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Jewelry Care Part 1: How to Maximize the Life of Your Jewelry

Jewelry Care Part 1: How to Maximize the Life of Your Jewelry

It’s the season for glitter and lights, and we’re gathering our accessory glam squad (aka jewelry essentials) for holiday parties, family gatherings and traveling. Diamond, gemstone and pearl jewelry need to be in top shape for mingling, jingling, and showing off on Instagram stories. Like all fine things, jewelry requires a bit of maintenance and care to prolong integrity and sparkle. Jewelry will stand up to generations of parties and fun as long as you take a few minutes to properly care for your valuables.

Daily Care - How to Keep Your Jewelry Clean

cleaning cloth and fine jewelry

Chemicals in everyday substances like hairspray, lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, and household cleaners as well as natural pollutants can dull or damage your gemstones and metals. Because of this, your jewelry should be put on last when dressing to avoid unnecessary exposure to beauty products and removed before swimming or household cleaning. It is good practice to wipe down your jewelry with a lint-free cotton cloth after every wear. Do so gently to avoid snagging the fibers on delicate prongs.

Every Few Weeks - How to Clean Jewelry at Home

Most diamonds, gemstones and metals only require gentle cleaning with a soft bristle brush in warm water with a few drops of mild liquid soap. Avoid any cleaners with ammonia, bleach or abrasive materials, and dry thoroughly with a cotton cloth. You’ll come across many DIY jewelry cleaning solutions on the internet, but many of them suggest salt, baking soda or other abrasive kitchen staples. We advise using these materials on DIY skin scrubs, but not for cleaning jewelry: the goal is to keep the stones and metal scratch-free, not to smooth out the edges!

cleaning supplies for fine jewelry

How to Clean Diamond Jewelry or Gemstone Jewelry

It’s recommended to get a new, soft brush specifically for cleaning jewelry, since old toothbrushes may have toothpaste or other risky chemicals. With some plated jewelry (such as gold vermeil), you run the risk of rubbing off the gold plating with a brush. But if you’re cleaning a Pratiksha piece, brush away: all our pieces are made with solid 14 and 18 karat gold, and never plated. Platinum jewelry will develop a lovely patina finish over time, but if you prefer, you can have your platinum jewelry polished to maintain its original shine.

pearls and soft makeup brush for cleaning

How to Clean Pearls

Pearls are exceptionally soft and vulnerable to scratching. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) suggests gently cleaning them in warm, soapy water with an unused, soft makeup brush, then laying them to dry completely on a towel before wearing. Pearl strands stretch with regular wear and should be restrung about once a year.

opal doublet jewelry

How to Clean Unique or Rare Gemstones

A few of our pieces feature doublets, which are stones created by fusing a slice of an opaque gemstone with a translucent or transparent gemstone layered on top. These handcrafted stones require special care to keep them looking their best. Avoid soaking doublet jewelry in water or any solvent cleaning solutions, and remove them before washing hands or swimming. We recommend that doublet gemstones never be steam cleaned. To maintain your doublet jewelry’s shine, wipe your piece with a soft polishing cloth after wearing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Jewelry Care series for our recommendations on annual care! We're also offering complimentary professional cleaning for any of your jewelry, now through Thanksgiving! Please give us a call or email us to make your pre-holiday jewelry cleaning appointment.

Design Diaries- Maggie's Bridal Earrings

Design Diaries- Maggie's Bridal Earrings

When we think of the ideal Pratiksha bride, we think of someone like Maggie: a digital-savvy woman with a modern aesthetic and vision. For her big day, she had imagined a pair of elegant and dainty diamond drop earrings that would be a stylish, versatile, and a smart investment for her jewelry wardrobe. We were so pleased to work with her to design a pair of custom earrings for her wedding day, and this special, one-of-a-kind gift to herself was the perfect compliment her bridal look!

custom diamond drop wedding earrings in platinum

Tell us how you met your husband:

“We met on Tinder. Our first date was a Skype video date!”

Can you share your proposal story?

