What are Montana Sapphires?
Sapphires are probably our favourite gemstone here at Oval + Pear and something that makes them even more special is that they are mined all over the world (including here in Australia). Each location produces a sapphire which has their own unique qualities. For example Kashmir sapphires are know for their colour and silk inclusions, Australian produces amazing parti sapphires and Madagascan or Sri Lankan sapphires come in a rainbow of colours. Did you know that sapphires are also mined in Montana, USA? These sapphires have gained a lot of attention recently in the jewellery world as well as with collectors. Here are some reasons why:
- Sapphires have been mined in Montana since the second half of the 1800s. They were used predominantly for industrial purposes as they were green in colour which was undesirable.
- The four main mining areas are Rock Creek, Yogo Gulch, Dry Cottonwood Creek and along the Missouri River northeast of Helena.
- No one knows where they came from! The original source of sapphires in Montana is still being studied by geologists.
- Montana sapphires come in a variety of sorbet/pastel colours. These include purple, yellow and teal.
- Often Montana sapphires are heated to improve/intensify their colours which results in lovely shades of green, teal and blue. However, Yogo Gulch is renowned for producing excellent untreated blue stones.
- Montana sapphires generally don’t come in large sizes and are commonly under 1ct.
- They are ethically mined by companies ranging in size.
Montana sapphires are a lovely option for any ring. They’re array of colour will leave you spoilt for choice.
IGS – Why We Love Montana and Yogo Sapphires
The Natural Sapphire Company – Sapphire Mining In Montana
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3 Best Stones for Engagement Rings!
Tradition used to dictate that an engagement ring needs to be a diamond (check out our MythBusters blog about that here). These days the options for engagement ring stones are endless. Here we break down three of the best options out there.
- Diamonds are a classic option for an engagement ring and a very popular choice.
- They rate 10 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale which makes them very durable and appropriate for everyday wear.
- While the round brilliant cut is the most popular cut, diamonds come in a variety of shapes including squares, ovals and even hearts.
- You can make your ring more unique by choosing a coloured diamond as they come in a range of shades. At the more affordable end are champagne diamonds ranging through to the highly prized/priced pink and blue diamonds. There’s even rare colours of purple, red and green though extremely expensive!
- An alternative to mined diamonds, which is gaining popularity, are lab grown diamonds. These diamonds have the exact same chemical/crystal/molecular structure as a natural diamond but are created in labs instead of in the mine. This option is popular for people wanting a diamond at a lesser price as lab grown diamonds do not cost as much as mined ones.
- Second to diamonds, sapphires are a popular choice for engagement rings.
- On the Moh’s hardness scale sapphires rate nine which puts them second to only diamonds in their durability. However, sapphires are less likely to chip than diamonds as they have better resistance to cleavage.
- Sapphires come in a rainbow of colors with blue and teal being the most popular choices. You can find sapphires in purple, green, yellow, colourless and orange but red sapphires are better known as rubies!
- They provide a unique look for engagement rings as no two sapphires will look the same (to the naked eye).
- Sapphires are native to Australia and provide an excellent option to people looking to support local and also who value transparency in the mining process as it is much easier to track on your own soil.
- There have been many diamond alternatives used across the centuries but the best option is moissanite!
- It rates 9.25 on the Mon’s hardness scale making it more durable than sapphires but less than diamonds. An excellent everyday wear stone.
- While natural moissanite does exist it is very rare and the moissanite on the market is lab grown.
- It is a popular stone because it shows just as much, actually more, fire (rainbow sparkles) as a diamond!
- As it is a lab grown stone it provides an excellent option for the smaller budgets or those looking for a bigger ‘diamond’ look without paying as much. It also suits people who are looking to avoid buying a mined stone for ethical reasons.
While the choice of which stone to use in your ring is a very personal one there are so many options available to you that you’ll certainly find a stone which gives you the look you want, in your budget and respecting any ethical concerns you may have. If you would like to have a chat with Teagan about what stone would work best for your ring you can book an appointment with her here.
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Myth Busters! Unbreakable Diamonds, Coloured Gold and Engagement Rings.
