Engagement Rings: What Jewellers Know, and You Don’t!

In the jewellery trade, informed buying is the preserve of just a chosen few who are either traders themselves, or people who have been traders at some point in time in their lives. Barring these, the trade is built around a bunch of half-truths. The following are some of the naked facts that you should know before you set out to buy any jewellery and more so, the expensive variety.

1. Jewellery never constitutes an investment

Most jewellers employ well paid loquacious salespeople who will pour out all the glory of how wise men and women invest in jewellery. The fact, however, is that jewellery never constitutes an investment for two major reasons:

diamond necklace

a) Most ordinary men and women do not shop for jewellery every month or even every year. In all likelihoods, it could be a once in a lifetime shopping exercise. Therefore, even assuming that your jewellery does appreciate in value, it remains notional because you will never clutch that extra cash because you don’t want to part with the jewellery unless you get into a very unfortunate financial situation.

b) Your jewellery is subject to wear and tear over a period. Therefore, even assuming that you do go back to the jeweller to redeem the jewellery for cash, a good part of the value is knocked off towards wear and tear and some other fancy reasons that the jeweller will reel out.

c) No jeweller offers a buy-back scheme with a predetermined value for your jewellery

2. Coloured stones – are they natural or treated stones

colourfull stones

Did you ever know that there is nothing called a “naturally” coloured gemstone!! , and more so in a jewellery shop and essentially not when it is already set into a finished jewellery. Now, this term “finished jewellery” is something you should always remember when you walk into a jeweller. It simply means that the piece is fully assembled as compared to, say, a ring that is waiting for the centre stone to arrive. Now you can counter the salesperson who vouches that a particular stone is natural, you can simply ask him if the some has ever been heated. Now notice how quickly his/her body language changes and shifts into a defensive posture. You have fired the first salvo and you would either be politely asked to move on and look elsewhere or taken to a private room where you are perhaps given the option to continue with your shopping because you can potentially distract other customers.
Joseph George of Melbourne’s renowned Joseph George Jewellery says “Pearls are by far an exception because there are indeed natural pearls. But, identifying natural pearls is another uphill task, and it is likely that you will need the services of experts. Even the most experienced jewellers and auctioneers have been taken for a ride with cultured pearls and treated gemstones.”

3. Set stones can hide many secrets beneath

inspecting the diamond with loupe

Generally small sized stones (half a carat and below) are set into a jewellery piece and that should be expected too. But, it is a useful idea to ask for cleaning up the piece before you inspect it carefully with naked eyes and then ask the jeweller for a loupe (a type of magnifying glass) which will help you examine the piece at closer quarters. This exercise can be casual if the jewellery you are buying is priced below about $1,000. However, larger pieces will need more careful examination and perhaps certification by an external agency, before you pay for it. Ideally, larger stones should also be pulled out of the prongs to understand potential flaws. There are many ways to manipulate the flaws by associating the stone with different coloured metals. A common excuse when you are considering an antique piece would be that pulling the stone out would impact the integrity of the item. But, this is pure BS since any jeweller worth his salt can always re- inlay the stone without much do.

4. Stamps like hallmark, karat weight, designer’s signature or metal type can be faked with ease

Getting these stamps made is a no-brainer and can be done by anyone. But etiquette demand that you don’t point of finger of accusation unless you can substantiate it. A better option is to trust your own instincts and knowledge. For instance, you can ask for another piece in white gold that has nearly the same weight and hold it in one hand while putting the platinum jewellery on the other. Typically white gold is shinier and lighter and usually comes with a marginally yellowish tone. As for the other markings, the reputation of the jeweller can be factored in. However, when you are after an antique piece you need to be more cautious. “Proof of provenance” and that request will instantly put the jeweller on guard.

5. Always keep the first visit to the jeweller as an educational tour – buy later

Another important factor to bear in mind is to never buy jewellery on your very first visit to the jeweller, and more so when you are buying something expensive. Make it more of an educational trip, try to understand the nitty-gritty and explore further before you take a final buying decision. A focused research online can bring out several useful facts associated with the jewellery you plan to buy and put you in a more advantageous position to negotiate prices. It is a good idea to take a friend along on the second visit to the jeweller, so you have the opportunity of apparently chatting with him and the message getting across to the salesperson, loud and clear. For instance, you can make a comparison, real or imaginary with a similar or near similar piece of jewellery you have seen elsewhere for a significantly lower price. Remember to comprehend the body language of the salesperson closely and see how desperate he is to strike a deal with you. Never worry about how you are dressed up or even your wallet. You should just be comfortable with whatever you are wearing and you don’t need to impress anyone out there. Under-dressing is a better approach than overdressing.

