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sunset proposalMarch 20th marks Proposal Day, the day on which an estimated 50,000 couples will get engaged!

Is March 20th the day to pop the big question? Possibly, but this lesser known holiday was initially started for the purpose of giving a nudge to couples who have not yet taken the ultimate step of commitment. Interestingly enough, it was a man by the name of John Michael O’Laughlin who founded Proposal Day. After seeing his cousin being strung along for years by a boyfriend who wouldn’t commit, O’Laughlin decided enough was enough and decided to dedicate one day out of the year just for the act of proposing.

Proposal Day falls on the Vernal Equinox, one out of two days of the year on which the Earth’s North and South poles are both perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This means that the Sun appears approximately an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth, so that day and night are equal lengths. O’Laughlin specifically chose the day of an equinox because he believed the equal day and night symbolized “the equal efforts of the two required to comprise a successful marriage.” The Autumnal Equinox falls about six months after March 20th, and is considered by some to be a second Proposal Day for that reason.vernal equinox

The holiday is an opportunity to start a conversation about the possibility of a future proposal, according to ProposalDay.com. Besides, nowadays couples wait longer before tying the knot; a recent poll found that roughly 27 per cent of women whose partners had popped the question dated their partner for three to five years. As an added benefit, talking to your partner about the proposal beforehand means that you can go engagement ring shopping together, which takes some pressure off of finding the perfect engagement ring!

Although it’s certainly not as widely recognized as Valentine’s Day, there are signs that Proposal Day is gaining traction. It has been creating a buzz in numerous social media outlets like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter and has even been featured in the national news media.

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Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may be glad to hear that those cumbersome bandage-like splints can be a thing of the past! There is now a very fashionable HeidiK repossialternative, precious metal finger splints made from silver or gold. These offer support while blending in with your outfits as a chic, everyday “accessory”.

More than just a pleasing visual appearance, they also have other advantages over their bandage counterparts. For one, they are much more streamlined and compact, allowing ease of hand function in day-to-day activities. For example, the user can wear gloves over them while doing housework or when out in the cold, and are able to slide into sleeved shirts without difficulty. Because there is an efficient use of space, they are also more comfortable to wear.

Being made of metal instead of cloth and rubber means that there is less maintenance for the splint, the traditional ones need to be wiped down and hand-washed often. Hygienic maintenance for metal splints is not necessary, but like any piece of jewelry, you may want to give it a polish every now and then to keep it looking its best.  You can also get them wet without any worries! No Sienna ringsneed to take them off every time you wash your hands. The rigidness ensures it will keep your wrist and hand movements in the way it is intended.

As an added bonus, similar types of extended finger rings are already a very popular fashion accessory for people without arthritis! This “rock-chic” look has been seen on many celebrities and models.

You can choose to customize them to your personal tastes as well, changing up the finish of the metal, adding different designs, embed with gemstones or diamonds.. The possibilities are endless!

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name necklace

Personalised gifts are the key. Personalised gifts can make a average present into something stunning and meaningful. A lot of gifts can be personalized and jewellery is one of them! Here’s some reasons why to personalize your jewelry:

  •  It’s practical. For example, if you make a gold name plate or initial necklace, with or without diamonds, it’s something she can wear every single day, not just a piece to go with any outfit.
  •  It’s the thoughts. You have to either custom made something or do extra work to present this personal gift. The thought and work behind it let the recipient know you’ve taken the time to give a thoughtful gift, specially for them.
  • A personal touch: Of course it’s personal! You didn’t pick it out from a bunch of stuff made available to you, for instance, you didn’t pick out from a bunch of stuff that’s made available for you to pick from.
  •  Treasure item: People love to see items personalized making them feel special and that item uniquely made just for them.

 

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platinum wedding ringShould you choose white gold or platinum jewellery? What’s the differences between white gold and platinum? The first difference between white gold and platinum is the most basic and is the foundation of all the other differences. White gold and platinum are different metals. White gold jewellery are mostly plated. The plating of white gold, which is done using rhodium, is a practice that has been used in the jewelry industry for decades, it makes white gold bright and white. However, it is decorative so it’s not permanent; it’s used to event out the color and soften white gold’s yellow tint. Depend on the wear and tear of the individual, the plating could last several years, but eventually it wears off and needs re-plating.

Platinum is heavier and naturally white metal although a little grayish in color and has been used for hundreds of years. Platinum is harder to work with then white gold. The higher melting temperature makes it more difficult to cast. The platinum solders are also at higher temperature. These and other reasons make platinum more expensive to work with then white gold. It is the preferred metal when it comes to softer gemstones such as emeralds or to consumers who have sensitive skin or are allergic to nickel which is commonly used in white gold jewellery in North America.

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small diamond pendantSmall necklaces, earrings and bracelets have been appearing more in the jewelry market today. They are great small pieces for gifts and self-purchase, a great entry piece for fine jewellery. Many jewelry brand names have developed a line of tiny pendants, for instance, diamond brand hearts on fire have a collection of small diamond necklaces.

