The Jewelry Experience – The Service is Just as Important!

For the most part, when you enter a jewelry store, you are expecting to see jewelry displayed elegantly in display cases with professional jewelry salespeople ready to be of assistance. You browse, touch, ask questions and hopefully, if interested enough, make a purchase on a wonderful piece of creation that simply fits with your lifestyle and wardrobe. Sounds simple enough… however most of us also have jewelry that has been acquired many years ago and still has meaning to us. Is there such a place that caters to the jewelry that is still being used? There is, but you need to find them correctly.

According to jewelry industry statistics, with the economy still in a challenging state of affairs, many customers are making due or reworking the jewelry that they already own. Most of the jewelry that is purchased can be repaired, restored or redesigned into beautiful modern styles. One of the basic problems is finding someone to understand, educate and communicate on what is best for someone’s cherished collection. The line of difference is in what jewelers are committed to providing their customers. Is it selling beautiful jewelry or servicing it? These are two distinct business disciplines. Even though most stores provide additional or complementary services, it doesn’t mean that they are completely experienced or organized in providing the best in professional services. Repairing and restoration work is an art if it is to be done correctly. The jewelry is usually priceless because of the sentiment. The jeweler needs to empathize with the customer’s sentimental collection. This is of utmost importance because it establishes the bond or relationship between jeweler and customer. Constant communication is required to understand what is to be done (if it can be done) and conveyed so that there are no disappointments after the fact. The whole experience should be of confidence, professionalism, completeness and a lasting impression.

Most of the majority of service jewelry work is in the repairing and restoration of jewelry, however, the additional specialty is designing. Designing jewelry is broken up into two sub categories; custom design and redesign. Each are handled similar but take on a difference aspect during the “designing idea phase”. The custom designing presentation is more of a start from scratch, where the designer provides all materials such as the gemstone/s and metal material that will be used to create the jewelry design. The other method is to work with what is provided. This method is mostly used today since many individuals have their own cherished or acquired jewelry or gemstones. This type of designing is exciting because it is very personal and sentimental to the customer. The customer is excited because of the attachment he or she has with the items.

In our industry, we are seeing more and more individuals that want to hold onto what is important in their lives, what has meaning and jewelry fills that void in many ways. In the next issue I will elaborate about how repair, restoration or design services can be handled to get the most out of the services.

For more information, please visit our “Jewelry Stories’ blog at or our website at

Microfractional CO2 Laser

“Simply The Best Laser Ever Invented to Rejuvenate Your Skin!” Michael J. Tomcik, MD

In 2009, I began researching cosmetic laser surgery and consulted several board-certified dermatologists to diagnose the best treatment to smooth, tighten, and rejuvenate my aging skin. With all the information available about hundreds of different lasers, it was confusing and I needed the advice of professionals before I could make a decision.

My careful review led me to dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, Michael J. Tomcik, MD, at Advance Laser Skin Care Center in San Ramon, California. His expertise in medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and surgical dermatology for over 38 years impressed me. Knowing he has been a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at University of California, San Francisco since 1977, assured me he has access to the latest technology in lasers. Dr. Tomcik said, “People are looking for less invasive procedures that are less expensive, but give excellent results.” Just what I was thinking.

During a one hour consultation with Dr. Tomcik, together we reviewed my health history, skin type, and daily practices of skin care. Dr. Tomcik advised treatment tailored to my unique skin complexion, social and cultural backgrounds, and other priorities. His belief that the Microfractional CO2 laser is, “Simply The Best Laser Ever Invented to Rejuvenate Your Skin!” and that he is a nationally recognized expert in Microfractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing convinced me to move forward with the procedure. The fact that he has performed over 4600 laser procedures, and has the knowledge and experience to handle complications, should I have the need, gained my trust. Besides I liked him…he has a genuine enthusiasm and passion for his work.

Two weeks following the consultation, I met with the surgical nurse on staff at Advanced Laser Skin Care Center. We discussed skin care products (cleanser, skin tone pads, glycolic acid moisturizer, sun screen), and we selected a date for my laser treatment. We took into account I needed between three to six weeks of practicing a customized skin care regiment prior to laser surgery, and approximately a week for recovery. In addition we discussed the actual laser procedure, medications to prevent infection, and scheduled follow-up appointments with Dr. Tomcik.

For three weeks I followed the skin care regiment on my face, neck, and chest, and saw immediate improvement. Having my skin in the healthiest possible condition before laser surgery would ensure better results after laser surgery. In addition, beginning the skin care program prior to laser surgery would establish a daily routine that would be similar to the post laser treatment.

Three days prior to laser surgery, I began prescribed medication.

On the day of surgery my friend drove me to Advanced Laser Skin Care Center, and I was escorted to the surgical room. A nurse gave oral medications to me, an injection of Demerol in my hip, cleaned my skin, and then applied a powerful topical anesthetic (no general anesthetic was required). For approximately forty minutes I simply relaxed and let the medication take effect. Although I could hear Dr. Tomcik and a nurse conversing throughout the procedure, I did not have any discomfort or feel any pain whatsoever during or after the treatment.