It’s Myth Buster time!
In the jewellery industry there are a lot of common misconceptions about engagement rings . Let us break down three of them for you.
Does Gold Only Come in Yellow?
- 24k pure gold does only come in yellow. However, mixing various alloys with the gold can create different coloured golds.
- Rose gold is a combination of gold and copper. The cooper gives it its pink tone.
- White gold was first patented in 1915 and was a combination of gold, palladium and zinc. Prior to this silver was the most common white metal used in jewellery while platinum had also gained popularity since the end of the 19th century.
- Gold can come in many different colours including green! Jewellers have used colour gold to decorate their designs for centuries.
Do Engagement Rings have to be Diamonds?
- Forms of engagement or betrothal rings have been around since the Roman period. They were often plain bands but sometimes included gemstones.
- The first recorded diamond engagement ring was give to Mary of Burgundy by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian upon their betrothal in 1477.
- While it took a bit of time for diamonds to gain the popularity they have today they did eventually become the stone of choice for engagement rings. This may be due to their durability and perceived rarity.
- Sapphires have also been a popular choice, as seen by Princess Diana’s engagement ring, and these days are closing the gap with diamonds are the preferred gemstone for engagement rings.
Are Diamonds Indestructible?
- Diamonds rate 10 on the Mohs Hardness scale making them the hardest of all gemstones.
- However, they have four cleavage directions, which are the “weakest direction in the molecular arrangement of the crystal”. (GIA, How to Protect A Diamond From Chipping. 2016)
- These cleavage planes mean that a diamond (while exceptionally hard) will not withstand force applied on a specific point and can cleave, chip or fracture if this happens.
- Sapphire and Ruby (Corundum) actually have one less cleavage direction making it less likely to chip!
GIA – How To Protect a Diamond
GIA – Engagement Rings Through the Ages
Lang Antiques – The Fascinating History of Platinum Jewellery
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Glossary of Terms
Sometimes it seems we speak a whole different language in the jewellery and gemmology world so we’ve decided to break down some of our more commonly used terms!
Alloy: A combination of metals fused together.
Basket Setting: A stone setting used in rings and other fine jewellery which has two horizontal bars joining the four claws.
Bezel Setting: A fine band of gold or other metal that encircles the stone to keep it secure and attached to the shank.
Brilliant Cut: A diamond cut featuring 58 facets. It can also be used for different stones and shapes.
CAD/Render: An abbreviation for Computer Aided Design which is used to design and engineer a piece of jewellery for casting. The render is a computer illustration of the final design.
Carat: Weight (mass) of a gemstone.
Claw/Prong: A section of the setting which holds/secures the stone by wrapping over a portion of the top of the stone. Often resembles a lion’s claw but can come in a variety of shapes.
Emerald Cut: A rectangular cut with cut corners and step cut facets.
Eye Clean: Inclusion which are not visible to the naked eye but may be seen under 10x magnification or stronger.
Gemmologist: A trained person who specialises in identifying, grading and appraising gemstones.
Grading: A gemstones official report on colour, cut, clarity, polish and sometimes origin.
Hardness: A measure of a gemstone’s resistance to scratching and abrasions. Measured on Mohs Hardness Scale.
Inclusion: A visible internal flaw in a gemstone which can include veils, clouds, other crystals and foreign objects.
Karat: Measurement of gold purity in the metal ranging from 9k to (pure) 24k.
Lab Grown: A gemstone (including diamonds and sapphires) which has the same chemical composition as a natural stone but grown in a laboratory rather than in the earth.
Oval Cut: A gemstone cut in the shape of an oval. Facet styles can include; brilliant, mixed and Portuguese.
Pear Cut: A gemstone cut in the shape of a pear/tear drop.
Prong Setting: A stone setting used in rings and other fine jewellery which has four or six claws which cradle/secure the stone and attach the shank. See Claw/Prong.
Salt and Pepper Diamond: A naturally grown diamond featuring several visible inclusions which give it a peppery appearance.
