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Entries in engagement rings (19)

Ten Facts You Didn't Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

1. The first diamond engagement ring in recorded history was presented by the Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was set with diamonds in the shape of the letter ‘M’.

2. A new trend for ‘acrostic’ engagement rings emerged during the Victorian period in Britain. These featured words spelled out by the first letters of the gemstones set in the ring. The word ‘regards’ was a favorite, spelled out using a ruby, followed by an emerald, then a garnet and so on.

3. The phrase “Diamonds are forever” has entered the vernacular and lent its name to Sean Connery’s final film as James Bond but did you know that it was originally an advertising slogan? It was coined by De Beers in 1947 to kickstart diamond sales after a lull caused by the Great Depression and World War II.

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4. Natural diamonds are extremely old and take around a billion years to form in the Earth’s molten interior. Stones used in engagement rings can be anywhere from 900 million years old to an astounding 3.2 billion years old.

5. The ‘carat’ is the main measurement used to judge diamonds and refers to the weight and size of the stone. It is so called because originally carob seeds were used as counterweights for the scales used to weigh diamonds. A modern carat is a metric unit equivalent to 200 milligrams, or 7 thousandths of an ounce!

6. The color of a diamond is another of the major factors that determines how much it costs. Color is graded on a scale that judges how colorless the diamond is, with white stones being the most desirable and thus expensive.

7. Which isn’t to say that other colors of diamonds aren’t much sought after. ‘Fancy diamond’ is the term used to describe a stone when its color falls outside the normal color range. Fancy diamonds can be blue, green, red, yellow, pink and even purple or black. 

Alternative Engagement Rings

8. Every precious gem is rated for hardness using the Mohs scale. This is a measure of how resistant the stone is to being scratched. Diamonds top out at 10 on the Mohs scale and are one of the hardest naturally occurring materials in the world.

9. Gemstones with a Mohs rating of 8 or above are generally recommended for engagement rings, because they can stand up to the rigors of daily wear. Sapphires and rubies both score 9 on the Mohs scale while emeralds are only a 7.5 and opals ae just a 6.

10. In some countries, engagement rings don’t feature gemstones at all. The Claddagh ring, a traditional Irish ring, has a motif depicting a pair of hands clasped around a heart and a crown, symbolizing love, friendship and loyalty. While some more modern variants incorporate a ruby or other precious stone, the original version does not have a gemstone set in it.

For dozens more fascinating engagement ring facts, a hundred in all, check out ROX’s guide to All Things Engagement Rings.

Why Some Gemstones Make Terrible Engagement Rings

Some Gems Make Terrible Engagement Rings | Gem Gossip

The above gemstones are all beautiful, but which would make a great engagement ring and which two are bad choices for an everyday wear piece?

Alternative engagement rings have been popular long before Princess Diana (and subsequently Kate Middleton) donned a blue sapphire. In fact, diamonds weren’t commonly used in engagement rings until the early 20th century. Stones were picked based on birthdays, symbolism, and what color was in-vogue at the time.

While it can be exciting to imagine an engagement ring with mystical and trendy stones like opal and moonstone, these gemstones actually make terrible engagement rings. So terrible that you might find yourself sulking over a ruined ring with a stone that has been chipped and gouged beyond repair. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why Won't Some Gemstones Work?

Even though I don’t recommend wearing your rings ALL the time, most engagement rings are worn nearly every day. Even if you are the gentlest person on the planet, your engagement ring will always be subject to potential damage. Some stones simply shouldn’t take that risk because the gemstone may not be hard enough to handle even the slightest impact.

Every gemstone has a hardness factor, which basically tells us how much bumping and scraping a gem can take before it becomes scratched or damaged. This hardness is ranked between 1-10 on what is known as the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In theory, the higher the number on the Mohs Scale, the harder and more durable the gemstone is. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally, the lower the number, the more you shouldn’t use this stone as an engagement ring.

How Does the Mohs Scale Figure Out Hardness?

The best way I can think to explain this is exactly how I learned it in my Geology 101 class my Freshman year of college. Let’s see if you can follow, and for those of you that already know this, bear with me. The Mohs Scale ranks a gemstone’s hardness by whether or not it can be scratched by other gemstones or materials. If the gemstone being scratched shows a mark or abrasion, it is softer than (or equal to) the material that scratched it. If the hardness is equal, the gemstone that was scratched should also be able to effectively scratch the material that scratched it.

Since diamonds are ranked highest on the Mohs Scale at a 10, they should essentially be able to scratch every other gemstone’s surface.

Why Diamonds are Forever

One reason diamonds are so prized for engagement rings is because of their rank on the Mohs Scale. At a 10, diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. In fact, no other gemstone comes close to this hardness factor. This doesn’t mean diamonds are indestructible (more on this in a future post), but it does mean that it is much more difficult to damage a diamond than say a garnet that ranks between 6.5 - 7.5.

What Stones are the Absolute Worst for Engagement Rings?

Not to dissuade you, but if a gemstone makes this list, you’ll really want to rethink your strategy before using it in an engagement ring. That’s not to say you couldn’t. Some of these stones are significantly less expensive than diamonds, so if they become damaged, they could easily be replaced.

A word of warning though -- take extra care not to get sentimentally attached to the stone itself, since you might be forced to replace it someday. You could also opt to not wear the ring every day. Save it for special occasions and wear your wedding band instead. There are no engagement ring rules stating you have to wear your ring seven days a week, and who says you should only have one!

But, regardless, these gemstones will make the worst non-diamond engagement rings:

  1. Opal: Ranks 5.5 - 6.5 and is very susceptible to crazing and chipping.
  2. Moonstone: Ranks 6 - 6.5 with a polished cab surface that is easy to scratch.
  3. Pearl: Ranks 2.5 - 4.5 and has a nacre coating that can peel away. 
  4. Emerald: Ranks 7.5 - 8 which is hard but this stone is very prone to cracking. 
  5. Garnet: Ranks 6.5 - 7 and will easily show age around facet edges in time. 

Best Engagement Ring Stones Other Than Diamonds:

All hope is not lost if you’re set on using a gemstone other than a diamond for your engagement ring. Even though most of these gemstones aren’t as durable as diamonds, they will stay in great shape for a lifetime as long as you take proper care of your jewelry.

Here are some of my favorite alternative engagement ring stones:

  1. Aquamarine: Ranks 7.5 - 8 and has a gorgeous pale blue color.
  2. Blue Sapphire: Ranks 9 with a classic, timeless appeal.
  3. Ruby: Ranks 9 and is perfect for a more feminine style.
  4. Morganite: Ranks 7.5 - 8, is pale with peach undertones.

There are so many other gemstones not listed here and other factors that affect durability, too. But this guide should at least get you started. Remember to always look up a gemstone’s hardness on the Mohs Scale. If it ranks below a 6, do a little more research and weigh your options. Good luck and happy hunting!

 

 

This post was contributed by:

 

 

 

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

Five Gold Ring Looks You Need Now! #LoveGold

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So many rings, so many different ways of wearing them...what is a girl to do?!  Lately I've been taking a look at my ring stacks each day and sort of "analyzing" them.  After all, I choose them every morning on a whim, almost instinctively based on what I'm feeling that very moment.  Instagram has been an awesome tool for acting as a diary of sorts--a ring diary--capturing so many feelings, emotions and bits of everyday life in each photo of my daily ring choices.  It is incredible to look back at photos from a year ago or even two years ago, look at my ring stack and instantly know so much more going on in the photo besides which rings I'm wearing! 

What have my latest gold ring looks revealed this time around?!  These five photos share some styling tips that anyone can adopt and can help steer you in the right direction when deciding what to buy next for your jewelry wardrobe!  Let's take a look:

Look One/Style Tip: Wear all the same designer at once!

Yes, mixing designers and old/new jewelry is fun and all, but have you ever worn lots of rings from the same designer?!  If the designer has a distinctive aesthetic, it is emphasized even more if you wear many of their pieces at once.  In this photo, I'm wearing all Communion by Joy--her bohemian, laid-back feel shines through, and all three play off one another.   

Look Two/Style Tip: Stack antique rings all from the same Era!

Again, mixing is usually my go-to look, but wearing lots of rings from the same Era is an awesome look! In this photo, I am wearing all Victorian Era--with many rings having an untold history and sentimental secrets that will forever be untold.  The blue enamel one, for example, is 14k gold and on the inside it is inscribed "13th Sept. 1869," so intriguing!  All these are available at Arrow & Anchor Antiques.

Look Three/Style Tip: If you're going for a bold look, remember to balance!

If I want to make a bold statement with your rings and are trying to put a ring on almost every finger, it is all about balance!  Leave at least one finger free and stack similar widths--in this photo I noticed it looked better to make the height match up as well--so I used either wide bands or two rings stacked on top of one another.  Balance turned out to be more important than I thought!

Look Four/Style Tip: Put a bow on it!

I've had these bow rings in my collection for years and I always look them over.  They are nice on their own, but I rediscovered from an old Instagram post that if you stack them with the right ring, they look like a present!  A solitaire looks best paired with a bow, but in my photo, I have a small cluster as one of my pairings.  Next time you see a gold bow ring, purchase it and create your own "present" on your finger!

Look Five/Style Tip: Try antique baby rings as midi-rings!

It is no surprise, I've been personally collecting baby rings and wearing them as midi-rings for a few years now.  If you haven't tried out the midi-ring, you must!  If you think it will be uncomfortable or you will lose the ring, it does take awhile to get used to.  I've also worn antique baby rings on my pinky, which is just as fun, but a little more safe.

