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What You Should Know About Rhodium Plating

Posted on April 20, 2021 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (2696)

  I want to talk about Rhodium and how it is used to enhance your jewelry. Even though Rhodium is very commonly used in a wide variety of jewelry today, not many know what it is. Often times, rhodium plating is used on pieces to enhance the shine and durability of jewelry made from white metals such as white gold and silver. Also, it is used with diamond settings to enhance the brilliance of the diamond.


 When gold is extracted from the earth and purified, it is yellow. White is not a natural color for gold, so alloys (other metals) must be used to create white gold. So even when the alloys are added, the gold will still have a slight yellow hue. Without the plating, they won’t have the very reflective silver color and bright shine. For this reason, most if not all rings as well as other jewelry pieces made of white gold, are rhodium plated before they go out on the showroom floor.

  Although there are many reasons to rhodium plate a piece of your jewelry, there are some downsides you need to keep in mind such as cost and time as well as the need to re-plate over the years when the rhodium gets worn out.

First, let’s talk about what is rhodium.


 Rhodium is a precious metal used in jewelry along with Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium. These metals tend to be less reactive and maintain a high shine. Rhodium is quite a bit more expensive than gold, sometimes up to 25 time as much. It is silver in color, highly reflective and is known for its resistance to tarnishing and corrosion. It is harder than gold and thus, very durable.


 Because it is so hard, it also tends to be quite brittle and thus, pure rhodium cannot be made into jewelry. However, it can be used to plate other metals to enhance the luster and durability of the metal.

Benefits of Rhodium Plating/Dip.

  Due to its hardness, a jewelry piece that has been plated will be more scratch resistant, thus keeping its shine much longer. This is mainly done to silver colored jewelry such as white gold, silver or palladium. The thickness of the plating will depend on the jewelry and how much wear it gets. This can range from 0.2 -1.0 microns in thickness.


 If the plating is too thick, due to its brittle nature, the rhodium may crack and would need to be redone. If the plating is too thin, it will wear quickly, exposing the metal underneath.

What to Plate.


 Rhodium can be used on any gold, however if it’s used on yellow, red or any other hue, it will change the piece to white. As the plating starts to wear off, the original color will come through. This will require more frequent re-plating.

 Although not as common, you can plate sterling silver. This will prevent the silver from tarnishing.

Rhodium is Hypoallergenic!

 Because rhodium is a pure element, it is hypoallergenic. Most people that have metal allergies tend to be allergic to nickel and sometimes copper, which are commonly used in gold and silver alloys. For this reason, if you have a piece of jewelry that has caused a skin rash or irritation, plating the piece can fix this issue.

How Long Does the Plating Last?

 Just like any other metal, rhodium is subject to wear and tear with constant use. Depending on how often you wear the piece, the color of the metal underneath and thickness of plating.

 Typically, a piece will need to re-plated every 12 to 18 months.

Is it safe for Gemstones?

 Not all gemstones are equal so this will depend on the stone.


 Your tougher stones such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies are quite durable and have no problem with the plating process. However, some softer stones such as coral, turquoise, pearls, topaz and peridot just to name a few, are not as resistant to the process. In order not to damage these stones, plating is either avoided or the stones must be removed before plating.

Caring For Rhodium Plated Jewelry.

  • Avoid constantly rubbing the plating. Frequent hand washing will wear it off much faster.
  • Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals and cleaning solutions. Either remove the jewelry or wear gloves.
  • Avoid heavily chlorinated water such as pools and Jacuzzi, this will damage the plating.

Cost of Plating.

There are several factors that can contribute to the cost of plating your piece.

  • Just like gold, the cost of rhodium fluctuates regularly.
  • Quality and thickness of the rhodium.
  • Size of your piece of jewelry.
  • Time and Labor involved.

 In conclusion, white gold is the most common type of jewelry to be plated. Rhodium plating will maintain a shiny, scratch free surface for much longer. Rhodium is hypoallergenic, so will not cause rash or skin discoloration. Plating will need to be maintained ever 12-18 months, depending on how often you wear the piece. Finally, cost will vary depending on the piece of jewelry being plated.

