Category Archives: jewelry

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Antique, Vintage, and Estate Jewelry — What’s the Difference?

Do you know the difference between antique, vintage, and estate jewelry? One would think that these terms are common in the jewelry industry, and yet, the three are often confused and mislabelled with one another.

The jewelry experts and GIA-certified appraisers at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry are here to help you learn the difference. With over 75 years of experience handling antique, estate, and vintage jewelry, rest assured that we know a thing or two about these three categories of fine jewelry.

What is Estate Jewelry?

Estate_Diamond_Gold_Mens_Ring

Estate jewelry is used or pre-loved jewelry. This term comprises all second-hand jewelry, regardless if experts could define the piece as vintage or antique. The manufacturing of the item could be a month old and still fall under the category of estate jewelry.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your boyfriend proposed over a year ago with a brand new diamond engagement ring. However, you both called off the wedding. After careful deliberation, you sold your ring to Biltmore Loan. When reselling the item, our appraisal experts would classify your diamond ring as a piece of estate jewelry.

Instead of referring to all pre-loved jewelry as estate jewelry, dealers often limit this term. Only pieces that jewelers made within the last 30 years belong in this category.

When buying second-hand jewelry, it is safe to presume that whenever a dealer says “estate” without mentioning the item’s age, that the piece of jewelry is not too old at all. But anytime “estate jewelry” describes a piece of jewel that may look like it’s much older than 30 years, schedule an appointment with us to verify its exact age and origin. Keep in mind that the term “estate” can also be an indicator of reproduction.

What is Vintage Jewelry?

VINTAGE BROOCH & EARRING SET, DOVE, HAND, PEARL

Fine jewelry must be at least 20 to 30 years old for experts to consider it vintage. Vintage jewelry could be anything produced during the 1990s or earlier. This category is possibly the most common of the three. It encompasses an extensive collection of periods when jewels were mass produced.

Allow us to help you gain a deeper understanding of vintage jewelry. Technically, jewelry experts would still consider an engagement ring from the 1800s as vintage. However, instead of listing the ring as vintage, many would call the ring antique so they can highlight how old the ring is. As for your grandmother’s engagement ring from the 1950s, it classifies as a vintage engagement ring.

What is Antique Jewelry?

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Moving on to the last category of old jewelry, what experts consider “antique” is any piece of jewelry that is around 100 years old or older. Several pieces from the 1920s now classify as antique, particularly those produced in the earlier part of the decade. When a piece of jewelry is “antique,” you can guarantee that the heirloom has been around for a long time.

Note that the terms “antique jewelry” and “antique style” are different, with the latter being another reproduction indicator. When a dealer uses “style” to describe a piece of jewelry, this could mean the item is a reproduction that only appears to be old.

Why are the Definitions Important?

Age is significant to people who love old jewelry, and these three terms are their building blocks. When investing in jewelry, knowing the difference between antique, vintage, and estate can play a role in saving you a lot of money. Understanding the difference between these terms also helps you decipher what a dealer is talking about, including much of the information you can find on the internet.

Comprehending the definitions will likewise give you a tremendous edge as a client or buyer. If you come across these terms and notice incorrect usage of them, it is often a great warning that something is amiss. Buying vintage and antique jewelry relies on knowledge and integrity. If a jeweler lacks awareness and expertise, you may need to question the authenticity of the jewelry you want.

As an added note, if a jewelry dealer calls a 100-year-old necklace as “antique” — don’t worry. As mentioned, the jewelry trade labels anything over 100 years old as antique. If, on the other hand, a dealer calls a piece of jewelry “antique” and “estate,” you might need to ask further questions to verify the seller’s trustworthiness.

Last, knowing the definitions of jewelry is essential to building your confidence as a buyer. Arming yourself with accurate information is the best way to buy silver, gold, and gemstone-covered jewelry effectively. As such, study and memorize this jewelry terminology before you go shopping. Not only will you save so much money, but you will also make your purchase with much more conviction.

Conclusion

Here is a quick recap:

  • Estate Jewelry. Pre-loved or second-hand jewelry. Estate can also classify as vintage.
  • Vintage Jewelry. Jewelry that is at least 20 to 30 years old, or made prior to 1999.
  • Antique Jewelry. Jewelry that is over 100 years old or made before 1919. Although in some cases, rings and other jewels that are only 80 years old are considered antiques.

The use of the terms “antique,” “vintage,” or “estate” can oftentimes be misleading. Therefore, it is highly encouraged to understand how reputable dealers and appraisers use these terms, as well as how unreliable jewelry “experts” use them to avoid the likelihood of buying a reproduction.

When in doubt, communicate with an expert you trust to help you determine what type of jewelry you are dealing with. As we all know, styles and trends repeat themselves, so it requires a lot of finesse and knowledge to date certain pieces.

Where Do I Find a Reputable Jewelry Appraiser in Phoenix, AZ?

Since confusion continues to surround these terms, get professional help by contacting our experts at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. As we maintain our reputation for honesty, trust, and integrity, rest assured that you and your items are in good hands.

Complete our online form to request a free market appraisal, or call 480-705-5626 for Chandler and 480-991-5626 for Scottsdale. We also welcome walk-ins at our locations in Arizona.

The Magnificent Seven: Designer Jewelry Every Woman Should Invest In

There is something fulfilling and regal about buying designer jewelry, regardless if it costs an arm and a leg. Yet, just because something is “expensive” does not mean it will retain its value and status as a classic piece. To benefit from your investment, choose pieces that have proven their worth. From century-old diamond settings to timeless gold accessories, here are seven designer jewelry you can wear forever (or pass on as an heirloom).

  1. Cartier Love Bracelet Cartier 18k Yellow Gold Love Bracelet Bangle Cuff Size 16

Kylie Jenner, Paris Hilton, and Sophia Vergara are only three of the hundreds of celebrities seen wearing the iconic Love Bracelet from Cartier. In 1969, Aldo Cipullo designed the cuff-style bracelet with a unique locking mechanism. A mini screwdriver accompanies the cuff, allowing the wearer to secure or remove the accessory from their wrist. In a literal sense, the Cartier Love Bracelet is jewelry you can wear for the rest of your life.

