A Brief History of April’s Birthstone – Diamond

If you were born in the month of April, you’re pretty darn lucky, because your birthstone is none other than the DIAMOND! I mean, we know it’s not like you needed another excuse to want some diamonds, but we’re providing you with one anyway.

D2 Diamonds are by far the most popular precious stone. They are extremely rare, beautiful and valuable. They are also in high-demand. Why wait for an engagement ring to get a diamond? You April babies don’t have to!

Believe it or not, diamonds were not always the popular choice when it came to asking your lady love to be yours forever. Considering diamonds have been around since about 3,000BC to 4,000BC where they were first mined in India, it was not until the last century or so that they began to be used as the standard choice for engagement rings. Before that, diamonds represented wealth, power, prestige and were even thought to possess some healing properties – some believed that if you made a sign of the cross with a diamond in your hand it would cure you of your ailments. Not much of that ideology has changed (except maybe the healing powers stuff).

Because of their beauty and rarity, diamonds were mainly worn by royalty and nobility, but this changed around the 1870’s when diamond production began to grow exponentially. In this day and age, diamonds are mined in a whole bunch of different countries across every continent apart from Antarctica.D4

Now-a-days when we think about diamonds, we think of engagement rings, but it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that diamonds started to become popular for proposal rings…which is odd considering that it’s rumored that the first diamond engagement ring was presented back in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to his future bride, Mary of Burgundy. The explosive increase of popularity can be attributed to a De Beers ad campaign from 1947 which sought to make the stone a symbol of love and commitment with the slogan “A Diamond is Forever”.

When you think about it, diamonds really are the perfect stone to set into an engagement ring; they’re beautiful, timeless, and unbreakable. And aren’t those all the things you would wish for your marriage to be?

Diamonds are not just for engagement rings either; diamond stud earrings are also incredibly popular with men and women alike. But why stop there? You can also go for diamond pendants, bracelets, anklets, right-hand rings, wedding bands, earrings or even toe rings. The choices are endless! And what better excuse to receive a beautiful piece of diamond jewelry than to present an April baby with a memorable birthstone piece?

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Grace’s Diamond Buying Guide (for Dummies)

So you want to propose, now what? Okay, so obviously we were not taught how to classify diamonds in 9th grade Earth Science, and Gemology is not one of the top ten college majors, so the majority of the public are somewhat clueless when it comes to buying diamonds. Yeah, you could look up some of the basics online, but in this guide I will break things down very simply for you. (Please keep in mind that this guide is solely discussing white diamonds, or clear diamonds. The same rules listed below do not apply to colored diamonds.)

Loose round-cut diamonds

So one of the first things people will tell you that you need to know when buying a diamond are the Four C’s. These stand for Carat weight, Color, Clarity and Cut.

Carat Weight- This is basically how big the stone is. Stones with higher carat weights (which is abbreviated “CT”) are larger. Depending on what you can afford, most people buy diamonds between 0.50cts (or ½ a carat) and 2.00cts for their lady’s engagement ring.

Color- So believe it or not, not all diamonds are crystal clear. Some diamonds can be yellow or even brown. Color is measured by letters of the alphabet. The best color grading is D (there are no A, B, or C color gradings). A D colored stone is completely clear or white. The further down the alphabet you go, the worse the color gets. So a K colored stone, for instance, would have a yellowish tint, and a Z colored stone would be totally brown.  In my opinion, if you do not want a yellow stone, it’s best to stay above an I color grading.

Clarity- This refers to how clean a diamond is. Stones can often contain what is called “inclusions”. This means there are imperfections in the stone such as black spots or white streaks (known as feathers). Some of these inclusions can only be seen under a magnifying glass, while others are visible to the average Joe’s naked eye. Clarity is also measured in letters, but these letters actually stand for the clarity grade.

FL=Flawless, meaning there are NO inclusions in the stone. An IF stone is also flawless.

VVS=Very Very Slightly Included. This means there may be one or two very small inclusions but they can only be seen under a jeweler’s magnifying glass.

VS=Very Slightly included. This means that there may be a few small inclusions but they can only be seen under a jeweler’s magnifying glass.