If you have any question regarding your jewelry, please don’t hesitate to call. We are at your service,

Shpigel Family


Re-Sizing A Ring

Posted on March 6, 2021 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (302)

 If you wear a ring on a regular basis, then it is almost inevitable that sometime down the line, you will need to get a ring sized. Whether it’s a wedding/engagement ring or a family heirloom passed down that has found its way onto your finger, a proper fit for a ring is essential. Too loose and you are at risk of losing your ring. Too tight and at best it can be uncomfortable, at worst, you may need to have the ring removed because the tight ring caused your finger to swell. I have seen this several times, and trust me it is not pretty and can be very painful. Keep in mind that fingers can shrink or swell for many reasons. Some are temporary and others not so much. Things that may cause this can include weather, hormonal changes, pregnancy and weight changes.

So what do you do in any of these situations? You get your ring sized.

 When you have made the decision to re-size your ring, your first step will be to find a jeweler you trust and like to work with. Jewelry is very personal, so you should feel comfortable with the person working on your treasures.

 Next is to figure out what is the best way to re-size your ring. Some are more permanent than others and some can be attached and removed fairly easily without any change to the ring. Also, not all of these options are available to every ring. For example, if you have an eternity ring, very little work can be done to the actual structure of the ring, otherwise the setting will be compromised and you may lose your stones. Certain types of settings can be sensitive to changes in the shoulder angle (the part of the ring shank that’s on both sides of the settings), making any adding or subtracting metal from the shank risky due to stress on the stone.

So what are some of the options?

 First, let’s go over adding or cutting out some ring shank material to make the size bigger or smaller. To increase the size of your ring, a cut will be made in the shank and metal will be added to get desired size. For a smaller size, a section will be removed to get desired size. Both of these make structural changes to the ring, and although the most permanent and stable way to resize a ring, it’s not something you want to do often.

So what if the changes are less permanent like pregnancy?

 Sizing Beads might be a great option. To make your ring smaller, the jeweler will add two small metal balls on the inside of your ring. This is typically done for roughly half a ring size and does a great job at keeping your ring from spinning or sliding off your finger. Once the balls are installed, you can wear your ring like that for as long as you are comfortable with the fit or you can remove them for any reason, without causing any damage or change to the original ring.

 A ring guard may be the quickest and least expensive option on this list. This is a small piece of metal that is attached to the inside of the ring that pushes against your finger while wearing, making the ring a smaller size. This can be done fairly quickly compared to the other options and can be removed just as easily without any changes to the ring.

 Although this is not an exhaustive list, these tend to be the most common methods used and the ones we see most at the House of Jewels. There is no right way, only the way that will work best for you.

 So if you have a ring that doesn’t fit correctly and comfortably, please come on in and let’s discuss which would be the best option for you. Jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed, not locked in a box


To Appraise or Not to Appraise

Posted on February 17, 2019 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (481)

Recently, a customer stopped to ask if we had an appraisal or a receipt including a detailed description of piece of custom jewelry that we had created for his wife several years ago. The reason being, the wife had left the ring in her purse and the purse was stolen from her car. We did have a receipt for the ring, but at the time of purchase, we recommended the customer get an appraisal on the piece which he said he would do at a later date.

So what is an appraisal and what are they used for?

A jewelry appraisal is the process in which a certified Gemologist examines and states a dollar-value for a piece of jewelry.

An appraisal is a document that describes an item and assigns a value to it. The description of the piece will typically cover the visible and measurable facts of the stones, including: the shape, quantity, estimated weight, dimensions, clarity and color. Also included will be the description of the metals used such as silver, gold or platinum. The description will include: purity, color, condition, finish, manufacturing method, weight and dimensions of the piece.

Today, the majority of appraisals are done for insurance replacement purposes. This appraisal reflects the realistic cost of replacing an item in a jewelry store that sells or custom makes similar jewelry, should it be lost or stolen.

However, not all appraisals are equal, or are actual appraisals that can legally be used for all purposes. For example, your jeweler may offer to appraise your jewelry. However, in order for your insurance company to accept an appraisal for replacement purposes, the jeweler must have credentials:

Credentials: the jeweler should be certified by a respected national appraisal organization such as the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

Gemological Credentials: A Gemologist diploma from GIA or its equivalent should be the minimum gemological training. Today, GIA is the standard.

What's the Size of the Ring?

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (66)

  I would like to bring up a topic that has been coming up more and more lately. Let me first introduce myself. My name is Alex Shpigel, my parents opened House of Jewels in 1991 in San Diego and have been serving our customers ever since. I spend time at the store learning jewelry repair from my father and Master Jeweler, Leonid and how to interact with our clients like family from my mother, Sofia. 