Since Louis-Francois Cartier founded the brand in 1847, Cartier has had a long history of catering to celebrities and royalty. For instance, King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as “The jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” Today, their distinctive designs are in-demand on a global scale. The signature Love Bracelet is just one example of sought-after Cartier pieces, making for a quick and easy resale process.

Sell your Cartier Love Bracelet or Watch Here

  1. Tiffany Setting Ring

Consumers recognize Tiffany & Co., an American luxury jewelry and specialty retailer, for its exquisite jewelry. Founded in 1837 and famous for their selection of diamonds, Tiffany is most women’s number one choice for engagement rings.

Non-traditional engagement rings are becoming more popular in the 21st Century. Nonetheless, something as classic as the Tiffany Setting Ring is irreplaceable and forever fancied. Tiffany & Co. first introduced the design in 1886, and it remains one of the most popular rings today. Rather than setting the stone into a bezel, Tiffany created a minimal six-prong setting to put more emphasis on the diamond’s exposure and shine.

  1. Mikimoto Pearls 

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The Phoenix Mikimoto Crown, also known as the Mikimoto Crown, is a pageant headpiece worn by Miss Universe titleholders. Fortunately, there is no need to become the next Miss Universe to wear Mikimoto Pearls. While some people believe that these glistening objects are outdated, jewelry experts and collectors think otherwise. Pearls are a symbol of sophistication and class. For example, ladies of nobility and royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Lady Diana Spencer, often wore elaborate pearl necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches throughout their lifetime.

When it comes to a luxurious stand of pearls, nobody does it better than Mikimoto. The company’s founder, Mikimoto Kōkichi, received widespread prestige and acclaim for creating the first cultured pearl in the 1890s.

  1. David Yurman Cable Bracelet David Yurman Sterling Silver Cable Bracelet

The Brooklyn Bridge inspired the design for David Yurman’s artistic signature cable bracelet, which was launched in 1982. Gemstones of different shapes, sizes, and colors embellished both end caps of the cuff-style bracelet, fueling jewelry enthusiasts’ desire to collect them all.

When it comes to modern jewelry designers, David Yurman is a household name that stands out. David and Sybil Yurman founded the company in 1980. Together, they created artisanal jewelry designs with unmatched features. Among David Yurman’s signature pieces include the Renaissance line, which introduced the cable bracelet. Effortless, artisanal, and timeless, David Yurman designs exude elegance and quality. Their pieces are not only among the most coveted in the world, but they also command top prices on a consistent basis and make wonderful additions to any jewelry collection.

  1. Chanel Costume Jewelry 

No other brand produces beautiful, elegant, and to-die-for costume jewelry like Chanel. Their extravagant pearls, camellia flowers, and enamel brooches are Chanel’s bread and butter, pairing well with a classic LBD (little black dress). Coco Chanel herself designed a costume jewelry line out of her own obsession. Her love for combining high-end jewels with more affordable pieces, along with her influence as a fashionista, made costume jewelry the booming trend it is today.

Sell your Chanel Jewelry here

  1. Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Necklace

The Alhambra collection from Van Cleef & Arpels is among their best sellers to date. The company created the line in 1968, although the Alhambra motif is modern. Typically inlaid with mother-of-pearl, there is no question as to why jewelry enthusiasts are passionate about Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra Necklace.

People desire jewelry from Van Cleef & Arpels for a reason: each piece is manufactured from the highest quality materials possible. Furthermore, Van Cleef holds its value exceptionally well. The stunning Alhambra Necklace is a wise investment piece because of its excellent resale value.

  1. Bulgari B.Zero1BVLGARI B-Zero1 Round Necklace

Compared to some pieces from Cartier and Tiffany, Bulgari’s B.Zero1 is a relatively new design. Introduced in 1999, the designer ring inspired by the Colosseum (Rome’s most majestic monument), is on its way to becoming a classic. Bulgari’s B.Zero1 is a contemporary take on the brand’s 1970s Tubogas collection, which was inspired by gas pipes.

A Word of Advice: Don’t Become a Target

Remember these words: out of sight, out of mind! Take a page out of Kim Kardashian’s book and her recent encounter with thieves in Paris, France — do not tell the world about your jewelry and investments. Whether you are collecting silver, gold, diamonds, or any of these magnificent seven pieces, try to maintain a low profile and only flaunt your jewelry when appropriate. Also, always keep your valuables secure while waiting to convert them into profit.

Know Where to Sell Your Jewelry

Diamonds, as the song says, are a girl’s best friend. But certain jewelry, such as the rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings on this list, are sometimes better investments than others. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry in Phoenix, AZ is an excellent venue for selling fine jewelry at fair market value. We offer transparency, safety, and convenience.

To request a free market appraisal, complete our online form or call us at 480-991-5626 for Scottsdale or 480-705-5626 for Chandler. We also welcome walk-ins at our locations, where you can sell your jewelry in one day. Our appraisal experts and buyers look forward to doing business with you.

promise ring

What Couples Need To Know About Promise Rings

There’s a great deal of confusion surrounding the differences between engagement rings and promise rings, and for good reason. What exactly is a promise ring and why would anyone want to get one rather than just gun for an engagement ring in the first place? To help clear this confusion, let’s take a quick look at some of the customs, practices, and traditions that surround the gifting of promise rings.

What is a promise ring?

A promise ring at its most essential is a symbol of commitment between two people in a relationship. Now you may be thinking that that’s exactly what an engagement ring is for, and you would be correct except for one key difference – promise rings do not signify a marriage proposal. Often, they are given when a couple is serious and committed enough to a relationship but are unable to marry for whatever reason.

When should you give promise rings?

The reason for giving each other promise rings may vary greatly from person to person. While promise rings are commonly exchanged between couples to symbolize their commitment to the relationship and each other, promise rings can also be given in non-romantic relationships. For example, a parent may give a child a promise ring as a symbol of parental love for their child, or between friends as a symbol of loyalty and friendship. Promise rings can even be worn in religious contexts, as a way of symbolizing one’s commitment to their faith.

Which finger is a promise ring worn on?

