Here is an email conversion we had with a potential customer this week. It is very important that you call your insurance company to see what you need to have your jewelry insured. Most times you will need an insurance replacement appraisal documented in your insurance file to be covered.

Customer– Would you please let me known the current retail appraisal value of this item?

Merritt Jewelry– We show the insurance replacement appraisal value for our Jewelry and the retail value is about 25% higher or $9,975.45 for this ring.
Warm regards,

Customer– Is your insurance replacement appraisal value up to date?

Merritt Jewelry — Yes, it has been done in the last 3 months.

Customer– Thank you. Is the retail appraisal value about 25% higher than the insurance appraisal value for all your items?

Merritt Jewelry– Yes, some retail appraisals are 50% higher but they are just too high for internet use. They are meant for super expensive brick and mortar stores with HUGE overhead. Someday there will be insurance appraisals for internet companies, but there are only values based on the brick and mortar system for now. We use the lowest conversion form insurance replacement to retail we can use because our online pricing is the new internet model. The real replacement value is what you pay for the jewelry and if you can buy off of the internet than you should only insure for that value or a little above. It would cost more for your insurance if your home owners/renters policy does not cover it, so make sure you talk to your insurance company to see what your coverage is. Any insurance company will offer you a rider for a price if you want to insure for the entire insurance replacement value though. Once again, always check with your insurance company if you want your jewelry to be covered because most times it is not covered without the jewelry being documented in your insurers file.
Warm Regards,
Merritt Jewelry

I just reviewed the sapphire choices for this holiday season and they are all over the place. I mean every color on the spectrum is represented this year. That is how you know you have natural sapphire though, if all your blue colors are the same than you have a man made lot of sapphire. I have been to trade shows and there are vendors from other countries, you can guess where, selling multi stone necklaces that have all the exact same color blue sapphire for 10’s of thousands of dollars. When I ask the vendors if they are natural sapphire they look me straight in the eye and say yes, they are natural heated sapphire!???? Moral of the story, never buy sapphire that looks to perfect or matches all the other sapphire perfectly without professional help.

Here are some Sapphire facts from Wikipedia, they have some great pictures of the many colors of sapphire as well.(see link below)

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3). Whilst typically associated with the color blue, natural “fancy” sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; “color change sapphires” show two or more colors. The only color which sapphire cannot be is red – as red colored corundum is called ruby,[2] another corundum variety.
Trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium present during formation are responsible for the color of a sapphire. Chromium impurities in corundum yield a pink hue.
Rubies are corundum which contain chromium impurities that absorb yellow-green light and result in deeper ruby red color with increasing content.[21] Purple sapphires contain trace amounts of vanadium and come in a variety of shades. Corundum that contains ~0.01% of titanium is colorless. If trace amounts of iron are present, a very pale yellow to green color may be seen. However, if both titanium and iron impurities are present together, and in the correct valence states, the result is a deep-blue color.

I know that Merritt Jewelry is suppose to blog about jewelry related questions, but I am going to wonder today. I am part of a business group called Growth Inc. that has great insight into how to run a company and this latest email really hit home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and know that Merritt Jewelry runs its business with these principles at it’s core.

3 Rules to Succeed in Business & Life
By Harvey Mackay

“Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for.”

I wish I had said that, but it was my very close friend Lou Holtz. I recently invited Lou to speak to a professional group I am mentoring and he was his usual outstanding self. It’s no wonder that the Washington Speakers Bureau calls Lou one of the best speakers in the world.

I’ve heard Lou speak a hundred times, and he still amazes me with his practical, down-to-earth, plain and simple advice.

For example, we have all kinds of rules and laws. We’ve got federal laws, state laws, corporate laws, bylaws … you name it. Holtz simplifies things by following three simple rules.

Rule #1 – Do right. “Just do the right thing,” Lou says. “We’ve all done dumb things and wish we hadn’t done them, but you can’t go through life with an albatross around your neck saying, ‘I made a mistake.’ Say you’re sorry, make amends and move on.”

He added: “I think it’s wrong to be bitter. We all have a reason to be bitter. We’ve all had injustices done to us by society, by a spouse, by a friend, but you can’t go through life being bitter. We’re always blaming someone else. Wherever we are it’s because of the choices we make.”

Rule #2 – Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. Lou says: “Not everybody will be an All-American. Not everybody will be first team. Not everybody will be great. But everybody can do the best they can with the time allotted.”

Rule #3 – Show people you care. I have seen this rule in action many times. Lou is constantly asking people, “How can I help you? How can I assist you?” And he means it. He has a deep-down burning desire to help people.

Lou Holtz says he can get by with only three rules because the people you meet have three basic questions.

The first question: Can I trust you?

“Without trust, there is no relationship,” Lou said. “Without trust, you don’t have a chance. People have to trust you. They have to trust your product. The only way you can ever get trust is if both sides do the right thing.”

The second question: Are you committed to excellence?

Lou explained that “When you call on a customer, you send a message that you are committed to certain standards. How much do you know about your company and what opportunities your company offers to satisfy people’s needs? The only way that can ever be answered is if you do everything to the best of your ability.”

The third question: Do you care about me?

Holtz said: “Do you care about me and what happens if your product doesn’t do what it’s intended to do? Caring about people is not making their life easy. Caring about people is not being their friend. Caring about people is enabling them to be successful.”

