Category Archives: Tips

How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring: Choosing The Best Value

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

For this week’s Wednesday Jewelry Lesson, we will be discussing how to choose the best value for your engagement ring.  The last three weeks, we covered how to choose the right diamond shape and how to choose the mounting for your diamond.  If you missed any of these posts, you can read them here:

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape Part I

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape Part II

Choosing The Mounting For Your Diamond

Choosing The Best Value:

There are many thoughts on buying a diamond, but in the end it comes down to what makes you happy or what will make the person you are giving it to happy.  There are some people who don’t mind their diamond being a little lower quality, because they want as big of a diamond as they can find, while there are other people who want the perfect diamond.

When you look at diamonds, they are evaluated by the 4 C’s.  They are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.  Here is a little bit of information about each of them and how they affect how a diamond looks.

Cut:

The first, and to most people believed to be the most important, is the Cut of the diamond.  The quality of the cut gives the diamond life and helps it sparkle.  When a diamond is cut poorly the light does not refract correctly and the diamond is not as bright and sparkly.  There are some diamonds that are cut too “deep” which means the diamond, when looking at it from the side is deeper than normal.  This cut causes the light to enter the top of the diamond, bounce around inside of the diamond, and then mostly go out the side of the diamond instead of the top.  When a diamond is cut too shallow, the light goes into the diamond and bounces around and then mostly goes out the bottom of the diamond.  When a diamond is cut to the right specifications and using the right angles, the light bounces around inside of the diamond and then mostly comes back out the top or table of the diamond, giving sparkle and life to the diamond.

Clarity:

The second one of the C’s is Clarity.  The clarity of a diamond is important, with respect to being able to see birthmarks or imperfections with the naked eye or not.  Almost all diamonds have some sort of birthmark inside of them, but the key is whether you can see it with the naked eye or not.  When you can see a birthmark with the naked eye, it is said to have a clarity of I, for included.  When you cannot see anything with the naked eye, but you can pick up slight inclusions under 10 x magnification, the diamond is said to have a clarity of SI, for slightly included.  When you get past that, you will find VS (Very Slightly Included), VVS (Very Very Slightly Included), and IF (Internally Flawless).  The difference between a VS and VVS stone is so minor that it takes trained professionals to determine the difference and sometimes even the trained professionals cannot agree on it.

Color:

The third C is Color.  This is of course important, because you want your diamond to sparkle but you always want it to be white, unless it is a colored diamond.   The color scale of diamonds starts at D and follows the alphabet up to Z.  The ground of D-F is known as a colorless diamond, while the group of G-J is known as a near colorless diamond.  The diamonds that are rated from K-N are considered to have a slight tint and you can normally see a touch of yellow in the diamond.  The color of a diamond is important because you want it to look as nice as possible, but in the end most engagement rings fall somewhere in the near colorless range, because they are a great looking diamond with a terrific value.

Carat:

The fourth and final C is Carat weight.  Carat weight is the measure of how much the diamond weighs.  When a diamond weights near 0.50 ct, it is considered to be a ½ ct and a 1 ct is when a diamond weighs near 1.00 ct.  When you look at a diamond, it is important to see how it appears.  There can be diamonds that weigh more, but might look a little smaller than one that weighs less, because it is cut a little deeper than the next one.  As we talked about before, you don’t want one with a cut so deep that it doesn’t sparkle much, but slight differences in cut can affect how a diamond appears in size to the naked eye.

diamond clarity

All in all, as we mentioned before, the most important thing to remember when picking a diamond is to get something you will like or that you will like giving to someone else.  The diamond has been and will be a symbol for years to come of love, achievement, remembrance, and celebration, which makes it the perfect gift when promising your love or showing someone how much they have meant and mean to you.