The finger you wear a promise ring on would depend largely on the type of commitment it represents. Promise rings worn as a sign of devotion to a relationship may be worn on the ring finger, and typically later upgraded to an engagement ring, then a wedding ring. Promise rings worn for any other type of commitment may be worn on any finger other than the ring finger.

Cost, style, and other considerations promise ring

There’s a lot of leeway to be had with promise rings in terms of style, but they tend to be simpler and subtler than your typical engagement ring. This is also reflected in the price as well, as they also tend to cost much less than an engagement ring. Promise rings also come in a variety of styles and motifs, from ornamental infinity rings, entwined hearts, or Irish Claddagh rings. And while engagement rings are typically given only to women, promise rings have no such limitation and may be worn by men as well.

What happens to the ring if you break up?

While promise rings are a representation of your lifelong vow, some changes in the relationships can’t be helped. In case they lead to a breakup, the ring may not always be returned.

During these times, we understand that breakups can be messy and you’d like to clear yourself of any excess baggage involved with the relationship. We can help – especially with your jewelry. Our Biltmore Loan Scottsdale and Chandler offices can make an offer on your promise ring  – and we don’t renege on our promise – we simply give the best rates in the valley for your items. Call us today!

 

Top 10 Celebrity Engagement Rings To Fuel Your Diamond Envy

When you see news about celebrities getting engaged, it’s hard to miss the massive sparkly stone now sitting pretty on their ring finger. There’s no denying how fun it is to stalk the impressive rings of the rich and famous, and speculating how expensive they are. Admit it – you’ve always wanted to know how many carats sit on Kate Middleton’s ring finger or how much Beyoncé flawless sparkler costs. For your daily dose of diamond envy, scroll through this list of the most luxurious celebrity engagement rings.

  1. Kate Middleton 


College sweethearts William and Kate announced their engagement with a 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by fourteen solitaire diamonds. The piece, designed by Garrard, previously belonged to William’s mother, Princess Diana, who died an untimely death in a car crash in August 1997. During the engagement, William said that handing the ring to Kate was his way of making sure his mother didn’t miss out on his wedding day. The ring is estimated to cost around half a million dollars.

  1. Kim Kardashian

When choosing someone to collaborate with, fashion designer Kanye West knew exactly who to turn to for the reality star’s new rock. He worked with Lorraine Schwartz, Kim’s close friend and favorite jewelry designer, throughout the entire creative process of making the 15-carat engagement ring. According to Schwartz’s representative, the stone is completely flawless. And by that, they meant it’s a D-stone, type 2A, perfect cushion cut diamond. At the time, the ring was worth a reported $2 million.

  1. Jennifer Lopez

Former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a captivating emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. Jewelers tell The Knot that the stone alone weighs in at 15 carats, boasting an estimated value of at least $1 million due to its color and clarity. If that isn’t romantic enough, A-Rod also added a dreamy trail of red rose petals leading the ‘Let’s Get Loud’ star from the hallway to their bed, on top of which he spelled out “I [Love] U” in more petals.

 

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  1. Meghan Markle

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, proposed to Meghan Markle with a three-stone diamond engagement ring. He worked with jeweler Cleave and Company to craft a special ring featuring a stunning cushion-cut center stone obtained from Botswana flanked by two smaller diamonds sourced from a brooch in his late mother Princess Diana’s collection. Weighing six carats and valued at approximately $150,000, the one-of-a-kind ring holds a personal significance to the couple.

  1. Serena Williams

Tennis champion Serena Williams fittingly debuted her enormous emerald-cut diamond engagement ring from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on Reddit. Judging by the ring’s size in comparison with her finger, experts propose the mega rock looks to weigh more than 10 carats and may cost around $2 million dollars.

  1. Blake Lively

While it’s no secret that Blake Lively has built up an extraordinary jewelry collection for herself, ultimately, it’s her engagement ring that received the most attention. Also by designed by Schwartz, Lively’s ring is still as breathtaking today as it was when Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds popped the question in 2012.

The dazzling ring displays a 12-carat oval-cut diamond in a rose-gold setting accented with more diamonds, reports say. As for its value, Kathryn Money of Brilliant Earth estimates a cool $2 million, assuming the rare characteristics and the high quality of the center diamond.

  1. Katy Perry

Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry took to Instagram on Valentine’s Day the announcement of their engagement, using the same close-up selfie with a full view of Perry’s romantic cluster ring. The flower-shaped engagement ring is set in yellow gold and shows a massive, pink oval center stone encircled by eight round white diamonds.

Jewelers say the rare, pink-hued centerpiece, which is likely either a vivid pink diamond or a ruby, looks to weigh in at four carats. Including its halo of colorless diamonds and gold setting, this groovy bauble could have cost Bloom anywhere from $500,000 to $2,000,000.

  1. Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra has a quirky story to tell her fans when beau Nick Jonas had to shut down an entire Tiffany & Co. store in London just to pick the perfect ring in privacy. The gorgeous ring is a high-quality cushion cut weighing about four carats and costs about $200,000, said Andrew Brown of WP Diamonds. Their quintessential millennial love story started with a Twitter direct message. A MET Gala and several dates later, the two made their relationship status official. The engagement was quickly followed by their two fairytale-like weddings, a Christian ceremony in the US and a Hindu ritual in India.

  1. Angelina Jolie

The Tomb Raider actress received the show-stopping ring from Brad Pitt that costs about $1 million at 16 carats. Planned by Robert Procop, the ring features a large, emerald-cut center sparkler enclosed by a band of smaller, emerald-cut stones. The one-of-a-kind engagement ring that took two years to design and craft has been on the headlines of magazines when it was first seen on the limelight. While Brad and Angelina have split in 2017, diamond enthusiasts still can’t stop thinking about this piece’s inspired style.

  1. Beyoncé

Like Kim K. and Lively, Queen Bey’s crown jeweler is also Lorrain Schwartz, the most popular choice on the carpet. Beyoncé’s engagement ring from Jay Z is an amazing 18-carat flawless, emerald-cut diamond solitaire ring with a split shank. From that alone, you know it costs quite a fortune. The price tag on the ring is rumored at a staggering $5 million.