SI=Slightly Included. This means there are a few large-ish inclusions that are visible to a jeweler under magnification, but there may also be a risk of some being visible to the average Joe’s naked eye.

I=Included. This means the stone has a lot of large inclusions that can be seen by anyone and everyone.

Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky. Each clarity category has subdivisions. So there are numbers next to the gradings (SI1, SI2, SI3 ETC…). The higher the number, the worse the grading. In other words, a VS2 stone is not as good as a VS1 stone. An SI2 stone is better than an SI3 stone and so forth…

Cut- This can actually mean two things; the shape of the stone, and how the stone is, for lack of a better word, cut. (Although the correct meaning of a diamond’s cut refers to the way it is actually cut, not the shape of the stone, but I will explain both anyway). Now, when it comes to the difference the way the stone is cut makes, just think about the way humans are all shaped differently. Some are short and fat, some are tall and skinny, and others are somewhere in between.  The way the stone is cut matters because it affects the sparkly-ness of the diamond. If a diamond is cut wrong, not as much light can get through it, and therefore it will not have a lot of sparkle or brilliance. The cut of a diamond grading is pretty obvious to understand. There is Ideal cut, which is the best, then Excellent cut, Very Good cut, Good cut, Fair cut, and Poor cut.

Some people may also refer to the shape of the stone as the cut. The shape of the stone just may be the most important thing you need to decide before you can even think about all those other things listed above. You need to know if you want a round, princess (square), pear, heart or oval shaped stone. Or maybe you feel like getting fancy and decide to get her a cushion, emerald, radiant, marquise or asscher cut stone. Yes, you do have that many options.

Color and clarity charts for diamonds

So now that we’ve explained the Four C’s, let me explain another very important aspect of diamond buying: certification. There are different companies that look at diamonds and assign them the gradings discussed above. Obviously, not only are the grading’s based on each company’s own standards, but they are also subjective to the person who is actually looking at the stone. So basically I could be looking at a stone and think it is completely perfect and grade it as a D color and FL clarity, but Bob could look at the same exact stone and see something I didn’t and give it an E color and a VVS1 clarity. Get it? Also, some companies are more strict in their grading procedures than others. The most popular grading companies are GIA, EGL and IGI. Out of these companies, GIA appears to be the most strict in their grading procedures. You definitely want to make sure you choose a stone that comes with a certification, and make sure you receive the certificate as well.

Another big question when choosing a diamond is how much you should be spending on it. The rule of thumb seems to be that you should be spending two months of your salary on her engagement ring overall, this includes the setting and the diamond. So start saving!

To sum it up, when it comes to buying a diamond, you want to get a stone that is the right shape that she wants, yet something you can afford. It should also be colorless, look clean, shine bright, and come with a certificate from a reputable grading company. Easy, right?

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Is there a “best” diamond shape?

Simple question…complicated answer. What is the best diamond shape….for what?  What is the best shape for your hand?  What’s best for light performance? What diamond works best with a particular setting?  Unfortunately there are no definitive answers…what matters is finding the best diamond shape for you and your partner.

Diamond Cut Shapes from Allurez.com

Shedding some light on diamond shapes

A complete diamond shape education section is available, explaining what the individual qualities of each particular diamond shape are. This article will focus on helping you decide what diamond shape is best for what:

  1. What diamond shape will provide the best color?
    Color is king when it comes to radiant cut diamonds. It takes the prize for best color retention thanks to their rectangular to square shape with trimmed corners.
  2. What is the best shape for light refraction?
    The beloved round shaped brilliant diamond takes the cake for providing us with more light and fire, making this shape brilliant indeed!
  3. What shape has stood the test of time?
    Again, hats off to round shape diamonds. By far, round is the most popular shape for diamond jewelry with 75% of diamonds sold today being round. Round diamonds are also considered the most versatile shape for diamond engagement rings and earring studs as well.
  4. What will look best on my hand?
    Thumbs up for marquise shapes….they make even short fingers look longer. And those who are blessed with long lean fingers tend to look amazing in princess cut diamonds.
    A big round of applause for heart and round shapes to thin down a larger hand. Delicate ring settings and thinner diamond shapes work best on smaller hands.
  5. What diamond shape makes the best investment?
    The romantic in all of us wants to say it’s not about intrinsic value, but the value placed on it by its owner. Truth be told, although no diamond is a bad financial decision, the more popular a shape is, the better the investment when it comes to resale.
  6. What shape diamond looks the biggest?
    The most bang for your buck winner is the marquise or pear-shaped diamond. They seem to be larger because of  their elongated appearance.

Bottom line – Let’s be honest, choosing a diamond, especially for an engagement ring is one of the most important decisions of your life. Choosing the best shape diamond really comes down to personal taste. From trending halo engagement rings to trusty solitaires, the setting for, and the shape of the diamond, is completely up to you….and it can’t be wrong.

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Aquamarine – Birthstone of March

Happy birthday you lucky March babies….your birthstone is Aquamarine….the sign most often associated with the sea and its lovely aqua color. Originally believed to protect sailors, Aquamarine gemstones are also the stone that’s mystical qualities include levelheadedness and calm.

A truly stunning stone of earth’s creation, Aquamarine translates to “sea water” aptly named for its lucid color, reminiscent of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean ocean. The Aquamarine has a slight greenish tint that appears to be blended with a beautiful transparent blue resulting in a gemstone as cool and clean as a dip in the ocean.
Although aquamarine mines, found primarily in Russia and Brazil, are nowhere near the sea, its water green-blue color will take you there…with colors reminiscent of the sea and the freedom from worry it evokes.

Aquamarine Beryl

The History and Lure of Aquamarine
Myths and legends regarding Aquamarine abound, with this gemstone tied to ancient lineage. The Romans believed that carved aquamarine shaped frogs could help turn enemies into friends. In medieval times the aquamarine gemstone was believed to reawaken love, while Sumerians, Egyptians and Hebrews recognize the aquamarine as a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth.

Thought of as a stone of vitality, ancient philosopher Pliny stated, “the lovely aquamarine seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied.”

Today the popularity of the aquamarine is undeniable. Often associated with friendship, courage and faithfulness, its metaphysical properties include quick response, awareness and promotion of communicative skills. Its praises continue with aquamarine crystals being used for healing, stress reduction and as a remedy throat problems.

aq2

The Beauty of Aquamarine
With so many mystical healing properties, aquamarine is best worn next to the skin where it can best be absorbed. This makes it an excellent option for jewelry. Especially when you consider that aquamarine works with all skin tones and eye colors. Requiring no special treatment or care, Aquamarines are perfect for jewelry worn daily, like cocktail or right hand rings. This bluish green stone is also popular when set into earrings and pendants.

For March babies, the Aquamarine gemstone is theirs as a birthstone. For everyone else, it’s a welcome addition to any jewelry box.

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The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Men spend more money than women on Valentine’s Day gifts, and more women than men expect presents on Valentine’s day. So, if you are looking for the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift for her just remember that famous saying…

Good Things Do Come in Small Packages

Truer words were never said when it comes to jewelry. Imagine a small box measuring 2 inches by 2 inches…the perfect size for a stunning engagement ring or contemporary gemstone cocktail ring. Although the monetary value will vary…the effect will be similar, smiles, hugs and kisses! A jewelry gift box of any size is always a welcome gift!

February 14th – The Day of Hearts & Flowers

Traditionally Valentine’s Day was celebrated with mushy cards, a dozen roses and a heart shaped hunk of chocolate. A safe gift that the girl of your dreams will most certainly appreciate. But if you want to up the ante here are a few hearts that are a tiny bit sweeter.
Heart3

Heart1

Fresh flowers do smell amazing, and when sent to her place of work, they certainly make your Valentine the queen of the office…but unlike the live flower variety, the flowers suggested below have real staying power.

Cluster1

Cluster2

Floral carved filigrees and cluster style rings and pendants make up a thousand-fold in appearance where they may lack in scent when compared to a bouquet of flowers. The range of gemstones to choose from is just as varied and vibrant – red rubies, blue sapphires, amethysts and pink morganite are all worthy choices for Valentine’s themed hues. For something more personal though, a piece of birthstone accented jewelry with an engraving is sure to win the adoration of the one you love.

Valentine’s day is the one holiday devoted to love. This year dedicate it to pleasing her with a piece of diamond or gemstone jewelry that never goes out of style.

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