Basic Gardening Tips to Keep Your Garden Looking Fabulous

Gardening is making a comeback—and in a big way! More and more people are getting into gardening and are not afraid to dig deep and get their hands dirty. With kitchen gardens and flower beds becoming trendsetters, people are rediscovering the joys of gardening all over again. There’s something just so relaxing about gardening. Whether you have a huge garden with plenty of space to plant new plants and shrubs, or whether you are creating a vertical garden in your balcony, gardening is possible in pretty much any space, big or small.

Side view of kitchen gardens
Caring for your plants, ensuring that they’re healthy and keeping your garden looking fabulous can be a rewarding experience. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, your quality gardening time can quickly turn into a horror show. To avoid such a scenario, you need to learn some gardening tips, so that you know you’re on the right path.

Here are some basic tips on gardening to help you get started.

Know the Landscape

Garden landscape in front of house

One of the first lessons in gardening is to know the landscaping design that you are dealing with. Plants are quite picky when it comes to the type of soil and temperatures that they prefer. So, not all plants grow well in all regions. Knowing your land—the type of soil, the humidity and temperature throughout the year, and the water quality will help you decide on which plants will grow well and which ones don’t stand a chance.
So, before you go around buying exotic plants to wow your friends and family, find out if they’ll thrive in the land or not.

Pruning is Your Best Friend

Most amateur gardeners are just not aware of how important and essential pruning is. It’s not just something that gardening hobbyists fuss over to keep their plants looking good. Pruning plays a vital role in the healthy growth of a plant. By eliminating unwanted, damaged, diseased or dead parts of the plant, you are redirecting the plant’s energy into growing and strengthening the other parts. Regular and careful pruning will keep your plants healthy, encourage optimal growth and produce more flowers and fruits.
While cutting damaged or dead branches, use a sharp pruning tool to make neat, clean cuts. Jagged ends take longer to heal and leave the plant exposed to the possibility or disease or infection.

Plants Have Varying Needs

Treat each plant as an individual with varying needs and preferences. What works for one plant will not necessarily work for another plant. Take something as simple as watering, for instance. While some plants need a lot of water in order to grow, some others require only a little amount of water. If you overwater a plant that requires very little water, you risk rotting its roots, which will quickly kill the plant. Just like how knowing your land is important, so is knowing your plants. Research about each plant and find out what each of them needs. Some plants thrive in the sun while some others require ample shade to do well.
If you are a newbie, it can take a while for you to find out what each plant likes and needs. To make this process easier, you can maintain a gardening journal where you note down your observations. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of your plant’s overtime.

Lawn Mowing

Lawn Mowing for perfect landscape

Lawn mowing is not rocket science. But you do need to know some basic techniques if you want your lawn to look like it was mowed by professionals. The first thing to remember is to mow the perimeter of the lawn first. Go in a clockwise direction and mow around the perimeter. Once you do that, then you can start mowing in straight lines within that mowed border. It makes the whole process so much simpler. When mowing in straight lines, avoid looking directly in front of you. Instead, look a couple of feet ahead of you. This will give you a better vision to mow in a straight line.
When you come across trees or shrubs, follow the perimeter rule. Mow around them in a clockwise direction and then continue with your straight-line mowing for the rest of the lawn area.

Planting Flowers

There’s nothing more beautiful than a flower garden in full bloom. Flower gardens can turn even the tiniest, cramped garden space into an inviting haven. If you do not have experience dealing with flower gardens, then a good place to start is by installing flower beds. Flower beds are elevated ‘beds’ to grow your plants. They facilitate easy maintenance and are great for beginners dabbling with growing and planting flower plants. Roses and perennials are pretty easy to maintain as far as flowering plants go.
When planting in a flower bed, remember to space out the saplings, giving each plant ample space to spread roots. You also should regularly check for weeds to avoid a weed infestation, as they can grow quickly, take over space and choke out your flower plants. Regular pruning is also essential in order to encourage growth (which in turn results in more blooms).
Gardening can be a very rewarding and highly addictive hobby. Once you get the hang of the basics, you can then move on from simply growing your plants to planning and designing a beautiful garden. No matter what your focus is—whether it has a useful kitchen garden to grow your herbs and vegetables, or a flower garden that overflows with colourful flowers, you need to get the basics of gardening right for your garden to thrive.
A garden is one of those spaces where you can make your mark, show off your skills and create a beautiful nook for you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Digging into the soil, getting rid of weeds, and trimming the plants to help them grow better can all be relaxing chores that calm your body and mind.