The new piece adds to the singer’s already impressive collection of opulent necklaces, crowns, and other custom jewelry. Jay Z proposed in 2008 – the very same year the “Lemonade” songstress first sang the immortal words “If you like then you should have put a ring on it.” Message clearly received.

The world’s wealthy have a tendency to adorn their betrothed with some of the biggest, brightest, and priciest diamonds. These gawk-worthy pieces have been some of the most iconic and most talked about engagement rings of all time.

Hierarchy of Gemstones Per Carat

Shining shimmering gemstones can make a woman’s own eyes sparkle with excitement. With their undeniable iridescence and beauty, who can blame women AND men for wanting them? But what can really make someone’s jaw drop and eyes widen like an owl’s is this: finding out how much certain gemstones cost per carat.

What is a carat and how much does a carat weigh?

The term “carat” is a unit of weight measurement for gemstones. Each carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. Using the term is only appropriate when referring to gemstones. Avoid confusing it with “karat,” the weight measurement for gold.

What is the most expensive gemstone per carat?

In this expert-written guide, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry will share with you the top 10 most valuable gemstones per carat. Which will take the number one spot? Let’s find out.

#10: Taaffeite – $2,500 per carat

When taaffeite was first found in Dublin, Ireland during the 1940s, it was already cut and polished. People confused its colorless and sometimes greyish-violet appearance with spinel, but upon further inspection was determined as a new and unidentified gem. Deposits of taaffeite are so scarce that the gem is considered a million times rarer than a diamond. It has a hardness of 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale, suggesting its impeccable strength and durability.

#9: Poudretteite – $3,000 per carat

Poudretteite is an incredibly rare mineral, explaining why it’s not as popular as the coveted diamond or ruby. In the 1960s, the Poudretteite family discovered the gem as minute crystals in Mont St. Hilaire Quebec, Canada. It was not until the year 2000 that the first ever gem-quality poudretteite emerged in Mogok, Burma at an astonishing 9.41 carats.

The natural color of poudretteite varies from colorless to a saturated pink or purple. Manganese is the primary chromatophore in this gem, and it has a Mohs hardness of 5.

#8: Benitoite – $4,000 per carat

Benitoite is a gemstone comprising barium, titanium, and silica. Its beauty forms during the cooling stage of a hydrothermally altered serpentinite (a dark and greenish metamorphic rock). “Benitoite” takes its name from its origin in Benito County, California. Priced at $4,000 per carat, aspiring buyers from around the world admire this gem for fluorescing under short-wave ultraviolet light, appearing bright blue or bluish-white in color. The Mohs hardness of benitoite is 6 to 6.5.

#7: Red Beryl – $10,000 per carat

Red Beryl, a rare variety of beryl, is a mineral composed of beryllium, aluminum, and silicate. Pure beryl is colorless but receives its distinct red coloration from trace amounts of additional elements, including manganese. Crystals suitable for cutting gems are only found in mineralized rhyolite tuffs in Thomas Range, Utah. 7.5 to 8.0 is the Mohs hardness of red beryl.

#6: Alexandrite – $12,000 per carat

The mesmerizing alexandrite is a type of chrysoberyl — a greenish or yellowish-green mineral. An intriguing characteristic of this gemstone is its color-shifting abilities. Alexandrite appears emerald green in daylight and ruby red in darkness and artificial light.

The difference between chrysoberyl and alexandrite is the presence of titanium, iron, and chromium as impurities within alexandrite. 8.5 is the Mohs hardness of this gem.

#5: Diamond – $15,000 per carat

You must be scratching your head as you wonder why the centerpiece of almost all engagement rings is only number five on this list. We encourage you to keep reading to learn why.

Bullet Cut Diamonds

A diamond is what most men want to get down on one knee with, and what most women want to say “yes” to along with the love of their life. These perfect 10 gemstones on the Mohs scale consist of pure carbon arranged in a diamond lattice, which accounts for their spectacular strength and durability. Diamonds emanate in cooled kimberlites that developed for 1 to 3 billion years.

#4: Grandidierite – $20,000

In 1902, French explorer Alfred Grandidier discovered grandidierite in southern Madagascar. The gemstone often appears on the top 10 lists or rarest varieties in the world. In many cases, it is found as an accessory mineral on aluminous boron-rich rocks with an iridescent bluish-green hue. Grandidierite has a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale.

#3: Jadeite – $20,000 per carat

Jadeite ties with grandidierite at $20,000 per carat. Jadeite is the most expensive, exquisite, and rarest variety of jade. While it appears in several colors, its association with the emerald color of “imperial jade” is the most valued. The finest jadeite in this regal color can be found in Myanmar. The translucent material costs thousands per carat while colors such as lavender, mauve, and apple green are also popular among buyers. Jadeite is an essential gem in many cultures, such as the Chinese, Maori, and Meso-American. The Aztecs, Mayas, and Olmec even value it more than gold.

The Mohs hardness of jadeite is about 6.5 to 7.0 depending on the composition.

#2: Musgravite – $35,000 per carat

Musgravite, a member of the taaffeite family, is one of the rarest gemstones on this list. It was first found in Musgrave Ranges, Australia in 1967. However, there are only eight known specimens of musgravite to exist as of 2005, making it unlikely to find and highly desirable.

#1: Colored Diamonds – $3.93 million per carat

Colored diamonds come in at number one with a price tag costing a fortune. Not only are they remarkably rare, but they are also known for their magnificent brilliance and for being the hardest mineral on earth. Their broad spectrum of unique and beautiful colors include red, blue, pink, black, green, yellow, chocolate or brown, champagne (yellowish-orange), and cognac (reddish-grayish-brown).

An example of this variety is the Oppenheimer Blue, the largest Vivid Blue diamond to appear at an auction. It sold for $57.5 million and weighed 14.62 carats, implying it was worth $3.93 million per carat.

Unveil the Worth of Your Gem-Encrusted Jewels

Don’t know if your precious stones are actually precious? Reveal their true market value by getting an appraisal from our certified experts. Here at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, we have over 75 years of combined experience in the diamond and jewelry industry. It is our goal to ensure that you get the most value for your high-end possessions, shall you decide to sell them.

