Frequently Asked Questions
We know that for many of our customers, visiting a jeweler or silversmith shop is not an everyday event. We have tried to answer some of our most common questions here, but feel free to give us a call at 703-548-0659 or send us an email at email@example.com if you need more information. Or, just stop by!
A note about appointments:
We recommend appointments for custom design consultations, wedding bands, and specialized silver restoration or commissions. We have limited walk-in hours so that we can schedule appointments to fit our clients' needs. This is so that we can ensure you are able to meet with our team without waiting or being interrupted and receive the personalized service for which we are known.
The Jewelry Studio
Is your project jewelry-related? Then this is where you need to be. We offer full jewelry restoration and repair services along with the very best in 3-D custom design capability so that we can restore or design your perfect piece, exactly as you want it. Our expert jewelers work with all quality metals and are happy to undertake small tasks such as ring resizing or major custom design projects.
We welcome walk-ins for our jewelry services on Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays. Our jewelry studio is on the second floor though we are happy to accommodate you on the ground floor is you prefer - just let us know in advance.
We highly recommend appointments for any custom design consultations and for any wedding band inquiries. We tend to get busy, so this ensures we can meet with you uninterrupted and answer any questions along the way.
I'm in the market for an engagement ring, but I'm not sure where to start. What should I do?
First of all, congratulations! Getting an engagement ring is a big deal but it doesn't need to be a stressful process. The primary things to think about at this stage are: Do I like white or yellow (or rose) colored metal? Am I drawn to complex shapes or more clean-cut designs? How do I want the ring to sit: high or low? What, if any, stones do I like? Pictures are incredibly helpful during this process so don't hesitate to collect them (Pinterest is particularly useful here). Take a look at our always updated instagram page or our archived designs for some inspiration as well. Once you have considered these questions (and even if you came up with zero satisfying answers), make an appointment with us and we'll talk through the rest. We will walk you through everything from the very beginning, so you don't need to worry about skipping a step.
What should I budget for this?
Honestly, whatever you want. We will talk about what is reasonable within the budget you choose, including stone options and metal types. Our only recommendation is that you stick with what you're comfortable with, and don't listen to anyone else.
I already have a stone/I need a stone/what about the stone?
If you already have a stone, that's great: we can work with it. If you need a stone, that's great: we can find you one. If you have no idea about the stone, that's great: we can help you figure that out.
I'm looking for a conflict-free diamond. Are you able to verify your diamond sources?
The short answer is yes. The long answer that we feel everyone should be aware of is that while the diamond trade is regulated by the UN under the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme and is therefore ostensibly "conflict-free", the diamond trade is, by nature of how it's done, very difficult to fully regulate (and highly impactful on the environment). We offer diamonds that are GIA certified (the most stringent in the business) as well as AGS, IGI, and EGL. Stones can be "located" geographically by their composition and reputable dealers will offer only quality stones.
That said, if you are serious about finding an absolutely conflict-free diamond, ask for a Canadian diamond. These always have special laser inscriptions and while they cost a bit more, they will give you the peace of mind you are looking for. If you're open to laboratory-made alternatives, consider a moissanite or a even a lab-grown diamond, each of which are low-impact, more eco-friendly options. And yes, we can find one for you.
I am on the hunt for a vintage engagement ring. Do you carry those?
Absolutely. We have a small but ever-changing collection of vintage engagement rings and wedding bands that you are welcome to visit. If you fall in love with a ring but it doesn't quite fit, we will re-size it for you while you wait.
Do you sell your vintage engagement rings online?
Do you have wedding bands available?
Yes, we do. We offer a wide variety of men's and women's wedding bands for you to try on and customize to your personal preference. We also carry a small collection of women's vintage wedding rings.
If you would like to view our wedding bands, we encourage you to make an appointment in advance.
Do you do appraisals for jewelry?
