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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Engagement Story – Kate & Gustavo

Recently, Kate shared her amazing engagement story with us.  Even though their original plans had changed, Kate and Gustavo created a very memorable trip together.

Engagement StoryHere’s how Gustavo proposed to Kate (Written in Kate’s words):

“Gustavo and I had planned to go to New York for Thanksgiving, but plans changed when our hotel was damaged in Superstorm Sandy and closed for business.  Instead, we decided to take a quick trip up to New Haven, CT, since both of us had always wanted to visit Yale’s campus.

On our first morning in town, we were headed out of the hotel when Gustavo said he had forgotten his watch up in the room.  I waited downstairs for quite a while and had almost decided to go back upstairs to see what was wrong when he finally came back down.  (Now that I know the rest of the story, this was when he was going back up to get the ring and trying to figure out the best place to hide it in his jacket!)

After breakfast, Gustavo suggested we take a walk through campus.  It was a beautiful autumn day, and I was having a great time seeing all the old buildings and statues around Yale.  We entered into an empty plaza (since it was Thanksgiving, the majority of students were gone), and Gustavo took the opportunity to get down on one knee and propose.  I was completely surprised by the proposal, but of course was overjoyed & immediately said yes!

Even though neither of us attended Yale as students, we’ll always remember the beautiful campus and the spot where we became engaged.”

Here is a picture of the beautiful ring Gustavo gave to Kate:

Engagement Story

 

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How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring: Diamond Shape – Part II

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

Last week, we covered what makes round, princess, marquise, emerald and radiant diamond shapes unique engagement ring selections.  You can find last week’s post here: How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring: Diamond Shape – Part I.

This week’s Wednesday Jewelry Lesson, we will be discussing the next five diamond shapes. We will highlight what makes pear, oval, heart, assher and cushion diamond shapes a great engagement ring choice.  We will also provide pictures of the various diamond shapes.

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape: Part II:

diamond shapes

 

 

Pear Diamond Shape:

pear diamond shapepear diamond shape

Resembling a teardrop, this diamond is a hybrid between the marquise cut and the round brilliant.  Worn with the tip pointed towards the nail, the pear diamond can create the illusion of a long, slim finger.  Highly popular during the Renaissance period, the pear diamond displays sparkle from every angle with its 58 facets.

Oval Diamond Shape:

oval diamond shape oval diamond shape

The Oval shaped diamond is based on the traditional design of the round brilliant.  With its 56 facets, this diamond is full of brilliance and passion. Oval diamonds are very popular as their length can emphasize long, lean fingers.

Heart Diamond Shape:

heart diamond shapeheart diamond shape

Also known as the most romantic diamond shape, the heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The heart shaped diamond is a brilliant cut and requires symmetrical lobes to form the heart shape.  It is basically a pear shape diamond with a cleft at the top.  Consisting of 59 facets, it sparkles with effortless elegance.

Asscher Diamond Shape:

asscher diamond shapeasscher diamond shape

Created in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, the asscher diamond was designed to draw the eye into the diamond.  It is a square step cut that displays deeply cut corners that gives it an octagonal outline. Although the asscher cut may not be a popular traditional choice, it is still very fashionable and has gained recognition when it was featured on the show, “Sex and The City.”  With its 72 step facets, the asscher diamond is sure to glow with brilliance.

Cushion Diamond Shape:

cushion diamond shapecushion diamond shape

If you are looking for an engagement ring with an antique look, the cushion diamond is perfect for you.  This classic cut has been radiating beauty for almost 200 years.  Also known as the pillow cut or the candlelight diamond, this square shaped diamond features larger than normal facets.  The cushion cut is a current engagement ring trend worn by many women.

 

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Engagement Story – Jessica & Doug

Jessica and Doug recently shared their proposal and engagement story with us.  We loved it so much we wanted to share their memorable and heartfelt moment with you.

Engagement and Proposal Story

In Jess’s words, here’s how their proposal story went:

“My boyfriend, Doug, decided he would propose to me on our trip to Disney World. Prior to the trip, my Grandmother gave him one of my Great Grandmothers rings to use for the engagement as they both knew it would mean so much to me. Doug had it cleaned, re-sized, and fixed, before we left. Our second night in Disney, we ate at a restaurant on the water. The food, service, and atmosphere were great! After supper the chef brought us a huge dessert platter and told me it was in celebration of our special occasion. Needless to say, I was confused. Now, they had just sung Happy Birthday to someone 2 tables down from us. So I was about to tell the gentleman that he must have had the wrong table, when Doug, beaming from ear to ear, got up from the table, came around to me, knelt down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked me to marry him! I said yes (of course) and was about crying (my hands were visibly shaking) when he put the ring on my finger! It’s beautiful. The staff gave us the dessert, ‘just engaged’ buttons, and champagne, and the whole room clapped for us and congratulated us. It was amazing! We’ll never forget it!”