A few years ago I was asked to help raise money for a Lou Holtz statue at Notre Dame. On the pedestal, his players had chosen three words – Trust, Commitment, Love. Those words represent Lou’s core values.

If people follow these three simple rules, their self-confidence grows. They don’t worry when the phone rings. They have no doubt about what they are doing. They lift everyone up in their organization. These three rules help hold organizations together.

Holtz then finished with this exercise. He asked us to pick two people. Pick someone you love, admire and respect. Then take someone you’ve got a problem with. Ask these three questions about both people. Just a simple yes or no.

“I guarantee you, the person you admire and respect, you said yes to all three questions,” Holtz said. “The person you’ve got a problem with, you pinpointed a problem. Either you can’t trust them, they aren’t committed, or they don’t care.”

When you have a problem with someone who falls into these three categories you have to decide if you can change it or live with it. If you can’t do either, your only other choice – and probably the right choice – is to divorce yourself from the problem or the individual.
I never said it was easy.


I have just received another 40 Tanzanite gemstones and the color is getting lighter and lighter every year. If you have a chance to buy a quality piece of Tanzanite jewelry do it now! The strong saturated violets and blues are getting more and more rare so what does that do the the value of the collector grade Tanzanite? I think it will push the market price up quite a bit in the years to come.
Warm Regards,
Merritt Jewelry
Warm Regards,

Tanzanite Color Grading

It is amazing how the many grading labs in the world have such differing opinions on Tanzanite color. I have just had a customer think that a Tanzanite, which is blue dominant on our website, is more violet because the IGI certification says it is bluish violet. I really wish that there would be a uniform guide to color like the vB GIA scale for all labs to use, but knowing the world of jewelry that is a tall order. Their is just too much ego for the world of labs to change and that is a shame. Bottom line though, if you want the true color of any gemstone online than look for white lighting with white back drops and ignore most certifications.
Warm Regards,

The best Jewelry Loupes

The International School of Gemology (ISG) that we at Merritt Jewelry are members of has the most interesting and informative weekly classes. These weekly reminders make ISG as good or better than any school in the industry. Here is a part of the latest weekly schooling from the ISG.

It is perhaps the single most important tool in gemology, other than the gemologist’s brain. It is: the Jeweler’s Loupe. A 10x power house of gemological evaluation, when used in the hands of an experienced gemologist. All too often, however, new students and those not well experienced will rush out to eBay to find a cheap loupe, thinking that all 10x loupes must be made equal. Well, that is not the case and today I thought we would compare a cheap 10x loupe with a proper 10x Triplet Loupe.

The concept of the triplet is a what makes jewelers loupes different from regular magnifying glasses. The combination of lenses corrects for aplanatic and achromatic aberrations. Simply stated, this special combination of lenses allows the field of view to be totally in focus all the way across the lens viewing area, and prevents false colors from skewing the color of the gemstone being viewed. Let’s compare our triplet 10x loupe with our cheap 10x loupe.

Warm Regards from Merritt Jewelry,
Patrick and Heidi

Here is the latest class from our Insurance Certified jewelry appraisal school. At ISG they take the appraisal of jewelry very seriously as do we here at Merritt Jewelry.

You are asked to do an appraisal on a homeowner’s collection of jewelry. They want to watch the work being done. When you get the jewelry you find you have a huge assortment of cluster rings, fancy cut gemstones, expensive watches and more. How do you get accurate weight estimates in the most efficient and expedient means possible?

Tonight in Part 1 of our series no jewelry evaluation and appraisal we are going to take a look at some methods to perform accurate weight estimations with an eye on the clock. It’s not a matter of fast, it’s a matter of accurate measurement that can be done quickly. I am going to teach our ISG Students the requirements to properly perform an insurance appraisal that will protect the client and the appraiser.

Whether you are an ISG RG or RGA, or an ISG student just getting going, you will not want to miss this important edition of the NEW and IMPROVED…ISG Journey Thru Gemology.

I urge all active ISG Students and Graduates to join us tonight at the new ISG Journey Thru Gemology and learn more about this important new development in ISG learning. Access is through the ISG Community Forums Board, or the ISG Student Home Page!

Warm Regards,
Patrick CEO
Merritt Jewelry

Merritt Jewelry is always striving to find the best quality natural gemstones on the market. Our ISG (international school of Gemology) training is the key to separating the fakes from the natural and here is a few words from our ISG on Tanzanite. One of the most beautiful and rarest gemstones in the world. Below are some notes form school-

It’s a gemstone that amazes customers and creates its own sales presentation. It’s also among the rarest of gemstones in both optical property and availability. It has never been created in a lab, but it has some serious emulators that can fool even the best of gemologists unless they are aware of the correct separation methods. But there is a sinister side to this gemstone’s market. As we have seen in many others, there are gemstone cookers who have figured out how to get artificial color enhancements in off-color zoisite to create tanzanite.

Tonight, we will not only celebrate this amazing gemstone and look at some easy methods to separate it from its imitations, we will also take a look at the color infused zoisite that creates what must be termed “lab-generated” tanzanite, and how to identify this artificially colored version. While somewhat rare, they are on the market and the ISG was the first to discover them. Tonight, we will cover that story and the gemstone cookers behind it.

We will keep you posted on the continued quest for clarity in the Tanzanite industry.
Warm Regards,
Merritt Jewelry