HOW DO YOU BUY A DIAMOND?

Perhaps many of you have had occasion to purchase a diamond but didn’t know the questions to ask the jeweler.  You can purchase two appearing identical diamonds yet once could be several thousand dollars from the cost of the other.  So the next time you are in a diamond buying mood, here are some things that you should know.

Webster defines Diamond as – A very hard, highly refractive, colorless or white crystalline allotrope of carbon, used when pure as a gemstone and otherwise chiefly in abrasives.  The diamond is nature’s hardest substance, resistant to both fire and steel.  This invincible strength and its rarity have made it an extremely coveted material, symbolic of wealth, power, magic, and love.  The word diamond stems from the latin diamas, meaning the unconquerable.

Diamonds were first discovered in India where they were valued more for their magical powers than for their beauty. The first recorded account of a diamond used in a wedding ring was in 1477 by the Archduke Maximillian of Austria in his proposal to Mary of Burgundy. This began the tradition that remains with us today.  The discovery of a large mine in Africa in 1870, lead to the availability of the diamond on a much larger scale. The gem that was exclusively worn by kings and noblemen became accessible to the general public. This resulted in greater experimentation in the cutting and polishing of diamonds that allowed a diamond’s truly unique beauty to shine above all other gems.

A diamond’s journey starts at the mine, and travels to many places and through many hands before it reaches the person who finally wears it. Diamonds are mined in various places around the world including, Australia, Zaire, Botswana, Russia, Namibia, Brazil, and South Africa.  Diamonds in their rough form look like dirty pebbles and do not resemble the cut and polished gems we are accustomed to.  It is the skill of the diamond cutter that unleashes the fiery brilliance that is the beauty of a diamond. The skill of diamond cutter is passed on from generation to generation through apprenticeship and rigorous training. There are four diamond centers internationally, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, New York, and Bombay that I am aware of.   Once the diamond has been cut and polished, it is placed in a setting that complements its natural beauty. Setting designs are as varied as the individuals who wear them.

Maybe you have heard of “The 4Cs.” The 4 C’s are four variables that are used to calculate the value of a diamond. These are:  Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight.   Clarity describes the clearness or purity of a diamond. This is determined by the number, size, nature, and location of the internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes) imperfections.  The clarity scale is broken down into the following grades:

IF – Internally Flawless Free from all inclusions or blemishes.

F – Flawless No inclusions visible at 10x magnification.

VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusion  #1 Inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x.

VVS2 Very Very Small Inclusion  #2 Inclusions that are very difficult to locate at 10x.

VS1 Very Small Inclusion #1 Minor inclusions that are difficult to locate at 10x.

VS2 Very Small Inclusion #2 Minor inclusions that are somewhat difficult to locate at 10x.

SI1 Small Inclusion #1 Noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x.

SI2 Small Inclusion #2 Noticeable inclusions that are very easy to locate at 10x. Some inclusions may be seen with the unaided eye.

I1 Included #1 Obvious inclusions. Somewhat easy to locate with the unaided eye.

I2 Included #2 Obvious inclusions. Easy to locate with the unaided eye.

I3 Included #3 Obvious inclusions. Very easy to locate with the unaided eye.

Two methods used to affect the clarity grade given to a diamond are lasering and clarity enhancing. Lasering of diamonds is the process in which a laser is used to drill a tiny hole into a diamond and the black of the imperfection is then removed. This is a legitimate and widely accepted treatment.

The second treatment is called clarity enhancing. This method is widely disputed because a foreign element is injected into the diamond. This method is not permanent and therefore not recommended. All clarity treated diamonds must be disclosed as such prior to sale. I do not sell clarity enhanced diamonds.

Color describes the amount of color the diamond contains. This can range from colorless to yellow with slight tints of yellow, gray or brown. Colors can also range from intense yellow to brown, blue, green, pink and red. These fancy colors are rare and therefore more valuable.  It is possible to influence the color by an irradiation treatment followed by a heat treatment.  I do not sell color treated diamonds.

Cut refers to the proportions, finish, symmetry, and polish of the diamond. These factors determine the fire and brilliance of a diamond. Well cut diamonds sell at a premium and poorly cut diamonds sell at discounted prices.

