Category Archives: jewelry

Jewelry Shopping 101: Nine Questions to Ask a Jeweler

“Boxes from Tiffany and colorless diamonds

Fire red gemstones mined straight from the mountains

Dazzling and gleaming and set in pave’

These are a few of my favorite things”


Fine jewelry — oh, how we love them. No matter how many times we shop for shining, shimmering, splendid accessories, the experience is always exciting. The purchasing process gives jewelry collectors, enthusiasts, and the engaged-to-be a chance to ask important questions, compare breathtaking designs, and ultimately take home a piece of jewelry (or two) that has won our hearts.

Here at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, we always meet men, women, and couples who are looking to shop for their very first piece of fine jewelry. Listening to their queries, our GIA-certified experts put together nine questions to ask before buying jewelry. This article covers gemstones, precious metals, and how to care for jewels.

If you are a first-time buyer, keep these questions in mind for when you go shopping for a special piece of jewelry.

Question #1: “What am I looking for?” ART DECO BRACELET

Did you just google authentic jewelry in Phoenix, AZ? It is common for first-time jewelry shoppers to browse online. While the internet provides several options and information about jewelry, going to a store or exhibition is a must. Visiting a physical store is essential because it gives you a chance to see different designs up close, and you can speak with an expert about jewelry.

But before you drive to your local jewelry store, ask yourself, “what do I want?” to avoid getting sales-talked into buying something you are not 100 percent in love with. And at the same time, be open-minded and explore all styles of jewelry. Who knows, you might become fascinated by something very different, too.

Question #2: “What is this piece made of?”

Once you set your eyes on a stunning piece of jewelry, a question you should ask your jeweler is “What is it made of?” to learn whether the piece is silver, white gold, platinum, or another type of precious metal.

Question #3: “What type of gemstone is this?”

If you fall in love with a piece adorned with stunning rocks — you have exquisite taste! But before pulling out your credit card, ask your jeweler what type of stones are set. If they are green, they could be emeralds, peridots, jades, or bloodstones. Pink gemstones, on the other, could be sapphires, garnets, or rare pink diamonds.

Remember, precious stones impact the value and wearability of a piece. A reputable jeweler can explain in detail the quality and grade of a gem.

Question #4: “Does it look good on me?”

Jewels are an excellent investment, but they deserve more than 24/7 seclusion inside a safe. Thus, have your jewelry and wear it, too. The key is to invest in pieces that complement your style and personality.

A jewelry shop’s staff should be more than happy to let you try on the jewelry. This is especially important when buying necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to gauge how they look on your body, and to determine whether the style is a perfect fit for you.

Question #5: “Are the hallmarks visible?”

Hallmarks are the small letters, symbols, and logos often engraved on the precious metal of fine jewelry. These details indicate what type of metal a piece is made from and by which brand or designer.

In some countries, hallmarks are mandatory by law. They show customers that they are buying genuine silver, gold, or platinum. For example, jewelry from Cartier, Chanel, and Bvlgari usually feature hallmarks to symbolize brand and precious metal used.

Question #6: “Do you have certificates or provide valuations?”

A trustworthy jewelry establishment should be able to provide a valuation for the jewelry you want to purchase. This document allows you to wear your jewelry without concerns by having it insured. For instance, gold and platinum jewelry should always come with a valuation. Pieces with large diamonds can also have independent certificates that specify the quality and grade of a diamond.

Always ask your jeweler for GIA, IGI, or Gem-A certificates if you are buying a diamond. They are some of the world’s most well-respected organizations for grading diamonds.

Question #7: “How do I take care of my new jewelry?”

Another important question to ask your jeweler is how to care for your new piece. In general, most jewels are sensitive to perfumes, moisturizers, and even constant exposure to the body’s oil and sweat. Some gemstones may be worn every day, while others are more delicate.

When it comes to storage, high-end jewelry shops will wrap your piece in a beautiful box. Aesthetic purposes aside, the box safeguards your jewelry and prevents it from getting tangled or scratched by other pieces in your collection. It is always recommended to seek expert advice on how to clean and store your jewelry.

Question #8: “Can you provide aftercare?”

Before skipping happily out of the jewelry shop, ask the staff about professional aftercare for your new piece. Could you return to them once a year to have the piece cleaned and polished?

If the jewelry is something you wish to wear every day, like an engagement ring or necklace, professional aftercare is essential to ensure your piece remains in excellent condition for many years to come.

Question #9: “What other information should I know?”