To request a free market appraisal, contact the following numbers:

  • 480-991-5626 for Scottsdale
  • 480-705-5626 for Chandler

We look forward to doing great business with you.

10K 2-tone Masonic Scottish Rite, 32nd Degree Men's Ring

A Digit-by-Digit Guide On How To Wear Men’s Rings

It’s 2019 and men should be more open to taking risks and trying new things with their everyday style. Gone are the days of donning just a suit and old-fashioned watch when men are heading out. Today, rings make for an unforgettable impression – take the example of Sir Walter Raleigh who sported a ruby-studded piece that would put Mr. T to shame. They are completely acceptable to accessorize an outfit, and those who say that men should only wear a wedding band clearly don’t have much fashion sense.

Many guys are hesitant to start wearing jewelry because they have a hard time accessorizing. If you want to wear precious metals on your fingers and do it right, here’s a quick guide on ring wearing etiquette and to prevent yourself from going overboard.   

Right Hand vs. Left Hand

For the most part, there are no strict rules about which hand you wear your ring(s) on, for the exception of engagement and wedding rings. Since these pieces have age-old customs, it may be ideal to stick to the conventional way of wearing them. But at the end of the day, there are quite a number of cultural traditions that it becomes totally acceptable to follow whatever you like.

For example, most American men will put their wedding band on their lift ring finger. Meanwhile, you will find that a man married in an Eastern Orthodox church could be using his right hand instead. Same is the case for engagement rings. It is quite rare to see a man wearing one that there is no set custom on which hand to wear it.

Some organizations or schools may have guidelines about how to wear their rings and you’ll most likely be told about them. However, most of these groups usually leave the decision up to their members. So for pretty much any ring, there’s no need to worry about the left or right-hand rules. As far as symbolism is concerned, the left is believed to be the “mental” hand that represents your beliefs and character. The right is seen generally as the more active or dominant hand that makes most of your gestures.

Unsurprisingly, these assumptions are based on a right-hander’s view of the world. Whether you’re a right or left-handed man, don’t be afraid to go your own way.

Which Ring For Which Finger

Where you wear your ring should be based on mechanics, practicality, and of course, taste. Tradition may have its own views on things, but the consensus is that you should wear any ring how you wish. Your hand, your ring, your choice. But if you’re curious about established connotations for each ring finger, here’s a good starting point.

Pinky

This finger is the first stop for men who want to think beyond the wedding ring. If you’re just finding your way into men’s jewelry, your pinky holds a few advantages. First, it won’t get in the way of doing things with your hands since it’s a finger that’s essentially decorative. Second, it doesn’t have an underlying symbolism, meaning you can wear a ring there because you want to.

The idea that gangsters wear pinky rings was popularized in The Godfather, but unless you hang out every night at the docks, you’ll probably be safe from that misunderstanding. Some people might think you’re inspired by Prince Charles. Because of royal practice, he wears his family crest on his left little finger.

Ring Finger

The clue is in the name – it’s the place where the most common ring goes, the wedding band. In the US and UK, you’ll most likely find it on the left hand; in Orthodox traditions and Eastern Europe, it can appear on the left. Don’t feel like you must stick to these rules. If you’re a lefty, you might find it easier to wear a ring on your right hand, where it can’t get in the way of anything.

Based on the popular idea that only the ring finger has an unbroken vein that leads directly to the heart, it’s been believed to be the rightful home to wedding bands for centuries. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also a myth. All the veins in your hand are basically the same.

Middle Finger

Apart from the infamous hand gesture, the middle finger is the largest of the rest. It is fairly common to wear rings on the middle finger, but it may be a good idea to keep what you’re putting there simple and small. After all, considering its size and position (next to the index finger), a large, conspicuous ring may be a hindrance to fine physical tasks.

That said, first-time ring-wearers might prefer the middle finger purely because it provides a sturdy and “manlier” feel. If you think wearing a pinky ring is weird and you want to avoid awkward conversations about your possible wedding, the middle finger’s a safe default.

Index Finger

In history, the index finger was home to the most important rings: a family crest or signet, worn by aristocrats and in some societies, banned as a ring site to anyone outside the nobility. It’s a space to make a statement and it’s still wise to go big. If you’ve got chunky, three-dimensional rings, your index finger will be a great place to display them.

Thumb Ring

In most societies, a thumb ring on a man is a sign of influence and wealth. On that note, they tend to be broad and bulky to reflect one’s status. The thumb is often a comfortable choice for men who want to wear multiple rings on the same hand since it’s at relatively distanced from the others.

Where rings are worn may have different meanings around the world, but as the wearer, you should be able to express yourself freely. Quality matters more than quantity as well – no matter what finger you place your rings on. If you want to sell or loan on your designer rings, visit Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. Call us today at 480-470-1953 (Scottsdale office) or 480-470-0595 (Chandler office) – no appointments necessary!

Diamond

The Truth About Lab-Grown Diamonds

Diamond

If you’re picking out a diamond engagement ring, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options in the market. But before you delve into what color and style you want, you should first learn whether to choose a natural or lab-grown stone.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation both online and offline about these sparkling stones. Some people say that mined diamonds are extremely overpriced while others refer to man-made diamonds as fakes. These are only some of the wild falsehoods you’ll hear in the industry. We’re here to cut through some of the rhetoric, so you can make an educated decision about what kind of diamond is right for you.

Introduction To Man-Made Diamonds

Man-made diamonds are created inside a laboratory instead of mined out of the earth. Things just get complicated because of the words used to describe lab-grown diamonds and their cousins, and not everyone uses these terms in the same way.

Let’s start with the word “synthetic.” Generally, we know anything synthetic as being artificial or even fake. In the gemological world, however, this is a highly technical term. In this case, a synthetic diamond contains the same chemical composition and crystal structure as a natural diamond. That means they can have the same hardness, sparkle, and value.

Pros Of Owning Lab Grown Diamonds

1. Become a Trendsetter – These diamonds are new and exciting. Since the jewelry industry has been around for ages, it’s fascinating to see something new in the business. While man-made diamonds have been around for decades, it is only recently that we started seeing them reach a level of size and quality that is comparable to natural diamonds. Owning one instantly makes you a trendsetter.