 

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How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring: Choosing The Mounting For Your Diamond

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry LessonFor this week’s Wednesday Jewelry Lesson, we will be discussing how to choose the best mounting for your diamond.  The last two weeks, we covered how to choose the right diamond shape.  If you missed either post, you can read them here:

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape Part I

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape Part II

Choosing The Mounting For Your Diamond:

The mounting is the metal composing the ring, without a center diamond. Engagement ring mountings are a significant part of a ring’s design.  It is the focal point of the ring, holding the precious diamond. There are so many varieties to choose from when searching for a mounting for your engagement ring. Today, we are going to discuss seven of the most traditional mountings. We hope to help you better understand the differences between each type of mounting.

Solitaire Mounting:

Solitaire Mounting

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for a classic and simple mounting, then the solitaire mounting is the way to go.  It includes one center diamond with no accent diamonds on either side. A prong setting is a common technique for mounting a solitaire diamond.

Three Stone Mounting:

3 stone ring mounting

 

 

 

 

The Three Stone Mounting is a popular choice for an engagement ring, because it has very special meaning. It includes one center diamond with two accent diamonds on each side.  Each diamond symbolizes the past, present and future of your relationship.

Channel Set Mounting:

channel set mounting

 

 

 

 

 

A channel set mounting is when there is one diamond in the middle with smaller diamonds in a channel on both sides of the center diamond. The side diamonds are set next to each other in a groove inside the ring. This is a very secure setting, because it helps prevents the diamonds from getting snagged.

Pave Set Mounting:

pave set mounting

 

 

 

 

 

A pave set mounting is when there are small diamonds on top of the metal band on each side of the center diamond. They are so tiny and close together, that it is very hard to see the small amount of metal placed between each pave diamond. It makes it appear as if the surface of the ring is blanketed with diamonds.

Halo Mounting:

halo

 

 

 

 

 

 

A halo mounting is when there is a halo of smaller diamonds showcasing the larger center diamond.  Diamonds along the side of the center diamond is optional. You can also choose to have a double halo of diamonds around the center stone.  Halo mountings can visually enhance the center diamond, creating a much bigger and more radiant appearance.

Bezel Set Mounting:

bezel set mounting

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a bezel set mounting, a metal rim surrounds the diamond by its girdle to keep it in place. This type of setting can be used for any type of diamond shape. It is great at protecting the girdle and can often create the illusion of a much larger diamond.

Shank Mounting:

split shank mounting

 

 

 

 

 

A split shank mounting creates the look of two separate bands. It is when the shank splits from the head of the ring. Split shanks display a striking look and can compliment many types of diamond shapes.

filigree shank mounting

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for an engagement ring with a vintage look, then a filigree mounting is the perfect choice. Filigree is a delicate kind of jewelry metalwork. It can be made with tiny beads or twisted threads, or both used together. There are countless number of filigree designs to choose from for your ring.

 Make a Custom Engagement Ring Mounting

If none of these mountings seem to be the right one for your engagement ring, you can always get it made custom for you.  We can make a custom mounting that will best suit your style.  Call us toll free at 888-944-4575 or visit our website at kranichs.com.

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The difference between 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k gold.

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

The karat weight of gold is simply a measure of how pure a piece of gold is or how pure the gold used to make a piece of jewelry is.  Jewelry is normally made in 10k, 14k or 18k gold, because 24k gold, which is pure gold, is too soft to hold the structural integrity of the piece of jewelry.  Jewelers make the 24k gold less soft and easier to make jewelry from by adding alloys such as silver, copper, zinc, nickel and others to the pure gold.

When you have 10k gold you have a metal that is 10 parts gold and 14 parts alloys.  This makes the product approximately 41% gold.  A product that is 14k gold has 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloys and is approximately 58% gold.  Finally a piece of jewelry that is made in 18k gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys, which means it has 75% gold in it.

There are a few ways to tell the difference between 10k, 14k, and 18k.  The easiest way is to look for a stamp on the gold somewhere.  The stamp will say 18k or 18kt or it may even say 750 instead of 18k.  In Europe, most gold is stamped with the percentage of the product that is gold, so when you see a stamp that is 585 it is 14k and a stamp that is 750 it is 18k.  You can also tell by looking at the metal itself.  The deeper the yellow of the metal, then the more gold there is in it.  You have to be careful, because some jewelry is made of a base metal that is coated in gold and it has a deep yellow look, but it has basically no gold in it at all.

karat-scale

There is also white gold, which is coated with Rhodium after it is made.  White gold has a natural color which is a whitish yellow and the rhodium is used to make it bright white.  When making white gold most jewelry manufactures use nickel or palladium as the alloys to turn the yellow gold to a whiter metal.  They do that because nickel and palladium are naturally occurring white metals.   As the ring is worn the rhodium will wear off and need to be reapplied every 6-12 months.

This is our fun facts for the week, we hope you learned a little something about the karat weights of gold!

 

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The Diamonds Grading History from an Idea to an Institution

If you are reading this blog, odds are you have heard the of the 4 C’s of diamond evaluation before. Well have you ever wondered where the 4 Cs came from? Well, as I don’t have as strong a background in the history of the jewelry industry as others and being a little curios, I decided to do a little investigation on the subject. I found out not only where the term came from, but what exactly the 4Cs are and it all starts in the 1940’s.

Robert M. Shipley

Robert M. Shipley: Founder of the Gemological Institute of America

The beginnings of the 4Cs were laid out by Robert Shipley, founder of the Gemological Institute of America. Originally based out of the Shipley home in 1931, the GIA continued to grow through 1940 when Richard T. Liddicoat, who is recognized as the “father of modern gemology”, joined the staff. It wasn’t until 1953 that Richard introduced the GIA diamond grading system which was a practical approach to grading the quality of diamonds on the basis of color, clarity and cut.

So what are the 4Css? Let’s start with Carat. A carat weight is the unit of measurement based on a base unit of 100 points. So that being said, a diamond with .50 carats is considered a 1/2 carat diamond. Next let’s move to color. The color of a diamond ranges from a scale of D meaning colorless to Z meaning near colorless. Clarity measures both any internal inclusions as well as any external blemishes. The final C is Cut. Cut measures the brilliance and fire of the diamond, in other words, the “sparkle” factor.

So now you know a little more about the 4Cs. If you are interested in learning more about them, I recommend you visit the GIA online at gia.edu. They have a wealth of information on the subject. For any additional questions you may have about the 4 C’s or for more on any specific piece offered at Kranich’s Jewelers, visit Kranichs.com or call 888.944.4575 and we will be happy to help you.

A Jewelers Motivation for Inspecting Your Jewelry

Prongs that hold these stones in place run the risk of developing micro fractures if not cared for.

Today, let’s take a little blog real estate for some jewelry info good for all, not just customers of Kranich’s Jewelers. This simply lets you know why most jewelers suggest that customers get all tips, prongs, clasps and links on their pieces checked at least every 4-6 months. If you are a current Kranich’s Jewelers customer, you have no doubted been asked one time or another about our company Extended Service plan offered on almost every product for sale at the store and online.

When your jewelry is set, the points where the prongs are bent to hold your gemstones become a stress point. Sometimes, these points can develop tiny microscopic cracks which we call Stress induced corrosion. That is why sometimes very old pieces or pieces that have been sized and sized again become brittle or even break. Household cleansers, hand sanitizers or even highly chlorinated water can accelerate development of these little faults. This is the main reason we feel that it is good practice to bring your jewelry in for inspection on a regular basis.

A little added bonus when you bring your pieces in for inspection at most jewelers, it usually means your piece is going to be polished after inspection. Buildup from lotion, sweat and even just the environment sometimes gives your jewelry a dull look as time passes. So with a little buff and polish, sometimes it’s almost like getting a brand new piece of jewelry at the end of the day.
So we hope if you are still reading, you consider taking the time to have your jewelry inspected. It can make you pieces last a lifetime in the long run.

For any additional questions you may have about jewelry care or for more on any specific piece offered at Kranich’s Jewelers, visit Kranichs.com or call 888.944.4575 and we will be happy to help you.