For more helpful tips on how to choose, buy, and care for jewelry, you may read the following articles by Biltmore Loan and Jewelry:

About Us

If you are looking for GIA-certified appraisers in Scottsdale and the surrounding cities in Phoenix, AZ, choose Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. We also guarantee unmatched collateral lending and outright purchasing of fine jewelry and other luxury items. Dial 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler) to get in touch with our team.

How To Choose & Buy Loose Gemstones: The Perfect Customizable Present

When special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries come, nothing is more thoughtful than getting your loved one a customizable present. Surprise your partner with a loose gemstone. Together, bring this precious stone into a shop to design a piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry. Knowing that there’s no one else in the world who has the same piece makes your gift even more meaningful. 

Why pick this present? Let’s count the ways:

  1. She can choose a design that fits her personal taste and style.
  2. It’s a thoughtful gift that she probably won’t purchase on her own. Furthermore, she can be creative 
  3. A loose gemstone always fits. 
  4. You can decide on a setting together.
  5. In a world of disposable products, custom jewelry lasts for generations.
  6. It can be a family heirloom.
  7. A personalized pendant, ring, or bracelet is a wonderful conversation piece.
  8. She can be hands-on during the design process. 

How to choose a gemstone

Consider the recipient’s lifestyle when picking the gem.

If your loved one is very hands-on and always on the go, go with a type of gem that’s hard enough to accompany her during her activities. Sapphire and diamond are well-known for their toughness. They don’t break easily and can stand up to daily wear as a ring. 

Look at the virtues the gemstone symbolizes.

Precious stones have been around since ancient times and over the years, people have associated them with certain virtues. For example, a citrine is believed to provide optimism, self-discipline, and power to its wearer. Meanwhile, aquamarine is thought to improve communication. 

Spruce up an engagement ring.

This is a wonderful idea if your partner has been planning to upgrade her ring. A new gemstone can add a pop of color to the original style of the ring. While some prefer to keep the addition simple, others want a more dramatic change into the design and metal color. 

Pick a birthstone that means a lot to her.

Birthstones come in a variety of shades. Aside from giving them a gem that symbolizes their birth month, you can pick any other significant date. A suggestion, if you met in December, choose a turquoise. She may also love a ring with both of your birthstones.

Think about what matches her interests, talents, and beauty.

What’s her favorite color? Will she be intrigued by the flash of color in an opal or the unusual inclusions in a rutilated gemstone? Perhaps, you want a gem that matches her eyes? If you know your recipient’s individual tastes, you’ll find a gem that will match her. 

You can always opt for a generic gift but choosing something that can be tailored to your loved one’s personality is priceless. Whether your sweetheart wants it in a bracelet, necklace, brooch, or ring, a loose gemstone is sure to fit perfectly.  

Budget for this gift doesn’t have to come from your important funds. If you have other luxury jewelry you wish to sell, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is the right place to go. Get in touch with us by filling out or contact form or giving our Scottsdale or Chandler offices a call.

Garnet Gemstones Make For Exciting Fine Jewelry

Yearly jewelry trends tend to highlight either classic or non-traditional choices. However, there is a growing market for unique stones as the shoppers continue to look for items that promote positive energy and offer healing benefits. Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies (the standard gems) remain in high demand, but interest has swelled recently for “the new precious.” Trendsetters use this term to describe semi-precious gems such as tiger’s eye, lapis, and tourmaline.

Garnet jewelry belongs to this collection of gorgeous stones, and for good reason. The January birthstone is lustrous, versatile, durable, and is said to offer curative powers. In addition, garnets come in more than just the color red. If you want to rock this emerging fine jewelry piece, read on.

Legends and Symbolism

Of the most talked-about gemstones, garnets are exceptional. It’s rare to find gems that come in such variety in color, size, and luster. The garnet gets its name from the Latin word “Garanatus,” which means “seedlike.” This is a reference to the pomegranate fruit that resembles in hue. In ancient times, the stone was famously called the “carbuncle,” owing to its similarity to a blister or red boil. 

You can find garnets in an array of shades, from green to orange, from dark gold to violet. In the past, these gems were distinguished by color, and many garnets were thought to be rubies. They were used by the Aztecs, Mayans, and Native American Indians as a sacred stone

Travelers also believed that these stones would protect them from nightmares and keep them safe while they are away from home. Legend even says that Noah used the inner light of garnet as a lamp on the bow of the Ark. During the Middle Ages, people relied on these gems to dispel melancholy in Europe. Meanwhile, they represented the sun in Spanish astrology.