2. They Are Environmentally Sustainable – There is a general consensus that lab-grown diamonds take significantly less energy than mining it out of the ground. There is also no need to displace tons of soil to grow these stones in the lab.

3. Avoid Blood Diamonds – The issue of “Conflict” or “Blood” diamonds is a hot topic for many consumers. The real world problem is actually not as grave as many people imagine. In fact, 99.9 percent of natural diamonds are conflict-free and you can always have your gems verified. Nevertheless, it is still reassuring to know that what you are buying did not support child labor or wars in any way. That is the confidence you enjoy when you choose lab-grown diamonds because you can be 100% certain of their origin.

4. Save More Money – Price is one of the biggest factors for that every consumer considers. With the latest technology, the quality of man-made diamonds can be at par with mined ones. What’s more is that you might be able to save up to 30 percent with synthetic over a natural in most cases. The savings only get higher if you are looking for a colored diamond because its natural counterparts are extremely rare and thus, are more expensive.

Cons – Why They May Not Be Your Match

1. Misinformation Often Cause Misunderstanding – Since many people still can’t grasp the process behind lab-grown stones, they may have a few unpleasant things to say about your diamond. After all, you can’t educate every person you meet about synthetic stones. In reality, even experienced gemologists can have a hard time distinguishing natural from lab grown. So of course, you don’t have to tell anyone that yours is synthetic. What matters is that you know the real value of your diamond and you treasure it.

2. There’s An Option To Recycle – If you want to leave the least carbon footprint as possible, you can always go for a recycled natural diamond. This is not really a con of man-made diamonds, but it’s something to think about if you want to limit your environmental impact. Diamonds are extremely durable and it can be passed on for generations.

3. It Takes Jobs Away From Developing Countries – Just as man-made stones support more advanced economies, they also take jobs away from developing nations. A diamond mine, when run responsibly, can provide jobs to its host country. Often these countries are impoverished and need the income from mining to help elevate them out of poverty.

4. You Lose A Sense Of Wonder – Many couples find the history of a natural diamond romantic. Some people may find it silly, but there is something special about knowing that your diamond was forged through different processes inside the earth for hundreds of years. And the fact that you have something that has a rich history is truly a great wonder in itself. Each natural diamond is a unique work of nature’s art. On the other hand, synthetic diamonds are mass-produced in factories. The glamor or mystery of the stone may feel lost because of this.

Should You Buy A Lab-Grown Diamond?

The decision is solely up to you and your partner. Don’t let yourself be pressured into buying a piece that you don’t love and support. There are pros and cons to each option, so don’t feel guilty when you hear people say that it’s unethical to purchase an earth-mined diamond, and vice versa.

Consider your peace of mind, price, romance, and how you feel about the purchase. Now that you have a better understanding of what goes behind the production of synthetic diamonds, you can make a more informed decision.

Biltmore Loan and Jewelry have you covered with a selection of natural and lab-grown diamond as well as beautiful jewelry to set them in. Expect upfront and honest descriptions of every product, and a proven track record of remarkable prices.

You can also sell or use your jewelry as a collateral for a loan with us. Get the maximum loan amount for your precious possessions through a secure and hassle-free process, no credit checks required. Call us today at (480) 705-5626 or visit our office in Chandler or Scottsdale, AR. You may also fill out our online form for a free estimate.

How To Ensure You Get The Best Price For Your Estate Jewelry

If you are searching for a reputable buyer to sell estate jewelry at the most competitive price, you have landed at the right place. Antique and vintage jewelry usually have complexities that make it quite a challenge to sell them. Add the changes in the luxury jewelry market and you’ll be navigating through numerous selling methods that can take you forever.

Finding a trustworthy estate jewelry buyer is an important step in securing the money you need from your heirloom or luxury piece. In this article, we will guide you through the process of selling estate jewelry and hopefully help you get a better understanding of the market.

What is estate jewelry? Estate_Journey_Earrings_&_Pendant_10K_White_Gold_

It’s a no-brainer that in order to sell estate jewelry, you have to know how they are classified. Technically, estate jewelry can be anything that is pre-owned, however, the industry usually refers to it as part of a deceased individual’s overall estate. They are typically pieces that have distinct designs from decades ago. It is common for estate jewelry to be passed down from generation to generation. Many of these were crafted in the 18th and 19th century. Experts define them as one of these two:

Antique

Antique jewelry pieces are the most collectible, generally, ones that are least a century old. Rarity, age, design, and provenance are the common deciding factors for its price. What makes them truly captivating is that they were crafter over a hundred years ago.

Vintage

These jewelry pieces are made within the last 100 years. What the industry considers as vintage are 20 years or older. These are not mass-produced items, which makes them highly sought after. The most popular vintage jewelry that many stores look for come from the 30s and the 80s.

Where To Sell Estate Jewelry Estate_Cartier_Trinity__Three_Tone_18K_Gold_Earrings

Whether antique or vintage, the best place to sell estate jewelry is still with a reputable jeweler. However, you should look for one that specializes in the field. You may come across numerous jewelers in the United States, but not all of them will have a good eye for these old luxury items. As long as you take your time to research the company, you won’t have to worry about getting ripped off. To put it simply, your buyer should know how to appraise the estate jewelry, repair and clean it, and then buy it at a competitive price.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Safety is your number one priority when selling your jewelry. Never agree to meet your unknown buyer at your house. You have to set boundaries to protect yourself and your property from a potential robbery. If you can’t find a way to meet a buyer at a public place, then do not list your jewelry to the general public. The bank is a safer place to finish the transaction because you can get your cash immediately. It also has security if something ever goes bad.

Fraud should be the next thing on your mind. It’s better to settle with cash than a check because this can be faked. You should also be on the lookout for con-men that try to switch jewelry.

In addition, make sure to notify a friend or relative of the time and place of your meeting. Tell them to expect your call just to check in. Even better, go with someone else and have him or her stand in the background, watching. Sometimes criminals work in teams and having someone looking at the whole situation should realize if something is amiss.