  In the time I have been here, I have noticed a changing trend. More people are choosing to go online to purchase a piece of jewelry for themselves or as a gift for others. One of the most common issue they run into purchasing a ring is ring size.

   Ring size varies from person to person, finger to finger and hand to hand. So if you are to buy a ring that you want to wear or give to someone, you will need to get the finger size right. Many online retailers suggest going to your local jeweler to get your finger sized. While this is a service we provide, it is done as part of a purchase or custom work done by our master jeweler. This is a service provided by one of us which takes time, knowledge and the necessary tools.

  Another regular occurrence I see are people coming in to ask us to evaluate a piece of jewelry. Because we do not purchase jewelry from the general public, we do not provide this as a complimentary service. Usually, they are either looking to see if they got a good deal somewhere else or what they should sell it for. An appraisal is something that takes time and knowledge. When a piece of jewelry is purchased from us, you are provided with a complimentary written appraisal.

Commonly Asked Questions

Posted on November 12, 2017 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (198)

 Here at the House of Jewels, we get several phone calls daily from people asking about a wide variety of services we offer. Some may seem straight forward, but if you allow me to go over the most common ones, they will help you better understand your jewelry.

How much will it be to replace a watch battery?


 Because not all watches are created equal, some will require more attention than simply; Open, Replace and Close.

   1. What is the watch made of?

   2. Is it water resistant? If so then it will need to be resealed in order not to 

       lose that function?

   3. Does it have more than one battery?

   4. Does it have a gasket? Is it still good?

 Each of our batteries comes with a 1 year warranty from date of installation.

How much to size a ring?

   1. Do you want it sized up or down?

   2. How many sizes up or down?

   3. Has it been sized before?

   4. Is it a wedding band?

   5. What is it made of? (14k or 18k gold, platinum, tungsten, sterling silver)

   6. Is it flat or comfort fit?

   7. Are there stones set into the band? If so what type of stones and can it be

       sized without removing the stones?

   8. Is the band damaged?

Can you repair my necklace?

 Different types of necklaces require different care and time to repair so that the repair is not visible and likes like it did when it was new.

   1. What type of necklace?

   2. Where is the damage?

   3. What type of metal is it? (14k or 18k gold, platinum, tungsten, sterling silver)

 Some of these are easy enough to answer over the phone, but some are much easier to do in person and will also allow the master jeweler to take a look. If you have any questions about your jewelry, please stop on by and say hi and we will be happy to answer these questions. That way, whether it’s that new wedding ring or a family heirloom, you will get to know the people who you might want to entrust with some of your most important treasures.


We look forward to seeing you and being of service.

Generation Y Shoppers

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (88)

Generation Y are staring to hit their mid-30 and beginningto make the purchases of successful business men/women and entrepreneurs. Forthis reason many companies are spending a lot of money to research and targetthis large and growing population of consumers.

So first lets define what Generation Y is as those bornbetween 1978 and 2000.

JCK, one of the largest Jewelers in the US asked Dr. KitYarrow, a San Francisco psychology professor and author of Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Something Are RevolutionizingRetail.

“It was of not surprise that technology has a largeinfluence on the shopping patterns of this group. They have shorter attentionspan and great belief in innovation.” They want everything up to date thenewest model.  They will search Facebookor Yelp for reviews on a place and weigh the reviews to consider if they willuse the product or service.

“Status for this generation isn’t about money its aboutattention.” This generation has grown up with such prosperity, always given a lotthat their expectations are higher than the last generation. “What they arelooking for is something that sets them apart. It could be a unique item orunique experience. This generation cares a lot about social issues. They arethinking about the environment and recycling. Today “used” jewelry is becomingmore fashionable because no new product was needed to be taken out of theearth. This generation thinks outside the box and don’t stick to norms andenjoy feeling like they belong to a community or group.

At The House of Jewels, we can take your old jewelry torecycle the material for something new and unique. Your piece will be a one ofa kind that you can ask us to make or we can create together. At House ofJewels in Pacific Beach, San Diego you are not only a customer but you will bepart of the family. On Saturdays, the store turns into a “social club” whereclients come in to bring their dogs for Len to play with, talk to Sofia, drinksome coffee and schmooze.

We invite you to come enjoy the Experience.



Posted on November 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (134)

With the holidays coming up, this is a busy time of the year to find just the right gift for a very special loved one. If you are thinking jewelry then you have many options. Yes, you can go online and pick something out without ever having actually looked at it, hold it in your hands and hope to get a “good deal”. What about the quality and the convenience of asking  about the item and getting a quick and clear answer.


What about stopping by The House of Jewels and take a look at our large selection of silver and gold jewelry. If you are a man, like me, you probably don’t have any idea what piece would go with her skin color, favorite clothes, other jewelry and yes women try to accessorize with their shoes. Sofia will give you the 3rd degree about the person you are buying for and will pick just the right piece. I have been in the store more times than I can count to hear a customer ask in amazement how Sofia knew what the perfect piece was. Also remember, if we don’thave it or if you have something very specific in mind then it is very likely that Lenard can make it. Just remember, a custom piece can take anywhere from1-3 weeks to make from start to finish.

If you are not sure, then a gift certificate might be the way to go. That way, she knows you didn’t forget but you don’t have to sit and give your opinion of every piece which, like shoes, all tend to look the same after the 5th or 6th pair.

Pendants have become one of the favorite accessories for women.They come in a wide variety of styles ranging from single stones, multiple/cluster color stones, ornate designs, zodiac or something sentimental. If you plan on doing this, you will need to make sure that the chain is fitting for the pendant. First you must make sure the chain is strong enough so it doesn’t break. Second, you need to know what she will be wearing it with so that the length is correct. We can add a couple adjustable loops to a chain so the piece can be worn with different outfits.

So when you come in, please have a few pictures handy (oh come on, you better have a picture since cameras are in every phone) with different outfits so we can pick out something perfect for her. If you find the right piece of jewelry, you can put it on lay away so it will be ready for the holidays.

So don’t wait till the last minute, come on in and let us help you pick that perfect gift she or he will remember for a long time.


Happy Holiday Shopping,

From all of us at The House of Jewels



Posted on August 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (280)


Garnet is January's traditional birth stone as well as thegem used for 2nd and 18th wedding anniversaries.

Garnets are gemstones that are very closely related and comein a rainbow of colors. The most popular color is dark red and that is whatmost people think of when they picture a garnet. Garnets come in oranges, reds,greens and pinks so they can be used for almost any occasion and any style.There are even some that have a color-change phenomena, translucent green whichresemble jade and some with stars in them.

The garnet has been used by man for thousands of years. Theyhave been found in Egyptian, Roman and Greek jewelry. It is said that Noah useda garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night.

Because of the large variety of stone, garnets come from allover the world including many mines right here in the US.

compiled from Stuller Jewelers and other sources.


The Amethyst is the modern accepted birthstone for February.It is also the stone for the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. It is inthe member of the quartz family and gets its name from the Greek word forsober.

The legend of the stone name comes from the story ofBacchus, the God of wine, grew angry at mortals. He vowed to kill the next onehe saw. At the time, a young maiden named Amethyst was traveling to worship theGoddess Diana. Knowing of Bacchus’s plan, Diana turned Amethyst into colorlessquartz to protect her. Knowing what he was about to do and repenting, Bacchuspoured wine over Amethyst, staining her purple.

Amethyst comes in a wide range of transparent light to darkpurple. The darker, color stones are more valuable. The dark rich royal colorshave been treasured by nobility for centuries going back to the Minoan periodin Greece (2500 B.C.).

The 2 main sourcesare Brazil and Zambia although some come from Uruguay, Russia, Sri Lanka,Mexico and the US.

The Amethyst serves as a symbol of royalty, thought toprevent intoxication or being poisoned, protects from the plague and evilspells and protects the wearer from treason and deceit.


The traditional birthstone for March is the Aquamarine butit is also the birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio. It is also thesuggested stone for the 16th and the 19th wedding anniversaries. Bloodstone is thegem many associate with the astrological sign of Aries making bloodstone analternative to Aquamarine often more popular with men due to its variety ofcolors.

Aquamarine is named after the Latin work for seawater. It ispart of beryl family, which also includes emeralds. It is known for its largevariety of bright blue, blue-green deep blue sea like tones and shades to almostcolorless pale blue. They are often heat treated to change the color and/orclarity of the stone.

