Man-Made Diamonds; A Buyer's Guide

It seems almost impossible to watch TV or open a newspaper without seeing something about man-made diamonds. For centuries of years science has tested to create a perfect synthetic diamond. Finally, 21st-century technology has made that prospect a reality.

There are many reasons to purchase synthetic diamonds instead of the mined variety. The prices charged for mined diamonds are, in the very best verbiage, an illusion. To put it more bluntly, Cecil Adams, in his award-winning newspaper column "The Straight Dope" says: "Diamonds are a con, pure and simple." Diamond prices are largely controlled by the DeBeers diamond cartel, and they are not a fair reflection of diamond scarcity. Additionally, studies show that one out of three diamonds sold in the US today has been altered to artificially increase its value. Further studies have shown that on average a couple pays 40% too much for their diamond engagement ring.

Beyond deceiving pricing, there are the issues of "blood diamonds", forced child labor, and a myriad of other disturbing diamond facts.

Recently, socially conscious celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Minnie Driver, and Angelina Jolie have made a vocal issue of wearing only synthetic diamonds to the many gala events they attend.

Good synthetic diamonds are naturally indistinguishable from the mined variety, but without the baggage, and additionally, they cost thousands of dollars less. But, which synthetic diamond is the best choice?

There are many types of man-made or synthetic diamonds available. The choices are numerous, but unbiased information is scarce. Here is an overview and comparison of the synthetic diamonds currently unavailable on the market:

Cubic Zirconia

The grandfather of simulated diamonds, Zircons are available wide. In their best examples, CZ's are actually a fairly decent diamond replica. Unfortunately, the commodity-like availability and vast differences in quality have made the stone synonymous with low-cost fashion jewelry. Perhaps a good choice for cheap bling, but not for fine jewelry. Many sources are available, a decent one is: http://www.czfantasy.com

Russian Diamonds

Including Russian Brilliants, Russian Stars and others, they are in fact nothing but high quality cubic zirconias. This is not mentioned prominently on their web sites and they will only cop to it when pressed, but that is the fact. Russian diamond simulates are priced around $ 280 per carat.

Russian Diamonds are a fine jewelry selection and are usually mounted in quality precious metal settings.

Russian Brilliants are one of the best and oldest sellers of "Russian Diamonds" available at: http://www.russianbrilliants.net

Moissanite

Moissanite is a lab-created mineral that is a very good diamond simulant. Moissanite has been on the market as a fine jewelry choice since the early 90s and has picked up quite a few fans. Moissanite is a hard mineral that, like diamond, will cut glass. There are a couple of minor downsides to moissanite however. First, it is quite expensive, (though still cheaper compared to diamonds) usually priced about $ 500 per carat for good samples.

Secondly, moissanite does not have the same optical qualities as diamond and there are several indicators that make them easy to spot with the naked eye for an experienced practitioner. It is difficult to produce a pure white moissanite and they often appear slowly green when viewed in natural light. Also, moissanite has significantly higher radiance and brilliance factors then natural diamond, causing them to appear "too sparkly" to some. Overall though, moissanite is a beautiful synthetic diamond choice.

"Moissanite From the Sky" at http://www.fromthesky.com is a good source of fine moissanite jewelry.

Diamond Nexus

Diamond Nexus gemstones are the result of a fairly new scientific advancement in processing technique, and have only recently been available in the United States.

Diamond Nexus gemstones are excellent diamond simulants and come very close to matching the properties of mined diamonds at many different comparison points. They cut glass, being virtually identical to diamond on the Mohs (hardness) scale. They refract perfect "hearts and arrows" and have radiance and brilliance statements very close to flawless diamond.

Best of all, they are currently introductory pricing for the US market, and are a steal at $ 79 per caret. Diamond Nexus gemstones are only available in precious metal, solid-gold settings.

Diamond Nexus is only available from Diamond Nexus Labs at: http://www.DiamondNexusLabs.com

White Sapphire

Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral on the Mohs scale, surpassed only by diamond. They are, unlike the others in this review, a natural stone. Their radiance and brilliance are not up to the standards of diamond however. Neverheless, quality white sapphires priced at around $ 220 per carat are a good diamond alternative.

