July 27, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your Diamond Ring Look Bigger (for under $1000)

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, estate jewelry, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by rosediamonds

the addition of Pintrest, people are becoming more design conscious.  With all of the drool worthy pins out there, it can make a diamond ring you received a decade or so ago look tiny.  Thus, the need for an upgrade.

Not everyone has the budget to replace a diamond with a larger one.  If you do, I usually recommend you go up by at least a full millimeter so you can SEE the difference since you are paying the difference.  A 1/4 carat to a 1/3 carat is hard to tell apart unless you have your calipers on you…  Remember, carat refers to weight, not size, so not all 1 carat diamonds are the same diameter.  Old diamond (they are all old technically) can be moved over as a side stone or made into a pendant.

It may be that you do not WANT to replace your original diamond at all.  It has been my experience that men are many times more sentimental about keeping the same diamond throughout the marriage.  Not necessariy because they are being cheapo, but because they beleive in “luck” and “streaks.”  Ask a man to tell you about the time he wore the same socks to every ball game for an entire season without washing them…

To preserve the peace without breaking the bank, there are several ways to boost your original diamond’s “presence.”

  1. Add a halo.  It adds approximately 2-2.5mm of sparkly to the center of your ring.  I personally don’t like this term–I like “booster ring,” which sounds way more Star Wars–but who can argue with DeBeers?  The final look will depend on your original diamond size.  The diamond in the center can be situated above or level with the other stones.  For those of you in the healthcare industry, a low bezel set center can reduce the nnormal snalling on latex gloves.  Lifestyle matters too!  There are halo versions with varying stone sizes (usually .01-.03ct each)  This new setting can usually be added to your original engagement ring with some slight modifications.  By adding the halo in white, you can update the look of a yellow gold ring and help your jewelry “blend” in more with your other sterling and white gold/platinum pieces.  Also look for expanded halos and double halos.  I personally find the triple halo to be too much…  An expanded halo means there is empty space between yur center stone and your diamond making it look even bigger.  Also check into different prong styles.  Exposed mini prongs have a very different look than the channel set and cocktail setting of the past.  Also there are faux channels with mini milgrain that can lend a vintage look to your ring.  Some halos have stones on the sides of the halo as well.  These add cost, but can be super pretty as well.  Have a fancy shape diamond?  Don’t worry…they make halo heads for them as well!    Estimated cost $850 (depends on stone size and style of course).  
  2. New head.  Usually a thicker one, perhaps with double prongs or tulip prongs.  Some people don’t like the look of halos, so they opt to boost their center diamond by thickening up their prongs.  8 prong heads (octet heads) give a designer finish to the ring that isn’t available “off the rack” at most stores.  Tulip heads are named for their obvious resemblance to the flowers.  Another advantage to the thicker prongs is more durability for everyday wear and tear.  By the way, if you have had your ring for a decade and never had your prongs retipped or at least checked, you may want to consider a replacement head or service work (retipping) anyway.  Its like getting your oil changed–not glamorous, but necessary for the longevity of your ring..Wide and narrow bezel settings also boost the “spread” of your ring, but I find they tend to make an engagement ring look more casual that its prongy cousins;) Estimated cost $150
  3. Have an old set of diamond earrings?  Add them as side stones.  Different shapes?  Doesn’t matter!  This one is a little more tricky as there are three options.  Option one: reset original diamond and two earrings into a new setting.  There are a lot of combinations to three stone rings (some of which have way more than three stones lol).  If your original stone and earrings fit into a standard configuation, an off the rack mounting will do the trick.  Estimated cost $750.  Option 2: Add a wrap to your original ring.  This usually only works with solitaires (no side stones).  The wrap extends over the solitaire shank making it look (kinda) like one ring.  It may need to be soldered together to prevent slippage.  Estimated cost $700.  Option 3: Add smaller earring diamonds in a custom bridge.  This one is more tricky to estimate a price on since every ring is different.  Adding them in a bypass style can also affect how your wedding band (if you have one) will fit next to your new altered ring.  Estimated cost <1000 difinately, but talk to a pro about the feasibility of this one.  Fun alternative to this is adding a pair of gemstones instead.  Sapphires, blue topaz, etc all look gorgeous next to diamonds!  Same price for labor.
  4. Illusion head/plate.  This used to mean white gold diamond cut plate that was used to accent a teeny diamond in a pretty noticeable setting.  There are more modern options to this!  One option is to recreate the vintage box setting.  This illusion setting makes a round stone look bigger, more square, and more vintage.  Estimated cost: Starts at $150.  A free form ring doesn’t make your diamonds look bigger necessarily but by combining it with other medium sized diamonds, it can make the impact of the ring look bigger.  The estimated cost depends on the finished weight of the free form ring (there are stock options and custom options) and how many heads/stones need to be set.  
  5. Narrow or pinch the shank.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat, so now we will take our focus off the diamond and put it on the ring it sits in.  A good rule of thumb is this: the wider the band, the small your diamond will look.  Think about a shift dress.  It looks like a straight column.  If you were to add a belt, it would make your waist look much smaller.  The same thing holds true for rings.  If you use a razor (tiny narrow band) shank, your stone will look bigger no matter its size.  Your jeweler will be able to tell you if your original engagement ring shank can be slimmed down (without causing stability issues) or if you can simply transfer your center head and stone to a more narrow base.  Another fun alternative if you don’t want to give up a wider ring is to get a pinched shank that narrows near the stone.  Use caustion because narrow rings fit differently than wider ones so make sure you are fitted for the new ring style and width (there are different s sets of sizers for this reason).  Also, a narrow shank ring is more likely to rotate on the hand if you have big knuckles.  Most people do…A flared or European shank may help counterbalance to solve  this issue.
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March 29, 2012

