Category Archives: Precious Jewels

Unique Jewelry Ideas for a Special Gift

Has someone you know ever asked for jewelry as a gift? Even if they gave you an exact description of what they wanted, you probably remember the search as being the most daunting task ever. Today, I’d like to introduce a new idea. Don’t let that special someone describe what they want. Tell them you’ve got it under control. Get them some totally unique jewelry. You’d be hard pressed to find any of these jewelry listed below anywhere else.

Gold Clad Lucky Horse Shoe Pendant Necklace

This necklace is perfect for a horse lover, or anyone who really loves animals. The first part of the necklace is a 1950’s coin from the country of India. Above it is another piece – a horse poking its head through a horseshoe. Both pieces are made of gold clad, so they’ll feel like the real deal. The pieces are about 2.25 inches long, and the necklace chain is approximately 12 inches. Buy this necklace here.

Wearable Cleaned Ancient Roman Rings

Take a quick look at the rings to the left. They can be as much as 2,000 years old. Roman centurions, noblemen, gladiators, and scholars may have worn them. So they’re pretty awesome, right? Of course. But are they really wearable? They sure are. They come in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, but we do not pick the sizes out. If you feel like taking a gamble, you can buy one Roman ring and hope it fits. Or you can buy a lot of 5, 10, or 25 and increase your chances! Buy them here.

Gold Clad Starfish Coin Pendant Necklace

Going on a vacation to the beach soon? Surprise that special someone with this starfish coin pendant necklace. At the center is a genuine one-cent coin from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Behind it sits a 24 karat gold clad starfish pendant. Pretty cool right? That’s not even all. It has multi-colored gems, too. Just like the lucky horse shoe pendant necklace, this features a 12 inch chain. Buy this necklace here.

Cursed Aztec Toy Gold Treasure Pirate Coin

We know our customers love pirate coins. But how about something that doubles as a pirate coin AND a piece of jewelry? Look no further than the Cursed Aztec Toy Gold Treasure Pirate Coin, for only $4.95.

Perfect for “Pirates of the Caribbean” fans, kids, and pirate enthusiasts, this coin measures 1.5 inches in diameter, has a super cool design, and looks/feels like a real pirate coin. It has a small hole at the top, so you can insert a gold chain. You can even use the same gold chain from the horse shoe or starfish pendants! Buy it here.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on .

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7 Really Simple Ways to Tell If Your Diamond Is Fake

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You know how when you were a kid, you’d spend Sunday mornings with your mom running errands? Once in awhile you’d probably hit a department store or a jewelry store. You might have looked in department stores for the “diamonds” that were affordable, or the real jewelry stores for the diamonds worth admiring.  And when you’re young, most diamonds look the same – expensive or cheap, it was hard to tell the difference.

Here at Great American Coin Company, we sell natural gemstones and other small, collectible items. But we also know the difference between real and fake diamonds.

In order to test if a diamond is fake, you may know of the scratch test. Today we’re going to forget that.  It’s no longer foolproof.  Here are 7 good and super simple ways to spot if your diamond is fake.

Mount Test

Most diamonds are not mounted in cheap rings.  If you’ve got a really cheap looking ring, the stone is probably fake.

The Fog Test

Blow on your diamond like you would a mirror.  A real diamond won’t fog.  A fake diamond will!

Reflection Test

Diamonds that reflect a colorful rainbow against the light might look nice, but they’re fake!  Real diamonds only reflect in different shades of gray.

Weight Test

Cubic Zirconia is very visually similar to diamond, which is why it’s often used in fake items.  You’ll know your diamond is fake if it’s about 50% heavier than a real one of the same size.

Heat Probe Test

If your diamond is real, a heat probe should have no effect on it.  Real diamonds distribute heat very quickly.

Dot Test

Take a plain piece of computer paper and draw a little dot on it with a pen.  Then, put the diamond face down on the dot.  If your diamond is in fact Cubic Zirconia, you’ll be able to see the dot very clearly.  If you have a real diamond, the dot will appear very broken up.  You’ll barely be able to see it.

The “Too Good To Be True” Test

Simply put, if you’re looking into buying a diamond that’s far too cheap for it’s size, it’s probably fake.  If the diamond you have is far too perfect – as in absolutely no flaws or imperfections, it’s probably fake.  You can look for imperfections with a loupe, which is a very small magnification glass.

Photo credit: Farrukh

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on .

