Steve Duke Presents Tradio Gems: Gold Marks and Diamonds
(Excerpts from Tradio)

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Steve Duke:
Many times it might say 585 which would be your 14 karat gold mark. Along with that it could be another inspection mark on the other side of the bale. Or it could say Italy. That is where the stuff would have been manufactured.

It is really not uncommon at all for the European stuff that comes into the country to be marked on the bale as opposed to the cross.

Caller:
So I don’t have to worry about buying it then?

Steve:
I think you would be okay.

Caller:
I appreciate your knowledge. That is why I wanted to ask your opinion.

Steve:
And if you didn’t like theirs, you might stop by and see us. I probably have a hundred different ones in stock.

Caller:
That sounds good.

Steve:
Thanks for the call. It is about 9:30 or so. We normally talk about all kinds of stuff. We talk about gold and silver and diamonds and investing in some of those commodities. We talk about squirreling some of that stuff away. We talk about prospect and how to find what goodies out there are worth a lot of money.

Today we are going to talk about diamonds and some of the things that are done to diamonds. When we talk about things done to diamonds, diamond is the hardest substance known to man. We buy diamonds from manufacturers. We buy diamonds from the public. We take diamonds in on trade.

May is coming up and just in case you have been out of the country for years and years, May means that it is Mother’s Day. If you happen to have a mother who you would like to get a present for, we would be happy to sell that to you.

Not only that, but during the month of May we have Mother’s Day Sale and Steve Duke’s Birthday Sale. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean that you have to come in and bring me a present, no, not at all. It gives me a chance to have a reason for a sale.

Along with Mother’s Day, we stay real busy. One of the staples of our store are diamond sales. Right now, I am going to talk to you about a way you can buy a bigger diamond for a whole lot less money without giving up a whole lot of appearance.

Contrary to popular belief guys, girls do believe that bigger is better, and that really pertains to diamonds as opposed to any other thing that might flash through your mind, as opposed to a car or a house or something like that.

C. C. Brooks:
That is very true.

Steve:
How do we get a bigger diamond for less money? Let’s go back to the very beginning. Diamonds originally started out as some sort of organic thing, whether it is a plant or an animal or something like that. Somewhere between eight to fifteen million years ago, that particular object expired, whether it was the plant or the animal or whatever.

Over millions of years, earth has been deposited over the top of it. Rock has been deposited over the top of it. Volcanoes have erupted and the shifting of the plates or the mantle of the earth produces a tremendous amount of pressure and heat.

This form of carbon, whether it was a plant or an animal, is broken down. The organic process is broken down and produced a certain amount of carbon. That carbon, under extreme heat and pressure, becomes the diamond. Basically, through volcanic eruptions, those diamonds work their way up to the surface of the earth.

There could be old volcanic remains. There could be what we call alluvial deposits which are found in water or streams, but all of it eventually comes up to the surface as a diamond. Now we look at that diamond and we ask, “How good of a diamond is this?”

Ideally, the most expensive diamonds are what we refer to as a D color. There is a color scale that starts with the letter D and goes all the way down to the letter Z. This grades how white that diamond actually is.

How white is a D color diamond? If you dropped it in a glass of water, you basically wouldn’t see it. That is pretty clear. We refer to it as a shade of white. If you look around, if you are in your house or outside, look around at all the different things that people call white.

The picket fence – that is white. That sheet of paper – that is white. A gardenia – that is white. You will notice that there are all different kinds of shades of white. There are different tints.

It sort of borders on the fact that it can be very, very white and then there are little shades of yellow that change the color. Basically that is the same thing that happens in a diamond. It could start out as an extremely clear stone. It could start out as a stone that had some nitrogen gas stuck in it which would make it extremely yellow, or it might not have as much nitrogen gas in it which gives it a slight tinge of yellow.

These are graded by color. There are processes by where man has learned that he can change the color of diamonds. There is what we call heat treated pressure treated diamonds and these can only be done to a certain type of diamond. Without getting real scientific, it has to have a particular ion in it that can be treated.

We can take a diamond that has a sort of brownish tinge and make it a much whiter stone. That is one way of changing the color of a diamond. The problem is that you as a consumer are really not going to be aware of the fact that the diamond has been treated.

Theoretically, if it has been treated, they are supposed to laser that HTHP treatment on the edge of that diamond or what we refer to as the girdle of the diamond. It is not always done, or if it is done, especially on some of the larger diamonds, you get some unscrupulous people who will take that diamond to a diamond cutter and have that treatment laser removed so that you are not aware of the fact that it has been treated.

It is a little scary out there. That is something you may encounter, but there isn’t going to be much you are going to know about it unless you take it to someone who has dealt in these before and knows what telltale characteristics you might find.

