engagement ring

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christies green diamond

christies green diamond

A 6.13-carat fancy intense green diamond set a new per-carat record when it sold at Christie’s on May 27 for a whopping $3.6 million, or $594,510 per carat. The square cushion cut diamond is the center of a rose gold halo style ring, accentuated by natural pink diamonds.

Next to red, green is the rarest of colors found in natural diamonds. For most colored diamonds, the color comes from trace amounts of mineral impurities or extreme pressure conditions while the diamond was forming. The tight chemical structure makes it very difficult for any impurities to enter, which is why colored diamonds are exceedingly rare. Small amounts of boron in the crystal lattice structure of a diamond, for example, will impart a blue hue; same goes with nitrogen for yellow, and hydrogen for violet. What gives a diamond a green hue however, is the presence of natural radiation over millions of years. Because the radiation exposure is an external force rather than internal force (such as mineral impurities and lattice defects), it acts on the surface only. As a result, green diamonds are not green all the way through; the color is concentrated on the outer layers and tends to be weakly saturated. That is why a fancy intense green diamond, especially one of a size like this one, is almost a once-in-a-lifetime find.

This spectacular diamond joins the ranks of other recently sold, record-breaking gems at Christie’s. At their Geneva auction just last month, there were three record-breakers alone. They include ‘The Blue’, a fancy vivid blue pear shaped diamond weighing over 13 carats, a 76.5 carat light pink square-cut diamond that sold for $10.2 million, and the ‘Ocean Dream’ – a 5.5 carat, vivid blue-green diamond that went for $8.8million.

 

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jennymcJenny McCarthy is definitely not one to shy away from media! She shocked over 3 million viewers last Wednesday on live television via her morning talk show, The View by showing off a huge yellow sapphire and diamond ring and announcing her recent engagement to singer Donnie Wahlberg.

The former model, actress, one-time author and current co-host of The View was immeasurably ecstatic, jumping up and hugging co-hosts Barbara Walters and Sherri Shepherd. A slideshow of pictures of the happy couple played across the screen as Wahlberg made a surprise appearance from backstage, coming up to hug his sweetheart.

McCarthy’s bubbly and vivacious personality seems to match her engagement ring perfectly: a square brilliant cut yellow sapphire, surrounded by a halo of white diamonds set in a split shank pave white gold band. Known to be a spiritual person, she may have chosen a bright yellow stone to elicit inspiration, creativity, and optimism.jennymc

The actress and TV personality describes how Wahlberg had enlisted the help of her 11-year-old son, Evan, with the proposal. While sitting on the couch at their shared home, Evan brought out a card that said “Will” and handed it to her. He walked back into the other room, coming back with “You”. He returned a third time with a card meant to say “Marry” but spelled “Mary”. McCarthy was in laughter and tears before Donnie came out the last time, wearing a shirt imprinted, “Me?” and got down on one knee.

“Of course, I said ‘Yes,'” she related. “In that moment Evan yelled, ‘I have another dad!’ and it made all of us cry.”

McCarthy began dating the New Kids on The Block singer in May of last year. The pair plan to tie the knot sometime in August 2015.

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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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Paul WalkerAlmost ten years ago, in the holiday season of 2004, Paul Walker happened to be in a Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time as another couple that was browsing. That couple was Kyle and Kristen Upham, who were looking for an engagement ring. They were already secretly married in a private ceremony before his deployment to Iraq, but now he was back and wanted to get her a proper ring.

While they were browsing, the “Fast and Furious” star struck up a conversation with them. Kristen recalls when Walker found out that Kyle had just come back from his first tour in Iraq: “I remember seeing the look in his face. He kind of transformed.”

Kristen was back at the store to look at a ring she really, really liked. It featured a round brilliant center diamond, accented with baguette diamonds in the band set in white gold. At $9,000 though, it was out of her husband’s budget. They left the store empty-handed, but received a call later on from Irene King, the sales associate who had helped them, asking them to return to the store. Waiting for them was her dream ring, wrapped up and paid for in full by a mysterious benefactor. The staff at the store refused to give out any details, as per his wishes. According to King, Walker had pulled aside the store manager in private and asked to put the ring on his tab, walking out shortly after.Paul Walker

The staff kept his secret for nearly a decade, until his recent untimely death sparked the wish to share his random act of kindness in tribute to his outstanding character. A great number of Walker’s colleagues and friends in Hollywood have since spoken out about his fantastic work ethic, talent, polite demeanor and passion for charitable projects. He will always be remembered in the people whose lives he touched, and for Kyle and Kristen Upham, they will always have a reminder and a story to tell when they pass down her ring for future generations.

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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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EngagementWhat are engagement or wedding rings all about anyway? Who started this and why is it such a tradition? Since when did the ring become a symbol of love, romance, and marriage? Why is it the fourth finger on the left hand that is considered the lucky one to wear the ring? Here is some history of the engagement and wedding ring.