Hearts on fire my 1xt “x” pendant. These small pieces great for layering, a trend that’s very popuar with necklaces, rings and bracelets. The right necklace is an essential for putting the final touch on your outfit, with a small diamond necklace, you can totally overdo it with earrings, bracelets or rings.

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cufflinksToday’s popular male stars, such as Jay-Z, Johnny Depp, the Jonas brothers and Justin Bieber, tend to wear more jewelry and that’s opening the door for other men to realize that jewelry is a part of putting an outfit together. Jewelry is also a status symbol for men who have become more established in life and their careers. The more popular and traditional men’s jewellery are watches and cufflinks.

As men’s jewelry progresses, it will go through those conservative categories, of watches and cufflinks, to more modern categories, including bracelets, rings and pendants. These categories will continue to grow as the younger generation moves into the market. Younger generation may not be able to afford nice watches yet but they can all afford some nice silver men’s jewellery. Men’s jewellery can’t be too flashy, feminine or ostentatious; they need to have a masculine appeal. Brushed and blackened metals are great choices of design, and most of the time men’s jewellery are easy to maintain.

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Lead-glass filled rubies have been creeping slowly into the jewelry market, and are now the most abundant ruby material used.  Even from the wholesale level they are sometimes undisclosed, making their way to retailers as loose stones or finished jewelry; which should be a widespread concern for jewelers and buyers alike.

What exactly are lead-glass filled rubies and why is this a big deal?

Lead-glass filled rubies, also known as composite rubies, typically start out as very included, dark ruby rough that would otherwise be unworkable. The rough or polished stone is then treated multiple times by being exposed to high heat while submerged in a lead-glass solution, which is a permanent fusion process of the ruby material with the lead-glass filler. The result is a gemstone far better in appearance of the rough it came from, but at a cost of the stability and durability of the stone. Due to a significant portion of the gem being composed of glass, these stones are sensitive to high temperatures, many cleaning solutions, and exposure to direct sunlight. A simple jewelry repair or maintenance process such as resizing or polishing can be detrimental to a lead-glass filled ruby.

ruby

If the end result from this enhancement has a completely different chemical makeup, is considerably more vulnerable to damage, and contains more filler than corundum – how can you still call it a natural ruby? It is more accurate to describe these gems as composite, reconstituted, or even man-made rubies. The lead-glass serves as the “glue” that holds together the skeleton of the actual ruby.

Lead-glass rubies should not be confused with “treated” rubies.

As this type of treatment is relatively new to the industry, many market these rubies as being “treated” when it should be directly listed as lead-glass filled. Other traditional and widely accepted enhancement procedures (mainly heat-treatment and fillers) do not affect day-to-day handling of the stone.

ruby

Why use lead-glass?

The reason lead-glass is used is because it can be formulated so that its refractive index (R.I.) is the same as ruby’s. The refractive index of a stone relates to the way light moves through it. The greater the difference between the R.I. of each substance, the more easily you can see the different components; the closer the R.I., the more difficult it is to see them. If the R.I. is the same for both substances, you cannot distinguish where one ends and the other begins.

What is the difference between lead-glass in composite rubies and the silica glass fillers in “treated” rubies?

  1. Silica glass is more durable than lead-glass
  2. Rubies that are treated with silica glass use much less of it than composite rubies use lead-glass
  3. The lead-glass cannot be separated from a composite ruby without causing irreparable damage; silica glass filler can be safely removed from a treated ruby to return to its original state, and after it can be refilled
  4. Because lead-glass cannot be safely removed, composite rubies cannot be accurately graded for clarity or color. It is possible to grade for color and clarity with silica glass rubies (after removal of the filler)
  5. Carat weight – the representative carat weight of composite rubies is misleading because it accounts for the combined weight of the lead-glass and ruby material. What makes it even worse is that lead-glass is 50% heavier! Since traditionally glass-treated rubies use very little silica glass, it has very little, if any, impact on the carat weight.
  6. Value – all composite rubies are very inexpensive, at the wholesale level they only go for a few dollars per carat; treated/natural rubies start at 20 times the value and up, depending on quality
  7. Detectability – silica glass filled rubies is easier to spot with the naked eye, as there is an R.I. difference between materials. Most lead-glass filled rubies are difficult to identify by the naked eye because the R.I. of lead-glass and ruby is the same, but close up under a jeweler’s microscope the tell-tale air bubbles and flashes of blue are a dead giveaway.

 ruby

The bottom line for a buyer would be to find a retailer who has someone who can identify any treatments made to a stone, a Graduate Gemologist or similar who has undergone formal gemological training. At the very least, do not buy any rubies without an official gemological certification stating its treatments (if any). You pay for what you get. There are no discounts for quality rubies, they are very rare and in high demand. Use common sense, get a stone with a lab certificate or have it certified, and buy from a knowledgeable jeweler.

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Read Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?  and Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging Diamonds

Accidents happen. It’s hard not to get upset when your diamond gets chipped, but understand that it’s not uncommon. It is part of the risk you take when wearing jewelry; although diamonds sustain less damage in everyday wear and tear than other gemstones, they are not indestructible.