Setter: A trained person who specialises in securing stones into their setting eg basket, prong or bezel.
Shank: The circular band of the ring which wraps around your finger. Styles can include round, half round and square.
Solitaire: A ring stone setting featuring a single stone.
Tulip Setting: A decorative stone setting used for rings which resembles a tulip flower.
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Has a Diamond Always Been Forever?
Engagement rings have existed in many forms since as early as the Roman era. In that time betrothal rings were just bands made of iron or gold. Later the started to set precious stones into the band as a sign of wealth but they weren’t specifically designed for the purpose of an engagement ring. Even signet rings, which were very popular during this time, sometimes performed the function of a betrothal ring.
As the times changed and fashions came and went gem set rings, in a display of wealth, started to become more and more popular and were commonly given as a part of the betrothal/marriage contract. They also used gems protect them from certain ailments or negatives spirits with each stone being used for a different purpose.
These days engagement rings are so often diamond but this wasn’t always the case and the first diamond betrothal/engagement ring wasn’t given until the 15th Century. Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian gave his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, a diamond ring in 1477 and this is the first recorded diamond engagement ring. However, it did not start a craze which had everyone following but instead was a slow burn that took centuries for diamond rings to gain the status they have now.
During the centuries up until the late 19th/early 20th century several different gemstones were a popular choice for engagement rings. Queen Victoria herself had a snake head design ring with rubies, diamond and an emerald set into it. Then came the discovery of diamonds in South Africa and the game changed.
De Beers pioneered one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever and the demand for diamonds as engagement rings started to soar in western countries. From the start of the 20th century diamonds continued to become the predominant choice of stone to propose with. In 1948 the marketing slogan of “A Diamond Is Forever” was launched by De Beers and diamonds become the first choice when it came to selecting a ring for your forever love. In a display of the power and success of this slogan it is still used by the company today!
While diamonds have dominated the engagement ring scene for most of modern times the actual history of the use of them for engagement rings is relatively new. These days many different stones have regained popularity. Sapphires in particular are extremely popular at the moment and their durability and unique colours makes them an excellent option for a one of a kind engagement ring.
GIA – Engagement Rings Through Ages
Lang Antiques – Rings Ancient to Neoclassical
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The Band’s All Here – A History of Wedding Bands
Wedding bands incorporate the history of betrothal and poesy rings which were their earliest forms. The Romans began wearing betrothal rings in the 4th Century as an acknowledgement of the contract of betrothal between two people. They were made from various metals with an iron ring often worn at home while a more lavish gold band was worn outside of the home in a display of wealth. These rings were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as they believed there was a vein in this finger connected directly to the heart.
While these bands were used to denote a betrothal, and would eventually evolve into engagement rings, the attraction of a plain gold band to signify love continued throughout history to modern day. Posey rings were given out of love and friendship and were engraved with poems/phrases, such as “you have my heart” in French or Latin. These rings were popular from the 16th to the 20th century.
Bands of some form have been connected to engagement and marriage since the roman period. They signify a contract but also love, friendship and fidelity just like modern wedding bands do. During the 19th century bands begun being worn either side of an engagement ring and were known as keeper rings, used to keep the engagement ring from sliding off. This is one of the first times bands were worn along with an engagement ring.
Modern wedding bands still hold the sentimental significance of their previous incarnations but also serve a decorative function. Bands these days can vary in style and size with design ranging from a plain gold band through to diamond bands designed to fit around an engagement ring to complement/enhance its design.
GIA – Engagement Rings Through Ages
Lang Antiques – Rings Ancient to Neoclassical
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All By Myself – The History of Solitaire Rings
Solitaire is the French word for alone which is why it is the perfect description for a ring set with a single stone! Solitaires are one of the most classic and popular designs for engagement rings. Traditionally diamonds have been the most common choice for solitaire rings but in more recent time sapphires have become an increasingly more popular choice. With their enormous variety of colours and cuts a sapphire can prove to be a truly unique solitaire ring.
The history of the solitaire ring dates back to the Roman era but their popularity exploded in the 17th century when it became the setting of choice for larger stones. During this time coloured stones were set in gold while diamonds were set in silver to enhance their appearance (white gold and platinum were not yet available). The simplicity of the style has always helped show off the beauty of the stone. Settings have varied over the last 400 years with bezel and collect settings being popular in the 17th and 18th century while the claw setting we recognise as a solitaire setting today begun to be used in the Victorian era.
After the turn of the 20th Century white precious metals became the most popular metal used in jewellery with advancements in the ability to work with Platinum and the invention of white gold. Art Deco period solitaires were commonly diamonds set in white metal occasionally with a decorative engraved, filigree or pierce work crown beneath the stone. This period of jewellery was strong on aesthetics and decided the classic solitaire needed some fancying up!
Solitaires have remained the most popular style of engagement ring throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Popular stones include the classic round brilliant cut diamond, oval sapphires and even salt and pepper diamonds. Set in a variety of gold colours with four or six claws these rings will always have a timeless elegance. Their simplicity offers the option to get more creative with wedding bands and eternity rings which can have more embellishment or intricacy to create a more personalised look.
Langs Antiques – Rings Ancient to Neoclassical
Gem Society – Victorian Period Jewelry 1837-1860
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The Secret Behind Our Bespoke Process
Round, oval, pear or square?
Diamond, sapphire, zoisite or morganite?
Triple excellent cut, custom precision cut, rose cut, mixed step cut?
1ct, 2ct, 3ct or 4?
Knife edge, half round, bezel or claw?
Feeling a little overwhelmed? We don’t blame you! There is a lot to learn if you are new to the world of engagement rings, diamonds and jewellery.
Even if you don’t know a thing about rings we are here to help. The secret behind our bespoke process is that we BREAK IT DOWN! Genius I know, but wait here me out.
When you book an initial consultation we have a series of tried and tested questions that will tease out your ring design even if you don’t have a clue. Our bespoke process is unique because we have a gemstone first approach. This means we focus on guiding you to the right gemstone for your needs, sourcing this stone and designing the ring around the gemstone.
Because we breakdown the process into actionable steps, we generally don’t talk too much about the ring design until we have found the perfect gemstone. Why? Well we believe the engagement ring is all about the stone and the ring design is complementary.
Below are the EXACT questions we ask at the first consultation.
P.S. You aren’t supposed to know all the answers, that’s why we are here. Our aim is to guide you through so it’s stress free and hopefully even fun!
What is your budget?
This is the first questions we generally ask, why? ‘Cause if your budget is $2,000 but you wanted a 1ct natural mined diamond then I have a bit of educating to do. It’s also important to work out if we are the right fit for each other. Budget matters as we need to know what we can offer you within your price range and perhaps some alternatives. We work with budgets of $2,000 and up for bespoke pieces. It is important that bespoke rings are accessible to all price ranges and we always try to accommodate your budget as best we can.
What gold would you like the ring made from?
The main options are Yellow, White and Rose gold. But Platinum is a popular option too. We mostly produce rings in 18k gold but if you are budget conscious then 14k and 9k are good options to reduce overall cost.
What gemstone ?
Diamonds are the go to for engagement rings but there are a plethora of diamond look a like options such as lab grown diamonds, moissanites, white sapphires etc which all have their own unique qualities. Perhaps you want to go for a coloured gemstone, sapphires, spinels, morganites and emeralds are popular choices too. This is where we can really educate you on the colours and range of gemstone options.
Shape of the stone
There are your standard shapes round, oval, pear, emerald, square, cushion. You also have the more fancy shapes and cuts marquise, asscher, radiant, then the new age geometric cuts or rosecuts. The IGS has a great guide on shapes if you are after more details.
P.S. A note on shape vs. cut. These terms can be used interchangeably but they are different. The cut of a gemstone determines how its facets interact with light. Shape on the other hand refers to the geometric appearance of the gemstone.
What is the desired size of the stone you wanted?
