5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Jewelry and Jewelry Repairs:

What does it mean to have your rings polished versus cleaned?

Polishing is a multi step process that uses a buffing wheel and multiple rouge compounds to remove tiny lines and scratches in a piece of jewelry. When a piece of jewelry has completed the polishing process it looks brand new. The usual reaction from a customer is “Oh my gosh, it looks like the day we bought it 10 years ago!”

So, what’s a cleaning?

Cleaning, also known as a quick clean, is a free service Smith’s Jewelers offers that utilizes an industrial strength ultrasonic and a high-pressured steamer. A quick clean takes no longer than five minutes to complete. Therefore, you can be in a out in seconds and leave with your jewelry looking sparkly and new!

What is rhodium plating?

Great question! Rhodium plating is what makes your white gold rings look bright white and shiny. Since white gold is not naturally white a jeweler will rhodium plate the piece, after polishing, to give it a bright white shiny finish again.

Since rhodium plating is not permanent, you will see it start to wear off over time. It is recommended that you have your jewelry polished and rhodium plated once every six to eight months. Check out the before and after shot below!

B:A Rhodium plating

To see exactly how rhodium plating is done click here -> How to Rhodium Plate White Gold

What is the difference between white gold and yellow gold?

The difference is just the color right? The answer is yes and no. Gold comes from the earth a bright yellow color, therefore, white gold is naturally yellow too. In order to make the yellow less noticeable white property alloys are added to gold to help mass the yellow color. This is where karats of gold come into play.

You have probably heard of 10 karat (kt), 14 kt, 18kt, 22kt, and 24kt gold here in the USA. A karat is a unit of measure of how much gold is in an alloy metal. For example, 14 karat gold is made up of 58.5% gold while the other 41.5% is made up of alloys. The most common alloys used in gold are copper, zinc, silver, palladium, and nickel. In white gold, the alloys used are typically the white property alloys silver, palladium, and nickel. As mentioned early, these alloys are what make “white gold” white.  To learn more about karats of gold visit

Casting Grain

Can you stretch or size my ring?

That is a fantastic question. It all depends on the type of ring you have and what metal it is made of. Solid plain symmetrical gold and platinum rings that do not have any gemstones can be stretched by a device. However, it can only be stretched a small amount. If a ring needs sized more than a 1/2 a size up or down it is best to have the jeweler size it through another sizing process.

If the ring is made of a contemporary metal (i.e. tungsten carbide, cobalt, titanium, or stainless steel) the ring cannot be size by a jeweler because of the hardness of the metal. Typically, a jewelry store will just reorder the ring from the manufacturer in the correct size. Depending on the company, this usually takes 2-4 weeks.

Can engagement and fashion rings be sized? Nine times out of ten, the answer is yes. The only reason a ring could not be sized is if the stones in a ring are set in vulnerable spots that decrease the safety of the stones. Sizing a ring with this type of risk could end in breaking, chipping, or popping stones out of the setting.

Tungsten Band

What is an appraisal?

This is a very commonly asked question. The most common appraisals talked about in the jewelry industry are insurance appraisals and estate appraisals.

An insurance appraisal describes in written detail a piece of jewelry and assigns it a replacement value that reflects a current retail value. Insurance appraisals are important to have in case jewelry is lost or stolen. Having your jewelry appraised and insured will help guarantee a fair reimbursement for the piece for any claims you may have to make. Always have your appraisal completed by certified Gemologist or Diamond Graduate to insure accuracy of stone type, size, weights, and values.

Estate appraisal also describes in written detail a piece of jewelry, however it typically assigns a highly discounted value of the piece to reflect more of a wholesale price. This type of appraisal is best when valuing an estate for tax purposes.

GIA Appraise