“Stuart planned a surprise party for me, and proposed during the party in front of 50 of our closest friends.”

custom diamond drop bridal earrings

Tell us about the jewelry:

The earrings are made in platinum. They feature 18 round diamonds set in a cascading drop, with a total weight of 1 carat of diamonds in tapering widths.

custom designed diamond line earrings

We love Maggie’s idea of creating a special pair of earrings for her wedding because they’re a perfectly timeless style that can be worn with anything. The earrings you wear on your wedding day will featured heavily on every photograph (even more than your engagement ring), so it’s a really good idea to spend some time thinking about your bridal jewelry and how it will tie into your look. Maggie’s dress featured a high neckline with lots of detail, so it was a wise choice to skip a necklace in favor of these dangling earrings. They feature such a romantic silhouette, resembling falling snow and shimmering clean lines. This set of diamond drops will always keep memories of her special day close to her heart.

custom made diamond earrings for wedding day

Sip & Sparkle – Our Showroom Event with Source Craft Cocktails

Sip & Sparkle – Our Showroom Event with Source Craft Cocktails

It was a night of toasts, tastes, talk and tinkling of diamonds, gemstones and pearls. Recently, we invited Source Craft Cocktails of Dallas over to host an intimate crowd of ladies in our brand-new jewelry showroom. The company brought our space to life with elegant handmade cocktails that they cleverly named after strong women who win national prizes, conquer politics, and dominate showbiz.

tisha and attendees at sip and sparkle cocktail and jewelry party

The Cocktail Rundown

Paloma Ferguson

Featuring Desert Door Sotol, this take on the Paloma has fresh squeezed lime, homemade grapefruit shrub, shaken and topped with Topo Chico. Strong as Texas’ first female governor.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A notorious French 75 variation with fresh lemon, cold pressed grapefruit juice, Hendrick’s Gin shaken and topped with a great summer rose.

Curious Curie

Glenlivet Founders Reserve, a homemade strawberry syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice, Lillet Rose shaken and served up. Worthy of at least one Nobel Prize.

Oprah Winefrey

Homemade raspberry syrup, fresh mint, and sparkling wine. EVERYONE gets a spritz!

Frances Willard Style

Head of the Women’s Temperance Movement, and the name of a special MOCKTAIL.

yellow sapphire cocktail ring and rum cocktail

The cocktails were enormously popular among our guests and provided a most Instagram-worthy, colorful backdrop. Source Craft specializes in close-knit gatherings where they bring EVERYTHING, including glasses, fresh squeezed juices, hand-made syrups, and talented bartenders. Not only do they work their magic to make memories and ensure that no guest leaves thirsty, but they also host educational classes for small groups. We’re thrilled to have a partner in the Dallas area that compliments fine jewelry to a tee.

Our guests? We invited some of our closest pals to sample the goods, all of whom are ladies that move and shake within the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our new collections were at the forefront.

women shopping for jewelry and trying on necklace

The Jewelry Drop

Daily Candy

A collection of semi-precious jewelry set with amethyst, topaz, garnet, citrine, and other colorful gems in stackable rings, layerable necklaces and playful earring designs.

(Not-Your-Mother’s) Pearls

New ideas brought to the table on classic pearl twists, with new rings that feature gradient colored gemstones with a pearl center, baroque pearl drop earrings, and delicate pearl necklaces.

Every Day Diamonds

Every day with diamonds starts a little brighter. You don't need special occasions to pile on the diamond stackable rings, staggered necklaces or classic diamond staples such as tennis bracelets and studs.

Rainbow

Because we like options, the rainbow collections features all our favorite colors combined into beautiful hot stones. They compliment your daily diamonds to perfection.

women shopping for jewelry and modeling necklace

We could not be more grateful to know these brilliant and talented women and that they came out for our official showroom debut. An extra special thanks goes out to Source Craft Cocktails for blowing us away with their classy crafts and bringing together a very special night for our team.

Want to be a part of our next gathering? Follow us on Instagram for new event announcements, collection and product drops, and highlights from our new space!

Old Stone, New Life

Old Stone, New Life

What revvs our engine? As designers, we really love the challenge of repurposing diamonds, gemstones and pearls into a brand new treasured jewelry piece. Styles and sentiments can change, but it doesn't mean that the stones in your old jewelry deserve a prison sentence, condemned to a life sitting your jewelry box or shoved underneath your bed. Collaborating with our clients to craft pieces of jewelry around their stones is very empowering for both parties. We get to explore creative solutions while our clients get to harness the value of their precious stones, turning it into a masterpiece that they designed for themselves.

Have a look at some of the brilliant ways our clients have recycled their fine jewelry diamonds and gemstones.

Blue Topaz Cocktail Ring with Baguettes

Created from the side stones of our client's old ring

blue topaz baguette cocktail ringAfter bringing in an old ring, Joan wanted to use the diamond baguette side stones to design a new cocktail ring. We helped her choose an oversized emerald-cut blue topaz as the focal point, adding a generous splash of color and maintaining the clean lines of the step-cut stones. The result was a beautifully unique and contemporary topaz ring that took our breath away. She said, “I’ve always wanted a custom signature piece that is uniquely mine!”

Joan's Design Story

 

Diamond Halo Pendant

Fashioned from 4 diamonds from our client

diamond pendantWhen our client asked us to dismount her four diamonds, we realized that they slightly graduated in size. With four slightly different sized diamonds, we made a digital rendering using the exact measurements of the stones. After setting the largest diamond into a jump ring with a halo of tiny stones, the other stones were added to the bail for an elongating look. The end result was a gorgeous daily pendant that she can wear out with friends, in the office, or at any fancy event.

See More Angles

 

Layered Princess Diamond Pendants

Crafted from an unworn wedding ring

princess diamonds repurposed into new pendantAfter our client had grown frustrated with trying to sell her old engagement ring, Lillian still saw value in the gorgeous princess diamonds, and so did we. We crafted two new layered necklaces from the diamonds, creating a solitaire slide pendant from the center stone and stacking the side stones into a bar pendant.

Thrilled with the new contemporary look, our client remarked “I love that I now have two beautiful necklaces to wear, instead of just letting an old ring sit in my safe deposit box!”

Lillian's Design Story

 

Three Stone Sapphire Engagement Ring

Repurposed from our client's broken ring

three stone diamond and sapphire engagement ringWe didn’t create our client’s original engagement ring, but when the head broke off the band (yikes!), she brought it to us for a repair and a revamp. She had an idea to match the new band with one of her favorite sapphire stackable bands, which she often wore along her wedding ring stack. The new, cohesive look offers a gorgeous splash of royal blue along the sides of the set, and we just can’t get enough of the new contrasting style.

See The Set

 

Do you have an old stone you'd like to breathe some life into and create a new piece of jewelry? We'd love to talk to you about your options. Check out some other beautiful pieces our clients have created for themselves as a "just-for-fun" treat in the gallery below.

To Me, From Me, Love Me: Self-Designed Jewelry

Proposal Feels

Proposal Feels

The PJ Custom team has been privileged to craft engagement rings for over thousands of proposals globally, from Paris to Iceland to Texas. As a family business of crafters and designers, we cherish being a part of our clients' important life moments as they start their own beginning as a family. Proposals mark the point where two paths become one, and family cultures and values blend together to create a brand new story.

To honor #NationalProposalDay today, we rounded up stories of where some of our favorite "forever" moments happened.

A Paris Pratiksha Proposal

sarah proposal and ring eiffel towerMatt popped the question to Sarah under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Sporting a very unique and sparkly engagement ring, Sarah says "I am beyond elated with this beautiful piece of jewelry, and can't believe that this is what I get to look at for the rest of my life. The three rows of diamonds mean "I love you" and the two rows of baguettes symbolize Matthew and me." 

See Sarah's Story

 

A Private Proposal Dinner at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India

cushion engagement ring and india proposal in rambagh palaceOn her first trip to India, this lucky bride-to-be received the royal treatment for her proposal. A private dinner on the terrace awaited her at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, complete with flowers, candles, musicians and dancers. "It was truly the most romantic night of my life!"

Read Their Story

 

A Snowy Mountaintop in Aspen, Colorado

five stone engagement ring in aspen colorado proposalOn their last day of a ski trip, Kirk proposed in Natalie's favorite place in the entire world with her dream ring. "I love that I have a ring like no one else's!"

Read Natalie's Story

 

A Surprise Christmas Day Proposal at His Future In-Law's House

east west oval engagement ring and christmas proposalSneaky sneaky... David tricked his future fiancee by telling her he would fly out to her parents' house the day after Christmas, even booking and cancelling a flight to show evidence! But in reality, he flew in Christmas day to pop the question. "Her dad and sister helped me execute my master plan. I took pictures along the way, including me at the airport, on the plane, and at her front door. I texted them all at once... surprise!"

Read David's Story

 

A PJ Picnic Proposal on Art Hill in St. Louis, Missouri

art hill proposal and emerald engagement ringAndrew told Andie he wanted to marry her after just two dates, but for his proposal, he organized a classy picnic on Art Hill. "I set it up complete with champagne, snacks and flowers. When she arrived, I got down on one knee. Both of us were so excited, we sort of forgot to eat!"

Read Andrew's Story

 

A Library Hunt in Philadelphia with All Their Family

twisting engagement ring with library proposalThis couple bonded over their love for museums, monuments, memorials and books before the big question. "Jamie proposed in the beautiful Free Library of Philadelphia. He led me through the library on a scavenger hunt. Each of our family members was there with a book and the next riddle."

Read Anjali's Story

Joy to the Jewel

Joy to the Jewel

With ancient history rooted in folklore, spiritual influence, medicinal and cultural values, jewels have captures human interest for thousands of years. The perfect application of minerals, time and pressure create these precious treasures of the earth, with nature determining their rarity. Everything else about gemstones is created by human interest, such as their value, fashionability, legacy, cultural importance, and all the fun stories (including how effective they are at warding off bad luck).

In honor of National Jewel Day today, we put together a collection of our top gemstone picks. You'll find these beauties bedazzling many of our top selling styles, as these stones offer high color saturation, hardness, quality and durability for daily wear-and-tear. There's a reason that royal jewels have stood strong through centuries of politics, family dynasties, drama and debacles... they're strong and beautiful, just like the women who wear them.

loose rubies

Birthstone: July
Anniversary Stone: 15th, 80th
Shop Loose Rubies
Shop Ruby Jewelry

For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. The Sanskrit word for ruby is "ratnaraj," which means something like "king of the gemstones." It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent color, excellent hardness, outstanding brilliance, and extreme rarity. For a long time, India was regarded as the ruby's classical country of origin. 

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, named from the Sanskrit word "kuruvinda." Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, with all other colors being classified as sapphires. The close relationship between the ruby and the sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century, thanks to modern technology allowing us to study mineral composition. Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies, and many famous historical rubies were later discovered to actually be spinels.

color sapphires

Birthstone: September
Anniversary Stone: 5th, 10th, 45th, 70th
Shop Loose Sapphires
Shop Sapphire Jewelry

If there is talk of the sapphire, most gemstone aficionados think immediately of a velvety blue. However, the beloved royal blue is only one of a rainbow of colors in the family of sapphire gems. Composed of corundum, a mineral second only to diamond in hardness, the sapphire is actually defined as any color of the mineral besides red (reserved for ruby). The most valuable are genuine Kashmir stones (pure, intense blue with subtle violet undertone), with Burmese sapphires valued almost as highly; then come the sapphires from Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Star sapphire varieties feature a star-like phenomenon known as “asterism,” when direct light shows star-like rays throughout the stone. Other rare sapphire colors include orange, green (mostly found in Thailand and Australia) and the most rare and highly prized of all: the Padparadscha sapphire (the enchanting coral stone found in Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring).

loose emeralds

Birthstone: May
Anniversary Stone: 20th, 35th
Shop Loose Emeralds
Shop Emerald Jewelry

The famous green stone has a long and colorful history (one of the oldest of all gemstones) and was the preferred stone of Cleopatra. This variety of beryl can grow to fantastic sizes: the Bahia Emerald, one of the biggest found in the world, is 840 pounds and is worth over $372 million.

Emerald is known for its verdant green coloring, which is its most important characteristic when estimating its value. It is also known for its flaws, which are tolerated more than any other stone as a mark of its character. Most emeralds feature tiny fissures, cracks, and inclusions, and flawless stones are extremely uncommon. Some actually prefer a stone with minute flaws over a flawless one as proof of its authenticity. Oil and resin treatments are common in the industry to improve the appearance of these imperfections.

tanzanites and tanzanite jewelry

Birthstone: December
Anniversary Stone: 8th, 24th
Shop Loose Tanzanites
Shop Tanzanite Jewelry

Tanzanite is a fairly new to the gemstone world. It was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesman Ali Juuyawatu, who happened upon the glittering stones weathered from the earth and brought the find to ruby prospector Manuel de Souza.

So far the extremely rare stone has only been found in the original region of its discovery, the Mererani Hills in Northern Tanzania. It is a transparent indigo blue stone that resembles sapphire in coloring, brilliance, and luster. Given its pleochroism (change in color depending on orientation to the light), tanzanite can appear bright blue, violet purple, and rarely have a desirable burgundy flash. The stone was officially added as a birthstone for December in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association, the first stone added since 1912.

Pastel colored tanzanite is far more common than darker-colored stones – about 80% of  mining production is pastel in shade, from soft greyish blues to lilacs. This is partly because the smaller tanzanite stones do not “hold” a deep blue color well, meaning that dark blue tanzanite is typically only available in larger stones over 2.50 carats. Supply of the stone is extremely limited and is expected to run out in the next 25 years. 

shop amethyst

shop garnet

shop topaz

shop aquamarine

March of the Aquas

March of the Aquas

There was a collective gasp heard around the world last spring when the Duchess of Sussex departed for her wedding reception. True, she brought the wow-factor with her dazzling wedding dress and chic reception gown, but all eyes were on the enchanting aquamarine cocktail ring adorning her finger for the black-tie event. The heirloom ring was from Princess Diana, her late mother-in-law, and was a famed piece of jewelry that she had worn many decades ago. The bittersweet moment showed that even though the women would never get to meet, there was a lot of love and pride present for the couples’ big day.

Aquamarine is March’s spring-tastic birthstone, and also serves as the 19th wedding anniversary stone. A member of the beryl family, aquamarines come from the same family as emeralds and morganite. While even the palest blue stone can be breath-taking, aquas range in color spectrum to a dark, denim-like teal. You can see what that might look like in the following examples.

aquamarine rings with diamond

To us, aquamarine serves as a “vacation stone,” immediately conjuring memories of sun-kissed ocean fun, sunny blue skies, and tranquil purity that lets us escape from daily mundane tasks. Our favorite materials to pair with aquamarine are cool white gold settings and crisp white diamonds to show off the aquamarine’s spectrum of blue. We like to think of diamonds as the “wing man” for aquamarines since they enhance the beauty and charm of the stone’s hue. Warm yellow gold is also very flattering, as it helps draw focus to the greener tones found within the stone.

custom aquamarine wedding band and engagement rings

Check out our Aquamarine Showcase Gallery to see more PJ Custom examples

Cheat sheet for buying aquamarines and customizing jewelry:

  1. Aquamarines register as a 7.8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them a durable choice for any kind of jewelry, including bridal and daily wear.
  2. Most aquamarines are heat-treated, which is a very common process for many different types of precious gemstones to bring out more of the color saturation. Treatment does not compromise the value or integrity of the stone, but aquamarines with more beautiful color quality and saturation command much higher prices.
  3. Aquamarines grow in large crystals, making many high-carat stones available. Since they are beryl crystals, aquas can sometimes have microscopic bubbles or inclusions within the jewel. Though they are not necessarily unattractive, you can ask your jeweler for an “eye-clean” aquamarine to make sure your stone looks crystal clear to the naked eye.

emerald cut aquamarine

3.26ct. Emerald Cut Aquamarine

$590

round aquamarine

2.51ct. Round Aquamarine

$850

oval aquamarine

1.82ct Oval Aquamarine

$209

Fun facts about aquamarines:

Aquamarines derive their name from Latin “aqua marina,” meaning “sea water,” and has thousands of years of history bringing luck to sea voyagers. The mysticism surrounding the stone was believed to come directly from mermaids, protecting the sailors from danger, evil, seasickness and other medical ailments. Ancient Romans believed that the stone could cure medical ailments as well, and healers in the Middle Ages believed that the stone warded off anxiety and toxins from poison.

Your "Soul" Stone

Your

Any time I meet up with one of my long-time friends, Emily, I can always count on her wearing her moonstone pendant. Emily’s carefree, spirited personality is perfectly encapsulated in this quirky and colorful gemstone, and I remember how it shimmers when we laugh together, make her signature s’mores dip, and run after our kids. Now every time I see a moonstone I think of her, and it brings a flood of our memories back.

moonstone ring and moonstone pendant

Making a connection with a gemstone is meaningful to not only you, but the people who see you wear it. Do you have a gemstone that really resonates with your personal style? Whether it’s a birthstone, a stone from a family treasure, or your “soul stone,” there is fascinating significance and cultural values behind each gemstone. Many of them have thousands of years of history (i.e. ruby, emerald, and sapphire), but some have only been recently unearthed (i.e. tanzanite in 1967). If you do some soul searching of your own, you’ll be surprised to find what kinds of naturally occurring colors appear in the gemstone world, and which ones mean a little bit more to you than just surface beauty.

Take a dip into history

Many gemstones have an ancient past with symbolism stemming from Eastern cultures. The aquamarine, for example, was commonly known as the “sailor’s gem” to ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed the stone ensured safe and prosperous voyages across the sea. If you’re curious about interesting stone facts and their historical value, take a look at any of the stones that pique your interest on PJ Custom. The product page has a tab that features cool and unusual facts about each stone used in fine jewelry, as well as buying tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.

how to learn more about gemstone

Explore your birthstone collection

If you love your month’s birthstone, awesome! These collections of jewelry by month can help inspire a new look for you. But you may be surprised to find that many months feature an “alternative” birthstone, such as June, October and December (which has 3!). Additionally, many birthstones such as Garnet (January), Sapphire (September) and Tourmaline (October) feature a rainbow of color options that beg to be considered. You can find all the alternative birthstone options in our gemstone inventory when you click the “Birthstone” tab.

Do you have a special anniversary in your life?

Most people liken anniversaries to weddings, but that’s an old philosophy. Celebrating the annual turn of anything of great significance in your life is worthy of commemorating in a fine jewelry piece. For example, one of our clients just celebrated her tenth year of sobriety. We suggested a sapphire, traditionally honored as the tenth anniversary stone, and created a pendant she could wear daily. Her strength, resilience and perseverance through her challenges were encapsulated in a fine jewelry piece to remind herself of her inner strength and worth.

loose sapphires and ring

The world of gemstones and their cultural significance are continually evolving. Take a look at our Gemstone Gallery to discover a jewel that speaks to you.

The Expert Guide to Diamond Shapes

The Expert Guide to Diamond Shapes

Decisions, decisions... whether you're building an engagement ring or a pair of investment studs, the cut of your diamond can be a debilitating choice to make. We've rounded out the top cuts for nature's top jewel and what to look for when choosing a stone.
round diamond

Round

Pros: Classic, timeless cut. High brilliance and fire. Since this is the most popular shape, there are plenty to choose from.

Cons: Because this cut is so popular, prices for less popular cuts can be more affordable than a round diamond of comparable quality.

What to watch out for: Shallow or deep stones. A disproportionate cut doesn’t reflect the light through the stone correctly and can greatly harm the diamond’s brilliance. The “ideal” depth of a round diamond is  between 58 and 64%.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS1 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

princess diamond

Princess

Pros: Cheaper price because of the higher yield when cutting the stone. Given the natural pyramid like shape of a well-formed diamond rough, cutting a princess diamond loses much less raw material than, say, a round. Because these roughs are also higher in clarity than others, it is also much easier to find a quality princess diamond.

Cons: Their sharp corners are vulnerable to chipping if not protected with a v-prong or similar setting.

What to watch out for: Symmetry. Look for a stone with excellent symmetry and a length-to-width ratio of 1.05:1 or less. A common rule of thumb with princess cut diamonds is to avoid those with a table % that is greater than the depth %.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS1 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

cushion diamond

Cushion

Pros: This cut creates soft, shimmery sparkle and dispersion of light, creating a rainbow “kaleidoscope” effect. Their rounded shape is soft and romantic, while still drawing attention as unique.

Cons: Being an over 300 year old cut, it was meant to sparkle and shimmer under candlelight. Because of this, its brilliance is somewhat subdued compared to the flashy round cut. It also shows color more than other cuts—but that makes it a choice cut for fancy color diamonds.

What to watch out for: Photographs. This fancy shape can be “looser” than other cuts, meaning that each stone has its own personality—whether it is a larger table, more pronounced or “pillowy” corners, or differences in depth. For this reason, it’s important to see a photo of the actual stone to evaluate its overall look.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS2 to SI1

Color: D to G

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

oval diamond

Oval

Pros: Can look larger than an equal carat weight cushion or round, and is the most brilliant of all diamond cuts besides the round. This shape also creates an illusion of length to the finger, which can be flattering for petite hands.

Cons: The dreaded bowtie. It’s a nature of the cut to have less light in these areas, but a stone with very good or better cut quality won’t show this effect. It’s important to have an actual picture of the stone to evaluate before purchasing. This cut, like the cushion and emerald cut, can also show more color than other cuts.

What to watch out for: Length to width ratio. This ratio describes how wide or narrow the stone is—most people prefer diamonds in the range of 1.3 to 1.7; we recommend diamonds between 1.4 and 1.6.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS1 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

emerald cut diamond

Emerald

Pros: Crisp, sharp lines and a bigger look than an equal carat weight round. They are also typically cheaper than more in-demand cuts.

Cons: This cut does not maximize the diamond’s sparkle like a brilliant round cut would. If you really like a diamond’s fire, you may be better suited by a radiant or cushion cut. This cut also makes inclusions and lower color grades more obvious, so you may end up spending more to get a stone with a higher grade clarity or color.

What to watch out for: The length-to-width ratio. This measurement gives you an idea of how narrow or wide this rectangular cut is. Most prefer their stone in the range of 1.33-1.6.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VVS1 to VS2

Color: D to G

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

radiant diamond

Radiant

Pros: A gorgeous mix of the emerald cut silhouette and brilliant, glittery faceting. This cut can also be found square, making it an alternative to the princess cut. The truncated corners reduce the risk of chipping or breaking. Because of the cut’s 70 facets, small inclusions are actually better hidden with this cut, making it easier to find a lower clarity grade that is eyeclean.

Cons: This cut is naturally deeper than other cuts because of the number of facets, and that means that more of the diamond’s weight is hidden in its depth. For this reason, a radiant cut will often face up smaller than other shapes of comparable carat weight.

What to watch out for: Photographs. The overall look of a radiant’s faceting can vary, from “chunky” antique style faceting to elaborate “crushed ice” faceting. For this reason, it’s important to see a photo of the actual stone to evaluate its overall look.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS2 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

pear diamond

Pear

Pros: This cut is unconventional and memorable. Its brilliant facets help conceal inclusions, allowing for a lower clarity grade than cuts without brilliant faceting (such as the emerald cut).

Cons: Like the oval, marquise, and heart cuts, pears can sometimes exhibit dark, shadowy “bow-ties” in their faceting. Very good or better cut stones will minimize this.

What to watch out for: Cut. This shape can be difficult to get right, either with the right proportions (not “stubby” or too long), proper rounding along the bottom, or the graceful curve from base to point. Get photographs or see the stone in person to determine if it is an appealing look for you.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS2 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

heart diamond

Heart

Pros: This shape is quirky and unmistakable. Because this type of cut is challenging, and quite unique, heart wedding rings often increase in value with time.

Cons: The distinct shape of this cut can be hard to see for stones under ½ carat. Like the oval, pear, and marquise cut, the heart is also prone to the “bow tie” effect. This can be minimized or eliminated in very good or better cut stones.

What to watch out for: Cut. Like the pear, this cut is an artistic shape without uniform parameters. When choosing a heart, symmetry is a very important characteristic, since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical. The cleft (between the two lobes) should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS2 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

 

marquise diamond

Marquise

Pros: Unconventional and memorable

Cons: Like the oval, pear, and heart cut, the heart is also prone to the “bow tie” effect. This can be minimized or eliminated in very good or better cut stones. Like the princess cut, its points are vulnerable to chips and breaks.

What to watch out for: Length to width ratio. Well cut stones fall between around 1.5 and 2.5, but individual preferences vary widely in this range. Stones with 1.5 length to width ratios resemble footballs, while stones with 2.5 length to width ratios can resemble narrow canoes.

Our recommendations:

Clarity: VS2 to SI2

Color: F to H

Cut: Excellent to Very Good

The Advanced Diamond Buying Guide

The Advanced Diamond Buying Guide

It seems that snow flurries, twinkly lights, and the holidays give couples the warm-and-fuzziesthe holiday season is the most popular time of year for couples to propose tying the knot. Because of this, the fall has become engagement season for jewelers, who help clients pop the question with breathtaking bling. 

But not all jewels (and jewelers) are created equal. With such an investment, it's of utmost importance to understand what you're getting and what factors are most important to consider. 

If you're considering buying a diamond for your partner, you likely already know about the 4 C's: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. But how can we use this information to make the best purchase? We've outlined six of our best tips for choosing your diamond that you won't find in Diamonds 101.

 

gia and ags logos

1. Not all certificates are created equal.

GIA is considered the highest standard for grading,whereas other laboratories like EGL USA, IDI, and AGS are more generous with their grading policies. For this reason, we recommend reducing the grading of non-GIA certified stones by one grade when comparing them with GIA certified stones. Ultimately, it is important to remember that diamond grading is subjective and not mathematically defined. So if one lab consistently calls one color grade "H" while another lab calls the same color grade "G", it’s perfectly reasonable as long as they do so consistently.

 

diamond and tools

2. A certificate is only as good as the lab’s reputation.

Every lab has its quirks: one may be looser in color, or clarity, or perhaps more forgiving of certain inclusions. What makes the lab’s certificate authoritative is consistency in these grading practices. It is for these reasons that we recommend staying far away from stones with certain low-reputation lab certificates, including those from the now defunct EGL-International.

