lot of times you’ll find them in different colors of diamonds in different patterns. It’s really neat looking. You get a really, really big look for not as much money.

The problem with an invisible setting is this. There’s two different things that we encounter with an invisible setting. If they’re good quality diamonds, it’s expensive to do the laser work on them, number one. Number two, it’s extremely intense as far as the work involved in it, as far as setting all these stones and then placing them in the gold mountings. So it’s extremely labor intense.

So we get the extra expense of the cutting of the laser and then we have labor intense, so that’s going to be more money spent for this type of jewelry. Now if you’re trying to save money and you’re on a limited budget, then the invisible set’s probably not going to work for you that well, except that we find that a lot of the manufacturers use a little bit lower quality diamond, so they save money that way.

They’ve found that by placing all these diamonds together and then casting it right into the gold, this also saves them money. So you find a lot of these square, invisible set diamonds for earrings. They’re expensive, but they’re less expensive than you’d think they would be. For the simple reason that the quality of the diamond is a little less and you’re able to get a bigger bang for your buck. Again, it’s a big look without spending a lot of money for it.

This is what we call an invisible set. So when you look at it, it looks great. You don’t see any prongs on it. This is what we call an invisible set. Now what is the one drawback? I will tell you what the drawback is.

Years ago, when they first came out with the invisible set, if it was in a mounting in a ring setting, if we had to size that setting down, what happened – because we set it down, we took some of the pressure off those diamonds that were set together. Through rough and tumble wearing, or you may have hit it, one of those diamonds could pop out. Well, it’s sort of like a domino effect. You knock that one diamond out, the one next to it’s going to shift. And the one next to that is going to shift. And the next thing you know, two or three or four of those diamonds are going to start falling out. They can be replaced, they can be fixed, but it’s never quite the same.

Can we fix those? I’m going to tell you that at Westchester Gold and Diamonds, we can perform a lot of miracles on your gold and jewelry, but when it comes to invisible setting, I’ve found that I’ve got to send this…There’s a few companies in California and New York that will work on your invisible setting. They take the whole piece apart. They replace it with another laser cut diamond. Put it all back together again, reassemble it, and it’s pretty expensive.

You may hear me keep saying some of these things are expensive, some of them inexpensive… Why do I say this to you? I’m just like you: When it comes to buying stuff, I want it to hold up. If I’ve got to repair it, I want to know why and how come it costs me so much to repair this? It’s only one little stone! It’s very labor intensive to get this stuff repaired.

So, the invisible settings are gorgeous. I’ve got this stuff in stock as well. I’m going to say to you, if you’re going to buy them, you’ll find these a lot in the mall. They’ve got these Micro-Pave settings and then they’ve got these invisible set diamonds in the middle that look really large. And, you could have a two carat, three carat, four carat type of a ring. But just remember, if a stone falls out of that ring, it’s a big production to turn around and replace it.

So maybe you can’t afford the real ring you want and you’re going, “Okay, maybe I’m going to buy this to get a bigger look.” You’ve got to look at it down the road – Are you hard on your jewelry? And if you are, then maybe an invisible set piece of jewelry is going to be a bad item for you to buy.

For a pendant, it’s great. Earrings, it’s wonderful. But for a ring, be careful. You’ve got to know who you’re giving it to. If you’re giving it as an engagement ring, and your wife or your girlfriend doesn’t do anything – you know, she’s not hard on her jewelry – then by all means, buy it. It’s a great look. And I’m not going to say don’t buy it.

Whether you bought it from me or another store, just ask them, “Is there any warranty on this? If a diamond falls out, what happens? Do you replace it for free? Do I have to pay for it? Is there a warranty?” Find out really and truly what you’re buying when it comes to different types of jewelry.

I’m Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds. We’re talking to you a little bit about different types of settings, different words and things you’re going to encounter while you’re out there shopping. And by all means, if you run across something that you love, and you’re not quite sure what it is, while your salesperson is describing it to you, and you don’t know – don’t pretend like you do. Don’t be embarrassed to ask.

Find out for sure what you’re buying. It’s always nice to know that the person who’s selling it to you is knowledgeable and can explain that to you. If you’ve got questions, whether you came from Westchester Gold and Diamonds or not, whether you came from another store or not, we’re more than happy to look at it for you. Stop by. We’re in the Baers Plaza, right behind ABC Liquors. With that, I’m going to take a quick break and return to Tradio.

Hi, I’m Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds. You know, Santa Steve? This Christmas, we’ve got blue, black and chocolate colored diamond jewelry at fifty percent off regular retail prices. Westchester Gold and Diamonds has over sixty Rolex watches in stock from stainless to eighteen karat gold. We have certified loose diamonds in all shapes and sizes and prices to fit anyone’s budget.

Come see our luxury collection of large diamonds, exquisite diamond bracelets and necklaces. Shop Port Charlotte and you won’t have to go anywhere else. Westchester Gold and Diamonds, in the Baers Plaza, Port Charlotte. Westchester Gold and Diamonds, a name you can trust.



And we are back with Tradio. We probably could use a little introduction music, you know. I’m sitting here, sipping coffee.

Oh, I know. We were talking, though, so we just ran out of time.

What the heck time is it?

Uh, 9:50, just about 9:54.

