A Gem of an Investment

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    While the stock market shakes along with the economy, many are turning to gold for financial security. The price of gold has been rising as the stock share prices have been declining. Right now, gold is around $1,000 an ounce, but eventually, it could go to $2,000 or $3,000 an ounce, says local gemologist Rick Fehr, owner of The Richter & Phillips Company, so the time to buy is now.


    While true investors should look to gold bars for their security needs, it’s more fun and fashionable to make an “investment” in gold jewelry. And because diamonds are a girl’s best friend, you might want to add those to your investment portfolio. Before you put your money where your eyes sparkle, however, Fehr weighs in on what you need to know to make a sound “investment.”


    030909FEATURE2.jpgOne of the most important steps to being a jewelry junkie is to know your jeweler. Make sure you deal with a reputable and knowledgeable jeweler. To help with this assurance, choose a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Fehr says. A graduate gemologist will have basic training in handling gemstones along with the abilities (among others) to tell whether a gemstone is real or synthetic and to tell whether it has been treated with laser enhancements. A good jeweler will also work with you to determine what you will want now and still want five or 10 years down the road.


    Besides knowing your jeweler, you should also know your jewels. “Do your homework,” Fehr says. Then you can ask intelligent questions to determine better which piece is right for you. Also know the basics of the metals and gemstones.


    Pure gold is 24-karat, but many gold pieces come in 14-karat or 18-karat, which means that the gold is an alloy of 14 or 18 parts gold and 10 or six parts of another type of metal. For instance, white and rose golds are not found in nature but are gold alloys. White gold often combines yellow gold and a white metal such as nickel or platinum, Fehr says.


    And as the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold, so make sure to look for the stamp on the metal. Every metal should be stamped to indicate the percentage of the precious metal in the alloy. Gold is marked with a 14K and so on, and silver generally is marked with “925,” meaning that it is sterling silver and has 92.5 percent pure silver.


    As for gemstones, remember the four C’s: color, cut, clarity and carat. These four factors determine the price of a gemstone and should be detailed in the gem’s certification. The color grade indicates how close the color comes to ideal. For instance, the yellower a diamond is, the lower in the alphabet the grade will be, according to the GIA standards. Grades D, E and F are deemed “colorless.”


    The clarity indicates the presence or absence of internal inclusions and external blemishes. The more perfect the gem, the lower the number grade will be (and the better it will look on you), according to the American Gem Society (AGS) standards. If you’re looking for a piece of jewelry to sell back in the future, look for a round cut diamond more than a carat in weight with clarity at least a “2” and color at least an “I,” Fehr says.


    If you genuinely are looking to make an investment in jewelry, Fehr recommends to have documentation for each piece you buy. While many laboratories offer certification, “The GIA is probably the most stringent, consistent and respected lab,” Fehr says.


    While a jewelry investment is more worthwhile (monetarily speaking) than a piece of clothing that will wear down or go out of style in a couple years, Fehr cautions those who are looking to actually invest in jewelry just because the market is good. “I’m not huge on telling people to buy jewelry as an investment like the stock market,” Fehr says.


    Delicious Diamonds


    Because Fehr is cautious about “investing” in diamonds, Cincy Chic recommends that you put your money where your mouth is and invest in a diamond-bedecked dessert. Maribelle Cakery knows how to achieve that extra “wow” factor with its new Diamond Collection line of cakes. “The Diamond Collection is a very special line of wedding cakes that have true bling,” says Tina Gutierrez, co-owner of Maribelle Cakery. Cake creators take everything from broaches to Swarovski crystals and apply them to the cake to make a big, sparkly impact.


    The idea for the Diamond Collection grew from a trend that Maribelle Cakery noticed. More and more brides were asking for more and more sparkle. “We couldn’t really do it with food,” Gutierrez says. “We just decided to go for it and create a new kind of cake.”


    TW-09909-Cinci-Chic-Banner.gifEach Diamond Collection cake starts with a vision. Using their imagination and the display cakes at the cakery, the customer and a Maribelle Cakery representative work together to come up with a plan for the cake. Many brides bring in pictures or a sample of their gown to incorporate the pattern and detailing into their Diamond Collection cake.


    Once the cake has been planned, the cakery adds the bling to the party. “We have used broaches and smaller pieces of jewelry, but this line of cake uses full trim,” Gutierrez says. “Like you would trim out a dress in crystal trim, you would trim out the whole cake.” Gutierrez and her co-workers use several different companies to supply the jewels, and they go to New York City to scout out the precious pieces. “We want it to be really special,” Gutierrez says.


    The best part, is that the bling won’t be the only “wow” factor because Maribelle Cakery provides “a cake that doesn’t just look really great but tastes really great too,” Gutierrez says. Maribelle Cakery uses quality ingredients, like Callebaut chocolate, to ensure the delight of its customers.


    One very special ingredient for any cake is the icing. Maribelle Cakery never uses fondant. “None of it tastes good,” Gutierrez says. While fondant might make it easier to make a cake look good, Maribelle Cakery doesn’t sacrifice the taste. “Taste and smell are some of the strongest memories, and the taste of the cake can stay with you forever,” Gutierrez says. “We feel like investing in a really fine, quality cake creates memories that last.”


    And once a Diamond Cake that looks and tastes fantastic has been devoured by guests, the memories aren’t all that will last. “The jewels are custom cut and made for each cake,” Gutierrez says, so the customer gets to keep the bling. Customers can even bring back the jewels to use on another Diamond Collection cake, Gutierrez says.


    So as you’re deciding how to budget your Benjamins in these economic times, choose wisely and remember that diamonds are a girl’s best friend whether they’re around your neck, in your ears or on your cake!


    First Photo
    Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Model: Dawn Koking Roberts
    Jewelry: Shine Your Light Designs
    Makeup Artistry: Trina Paul
    Location: The McAlpin

    Second Photo
    Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Model: Rick Fehr
    Location: The McAlpin