 

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How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring: Diamond Shape – Part I

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry LessonChoosing the perfect engagement ring can be challenging.  You want to find a ring that will truly represent all of the feelings you have for your significant other.  You want to make it heartfelt, memorable, special, unique, and beautiful — all in one ring.

To help you with this important decision, we will be writing a three part series on how to choose the perfect engagement ring.  Breaking it down into three parts can assist you in finding the right engagement ring for your loved one. The three parts will be:

1. Choosing The Right Diamond Shape (Part I & Part II)

2. Choosing The Mounting For Your Diamond

3. Choosing The Best Value

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape: Part I:

Choosing The Right Diamond Shape

 

 

We will be discussing ten different diamond shapes.  Here are pictures and descriptions of the first five: round, princess, marquise, emerald and radiant.  Stay tuned for the other five diamond shapes next Wednesday.

Round Diamond Shape:  

Round Diamond Shaperound cut diamond

Also known as brilliant, this shape reflects more light than any other shape.  The classic round cut diamond was first designed by Marcel Tolkowsky. Its 58 facets brings out so much sparkle and shine, which contributes in making it one of the most popular diamond shapes today.  Various styles of the Round cut diamond engagement rings include half-bezel, modern 3-stone, half-moon, etc.

Princess Diamond Shape:

princess diamond shapeprincess diamond shape

This square diamond is the second most popular shape and represents more of a contemporary style. Sporting 58 facets, the princess cut diamond first originated from a Dutch jeweler. It resembles an inverted prism with four beveled sides and is usually square or rectangular in shape.

Marquise Diamond Shape:

Marquise Diamond ShapeMarquise diamond shape

The Marquise diamond is French for “little boat”, because it resembles the hull of a sailboat.  This breathtaking ring, with its elliptical shape and tapered ends, first appeared in the 18th century.  With its lean and elongated look, it appears much larger than a round diamond would of the same carat size.

Emerald Diamond Shape:

emerald diamond shapeemerald diamond shape

Timeless, elegant and sophisticated best describe this emerald ring.  The diamond is rectangular in shape and features step cuts comprised of larger facets that act as mirrors.  Clarity is most emphasized in an emerald diamond than any other diamond shape.

Radiant Diamond Shape:

radiant diamond shaperadiant diamond shape

The radiant diamond shape was perfected by Henry Grossbard in 1977.  It has the same faceting as round and princess cuts, but it is rectangular rather than square.  Its signature characteristic is its trimmed corners. The radiant diamond exudes brilliance and most appeals to those looking for a unique style.

 

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Cleaning Your Jewelry at Home

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

There are many different ways to clean your different types of jewelry, but here are a few ideas that will help keep your jewelry sparkling between your visits to the store.

Cleaning Jewelry with Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires:

Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire Jewelry

Step 1:  Take one cup of warm water and put a few drops of ammonia into it.

Step 2: Then, take the piece of jewelry and let it sit in the water for five to ten minutes.  You can leave it in longer if you would like, but approximately five to ten minutes will be efficient.

Step 3: Once you take it out, use an old toothbrush to gently brush over the diamonds to help get all the dirt out.  To make sure you are getting your jewelry nice and clean, dip your toothbrush into the water with ammonia before you brush it over the piece of jewelry.

Step 4: Once you have all the dirt and oils off the jewelry piece, press a paper towel against it.  This step makes sure the water doesn’t leave little spots.

Cleaning Jewelry with Gemstones:

Gemstones

Step 1: Use hot water with a little bit of dish detergent.

Step 2: Let the piece of jewelry sit in the water for five to ten minutes.

Step 3: Take the toothbrush and brush over the gemstones gently, because you don’t want to scratch your piece of jewelry.  You need to be extra careful with emeralds, tanzanites and other softer stones, because they can easily scratch.  Do not apply too much pressure when using the toothbrush.

Step 4: Once you have all the dirt and oils off the jewelry piece, press a paper towel against it.

Cleaning Jewelry with Pearls and Opals:

Pearl and Opal

Step 1: Use hot water with a little bit of dish detergent.

Step 2: Don’t let the jewelry soak in the water this time.

Step 3: Use the soapy water to gently brush over the pearls or opals with your toothbrush, but be careful not to scuff them by pushing too hard.

Step 4: Once you have all the dirt and oils off the jewelry piece, press a paper towel against it.

Ultimately, bringing your jewelry into the store makes it shine the best, because jewelers have expensive machines that help them clean the jewelry.  However, for those times in between your visits to the store, you can follow these simple steps to help keep your jewelry looking great!

Feel free to stop into any of our four Kranich’s locations to have your jewelry cleaned at anytime free of charge.