Starting all the way back in Egyptian times they were the first to use the circle shape as a symbol of eternity. The Egyptians also believed that the fourth finger on the left hand was connected to the vein of love and ran directly back to the heart. Although wearing a ring as a public pledge to honour marriage didn’t come about until the Roman times.  Some of the first rings were made from iron, but by medieval days gold rings set with gems were fashionable.  Popular gems were symbolic such as a blue sapphire to reflect the heavens or a red ruby as the colour of the heart, but the most powerful of all gems was the diamond.

Up until the 15th century only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of courage, strength, and invincibility. Over centuries the diamond has become a unique status of the ultimate gift for love. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means “the unconquerable” suggesting the eternity of love. Ancient Greeks believed diamonds to be delicate splinters of fallen stars and adorned them for the powers of protection they believed it offered the wearer. India is where diamonds were first discovered and they were thought to be a shield from forces of evil like theft, snakes, and poison.  They have been associated to promote lasting love, ward off nightmares, symbol of innocence, power and protection. You can see why it has become such a precious gift of choice for couples.

RingsHow did an engagement ring come about? This first trend started way back in 1477 by Archduke Maxamilian of Austria who present his beloved Mary of Burgundy with a ring of engagement. The dual ring ceremonies were introduced by the Greek Orthodox Church in the 1300’s.  It wasn’t until the 1940’s in US when both men and woman would wear a band. Due to World War 2 the custom caught on because soldiers had to leave their beloveds behind and in the separation and loneliness they wanted to wear a band to remind them of their loved one far away. In the height of the war 85% of marriages had a dual ring ceremony, and it continues today.

The tradition is still long lasting and both men and woman are more attached to their bling today than ever before!

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Ang
Hollywood icon Angelina Jolie is following the footsteps of celebrity ambassadors such as Oprah and Madonna by opening schools for girls in Afghanistan. She has opened one already and plans to open another funded by none other than a spectacular jewelry line that goes on sale this week.

She has joined forces with goldsmith Robert Procop who designed and made the engagement ring given to her by Brad Pitt in 2012. Jolie passionately explained to E! celebrity website that “Beyond enjoying the artistic satisfaction of designing these jewels, we are inspired by knowing our work is also serving a mutual goal of providing for children in need” .

The funds from the sales are dedicated to the Education Partnership for Children in Conflict which is a foundation set up by Jolie herself.

The line is showcased on Robert Procop’s website and in Kansas City jewelry store Tivol. and called “The Style of Jolie” featuring versions of the black and gold necklace worn by the actress to the premiere of her 2010 movie “Salt”.

The website suggests that the line is designed to celebrate the “sensual elegance, serene confidence and incomparable spirit” of Jolie through the use of contrasting lines both curvaceous and dramatic to capture the essence of the feminine archetype.

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3: STONE:

Here we will only consider diamonds. If you are considering other stones, speak to a gemmologist to find out your options and get their recommendations. Remember: knowledge is power, know as much as you can about what you are spending your money on.

Diamonds are rocks that form naturally in the earth, so there is no ‘one size fits all’. It is like choosing between apples – size, sweetness, crispness, juiciness are categories you want to balance when picking an apple. It is similar for diamonds but with different criteria.

  • Carat: In gold this word refers to the purity, with diamonds it is the weight/size. Bear in mind that diamonds are priced per carat digitally. In other words 0.5-0.99 is one price bracket, and 1.00-1.49 is another. Therefore it is possible to buy a 0.98 for the price of a 0.5 and it will look like a 1 carat. The other factors are also critical, however, so bear in mind that a 1 carat diamond can vary in price dramatically depending on the other variables.
  • Clarity: Being an organic material, most diamonds have impurities known as inclusions. Inclusions are usually white or black and some can be seen with the naked eye. A stone without inclusions is called ‘flawless’ and carries a high price tag. Clarity is graded using letter-number combinations. For most rings the range to look for is either VS1 and VS2 which are very clear, then S1 and S2 have inclusions that can easily be seen with 10x magnification, but not so easily with the naked eye. Diamonds also possess blemishes such as tiny cracks which can make the diamond cloudy (see warnings below).
  • Colour: diamonds vary in colour from colourless to brown and even black. Unless you are after a diamond that is noticeably coloured, you want to aim for as white as possible. Colour is graded using letters. D is colourless, through to zyx (noticeably tinted). Aim for D-G range for a quality diamond.
  • Cut: this determines the overall shape of the stone (round, square, rectangle, oval, pear shaped etc) and sparkly (fire). The more facets the more the light is bounced around in the stone and is reflected back to you as sparkle. Round brilliant cut is the most popular and gives a lot of sparkle. Also more facets can hide impurities, for example, if you are in the market for a flawless diamond, this will be well seen in an emerald (rectangle) cut.

Speak to a jeweler who knows their stones. If your priority is high purity, then maybe you can go down on the carat size or colour etc.

WARNINGS:

Not enough emphasis can be made on the importance of buying from a reputable retailer. It is really important that you trust who you are buying from as not all jewelry is what it seems.