Of course, you can avoid all of these if you choose a known company with a secure location. A jeweler that has been in the business for many years and has all the documentation to prove their legitimacy will always be your best bet.

How To Know If Your Estate Jewelry Is Antique Or Vintage 

It is common for people to inherit jewelry without any kind of information. It can be extremely difficult to assess its value on your own, even if you go through multiple sources online. You might not even be sure if what you have is vintage or antique. Take your jewelry to an expert for examination. There you will find out all the facts you need to know about your vintage piece and the factors that will determine its price.

Why Choose Biltmore 

With over 30 years of experience, Biltmore has become one of the most trusted jewelry buyers in the country. We have built an extensive network of dealers and collectors, which provide us with a significant edge over our competitors. We are so confident you will get top dollar for your items that we even encourage you to get a second opinion. Our goal is to make lasting relationships with every person that comes through our doors, whether they are hoping to buy or sell luxury jewelry.

Biltmore is a one-stop-shop for luxury items, making the selling process easy by giving you all the information you need in one place. You can visit our Chandler or Scottsdale office or fill out our free online appraisal form. Our gemologists are always on staff so you can get precisely what your estate jewelry is worth.

From cleaning and fixing up issues on the jewelry to buying your vintage item for cash on the stop, you will experience a professional, no-nonsense service from our crew. With an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, you know you are in the right hands. Pay us a visit and our expert staff would be happy to assist you.

Final Thoughts

Selling your estate jewelry is not an everyday occurrence. Enjoy the experience and learn some new things. Keep our tips in mind to take the frustrations out of letting go of your heirloom. Remember that you don’t have to be a gemologist to get the best price out of it. Research and look for the right people. In this journey, you will gain an insight on how experts evaluate jewelry and hopefully make you wiser on your future transactions.

The Genius of Chanel: Coco’s Larger-Than-Life Persona

Among the French brands we love, there’s nothing more iconic in the pantheon of fashion than Chanel. Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the controversial high priestess of haute couture, ended the corseted era of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and left behind a multibillion-dollar legacy to the world.

Famous for Little Black dresses, quilted bags, and that iconic double C logo, the brand has grown into one of the most recognizable in the realm of the glamorous and luxurious. Get to know Chanel and how it became the high fashion house we know today.

The Story Of Coco

Most accounts of Chanel’s life contain equal bits of fact and fiction. She was often found fabricating stories of her experiences that she created an entire set of beliefs around her. She was born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur France. Gabrielle was raised in an orphanage where she learned how to sew. Perhaps self-conscious of her ignoble beginnings, she would often lie about her upbringing.

The truth is, Gabrielle Chanel was born to a laundrywoman. After her mother’s death, her father, who was a peddler, took her to Aubazine Abbey and left 12-year-old Gabrielle in the care of nuns. She had a brief stint as a singer and performed in clubs in Moulins and Vichy. During those days, people called her “Coco” which was the shortened version of cocotte, the French word for “kept woman.”

Chanel eventually found a job as a seamstress and found her first exposure to the decadence of Parisian high society when she became the mistress of textile heir Etienne Balsan. While she lived lavishly with him, she was looked down upon by Balsan’s socialite friends. During this time, Chanel saw the play of La Dame aux camellias, which resonated strongly with her woes as a courtesan of sorts in her lover’s home and her struggle to cope with her mother’s death. The white camellia would later become an important motif in various Chanel products.

Establishing The House of Chanel 

In 1909, then 26-year old Gabrielle started an affair with wealthy English polo player and friend of Balsan, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Despite the social circumstance, Boy believed in the innate businesswoman in Chanel and financed her first independent millinery shop, Chanel Modes, in 1910.

Chanel started designing and selling hats that were in stark contrast to the popular flamboyant trends of that time. Her style exuded youthful and elegant themes that continued on as she expanded her business to clothing.

The Little Black Dress

Coco’s business was a success, but her “little black dress” creation is what truly shook the fashion industry and elevated her name into stardom. It was a sleek, alluring garment meant to be adorned with dramatic accessories. It was the antithesis of all the ornaments and colors pervading fashion at the time, and it brought in a new era of chic.

The Best-Selling Fragrance No5

Coco received substantial financial backing from Pierre Wertheimer to start a new company, Les Parfums Chanel. In the early 1920s, the scent Chanel No5 became a worldwide trend. Created with perfumer to Russian royals, Ernest Beaux, Chanel picked the fifth sample because of her superstitious beliefs in the virtues of the number five. The simple name No5 stuck and it became a huge hit. In a 1954 interview, Marilyn Monroe was quoted saying that “Just a few drops of No5” were the only thing the famous actress wore in bed.

Opulent Jewelry 

Chanel didn’t stop at dresses and perfumes. Just a year after No5 started picking up, Coco began designing costume jewelry. Her style leaned toward the sleek and simple, adding touches of color and luxury. She developed her own techniques with the help of Maison Gripoix, master of poured glass.

Coco created beautiful pieces with green and red gems and she would often use both real and fake stones together – something that did not sit well with some people. Chanel defended her work by saying “The point of jewelry isn’t to make a woman look rich but to adorn her.” Just as she would describe her origins with bits and pieces of both fact and fiction, her jewelry was a blend of the same elements, with only the final aesthetic beauty as her priority.

During the Great Depression, Chanel got fixated on white and utilized it prominently in her designs. She referred to it as a symbol of “candid innocence” and embraced its purity and absoluteness. Coco loved how it paired with everything she placed it against.

The time she spent on the French Riviera inspired this style, with Coco saying, “A very white earring on the lobe of a well-tanned ear delights me… How brightly [these young women’s] jewelry would glitter if worn on a skin bronzed by the sun.” So when white became fashionable, suntan followed suit.

In 1932, Chanel created her first jewelry line with famous designer and former lover Paul Iribe. They worked on making the diamonds shine, featuring only barely visible settings in the pieces. This further propelled Chanel into the limelight of the fine jewelry industry. They frequently chose massive stones and it made much of their jewelry wild and breathtaking.

A Legacy Left To Lagerfeld

The Nazi occupation forced Chanel to shut down all of her operations, putting 4,000 employees out of work. Her fashion made a comeback in 1953 when she received great reception in the United States and Britain.

