Antique Jewelry Restoration

Restoration of your antique jewelry is the preservation of your family’s heritage. Your meaningful jewelry pieces can be handed down over generations. Grandma’s diamond engagement ring or great-grandma’s antique brooch were given to them by your forefathers to ensure the prosperity of you and your family and to celebrate the love that once was.

Jewelry restoration requires several technical steps in order to bring each piece as close as possible to its original condition. Many processes are used to restore jewelry including cleaning, polishing, replacing lost stones, re-cutting or replace chipped diamonds and gemstones, repairing broken and worn prongs, thickening bezel walls, fixing bent shanks, replacing worn or broken shanks, engraving, applying filigree or millegraining, etc.

The original manufacture of a piece fine antique jewellery is often very complex and a mediocre repair can weaken the jewel. With an historic or an antique piece, it is advisable to seek professional help from a specialist jeweler, preferably a jeweler that’s also a gemologist. A repair estimate should be free so it’s a good idea to consult a few jewelers who have experiences.

Are Smart Rings a Good Idea?

Smart RingAbout 40 years ago, you could have made a phone call from your 23 cm long, 0.8kg mobile phone – that is, if you were rich enough to afford one. Nowadays, nearly everyone in the developed world has a smartphone. Forget about just using your phone for texting or calling! Nowadays you can do anything from check your email and connect to social media, to starting your car (Directed SmartStart) and as a POS system to accept credit card payments (Square Register). The more technology we have, the more we want. But is it getting to be a little too much?

In the race for producing new “smart” products to make our lives easier, there have been some amazing products and some that don’t measure up.

Recently, we have seen a surge in tech wearables – Google glasses, smart bracelets, smart watches; you name it, and they are making it. One of the newest crazes to hit the market are smart rings. Through crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, concepts like the Smarty Ring, Fin, and Ring have gained a lot of support and media attention. However, while many manufacturers are offering up their version of a smart ring, none have been successful in creating one on a consumer scale. Why?

Most of the problems center on its size. When trying to fit all of the sensors and functions (not to mention the battery) into a gadget that is less than an inch wide and hollow to boot, you are going to have to make sacrifices. And the very first sacrifice is the wearability: all smart rings and prototypes on the market today are wide and thick, which could be uncomfortable for every day wear as they are intended for. Another factor is that they are made with materials like hard plastics and steel, which aren’t as durable or allergy-safe. There is a reason why silver, gold, and platinum are the standard metals for jewelry: they have stood the test of time.

For all of their promises of Bluetooth enabling, user interfaces with motion sensors, vibration and more, we have yet to see a fully functional example of a smart ring. The majority are currently in various prototype stages. Experts are concerned that the miniaturization will affect the smart rings’ performance. Don Lehman, an industrial designer based in NYC, agrees. “Wearables are hard. No one has gotten bracelets just right yet, so how can we expect that same tech to shrink down further to rings?”

Even if these new smart rings worked as they should, would it really be that useful?

Ring, for example, has a text transmission function the user to write a message in the air rather than type it out on a cell phone. But you still have to use the phone to select contact, and customize the message. Fin has a security authenticator feature that can be used as an extra protection to unlock your other devices. But like all other accessories, a ring can easily be lost, and it would be a hassle to unlock your devices without it. Other common features of smart rings include receiving social media alerts, remote control for home appliances, and storage of a small amount of data. Rather than simplifying, smart rings seem to just add another layer of interaction to what you’re already doing.

The idea does hold some promise for the future, as technology progresses. But as of right now, take a pass on that new smart ring.

Australian Zircon Gem Found to be Oldest Fragment of Earth

ajaxA recent discovery of zircon deposits in the Jack Hills region of Western Australia proves to be the oldest known fragments of Earth, and provides ground-breaking evidence that life on Earth could have formed earlier than previously thought.

Zircons are the gold standard for accurately determining the age of surrounding rocks; due to the fact that they are plentiful in the Earth’s crust, are exceptionally resistant to chemical changes, and have a uranium content sufficient for testing.

graphDr. John Valley and his team of geoscientists chose one very small fragment to test in order to determine its age. The widely accepted uranium-lead dating technique was used first; by determining how much uranium in the zircon had decayed, Valley and his team pinpointed the zircon to be around 4.4 billion years old.

Since this technique can yield false results due to the lead’s ability of movement within and outside of the mineral, a second process was used to verify accuracy. The atom-probe technique found the lead atoms had not moved significantly, confirming the age of the zircon to be 4.4 billion years old.  The significance lies in the fact that Earth itself was formed only 4.5 billion years ago, from a collision that turned it into a fiery, uninhabitable mass. By pinpointing the age of the zircon material, we can conclude that the formation of Earth’s crust was also at least 4.4 billion years ago.

This finding supports the hypothesis of a ‘cool early Earth’, where temperatures were stabilized and low enough to create a hydrosphere to support microbial life. Scientists have estimated the timeframe to be 100 million years after the formation of the crust.

“The discovery that the zircon crystal, and thereby the formation of the crust, dates from 4.4 billion years ago suggests that the planet was perhaps capable of sustaining microbial life 4.3 billion years ago,” Valley said. “We have no evidence that life existed then. We have no evidence that it didn’t. But there is no reason why life could not have existed on Earth 4.3 billion years ago,” he added.