 

 

3. Compare your stone with the certificate.

Diamond certificates include a top and bottom diagram illustrating the stone’s unique arrangement of inclusions. Using these diagrams, inspect your stone with a loupe to verify that the certificate provided matches the stone being offered. Some inclusions may be difficult to find even with a loupe; ask your gemologist to help you find them!

4. Don’t skimp on the cut grade.

The quality of a diamond’s cut directly affects its brilliance and is one of the most important factors when evaluating your stone. At the very best, a round "ideal" cut diamond will show high fire, brightness, and perfect symmetry—resulting in a hearts and arrows effect. Be aware that grades offered above this GIA recognized grade are created by the diamond seller to inflate the value of their stones. There is no difference between an "ideal" stone and a "super ideal", "signature ideal", or similarly described stone.

 

diamond colors

5. Don’t buy more than you need.

You go into the car dealership looking for a modest sedan and come out with a fast-and-sporty, full-loaded coupe with all the bells and whistles—many that you won’t ever use. The same can happen with a diamond, too. While many would adore having a colorless, flawless diamond, the price difference between it and a pretty-much-completely-perfect diamond can be astronomical. Further, it can be very difficult for even the trained eye to tell the difference! For many people, diamonds in the range of F-H in color and SI1-SI2 in clarity hit the sweet spot for appearance and price. Take advantage of the nuanced spectrum of colors, clarities, and grading criteria to pick a stone that is ideal for you and your budget.

 

 

diamonds weighing around one carat

6. Size is (almost) everything.

Diamond prices jump at half carat and full carat marks, so aim for a stone that is slightly below that size for the same look without the same price tag. For example, 0.95ct looks identical to 1.00ct but is much more attractively priced.

 

Beyond Bridal, pt. III: Gifts for Your Bridesmaids

Beyond Bridal, pt. III: Gifts for Your Bridesmaids

They’re the unsung heroes of your big day:  they helped you pick your gown, DIY’d your wedding décor and planned all those endless little details. Give back with gifts to your bridesmaids to show how much you appreciate their support.

Personalized Gifts

While everyone appreciates a personalized gift, we all know what happens to that hot pink “John + Maggie Bridesmaid Squad” t-shirt.

Consider a more subtle personalization that acts as a reminder of the big day without screaming “souvenir”:

 

matching bridesmaids pendants with oval tanzanites

Matching jewelry sets

Give each bridesmaid a matching pendant or bracelet charm that coordinates with your wedding colors—they can even wear them for the ceremony.

 

Monogrammed jewelry

A monogrammed pendant is cute, personal, and pretty much foolproof.

 

Custom engraving

A cute stackable band with the wedding date, her initials, or even the coordinates of the ceremony’s location is a memento she can wear every day. You could even consider giving a pendant or ring with a personal short & sweet message to each bridesmaid engraved on the back or inside.

 

Custom designs

Create a custom-made jewelry set that represents your bridal squad. Get inspired by your wedding décor: create a design inspired by your floral arrangements, colors, fonts, and other motifs. You could even create a design representing your destination wedding, such as a conch shell for a tropical wedding or a cute branch bar necklace for a woodsy locale.

 

Beyond Bridal: Something Blue

Beyond Bridal: Something Blue

Everyone knows the saying: something old, something new, something borrowed…

It’s a tradition for many brides, but where does it actually originate?

It’s actually an Old English rhyme, first published in an 1894 edition of the Pennsylvanian newspaper The Warren Ledger, where it was listed as a “Puritan Marriage Custom”.

Something old,something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

The oddball dropped from the common saying—the “silver sixpence”—was a British coin in use during the 17th to the 20th centuries, and remains in the British version of the tradition.

Quite simply, the saying lists charms thought to bring good luck to the bride and the marriage. The items are quite often family heirlooms handed down for the wedding as a rite of passage, but many take the opportunity to create their own heirloom treasures. Each has its own particular sentiment:

Something old to represent continuity;

Something new to represent hope for the future;

Something borrowed, traditionally from another happy bride, to represent borrowed happiness;

And something blue to represent fidelity, love, and purity.

In British customs, the silver sixpence represents prosperity and future wealth.

Given sapphire’s long association with love and purity, we think there is no better gem to play the part of the bride’s “something blue”: whether it be a pair of sapphire earrings, a ring, or perhaps a bracelet or hair pin.

For the bride wanting a more subtle look, blue topaz or aquamarine offers a subtle breath of blue that pairs well with bright wedding whites.

Check out our selection of jewelry featuring blue gemstones - perfect to complete any wedding day look!