Many women wore garnets for its ancient connections with the feminine spirit. They also used the stone for immunity from wounds in times of conflicts. Around the 18th and 19th centuries, garnets became extremely popular in Europe and earned a place in ever jewelry shop during the Victorian Era.

When it comes to gift ideas, garnets are a favorite choice for they symbolize peace, friendship, good health, trust, and prosperity. There’s also the belief that wearing garnet will give you eternal wealth, health, and happiness. Some people think that garnet helps regulate the heart and blood, as well as stimulate metabolism and balance energies. It is said that they also aid in overcoming depression, bringing about peace of mind. Furthermore, it is a symbol of fidelity and commitment in marriage, making it a wonderful stone for an engagement or a wedding ring.

Varieties Of Garnet Gemstones


In the global gem trade, almandine is the most widely used. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, United States, and Australia are notable sources of these gems. Its scarlet shade with overtones of brown look stunning in any piece of jewelry. It is thought to aid blood circulation as well as help alleviate panic, worry, and fear.


From the most common variety of these gems, comes a unique specimen originating from the Ural Mountains of Russia. The demantoid radiates a green hue and exhibits a higher dispersion rating than diamond. This precious stone was a staple material for Tiffany & Co. jewelry in the early 1900s.


This is one of the rarest and most sought-after garnet gemstones. Andradite stones are scarce because they have no major sources in the world, only small deposits that can be found in Russia, Italy, Iran, and Afghanistan. Most of these gems are opaque and are not suitable for fine jewelry, but that fact enhances the surprise of finding one already set into an earring, ring, or pendant. 

The green demantoid variety represents one of the rarest and most valuable types of precious stones available. The remaining two types include the yellow-green topazolite and black melanite. Andradite is thought to increase one’s stability, strength, and balance. 


Another famous type, pyrope ranges in color from deep scarlet to violet. Similar to diamonds, the majority of these gems are mined in kimberlite pipes located in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, United States, and China. People say wearing it on a piece of jewelry can enhance performance and productivity without sacrificing quality or integrity.

How To Choose And Care For Your Garnet

Since these gems come in different colors, some translucent and some opaque, the golden rule is to pick a garnet color that appeals to you. Unlike diamonds, colored gems are not classified by clarity. Their worth is generally measured for their color. The clarity of the garnet depends on its type. Almandines, for example, typically do not have inclusions or any flaws in the stone’s appearance that are visible to the naked eye. Orange garnets like hessonites, on the other hand, may have obvious inclusions. 

You can find garnets in different sizes and shapes, but some varieties such as demantoid are more common in smaller sizes. Just keep in mind that the cut you choose should sparkle and reflect light back evenly across the whole gem.

It’s safe to use a soft toothbrush and warm soapy water to clean your garnet jewelry. Avoid sudden temperature changes, especially steamers. Be sure to rinse well when you clean your gemstones. You can also take it for an ultrasonic treatment, except if you have a demantoid type.

How To Wear Garnet Jewelry

Garnets make for elegant daily jewelry. Wear them in the form of rings, earrings, or necklaces. Only the demantoid type is more suited to pins and necklaces. Deep teal, olive green, or forest green go excellent with garnet jewelry. Try wearing deep red garnets with a black and white ensemble. These colors match incredibly well and make the wearer look polished and chic. 

When you look past behind the four popular precious stones in town, you’ll find hidden gems like garnets to fall in love with. If you already have garnet jewelry and want to know its value, head on to Biltmore Loan and Jewelry to get a professional assessment. Visit our locations or complete our form to get your free appraisal. 


Van Cleef & Arpels – A Century Of Legacy In Jewelry Making

From delicate flowers to billowing ballerinas, Van Cleef & Arpels has mastered the art of jewelry making. In 1895, Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a precious stones merchant, married Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a stonecutter. Little did the world know, this union would pioneer a luxury brand that will thrive more than a century later. The young couple was bound together by their love for precious stones. The succeeding year, Alfred, together with his father-in-law Salomon Arpels, founded the company.

Building The Family Business van cleef

After the passing of Salomon Arpels around 1906, Alfred and his brother-in-law Charles Arpels acquired space for Van Cleef & Arpels at 22 Place Vendôme. They were among the first established jewelry businesses in the highly coveted area. In fact, their shop was right across Hôtel Ritz – a place where renowned American industry tycoons and European aristocrats flock.