Basically, we look inside the diamond and we look for internal characteristics. This is what we refer to as inclusions. You may go to a store and the clerk may say to you, “This is a beautiful stone. It is an SI2. It has a couple of little inclusions.” You really don’t know what they are talking about.

Unfortunately, it is just a human trait that we don’t like to let people know that we really don’t know what they are talking about. So if someone deals in diamonds for a long period of time, they are going to use some terminology that you are not familiar with. Don’t be afraid to say, “Could you explain that to me?”

We start with a clarity grade. Clarity refers to what that diamond looks like internally. The clarity grades start with what we refer to as IF (Internally Flawless). These are stones that you probably are not going to find in jewelry. These are basically stones that are cut; they are a high quality color; they are a high quality clarity.

These are basically put away in vaults and they are traded as a commodity. If you believe that gold and silver are going to go up, diamonds also have a value to them and they constantly go up. It is a little scarier for diamonds because you have to rely on someone else who theoretically knows what they are selling you, and you don’t really know what that wholesale value is as opposed to the retail value.

If you are going to buy diamonds as an investment, you really need to know what you are talking about. But as the average consumer, you don’t care. You are buying a piece of jewelry. You are buying a diamond which for centuries has been a symbol of love. It is a symbol of romance.

Some people go into the romance situation and say, “Well, I can go with this romance as long as it only costs me so much money.” Well, that is really romantic. Or some guys think, “I love her and this is what I want to get for her.”

There is a happy medium in there. We find something that is affordable for everyone, something that you don’t mind spending the money on, but you need to be somewhat knowledgeable when you are buying it so that you know what you are buying.

From Internally Flawless we go to what we refer to as a VVS stone which stands for Very Very Small inclusion. Under ten power magnifications, when you look at this diamond, you are not going to see anything in it. Under 60 power magnification, we are able to see a little something. And I am talking really, really minute.

The next grade would be a VS stone which means it has a Very Small inclusion. Again, when we look at it under ten power magnification, we might see a little pinpoint of something. It could be white or black. It could almost look like an air bubble or it could be a crystal. But this would be a VS stone.

The next inclusion we see, or characteristic, would be what we call an SI stone which means a Slightly Imperfect stone. Is this a horrible stone? By all means, no; this is a stone that when you loop it and we take ten power magnification to look at it, if you look a little bit harder you are going to see that inclusion. It is going to be a little bit larger than the one that was in a VVS stone.

Then we give it grades like VS1 or SI1 or SI2. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is one inclusion or two inclusions. It means that the inclusions could be off to the edge of the diamond as opposed to being in the center of the diamond where it effects some of the brilliance.

The next diamond is what we refer to as an I1 stone. It is an Imperfect stone with one major inclusion. Or it could be an I2 or an I3 which would mean it is two or three inclusions that start to affect the structure of the diamond.

These are the diamonds we are going to talk a little bit about today because back in the forties, a fellow by the name of Yehuda came up with a process where he could inject a fluid into a diamond that had an inclusion that you could actually see with the eye with magnification. This is what we refer to as a stone that would be an I1 or an I2 diamond.

When you look at that diamond, you don’t really need any kind of magnification. To the unaided eye you can see that inclusion. It could be black. It could be white, but it affects the clarity and the brilliance of that diamond.

Yehuda came up with an idea that if that inclusion comes to the surface of the diamond by injecting this fluid into it, when that fluid solidifies it is the same refractive index as that diamond.

What does that mean? It means that it basically masks the inclusion or the internal characteristic inside that diamond so that you don’t see it. These inclusions are what we refer to as feathers.

If you take a piece of paper and you hold it straight out in front of you, and you look at the edge of it, it is very small. You are seeing the edge and there is not a whole lot to see in it.

Now take that same piece of paper and put it on an angle slightly. Now you start to see not only the edge, but the side of that paper as well, or the front of the paper. Imagine that the same thing is inside of a diamond. This is what we refer to as a feather.

The feather is a small internal fissure or a small internal crack. It is nothing that is really going to affect the diamond structurally to the point where it is going to fall apart, but it does affect the appearance and the brilliance.

By injecting this solution into it, and having it harden, it masks that inclusion. Lo and behold, now you have a really beautiful diamond that could probably be twice the size, and visually it is much, much nicer. Structurally it hasn’t changed.

People will say to me, “Well, is it a fake diamond now?”

No, it is not a fake diamond. I use this to give you an idea. If you didn’t like your nose and you went to a plastic surgeon and he clipped a little piece of it off, he has enhanced your appearance. It is still your nose. It is a real nose, maybe a little less than it used to be, but it has enhanced your appearance.

This is the same thing that they are able to do to diamonds now. The structure of the diamond hasn’t changed. The composition of the diamond hasn’t changed, but the appearance of that diamond has changed.

They can take an I1 diamond which had a visible inclusion in it, a visible internal characteristic, and change it visually to a VS stone. This is a stone that when you look at it you couldn’t see any difference in that stone.

My question to you is, “If you looked at a diamond and it was $5,000, and then you looked at a diamond and it was $2,500 because it had been clarity enhanced, but it looked the same, and you were on a budget, which diamond would you buy?”

I think most people would say, “If I couldn’t tell the difference, and I am not buying this as an investment diamond, I am buying it because I love her and I want to give her the biggest diamond I could possibly give her, but I don’t have the funds to do it with right now,” then I am going to say to you that a clarity enhanced diamond is something you might want to look into.

Not only do we do them for solitaires, but earrings are a great place to be buying clarity enhanced diamonds for the simple reason, a two karat pair of total weight studs, you are probably going to spend anywhere between $6,000 to $12,000 depending on the quality.

With a clarity enhanced pair of diamond studs that are two karat total weight, a lot of these studs you can turn around and buy for $2,500 to $3,000 and still get a pair that looks like a $10,000 to $12,000 pair of diamonds. Again, why would you not buy them?

If we are trying to do the best we can, get the biggest thing for our money, then I am going to say to you, “Clarity enhanced diamonds are something you might want to take a look at.”

At Westchester Gold and Diamonds, we do have some clarity enhanced diamonds. If I don’t have them in stock, I can pick up the phone and get those in for you. You can sit down and talk to me about what you want to spend and what we think we can get. I am always happy to get something like that in for you to help you save some money and give you a deal.

I am Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds. We are talking a little bit about diamonds and clarity enhanced diamonds today. If you have questions, stop in and talk to me, or call me. I am always happy to talk to you about that.

With that, we are going to take a quick break and return to Tradio.

Commercial:
Gold prices are the highest they have ever been. Hi, I am Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds, with a question for you: Why would you ever mail your gold items away to some ad you saw on TV? Westchester Gold and Diamonds has been one of the largest gold and silver buyers for over 30 years.

I am your neighbor, your local jeweler, the guy your friends have sold their jewelry and antiques to. Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and let Westchester Gold and Diamonds bring your gold and jewelry items into cash.

Westchester Gold and Diamonds is in the Bear Plaza behind ABC Liquors.

Steve:
We are back with Tradio. I am Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds. C. C., we have a question. Do clarity enhanced diamonds all have to be large diamonds?

No, not at all. You can buy clarity enhanced diamonds from a quarter of a karat all the way up to whatever size you’d like. Right now, our inventory is so large in smaller diamonds as well as large diamonds, that I could probably sell you a smaller size diamond. When I say a smaller size diamond, it is between 25 to 50 points, between a quarter and a half of a karat, for as little as a clarity enhanced diamond would be.

Is there a reason to buy the clarity enhanced? The reason I say that people should at least check on clarity enhanced diamonds is if they want to buy something that is at least a karat or larger. This is where you get a really large jump as far as what that price is going to be that you have to purchase that stone for.

C. C.:
Alright.

Steve:
While I have you here, there is nobody on the phone, but what time is it?

C. C.:
It is 9:51.

Steve:
Alright, with that, our phone lines are open at 206-1580. If you would like to call Tradio, if you have something you would like to buy, sell, or trade, or if you have questions about any of your collectibles or diamonds or gold or silver or just about anything.

C. C.:
With the upcoming Mother’s Day and Birthday Sale, people can come in and take advantage of those low prices and still use your layaway, right?

Steve:
We do have layaway over at Westchester Gold and Diamonds. What does layaway mean to you? A lot of people used to poo hoo layaway.

C. C.:
A lot of stores have stopped providing it.

Steve:
“I don’t buy it unless I can afford to pay for it.” Well, you don’t have to. At Westchester Gold and Diamonds, you put ten percent down. If you are buying an $8,000 watch, you put ten percent down. If you are buying a $10,000 diamond, you put ten percent down.

There is no interest. There is no set amount of time that we allow you to pay on that. Some stores will say that you can put it on layaway, but it has to be out in three months. We have had stuff on layaway for two and three years.

Lots of times guys will say, “I have an anniversary coming up in two years or three years, and I have always wanted to give her a one karat diamond. You are having a sale and I am saving 30% or 40% on these diamonds right now, can I put it on layaway and pick it up in two years?”

And we say, “Of course, you can.” I already own that diamond. Why wouldn’t I do that for you? There is no interest. There is no set amount that you have to pay. We do say that you have to pay on it at least once a month. If you have a $5,000 diamond on layaway with us and you put $500 down, if you can only afford to put $10 or $20 down a month, that is fine. We don’t care.

We understand that it is a major purchase. We appreciate the fact that you are doing business with us. And we go out of our way to try and make it easy for you to do that. On some of my commercials, I say that we make it easy. That is basically what most people want in their life anymore.

We don’t need all the drama and stuff. We want to make life easy. Lots of times I don’t realize how large the inventory we have is, whether it is in diamond goods, or colored stones, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tanzanite, chain, gold, Omega watches, Rolex watches, some other high end watches, Bulova wrist watches.

Come in. If you don’t have a clue what you need, we try to make it easy. Our sales girls are great. They are really, really good. They have a lot of knowledge behind them and they will run around with you. If it takes hours, we don’t mind. We appreciate the fact that you did come in.

A lot of stores expect you to come. We don’t. We appreciate the fact that you do.

C. C.:
And you could actually spend hours if you want to looking through all the diamonds that you have, because you have more than you see in those display cases out front.

Steve:
We had somebody come in and say that they went to the mall yesterday and they wanted to remount their diamond. They have a diamond set that the mother gave to the son, and he gave it to the new daughter-in-law.

She really appreciated the fact that she had a diamond set because he really couldn’t afford too much money. Now, it has been about a year and she would like to get something a little bit more modern. They went to the mall and went to one store. They went to the next store and the next store.

The same wedding set was right there. All three stores have it. It is basically that one company owns most of the jewelry stores at the mall. So you are going to see the same styles day in and day out.

Westchester Gold and Diamonds, not only do we make a lot of our own pieces, I buy out other jewelry stores that have gone out of business. I have their inventory. I have dealers constantly selling me overruns and things like that. I constantly have different settings and pieces of jewelry that you don’t see every day.

That is why you wear a piece of jewelry. You want people to say, “Wow! That is cool. I have never seen anything that looks like that before.” That makes you feel good.

It isn’t, “Oh yeah, I have that mounting. I have the same ring.” Who want to hear that?

Right now, since we do a lot of custom stuff, if you want something in particular, you have an idea, this is something that you dreamt about having for a wife or a mother, but you can’t find it anywhere. Come in and see us. We can do a sketch on it. We are able to turn that sketch into a wax which you can see and look at and see what it is actually going to look like.

Then we turn around and cast that in gold or silver for you. You might want to stop by and see us. The other thing with the fact that we are talking about diamonds, no, we are not a fancy, shmancy store, but we have a lot of fancy, shmancy jewelry, but we also have a nice selection of sterling silver that we just got in.

It is all Italian made. There are a lot of new designs. We have sets that look like diamond hoops. You would swear that these are $10,000 diamond earrings.

C. C.:
Really?

Steve:
We have necklaces and bracelets that match it. You would swear – I’m telling you from across the room or even up close – you are going to wonder how he could afford that diamond jewelry for his wife.

You come in and look at it, and it is not priced like that. We are talking between $100 and $300 for stuff like that.

C. C.:
Wow! But you are going to look like you have ten grand on.

Steve:
Believe me, it looks like you have more than ten grand. It is funny, but I buy it all the time from my vendors and I sort of forget how pretty it is. I am looking at two or three hundred different styles at one time. I am picking stuff that I think will look nice.

Well, one of our customers bought a set. She put it on and I looked at it. She was walking around, and one of my sales girls had just sold it to her; I didn’t even realize it. She came around and I said, “Holy smokes, what are you wearing?”

She said, “This is what I just bought from you.”

I said, “I didn’t know I had something that nice.”

C. C.:
You forget what is in your inventory.

Steve:
I really couldn’t believe how beautiful this set was. I am going to be gone this weekend and I am going to be buying some more of this stuff. I am going to one of my jewelry shows. Again, if you want to see any of this stuff, I am definitely going to have more of it.

If you want to see what it looks like right now, I think I have a couple of pieces of that left, but I have all kinds of different styles, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, anklets, in silver, and some of it is gold plated silver.

C. C.:
And we are really coming into anklet season. It is getting warmer, short skirts and shorts. It is anklet time.

Steve:
It is like we used to say, “Don’t caught naked at the beach. Get your anklets and your toe rings on.”

Like I said, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but at Westchester Gold and Diamonds, I am kind of proud of the inventory we have. We have a little bit of everything for anybody. We have colored diamonds. We have enhanced diamonds. We have just regular diamonds all the way up to eight karats in stock.

We have diamond studs. We have Omega necklaces. We have slides. We have just about anything you can have. Right now, you can bring your old broken jewelry and trade it to us. It is just like cash.

With gold and silver this high, you will be amazed at what you can wind up with. A lot of people will come in and trade their stuff with us, and the next thing you know they are walking out with a beautiful piece of brand new jewelry.

We have about a minute left. I guess we are almost out of time. I would like to say thank you to everyone for listening to us on Fridays. I have certainly enjoyed talking with all of you. I get to meet a lot of people coming in.

If we can help you, Westchester Gold and Diamonds wants to be your jewelry store. With that, I am going to say, this is Steve Duke signing off until next week.
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.