Things to consider include, finger real estate i.e. how big or small will the finger be that wears the ring. Carat refers to the weight of the stone, whilst there is a correlation between dimensions and weight (as most stones are cut with similar proportions) the shape of the stone has a huge role to play in this. If you are going for a solitaire you want to be aiming for at least 1 -1.5ct. An engagement ring should pack a bit of punch!
What is the overall aesthetic you are trying to achieve?
Modern, vintage, minimalist, chunky, one of a kind, quirky. Art Deco. This is starting to get into the ring design territory but have an idea of what the overall look of the ring you are trying to achieve. If you are a lost think about your partners clothes, homewares and other things they may like. We can help translate this into a ring style.
This can be very tricky to get right, especially if you are aiming for a surprise proposal. There are a few ways:
- Ask them casually
- Steal a ring they wear and measure it using our ring sizer chart (be sure to take note of what finger and what hand the ring is worn on as not all your fingers are the same size)
- Ask their Mum/sister or a friend who might know their size
- Go for an average a small finger is a size L, a medium finger M and a larger finger size P
What are your timelines?
For our bespoke process we need 6 weeks from the time of approving your computer render to be able to cast, polish and set your ring. Generally speaking, on average the bespoke process takes 3 months from initial consultation to deliver the ring to you.
How will you communicate?
Is this a surprise proposal, how are you going to keep this a secret? After the initial consultation which is either via phone/ video call or face to face in our studio, we generally converse over email. Occasionally we like to send through videos of gemstone options via chat or message too so if you are keeping things a surprise please let us know so we don’t blow it.
Are you ethically minded, do mined stones go against your ethical values? We are passionate about working to our clients bespoke needs. Every client has different values of which we like to support. Please let us know what is important to you
If you thinking of proposing why not book a free no obligations consultation? We offer a personalised and relaxed environment with no strings attached. We take the time to understand your requirements and guide you through the design process. We are local and trustworthy, your ring will be made in Australia supporting a network of other small businesses. We are passionate about removing the intimidation and barriers to buying an engagement ring whilst taking the mystery out of the bespoke process.
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The Notorious 4 C’s
…and how to not be so obsessed
If you have started your engagement ring research you probably have stumbled upon the 4 C’s: Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat. The four C’s are used as a system for grading and attributing value to diamonds. Interestingly however, it is a system ONLY used for diamonds. Of the 200-ish different types of gemstones, diamonds are the only stones where the four C’s are used. Consequently, value for the other 199-ish type of stones is driven by the market and fluctuates wildly from seller to seller, and market to market. So yes, we need to be tuned into the four C’s when picking diamonds, but just keep in mind, there are literally hundreds of other types of stones that don’t slavishly follow the four C’s. But back to diamonds…
What follows is a quick and dirty version of the four C’s. For a much more indepth overview read the GIA’s version.
- Cut – More than just its overall shape viewed from the top (i.e set in a ring). It is a sneaky multi-factor assessment of the shape (i.e. round, oval, pear etc) and also the type of cut (i.e., step, brilliant, rose etc). It also refers to the proportions of the table (i.e. ENTER HERE) girdle (i.e. ENTER HERE) and pavilion (i.e. ENTER HERE) and how they can be optimized for maximum sparkliness.
- Colour – An alphabetical colour scale starting at D (I know…what about A-C), were D is colourless and Z is pale yellow
- Carat – How much the diamond weighs. It has nothing to do with its shape, or size of the diamond when viewed from the top. For example, two 1ct diamonds can look very different when set in ring. Some diamonds can be cut to 1ct, but have a very small table (i.e. the top), therefore they will look smaller when set in a ring to a diamond cut with a large table.
- Clarity – Refers to how included (i.e. how much stuff is in the diamond that isn’t clear) the Diamond may be. It is measured on a scale from Flawless to Included. Inclusions can be fractures, little bits of carbon, crystals feathers, graining etc. All these variations effect the brilliance (i.e the sparkle) of the stone but only slightly. Think of them like little birth marks, blemishes or freckles. All gemstones have inclusions; some just smaller than others or some that have been cut away in the faceting (cutting) process. A flawless diamond is just a flawless part of a larger diamond hacked off. Not that fancy is it?