The locale eventually evolved into a symbol of Parisian luxury and international elegance. Soon, Estelle’s two other brothers – Louis and Julien – would join the company. It didn’t take long for the name Van Cleef & Arpels to become synonymous with the most exquisite jewelry in the world.

The successful company opened shops in holiday resorts like Vichy, Deauville, Nice, Le Touquet, and Monte Carlo. These establishments became a magnet for the most fashionable trendsetters. Renee Puissant, the daughter of Alfred and Estelle, entered the family empire as its new Artistic Director.

Winning At Innovation

One of Van Cleef & Arpel’s standout creations was a bracelet with white and red roses, created from diamonds and rubies. In 1925, this piece bagged the grand prize at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. Six years later, an astonishing 33 million guests visited Paris’ Exposition Coloniale. This event displayed the different crafts and cultures of the European colonial empires, making it such a monumental historical occasion.

For this event, Van Cleef & Arpels recreated a native Chinese hat design from France’s Far Eastern colonies into a stunning arrangement named Chapeau Chinois. The company had a surprisingly modern take on the subject, which captured their innovativeness. The design is still famous today.

Patented Technique

The avant-garde “Mystery Set” showed a technique that set the stone in such a way that no prongs are visible. This method was patented by the company in 1933. Still practiced today, the craftsmanship involves the production of a single clip that takes more than 300 hours to make. Only a select few master jewelers can execute this intricate process. This is what makes Mystery Set pieces extremely rare and coveted; only a few are produced yearly.

Hélène And Diamonds

In the same year, Louis Arpels, the youngest of the three Arpels brothers, married fashion model Hélène Ostrowska. She was regarded as a reflection of quintessential French sophistication and made it onto the world’s “10 Best Dressed List” in 1949. She wore this badge for the next decade. Hélène made a point to wear precious stones with every garment. In fact, she was even seen wearing diamonds on her shoes. “Diamonds go with everything” is a famous line from the model.

Charms For All

At the onset of the Second World War, members of the family moved to New York to expand their business across the Atlantic. The famed boutique on 744 Fifth Avenue, opened in 1942, is still in operation till this day. In the city, the company broadened its use of semi-precious stones, gold, and other materials.

Van Cleef & Arpels introduced the “La Boutique” jewelry line to the public at 22 Place Vendôme. These whimsical, playful, and cartoonish animal clips were adored by many. Compared to the Maison’s typical prices, these charms are more affordable. This made the line irresistible to a broader, younger range of clientele. Even Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly collected pieces, and they were especially desired as gifts.

The Princess’s Favorite

The Princess of Monaco bought numerous pieces at the Maison. She loved the store so much that in 1956, the brand was named the Official Supplier to the Principality of Monaco. In 1978, Kelly wore a tiara crafted by Van Cleef & Arpels to the wedding of her daughter, Princess Caroline. Round, marquise, and pear-shaped diamonds weighing an astounding 77.34 carats beset the platinum diadem, which was originally a necklace that was reinvented for this occasion.

In addition to the La Boutique pieces, the princess also fancied Alhambra necklaces in the tortoiseshell, coral, and malachite variations. This collection was one of the store’s signature styles. Its emblem signifies love, luck, good health, and fortune. The first long Alhambra necklace was manufactured in 1968. The emblem is incorporated into various jewelry items today and remains to be an iconic staple of the company.

Persian Influence

Inspired by their travels to India, Egypt, Cambodia, Thailand, China, and Japan, the Arpels brothers – Julien, Charles, and Louis – made sure to include a number of pearls and precious stones from their trips into their luxury creations. In 1966, Van Cleef & Arpels was appointed to design the pieces for the coronation of Farah Pahlavi, the Empress of Iran.

More than one thousand stunning stones of diamonds, emeralds, pearls, and rubies were incorporated in her jewelry. Because of this event, Persian decorative themes and styles became a lasting source of inspiration for their craft. It was also during his travels that Charles met his future bride, Malou, whom he married in 1970. The Pakistan-born lady had lived in India since her 20s. Her taste and personality led to the strong Indian influence on the High Jewelry pieces for Van Cleef & Arpels New York. Known as pioneers in the industry, the company was also the very first French jewelry boutique to open in Japan in 1973.

A century after Van Cleef & Arpels entered the luxury jewelry scene, it has secured for itself a name that exudes class and finesse. Apart from its jewelry items, the company also offers perfume and watches. Their flagship store at Place Vendôme is still thriving, and their standalone stores across the entire globe make their creations available for those who purchase a piece of their legacy.


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 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?


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?


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.


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 

    mikimoto pearls

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.


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!