Tag Archives: jewelers

Heavenly Jewelry Terms

starting with “H”


Habille – some people are never satisfied, are they?  Unable to remain content with the lovely, first incarnation of cameo jewelry, the gentry of the 1840’s decided that the new ‘it’ item would be Habilles.  These are excessively large cameos that actually have other pieces of multi-dimensional jewelry placed on the figures depicted.  Meaning, the ivory lady hanging out in the cameo may be wearing diamond earrings and a necklace.  The name ‘Habille’ was used because “tacky” was already taken.


Half-Hunter – is exactly what it sounds like (not really).  A ‘Hunting Case’ is the metal encasement that protects a pocket watch, ostensibly while you are on gentlemanly pursuits like day-laboring, engaging in a vigorous croquet match or, of course, tiny game hunting.  The half-hunter is when the glass is exposed – surely only wildly adventurous types would sport such a brazenly reckless and potentially unsafe device.


Hallmark – much like the sappy greeting card company of the same name, a Hallmark is an intaglio (branded into the metal of fine jewelry) that is very respected and beloved by the peoples of the world.  The term is derived from the stodgy old British practice of goldsmiths being required to have their wears ‘assayed’ (analyzed for genuineness and caliber) at the official Goldsmith Hall – which the O.G.s (old goldsmiths) commonly referred to as ‘The Hall.’  Hence, a hallmark is an official grading of the quality of the metal, stamped right on those lil suckers.


Handkerchief Ring – is not at all what is sounds like (actually, it is precisely that).  Fancy folk of yesteryear just simply couldn’t be bothered to hold  their handkerchiefs (or, heaven forfend, place them in their pockets!), so a ring was devised that has a chain hanging from it that leads to yet another ring.  In this deliciously dainty and completely necessary second ring, one could slip a handkerchief, or “nose rag,” through and let it flounce about, as the wearer went about their foppish affairs.

Handy Pins – are pins that happen to be handy.  Certain individuals, who happened to be alive during the late 1900’s, just needed a hand keeping their clothing fastened together.  These individuals may or may not have been aware of the somewhat recent invention of the ‘button.’


Heishi – this is a jewelry style specific to San Felipe Pueblo and Santa Domingo natives now living in the American southwest, primarily New Mexico.  The main identifying characteristic of this jewelry type is the appearance of small shell and bead stones artfully arranged together.  Tiny holes are drilled into these elements which allow for string or twine to hold them tightly together.  Often turquoise, or stones of this hue, are used.  Many tourists who venture to the southwest purchase such items, looking strange as they return to their homes wearing the beautiful bracelets and necklaces along with their Crocs.


Hellenism – or “heck-enism” for the easily offended, is the ancient Greek-specific style that was brought back into fashion by those crafty Neoclassicists around the 1700s.  See, Helen of Troy (that of ancient Greece, not upstate New York) was a Greek historical/mythological figure who was essentially the Joan Rivers of her day; adored, revered and a wicked judge of fashion.


Higa – is one of the funnier things on this list.  A higa is a hand amulet, similar to the peace invoking ‘hamsa,’ only in this breed the hand is arranged in a way that is …not so nice.  With the thumb poking through the pointer and middle finger, the higa illustrates a very old, very dirty type of insult (use your imagination to figure out what that is supposed to represent…)  Higas still pop up in modern jewelry, especially in South America, and obviously make great gifts for people who are despised/clueless.

Holbeinesque – you know you’re cool when an entire style of jewelry is named after you.  Such is this case with Hans Holbein, who was tearing up the hot German art scene during the early 1500s.  Holbeinesque jewelry is recognized for having a nice sized center stone, typically oval, surrounded by chrome laden, intricate enamel work.  Became all the rage during the 1870s, in what was defined as the Neo-Renaissance period (much like when modern people go to the Renaissance Fair and speak in awful faux British accents).


Hololith Ring – aside being fun to say, this is a lovely loop that adorns the finger, cut from one solid piece of gemstone or mineral.  This style of cutting gems is popular with the always jazzy jade.  The fairly preterite invention of Hololith rings symbolized a momentous step in gemstone liberation, as the proud gems showed they ‘don’t need no metal to be a strong, independent ring.’  Work.

Honeycomb – this is a design style made enormously successful by the fancy brand Van Cleef & Arpels during the economically booming epoch of the 1930s.  Those not living in the Dust Bowl would treat themselves to bracelets crafted in this snazzy pattern, which was actually borrowed from the ‘garter bracelets’ of the Victorian period, which were actually borrowed from bees.


Horror Vacui – Mwah-ha-ha!  Yes, this jewelry classification is indeed scary.  Translated from the beautiful, dead language of Latin, this means “fear of empty space.”  In jewelry terms this signifies pieces that are completely jam packed with bulbous gemstones, gaudy designs and other hard-on-the-eyes objects.  A style endemic to many crowns, coronation items and floral pantsuits that your Aunt Rosy just can’t live without.


Hotel Silver – any white metal that is desperately trying to pass itself off as authentic silver is referred to by this euphemism.  So don’t be fooled if someone tries to sound like they are giving you a fancy type of metal when presenting you with some bogus hotel silver (it really should be called “Motel Silver”).


 -Joe Leone

How to Buy Jewelry: A Man’s Guide


Uh-oh.  It’s time to buy her some sort of jewelry.  But…how??

The reason why buying jewelry can be such a daunting task is that you’re dealing with a potentially very expensive present, that could turn out to be disappointing and unappreciated.  Of course it’s the “thought that counts,” (…not sure how many ‘thoughts’ ever bought any dude points) but if you buy her something that she finds utterly repulsive, it sends the message that you not only have horrid taste, but that you don’t know her at all.