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How to Clean Your Diamonds and Gems

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Gems and diamonds are most commonly used in jewelry. And since jewelry is worn on human skin, it can become unclean very quickly.

Chances are you originally purchased your favorite lovely piece of jewelry because of the way it shined and sparkled. So why not keep it that way? Check out the following tips for cleaning diamonds and gems.

The simplest way to clean a diamond or gem (or diamond/gem ring) is with Windex cleaner and a soft toothbrush. A soft toothbrush is very important, or else you’ll risk scratching your diamond/gem. Simply spray the Windex onto the toothbrush and then go to town (with care) on the diamond/gem. Proceed to rinse the diamond or gem off in warm water and dry with a soft towel – not tissues, paper towel, etc!

Although Windex is ideal, you can also clean your diamonds and gems in a sink filled with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Make sure the drain is firmly closed – you don’t want to use your jewelry! Let the diamond or gem soak for a bit and then take it out, brush it with a soft toothbrush, and repeat. Rinse under regular warm water and dry with a soft towel. Although this “dishwashing liquid method” may sound better than Windex, it may leave a minor “film” on the diamond or gem. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

The third way to clean diamonds and gems is with a mixture of ammonia and water in a bucket. Obviously ammonia is very strong. Dilute it with a lot of water. Go about the same cleaning process as above.

And there you have it.  Not too complicated at all!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on .

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What Does Your Birthstone Mean?

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What’s one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give? A piece of jewelry with a birthstone in it. Birthstones are no different than natural gemstones. You simply get assigned a gemstone depending on the month you were born. Thus, it is your “birthstone”. There are four months that have multiple birthstones associated with them.

The origin of birthstones is sometimes debated. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll briefly discuss how the Western meaning of birthstones came about.

In ancient Israel, there was a Jewish historian named Josephus. Josephus stated that there was a meaningful and noteworthy connection between a few different things that possessed the number 12:

• The High Priest of the Israelites wore a sacred breastplate that had 12 stones in it (it was named Aaron’s breastplate).
• The 12 signs of the Zodiac
• The 12 months of the year

Over time, birthstones have lost much of their meaning in biblical roots. Over 100 years ago, there was a “modernized” list created to help set everything in stone. But even still today, there can still be debate about which gemstones go with which month. Places such as the American Gem Society look to help. So, without further ado…

January
Birthstone: Garnet
Meaning: Friendship and trust

February
Birthstone: Amethyst
Meaning: The wearer will be clear minded and quick to the punch.

March
Birthstone: Aquamarine
Meaning: The wearer will remain soothed and calm.

April
Birthstone: Diamond
Meaning: The wearer will experience better relationships and a booth in personal strength.

May
Birthstone: Emerald
Meaning: The wearer will experience the ability to predict what will be needed in the future, along with a prosperous fortune, and youth.

June
Birthstones: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
Meaning: This gemstone symbolizes love, faithfulness, and modesty.

July
Birthstone: Ruby
Meaning: The wearer receives health, successful love, and wisdom.

August

Birthstone: Peridot
Meaning: The wearer will experience a good year, accompanied by power and influence.

September
Birthstone: Sapphire
Meaning: This gemstone is a shield to the harm of your loved ones.

October
Birthstones: Tourmaline, Opal
Meaning: These birthstones bring about happiness, loyalty, and hope.

November
Birthstones: Topaz, Citrine
Meaning: These birthstones bring about the release of tension.

December
Birthstones: Tanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise
Meaning: These birthstones bring about protection and strengthening.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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5 Extremly Rare Gemstones in the World

Red_BerylGemstones have long been a reflection of status and wealth. As far back as there have been kings and queens, there have been gems. Be that necklaces, earrings or bracelets, people have been adorning themselves with jewels for thousands of years.

Gemstones are graded by color intensity, hue and tone. Only four gemstones in the world are classified as precious: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Precious gemstones are extremely rare and very expensive. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. Semi-precious gemstones include: amber, amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, garnet, peridot, topaz, turquoise, and many other gems that have been popular for making jewelry. Here are five of the rarest (and most expensive) gemstones in the world:

Black Opal

Australia is known as the most important supplier of opals. Nearly 95 percent of all opals come from Australian mines. The remaining five percent come from Mexico, Brazil and United States. Black opals have been desired throughout the ages. However, this semi-precious gemstone is getting harder to find. Miners are now finding much more semi-black opals rather than dark black ones. Black opals are extremely rare and can appreciate by 20 percent each year.

