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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

Obsession: RUIFIER's Newest Eye Spy Chokers

RUIFIER | Gem Gossip RUIFIER | Gem Gossip RUIFIER | Gem Gossip RUIFIER | Gem Gossip RUIFIER | Gem Gossip

I've been keeping tabs on my favorite British jewelry brand RUIFIER and I'm happy to report they've just launched a new collection! Called the Eye Spy Collection, our latest, favorite jewelry trend comes to life the RUIFIER way. It is a collection of chokers; each choker features Italian leather and a signature RUIFIER charm done in 18k gold and gems dangling from the center. The closures are done in 18k gold with an extended chain, so the perfect fit will be found every time!

The collection retails from £755-£1035 in 18k yellow gold and can be pre-ordered on their website. Each choker captures abstract details of facial expressions in contemporary graphic shapes--from jewelled eyes to a hanging chain forming a mouth--this range explores the significance of visual language.  They are fun, trendy and perfect for summer!  Layering necklaces has certainly become very popular this year and one essential element to a necklace stack is a great choker.

If you've been wishing for a choker to add to your jewelry wardrobe, these are what you've been waiting for!  You can shop the collection below--there are four different styles in 18k gold. Click photos to shop!


RUIFIER RUIFIER RUIFIER RUIFIER

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with RUIFIER.

RUIFIER

 

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Top Five Pieces I Wanted to Take Home With Me at Couture 2017

Couture | Gem Gossip

This year the Couture show opened its doors to hundreds of buyers and press from all over the world, while I walked in a day late of opening day, I was quick and eager to dive into all that it had to offer. Each designer stood beaming behind their booths, creativity on full power and all their blood, sweat and tears front and center under the grappling lights. More on the show in general in a few days, but I wanted to focus in on five pieces, from five different designers that I felt stood out to me. These pieces may not be the flashiest or have the biggest gemstones; they are pieces I would want for my personal collection--items I could see myself wearing and enjoying on a daily basis. There are lots of jewels at Couture that were bold, striking and great for editorial shoots--but translating them into every day wear for an average American didn't quite fit in my eyes. Yes these jewels might be fun to drool over, to take a photo of, or to just simply stare at, but as I stood there thinking to myself, "what if I owned a store in Nashville, what would I buy that would fit my audience?" I realized that sort of changed my entire thinking while browsing. Most of the time when I'm in "Gem Gossip mode" I'm one-sided in my thinking, focusing on what pieces would photograph well, what would my followers want to see, what would get the most "likes." So here are my top five pieces that I surely wanted to take home with me at Couture 2017!

1. Anthony Lent Crescent Moonface bangles: being celestial obsessed must be commemorated somehow and these bangles fit the bill in many ways. First off, they are wearable and go with just about anything, for any occasion. Secondly, they are timeless and can be passed down through generations. Best part is they are each hand-made by Anthony Lent himself in his Philadelphia-based studio.

See the Anthony Lent website here. 

Couture | Gem Gossip

2. Anything in opal from Jacquie Aiche: If you've visited Jacquie Aiche's booth at Couture, you know--every year she outfits her spot in gems and mineral specimens that have you feeling like you've been transported to her world. And once inside, there's no shortage of jewelry--each corner and nook is filled with displays, dripping in jewelry. And that's exactly their mantra--cover yourself in their pieces and style yourself to the max. Every necklace, bracelet, earring, ring and body chain complements one another, and now we know why she has so many devote "tribe" members!

See the Jacquie Aiche website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

3. Stackable, easy on-and-off chokers from Suzanne Kalan: ok, we all have realized chokers are still going strong in popularity and if you're really wanting to invest in something that is well-constructed, easy to wear, and gorgeous all-around, I suggest these! Suzanne Kalan is known for her baguette diamond wizardry and she follows through again in the choker design department. At the show, the chokers were displayed in large bunches, stacked together and they looked just as good, if not better when worn! There's no clasp or ties, it is flexible, so you can take it on and off SO easily!

See the Suzanne Kalan website here. 

Couture | Gem Gossip

4. Enamel surf boards from Tara Hirshberg: I loved all the charms I was seeing at Couture this year and these enameled surf boards were a definite highlight from the debuting designer. I have never surfed before in my life and honestly am frightened beyond belief of the ocean, but even with those pitted against me, I have never wanted a gold surf board more in my life! haha!  I love the colors used, the size of them and the wearability. Creating surf-related jewels came naturally for LA-based designer Tara and her ocean living and ocean loving life. 

See the Tara Hirshberg website here. 

Couture | Gem Gossip

5. New diamond bow rings from Arik Kastan: I always look forward to seeing the new designs from vintage-inspired Arik Kastan. This year's new bow rings had my head spinning and jaw-dropping.  They are perfect to stack and fit right in with other antique pieces, as seen here stacked with some other fun Arik Kastan rings. Loving all the green agate too! Tough decision though choosing which bow--the top or bottom??

See the Arik Kastan website here. 


Couture 2017

 

Want more? See my top picks from last year's show!

Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show 2017

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Taking on the Las Vegas Antique Show with Becca of BCE Jewelry, with Lenore Dailey at her booth and we ran into Sheri & Trina of Metier

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Both pieces here (left & right) are from DK Bressler and both are more than meets the eye: the dragonfly is En Tremblant and the diamond brooch can convert into other pieces of jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Two gorgeous booth photos, the left is Platt Boutique Jewelry and the right I cannot remember for the life of me!

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I loved these three rings from Excalibur Jewelry, especially the open metal work on the pointer, & the right photo features an incredible Lightning Ridge Opal set in a turn-of-the-century ring from M&C Stevens

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

This large pendant/medallion made me smile, from Platt Boutique Jewelry and the photo on the right are my three favorites from Jacob's Estate Jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Lenore Dailey's booth is just jaw-dropping in its own right, so I always take a photo of it every year -- the photo on the right is an incredible ring box full of the most beautiful pieces from Simon Teakle 

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I think Blue Topaz gets a bad rap--this bracelet is crazy gorgeous, from Clayton Antiques and the photo on the right features a museum-worthy suite of early Victorian jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I always have to stop and stare at the crowns I see at the show! The right photo features some of the best rings I saw throughout the entire show--these three, from Under the Crown. Favorite stack ever.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Always a sucker for hearts, I loved this opal brooch from DK Bressler and the photo on the right features three light blue enamel bracelets from Keyamour. Once in a lifetime shot right there!

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I love to see what Joden has and this time around this necklace caught my eye--from the black enamel to the mega gemstones, wow! The photo on the right is a ring tray seen at Mary Ann-tiques 

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

The combo of moonstone + rubies is so good, I think that is why I loved this bracelet from Mary Ann-tiques so much. Also this tortoise shell butterfly brooch--wow, so unique and all handcrafted. This one belongs to Platt Boutique Jewelry.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

A box of goodies found at Lucy Verity ... the photo on the right are my favorites from Mary Ann-tiques, some rectangles and ovals!

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Sapphire stack from Excalibur Jewelry and the jewelry box on the right was seen at Lucy Verity--that snake bracelet is to die for and unfortunately a little too big on my wrist. 

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Last photos come from Excalibur--clusters of sapphire and diamonds, which create this amazing bracelet...and the photo on the right are my favorites from Craig Evan Small.

I've always associated the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show with The Paris hotel, however this was the first year in a very long time that that particular location was changed.  This year's show was located at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I didn't know what to expect at all and actually didn't even know where the convention center was located in regards to where everything else is until the day of the show!  To my surprise, I enjoyed the change--but I also will be happy when the show returns to The Paris next year. I attended on opening day and then again the following day, covering as much as I could on day one and attempting to pick up where I left off the next day.  I had good company on the second day--Katie of Vada Jewelry (like last year) and Becca of BCE Jewelry who had never attended before! It was cool to see someone experience the show for the first time and she walked away with an awesome diamond cluster ring. 

For some reason the reoccurring theme for me this year was large, circular pendants aka medallions. It seemed like every booth I visited, I spotted one or was attracted to one. I like how with every show, I'm not sure what I'm going to find or what I will be drawn to...it is always something different. I brought home a really cool medallion zodiac pendant, which I will share in another post!  I also brought back nearly ten pieces to sell for @shopGEMGOSSIP, some of which have already sold but you can certainly browse what is still available. 

From the gorgeous diamond crowns I spotted at several booths, to lots of diamond cocktail rings, there was some major selections going on at this show. Lots of buyers were going full force and commenting on what a great show it was. I noticed an up tick in traffic flow up and down the aisles and saw a lot of buying happening. 

As always, I have the best time roaming the aisles, running into people I know and chatting with my favorite dealers. It is fun catching up with everyone and I can't believe this was my sixth year attending the show. And even after six years, I still relish in finding awesome pieces and the thrill of the hunt definitely still lives on at these shows. I hope that never changes!

Thanks for another great year, Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show...can't wait until next year!