Legend has it that the aquamarine can endow the wearer withforesight, courage and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and makeone youthful. It is also thought to have the healing properties to treatanxiety. Most aquamarines come from Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar,Tanzania, and Russia among others.

The alternative stone for March is the Bloodstone. Thismember of the chalcedony family is a dark green opaque quartz with red spots.The legendary belief is that the red coloration was from the blood of Christspilling onto green jasper during the crucifixion gaining it the alternativename as “martyr’s stone”. It is mainly mined in India, Brazil, Uruguay,Australia and the United States.

Legendary it is thought to increase vitality, stamina andendurance. The Native Americans believed chalcedony was a sacred stone and usedin the spiritual ceremonies of the tribe.


The birthstone for April is the Diamond. This is also thetraditional stone for the tenth and sixteenth wedding anniversary.

Most diamonds come from sources in Australia, Botswana,South Africa and the Soviet Republic. The diamond is a super dense form ofcarbon and the most valued of all the gemstones. To many people today, diamondssymbolize purity, faith, love, commitment and yet to others success, power andsecurity.

There are a few major diamond collections around the worldwith a lot of historical background. USA has the famous Hope diamond which is45.52ct. dark blue oval brilliant cut. The Winston is a 31ct. bright blue heartshaped Eugenie. Both are held in a collection at the Smithsonian.

Great Britain has the world's two largest cut diamonds: TheGreat Star of Africa (530.20ct.) and the Cullinan II (317.40ct). The Russian'sczars have added a few world famous diamonds such as the Orloff and the Shah.

Nobility throughout the ages has owned diamonds, but it wasnot until the twentieth century that a large segment of the American publicwere able to afford them as well.

When looking for a diamond, there are a few things that youwill need to consider.

Carat Weight: Carat (ct.) is the standard measure of adiamond’s size. The size alone is meaningless unless you consider the cut,clarity and color.

Clarity: When considering clarity, the fewer the inclusions,the clearer and more brilliant the diamond. A true flawless diamond is veryrare. The grades range from FL (flawless)-I 3 (imperfect eye-visibleinclusions)

Color: The more colorless the diamond, the greater itsclarity and value. Just like it’s rare to find a true "flawless"diamond, it’s also rare to find a true colorless one. The majority contain veryslight traces of yellow or grown. The more colorless, the higher the value ofthe stone. The grade for color ranges from D (colorless)-Z (light yellow/brown)

Style: A diamond's shape largely determines its style. Thereare six traditional variations: Round Brilliant-Cut, Marquise, Emerald-cut,Pear-shaped, Oval and Heart-shaped.


The emerald is May's birthstone and also the traditionalstone for a twentieth wedding anniversary.

The first known emerald mines were in southern Egypt andwere from before 1000 BC making it one of the stones with the longest history.For the ancient Egyptians, the green color stood for fertility and rebirth andeternal youth. In many parts of the world, emeralds were used to treat eyediseases and gem engravers looked at them when their eyes got tired. Otherbelieved that they can help you tell the future, strengthen memory and helpavoid evil. .

The emerald is typically heavily flawed with cracks andinclusions of fluid and minerals. These are called "jardin" or gardenas they resemble leaves and branches. These are considered part of thecharacter of the stone.


The Alexandrite is the birth stone for the month of June andone of the popular choices for fifty-fifth wedding anniversary.

The Alexandrite is the color change variety of chrysoberyl.When it is illuminated by natural sunlight and most fluorescent light, whichcontain a large number of green and blue rays, its color is green. Undercandlelight and incandescent light, which contain more red, the stone willappear redder. Good alexandrite is a rich purple-red in incandescent lightingand a rich bluish green with daylight.

It is a modern gem that was discovered around 1830 in theUral Mountains of Russia on Czar Alexander II's birthday, the stone was namedafter him. The stone is still looked upon as a stone of good omen in thatcountry. Most of the important mines have been in Russia and Sri Lanka butrecently mines have been found in Brazil and Tanzania.

Being the rarest of birthstones, clarity that would not beaccepted for other gemstones is acceptable for alexandrite. It is considered oneof the world's most valuable gemstones. The most rare and valuable variety isthe Cat's Eye alexandrite.


The Ruby is the birthstone for July and the traditionalstone for the fortieth wedding anniversary. It is the most prized of the red gemstone. The medium to dark red topurplish red variety of corundum are Ruby's, all the other colors areconsidered sapphire.