A quality source is: http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com

Gemisis Cultured Diamond

Gemisis diamonds are beautiful and almost perfect diamond replicas. Unfortunately, they are not available in a clear, white color, so they are not a good choice for traditional diamond settings. However, if a yellow, orange or pink diamond is what you crave, Gemisis offers stunning choices in beautiful precious metal, fine-jewelry settings.

Gemisis Cultured Diamonds are only available at: http://www.gemisis.com

Recap:

Synthetic diamonds offer many advantages over the mined variety. You can buy with confidence, knowing that you are getting exactly what you paid for, and have not been the victim of diamond pricing chicanery. If you are concerned with the world around you, you can have a clear conscience, knowing that your money has not contributed to the support of an unethical and abusive industry.

However, there are many choices of synthetic diamonds, with varying degrees of quality. Take a little time to review the seller's information to get a clear idea of ​​what the science is behind the gemstones you are buying.

For my money, I believe the best choices are quality Moissanite stones or the new diamond simulant gemstones available from Diamond Nexus Labs.

Benefits of Leisure and Recreation

Although it may not seem so, in reality, Leisure and Recreation is the largest industry in the world. The benefits of leisure and recreation as an important part of life are easy to see. As an industry, it offers a variety of related employment and creates billions of dollars in revenue. Workers in parks and recreation, community agencies, sports agencies, youth development organizations, non-profit organizations, rehab and hospital agencies, the travel and entertainment industries all utilize and benefit from parks and recreation facilities world-wide. Additional benefits of leisure and recreation include environmental improvements from expanding green spaces, health benefits, and personal satisfaction benefits.

There are many civic benefits of leisure and recreation activities. Sports and youth activities offer leadership development for adults and children. Strong communities are built as parks become a hub of community life. Benefits extend to all ages, childhood, youth, young adults, families, and seniors. Both care for environment and wellness through green spaces are enhanced by beauty. This same beauty helps combat stress through the opportunity for mild exercise and mediation upon natural beauty. Wilderness experiences are available in some locations.

For personal benefits, leisure activities may include:

Hobbies

Exercise

Sports

Gardening

Crafts

Health

Coping

Family Bonding

Physical benefits include increased lung capacity from sports participation, plus reducing serum cholesterol and hypertension, increasing bone mass, strengthening the spine, reducing disease, increase in feelings of well being, reduction in stress hormones, improved attitudes and performances, and improved social skills. For childhood development, recreational areas assist in learning, can keep kids off the streets, and enhance their confidence. Studies confirm that physical activity can aid the learning process in children. Sports activities enhance large motor skill development and social skills. Adult leaders offer positive role models to children. Group sports are well known for promoting social support, networking, and developing friendships.

As if all the above is not enough to encourage support of leisure and recreational activities, consider the following additional benefits:

Stress management – the mild stress of leisure activity can reduce overall negative stress by contributing to relaxation.

Self esteem – especially in children and seniors, mild exercise, group activities, and hobbies and crafts will help create positive self images.

Positive lifestyle development – contributing to society, social interaction, development of leaders, being part of organized sports all encourage good lifetime activities.

Personal satisfaction – any creative outlet will enhance personal satisfaction. Being part of the leadership offers self satisfaction, and those who work in the recreational areas can feel the pride in keeping these areas vital and available to others.

Quality of life – fresh air, sunshine, social interaction, health benefits and self esteem all will improve quality of life.

Preventative health – regular exercise, physiological benefits from mild exercise, and stress reduction all are made easier by having leisure and recreational activities readily available.

Since the future seems to be headed for a shorter work week and more extra time, support of leisure and recreational outlets and locations would be prudent, and benefit all involved.

What Exactly is Buffet Furniture?

Many people wonder what buffet furniture is exactly. You hear the word buffet, and you think of the best all-you-can-eat place in town. This of course is not what buffet furniture is, but it can help if you want to put out a nice spread when you are entertaining guests in your home. Buffet furniture includes different pieces for your dining room, living room, or kitchen, including: buffet tables, buffet cabinets, buffet huts, buffet sets, and sideboards. Buffets are not only functional pieces of furniture, they are also beautiful accent pieces to add to your home's decor.

So what is the difference among the buffets? It can be broken down by function and appearance. The largest is the buffet hutch, which provides spacious cabinets on the bottom, and a hutch display case for your fine China or precious knickknacks on the top. The next largest would be the buffet cabinet, which provide much more storage space for extra dishes, glasses, and table linens, as well as providing that extra tabletop during festive occasions when you could use the table space for food dishes.