Ok now you sort of know a bit, here is the most common mistake I see with each C
Number one rule: just chill—don’t get so involved in the nitty gritty of the four C’s. Unless you are armed with a scale, a loupe and a gemmology qualification, you probably won’t notice most of the differences. The difference in each point of the scale is very minimal to the end consumer but, those tiny changes will cost, or save you a lot of money depending which side of the scale you fall on.
Remember that although the 4 C’s are used to help value and differentiate diamonds, they are also very much a marketing tool designed to make you want the best and pay for it even when it’s only slightly better than the “worst”. It’s a beautiful clash of behavioural economics and the law of diminishing returns at its finest. I would argue, you as consumer can’t tell the difference between a [1ct, F, D, Triple Excellent Cut and a 1ct H, Si2, Average Cut], so why pay the extra few hundred dollars?
The shape of the stone is just a personal preference, but because round brilliants are the most demanded shape they are more expensive. PRO TIP get more bang for your buck and go with a marquise shape or another fancy shape (literally the technical term) instead of a round brilliant, it’s more fun anyway. They are called fancy shaped for a reason. Who doesn’t want to be fancy?
The relationship between the proportions of the crown (top of the gemstone – you wear a crown on the top of your head), the girdle (the bit in between the top and the bottom, no fancy remembering thing here) and the pavilion (the bit that looks like an upside circus tent, or the triangle pointy bit – whatever helps you remember) effect the brilliance of the stone, aka how sparkly that sucker is or how much light is refracted back to you when you look at it. It’s a bit of complicated physics about light refraction etc. The beyond Four C’s blog goes into painstaking detail about it if you’re keen. But, if you want to know my opinion on the matter: you can opt for a triple excellent cut, but honestly, you won’t be able to tell the difference between that and something that is an excellent cut or even just average. So again, why pay for something you can’t even see?.
This is what I mean about obsessed. Don’t get so caught up in four C measurements. Below I’ve linked an interesting and informative video which shows how carried away you can get with cut. I am a gemmologist and I couldn’t work out which stone was ‘better’ until the video told me. There is a lot to be said for personal preference too. Check out the video here – Can You Tell Which Is The better diamond? Both of the same GIA Certificate Grades
Don’t waste money on triple excellent cuts unless this is super important to you. As a lay consumer you won’t be able to tell the difference between an average cut and a triple excellent cut. And even if you could pick it when in the actual f*&% are you going to be staring so close at two stones and comparing them when the stone is in a ring on your loved ones finger?
When you see colour scales your immediate reaction is eww, I don’t want any of those yellow tinged gross diamonds. I think I should probably get a D colour, like maybe an E or an F, but eww. Honestly, if you saw any colour diamond from a D to an M by itself it would look white. I would only be cautious if you’re setting the stone in yellow gold as this would enhance the yellow in a K to M. So if yellow gold is your thing, maybe go whiter than otherwise. But if you’re setting it in white gold or platinum, it will actually help wash out the yellow tones. So there is a few hundred dollars saved there.
Remember, you are only picking one stone. So assess colour on its own, not next to another stone on the scale. PRO TIP (if this becomes a trend I am claiming I forecasted it here first). Colours S through to Z have a noticeable yellow tint which is a really lovely pale pastel lemon colour, I actually think they should be called lemon diamonds and think they would look spectacular in yellow gold. They are generally a lot cheaper than whiter diamonds. Who wants a canary yellow diamond anyway. I’m telling you lemon diamonds are where it’s at! I think their price is about to sky rocket much the same way brown diamonds have now been remarketed as chocolate, champagne and congac diamonds LOL! They used to be worth nothing and now they be expensive AF.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. What you notice when you look at the shape of a diamond is that most of the size of the diamond is actually in the pavilion (i.e. the bit that looks like an upside circus tent, or the traingly pointy bit at the bottom). This is to optimise the angles so light is refracted back to you and increases the stones brilliance. So once set in a ring the thing you actually see is the crown and hence this is the bit that will translate to how big it actually looks. Two diamonds both equalling 1ct can have different crown dimensions. Optimise this shit, although the difference may only be 1/2 a mm or so, this actually can make a big visual difference on the finger. It is probably a significant percentage of the dimension of the stone.