Throughout history, the ruby has been the king of gems. InSanskrit, ruby was called ratnaraj which means "king of gems".Wearing ruby was thought to bring health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.Some even believed ruby had magical abilities to protect one from evil andharm.

Burma and Sri Lankaare the oldest ruby sources. Today, Thailand is the main source of rubies andsome coming from Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Cambodia.

Today, most jewelry size rubies are up to 5 carats. Largehigh quality rubies are among the rarest of gems.

When looking for a ruby, the color can range from orangeyred to violet red and different colors can be found in the same stone. Thecolor is also accompanied by marked fluorescence that is stimulated by light.If the color is too pale, it may be considered a pink sapphire instead of ruby;if the color is more violet than red it is considered a violet sapphire.


The Birthstone for August and the gemstone for the 16thanniversary is the Peridot. This gemstone may be found where there has been volcanicactivity or from meteorites so you can say that it can come from the heavens orup from the earth. Ironically it is very near the color of Kryptonite (justwithout the glowing part) ranging from light green to dark olive green.

Throughout history, this gem has brought health and luck toits wearers. It is thought that the peridot can remove feelings of envy, helpdreams come true and give its wearers strength. It is also thought to reducedepression, ease anger, suppress jealousy and increase happiness. It brings iswearers success, peace and good luck.

The Peridot has been worn for thousands of years, used bythe Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC. The French named this stone peridotcoming from the Arabic word faridot which means “gem”.

Today the major sources of peridot come from China,Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka and the US.

This stone can be worn regularly but should NOT beultrasonically cleaned or steam/heat-treated.

From Stuller, Inc.


The sapphire is the birthstone for September and the traditionalgem to celebrate the fifth and forty-fifth wedding anniversaries. Because ofthe many different colors of this stone, in Roman times the sapphire meantlapis lazuli, the green sapphires were called emeralds, the blue sapphires werehyacinths and the purple sapphires were called amethysts. Sapphires come fromall around the world including India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma,Columbia, Kenya and the United States.

This stone can be almost any color except red (which is aruby). Blue is the most common and white is occasionally used as a diamondsubstitute. Sapphires can be bi- or partial- colored and show color change.

In the middle ages, people believed wearing a sapphire wouldsuppress negative thoughts, banish evil spirits and a tool for self-improvementand wisdom to help reveal ones “mission” in life. It symbolizes truth,sincerity and faithfulness and used to be the choice for engagement rings likePrince Charles gave to Princess Diana. It was also believed that the sapphire had a curing power for naturalailments. Being the color blue, it indicates wisdom and generous thinking.

History and world resources from Stuller Inc.


The month of October has two birthstones associated with it.

The Opal is the traditional gemstone for the fourteenth andeighteenth wedding anniversaries. It is thought to benefit eyesight, banishesevil spirits and favors children.

Opal gets its name from the Sanskrit word upala, which means“precious stone”. It is the symbol of magic, love, hope, happiness, innocenceand purity. These gems were thought to have magic powers because of their playof many colors.

Ancient eastern cultures regarded opal as sacred andrepresent the spirit of truth. Early Arabs thought they fell from the heavensin flashes of lightning that gave them their color. The ancient Greeks thoughtthey would give them foresight, prophesy and kept away disease. Shakespearecalled it “the queen of gems”.

Opals are found in many regions of which Australia is themost important. Others include Mexico, Brazil and the United States.

The Tourmaline is the gemstone for the eighth weddinganniversary. This stone comes in more colors and color combinations than anyother gemstone variety. It was believed to protect the wearer from making baddecisions, dangers, misfortune and to attract friends and lovers. It wasthought to promote good health, build friendships, create harmony and developsocial popularity.

The word tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word turmali,which means “mixed”. This fits the possibility of tourmaline’s appearance whichappears in every color of the rainbow and often combining two or three colors.This stone was probably used throughout the ancient world but mistaken forother stones. Many of the Russian Crown jewels once thought to be rubies areactually tourmalines. This stone has a very unique quality that no other stonehas. When heated, it becomes a polarized crystalline magnet and can attractlight objects.

Sources of tourmaline include Brazil, Tanzania, Kenya,Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.

Information from Stuller Inc.