Okay. All right,. We were talking about different settings, and Kenny was asking me – you know, I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag, but – you know, he said, “How do you adjust the price on different pieces of jewelry if somebody’s on a limited budget? A lot of times it depends on the type of setting that we were talking about. You know, the invisible set stuff a lot of times is more expensive. When I buy it from a manufacturer, they hit me with a little bit more money.

If it’s a cluster type of ring, which is a bunch of smaller diamonds, that looks very impressive. If it’s Pave’ed, usually it’s a little less money than if it’s prong set, because if I have to get a diamond set on prongs, it costs me one price, if we have to Pave it into a piece of gold, it’s another price. Generally, what they’ve found now, a lot of this stuff, the jewelry, is made in China.

Wow, really?

Yeah, it is. We outsource a lot of it because of the labor cost. And what they’ve been able to do now is, when we make a piece of jewelry, first it’s carved out of wax. And not even candle wax, it’s a different kind of wax. They will carve the entire piece of jewelry. And what they’ve found that they can do is they will put the diamonds into that wax. And they actually build the little prongs and everything right into that piece of wax, set the diamonds into it, and then when they cast it, the gold forms right over the top of the diamonds in the prongs. Now they no longer need these fellows to sit there all day long, and set the different stones, the different gemstones.

So it’s one-stop shopping, you know, they create the piece in one piece. Now then, what they do is they clean that mold up, they polish it, they finish it. It’s tumbled. Now you have a finished piece of jewelry where if you had ten diamonds to set, it was usually about ten bucks a diamond to set them. Now you don’t have that extra hundred dollar charge, because it was cast in one piece.

So this is why we find that a lot of the cluster rings that you look at are much less expensive. A lot of times people will come in to sell me a piece of jewelry and they’re like, “Well, this is a cluster ring and we paid two thousand dollars for it!” And I’ll look at it and there’s thirty or forty little diamonds on there, and it used to be three or four hundred dollars just in labor on that. Now, that labor charge is nil. They’ve saved three or four hundred dollars. So you can build the same ring for three or four hundred dollars less money. And when people want to sell that, lots of times you have to explain to them, “Well, here’s the same ring that you bought, but here I’m selling it for this price.”

Four hundred bucks less.

And they’re going, “Well, how can you do that?” And you explain to them, the process has evolved over a period of years so that there’s less labor involved in it. And the retail price is a whole lot less money. So this is one of the things you have to realize.

Now a lot of times people want to buy something new. They’ve got lots of old jewelry lying around. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Maybe you don’t wear it anymore, but if you bring it in to Westchester Gold and Diamonds, not only will we buy that jewelry from you, but if you want to trade it in for a new piece of jewelry, we’ll usually allow you about twenty to thirty percent more for that piece of jewelry. Because number one, we’ll either tear it apart, and you can use the gold and gemstones out of it, or if it’s something that we think is kind of neat, we’ll put it in with our estate case. And generally what we’ll do is we’ll allow you what we were going to sell it for when you’re trading in on another piece of jewelry.

I’ve had people come in and go, they look at the case and go, “Man, I sold you that ten years ago!” And I go, “Yeah, I know you did.” and they’ll look at it and go, “Well, that’s what you allowed me for it ten years ago!” And I go, “Yeah, well, we’re still sitting here with it. That’s what we allowed. It’s still a neat piece of jewelry. I still like it. We’re hoping that somebody will come in and fall in love with that too.”

Could somebody come in with a piece of jewelry that they want you to melt down and then remake into something else for them?

Oh yeah. That’s another thing too. A lot of times people will come in with rings that have emotional, sentimental value to them. It belonged to their folks. And it may have some diamonds in it, or an antique pin or something like that. We’re able to take those old pieces of jewelry, melt it back down for you so you have your own gold back and set the diamonds. (Sneezes)

Bless you!

Ohh! Sorry if I blew anybody’s ears out! Yeah, you can take the old jewelry, we still have time – we have about one more week where we can do custom work for you for Christmas, if it’s not something really involved. I like to be able to do that for the folks out there.

We certainly appreciate everyone’s coming in and seeing us. We’ve been here thirty-seven years. I don’t think we’re going anywhere. Santa Steve is tired, a lot more tired this year, but he’s out there creating jewelry for you, getting those deals for you. If you’ve never stopped by and seen us, it’s definitely going to be worth your while to stop in and see us. I can guarantee that. You’re not going to see the same jewelry that you’re seeing all over the mall. We go out of our way to have individual, unusual items.

And I’m just going to say, we’re just about out of time, so if you haven’t done your Christmas shopping, please stop by and see us over at Westchester Gold and Diamonds in the Baers Plaza behind ABC Liquors.
Stop by and see us. We are in the Baer Plaza behind ABC Liquors. Westchester Gold and Diamonds is located at 4200F Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.
Call (941) 625-0666.

Westchester Gold and Diamonds provides services including custom jewelry design, repairs, appraisals and other jewelry and antiques related services. Westchester Gold and Diamonds is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday and by appointment at your home or bank.

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Have Questions about your antiques, estate jewelry, collectibles or old treasures?

If you have questions for Steve Duke to answer about your jewelry, antiques or collectibles, just send a photo of the item and your question directly to Steve Duke at and Steve will research it for you and you may be contacted to participate in an upcoming Tradio episode. Be sure to include your name, email and phone number along with your question and email it to: