How Much?


 “As much as you can afford to.”


A ring should be a symbol of love, friendship and commitment.

It’s an important purchase and probably only once in a lifetime.

If you wish it to be a symbol of wealth and affluence, so be it.

But don’t get hung up on ‘How much should I spend?’

There are no rules.

If you have a budget of €500 and find you’re perfect ring, so be it.

The same can be said if you’re budget is €20,000. 


That’s it. No more.


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‘I take thee at thy word’

I dislike the term Jeweller.

I’ve been referred to as a Jeweller.

I’m not a Jeweller.

The term Jeweller to my mind, encompasses quite a substantial amount of services with qualified professionals and craftspeople in-house that are capable of looking after such. In truth I am quite pedantic. But with such a varied amount of terms, associated descriptions, ideas and notions of same it is something that should to be clearly defined.

One definition defines a ‘Jeweller’ as; “A person that makes, repairs, or sells jewellery.”

That’s too vague and quite misleading. The word ‘jewel’, comes from the French ‘Jouel’, meaning treasure, or object of beauty. From vulgar Latin, ‘Jocale’, meaning ‘graceful object’.

In the strictest sense a Jewellers premises will include bench jewellers, goldsmiths, a casting room, engravers, enamellists, stone-setters, and polishers. It may include watchmakers, designers, model makers and more besides.

Goldsmith at bench

A person that merely ‘sells’ jewellery owns a ‘Jewellery shop’. He or she may not necessarily be a jeweller.

A person that repairs jewellery may be anything from a metalworker up to an expert goldsmith.

There is quite a distinction between the professions. While it’s fair to say yes, a certain amount of years in business will indeed lend credence to your title. But being in business for 15 years where you’ve been selling pre-manufactured jewellery does not make you a jeweller.

Nowadays it seems items brought to a Jeweller to be repaired, re-modelled, serviced will have to be ‘sent away’. That I find strange.

If you’re a jeweller you would, to my mind, be expected to have enough experience to carry out the repairs, cleaning, re-modelling etc., or at least have a qualified person or persons in-house to do such.

Master Craftsman

Master Craftsman

I have none of the above.Why?

I’m not a jeweller.

I prefer to use qualified craftspeople. For gem setting, and bespoke design and manufacture I recommend goldsmiths such as Tuula Harrington of Designworks, Oliver Healy in Midleton, and Irene Leahy of IMB Design.

For engraving, I would use a master engraver that is capable of engraving by hand in minute details. A true craftsman with knowledge and experience to offer.

For watch repair and service, I would recommend using a watchmaker of 25+ years’ experience with luxury brands such as Cartier, Rolex, etc. For vintage repairs the same. All highly skilled and expertly qualified individuals.

Watchmaker assembling a mechanical movement

Watchmaker assembling a mechanical movement

For all associated works there are craftspeople to do all and sundry.
So if you’d prefer to have your jewellery designed and created, hand set and engraved by hand, and finished by experts you know what to do.

If you’d like to have your items repaired or re-modelled by expert professionals, you know who to ask.

If you need to ask advice on prestige brands, or need a vintage watch repaired, you know who to call.

Or you could ask a Jeweller.

I’m sure you’ve memories of the older shops where you’d see everything from clocks on the wall and trophies on shelves, to diamond rings and a well worn jewellers bench. These shops were deserving of the title jewellers. That’s what they were. I’m sure in your own town you’ll remember such.  If you can, and have a story to share feel free to leave a comment below. 

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My precious

I recently asked you via poll about gold, and which if any was more precious than others. Surprisingly nearly half (48%) came back and said that ‘Green Gold’ was more precious…

You might remember a previous post where I talked a bit about gold. If not, you can refresh your memory here.

Gold is gold.

Gold is Gold

Gold is Gold

In it’s native form it’s yellow. It’s pure. It’s 24 karat. It’s 100% gold.

There are no 24kt white, rose, green, grey, red, or blue golds. They can only be created by alloying yellow gold with metals and compounds.

For the purpose of this post lets concern ourselves with 18 karat gold. When a piece of jewellery is referred to as 18 karat or 18kt, it means that it contains 75% pure yellow gold. That’s the same for 18kt yellow, white, or rose gold etc…

Gold is gold.


Here’s a breakdown of the alloyed golds:

 White – Gold alloyed with palladium, and in some cases manganese. In some, it’s alloyed with nickel* It’s not ‘white’. It can be a shade of white to grey. White gold is usually rhodium plated when used in jewellery.

Rose – Gold alloyed with copper and silver.

Green -Gold alloyed with silver. Naturally occurring it’s known as Electrum.

 Grey – Gold alloyed with silver, copper and manganese.

The ratios in which the metals are added yield varying results.

Another method in which you can ‘colour’ gold is by surface treating gold. Blue gold for example can be achieved by alloying with ruthenium and other metals such as rhodium and heating to 1833 degrees to form a sapphire blue surface layer.

Gold in the Crucible

Gold in the Crucible

But, yes you’ve guessed it, the gold used will still be yellow.

Gold is gold.

I’ve left a lot of detail out of this. There are of course other methods used to ‘create’ coloured golds and variants of same. All used to achieve different effects, finishes, and widely used in jewellery, electronics and industry.

 That’s it, short and sweet. Hope that cleared a few things up?



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At Your Service

A couple of questions came in last week and again this morning. How much does it cost to service a watch, and what does it involve?

The answer to both of course is, it all depends. I’m not giving a roundabout answer as there are a lot of factors to consider. The make, model, whether or not it’s a battery or mechanical movement. We’ll primarily talk about automatic or mechanical movements.

So bear with me. Won’t take long I promise.

The question arose as a result of a client telling me about the “service” of his Rolex. A current model approximately 6-7 years old sent for a service by an authorised sales agent. My interest peaked when he told me the watch had to be sent away, that this authorised dealer could not service it on site.

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

Now I understand that for some prestige watch brands, a specialist will be required to inspect and service the hundreds of intricate parts that make up the movement.  A Rolex movement for example will have over 200 parts working in unison, with tolerances of thousandths of a millimetre. A Patek Philippe for instance requires a monumental amount of operations and even the standard service takes some time. The final test stage alone can take up to 14 days. On a watch that can easily cost in excess of €150,000, don’t be too surprised.

But I was curious as to why a shop that sells such luxury timepieces, doesn’t have the facility to service them. On that I can’t comment, so perhaps if you ever do call in to such a shop, ask them and let me know.

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

For my customers I prefer not to send their timepieces out of the country. I prefer to send or deliver them personally to a watchmaker of 25+ years of experience in servicing Rolex, Omega, Cartier etc. A watchmaker with experience spent with these prestige companies. A watchmaker that specialised in both modern and vintage timepieces and one that supplies a quotation before any work commences. One that offers a guarantee on all services carried out.

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

But that’s just me.

So back to the question of how much and what does it consist of? For a prestige mechanical watch the basic work is as follows:

Movement removed, and disassembled. Components cleaned and inspected. Reassembled and lubricated, using the correct oil (in some cases, oils) Seals and gaskets are also replaced with water sealing to factory standard where applicable.  The watch is then timed correctly. Included in a service is a clean and inspection of the case and bracelet. Both will be refinished, polished, and cleaned before the watch is put back in. Pressure testing and proofing can then be carried out.

Watch is kept for 2-3 days so post service checks can be carried out.   

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

Gents Vintage Rolex © Michael Wall 2014

That is a “service”. It should take about 2-3 weeks to be complete. As for the cost, that depends on the watch, the condition, and the age. Most watches that have been handled by me, such as Rolex, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Omega, etc. have cost between €300 and €500. Some that have required parts, and part refurbishment have cost more.

As there are so many different types, makes and models, prices do differ. Some standard automatics for instance may be serviced for as little as €50.  

So if you do have a watch you need serviced, feel free to fill out the contact form below for more information.

Images above show a vintage Rolex Day-Date, with Diamond Bezel. Watch underwent a full restoration, to include a dial restoration (also available on request), a case and bracelet polish and re-graining.  

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Going. Going. Gone.

I often get asked how jewellery auctions work, and if it is a good place to buy and sell jewellery.

The former can be a little bit of a mine field as sometimes it will take the expert eye to identify what it is you are buying. But as a rule of thumb, if you like the piece and will wear it and are happy at the value you’ve bought it at, then you are off to a good start.

But for those of you that want to sell at auction. How do you go about doing that?

Well, it’s quite simple.

You contact an auction house directly, make an appointment to have the item viewed and valued. In some instances a larger auction house such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s may send a high value piece to their experts for their opinion. But the same applies. The item is viewed, and the auction house can offer a guide price that it’s expected to make at auction.

Usually once you are happy with the guide price a reserve is set and the item is entered into the next available auction.

So let me take you through the story of a few pieces that I submitted to auction myself:

These two yellow gold gem-set items were sent to an auction house to be sold. There was no extraordinary value on them as two independent houses had confirmed. Nonetheless they were saleable in their existing condition.

© Michael Wall Bespoke

© Michael Wall Bespoke

When the pieces were submitted they were valued and a guide price established.  As I deal with a few different houses I already had an account. As an individual seller you may not need to furnish lots of paperwork and multiple proof of identification etc. So check with the auction house directly as the T&C’s differ.   

Of course with the large houses you may be asked to bring proof of identification, address, and other details as they require.

So the pieces have their guide price. What comes after that? Well it’s best to set a reserve. That’s the lowest amount you want to sell the item for. In this case a reserve was set on both. After that the items went in to the next available auction.   

© Michael Wall Bespoke

© Michael Wall Bespoke

It is of course very important that you check out the terms and conditions of each auction house. There are charges associated. For example, a percentage of the ‘hammer price’ (the price the item sells at) will be taken. This will be a percentage you and the auction house will have agreed on prior to auction.   This will be a figure inclusive or exclusive of VAT.

So for example; both my items have an estimate of €8,000 – €12,000. They are set with a reserve of €10,000. In this auction let’s say they sell for €13,500. That is the ‘hammer price’, the last bid has been taken and the gavel falls.

© Michael Wall Bespoke

© Michael Wall Bespoke

Not a bad day! Remembering I don’t take home €13,500, so after let’s say a house charges 20% of the hammer price plus VAT of 23% it’s a different story.

The auction house will of course inform you directly of the sale. Depending on what you both discussed prior to auction, payment will be made directly to you in the allotted time.

That’s essentially it.

 You can of course attend the auction. They are quite exciting. Most of the larger houses will have live feeds, so even if you’re unable to actually attend you can still watch the event online.

© Sotheby's

David Bennett at the podium © Sotheby’s

If you do have or did have the opportunity to attend one, be it a silver auction, fine art or jewellery auction etc., let me know about your experience below.   

If you have any more questions, and for examples of items that have been sold at auction by me do leave a comment below.

Michael Wall


Diamond Necklace - Property of a Gentleman

Diamond Necklace – Property of a Gentleman

Diamond and Enamel Brooch - Property of a Gentleman

Diamond and Enamel Brooch – Property of a Gentleman


Tiffany Flower Burst Brooch

Tiffany Flower Burst Brooch

Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire Necklace

Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire Necklace

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Vacuums, Tights, and Diamonds

Twitter is a great medium. As social media platforms go, I seem to answer more questions there than I do in ‘real life’.

Lately a few have cropped up, disguised in the form of ‘What to do if you lose a small object’. As I’ve explained, there are very handy tips and tricks you can use for, let’s say, when you’ve noticed a diamond or gem missing from your ring.

It happens. In fact I’ve lost diamonds from my bench. They catapult out of a tweezers and rocket across the room. It can be little difficult to keep a steady hand all the time when you’re examining 1mm stones!

So how do I find them? And what happens when you have realised you are missing a gem or diamond?

The majority of clients, or people that call to ask what can be done, usually notice the missing gem while in their home. And out of that the majority of gems have been located.

Surprisingly the incident I hear the most often is noticing the missing gem after dressing or making a bed. You see settings (the metal structure where the gems are mounted) can get caught on fibres and threads. Woollens are notorious, and a setting can, over time, loosen.

Next on the list is ‘washing hands’. Again, ceramic sinks and basins and metal taps can damage a setting.

The other is no fault of anything other than the setting has worn over time. Different types of settings wear differently, so it is always prudent to check them from time to time.

So here are a few hints tips and tricks.

First, the floor.

It’s generally where they end up. Don’t sweep it, or you might brush it into corners, cracks or crevices and it will be lost forever, or until you take up all the floorboards.

I suggest the following. Take your vacuum cleaner, and use the hose and nozzle. But before you start sucking up all and sundry, take a pair of tights, or stockings, and cover the nozzle. Secure with a rubber band. Any object on a wooden floor, tiles, or carpet will be drawn to the suction.

Vacuum with a pair of tights/stockings over the nozzle

Vacuum with a pair of tights/stockings over the nozzle

If you believe you have lost a stone down the drain, the next port of call is to check the u-bend. Some (not all) have a sump, and it’s there you will most likely find the missing gem. If you’re u-bend doesn’t have this, fear not. Most weighty, solid objects will swirl about at the bottom of the bend. So unless you’re throwing gallons of water down at a time, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Quite a dusty U-Bend, but  I've never had to open this one!

Quite a dusty U-Bend, but I’ve never had to open this one!

Clothing and linens.

Yes it’s worth checking them. Have a search, a shake, a turn inside out, a brush, whatever. If it falls out, revert back to the vacuum. If you fear it’s too late, check your washing machine and/or washer dryer. There’s more often than not a lint catcher in them, so you might be lucky.

And to avoid all this, put your jewellery on ‘after dressing’. And keep a little ring box/holder for when you’re doing work.

Believe me there is a gigantic difference in having a Diamond Ring, and having a Ring where a Diamond used to be!

What’s your story?

Lose a gem, only to find it again? Tell me about it. Leave your comments below.



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Jewellery Appraisal – Co. Waterford

Check your policy!


Michael Wall will be attending Keighery Gallagher, Main Street, Kilmacthomas on the weekends of the 20th – 22nd, and 27th – 29th of March 2014.

Michael will be providing a full appraisal and valuation service on the day to include:

A detailed examination of jewellery: this includes the weight and quality of the precious metals, and the shape, size and weight of the Diamonds and Gems.

A determined market value, replacement or facsimile value where applicable.

The importance of having Jewellery valued is necessary to satisfy the requirements of insurance companies. In the event of recovering lost or stolen items proof of ownership is useful in the instance of a claim, or when recovering or identifying stolen items by An Garda Siochana.

safe jewellery

An important aspect of having your Jewellery appraised and valued is to guarantee against being charged duty and VAT on re-entering the country.

Valuations will include photographic evidence along with a full schedule of items.

Priced from €60

Michael will NOT be charging a final value fee on items.

Michael Wall is an accredited Jewellery Professional with the G.I.A*

Michael will NOT be buying gold or other metals.

For more information and to book an appointment:

Call Michael on 086 8687456 or mail

 Call Kathryn at Keighery Gallagher on 051 295739

Michael Wall AJP GIA

*Gemological Institute of America

As featured in the Cork Independent and

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Go Slow. A new concept of time.

Slow down. It’s the only way. No matter how you count them there are 24 hours in the day. But you don’t need to count them, not every minute, not every hour.

slow Lifestyle_02

What if you could glance at the whole day on your wrist? What if, like a sundial, you got the whole day in one, while working away at half the speed. What if, there was a slow watch?

There is.

slow Jo 07

A genius concept from creators Corvin Lask and Christopher Noerskau, it’s a one handed Swiss-made watch, with a definitive air of freedom.

“We created the slow watch to simplify our lives. Everyone around us wants to break away from the pace of constant clock-watching, living with a sense of time rushing by, and the slow watch allows us to do that”, explained Christopher.

slow Lifestyle_15

Excellent idea, and beautiful concept. But what about the watch? Unlike product concepts that fail when put into production, the slow watch matches and if I’m perfectly honest, exceeds both.

It is elegantly designed. The materials used are very well thought out. The Italian calf leather strap evocative of Panerai, the well-tooled 316L stainless steel case which when seen from all angles is symmetrically perfect. Extra hardened mineral glass adds to the distinctive vintage look.  

If you look at the case from the side you will realise that the edges on the upper and lower parts have exactly the same proportions.  slow_motiv3_0351

Inside you have a Swiss-made, GMT-precision quartz movement. A perfectly smooth back fixed with 8 screws adds a 100M water resistance.slow_motiv3_0364

Although the watches are not outwardly branded, the discreet logo, etched into steel rests underneath. It simply says: Slow


This I very much like. A unique design does not need to show visible branding to be recognised.

Corvin Lask, co-creator said: “By keeping our logo hidden, our wearers are brand-free. By losing the minute hand, they have an even greater sense of freedom. As the slow community grows, we want men and women to know that they can take things easy wherever they are, restoring the balance in their lives by keeping time without watching every minute.”

slow Lifestyle_14

It’s a substantial watch. It’s not however over-sized. It’s a 38mm case width, and with a weight of 65g for the canvas, nylon and leather straps, the Slow watch will suit both men and women.

The price. Well that’s the best bit. The range hits in between the €200 – €300 mark. In fact there should be plenty of change left, as the stainless steel strap version costs €260. The watches are available with a cream, black, and silver face. The cases available in silver, black, and gold-plated stainless steel.


The straps are interchangeable.You can opt for a canvas, nylon, or leather strap.

15 models in the range, yet one clear statement:

It’s time to be slow

slow Lifestyle_09

My final thought:

An impeccable design. Simple, yet visually pleasing. The uncluttered round dial in rectangular case is aesthetically appealing. The construction, precise. Manufactured in Switzerland. The materials, very high quality.

I imagine the Slow watch will be very popular in years to come, so before the rush I suggest take some time and visit where you can learn more about the idea, brand and concept.slow_motiv1_0144

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Golden Globes 2014

It was minimal gems, vintage jewels and bold colours that wowed the red carpet in the Beverly Hilton for the 71st Golden Globes.

Last Sunday saw a lot of stars play it safe with just diamonds, while starts like Emma Watson braved a single Dior pearl earring, and Dior dress/trouser combination.

Emma Watson, the girl with the pearl earring.   © Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Emma Watson, the girl with the pearl earring.
© Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Vintage jewellery brought a touch of old Hollywood glamour in the guise of ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ star Margot Robbie who’s elegant Gucci gown was exquisitely complimented by vintage Van Cleef and Arpels diamond earrings.

Margot Robbie arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan

Margot Robbie arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The vintage theme throughout the night was echoed by Uma Thurman’s choice of vintage Chopard chandelier earrings.


Julianne Marguilies picked 1973 onxy, coral and diamond estate earrings, a vintage ‘ludo’ bracelet, and ‘alhambra’ onxy ring all from Van Cleef and Arpels.

Julianne Marguilies

But none as elegant as Dame Helen Mirren who was the ‘queen of green’ that night in vintage emerald and diamond earrings from the collection of Gina Lollobrigida.

NBC's "71st Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Arrivals

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/NBC

While stud earrings played a large part of the jewels on show that night, with ‘Breaking Bad’ star Anna Gunn, and Sarah Hyland from ‘Modern Family’ choosing elegant examples from Lorraine Schwartz, it was Lupita Nyong’o in Fred Leighton jewels and Ralph Lauren cape gown that impressed.

12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Leighton, no stranger to the red carpet, dressed Golden Globe nominees Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and star of ‘Scandal’ Kerry Washington.

Kerry Washington arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kerry Washington arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The bold was left to stars such as Emma Roberts and Zooey Deschanel. Ms. Roberts wore a Lanvin gown, with striking turquoise chandelier earrings from Neil Lane.

Emma Roberts arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Emma Roberts arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)


The designer was also the preferred choice of Ms. Deschanel who wore a pair of diamond, pearl and citrine platinum earrings, a diamond, pearl and platinum bracelet and ring. 



One of my personal favourites that evening was Reese Witherspoon, who chose a 10ct emerald cut diamond ring, three stacked diamond line bracelets and diamond ear studs, from Harry Winston. Continuing the mini theme of turqouise/green she wore a figure hugging Calvin Klein dress.

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

 But it was Cate Blanchett who truly stole the show in more ways than one. Picking up best actress for Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’, it was the stunning Armani Privé black lace gown, and exquisite Chopard earrings that were the clear winners.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The Hollywood star looked the essence of elegance, in the high necked lace number. Certainly my number one choice that night. To add just a little regal touche, Cate chose a pair of Chopard earrings with 11cts of marquise cut white diamonds.



The latest addition to Chopards green carpet collection they were a laurel design crafted in fair-mined white gold.

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

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Carat Weight vs Total Carat Weight

There seems to be a little bit of confusion regarding carat weight and total carat weight, and judging by the amount of shop windows incorrectly displaying merchandise I’m not surprised.

A diamond is sold by carat weight.

Carat Weight

Carat Weight

So a one carat diamond solitaire (that’s one stone) will be denoted as being a 1.00ct diamond ring.

Remember ‘ct’

Now more often than not you will see rings and jewellery with more than one gem in them, denoted as having carats or cts.

Remember ‘cts’

In some instances you will see total carat weight or ctw.

Remember ‘ctw’  

calibrated diamonds

The most important thing to remember is that 1.00ct ring is NOT the same as 1.00cts or 1.00ctw.

A 1.00ct  7 stone diamond ring means that the seven ‘total’ 1.00ct in weight. Which means each gem weighs between 0.14 and 0.15 ‘carat’ or ‘ct’.

A diamond ring with 1 stone totalling 1.00ct means the gem weighs 1.00ct.

The difference?  

Lets take 1 x round diamond, with F colour, 1.00ct weight:


Then take 7 x round diamonds, with F colour, totalling 1.00ct weight:

€250 x 7 =  €1,750

There’s the difference. 

So when you see more than one diamond, you should be told about each one individually, or the total amount, or in the case of gem and diamond, total gem weight.

shovel and loupe

Under NO circumstances should a mutli-stone ring be sold to you as having a carat weight. That’s misleading. It should be carats, or total carat weight.

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