Bridal Trends Report: Repost from National Jeweler

Posted in engagement, jewelry, rings, wedding tagged , , , , at 7:06 pm by rosediamonds

New York–Though lovebirds who tied the knot last year spent slightly more on average than those who wed in 2010, the engagement ring was not an area where they were doling out any extra cash, a new survey shows.

According to The Real Weddings Survey, conducted by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com among couples who wed in 2011, the average wedding budget increased minimally (0.1 percent) between 2010 and 2011, from $26,984 to $27,021.

Engagement ring spending was down 5 percent, from $5,392 to $5,130.

Areas where couples were spending more included the ceremony site (up from $1,393 to $1,599), wedding planner ($1,683 to $1,753), wedding dress ($1,099 to $1,121) and entertainment, with spending on the reception band, DJ, videographer and ceremony musicians all climbing.

The most expensive place to get married still is Manhattan, where couples spend an average of $67,824 on their wedding, the survey showed. The least expensive location to tie the knot is West Virginia, where the average couple spends $14,203.

The average marrying age of a bride and groom in the U.S. in 2011 was 29 and 30, respectively. The most popular month for engagements was December, with 16 percent of proposals taking place then, while September was the most popular month to wed.

Other findings from The Read Weddings Survey include:
– Hawaii has the country’s oldest brides at 31, while Utah boasts the youngest at 26.
– Fall weddings were more popular in 2011, partially due to the high demand to get married in September on 9/10/11 and in November on 11/11/11.
– A total of 69 percent of couples now have a wedding website, up from 65 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2009. Brides also are using social media more to share wedding details with guests and keep in touch with vendors.
– Nearly three out of five brides reported using their smartphones for wedding planning. Popular uses include taking and sharing wedding-related pictures (58 percent), looking up vendor contact information (47 percent), accessing wedding planning websites (33 percent) and managing gift registries (32 percent).

The 2011 Real Wedding Survey included responses from about 18,000 couples who got married last year. Survey-takers were recruited through TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com membership, and all were 18 or older.

 

http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/independents/a/~28191-Survey-Average-engagement-ring-price

March 26, 2012

Translating Celebrity Style to Your Budget: 7 ways to save $$

Posted in bride, engagement, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:26 pm by rosediamonds

http://www.onewed.com/wedding-engagement-rings/gallery/blingin-celebrity-engagement-rings
Rose Diamonds Custom Design & Repair

<meta name="author" content="Jennifer Choi, GIA Graduate Gemologist"

Celebrities certainly seem to have it all.  One of their larger perks is a virtually unlimited budget when it comes to picking out their “dream ring.”  For the rest of us, there are compromises to be made.  Here are 7 ways to save without sacrificing A List style.

  1. Scale it down.  Keep the design the same, but put a 0.60 ct in the center instead of a 20ct.  To make this work, I recommend scaling the setting and side stones down as well–otherwire your diamond will look like a shrunken head
  2. Skip the sides.  Showcase your gorgeous diamond just like the celebs, but skip the stones on the sides.    You can still add fancy details to the center stone.  This also applies if the ring you adore has diamonds on the underside of the stone or on the sides of the shank.  Added bonus: stones between the fingers can be scratchy and stones on the bottom of eternity bands tend to loosen or fall out over time with normal wear and tear.
  3. Use Color.  You want a huge ring with major finger spread, but don’t have the budget for a 4 carat?  Use an aquamarine, said to calm marital dispute, or another favorite color.  I once had a client that used a spessartite garnet that matched her haircolor exactly (she was a ginger).
  4. Lower the karat.  The benefits of this is twofold.  One: Lower karat gold is less exensive, immediately saving you money. Two. Lower karat gold is stronger.  Many people forget that gold is a pretty soft metal.  The more alloys in the gold, the “harder” it is.  Note: While 18K yellow is “yellower” than 10K or 14K, in the world of white (gold) the color will be the same due to the rhodium plating.
  5. Add a halo to “boost” your stone size impression.  At my shop, I usually refer to these as a booster ring, partially because I like Star Wars, and also because it acts like a push up bra for diamonds.
  6. Consider engraving instead of side stones.  It’s mimics the “detaily” look of all the micropave without the cost of extra diamonds and diamond setting.  Be careful, hand engraving is rather labor intensive, but most jewelers have access to engraved styles that won’t cost the moon.
  7. Use your own stuff.  If you’ve inherited a good diamond, consider using it in your ring.  Have spare gold?  It can be used as a trade in towards design work most places.  Ask a jeweler if an inherited ring can be refurbished–paying special attention to rebuilding prongs and ring shanks (which are the most common areas of wear and tear)

When addressing celebrity style, inevitably you will wonder why some rings are so outrageously expensive.  There are a couple reasons:

  • They pay for the Brand (Neil Lane, Harry Winston, Cartier, etc.)
  • C’s that just won’t quit: Fine Diamonds without inclusions of excellent color and cut are rare.  Supply is rare, hence the price.
  • Diamonds are sold per pound: Similar to a trip to the deli, diamonds are priced by the weight (carats).  The heavier it is, the more it costs, & celebrity rings are pretty weighty!

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Yes, I do realize that some of the relationships associated with these rings are no longer…valid, but it wasn’t the ring’s fault;)

January 28, 2012

Jewelry Inspiration Source Discovered!

Posted in jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , at 10:54 pm by rosediamonds

Pinterest.  If you haven’t heard of it, you will soon.  Generally speaking, pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where people can share the pretty pictures (with customized captions) they find online–like a scrapbook, but less messy–  I originally found out about it via a wedding industry newsletter.  It peaked my curiosity enough that I checked it out.  People can post themed boards with pics of wedding ideas, cute pets, dreamy interior design, etc.

 

I think as the pinterest world grows, it will bring about the sharing of more fantastic design ideas.  I stumbled across the following board–see what you think.  So far, I have used it to organized a grouping of “dream projects” for later review.  I like that the original website is linked to the “pin” so it is easy to look for more info on the pics you like.  Custom design is made easier when people have the tiniest bit of inspiration…I’m excited!

http://pinterest.com/knh126/romance/

 

 

 

October 13, 2011

Taking Care of Your Alternative Metal Bands

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, jewelry repair, mens wedding bands, rings, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:37 pm by rosediamonds

We recognize that many people (usually men) have purchased alternative metal wedding bands.  We are drawn to their fabulous modern designs, their relative weights (either heavy or ultralight),  and their teeny cost:)

What some retailers forget to tell you (not that we blame them or their salespeople) is how to take care of your jewelry once you’ve bought it.  I occasionally forget to mention the anti-bleach rule to my clients as well:)

Tungsten & Ceramic Rings

  • Clean with hot water and soap (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • NO ultrasonic cleaning
  • NO ionic cleaning
  • Avoid dropping on hard surfaces (duh) or hitting with a hammer-like force.  They can both shatter
  • Emergency removal involves a specialized ring cracker
  • On tungsten, do NOT use any chemicals other than alcohol (this means no red jewelry cleaner solution)
  • Gold or silver inlay can be repolished, but it will not affect the tungsten or cermaic part
Stainless Steel & Titanium Rings
  • Clean with hot soap and water (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • Ultrasonic cleaner is ok (if there are no gemstones–gems set in stainless steel can fall out if you use an ultrasonic)
  • Stainless steel & titanium CAN be repolished (stainless is easier to do; titanium requires extra wheels and polishing compounds)
Cobalt Rings
  • Clean with hot soap and water (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • Repolishing requires extra wheels and specialized polishing compounds
All Rings
  • Avoid Bleach (found in pools, hot tubs, cleaning supplies, hair chemicals, laundry detergent, household cleaners)
  • Check stone tightness by listening for “rattles” or visual movement
  • Regularly remove lotion/soap/conditioner buildup with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush–“clean stones look bigger!”
  • Professional cleaning & prong inspection is free everyday at Rose Diamonds–Let us do the work for you!
PS. I had a bit of a shock when I googled “alternative metal bands.”  Many images of aging rockers…I wonder if this post will then show up in their searches as well and they will also be disappointed…now taking suggestions for a better title for this post:)

September 7, 2011

7 Ways to Stretch Your Engagement Ring Budget

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:08 pm by rosediamonds

In Case you’ve been living under a rock, the US is in the midst of a recession.  Depending on what media outlet you tune into, you probably have different ideas about the economic downturn’s severity.  I reason that anytime is a good time to explore ways to “make economies.”  That sounds much better than cheapening it to “saving money”, right?

 

According to a recent article published by National Jeweler ( http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/fashion/jewelry-fashion-reports/article_detail?id=27143 ), grooms are spending less on engagement rings than last year, with the average coming in under $5200–which is nothing to scoff at.  One of the most common pleas from the newly engaged is that they want their ring to be “different.”  Easier than it sounds.  Here’s a few ideas of how to accomplish both while keeping your budget on track.

 

Idea 1:  Get nostalgic.  Use Uncle Fred’s old wedding band.  Re-Set Grandma Thompson’s old engagement ring center stone in a “now setting.”  Go old school with a vintage setting from an estate/pawnshop/craigslist/ebay.  (Be careful as this one might entail more repair work than you realized)

 

Idea 2: Color Substitute.  If it’s good enough for Kate Middleton/Princess Di/Jessica Simpson etc…Colored stones are generally much less expensive than a diamond of the same size.  Notable exceptions to this rule are FINE quality sapphires, rubies, alexandrite, & tanzanites.  A pop of color definitely makes a ring unique.  Black diamonds (and recently black spinel/sapphires) are much less expensive than their colorless counterparts.

 

Idea3: Mix metals.  Hugely popular in Europe, metal mixing allows you to “repurpose” the yellow gold you’ve been avoiding.  While white gold and platinum remain king here in the states for bridal, try pairing tiny bands of yellow or rose gold with a white gold solitaire or a fabulous yellow gold ring guard/wrap, etc.

 

Idea 4: Plate it on top.  A good jeweler can electroplate the top half of your ring white, yellow, black, or rose.  Plating can wear off with exposure to chemicals (even household ones) and wear and tear.  The good news?  It’s easy and fairly inexpensive to touch up.  Avoid coating the bottom part of your ring.  After exposure to your natural perspiration, it will wear off more quickly there.

 

Idea 5: Resurface.  Add a hammered, satin, florentine, brushed, etc. finish to a plain old band to make it unique.

 

Idea 6: Put a ring on it.  Make small center stones look bigger by adding an illusion plate or a halo/booster ring of diamonds.  They now come in every diamond shape and can update an older setting or pump up a small center.

 

Idea 7: Don’t forget your trade in.  Now is a good time to browse through your sock drawer for the anklet your eighth grade boyfriend gave you, the remaining diamond stud earring you got for your 16th, and old birthstone rings.  The high price of gold has turned this discarded fodder into a hot commodity that can be used to offset the perfect (sigh) ring.  It’s also important to purge past relationship reminders BEFORE the wedding.

 

Note: Couples often forget that wedding rings tend to grow with the relationship.  I often recommend that a couple choose a versatile (ie. changeable) style that is easily upgraded at future anniversaries.  You may have noticed I did not mention the wildly popular trend of alternative metals.  This is a personal choice (I’m not unaware of the trend), but I look disfavorably on rings that cannot be sized.

 

Also mentioned in this article was an increase in the “mangagement ring.”  More on that next time:)

May 4, 2011

Ring Sizing: Wide Shank vs. Thin Shank

Posted in jeweler, jewelry, jewelry repair, ring sizing, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , at 9:14 pm by rosediamonds

Today’s post is about a topic that has  come up three times today in the shop.  Rings fit you differently depending on the width of the shank (bottom half of the ring).  I estimate that 80%+ of my clients end up getting their wedding ring and engagement ring soldered together.  This reduces spinning and friction between the rings.  Unfortunately, this usually means that rings that separately fit perfect, together squeeze the life out of your finger.

Take a moment to look at your hand where the fingers meet the palm…You’ll notice that your fingers tend to get less meaty towards the palm and get bigger towards the knuckle.

When you add a wedding ring to your engagement ring, it usually doubles the width of the shank–this squeezes the meaty part of your finger, making your rings too tight.

