How do you make your gems?
We use many completely different processes.
One method is to put the material from which the gem crystals are made into a cup about 4" in diameter and about 6" high. The cup (we call it a crucible) is made from Iridium. Iridium is a metal somewhat like Platinum but it is harder and has a 1,213˚F higher melting point. It is also far less chemically reactive than any other metal. We have to melt gem raw materials at very close to the melting temperature of the Iridium. For your information, we do NOT make any glass here. (Some people think our gems are simply colored glass....but nothing could be further from the truth.) The atoms in a crystal are all lined up sort of like seats in a theater...(rows and columns) with each atom in its preferred place. The atoms are sort of 'locked in place'. A glass is much different....imagine taking all the seats from a theater and then throwing the seats back in with no particular placement at all. That's how the atoms are situated in glass. The difference in atom placement has the effect of making glass just get soft and gooey when it is heated. A crystal has a quite definite melting point. Just like ice (the crystalline form of water). Ice is completely solid at 31˚F and completely liquid at 33˚F. This is a very important distinction when it comes to making a crystal of any particular gemstone. Using the example of water..... imagine a cup of water with a method of keeping it at a constant temperature of 35˚F (Very cold....but still liquid) Then take a copper rod which is attached to a freezer so that it's temperature is about 10˚F. Dip the cold copper rod into the cold water and some of the water will get cooled enough by the rod to actually freeze on it. Then, pull the copper rod upwards just a tiny bit and some more water will freeze on the previously frozen water. Keep doing that for a week or so and you'll end up with an icicle on the end of the copper rod. This is exactly what we do to make many of our gems. The only real difference is that we use a temperature of about 3,500˚F instead of 35˚F and the cup costs us about $75,000. A ruby crystal takes about 1 month to form. Other crystals such as our Emerald take longer.
Sometimes, instead of pulling the gem out of the crucible, we just VERY SLOWLY cool the crucible and allow the material in the crucible to crystallize into a solid disk. Sort of like letting a cup of water freeze in a refrigerator freezer.
That's 2 of our methods.
Also, sometimes we use little pieces of ruby or sapphire as the raw material. The pieces are very small.....too small to facet or maybe they have a crack in the uncut gem so that if you tried to facet it, it would just fall apart. We buy these small pieces and use them for raw material. So, our rubies and sapphires are really ruby and sapphire! Just like if you took some hail and let it melt into water and then placed it into a freezer til it froze. The ice cube is still ice, just in a bigger piece. We do the same thing with our rubies or sapphires. We just need a bigger piece so that we can facet it into beautiful larger gems!
|What's the Best Way to Keep Shelby Gems Clean?
You can use any commercial cleaner made for genuine diamonds, or mix ammonia and water to clean your Shelby Gems (we've been told vodka works really well, too). Windex works just fine! Soak your jewelry in the solution long enough to loosen any dirt, cosmetics or residue, then use a soft brush all around the stones, and finally rinse the piece with clean hot water. You can use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, too, but be sure and change the solution periodically. Also, only put in 1 piece of jewelry at a time!! Your Shelby Gem will sparkle again just like genuine with the same basic care needed. In 46 years, I have never seen a Shelby Gemstone of any color or kind actually lose its color or sparkle...it always is a case of soap build-up... "Bath Tub Ringitus!" or fingernail polish or some other type of coating. With proper cleaning and a little care, a Shelby Gem will look beautiful for centuries or even longer. Just think about it! All Shelby Gems are harder and tougher than natural Emeralds and Emeralds have been around for millions of years. Really, a Shelby Gem will be around just as long!!!
Let's be realistic .... All quality jewelry needs to be taken care of. It's always best to remove rings when doing any kind of heavy work. Gold is a soft metal and bends easily. Prongs get bent or worn and gems fall out!
We encourage returning jewelry to us once a year for professional cleaning and a check-up by our jeweler. There is absolutely no charge for this service, and is done while you wait if you so desire. Of course, you can mail in your jewelry for this service also. While it is here, we will check your gems to be sure they are all tight in their settings, so please include a daytime phone number so we can contact you to discuss any repairs needed.
|Are Shelby Gems more expensive than other manmade gems?
Actually, Shelby Gems ARE NOT anywhere near the most expensive man-made gems. Probably the most expensive is what people call Moissanite.
Moissanite is truly a horrible doubly refractive stone with an overblown price tag.