Buffet tables are the smallest of the three, taking up less floor space, but providing less storage. A buffet table provides drawers for storing small items such as silverware and napkin rings, and like a cabinet serves as an extra tabletop for entertaining. Then there is the buffet set, which usually includes a matching buffet hutch and table, giving you the best of both worlds.

Another word you may hear bandied about when buffet furniture is mentioned is sideboards. A sideboard is another word for a buffet cabinet or table, and may be used synonymously for either term. So when you choose a cabinet-style sideboard or a table-style sideboard, they will add storage space and an extra tabletop to your dining room or living room.

So now you have the 411 on every type of buffet out there. It's up to you to choose which piece of buffet furniture most appropriately suits your lifestyle and home. And do not worry that all buffets are traditional or old fashioned if you have a different interior design theme in your home. There are a wide variety of styles, including antique, wooden, traditional, and contemporary designs. Whiche buffet you choose, you can be sure that it will provide beauty as well as function to your home.

Facts and Care for White Ink Tattoos

When you hear people talking about getting a white ink tattoo, they usually mean a design which is in all white ink with no other colours. These tats are typically more subtle than the blaringly loud designs you would get with black ink or coloured marks. A white ink tattoo will more often than not, look more like a scar/brand. It is a great way to get inked in a more private way. These marks are usually only really visible when you deliberately show it someone. It is the best of both worlds. You can have your very personal art, without getting any kind of negative attention at formal gatherings or at work.

Simplicity is key when it comes to white ink tattoos. Keep in mind that your tattoo artist will be working with ink which is a little bit trickier to see. Simplistic art has a solid shot at showing up more clearly than a complicated one. Trendy selections include shooting star tattoos, dragons, writing, key tattoos, Kanji symbols, hearts, and basic tribal patterns. These are so much easier to ink and way less likely to end up as a confusing and disappointing blur. All white tattoos will require to be inked over a few times to make sure the finished pattern is as noticeable as possible. Also, darker coloured skin tends to dampen the brightness of white ink.

With a typical tattoo, the design is usually stenciled in before shading begins. The outlines are done with a dark ink, usually black. This provides a very noticeable pattern the artist uses to keep on track. Tats without any dark ink tend to be a bit more blurred. It is more difficult to follow what you have inked when using only white ink. If a different coloured ink is used with the white, it can result in blended mess.

The ink used is completely different from base white inks which tint other colours. When used as the primary ink, you get a much thicker, top quality mixture which is created solely to stand out as much as it can.

White ink tattoos will lose a portion of their brightness and clarity if they are constantly in the sunshine. If you get this type of design, be sure to keep it out of the sun as much as possible. The easiest way to do this is to get inked in an area which you normally cover up. Your back or chest make for ideal areas. If you normally wear clothes with a bit more cover in the summer, you could also try using your shoulder or just below the ankle. (Keep in mind – any tattoo applied near a bone will hurt more than one that is put on muscle).

If a stencil is used on your white ink tattoo, the artist can either make the outline in your own blood or with purple dye. As a warning, your blood can sometimes tint the ink pink, and the purple can also mix. Your best bet is to have a pro do a simple design without a stencil. Ask your tattoo artist if he or she has much experience with white ink before you let them draw on your skin.

Sometimes people have some bad reactions to white ink. Reactions can also happen with black ink, but they are happen more often with white. Reactions include itching and swelling. In some cases the ink can also turn yellow if it mixes with sweat. As a prevention method, there is nothing wrong with asking for a small sample ink in the area you are aiming to have the full design. This way you be more confident that you will be left with a great tattoo instead of an ugly scar.

As with any ink, if you do not put in the effort to take special care of your new tattoo, you might end up with something that only barely resembles the art you wanted. Don’t scratch or touch the area. Always keep the gauze on for the minimum of 2 hours. Never ever cover up a new tattoo with plastic/saran wrap. Use only lukewarm water, mild liquid antibacterial soap, and your own hands to clean the area. Lightly dab with paper towel to dry it off. Do not put anything like sunscreen or Neosporin over the area. Lastly – take extra care to not let your new tattoo to get too much sunlight until it heals.

Just follow these steps and you will have the best chance of having a clear yet subtle design you can show of to your friends.