To properly estimate your ring size for a wider shanked ring (or combo of rings) ask your jeweler to fit your fingers with the wider sizing gauges (pictured at right)  This better estimates how the two rings together will feel on your hand.  If the bottom of your ring is wider still, add on the narrow ring size gauge on top of that to ensure a comfortable fit.  It will save time in the long run to get your fingers properly sized based on the width of the ring and prevent extra sizing charges in the future.

April 10, 2011

More than the Ring

Posted in rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , at 6:00 am by rosediamonds

Whenever I present a gentleman with an engagement ring, inevitably I ask the same question:  “Do you have a plan on how you’re going to ask her?”  I have been married a long time, so I live somewhat vicariously through my client’s romantic exploits.  The other side of the coin is this:  a man will spend hours agonizing over websites, shifting over jewelry counters, and talking to their mom, sister, your sister etc. on choosing the perfect ring to symbolize his commitment to you.  In my experience, it’s a 50/50 chance if they have thought things through that far.  It’s like getting all dressed  up for a ball and then watching netflix–bit of a let down.

According to The Knot.com’s survey, 26% of brides wish their proposal had been more romantic and original.  It has long been a practice of independent jewelers to offer ideas and advice to nervous grooms to be.  Our take on proposals?

Plan ahead.  Just like writing a book report–consider setting, supporting characters, legality, etc.

Women are smart and can sense “winging it.”  The story of the proposal will be asked of her from her dry cleaner to grandchildren.  I usually recommend that men google “proposal ideas.” It’s not necessary to be zany or bombastic for a memorable proposal.  She knows you (hopefully) and is just as eager as you are.  Speak from your heart and remember that humor can diffuse most anxious situations.

Success stories:

  • revisiting a special place in the couple’s history
  • proposals on special day in couple’s history

What didn’t work:

  • silently just handing a ring box to her
  • digging ring out of pocket change to give to her

Post your best ever proposal idea (real or fictitious)

October 19, 2010

Millennial Bridal Trends

Posted in bride, engagement, jewelry, jewelry design, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , at 3:45 pm by rosediamonds

I was just reading a jewelry industry magazine, and they were discussing the different trends of the new millennial brides versus past generations.  Here’s an excerpt:

Like any generation, Gassman says the millennials’ values differ from that of their parents. One key difference jewelers need to grasp is that this generation is not concerned about “keeping up with the Joneses.” Instead of eyeing a 2-carat engagement ring just to one-up their best friend’s 1-carat rock, millennials are more interested in having something that is uniquely their own.

“It’s about custom,” Gassman says. “What their neighbors think about their engagement ring is less important than what they think of their engagement ring. That’s the exact opposite of boomers, who wanted to outdo each other.”

 

The article also makes mention that new brides are more likely to comparison shop online and in person before buying, and are willing to wait for the “perfect” ring.  We have noticed this trend here in South Florida and MO.   With  interest in custom jewelry rising, it will be interesting to see where bridal design goes over the next few years.

 

Comment back, and let me know if you agree with this trend.

May 12, 2010

Engraving Basics

Posted in bride, engraving, gift ideas, Gifts, jeweler, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , at 7:48 pm by rosediamonds

I’ve been doing more and more engraving lately in preparation for graduations and weddings.  Some fast facts on engraved items:

  • Recommended: engrave the first initial for ladies (their name changes with marriage)
  • Typical: engrave the last initial for men (they can hand it down to their sons this way)
  • A Tip: engrave the receiver’s name or initial on their gift.  How many times are you going to use a wine glass that says someone else’s wedding stats on it?
  • A Tip: Keep it simple.  An entire psalms or a full paragraph of remember whens is hard to fit on the inside of a wedding band.

Engraving Question 1: Placement

Engraving Question 2: Script or Block

Engraving Question 3: Inscription (triple check spelling before giving the okay)

Fun Engraved Gifts on the Cheap:

  • wine glasses
  • champagne bottle
  • key ring (bridesmaids)
  • photo frame
  • mirrored compact (bridesmaids)
  • dainty pill box
  • engrave the back of a watch (father’s day)
  • bookmark
  • inside or outside rings
  • vases
  • door knockers (great gift idea for realtors)
  • pens (fancy graduation gift)
  • money clips (groomsmen)
  • flasks (groomsmen)
  • shot glasses (groomsmen)
  • votive holders (monogram for a crisp, classic look)

Other engraving:

  • iPhones/ipods
  • Nintendo DS/PSP
  • tools
  • knives
  • guns
  • leather embossing

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