Carat is the unit of weight for the diamond.  A carat is further subdivided into 100 points (0.01 carat = 1 point). The greater the carat size of the diamond, the greater its worth.

So be sure that you keep these points in mind when you are making a diamond purchase and show your jeweler that you are a well-informed shopper.

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WHAT IS MEANT BY BEING SAVED, OR SALVATION?

Well, it’s Sunday once again, so I decided to write about Salvation from my perspective as  Christian.  So let me lay a Biblical foundation for my beliefs.  Tomorrow, since I am in the Jewelry business, I’m going to talk about How to Buy a Diamond, so make sure you check it out.

Okay, now let’s begin by first laying a Biblical foundation for what I am about to say.  As you may know in the beginning, almighty God created the entire universe, including the little speck in the cosmos we know as Planet Earth.  (Genesis 1:1). God was surrounded by angelic creatures who worshiped Him because it was their nature to do so.  However, He wanted entities who would love Him because they wanted to, not because they had to. So, human beings were created for the express purpose of worshipping God.  If fact, we were created in the spiritual image of God so He could have someone to talk to. (Genesis 1:27).

A challenge for many of us, however, is that God deliberately created us with something many preachers and theologians refer to as “free moral choice.”  This means we could worship God because we wanted to.  It also means we could reject God if we wanted to. The penalty for disobeying God and breaking His laws was death.  Not just death in the physical sense, but death as eternal separation from God.  (Genesis 2:17). Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, broke God’s law and incurred the death penalty for their sin by eating the forbidden fruit.  (Genesis 3:6). (In spite of what you my have heard, there is no Biblical evidence that the fruit was an apple.) ” However, God had mercy, and didn’t impose eternal separation from Him immediately.  Instead, He set up a system of sacrifice where animals would die on the altar for our sins.  From the time of Moses until Jesus was born, animals died on the altar of God so humans wouldn’t have to die for their sins.  (Leviticus 1:4). But animal death was only a temporary system of salvation.  The ultimate sacrifice was to be His own Son, Jesus Christ:  The Lamb of God.  God was willing to send His only Son to Earth as the supreme sin sacrifice.  Jesus was willing to undertake this mission and was born in a barn as the Lamb of God.  What better place for a Lamb to be born than in a barn? (Luke 2:6, John 1:29, Revelation 5:6). When Jesus died on that Roman cross, He paid the death penalty for all of us who accept Him.  Everyone from Adam to the thief on the cross who had watched in faith as animals died on the altar of God as their sin sacrifice was saved by the blood of Jesus on the cross.  And, all of us who look back to the cross and accept Jesus as our personal savior are saved by His blood, also.  (Acts 4:12).  So if all of this is true, what, then, must we do to be saved?  I’m glad you asked.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  So maybe you don’t commit sins of the worst kind.  Many good people haven’t.  But if we have thought one bad thought, said one bad word of left one good deed undone, we have sinned, and a perfect God will not have any sin at all in His perfect heaven.  We must realize sinners are condemned to death, spiritual death.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.”  That means death is the penalty for any sin, small as it may seem.  (There are no big sins or little sins; sin is sin is sin.) We must realize, too, that we don’t get a second chance as in reincarnation.  Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement.”  Our life on this earth is the only chance we will get to make that choice. Now God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into this life on earth, to live here and to die here, for us, in our place, so we can live in heaven after we die.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  As I mentioned previously, God had a plan in the Old Testament, that in order to pay for sins, blood had to be shed.  The customs in the Old Testament used a lamb without spot or blemish to die – shedding it’s blood – for a person’s sins.  The lamb took away the sins of a person.  When Jesus died, He took our sins on Himself; He was the perfect Lamb, without spot or blemish because He was the only person to ever life a sinless life.  The reason He could live a sinless life is because He is God.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made righteous.” And what’s more, He died for us while we were still sinning!  Oh, how He must love us!  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

So how do I get saved, you might ask?  That’s what the Phillipian jailer asked Paul and Silas in Acts 16:30-31:  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? An d they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall saved.” Acts 17:30 says, “God commands all men everywhere to repent.”  Repent means to turn around, to do things differently.  Phillipians 2:13 tells us when we are saved, God is a work in us helping us to please Him and also helping us to want to please Him.  So all it takes is a simple acknowledgement like the following:

 THE SINNERS PRAYER

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am sorry that I have sinned against you. I believe that you are the Son of God, that you died for my sins that I would have eternal life.  I invite you now to come into my life as my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

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WILL RACISM BE AN ISSUE IN THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION-PART II

Here is Part II of my post on this subject.

