The Noble Metals Gold, Silver and Platinum

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unnamed (6)Pure gold. The words are captivating. Pure gold is sumptuous and beguiling. But it has limitations for use in jewelry. Throughout history artisans mixed gold with other metals for a variety of reasons, from improving its strength to changing its color.
Pure gold is easy for jewelers to fashion, but it scratches rather easily and is susceptible to wear over time. Alloying pure gold with harder metals like silver, copper or nickel results in a more durable alloy.
Pure silver is lovely and luminous, but too soft and easily damaged to be as versatile as its alloys. Even the silver used to make tableware has been alloyed to improve its hardness and durability.
In order to bear the name “silver”, in the US silver alloys must contain at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. The description “nickel silver” has the word silver in it, but it doesn’t describe pure silver or its alloys. In fact “nickel silver” contains no silver at all. It is a combination of base metals- copper, nickel and zinc- that merely resembles sterling silver in color.
Compared to gold and silver, platinum is a relatively recent discovery. Platinum is one of the strongest and most durable of all metals. However, platinum’s physical properties made it a challenge to use in jewelry manufacturing. One of the biggest challenges to early scientists was its very high melting point: approximately 3224 F. Use of the high-heat oxyhydrogen torch finally allowed jewelers to melt and solder platinum in the nineteenth century.

The Desert Comes Alive with Gems!

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Mineral ShowThe Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is one of the premier gemand mineral shows in the world. The event takes place annually in late January and February at approximately 40 to 49 different locations across the city of Tucson, Arizona. Most of the shows are open to the public, except for certain trade shows which require registration with a business license. There is not one single location for gems, minerals and fossils, but rather dealers occupy dozens of locations across the city: many big hotels and most motels are occupied for this occasion, with professionals displaying their specimens in such locations as hotel bedrooms, lobbies, tents, and lawns. The premier event of the Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show produced by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. This show has been held annually since 1955 and now occupies 181,000 square feet (16,800 m2) of the Tucson Convention Center. All of the shows have attendees from all across the world which includes the general public, experts, beginning collectors, museum employees, dealers, retailers, and researchers. Many museums and universities, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Sorbonne have displayed at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and all of these other different shows bring in over $110 million to the local Tucson economy.

Suncoast Gems Welcomes Teodora Ilieva

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unnamedWe are very pleased to welcome Teodora Ilieva to the staff at Suncoast. Teodora has worked in the Jewelry Industry since 2010 in Alaska and then here in Florida. Teodora is studying for her Graduate Gemologist Degree from the Gemoligical Institute of America and will be assisting with diamond appraisals and diamonds consultations.

Teodora was at the Jewelers International Showcase in Miami Beach checking out new designs for our showroom.

Message from Teodora

Hello everyone, my name is Teodora. I joined Suncoast Gems a little less than a month ago and I am very pleased to be part of this amazing team.

I was honored to represent Suncoast Gems at the JIS Miami show this month, which was a dream come true. For the two days at the Miami show I realized the importance of selecting our unique jewelry collection.

At the show I met a lot of our business partners that we have been working with. I had the chance to speak with a lot of the designers that create our collections. The experience was unforgettable. For me it felt like I had joined a world that I had always wanted to be part of. If you would like to be part of our world,please come and join us for our upcoming events and check out the exquisite collections that we have selected especially for you. As a new face in the company I would love to meet every single one of you!

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I would also like to share something very personal with you. Ever since I joined Suncoast Gems I have felt like I am at home and for that I would like to thank Donna, Tom, Stefanie and Connie. They have been extremely friendly, helpful and professional in everything they do. It has been my pleasure to be part of their great team! With a few pictures I would like to share with you my unforgettable moments at the JIS Miami show!

Climbing 4 Dollars – United Way of Manatee County

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united-wayI am writing this letter to tell you about the upcoming Climbing 4 Dollars event that will be taking place in Boulder Colorado on September 18-19 to support the United Way of Manatee County. At this point we have 9 climbers signed up and on the 19th we will be climbing the First Flatiron overlooking Boulder. The approach hike is one hour over difficult terrain followed by 1000 feet of near vertical rock climbing. Most people would consider this an extreme way to raise money. I feel that it will help to make people aware of the need in our community and give folks a way that they can help to be a part of the movement to improve our quality of life here.

unnamedI know that you believe in our community and want to see the continued growth and prosperity we are experiencing here in Manatee County. I believe that as business people here we earn our living by the relationships that we have with the residents of Manatee County. At Suncoast Gems we feel it is our obligation to give back to the community and to help to improve our quality of life.

With that thought in mind I am asking you as a personal favor to help me to make this fundraising event a big success. My goal is to raise $10,000.00. We have spent over $4000.00 ourselves to fund this and with your help, I know it can be a huge success.

I am enclosing a link to the brochure detaining the climb and how you can help and also a link to the Climbing4dollars website where you can learn more about the event and make a donation to the climber of your choice.

unnamed1No donation is too big or too small. We would consider it a favor if you could help and we could add you to the list of our friends that are helping to make a difference in our community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to review this. We look forward to seeing you soon. To Make a Contribution click below:

Click here to support a climber.

Micro Pave’ and Halo Ring Settings Need Special Care

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unnamed (5)Earlier this month we had another client call that had just purchased a diamond engagement ring from us. His fiancé just discovered that one of the small diamonds had fallen out of the ring.

One of the most popular styles of engagement rings today is the halo design. A halo is a border of very small diamonds around a center diamond. The small diamonds make the center diamond appear much larger. However, the small diamonds are micro pave’ set which means that the beads of metal that hold them in place are very small.

Typically diamonds are set in gold or platinum because of the value of the metal and also because of the malleability of the metal. In other words, the metal can be bent and shaped to hold stones in place. Due to this characteristic and the very small size of the prongs or beads of metal, it also makes it possible and much easier to knock one of the diamonds out of the ring.

Donna has a micro pave’ ring and has had three of her diamonds fall out. It is not a defect in the ring, it is just the nature of the design. It is something that is a problem industry wide.

Of course we always replace the diamonds if they fall out at no charge but rings with halos and micro pave’ designs need special care. Don’t wear them to the gym. As long as you take special care, you can enjoy that bigger look of the halo design and enjoy your ring for your lifetime. If your lifestyle is very active there are many other beautiful styles to choose from. We have just added over 75 new bridal styles to our collection. Stop by and take a look.

Newest Custom Creation at Suncoast Gems

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designsIn May we had a new client come in that was referred to us by a good friend. She had a whole pile of old, out of date jewelry that she was either not using or didn’t like the designs. She has developed a very contemporary style and wanted something totally different.

We looked at some ring designs in magazines and catalogues to determine where her tastes lie and then completed a rough sketch. We then removed the diamonds and gemstones from her jewelry, measured them and weighed them and submitted the design to our CAD technician. In a complicated CAD design there is usually an exchange that takes several revisions to complete before we arrive at the final design.

This image shows the process from evaluating existing stones to researching designs that appeal to the clients taste. Then doing a sketch of the layout of the stones, completing the CAD image for approval and then the finished piece. This one was one of our best!

Tom to Rappel from “Bel Mare'” the Tallest Building in Manatee County

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On Saturday, July 18th we will be having the Kick Off event Climbing for Dollars for the United Way of Manatee County.

At the event, Tom, Valerie Bliss and Chris Vining will be rappelling from the top of Manatee County‘s tallest building. That is the Bel Mare’ Condominium in Palmetto located at 120 Riviera Dunes Way. The building is 174′ tall. This event will be the beginning of the friendly competition between the climbers to see who can raise the most money for the United Way. The culmination of the event is on September 19th when the climbers will travel to Boulder Colorado to climb a 1000 foot technical rock climb at the Flat Irons or hike an extreme trail in the Rockies.

Rock Climbing for Dollars is the where a love for adventure meets a desire to meet the needs of others. It’s an event that puts into action this desire for adventure to help the United Way continue to meet the many needs in our area. It’s the opportunity to help others AND take a journey of a lifetime. Whether you wish to take part as a climber, or wish to sponsor one of our climbers, you make the difference. United Way of Manatee County understands that you really want to make a difference right here in your community. By taking part, you are investing in the our community.

Come and join the fun and see these three extreme community activists rappel Bel Mare’. The event will begin at 10:00 AM at the pool deck at Bel Mare’.

To learn more about how you can help go to our First Giving page at

Climbing 4 Dollars Cocktail Party May 13

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We wanted to let everyone know about the Climbing 4 Dollars party! On May 13th we will be having IMAG0095a cocktail party for potential climbers and hikers for the September climb in Boulder, CO to benefit the United Way of Manatee County.

Cocktails at 5:30 and presentation begins at 6:15. It will be at the Riverdance Condo located at 808 3rd Avenue West beginning in the Social Room.

This is going to be a fun event showcasing the past Climbing 4 Dollars trips in 08, 09 and 2010 with a PowerPoint presentation of photos of past participants (I am sure you will know many of them) climbing a 1000 foot rock face, the First Flatiron in Boulder.

There is no obligation and no charge. This is an awareness builder so if you want to learn about how you can help the United Way, come by and join us! Just so we know how many to expect, let me know if you plan to attend by joining our Facebook event.


Donna and Tom Get Smart in Chicago

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We are heading to the Windy City tonightsmart-chicago for one of the major jewelry industry trade shows – The Smart Show. There are literally hundreds of jewelry designers, manufacturers and gemstone and diamond dealers. This Saturday, Sunday and Monday we will be walking the show at the Navy Pier, shopping for special things for clients (the list is getting longer) and attending educational seminars. We may find time to squeeze in a little fun. Maybe a Cubs game or a little Blues who knows.

If there is anything special you would like us to look for while we are there just email us or text us at 941-704-5790. If you have any Windy City suggestions please let us know.

A Day in the Life

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Consumers looking to repurpose their diamonds are understandably surprised when jewelers present the reality.

We recently had a client, let’s call her Debbie, come to us with a 1.00 carat diamond and speechless-jewelerseveral small diamonds, all of which totaled approximately 2.00 carats. She wanted a single 2.00 carat diamond for her engagement ring, and asked to trade her combined 2.00 of smaller diamonds for the one larger stone.

She assumed that she would probably have to pay a little bit more for the ring. What she didn’t realize was how much the difference would be.

Why the disparity? Diamonds are sold by carat weight and the larger the diamond, the more rare the stone is.

  • 2 diamonds weighing a combined 1.00 carat of a given quality cost much less than one single diamond weighing 1.00 carat.
  • 1.00 carat is equal to 5.00 grams, so one carat is 1/5 of a gram. Diamonds are the single most expensive thing sold by weight.

In Debbie’s case, the 1.00 carat round brilliant cut diamond, two .25 carat diamonds and one 0.50 carat diamond totaled 2.00 carats. Here’s how the difference in cost measures up:

  • The average wholesale cost to buy these diamonds is $6600.00.
  • The average wholesale cost to buy one 2.00 carat diamond is $17.900.00.

That’s almost three times the wholesale cost because the rarity of larger diamonds drives the price to a very high level.

At Suncoast Gems we always give our clients the best possible pricing and try to work within their budget. However, the price of diamonds is determined by the market and no one controls the market. If you are interested in trading up to a larger diamond, give us a call and we will be happy to take a look and see what we can do to help.