 

Store It Right: Different Types of Storage Space for Your Belongings

If you’re looking to store your stuff, you’ll be surprised at the number of different options available. Depending on how much storage space you require and for how long, you can pick the right storage option to suit your requirements. Of course, you’ll need to know all about each of the different option available and how they differ from each other.
There are a lot of reasons why a person requires storage space. From moving houses to renovating or downsizing, there are many instances where renting a storage space becomes essential. Knowing the pros and cons of the different storage units available can help you make an informed decision to meet your storage needs. Here’s a quick look at the different storage options available and what makes each one unique.

Outdoor Self-Storage Units

Within self-storage units, there are three options available: outdoor, indoor and mobile. Outdoor self-storage units are storage spaces built like garages. These units are great for storing vehicles such as motorcycles, caravans, boats, mud bikes and so on. They facilitate easy and quick access to your stuff as you can literally drive up to the door of the unit to access your stuff. But be warned that these storage units are not completely weather-proof. So, be careful of what items you store in them. Avoid storing small items, items that require temperature regulation or expensive items in outdoor units.

Indoor Self-Storage Units

view of INDOOR SELF-STORAGE UNITSIndoor self-storage units are, keeping with their names, located inside a building. Most indoor storage units have great security, with access controlled entrances and security cameras in place to monitor activities. Many even offer monitored climate-control, making them the ideal choice for storing items that are sensitive to climate changes (such as wines, upholstery etc). Indoor storage units are perfect for storing furniture and other household items that you want to protect from weather damage.

Mobile Self-Storage Units

If you’re downsizing and need storage space to keep some of your extra stuff, then consider using a mobile self-storage unit. Mobile self-storage units are great when you want a storage unit right in your backyard for easy access. You can choose to have the storage unit at your venue or have it stored at the storage facility (indoor or outdoor). Some storage facilities even offer different sizes, so you can choose one that will fit the stuff that you want to be stored.

Shipping Containers

Stacks of SHIPPING CONTAINERS

Shipping containers are the most durable storage container option. Since shipping containers are designed specifically to travel on the sea, enduring bad weather conditions and withstanding rough transportation, they are perfect for storing and transporting your goods. Whether you’re moving house and looking for a big container to transport all your furniture and other items, or whether you’re expanding your business and need a reliable storage solution to temporarily store all the extra inventory, you can opt for shipping containers. The one big con with shipping containers is that they are quite big, making it difficult to transport them to the venues for loading and unloading. But since most storage facilities offer offsite loading and unloading options, you don’t have to worry about it.

Dangerous Goods Storage Container

If you’re business looking for storage containers for paints, oils or other chemicals that are hazardous, then you need a dangerous goods storage container. These are storage spaces specially designed to securely store dangerous substances. With proper ventilation, secure doors and a sturdy build, the dangerous goods storage containers are made to store stock that is liable to spills and leaks. They are a great storage solution for many commercial enterprises that are in need of secure storage of toxic, flammable or otherwise hazardous substances.

Build On Site Storage Unit

Another exciting option in storage units is the on-site build unit. As the name suggests, these units can be built on site. They are easy to assemble and super convenient as you can dismantle, relocate and reassemble them as and when needed. Build on-site storage units are a great storage solution for commercial purposes. If you’ve got goods to be stored but not enough warehouse space, then the build on-site storage unit can come in handy.

Tips for Better Storage

  • When using a shipping container or other storage units for transportation, aim to distribute the weight evenly.
  • If transporting your stuff, make sure you pack the storage unit/container as tightly as possible. Doing this will ensure that your stuff doesn’t have room to slide and move around, thereby minimising damage caused during transit.
  • Always stack the heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top.
  • When storing items in a self-storage unit, be sure to store items that you will need to access frequently at the front. Take your time to determine which items should go to the back and which ones should be at the front. Doing this simple thing while storing your things can save you a lot of time and effort in the future.
  • Find out the yearly, monthly and weekly rental for your storage unit. Most storage facilities offer better prices for longer durations, so make the most of it.
  • If storing furniture, cover them up to avoid damage. Leather and fabric are particularly susceptible to damage when kept in storage for long, so secure them with proper cover to avoid potential wear and tear.
  • If you’re storing vehicles, it is a good idea to take them out now and then. Using the vehicle regularly will ensure that the motor doesn’t die and that the vehicle is in good working condition.

Each storage unit or container has its own set of pros and cons. You need to choose the one that works best for you depending on your storage needs. Once you’ve decided on the type of unit/container that you want, contact different storage facilities to get a quote. When it comes to storage, you should always aim for an effective long-term solution at an affordable price.