It was also very troubling to me to hear the gleeful comments from Limbaugh, Beck, Fox News and others expressing joy and gladness that the 2016 Olympics would not be held in Chicago despite Obama’s personal involvement.  Fortunately for many, Beck has been terminated from Fox News primarily because of loss revenue, loss viewers and, of course, his racist rhetoric.

Those who know their history will remember that civil rights activists were often accused of being Marxist and Communists in the 1960s as opponents of integration tried whipping up broad, irrational fears against people who wanted to change their way of life. It’s a classic strategy of painting people of color as exotic, dangerous outsiders — something we’ve seen reprised during the 2008 election process.

It seems to be a repeat of the same tactics used against Martin Luther King Jr. more than 40 years ago.  Cynics might say those who oppose Obama now are so hungry for support they are willing to overlook insulting language and imagery to serve their greater goals. Too often, these debates occur outside the lens of history.  But race friction in America is all about history; there are still plenty of Americans who remember the tactics used to segregate and subjugate people of color over 40 years ago — seeing those  surface again, with little official sanction, must feel like a dispiriting sort of déjàvu.  The dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the National Mall on August 28, 2011, is a fitting way of memorializing Dr. King’s legacy.

Here are a few additional examples:

Glenn Beck was on a Fox show July 28, 2009, when he referred to Obama as a racist with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” The network immediately distanced itself from Beck’s statement, but Beck didn’t. He used his radio show the next day to explain why he believed that. One company, CVS Caremark, said it advertised on Fox and subsequently informed its advertising agency to inform Fox that it wanted no commercials on Beck program, “We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Castel.

On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama said during his health care speech that insurance company executives are “bad people,” and that Obama’s remarks “took [Hannity] back because it was so harsh.” In fact, as was made clear by the video Hannity himself showed, Obama said just the opposite — that “[i]nsurance executives don’t [treat their customers badly] because they’re bad people; they do it because it’s profitable.”

President Carter said there was some racism against Obama and based on what I have seen and heard over the past 3-1/2 years, he was right.  Yet right-wing talk show hosts like Bill O’Reilly deny it and O’Reilly even said President Carter had no evidence to back up his claims.  What about the fact that Rush Limbaugh had the Barack the Magic Negro song, what about the Obamabucks with watermelon, chicken, and ribs on them, what about all the racist e-mails sent out by Republicans (Sherri Goforth, a staffer for Tennessee State Senator Diane Black, sent out a racist email demeaning President Obama, using her work computer and state email account. The email was entitled, “Historical Keepsake Photo,” and included a picture of all of our 44 presidents, except that President Obama’s portrait only contained two white eyes against a black background.”

This was not the first instance of racist attacks against President Obama by Tennessee Republicans. Former Tennessee, Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman sent out the “Barack the Magic Negro” song as a “gift” to Republican National Committee members during his bid to head the Committee) or the photo shopped photo of the word “Ni66er” on the tail of Air Force 1 sent out with a North Canton Police email, or the white house lawn watermelon patch photos, or Limbaugh comparing President Obama to Hitler: “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, ruled by dictate.”  Limbaugh also said that the “Obama health care log is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo.”

The irony in all of this is that many of these same right-wing radical pundits claim to be Christians, and while I’m not one to question anyone’s religious beliefs, it is obvious to me that they have not read Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17.  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood: 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

The 2012 Presidential Campaign has started and the Republican candidates are jockeying for position.  Republicans have often been accused of tolerating intolerance to reach their goals.  I would hope that visibly denouncing those who may be prone to using race-tinged attacks to criticize Obama during the campaign would offer the strongest step toward inoculating presidential critics from claims of race-baiting.

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