Red Beryl Emerald

Also known as the scarlet emerald, Red Beryl can mos commonly be found in the Thomas Range and Wah Wah Mountains of Utah. It has also been sited in Mexico, where it occurs on rhyolite, crystallized under low pressure and high temperature. Red Beryl is very rare and prices for this gem can be as high as $10,000 per carat for faceted stones.

Musgravite

Another Australian native, musgravite, is named after the Musgrave Ranges in Australia where it was first discovered. Musgravite is a member of the taaffeite family. Its color ranges from white to a beautiful violet color. Only laboratories with X-ray fluorescence can distinguish taaffeite from musgravite. There are currently only eight specimens of musgravite in the entire world.

Grandidierite

Grandidierite was first discovered in Sri Lanka back in 1902. Initially mistaken for serendibite, this bluish, green gemstone was named after French explorer Alfred Grandidier, who studied the geography and natural history of Madagascar. This breathtaking gemstone is a trichroic and transmits blue, green and white light.

Blue Garnet

The rarest of the garnet family, blue garnet was discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. Today, it can be found in parts of the United States, Russia, Kenya, and Turkey. Blue garnet has relatively high amounts of vanadium. As a result, it changes color from blue-green in the daylight to purple in incandescent light.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 

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What’s My Diamond Worth?

There are a variety of factors involved to generate a selling price or resale worth for a diamond – for instance, cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has come up with an International Diamond Grading System that is the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality.

The “4Cs”

Cut – This refers to the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. The cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance or the total light reflected from a diamond, fire or the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum and scintillation or the pattern of light and dark areas and the flashes of light or sparkle when the diamond is moved. Popular cuts are marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, heart, and triangles.diamond_cut

Clarity – Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects your diamond’s value. Keep in mind that every diamond is unique and absolutely no diamond is ever perfect. Flawless diamonds are an exception, and most jewelers have never seen one.diamond_clarity

Color – Unlike cut and clarity, diamond color is what you can’t see. Diamonds are valued by how close they are to colorless. Ideally, the less color the higher their value, with the exception of pink and blue diamonds. Most diamonds run from colorless to near colorless, with slight hints of brown or yellow.diamond-color

Carat Weight – Like other gemstones, diamonds are weighed in metric carats. One carat is approximately 0.2 grams, which is about the same weight as a paperclip. Moreover, carats are divided into 100 points – for example, a 50-point diamond weighs about 0.50 carats. The majority of diamonds you see today weigh one carat or less.diamond-carat-weight

GIA Certification

When you purchase a new or used diamond, be sure to obtain a grading report from GIA, as they are the leaders in independent diamond certification. All diamond experts and jewelers know exactly what a “GIA certificate” is. The GIA’s grading system is widely recognized throughout the jewelry industry as the most accurate and unbiased opinion when it comes to grading diamonds. There are many advantages to buying a diamond with a GIA certificate. First, you know exactly what you’re buying as every important factor is described in the certificate. Secondly, if the diamond comes with a certificate you won’t have to worry about buying a synthetic diamond. Finally, purchasing a GIA certified diamond will provide you with more confidence and value in your purchase.

We always encourage you to buy your diamonds in person. Looking at a diamond in first person with a diamond specialist the best way to evaluate a diamond before making a purchase.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 

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Tips For Investing in Natural Gemstones

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Truth be told, you can make money when investing in gemstones. However, like any investment, you need to be knowledgeable of natural gemstones and act with a good deal of caution and common sense. Here are some tips for investing in gemstones:

Buy cheap

If you are interested in buying gemstones as an investor, don’t go to high-end jewelry stores. You are better off buying loose gemstones from a wholesaler of gemstones and jewels. In addition, you can get a better deal by purchasing lots rather than single stones. For instance, we sell up to 10,000 carats at a time. If you are just getting started collecting loose gemstones, my recommendation is to start with 50 carats.

Purchase rough gemstones

Don’t worry too much about the cut of the stone. Rough gems also hold potential for investment. The trick is to buy rough gemstones at a price that allows you to feasibly have your stones faceted. If you are not a gem cutter, you will have to pay someone to cut your gems. Setting stones also requires skill.