Not to fear!  We are here to help.

Do Some Detective Work


Before you venture to the jewelry store, you need to do your homework (yes, homework stinks, but this assignment will be well worth it).  Scope out the pieces that she currently wears.  Notice any trends?  If all the items are refined and classy, with discretely mounted gems and sleek lines, then you should probably stay in this conservative direction.  If her baubles are boisterous and vibrant, with ginormous colored jewels and numerous layered textures, then it can’t hurt to keep driving right into Funkytown.  Also, her clothing can be another helpful clue, Sherlock Hotstuff.  If she always wears certain shades and tones, try to find jewelry that will work well with these.  Not sure what that means exactly?  Ask the salesperson!  They will be all too thrilled to explain complementary color matching and the like.  A final thing to take away from a light stalking of her jewelry box is the “what is missing?” element.  If she has, and loves, opal earrings and an opal pendant, perhaps she would simply adore an opal ring to complete the stunning set.  Yes, sir, the trifecta.

Get Smart


Walking into a jewelry store with a “duh” look on your face really isn’t the impression you want to make.  Do a little internet research first; find out what the price of gold is that day, see which stores are offering what sales, even learn all about a diamond’s 4C’s.  As with everything in life, knowledge is power.  Should the sales clerk come off as snooty, you can hit them with some educated jewelry lingo of your own.  Most likely they will be nice (hello, they’re trying to make a sale), but when you are equipped with an arsenal of pertinent jewelry info, you can rest assured that you won’t be taken advantage of.   When ultimately presenting the gift to your honeybun, you can impress her with your vast knowledge of the jewelry’s specs as well.  This smoothly conveys that you really made an informed decision when picking out the precious piece for her.

The Ole Compare ’n Contrast


Now that you’ve got a handle on what she would like to receive, and how that’s going to reflect on your bank account (be prepared for a bit of a “dip”), you can now get down to brass tacks and save yourself some dough.  If you know you’re getting her a 2 carat tourmaline ring set in platinum, you can see all the different places that offer that fella online.  Now the fun part: find the cheapest one!  (of course, be wary of hidden shipping fees, fine print, “no refund” clauses, etc.)  If you’re not a fan of the whole online shopping experience, make sure you get print outs of the best prices on the merchandise you want before entering a jewelry store.  If your local shop has the same item for a higher price, they may come down if you show them the hard evidence that you can procure it for cheaper elsewhere.  In general, national retailers can offer the best prices, because they buy in much larger quantities than smaller stores.  However, if you make it clear that you want to forge a long, jewelry-purchasing relationship with your local jeweler guy/gal, they may match the price to get the ball rolling.

The Price is Always Right


The glorious thing about jewelry is that there are lovely looking pieces available in all price ranges.  If you live like a Wynn, snag some 5 carat diamonds and rubies to luxuriously bathe your loved one in.  If you live like M.C. Hammer, then a nice sized set of spinel, feldspar or coral earrings will certainly do the trick.  The point is that if you follow the simple steps outlined above, you’ll be able to find a beautiful present for your babe at  a price that’s appropriate for you and your rockstar (or CPA) lifestyle.


A final word: if you want to get your sugar bum a nice jewelry piece, but have literally NO funds available, think about selling any jewelry you may already have in your possession.   Got a fancy watch?  Perfect, sell that time tracking puppy.  A class ring with a sapphire stallion in the middle?  Great, ride that horse to some fast cash.  A 14 karat gold pinky ring from your days as a ruthlessly stylish mob boss?  Bid it arrivederci and collect some serious cashola.  Even if you do not don jewelry yourself (unlike, say, Rick Ross), you may have some sort of ‘family heirloom’ to hock to fund the endeavor, or maybe even an engagement ring leftover from that particular lady who wasn’t quite “the one.”  If it’s diamond based, send it over to Diamond Lighthouse.  We’ll find you a better price for your diamond jewelry than anywhere else on god’s green earth.  More info on that right here, Mr. Sweetums.


-Joe Leone 


Jewelers for Children

Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-JFC_logoIt’s nice to own beautiful jewelry.  It’s also nice to give back.

Every so often a charitable organization comes along that has not only the heart to succeed and help others, but also the intellect.  The founders of Jewelers for Children knew that with the right collection of participants, they could raise quite a substantial amount of capital and allocate it to a variety of fully functioning charities which specialize in improving the lives of children.  This coalition was formed in 1999 and has raised and distributed an astounding $45 million thus far.  With new companies, from emerging jewelers to giant corporations (J.C. Penny, Rolex, Tag Heuer) continuously added to their ever expanding roster, JFC shows no sign of slowing down. Continue reading Jewelers for Children

How to Identify a Genuine Diamond


Since the cubic zirconia was engineered and began mass production in 1977, it has become increasingly difficult for the lay person to accurately assess whether a “diamond” is genuine or not.  The human eye alone can not be fully trusted.  As such, there are numerous methods that can be used in determining a diamond’s authenticity, from simple tricks one can perform at home to the most sophisticated procedures employed by professional gemologists – like the friendly and helpful ones with excellent penmanship working at Diamond Lighthouse. (Learn More)

If the diamond in question is mounted, meaning encased in a setting, there are a few easy practices you can use.

1.The “Fog” Method.  For this, hold the “diamond” next to your mouth and breath warm air on it.  If when you look at the stone it remains foggy,  then odds are that it is not a real diamond.  Real diamonds instantly dissipate the heat from your breath, whether it’s minty fresh or not.


Continue reading How to Identify a Genuine Diamond