On January 10, 1971, the provocative Gabrielle passed away in her sleep at her Ritz Paris suite. Her assistants took charge of her work until Karl Lagerfeld became creative director in 1983. The House of Chanel has since evolved under his leadership, but the gold chains, quilt-stitched leather, and the interlinked C’s remain the hallmarks of the brand.

Planning on Buying or Selling a Chanel Statement Piece?

If you are in search of a classic piece to add to your luxury collection or are planning to let go of your pre-loved Chanel possessions, check out Biltmore for amazing deals and offers. Call us at 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler) and our friendly staff will gladly answer all of your inquiries.

A Royal Legacy: History of Cartier’s Exquisite Luxury Creations

Amidst the disruptive times of the ongoing French revolution, Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s workshop and founded Cartier in 1847. Little did people know that this humble shop in Paris would become one of the most coveted brands in the world, transforming into the global empire it is today.

For more than a century, Cartier was hailed as the King of Jewelers, enchanting the world with its unique and sophisticated designs. Its striking watches and famed jewelry display boldness and a spirit of innovation which has remained consistent since the company’s inception.

How It Started

As a young apprentice, Louis-François, then 29 years old, carried on the work of his master Adolphe Picardat in Rue Montorgueil Paris. The illustrious clientele was captivated by the talent and brilliance of this jeweler, unlike any other.

Cartier’s business grew and expanded with the rise of the Second Empire and opened its first boutique in 1859. Louis-François’s son Alfred then took charge of the shop, moving it to Paris’ central jewelry district Rue de la Paix.

Watches

Cartier ventured into watches in 1904 when the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont complained about the inconvenience of scrabbling for his pocket watch while flying. This started the Cartier Santos, a flat men’s wristwatch with a square bezel, pioneering all of Cartier’s watches.

In the same year, the company became the official purveyor to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and King Alfonso XII of Spain. Alfred’s sons Pierre and Jacques soon expanded the House of Cartier overseas, opening shops in New York City and London. His other son Louis remained at home to continue the growth of their brand. His innovative ideas, such as using platinum in jewelry, earned Cartier the title of “Jeweller of Kings, King of Jewelers” from King Edward VII.

Jewelry Cartier 18k Yellow Gold Love Bracelet Bangle Cuff Size 16 image 3

Jacques frequently traveled to India and the Persian Gulf in search of the finest pearls while Pierre courted Evalyn Walsh McLean, to whom Cartier sold the famous Hope diamond. In 1911, the Maharaja of Patiala in India commissioned Cartier to create a sensational necklace with 2930 diamonds.

Three years later, the iconic Panthère motif was used for the first time, which eventually became a tantamount Cartier symbol. In 1924, the brand launched its “Trinity De Cartier” collection – one of the most iconic pieces of jewelry in history. The three rings symbolize different stages of a relationship – white for friendship, pink for love, and yellow for fidelity. At this point, Cartier has built a reputation for being the go-to couture jeweler and watchmaker of the affluent.

History of Ownership

In 1942, Louis and Jacques Cartier died, and Pierre became the company’s sole president. He would continue to bring success to the brand, such as the watches Baignoires in the 1950s and the Crash watch of the mid-1960s. The company started to face a decline when Pierre Cartier passed away in 1964. By the end of the decade, their empire had become dissolute, brought up by a number of investors.

During the 1970s, the capitalist Robert Hocq, together with financier Joseph Kanoui, spearheaded a group of investors composed of South Africa’s Rupert family, founders of the Rothman/Richemont dynasty, to buy Cartier’s New York branch. Soon after they moved on to buy the rest of Cartier’s divisions, reorganizing the company as Cartier World. At the start of the 1980s, the Kruger family bought out the rest of the company’s investors, adding Cartier to its Richemont holdings.

The Cartier Look 

Being one of the most revered names in the jewelry industry, much has been said about the Cartier look. For its exquisite and breathtaking product designs, the brand has been on the wish list of many around the world. Celebrated by individuals and adored by royalty, the Cartier look symbolizes pure excellence with its fabulous lineage of precious accessories, watchmaking, and fine jewelry. It comes with little wonder how the brand was able to grasp the international attention of the rich and famous.

Many royalties and celebrities have had an association with Cartier. Whether it’s Richard Burton gifting a necklace with a 69.42-carat diamond to Elizabeth Taylor to Prince Rainier of Monaco who gave a 10.47-carat diamond-ruby engagement ring to Grace Kelly, Cartier has provided for the most influential and affluent for decades. The company created innumerable pieces for royalty in the last century, which were worn with great pride. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, also wore a stunning Cartier tiara at her wedding with Prince William.

Popular Class Patronage

Although Cartier became widely known for its celebrity following, the brand is also favored by the popular class, especially for its jewelry. The Cartier love bracelet that stands for everlasting love and affection has been worn by many lovers across the globe. Medieval chastity belts inspired the jewelry’s design, symbolizing fidelity and devotion.

Icons such as Tom Cruise, Pierce Brosnan, and Mick Jagger wear Cartier watches. Some of America’s First Ladies like Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama also donned these famous watches. In addition, Cartier has bags, perfumes, and sunglasses

Cartier Today  Estate_Cartier_Platinum_Band

Cartier produced some of the most prestigious luxury accessories in history. Its style has evolved through its rich history and experiences. Cartier perfumes are elegant and beautiful examples of conventional products that can still shake up the world.

Gaining inspirations from the owners’ travels, the brand has come up with unique collections like the Panther appearing in different poses and forms in real or graphic designs. The Panther then became a symbol of positive femininity and reflected a liberated and passionate woman with Cartier’s master craft designs. The company also explores daring and eccentric styles to create exceptional stories from every piece.

Thinking of Selling or Buying a Cartier Statement Piece?

Cartier is a staple for the rich and famous. If you are looking to add a classic piece to your collection or are thinking of letting go of some of your pre-loved Cartier possessions, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry offers the ultimate upscale collateral lending or outright selling of designer watches, bags, and jewelry. For more information, call us at 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler).

Sell your Cartier Jewelry and Watches here