First of all, you need to evaluate the chip(s) in your diamond. How big is it relative to your diamond? Is it instantly noticeable? Is it something you can live with? Keep these questions in mind when you bring your diamond ring to a specialist for an in-depth appraisal. A Graduate Gemologist and/or certified Appraiser will be able to assess the chip(s) effect on the diamond’s structural integrity, value, and can suggest viable options based on their evaluation.

If the chip is small and lies on the girdle edge, you may be able to reset the diamond with metal covering the area of the chip. The purpose of this is two –fold: the metal will act as a barrier to protect the chip from further stress which can lead to more extensive damage, and it will also hide the chip from view. Styles such as Bezel, Half-Bezel, Bypass, or even the addition of new prongs can achieve this effect.

Another option may be to recut the diamond. This option should be considered if your stone is of high monetary or sentimental value, as the process is quite costly. Not all diamonds are good candidates for a recut however. If the stone has chips in multiple places and/or the chip is large, it may not even be considered for a recut. Similarly, a stone would not be recut if its internal inclusions pose a significant damage risk during the process. This is a very specialized area of jewelry repair that needs to be done by a diamond cutter with great care. Talk with your jeweler to see if this would be possible for your stone.

If all else fails, you may consider replacing the diamond. Depending on your insurance policy or jeweler trade-up policy, this can also be a cost-effective option.

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Diamond BoxWe finished off with Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In taking care of your diamond jewelry, this is especially important. For something that can last you forever, it does require some amount of maintenance to keep it in its best shape.

Routine checkups at your jeweler (recommended is about every 6 months) is key. They have the tools and expertise to evaluate your jewelry for any compromise in the structure or integrity. Checking settings for loose stones, worn prongs or metal can prevent diamonds being exposed or even falling out.

After that, it’s all up to you. Be slightly more cautious when wearing rings, diamonds can chip when coming in contact with any hard surface such as doorknobs, kitchen countertops, or car windows. Ideally you would want to take your rings off when doing any manual work with your hands: lifting heavy objects, doing chores, cooking, gardening, and more. The more your diamond jewelry comes into contact with other objects, the more likely it is to damage. That’s why rings are the most susceptible and show signs of wear more easily; bracelets are a close second followed by necklaces and earrings, which are relatively safe.

As diamonds are most easily damaged by other diamonds, take care in storing your diamond jewelry separately when not wearing them. Every piece should have its own compartment and not be touching another diamond piece. For necklaces, lay them out carefully and store them in a spacious box, not a pouch where it can move against itself.

Another factor that contributes to the risk of damaging diamonds is present in the diamond’s structure: inclusions. Inclusions are the naturally occurring “imperfections” in the molecular crystal of the diamond, and come in many forms. Not all inclusions increase the risk of damage; it all depends on the size, location, and type of inclusion present. Inclusions to pay particular attention to are feathers, twinning wisps, or cavities that reach the surface close to the girdle, where impact is the likeliest to happen. It’s best to consult with your jeweler or someone with formal diamond training such as a GIA Gemologist to discuss the role inclusions play in your diamond’s integrity.

Read on to Part 3: What to Do With a Chipped Diamond

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DiamondsThe short answer is yes, they can – and it’s not that uncommon.

Diamonds are the hardest material on Earth, however that doesn’t make them indestructible. To understand how and why they chip, we must first separate the concepts of hardness and toughness. These two terms are often confused for one another, but they are not related in any way. Hardness essentially is a measure of how resistant a substance is to being scratched. Hardness depends on the strength of bonds between atoms in the crystal, and also can vary depending on the direction (along the crystal planes) in which this property is measured. This is why, although much less likely, diamonds can be scratched; and they most definitely can be scratched when coming in contact with other diamonds.

Toughness is the measurement of the ability of a material to resist fracturing, breaking, chipping, or cracking in general. The toughness scale ranges from: Exceptional, Excellent, Good, Fair, to Poor, in which diamond only ranks at a Good. A diamond has a cubic crystal matrix, in which there are four perfect cleavage directions. A cleavage direction can be described as a series of side-by-side straight grains running in one direction, such as the graining on a piece of wood. It is a plane of weakness in the molecular crystal of the diamond. Due to these points of weakness in the diamond structure, it is very possible for a diamond to chip and fracture in everyday wear and tear – it wouldn’t necessarily need a big impact for a diamond to chip, only enough of an impact at the right angle.

The shape of a diamond also factors into how likely it is to chip. Acute angles are much more chip-prone than obtuse angles. For example, in round diamonds the areas most likely to chip would be along the girdle edge or the culet (if pointed). However when round diamonds are set in a piece of jewelry the culet is almost always protected, so it is more common to see chips occur on the girdle. For fancy-shapes with pointed girdle edges, the risk of chipping increases. Princess, Marquise, Pear, Heart and to a slightly lesser extent Emerald and Radiant have a higher percentage of damage on the pointed girdle edge. This is why they are always set with prongs protecting the sharp edges.

If you are panicking because you have chipped your diamond or fear of doing so – read on to Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging a Diamond

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