Also, shop for random carat weights like .79cts, .89cts, 1.29 etc, and check out their dimensions rather than searching directly for a 1ct or 2ct like the other silly people who haven’t read this blog. If you graph price against carat you’ll see a jump to the more rounded weights, i.e. .5ct, 1ct, 1.25ct. A 1.23ct diamond is worth way less than a 1.25ct diamond, but is only slightly smaller. So, shop random sizes with bigger crowns.
Also, think about carat in relation to shape. A 1ct round cut has a crown of usually around 6mm; but a 1ct oval is usually around 6x8mm. An oval is not only bigger, but will most likely be cheaper because of lower demand. There are economic benefits to not being boring. One thing to remember is to not get too carried away with the dimensions as this can start to effect cut, it’s a dance people. Too much of a party up top in the crown can affect the critical angles and can make for a dull boy diamond. Take a little here, give a little there.
Look at the stone dimensions and find that balance between the dimensions, carat weight and cut proportions. Look for random weight values and check out the fancy shapes to get more bang for your buck.
Clarity is probably the biggest marketing scam of them all. FACT: inclusions will affect the brilliance of a stone, because inclusions will disrupt the light path or break it up. Instead of bouncing (refracting) the light back to the viewer, the inclusion will offshoot it in another direction. This causes light leakage and reduces brilliance, fire and scintillation (i.e. sparkiliness, the rainbow colours and pop).
A flawless stone isn’t flawless. It just means that under 10x magnification you can’t see any inclusions. I don’t know about you, but I ain’t walking round the streets inspecting people’s rings with magnifying glass. I’m just using my boring old eyes.
With Clarity it is safe to stick with VS2 or better. If you don’t mind a bit of a dark spot here or there (I would say 80% of my clients couldn’t pick out the inclusions unless I pointed them out) go with a Si1 or Si2 diamonds. You can save yourself some goooood moolah here. PRO TIP: when you are shopping online, pretty much all retailers magnify the diamond by 10x or more to highlight the inclusions and push you to spend more money by wanting one with less inclusions. They are dummy diamonds designed to push you towards the one with the bigger price tag. Basic human psychology peeps. Don’t be fooled by this simple marketing trick. Remember we don’t view diamonds with a magnifying glass. We look at them with our boring old eyes. So, make sure you are looking at images that are actual size (it’s usually another option when viewing at gallery images of diamonds).
Don’t shop under magnification. Most people can’t see inclusions with the naked eye until pointed out. Shop in the Si1 and Si2 range to get bang for your buck.
There is so much marketing and consumer behaviour analysis that goes into selling you diamonds. Why? Because there is a lot of money to be made. Those big sites, you know the ones that stalk you across the internet shoving ads in your face the second you innocently Google engagement ring, gamify their shopping experience by introducing multiple sliders and filters and men in particular fall for this hook line and sinker. It becomes a game, a challenge, to find the best diamond. But the house always wins. They set the rules on their sites. In the end you are more likely to be scammed, fooled and ripped off.
At the end of the day you will find the diamond or gemstone that speaks to you on an emotional level and all these silly analytics will go out the window. Whatever stone you pick I believe the stone chooses you anyway.
Do your research! Be clear about what is important to you, but don’t get obsessed. Remember we look at diamonds with our eyes. We don’t sit and compare diamonds once they are set in rings on fingers, and most people can’t tell the difference between a white sapphire, diamond or moissanite anyway. So why would we waste our time getting so obsessed with the silly four C’s?
As a gemmologist I take a gemstone focused approach to this whole process. I ensure I spend time educating my clients without marketing hooha, sales pitches and gamification. I am passionate about working bespoke to a client’s needs so that we can find the best diamond or gemsonte within their budget. We gladly work within any budget.
Book a consultation to see how I can help you create your dream engaged ring designed to get a “Yes!!” — plus its free and I’m super friendly.
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