Precious purchases


February 24, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

Jewelry shopping? Here's a list of dos from the Jewelry Information Center, a nonprofit association promoting the jewelry industry (

* Ask your friends for jeweler recommendations -- don't just blindly pick one -- and check their reputations with your local Better Business Bureau (in Baltimore: 410-347-3990;

* Ask to have the quality mark on gold (noted in karats), platinum (usually stamped "PLAT" or "950 PLAT") and silver (sterling is typically imprinted with "925") pointed out to you along with the manufacturer's trademark, if the piece was made in the United States. Its presence is required by law and means the maker stands behind the metal's grade.

* If you're choosing from loose diamonds, ask to look at them on a sheet of white paper; it's easier to see any contrasts or imperfections.

* If you're buying pearls, look for strands with knots in between each pearl (if the strand breaks, the pearls won't fly all over and get lost).

Vegetable or mineral?

Carrots, carats, karats. Confused? Take a look:

* Carrots are orange and edible and grow in the ground. Duh.

* Carats are what's used to denote a gemstone's weight. One carat equals 200 milligrams.

* Karats indicate the purity of a piece of gold. A 24-karat piece is 100 percent pure; a 14-karat gold piece is 14 out of 24 parts pure, or 58.3 percent. The other parts are made up of alloy, which could be a combination of all sorts of metals chosen for strength and sometimes color.

Float like a butterfly, dress like Ali

It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.

-- Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali may well be the king of the quip, and his pithy wisdom has inspired a new clothing line by FUBU: the Ali Collection. The sportswear features images of the great one superimposed, silk-screened or embroidered on Ts, terry sweats, denim suits and button-downs along with some of Ali's best known utterances, like "I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived" or "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

The collection, which sells for $55 to $300, is available at Macy's and online at -- T. B.

First-aid for the lips

If your lover's lips (or yours) feel more like sandpaper than his unshaven cheek does, check out Alchemy's Medic Lip Scrub ($14) and Emergency Mouth Treatment ($15). The scrub is a gentle exfoliant that whisks away chapped winter flakes and moisturizes your pucker with jojoba and avocado oil. Follow it up with the ultra-creamy, shea-butter-infused EMT to soothe any cracked spots and keep your whistle wet. Available online at -- T. B.

Lather up your head

Veteran chrome dome Todd Greene may have struck oil inventing his ingenious little head-shaving blade, the HeadBlade (Time named it among the 10 best designs of 2000), but he might find it a little tough talking its fans into shelling out $11 for his latest creation: HeadSlick shaving cream. While the stuff is pretty creamy, and it moisturizes and mentholates and all that, so does the 99-cent stuff the drugstore sells.

The biggest difference might be that Greene's smells better than most, and it's kind of cool to have a specific shaving cream just for your pate. Available online at or by calling 877-427-2067. -- T. B.

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