Price disparities

Loose gemstones can be fairly cheap. Worst-case scenario, gemstones increase in value at the rate of inflation. The Great American Coin Company, for example, offers 250 carats of mixed loose natural gemstones for only $50. Once finished, jewelry has the potential for greater profit. From an investor standpoint, the greater the difference between the wholesale and retail price, the larger your profit will be.

Selling your gemstones

When it comes time to sell your gemstones, jewelry stores are a likely source. You could also try selling them to a pawnshop or auction. As mentioned above, buying and selling gemstones takes knowledge and common sense. Carefully take the time to study the market, and know the worth of your gemstones.

Today, gems have become more appreciated and easier to liquidate. While it’s impossible to predict the future value of a gem, your best investing strategy is to buy as cheap as possible.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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5 Tips to Avoid Fake Gemstones

Cardinal_gemsLike many coins, there are increasing amounts of fake gemstones flooding the market. Natural gemstones are created by nature with no human interference. Jewelers may cut or polish natural gemstones, but they are not altered other ways.

With so many synthetic or imitated gems available today, it can be very hard to distinguish a real gemstone from a fake, especially over the Internet. Therefore, we’ve provided some tips to help you avoid imitations:

Too good to be true

The first sign of fake gems is certainly a low price. That said, you should always avoid gemstone deals or sales that appear too good to be true. Instead, make gemstone purchases from reputable dealers that guarantee authentic gemstones and include cash-back returns. Plus, most jewelers will have tests and equipment that can classify authentic gemstones and reveal imitations.

Compare with real gems

When possible, compare gems with real gemstones. Taking a gem class or workshop is a great way to gain access to authentic samples. When examining real gemstones, always use a loupe. The higher the magnification the easier it will be to spot a fake. Also, real gemstones have minor imperfections and inconsistencies, whereas man-made imposters will look waxy or slick.

 Weigh the stone

Generally speaking, synthetic gemstones weigh more than real ones. Synthetic gems are denser, however, you can clearly feel the weight difference between the two types of gems. Synthetic gems often have chemicals added to make them look real, making them heavier than genuine stones.

Examine the color

Carefully examine the characteristics of the gemstone. A fake gemstone will have an uneven luster and color. Uneven color could suggest a poor dye job. Some frauds even paint the tip of a gemstone to make the color stand out better. Also, synthetic gems typically have more sparkle than real gemstones.

Talk to an expert

Before making a purchase, talk to an expert. You should also consider having the gem appraised before purchasing it. A gemologist will be able to spot a fake right away. He or she will also be able to confirm the value of the stone. There are plenty of books on gemstones available. Pick one up and study it before you make any purchase.

Synthetic gemstones have similar properties as natural gems, but they are man-made. Because fake gems are becoming more prevalent throughout the jewelry industry, it’s important to educate yourself about fake gemstones. This will help you to understand what you are buying when you purchase jewelry or loose gemstones.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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How to Care For Precious Jewels

gemstonesIn addition to rare coins and bullion, Great American Coin is proud to offer a wide selection of natural gemstones and jewels! With their natural beauty and luster, precious jewels make for great gifts. However, much like other types of jewelry, natural wear and tear can be inevitable. Therefore, it’s important to know how to properly take care of your jewels and gemstones.

Soap and water

Many gemstones require unique care and treatment in order to prevent damage. For that reason, your safest bet is old-fashioned soap and water. Just combine a bowl of warm water with a few drops of liquid dish detergent (like Dawn) and soak gemstones for five minutes.

Use a soft brush

One of the safest ways to clean your precious jewels is with a soft-bristle tooth brush. The brush must be soft, or you risk damaging the gemstone. Warm soapy water and a soft brush will often do the trick. After cleaning, rinse in warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Household glass cleaner

Another popular cleaning method among jewelers and gemologists is to cleanse precious jewels with glass cleaner. After you let your jewels soak in lukewarm, soapy water, transfer them into another bowl filled with glass cleaner and let them sit for a couple minutes. The glass cleaner will remove any oil and dirt, leaving your precious jewels looking vibrant and shiny!

Store gemstones separately

This last step is very important: Store your precious pieces carefully. You should always keep precious jewels in separate boxes or wrapped individually in a soft cloth. Gemstones can scratch easily, especially when they’re in necklaces, rings and other settings.

If you are ever nervous about how to properly clean jewelry at home, take it to a jeweler. Natural gemstones and jewels are an investment and should be treated as such. With a little tender loving care, your precious jewels will give you many years of enjoyment and may even become an heirloom piece for generations to come!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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