  • Castings of the ring mounts when machine made can be porous (tiny bubbles in the metal); the claws that set the stones can be loose, and these rings will not last.
  • There are imitation diamonds on the market, so be sure to get a certification so that you know you are not buying a cubic zirconia or moissanite when you want a diamond.
  • Especially when buying jewelry unseen, such as on the internet, be aware that even if the dealer is obliged to state colour, clarity and carat value, it is not obliged to state cloudiness or treatments that have been made to artificially enhance the stone. These include laser drilling where tiny pin holes are made into the inclusion to bleach it white or dissolve it. These can look like natural flaws and don’t necessarily impair the appearance or structure of the stone. Fillers, however are not considered permanent and the substance used (usually glass) has different properties to diamonds and can appear as colour flashes unusual to diamond. Also, heat and sunlight can effect this substance over time darkening or eroding it. Even though diamond is the hardest substance, cracks (especially unfilled) are weaknesses and make the stone vulnerable to cracking. There is nothing wrong with buying a treated stone (it can make a lesser quality stone appear better), but make sure that this is disclosed when you purchase so that you know you are paying the right price.

You are now armed and ready to browse those jewelry stores and know what you are looking at! This is all very technical information, as you browse you will find that some diamonds “speak” to you more than others. Don’t be held down by the numbers – find a stone you love and a setting that compliments the stone and your personality. And shop around for the jeweler you trust.

Happy shopping!

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A StoreShopping for engagement rings can be a highly emotional and daunting task. Jewelry stores can be intimidating. Don’t be put off by the seemingly endless styles and confusing prices. Let’s make it easier and break it down. Once you have an idea of what is important to you, find a reputable jeweler that you trust, preferably with gemmological qualifications, who can source stones and who works with a good goldsmith so that you can guarantee good product and service. It is well worth spending the time to find the right retailer as this ring is for life, not just for the proposal, and just as any other long wearing item, it will need upkeep – claws that hold the stone in place will need tightening, white gold will need rhodium plating, polishing, cleaning, resizing, insurance validations are all things you may need to follow up with.

So what variables do you need to consider to make your shopping experience easier? Take a note of your priority in each category and bring the list with you when browsing:

The fundamentals are Style and Material. Here we will focus on diamond engagement rings only.

1: STYLE:

  • 1 stone is called a solitaire, it is very popular – it says “you are the one and only”.
  • 3 stone rings stand for “I Love You” or “Then, Now, Always”.
  • Other designs are less conventional but always beautiful: the halo design is a single stone surrounded by a ring of smaller stones. This can look stunning if they are all diamonds as it makes the overall effect of a larger diamond, also if the centre stone is coloured, the halo frames that stone and makes it really stand out.
  • When diamonds are set in a line either part or all the way around the ring in a band, then this is called an eternity ring. This is popular when the knuckles are larger than the base of the finger and your rings tend to spin around, it is a more popular choice as the wedding band.

2: METAL:

Depending on skin tone and preference there are silver and golden coloured metals.

  • Silver is very soft and not very appropriate for setting precious stones.Ring Styles
  • White gold is a good alternative. The higher the carat value, the more gold content, and the higher the price. More gold usually means softer, except for 19K which has a different alloy and is extremely hard, and does not need rhodium plating as often. Gold will always want to revert to its original yellow, so over time a 14K gold ring will tarnish and need plating every 2 years or so to bring it back to the bright white, and of course when you do this the ring will look brand new again! Rhodium plating typically costs $60, so keep this in mind when purchasing.
  • Platinum is the hardest and whitest of the white metals. It does not scratch as easily as gold and will never need plating. However, over time, with constant wear, the ring will eventually collect scratches. As the metal is harder, normal jewelry polishing wheels at retail shops may not be able to polish off all marks.
  • Yellow and rose gold will have more colour with higher carat value, but will be softer.

 

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Diamond RingValentine’s Day is just around the corner and when it comes to the season of love, pulling out all the stops for your loved one includes popping the question. In fact, the latest American Express report found that six million couples are likely to get engaged on February 14. Once the actual proposal is planned out, finding the perfect engagement ring for your partner is essential in getting that desired response.

Here are five tips to help you get through the daunting task of picking out the ring:

1. Know your budget. You don’t need to have the exact number in mind, but a range will make the selection process a lot easier for you and the jeweller.

2. Know her style/taste. Take a peek into your loved one’s jewelry box and take note of the type of jewelry she already wears. Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? What would go well with her wardrobe and her lifestyle? You can also be sure to take note of any references she makes about jewelry, fashion and style.

3. Know the 4 Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. You don’t need to walk in with a gemology degree but a basic understanding of what contributes to a diamond’s value and appearance is helpful. There is a fifth “C” which is confidence in the jewelry supplier/retailer. A reputable jeweler who is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS) can advise you on your purchase.

4. Know each other. Decide whether or not you want to shop with your partner or shop alone and if the surprise element is important for your proposal. This is a big decision but there is no right answer.

5. Know your jeweller. The last tip is perhaps the most important. It is crucial that you go to a jewelry store with a trusted and reputable jeweler. You should feel comfortable asking questions with your jeweler and discussing the entire process with them. Jewelry can be customized to fit a variety of lifestyles, budgets and circumstances. Be sure that you get exactly what you want through consultations and strong communication.

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