We believe Shelby Gems are the BEST man-made gems on Earth. The purest raw materials in our secret recipes, the most quality-conscious growing methods, faceting done by diamond cutters, professionally setting the stones in rich, solid gold mountings -- Our employees have been with us for years and they and I really take pride in making the best jewelry we possibly can. We do everything absolutely 1st class, or not at all. 1st class doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to be perfectly constructed and finished. We backup our gems with a lifetime guarantee that the gems will continue to hold their brilliance and will not get scratched. Part of what makes a genuine diamond so desirable is the brilliance created from refracting rays of light into colors of red, orange, green, yellow, violet and blue. This brilliance is measured in terms of the refractive index. Shelby Gems have a refractive index very close to a genuine diamond. It is absolutely impossible to visually see the difference with the unaided eye between one of our gems and a good quality genuine diamond, (Of course, with your naked eye and normal 20/20 vision you can see flaws and carbon spots in most all diamonds below $3,000/carat ...you'll never see those ugly things in our gems!!) One of the little known (dirty) secrets in the diamond business is that a "perfect-flawless" diamond is legally defined by the US Fair Trade Commission as "any diamond in which a flaw cannot be seen while using a 10 power loupe". A loupe is a magnifying eyepiece which is used in one (1) eye. If you want to see the flaws in a "flawless" diamond, just use a binocular microscope at 10 power or higher! Sure is nice to see the Fair Trade Commission protecting us, isn't it!
|What if my jewelry needs sizing or repair work?
The first ring sizing is included in the purchase price. We stand behind all of our merchandise and we will perform any necessary repair. We have our own highly experienced resident jeweler and we strive for timely returns on repairs. We can usually replace a missing gem in your own jewelry with a Shelby of your choice, so check your jewelry box for old or damaged pieces that need a brilliant new gem!
|How hard or durable are Shelby Gems?
On the MOH hardness scale for gemstones, genuine diamond is 10, the highest ranking. The hardness difference between numbers on the scale increases as the numbers get bigger - there is much more difference between 7 and 8 than between 3 and 4, for instance. Shelby Simulated Diamonds are very, very close to 9. That means that Shelbys are extremely durable for everyday wear. Remember, we guarantee them forever against discoloration and accidental scratches. Most people aren't aware that all gemstones, even genuine diamonds, sapphires, and rubies occasionally get chipped or fractured. It is highly unlikely that this would happen to your Shelby Gem. Once again, our Shelby Simulated Diamonds (Diamond Encore) are not as hard as a genuine Diamond. A mined (genuine) diamond is the hardest substance on Earth and being so very hard it can scratch any other substance.
Diamond can scratch Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Aqua Marine, Citrine, Garnet, Opal, Peridot, and any and all substances!
We occasionally see small scratches on our gems when a lady accidentally rubs a diamond coated nail file across one of our gems. So be a little careful please!
The order of hardness of the more popular gems is as follows:
Genuine Diamond, 10
Ruby & Sapphire, 9
Shelby Simulated Diamond (Diamond Encore), 8-7/8
Shelby Emerald, Aquamarine, 8.6
Shelby Garnet, 8.6
Genuine Emerald and Aquamarine, 7.5-8.0
Genuine Garnet, 6.0
Hardness is not to be confused with toughness!
Hardness is "The resistance to being scratched".
Toughness is "The resistance to being fractured".
To cut to the chase, we guarantee our gems against getting accidentally scratched.
|Can I buy loose Shelby Gems?
Yes, we sell loose gems to replace missing or damaged (or disliked!) gems quite often. Do keep in mind that our gem guarantee is in effect only when our jewelers set the Shelby Gems -we cannot guarantee another jewelers work. Chances are you'll be delighted with a Shelby Gem set in that old ring that's been just sitting in it's box for years.
|What's the difference between Shelby Gems and cz?
I am the person who actually commercialized the production of Cubic Zirconia in the middle 1970s. Cubic Zirconia is a mixture of Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2 for all you chemists out there) with another chemical added to it so that it doesn't turn to powder upon cooling after hardening (crystallizing) The other chemical can be Calcium Oxide, Yttrium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, Cerium Oxide...etc.. In other words Cubic Zirconia is not always "Cubic Zirconia". What I mean is that there is an almost infinite range of chemical mixtures that people call Cubic Zirconia. About 99% of the stuff people call cubic zirconia (CZ) is 80% ZrO2 and 20% Y2O3. This is a cheap mixture that has a relatively low melting temperature and it forms big crystals when it cools. This makes it very cheap to manufacture. Our Shelby Simulated Diamond is about a 13th cousin twice removed from CZzzzzz. All I feel comfortable telling you is that we use a different mixture of a lot more chemicals that melt at a much higher temperature that results in a harder, tougher more brilliant stone. (I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill or worry about you starting your own factory.:) Our gems rival the color, brilliance and quality of the very best of genuine diamonds, and will last for more than your lifetime. Measurably better materials and meticulous quality control separate Shelby Gems from cheaper imitations and from the other imitations with "overblown" prices and deceptive names like "Created Diamond","Sonya Diamond", (all illegal names when used to name CZ) which all of these 'fancy' named rocks actually are! They all say they have 'factories', but of course you can never visit them and the pictures they publish of their factories are actually laughable if you know what a gem factory really looks like! LOL Come and visit us any time and take a look at our factory pictures! www.ict-inc.com