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Why Infinity Jewelry Can Make The Perfect Gift

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

Two interlocked circles.  This may be the first thing you think of when you hear infinity or infinity jewelry.  You also may be thinking, “How is something I learned in my mathematics class a good gift for my girlfriend or loved one?”  But many people don’t realize that it means so much more than that.

The infinity symbol represents the symbol of eternity and unity.  The meaning of an infinity necklace, infinity ring, infinity earrings, or an infinity bracelet all has a similar symbol that suggests a feeling of forever.  It can be best described as a feeling of love between two people without any limits.

Infinity Jewelry Collage

We all hope to find a love that will last a lifetime.  Infinity Jewelry is the perfect way to share that hope with loved ones.

The symbolism of infinity originates from ancient times.  Like its meaning, it has transcended time.  The infinity symbol of “everlasting love” was first illustrated in Egypt, over four millennia ago.  Their infinity jewelry was designed to look like a snake eating its own tail, which symbolized the infinite and continuous renewal.  Their infinity rings were circles, showcased with precious stones.  In the 1600s, John Wallis, an English mathematician, created the infinity symbol that looks like the number 8 on its side.  As you can see, the infinity symbol has been expressed for many centuries.

Infinity Jewelry has become very popular over the past several years.  Infinity jewelry can make a very special anniversary or birthday gift for your significant other.  It can also be a meaningful gift for a best friend whose friendship you treasure.

Even though infinity jewelry has the same infinite symbol, there is still an endless amount of styles you can choose from that will allow anyone to find the right infinity jewelry piece for their loved one.   There are various infinity designs and different combinations of colored gold and colored diamonds.  Infinity jewelry can also be set in either sterling silver or white gold.  Black and silver infinity jewelry is a current trend that many people love.

black and silver infinity collage

We carry a variety of infinity jewelry pieces on our Kranich’s Jewelers Website.  Our selection includes infinity bracelets, infinity rings, infinity earrings, and infinity necklaces.  You can browse through all of our infinity jewelry here: Kranich’s Infinity Jewelry.

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Ruby Gemstone: 40th Wedding Anniversary Gift

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

Today, rubies are often worn for fashion, engagement and even medicinal purposes.  It is a traditional wedding anniversary gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. Further on in this article, we share a special story of how Ralph decided to buy his wife a ruby ring for his wedding anniversary.

Here are a few reasons why Rubies are so extraordinary:

July’s traditional birthstone is the Ruby.  Rubies are considered to be a precious gemstone because of its rarity in nature. The biggest ruby in the world is 40,920 carats and weighs 8184 grams.  Their rich color and rarity has made them a renowned gemstone to the world for 100s of years.

The word ruby is derived from the Latin word “ruber” for red.   Rubies are composed of the corundum, which is a mineral form of aluminum oxide. The red color is a result of traces of the mineral chromium.  Corundum is the second hardest substance on the Mohs hardness scale and has a rating of 9.

Rubies come in all shades of red but will never be found in any other color because corundum in any other color is actually a Sapphire.  The most desirable shade of ruby is pigeon’s blood which is a very pure red with hints of blue.

Rubies can come in all shapes and sizes and are usually cut using a step or brilliant style. Some rubies are also cabochon cut, which means the top of the gem is smooth and domed.  A very rare form of cabochon cut ruby is a star ruby which reflects the image of a sharp six rayed white star across the top.  This is caused by a natural imperfection, or inclusion in the gem.

Rubies can make a terrific 40th Wedding Anniversary Gift.

Many times, when a couple has been together for 40 years, there are not a lot of unique gifts to give one another that have not already been bought.  However, recently, a customer came into Kranich’s looking for a 40th wedding anniversary gift.  The gentleman said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to get her.   His wife’s birthday was in July, along with their anniversary, so he wanted to find her something really special that would show his love an appreciation for the time they had spent together.  We suggested a ruby, because it was her birthstone and the traditional anniversary gift for the 40th anniversary.

The customer was immediately taken with the idea, because the deep red color of the gem reminded him of the roses she had been caring for in their garden for many years.  He looked at just about every ruby ring we had in the store, but none seemed to capture the sentiment he was looking for in a 40th wedding anniversary gift, until he came across this beautiful ring from Simon G.

Exquisite Simon G. Ruby and Diamond Ring

Immediately, when the ring was placed in his hand, he declared that it was perfect and that it reminded him of their relationship.  40 years is a long time and like all couples they had seen their share of difficulties, but like the two bands that went apart and around then came back together to cradle the ruby, he had learned that when they pulled together they could overcome any obstacle.  He said that through it all their love for each other helped them make it and their love for one another is represented by the two diamond bands that flow under the ruby.  He said all four rows were together in the beginning and all four will be together at the end.  He then finished by saying, “…And as far as the ruby, I’m trusting what you said about her birthstone and the 40th  Wedding Anniversary gift because I have no idea about that.”  We all had a little laugh and told him we were sure she would like it.  Thanks to Ralph for letting us share his story.

 

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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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