We provide a complete appraisal for all custom-made items as a complementary service. We are happy to do appraisals for other items but we do charge a fee for those services. All appraisals are signed by Lawrence Miller, graduate GIA-certified gemologist.
The Silver Workshop
Our ground-floor Silver Workshop serves as our silversmithing hub and is your complete resource for all inquiries relating to repairing or restoring silver holloware or flatware. We do work with other metals such as pewter, copper, and certain mixed materials.
We welcome walk-in consultations in our Silver Workshop on Wednesdays and Fridays but are now unable to accommodate unscheduled appointments outside of those days. If you would like to make an appointment on another day, please send us an email and we will work with you to find a time.
I have an item that needs repairing, but I'm not sure what it's made out of. Can you help?
Yes, we can. There are a few tricks to doing this at home that may save you a trip, but you are always welcome to bring in a piece for us to identify. First, if the item is silver plated it will likely have a stamp on the bottom that says "EPNS" or some variant to say it is plated. If it is sterling silver, it will almost definitely be stamped as Sterling OR: 925; 925/1000; 900; Coin; Standard; 9584 (English Britannia); 800 (Germany); 84 (Russia); etc., depending on its country of origin. Pewter pieces will feel quite dense and usually dull pretty quickly to a deep grey. Sterling silver will hold its shine longer and develop a mottled tarnish, while silver plated pieces acquire more of a turquoise sheen.
You are always welcome to send a photo of the item to us via email and we can try to identify it for you. Please include a photo of any marks you see on the piece (as close and clear as possible), and a picture of the entire item. If you are looking for a complete appraisal of the item we can provide one for a fee.
Is my item worth repairing?
We always leave that question to our clients as we understand that an object can hold incredible sentimental value even if it isn't made of high-quality materials. Unfortunately, we see many precious (and not-so-precious) family heirlooms that have been mangled by other, unskilled metalsmiths that require substantial investment in order to get them restored. We don't charge per the quality of the item we are working on; rather, we charge for the work and difficulty involved in restoring a piece. We are happy to provide a quote and let you make your own decision.
Do you make pieces of your own?
Yes! Both Lawrence and Tim are accomplished silversmiths and love creating tumblers, bowls, spoons, baby cups, or whatever hits their inspiration. We offer a small selection of handmade silver items in our store and online and we accept commissions regularly.
My item just needs to be cleaned/buffed/polished. Will you still work on it?
Absolutely. We are happy to do this professionally for you - it really makes a huge difference!
What is the best way to care for my silver?
We encourage our clients to use their silver in their daily lives and not be too precious with it. This is how you will ensure people will care for it after you: show people you loved using it, and they will love using it too. That said, it's good to keep up with light polishing to keep things looking sharp. We recommend Hagerty Silver Polish, used lightly, and polishing with an old cotton t-shirt. Never use an abrasive polish (such as brass polish) on sterling silver as it will dull the metal. If the item is silver plated, be extra gentle as you do not want to buff off the silver plate.
Do you remove engravings?
If the engraving can be removed, we will do it. If the item was machine engraved it may not be possible, or if the item is too thin we won't recommend it.
Do you add engravings?
Yes! We work with the best hand engraver in the DC area. We do not do machine engraving.
Do you do appraisals for flatware, holloware and other goods?
We provide a complete appraisal for all commissioned items as a complementary service. We can do a complete appraisal of any other item for a fee. Appraisals typically take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity and volume of pieces requested. We usually need to keep the items on-site to complete the appraisal research.
Please note that if you have a large quantity of items, we ask that you make an appointment to drop them off so that we can appropriately inventory them and discuss the appraisal process with you.
I live far away and can't come to your store. Can we still work together to fix/make this thing?
Most likely! Many of our clients live outside of the DC area. If it's a repair, you can ship us the item (make sure you pack it very well and get it insured) via FedEx, UPS, or USPS. If it's a custom design project, we can do the entire design process via email (including sending renderings). While it's always helpful to meet in-person, we can work with your needs.