My customized laser treatment called Microfractional Plus included both Microfractional CO2 laser and Erbium yag laser. The Microfractional CO2 laser was used on my face, neck and chest, while the Erbium yag laser was focused specifically on my crow’s feet, under my eyes, and around my mouth. Dr. Tomcik said with this combination of lasers he can aggressively treat deep lines, acne or chicken pox scars, and enlarged pores. He reports 80 to 90 percent reduction in these lines and scars with only one treatment.

Once home, I began the post laser treatment. The nurse had stressed washing hands to prevent infection, and to take five to seven showers each day to clean and steam moisturize the exposed skin. She further instructed me to use a clean pillow case nightly, and sleep in a recliner or with extra pillows. By keeping my head elevated above my heart, I would minimize swelling. Finally, she encouraged rest. 

For the next week, I diligently followed the post laser treatment, frequently applying post laser cleanser, gel, and SPF 45 sunscreen. I relaxed, read, ate nutritious foods, drank plenty of water, took my medication, and watched my skin transform from swollen redness, to peeling oatmeal-like skin, to soft “dewy” skin. By the end of five days, my neck and chest were almost finished peeling. Actually, I conducted business on my computer within 24 hours, and was back at work wearing makeup within nine days. With the help of their esthetician, I selected makeup to adequately cover the redness on my forehead and under my eyes while my facial skin continued to heal.

Post laser checkups with the nurse went well. Twelve days after surgery, Dr. Tomcik injected Botox in my forehead to temporarily weaken my muscles so the tremendous amount of new collagen fibers would not be bent by facial expressions while healing. After the skin has healed, Botox injections do not have to be continued.

Dr. Tomcik told me the deep heat produced by Microfractional Plus will continue to tighten my skin up to 60 percent over the next six months. Of course continuing the daily use of SPF 45 sunscreen, wearing a hat, and staying out of the sun are my responsibility, and by my actions I can contribute to the longevity of the results. Some patients have been known to keep their soft skin for 15 years, and for patients with acne or chicken pox scars, some have had life changing results.

I had this procedure to cosmetically rejuvenate my skin, but the amazing secondary benefit is I have also minimized my chances of getting basal cell skin cancer on my face, neck, and chest as I continue to age. By having this Microfractional Plus laser as maintenance when I’m 56 years old, I am adding years of healthy skin to my life.


As a side note…do not confuse basal cell skin cancer with melanoma. Both are types of skin cancer, but melanoma is much more serious. In a recent study by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, it stated educated, high-income women appeared to be at a higher risk for melanomas. The study’s conclusion suggested the increased risk could be due to the use of tanning beds, sun exposure on vacations, and more leisure time spent outdoors. In the past thirty years, the rate of melanoma has more than doubled in young white women, and women from the highest-income areas are six times as likely to have malignant melanomas as those in poorer areas. (New York Times 03/29/11) Regardless of race, income, or education, take action and protect your skin. Wear sunscreen and a hat!

Two weeks after my laser surgery, I resumed attending a Jazzercise class three times a week. A class member approached me because she heard I had “the skin of a sixth grader”… slight exaggeration. After seven weeks, several close friends shared comments, “You still look like you…very natural,” and “you look well rested and youthful.” I also heard, “Your skin looks amazing, but it’s not for me. I’ve earned every wrinkle on my face.” For the record, I too earned every wrinkle on my face. It’s just that with this procedure, I can still look my age, just aging more gracefully.

The entire staff at Advanced Laser Skin Care Center contributed to the warm, inviting atmosphere of dedication to taking care of their patients. Dr. Tomcik’s wife, Connie, is a registered nurse and works closely with the staff to promote the practice’s philosophy of care for Mind, Body, and Spirit. Connie stated, “We work as a team and have something for everyone. Numerous packages are available to fit the customized needs of each patient.”

If you are considering cosmetic laser surgery, remember it is definitely surgery, and should be regarded as such. Knowing a nationally recognized Microfractional CO2 laser expert, Dr. Michael J. Tomcik, practices right here in San Ramon, CA is to your benefit.

My advice…don’t rush. The process takes some planning. Go to the website, and watch the video demonstrating the laser procedure. Then make the call to Advanced Laser Skin Care Center to schedule your consultation.

The Microfractional CO2 Laser is “Simply The Best Laser Ever Invented to remove pigment, smooth, and tighten the skin up to 60 percent.” Now Dr. Michael J. Tomcik is combining the Microfractional CO2 laser with an Erbium yag laser in a procedure he calls Microfractional Plus. This combination allows him to aggressively treat deep lines around the mouth, acne and chicken pox scars, and enlarged pores. He reports 80 to 90 percent reduction in these lines with only one treatment, and the smooth effect lasts up to fifteen years.