The Citrine and Topaz have both been used as the traditionalbirthstone for November.

Citrine is the traditional stone for the thirteenth weddinganniversary. The citrine is yellow to orange transparent variety. This stone isoften associated as a symbol of hope, youth, health and fidelity. Its color isassociated with light heartedness and cheerfulness.

Citron comes from the French word meaning lemon. Typically,however, citrines are not lemon yellow but are orangey or golden yellow. Mostcitrines today are heat treated amethysts and natural citrine is rare. Citrineis often confused with topaz, citrine topaz and topaz quartz due to similarcolors. The primary sources are Brazil, United States, Spain and the SovietUnion.

The Topaz is the stone for the twenty-third weddinganniversary.

Topaz comes from the name Topazios which was an island nowcalled Zabargad in the Red Sea. It is from the Greek word for "toseek" as the island was often covered by fog and difficult to find.

The topaz is the symbol of love and affection. To theEgyptians, the yellow of the topaz symbolized Ra, the sun god. To the Greeks,it conferred strength. It has been used to ward off spells and sadness. Much ofthe world's topaz comes from Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Myanmar, Mexico, SriLanka, Soviet Union and the United States.


The Turquoise is one of the oldest stones to be used forjewelry dating back as far as 3000 B.C. in Egyptian jewelry. Most Americansassociate this stone with Native American jewelry and was used in the Americasas far back as 700 B.C. The Natives considered it a symbol of wealth and goodfortune. The Turquoise was originally brought to Europe by way of Turkey, whichis how it received its modern name. The Turquoise is thought to bring spoils tothe warrior, animals to the hunter and happiness and good fortune to all.

The 2nd stone of December is the Zircon. Zircons have beenused as talismans as far back as the sixth century. Some heat treated zirconsare mistaken for diamonds and due to the qualities of the stone, sometimes rosecut zircons are hard to distinguish from diamonds. The stone is found in SriLanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Africa. The zircon was thought to protect itswearers from plague, promote honor and wisdom, heals wounds and injuries, andexpels evil spirits.

The 3rd stone is the Tanzanite. This stone is used for 24thwedding anniversary. The Tanzanite was discovered in 1962 in Tanzania reachingthe US in 1970. This is a very rare stone so far only found in Tanzania. Thisstone is thought to help people deal with change, uplift the spirit and openthe heart. It is associated with generosity and friendship.

The information above was compiled from JCK and StullerJewelers. 



Posted on July 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (4003)

June 19, 2012 is our 21st birthday..we are officially legal! On June 19th 1991, House of Jewels opened their doors and we have been growing with the wonderful Pacific Beach community ever since. Much has happened in our 21 years of service here in San Diego both good and bad. We have seen Pacific Beach grow, San Diego fires and even Chargers making it to the Super Bowl in 1994.

During this time, much has changed in our family’s life as well. Aside from all of us being older and wiser of course. Sofia has ended her professor career retiring from both USIU and USD. She still takes a small group of private piano students but on a part time basis. Leonid lost his little dog “Jack” and finally got another dog “Moe” whose picture you can see in his workshop. Of course when he comes home from a trip, his first question to Alex (his son) is “how is Moe”? Alex finished his Masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine and opened his practice in Mission Valley after moving cross country to NYC and then back home.

We would like to thank you all for being a part of our business and our family and we are looking for many more years of service and growth with the San Diego community.

Thank you,

House Of  Jewels family

Leonid, Sofia and Alex Shpigel.



Insuring your Jewelry

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (220)

We all insure our cars with auto insurance and our houses or apartments home owners insurance but what about your jewelry? Many people think that a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your watches or jewelry. You will need to talk to your adjustor about what the policy will cover; many will only pay up to a certain amount. For this reason, you will need to get your pieces appraised and have them itemized on your insurance policy. To do this, take the pieces that you would like to be appraised to your jeweler who will have them professionally appraised.

A professional appraisal, which is done be a certified gemologist, includes pictures of the jewelry as well as a very detailed description of it. In this document you will find a description of every stone (if there are any) including the color, size and quality, the weight of the metal and replacement value. When you receive the document, make sure to make a copy for yourself and the original goes to your insurance adjustor. Also one copy stays with the jeweler in case it is needed. This will insure that your jewelry and watches are covered in case they are lost, stolen or damaged.

If you may have any questions, we are at your service.