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by Joseph Mirsky, gemologist and proprietor

Copyright © 2015 Joseph's Jewelry


I own a jewelry store on Main Street in Anytown, USA. I write newsletters for my customers. They like them. Maybe you’ll like them, too. This site has articles from the 56 newsletters I’ve written so far.

Cynical, eh? See below.

What’s In It For Me?

Ego. Not too much, because (surprise!) I’m an old guy. Your ego gets smaller and your father gets wiser when you get older.

Rollover            for old guy lessons.

Express myself. I write. Somebody has to read.

Book plug. I wrote a book with 804 articles like you’re reading here. I want to sell it.  It’s only 16 bucks. See You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet on page 4.


The carat, the unit of weight for gems, is derived from the carob bean. The carob, or locust tree, grows in the Middle East. In ancient times, merchants found that dried carob beans were very uniform in weight. The modern carat is defined as 2/10ths of a gram. A dollar bill weighs 1 gram or 5 carats!


The most unusual engagement ring I ever made was for a woman whose hobby was raising rabbits. She got a ring that looked like a carrot: a pear shaped orange sapphire for the carrot and 3 small marquise green tsavorite garnets for the leaves. A one carrot engagement ring!

Something For Nothing

Clueless? Unsure of yourself? Orna-mentally challenged? Problem solved! Just buy a gift certificate and let the giftee do all the work while you get the credit!

But Was It Crunchy Or Creamy?

Soon after the first synthetic diamonds were made by General Electric in 1954, Robert Wentorf, one of the researchers, in a whimsical tour-de-force, made diamonds out of peanut butter.

The peanut, like you, is a carbon-based lifeform (according to Mr. Spock) and diamonds are pure carbon. The result was tiny crystals of green diamonds. According to Wentorf, the green color was caused by nitrogen in the peanut butter.


No, trigons are not Star Trek aliens. They’re natural features on the surfaces of  rough diamonds.

The Picture of a diamond above was taken through the microscope. It shows a natural with a trigon.

A natural is the original surface of a rough diamond that wasn’t ground away during polishing to save weight. Naturals are usually on the girdle (edge) of a diamond and are not considered defects if they are small and don’t intrude into the stone. Often a diamond will have two naturals on opposite sides of the girdle, an indication that the cutter was trying to maximize the diameter of the diamond.

Naturals look like shiny irregular facets with angular striations that are related to the underlying atomic structure of the diamond crystal.

But occasionally a natural will show ghostly little triangles: trigons. An intact rough diamond is shaped like two four-sided pyramids set base-to-base, called an octahedron. Trigons occur on the triangular faces of the pyramids.

Web Edition

A newsletter from

Since 1987

200 Wanaque Ave.

Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

Bankers’ Hours

Back in the pre everything 24/7 era, banks would only be open weekdays from 9 to 3, and maybe Saturday morning. I asked the branch manager of my bank what they did after 3:00. “That’s when we play with the money”, he said.

Illegal Immigrant

In 1924, Osbert, a stag fleeing hunting hounds in West Kent, jumped into the English Channel. Halfway to France, he was rescued by a French ship and taken to Dunkirk.

The captain of the ship was threatened with a fine for carrying an animal without a license. He appealed to The Ministry of Agriculture which determined that Osbert wasn’t of the French deer type, so he didn’t exist and recommended that he be shot.

But the police said it was out of season for deer and he could get into trouble. Dunkirk officials then contacted the British Ministry of Agriculture asking to send Osbert back home but were informed that this would have required a six month quarantine.

A restaurateur from Le Touquet bought Osbert, but not for venison. He set Osbert free in a park. When Osbert died in 1933, his head was presented to the Prince of Wales who had initially offered to buy him.

Beware the Ides of April

Studies of insurance claims show a consistent spike in claims of lost jewelry at tax time.

Fashion Police Arrest Counterfeiters

The Chinese burn paper or cardboard replicas of things the recently deceased will need in the next world at funerals.

Houses, sometimes complete with paper servants and furniture, televisons, $10,000 bills, and, of course, brand name luxuries — Mercedes, Rolexes, and expensive handbags are among the  offerings.

Police in New York busted a Chinatown store clerk in 2011 for selling fake Louis Vuitton and Burberry handbags, cardboard fake fakes, not real fakes.

The charge was copyright infringment. The clerk was taken away in handcuffs, jailed overnight and arraigned the next morning.

The other store employees then prudently covered up the insignia on a four foot fake fake BMW.


Attention! Joseph's does not carry those 5 year watch batteries you're always asking for. They're only sold at gas stations where they sell the 35 miles per gallon gas.


Fairy Floss

You’d think the National Confectioners Association would have picked a day other than December 7 for National Cotton Candy Day. You know about “a date which will live in infamy”, right?

Spun sugar as an expensive luxury  goes back to the 18th century. A dentist (!) and a confectioner invented the cotton candy machine in 1897. The machine debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Their “Fairy Floss” sold 68,655 boxes at 25¢, $6.50 2015 equivalent.

A large cone of cotton candy has less sugar than a can of soda, because it’s mainly air. Tootsie Roll is the largest manufacturer of cotton candy.

Why December? County fair season is in the summer. July 4th would be better. Then you could call it Freedom Floss.

For the Serious Vampire

That’s how describes its “14K real gold fangs.” $649.99. And “if your a real baller”, you can get them with a diamond set in each for $1149.99.