 

 

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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Q & A with Jewelry Designer Sarah Swell #LoveGold

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If you combine ancient techniques with California cool, you'll get Sarah Swell's jewelry aesthetic! This jewelry artist recently opened up a showroom in Sausalito and has been creating more and more yellow gold designs than ever before!  Yellow gold, with 18k in particular, is her favorite metal to work with.  Sarah says, "I love the richer gold color.  For me, it evokes the feel of ancient jewelry. I often use a semi-matte finish on my work which makes the gold seem to glow and the diamonds really pop."  She has created a bridal line that is incredibly gorgeous and although it is available in any metal, she decided to make and feature it in all 18k yellow gold to convey a more "regal feel that is both ancient and modern at the same time."  

Her designs have fascinated me for a long time, and I'm glad to have finally gotten a chance to catch up with this busy designer and see what she's been up to:

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I recently opened a showroom in Sausalito, CA which houses my studio and also showcases my work, so I've been refining my vision. I'm also preparing to launch a series of mens bands this Spring as well as continuously adding to my bridal and studio collections.

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It really all started when I was 16 and working in an American craft gallery on Cape Cod, MA after school and on weekends. I worked in the jewelry section which is where I initially fell in love with handcrafted jewelry. I was always artistic and really saw jewelry as tiny, wearable sculpture. After high school I began to pursue painting, attending college at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston. During this time I also worked for a jewelry designer in sales. After a year of Art School I dropped out because I knew I wanted to create something more tangible and have a business that merged art and commerce somehow. I took a metalsmithing class for fun and something clicked. I was certain I wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer. I decided to approach it strategically, preparing myself as best as possible in order to have the most chance at success. At that point I began working for a local jeweler in sales and doing bench repairs, learning the ropes. Next, I moved to San Francisco to attend the Revere Academy, a jewelry trade school. After completing the program I went on to work for award winning designer Sarah Graham before launching my business in 2008.

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I started my business with a measly $2,000. It has been a long hard road filled with odd jobs along the way to help support myself while building the business slowly and methodically. I'd have to say being able to write myself that first paycheck was an unparalleled feeling!

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I hope to keep expanding the reach of the showroom and my brand. I want the showroom to become a mecca for jewelry lovers and plan to add more designers and antique jewelry into the mix creating a well curated museum-like experience. Further down the road I have dreams of expanding the types of metal goods we make to include home and personal accessories that fall in line with my natural-modern aesthetic.

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Such a tough question! It would have to be my Egyptian Revial Art Deco inspired engagement ring which I created. What makes it so near and dear to my heart is that it includes the diamond from my late grandmother's wedding ring. I treasure being able to carry it with me always.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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Q & A with M. Khordipour, Rare & Fine Estate Jewelry

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As always, I am continually on the hunt for new sources of the best antique and vintage jewelry out there! That's how I came across M.Khordipour and his incredible array of rare and fine estate jewelry. His inventory includes a very exquisite diamond and pearl tiara created in 1920 by the famous Parisian jeweller, Joseph Chaumet, for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat (1889- 1926) with Yvonne Gillois (1894-1961). A wide variety of Art Deco diamond rings, impeccable vintage and antique earrings and luxurious bracelets and necklaces round out his collection, with such high-quality items, it is apparent that 30 years in the business has led him to some impressive connections.  M.Khordipour is also changing the game by creating a separate entity for engagement and bridal jewelry, called Estate Diamond Jewelry, totally set a part from M.Khordipour.  To me, this idea is genius!  As a collector and frequent jewelry shopper, the area of bridal jewelry is very specific, and may only be on your radar once or twice in one's entire lifetime.  So, keeping the two separate may seem like an elementary idea...however, in the long run it is groundbreaking!  

I caught up with Michael, owner of M.Khordipour and Estate Diamond Jewelry, and our latest advertiser, to learn more!

 

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The main reason Michael got into the Antique and Rare Jewelry business is because he began to discover that modern jewelry doesn't have the quality and style as that of antique jewelry.

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Michael began the business in June of 1981, dealing primarily with one-of-a-kind investment quality antique jewelry pieces. The website is www.Mkhordipour.com. In late 2013, realizing that all the rare antique and vintage engagement rings needed a website of its own, Michael created a brand new website that deals exclusively with Antique Engagement Rings, Wedding Bands, and Bridal Earrings. The Estate Diamond Jewelry website can be found at www.EstateDiamondJewelry.com

 

 

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One of our most interesting pieces was a Natural Pearl Tiara that was created for Prince Alexandre Murat for his marriage with Yvonne Gillois. At the date of Authentication, it was the largest Natural Pearl that SSEF had ever tested. It was sold in 2012 by Sothebys Geneva.

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Among our current items, there are many pieces that are amazing. This Edwardian diamond necklace speaks for itself! Along with these Art Deco diamond pendant drop earrings, both available at M. Khordipour.

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