LV_CMYK_CS2

Read my other posts from the same show, years of the past:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

 

Gemfields Partners with MUSE, Launching "Friends with MUSE" at Couture 2017

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

Gemfields partnered with several designers, creating two incredible charm necklaces--one in all ruby and one in all emerald--here I'm wearing the emerald version in all its glory, along with earrings by Ana Khouri, matching rings by Sylva & Cie, and enamel portrait ring by Holly Dyment.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

The Gemfields' official "map" of Couture made by Diamondoodles, along with two exclusive pins, one ethically sourced ruby and emerald, also made by Diamondoodles

Gemfields | Gem Gossip Gemfields | Gem Gossip

Another close-up shot of the Gemfields emerald charm necklace -- along with a pair of stunning earrings designed by Holly Dyment Jewelry using Gemfields rubies & emeralds.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

This necklace and pair of earrings were designed by Buddha Mama Jewelry for the Gemfields collaboration. Feeling glamorous AF.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip Gemfields | Gem Gossip

Zoe Chicco was also a part of the Gemfields collaboration--she chose to design in all emeralds and these earrings prove to be both gorgeous and easy to wear!  Right photo features another designer, Retrouvaí who used Gemfields emeralds in her signature designs.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

Jane Taylor Jewelry chose Gemfields rubies for their collaborative pieces--this ring is just glorious, and they've also outfitted some of their classics in rubies like their stacking rings and bangles.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip Gemfields | Gem Gossip

And here we have some more designers who were involved in the Gemfields collaboration -- Nancy Newberg transformed pearls with sticks of Gemfields emeralds, Holly Dyment's portrait ring again, and two matching rings by Sylva & Cie, one in ruby and one in emerald.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

An up-close look at the earrings by Ana Khouri set with Gemfields emeralds and the Holly Dyment ring.

Gemfields | Gem Gossip

HOORSENBUHS studded their classic Phantom II & Revere Cuff in Gemfields rubies

Gemfields | Gem Gossip Gemfields | Gem Gossip

Two pairs of incredibly designed earrings using Gemfields emeralds, two different designers: left: Buddha Mama Jewelry, right: TAP by Todd Pownell

Another year is in the books and as the 2017 Las Vegas Jewelry Week comes to a close, a few obvious standouts are buzzing in my mind. The first being how important and vital colored gemstones have become over the years, with bold colors being prominent in setting pieces and designers apart from one another. That's where Gemfields steps in as leader in authority, paving the way we define sustainable and ethical in the gem world. Their rubies from Mozambique and emeralds from Zambia have a clean past, present and future, and they are setting the example while spreading the word. 

Gemfields continued their GEMFIELDSxMUSE collaboration with MUSE (read about 2016) changing things up a bit by working with 17 designers, some represented by MUSE and others who are Friends of MUSE, and releasing even more designs than last year, producing two distinct groups within the capsule collection. The first group features over 75 pieces of fashionable, fine jewelry including earrings, rings and bracelets and the second group is a collection of 75 special ruby and emerald charms created by a plethora of designers hand-chosen by MUSE. The total capsule collection of 150 pieces ranges in prices from $500-10,000. The designers come from all different backgrounds, areas of the world and include both vets and new/emerging artisans. This group of 17 designers include: Ana Khouri, Buddha Mama, Dezso by Sara Beltrán, Elena Votsi, Fox & Bond, Holly Dyment, HOORSENBUHS, Kismet by Milka, Lucifer Vir Honestus, Luis Morais, Michelle Fantaci, Nancy Newberg, Nikos Koulis, Savannah Stranger, Silvia Furmanovich, Sylva & Cie and Tara Hirshberg. These pieces were all seen at Couture, in the MUSE Showroom booth 916. 

Separately, a few other designers incorporated Gemfields gems into exclusive designs, whether it be emeralds or rubies, or both, as they were given access to Gemfields' ethically sourced stones.  The partnership enhanced their initiative to work with both industry vets and rising stars alike, and debuted at Couture. In order for all the pieces to be accounted for, a map was created by Diamondoodles to help navigate the many designers along with their many locations at the show. Even I couldn't get to them all, but I did get to view all the above (in photos). Every designer that I did get to speak to was not only extremely proud to be involved in the collaboration, but I feel it was able to push the limits of several, as well as provide some spectacular gemstones that they may otherwise not get to design with. These designers include: Buddha Mama, Daria De Koning, Elena Votsi, Faberge, HOORSENBUHS, Jade Trau, Jane Taylor Jewelry, Jemma Wynne, Margery Hirschey, Maria Canale, Marian Maurer, Nikos Koulis, Paul Morelli, Retrouvai, Roule & Co, Sarah Hendler, Sylva & Cie, TAP by Todd Pownell, Vanleles, Yasuko Azuma, Yossi Harari, Zaiken Jewelry, and Zoe Chicco.

And that is not all--several of the pieces within the Gemfields x MUSE collaboration are currently purchase-ready through Moda Operandi -- shop them via clicking the photo below.

modaoperandi

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Gemfields.

Gemfields

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