If you are looking to buy that special someone an engagement ring or a ring to show how much you care you should first be knowledgeable about diamonds. By knowing some basics about diamonds you can make a smart choice which will also fit into your budget. The more you know about diamonds the better you will be at the finding a high quality diamond at a reasonable price. The first thing you should be aware of is what jewelers call the 4 C’s; which are cut, color, clarity and carat weight. These are the things they use to obtain the value of the diamond.
One thing to consider is the brilliance of the diamond depends heavily on its cut. The cut give a diamond the brightness that makes it shine. The diamond cut is on a grading scale which is; Ideal, Very Good, Good and Fair/Poor cuts. The Ideal cut gives maximum brilliance and is more expensive. Very Good cut diamonds let in a lot of the light and have a good deal of brilliance. The Good cut diamond offers quality and beauty for a reasonable price. Fair to Poor cuts only reflect a small portion of light and most reputable jewelers to do not carry this cut.
It is normal for diamonds to contain some type of flaw or inclusions that happened when they were formed in the earth. The clarity of a diamond takes into account the number, size and visibility of the flaws. The less flawed diamond will create more brilliance and therefore are highly prized and pricier. It is possible to find a diamond with some imperfections that still has brilliance and sparkle.
No color is the most desirable in a diamond because it allows the most reflection of light. Jewelers refer to a professional color scale to grade the color of a diamond. The highest rating is the letter “D” for colorless and the color scale goes to Z. Diamonds that are graded J through M may have a very faint hint of yellow in the diamond and look stunning in a gold setting.
The unit of weight a diamond is measured by is called a carat. Large diamonds are higher priced because they are less common than small diamonds. The standard is usually the larger the diamond is, the higher the price will be. Your budget will help determine the size of diamond you will want to choose. If you compare diamonds you will find one that is the size and quality you desire.
When you are looking for diamonds it is in your best interest to look for ones with a Diamond Certificate. The Diamond Certificate will give you all the information about the diamond. It will have the specifications of the 4C’s and also a diagram explaining all aspects of the diamond. If you buy an uncertified diamond you are not going to know exactly what you’re getting. The Diamond Certificate is like a blue print on the diamond and will have all the properties listed. An appraisal is not the same as a certificate; an appraisal gives the approximate retail replacement value of the diamond.
A diamond engagement ring can be a substantial investment and you should choose carefully and wisely. If you use the information provided you will be able to make a knowledgeable decision. By being informed you will be able to get the best quality diamond that will fit within your budget.
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Cubic Zirconia (CZ) was developed by the Russian space program for use in laser guidance equipment as a cost-effective alternative to using rubies which were needed in early lasers. CZ is virtually identical to diamond in terms of its optical properties, and this lends the use of CZ to producing jewelry – it looks, shine and sparkles in almost identical fashion to diamond.
So why should you use a cubic zirconia stone in place of a diamond?
The obvious advantage over diamond is cost; diamond is one of the most valuable substances known to man and it costs roughly one thousand times more than a crystal of zirconium of the same weight.
Cost is not the only advantage over diamond which CZ possesses, just the most obvious one.
Diamond is a naturally occurring crystal which is formed by natural processes deep within the earth’s crust. CZ on the other hand is man-made, using a precisely controlled manufacturing process which allows for excellent quality control over how the crystal is formed.
All diamonds carry imperfections created by trapped gas or foreign matter, so upon close inspection you will see bubbles or imperfections within the stone. There may also be irregularities in the uniformity of the crystal structure itself. None of these imperfections present themselves with CZ, because the process is so stringently controlled – what you get with a zirconium stone is a flawless crystal.
Diamonds usually come with a clear to yellow hue; it is very rare to find a perfectly colorless stone because of the natural environment within which they are formed. Zirconium can be completely clear or have whatever color is desired, so you the jewelry buyer have a wider choice to select a stone from.
In colorless form, CZ is indistinguishable from diamond to the naked eye.
Diamond is a very rigid and extremely strong form of carbon atoms, laid out in a rigid pattern; in fact, it is the hardest naturally-occurring material known to man. This hardness and crystalline rigidity makes it difficult to cut a diamond, however zirconium lends itself to being worked by a gemstone cutter. The result is that zirconium can be worked into a wider variety of shapes and forms than diamond, which again means greater choice for you.
How brilliantly a stone reflects and refracts light which passes through it determines the sparkle it possess – this is known as “fire”. Zirconium refracts and reflects light better than diamond (remember the Russians developed it precisely for this purpose with their space program). Zirconium may be lighter than diamond, and less hard, but its crystalline structure ensures it is able to generate more fire.
While diamonds are naturally occurring, there is nothing natural about how they are extracted from the earth. Diamonds are mined requiring the use of huge amounts of energy and significant environmental damage is caused directly by mining. There are also large amounts of toxic waste produced in separating diamonds from the tons of earth which are excavated and must be disposed of.
Zirconium requires only a fraction of the energy which diamond excavation uses and waste products are minimal in comparison, making CZ the green alternative to diamond.
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Let’s face it: planning a wedding is tough. