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Long-term care & Restoring, refurbishing and repairing vintage jewelry
Back in part 1 of our Jewelry Care series, we covered light daily/weekly maintenance for your jewelry, and how to care for different materials. In part 2, we broke down the various ways to keep your jewelry in good shape via annual inspections, and more long-term wear repairs.
The most intense method of jewelry care involves the repair and restoration of your pieces. So you’ve got an old heirloom from your grandmother, or you found a one-of-a-kind treasure at a pawn shop, jewelry resale shop or estate sale? Beautiful: you’ve got many options to reinvigorate, restore or recraft your piece of jewelry.
Stone replacement: If you’re looking to replace the stones of a familiar heirloom, a jeweler can measure the opening for the stone to give you a best recommendation of material, carat weight and depth. It’s helpful to have any certifications, photographs or other valuable insight to help recreate the shape and color of the stone(s). Depending on your budget for restoration, the jeweler can provide valuable guidance on stone quality and optional alternatives to fit your price point.
Rebuilding prongs: The delicate prongs that hold diamonds and precious gemstones can grow worn after years of wearing. Rings are especially prone to damage since they endure a lot more action on your hands. Your annual inspection should involve checking the prongs for any bending or warping. Over time, it may be time to re-forge the strength of your prongs so they can do a proper job of holding on to your stones.
Run your fingers over the top of your pronged jewelry and you should feel small tips sticking out. If the prongs feel smooth, flat or even with the stone, it’s time for a touch up. Known as “retipping,” rebuilding the prongs on a piece of jewelry involves building up the prongs with new gold so that they are durable again. After filing and polishing, your new, durable prongs will look as good as new.
Recreating an old/broken vintage piece: sometimes, the changes needed to restore a piece involves recreating the metal setting entirely. The jeweler will need the old piece in order to replicate all the details, pop out the stones for repurposing, and produce a computer-aided-design (CAD) for your review. The design will help you see the different angles and provide any additional guidance before the final casting.
The biggest question of all when it comes to working on priceless family heirlooms: how can I find a jeweler I can trust? Once you hand that piece over, it’s important to do your homework and find a knowledgeable, quality jeweler with extensive experience in a wide breadth of materials and styles. And, preferably a jeweler who won’t take three months while charging an arm and a leg.
Lucky for you, our custom experts can turn around repairs and new custom pieces in as little as two weeks. Our design staff has over four decades of fine jewelry wisdom when it comes to sturdy-yet-fashionable styles, material integrity and craftsmanship. And since our expertise lies in diamonds and gemstones, our staff is familiar with stone hardness, color and quality matching, and the cuts that suit certain stone types the best. We want to help restore your beautiful jewelry to its glory days. We’re only a phone call or appointment away.
Our jewelry company was first launched when our founder, Tisha Vaidya, was seeking a way to combine her love of color and fashion with professional apparel. As someone who started her career in New York’s finance world, daily life was a wash of corporate black and white, offering nothing exciting for a woman who grew up around vibrant sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Tisha craved color every day, and knew that thousands of women do too, so she set her sights on making the gemstone world accessible for everyone.
Our Rainbow Collection was launched to commemorate women who live boldly, colorfully, and aren’t afraid to let their true personalities show. Celebrating those who are unashamedly young and fearless at heart, the collection features dainty pieces that play well with diamonds and other color stones. Our favorites include the best-selling rainbow stacking ring, chain bracelet, bar studs and huggies, as well as inventive styles with color gemstone clusters and unique opal doublets. The rainbow collection was also designed to honor the LGBT community, as these beacons represent the hope and change that has affected our laws since our company was founded four years ago.
The best part? Over half the collection is under $500, with our best-selling pieces falling within the $120-240 price range. And if you’re curious on how to style these beauties, you’re in luck! PJ’s rainbow goodies have been scooped up by some of our favorite fashion bloggers recently, showing how to style these babies in the wild. Read on to check out the eye candy!
Sasha Zavala scooped up our rainbow chain bracelet to match her vibrant style. As one of our newest Dallas style crushes, Sasha dropped by our DFW Jewelry Showroom last month, and we got to know each other a little better. You can read about her visit by checking out her blog post here, where she remarked, “A place where women can go touch, get educated, and experience fine jewelry? Without the HIGH markup prices... Yes, it does exist and is located in Dallas, TX.”
Angeline Holoub of @Sometime_Saturday treated herself to the rainbow stacking ring and rocks it solo on her index finger. We’ve had so much fun seeing her pair her Pratiksha pieces with gorgeous winter looks.
Ready to check out the collection? We thought you’d never ask.
It’s the season for glitter and lights, and we’re gathering our accessory glam squad (aka jewelry essentials) for holiday parties, family gatherings and traveling. Diamond, gemstone and pearl jewelry need to be in top shape for mingling, jingling, and showing off on Instagram stories. Like all fine things, jewelry requires a bit of maintenance and care to prolong integrity and sparkle. Jewelry will stand up to generations of parties and fun as long as you take a few minutes to properly care for your valuables.
Daily Care - How to Keep Your Jewelry Clean
Chemicals in everyday substances like hairspray, lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, and household cleaners as well as natural pollutants can dull or damage your gemstones and metals. Because of this, your jewelry should be put on last when dressing to avoid unnecessary exposure to beauty products and removed before swimming or household cleaning. It is good practice to wipe down your jewelry with a lint-free cotton cloth after every wear. Do so gently to avoid snagging the fibers on delicate prongs.
Every Few Weeks - How to Clean Jewelry at Home
Most diamonds, gemstones and metals only require gentle cleaning with a soft bristle brush in warm water with a few drops of mild liquid soap. Avoid any cleaners with ammonia, bleach or abrasive materials, and dry thoroughly with a cotton cloth. You’ll come across many DIY jewelry cleaning solutions on the internet, but many of them suggest salt, baking soda or other abrasive kitchen staples. We advise using these materials on DIY skin scrubs, but not for cleaning jewelry: the goal is to keep the stones and metal scratch-free, not to smooth out the edges!
How to Clean Diamond Jewelry or Gemstone Jewelry
It’s recommended to get a new, soft brush specifically for cleaning jewelry, since old toothbrushes may have toothpaste or other risky chemicals. With some plated jewelry (such as gold vermeil), you run the risk of rubbing off the gold plating with a brush. But if you’re cleaning a Pratiksha piece, brush away: all our pieces are made with solid 14 and 18 karat gold, and never plated. Platinum jewelry will develop a lovely patina finish over time, but if you prefer, you can have your platinum jewelry polished to maintain its original shine.
How to Clean Pearls
Pearls are exceptionally soft and vulnerable to scratching. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) suggests gently cleaning them in warm, soapy water with an unused, soft makeup brush, then laying them to dry completely on a towel before wearing. Pearl strands stretch with regular wear and should be restrung about once a year.
How to Clean Unique or Rare Gemstones
A few of our pieces feature doublets, which are stones created by fusing a slice of an opaque gemstone with a translucent or transparent gemstone layered on top. These handcrafted stones require special care to keep them looking their best. Avoid soaking doublet jewelry in water or any solvent cleaning solutions, and remove them before washing hands or swimming. We recommend that doublet gemstones never be steam cleaned. To maintain your doublet jewelry’s shine, wipe your piece with a soft polishing cloth after wearing.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Jewelry Care series for our recommendations on annual care! We're also offering complimentary professional cleaning for any of your jewelry, now through Thanksgiving! Please give us a call or email us to make your pre-holiday jewelry cleaning appointment.
What revvs our engine? As designers, we really love the challenge of repurposing diamonds, gemstones and pearls into a brand new treasured jewelry piece. Styles and sentiments can change, but it doesn't mean that the stones in your old jewelry deserve a prison sentence, condemned to a life sitting your jewelry box or shoved underneath your bed. Collaborating with our clients to craft pieces of jewelry around their stones is very empowering for both parties. We get to explore creative solutions while our clients get to harness the value of their precious stones, turning it into a masterpiece that they designed for themselves.
Have a look at some of the brilliant ways our clients have recycled their fine jewelry diamonds and gemstones.
Created from the side stones of our client's old ring
After bringing in an old ring, Joan wanted to use the diamond baguette side stones to design a new cocktail ring. We helped her choose an oversized emerald-cut blue topaz as the focal point, adding a generous splash of color and maintaining the clean lines of the step-cut stones. The result was a beautifully unique and contemporary topaz ring that took our breath away. She said, “I’ve always wanted a custom signature piece that is uniquely mine!”
Fashioned from 4 diamonds from our client
When our client asked us to dismount her four diamonds, we realized that they slightly graduated in size. With four slightly different sized diamonds, we made a digital rendering using the exact measurements of the stones. After setting the largest diamond into a jump ring with a halo of tiny stones, the other stones were added to the bail for an elongating look. The end result was a gorgeous daily pendant that she can wear out with friends, in the office, or at any fancy event.
Crafted from an unworn wedding ring
After our client had grown frustrated with trying to sell her old engagement ring, Lillian still saw value in the gorgeous princess diamonds, and so did we. We crafted two new layered necklaces from the diamonds, creating a solitaire slide pendant from the center stone and stacking the side stones into a bar pendant.
Thrilled with the new contemporary look, our client remarked “I love that I now have two beautiful necklaces to wear, instead of just letting an old ring sit in my safe deposit box!”
Repurposed from our client's broken ring
We didn’t create our client’s original engagement ring, but when the head broke off the band (yikes!), she brought it to us for a repair and a revamp. She had an idea to match the new band with one of her favorite sapphire stackable bands, which she often wore along her wedding ring stack. The new, cohesive look offers a gorgeous splash of royal blue along the sides of the set, and we just can’t get enough of the new contrasting style.
Do you have an old stone you'd like to breathe some life into and create a new piece of jewelry? We'd love to talk to you about your options. Check out some other beautiful pieces our clients have created for themselves as a "just-for-fun" treat in the gallery below.
With ancient history rooted in folklore, spiritual influence, medicinal and cultural values, jewels have captures human interest for thousands of years. The perfect application of minerals, time and pressure create these precious treasures of the earth, with nature determining their rarity. Everything else about gemstones is created by human interest, such as their value, fashionability, legacy, cultural importance, and all the fun stories (including how effective they are at warding off bad luck).
In honor of National Jewel Day today, we put together a collection of our top gemstone picks. You'll find these beauties bedazzling many of our top selling styles, as these stones offer high color saturation, hardness, quality and durability for daily wear-and-tear. There's a reason that royal jewels have stood strong through centuries of politics, family dynasties, drama and debacles... they're strong and beautiful, just like the women who wear them.
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. The Sanskrit word for ruby is "ratnaraj," which means something like "king of the gemstones." It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent color, excellent hardness, outstanding brilliance, and extreme rarity. For a long time, India was regarded as the ruby's classical country of origin.
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, named from the Sanskrit word "kuruvinda." Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, with all other colors being classified as sapphires. The close relationship between the ruby and the sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century, thanks to modern technology allowing us to study mineral composition. Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies, and many famous historical rubies were later discovered to actually be spinels.
If there is talk of the sapphire, most gemstone aficionados think immediately of a velvety blue. However, the beloved royal blue is only one of a rainbow of colors in the family of sapphire gems. Composed of corundum, a mineral second only to diamond in hardness, the sapphire is actually defined as any color of the mineral besides red (reserved for ruby). The most valuable are genuine Kashmir stones (pure, intense blue with subtle violet undertone), with Burmese sapphires valued almost as highly; then come the sapphires from Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Star sapphire varieties feature a star-like phenomenon known as “asterism,” when direct light shows star-like rays throughout the stone. Other rare sapphire colors include orange, green (mostly found in Thailand and Australia) and the most rare and highly prized of all: the Padparadscha sapphire (the enchanting coral stone found in Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring).
The famous green stone has a long and colorful history (one of the oldest of all gemstones) and was the preferred stone of Cleopatra. This variety of beryl can grow to fantastic sizes: the Bahia Emerald, one of the biggest found in the world, is 840 pounds and is worth over $372 million.
Emerald is known for its verdant green coloring, which is its most important characteristic when estimating its value. It is also known for its flaws, which are tolerated more than any other stone as a mark of its character. Most emeralds feature tiny fissures, cracks, and inclusions, and flawless stones are extremely uncommon. Some actually prefer a stone with minute flaws over a flawless one as proof of its authenticity. Oil and resin treatments are common in the industry to improve the appearance of these imperfections.
Tanzanite is a fairly new to the gemstone world. It was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesman Ali Juuyawatu, who happened upon the glittering stones weathered from the earth and brought the find to ruby prospector Manuel de Souza.
So far the extremely rare stone has only been found in the original region of its discovery, the Mererani Hills in Northern Tanzania. It is a transparent indigo blue stone that resembles sapphire in coloring, brilliance, and luster. Given its pleochroism (change in color depending on orientation to the light), tanzanite can appear bright blue, violet purple, and rarely have a desirable burgundy flash. The stone was officially added as a birthstone for December in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association, the first stone added since 1912.
Pastel colored tanzanite is far more common than darker-colored stones – about 80% of mining production is pastel in shade, from soft greyish blues to lilacs. This is partly because the smaller tanzanite stones do not “hold” a deep blue color well, meaning that dark blue tanzanite is typically only available in larger stones over 2.50 carats. Supply of the stone is extremely limited and is expected to run out in the next 25 years.
There was a collective gasp heard around the world last spring when the Duchess of Sussex departed for her wedding reception. True, she brought the wow-factor with her dazzling wedding dress and chic reception gown, but all eyes were on the enchanting aquamarine cocktail ring adorning her finger for the black-tie event. The heirloom ring was from Princess Diana, her late mother-in-law, and was a famed piece of jewelry that she had worn many decades ago. The bittersweet moment showed that even though the women would never get to meet, there was a lot of love and pride present for the couples’ big day.
Aquamarine is March’s spring-tastic birthstone, and also serves as the 19th wedding anniversary stone. A member of the beryl family, aquamarines come from the same family as emeralds and morganite. While even the palest blue stone can be breath-taking, aquas range in color spectrum to a dark, denim-like teal. You can see what that might look like in the following examples.
To us, aquamarine serves as a “vacation stone,” immediately conjuring memories of sun-kissed ocean fun, sunny blue skies, and tranquil purity that lets us escape from daily mundane tasks. Our favorite materials to pair with aquamarine are cool white gold settings and crisp white diamonds to show off the aquamarine’s spectrum of blue. We like to think of diamonds as the “wing man” for aquamarines since they enhance the beauty and charm of the stone’s hue. Warm yellow gold is also very flattering, as it helps draw focus to the greener tones found within the stone.
Cheat sheet for buying aquamarines and customizing jewelry:
Fun facts about aquamarines:
Aquamarines derive their name from Latin “aqua marina,” meaning “sea water,” and has thousands of years of history bringing luck to sea voyagers. The mysticism surrounding the stone was believed to come directly from mermaids, protecting the sailors from danger, evil, seasickness and other medical ailments. Ancient Romans believed that the stone could cure medical ailments as well, and healers in the Middle Ages believed that the stone warded off anxiety and toxins from poison.
Our fierce, fiery co-founder is a force to be reckoned with. Pratiksha Vaidya, aka “Tisha,” launched our fine jewelry line with the goal of offering high-quality, beautifully trendy pieces within reach. Growing up as a fourth-generation fine jeweler, Tisha spent her childhood shuffling Ceylon sapphires and learning the ins and outs of jewelry fashion. She took this love of color and design along when she moved up north to spend her college years in New York City and beyond.
After graduating with her Master’s at The Wharton School and working in finance, she often found there was a fine balance between looking elegant but also classy and professional. She sought to create a jewelry collection designed for women who mean business, embody the spirit of fun and fashion, and lower their expectations for no one. We sat down to learn a bit more about the woman behind the jewelry line.
You launched Pratiksha Jewelry after becoming personally frustrated with your other jewelry falling apart. Do you have any stories about jewelry failing you right before an important moment?
"I used to wear big costume necklaces that were full of color and personality, anything to help balance out the wardrobe of black, navy and gray that I wore while working at a conservative firm. I was pitching a major deal to our Investment Committee, and my necklace suddenly broke and fell onto the table! It clattered and crashed, totally throwing me off my game… so embarrassing! This was one of several incidences that forced me to explore jewelry alternatives, where I wanted to combine my love of color and design with quality craftsmanship that functions in the working world."
What did you hope to change about the fine jewelry business?
"I wanted to change the notion that jewelry has to be gifted and be purchased for you. There’s a rising force in the industry - working women. Empowered women. We are comfortable being the primary breadwinners of the house, taking on Corporate America, and buying ourselves beautiful accessories like handbags and shoes that are long-term investments for our wardrobe. But for some reason, we have an obstacle when it comes to buying ourselves fine jewelry despite earning that right. I wanted to take back ownership of that purchase."
What was it like growing up around the jewelry business?
"Sparkly! I learned early on to appreciate quality first. I also learned very valuable lessons around work ethic, the value of creating your own destiny, and creativity around precious materials."
What do you love most about designing bridal jewelry with your clients?
"I love hearing about the couple and incorporating personal details of their relationship into the design of the rings. As a small business, we cherish each of our clients and appreciate their support. I feel like I’m invited into their 'inner circle' when I’m asked to design such a special ring for their life milestone."
What do you love most about designing with color stones?
"I love color! My personality is far from muted, so why should my jewelry be any different? I love diamond staples, but I really love the ability to turn precious and semi-precious color stone pieces into “every day” accents. Particularly, I love the color stone trend for engagement rings. Check out some of my favorite PJ Custom bridal ideas below."
What’s it like co-founding a company with your brother?
"Like any partnership, it takes a lot of work! But there’s no one in the world I trust more. We are polar opposites in terms of our working style, but are identical in our long-term goals and milestones for the company."
What is something you think about anytime you lay out the groundwork for a Pratiksha design?
"My philosophy is that jewelry should be worn and appreciated every day, not adored from afar. Every piece we design is with a living, breathing woman in mind. Where does she work? Dine? Work out? Hang with friends? Go on dates? The balance of beauty with practicality of wear is something we heavily incorporate into the design of every Pratiksha piece."
Any time I meet up with one of my long-time friends, Emily, I can always count on her wearing her moonstone pendant. Emily’s carefree, spirited personality is perfectly encapsulated in this quirky and colorful gemstone, and I remember how it shimmers when we laugh together, make her signature s’mores dip, and run after our kids. Now every time I see a moonstone I think of her, and it brings a flood of our memories back.
Making a connection with a gemstone is meaningful to not only you, but the people who see you wear it. Do you have a gemstone that really resonates with your personal style? Whether it’s a birthstone, a stone from a family treasure, or your “soul stone,” there is fascinating significance and cultural values behind each gemstone. Many of them have thousands of years of history (i.e. ruby, emerald, and sapphire), but some have only been recently unearthed (i.e. tanzanite in 1967). If you do some soul searching of your own, you’ll be surprised to find what kinds of naturally occurring colors appear in the gemstone world, and which ones mean a little bit more to you than just surface beauty.
Take a dip into history
Many gemstones have an ancient past with symbolism stemming from Eastern cultures. The aquamarine, for example, was commonly known as the “sailor’s gem” to ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed the stone ensured safe and prosperous voyages across the sea. If you’re curious about interesting stone facts and their historical value, take a look at any of the stones that pique your interest on PJ Custom. The product page has a tab that features cool and unusual facts about each stone used in fine jewelry, as well as buying tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.
Explore your birthstone collection
If you love your month’s birthstone, awesome! These collections of jewelry by month can help inspire a new look for you. But you may be surprised to find that many months feature an “alternative” birthstone, such as June, October and December (which has 3!). Additionally, many birthstones such as Garnet (January), Sapphire (September) and Tourmaline (October) feature a rainbow of color options that beg to be considered. You can find all the alternative birthstone options in our gemstone inventory when you click the “Birthstone” tab.
Do you have a special anniversary in your life?
Most people liken anniversaries to weddings, but that’s an old philosophy. Celebrating the annual turn of anything of great significance in your life is worthy of commemorating in a fine jewelry piece. For example, one of our clients just celebrated her tenth year of sobriety. We suggested a sapphire, traditionally honored as the tenth anniversary stone, and created a pendant she could wear daily. Her strength, resilience and perseverance through her challenges were encapsulated in a fine jewelry piece to remind herself of her inner strength and worth.
The world of gemstones and their cultural significance are continually evolving. Take a look at our Gemstone Gallery to discover a jewel that speaks to you.
As summer temperatures hit the high nineties here in Texas, wedding season is in full swing. Whether it’s your turn to walk down the aisle, stand by your bestie’s side as a bridesmaid, or indulge in open bar glory as a guest, there’s something for everyone to love about romantic, balmy summer weddings. You can probably guess what excites us most about wedding season: sparkling engagement rings!
That’s why we were delighted to be a part of a stunning, ethereal bridal editorial for Dear Gray Magazine. The goal of the photoshoot was to capture a very romantic, dreamy bridal session using angelic pastel colors, soft flowing fabrics and shimmering accessories that set the tone.
Shot against the French neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, California, the photoshoot was aided by west coast fog, a dream-like haziness that must be seen to be believed.
The Annabeth Debutante Morganite Ring with Diamond Leaves was the perfect pairing for the shoot. Playing off the bride’s Roman-style backdrop and golden leaflet headpiece, the delicate Debutante Ring is set with romantic rose gold and a 1.12 carat champagne-blush morganite.
Colored gemstone engagement rings and wedding bands are exploding in popularity, topping our custom jewelry requests at the Pratiksha design lab. Sapphires, tanzanites, rubies, emeralds and morganites have been used as center stones, matching side-stone pairs, or within the wedding band.
Ring Design by Pratiksha Jewelry / Styled and designed by Ivory & Vine Event Co. / Bridal Headpieces by Maggie Wu Studio / Stationery & Calligraphy by Sarah Ann Design / Location the Legion of Honor / Wedding Dress by Crystal Designs / Bridal Shop the Blushing Bride Boutique / Hair and Makeup by Natalie Issa / The film lab used was Goodman Film Lab / Photography by Stephanie Brazzle Photography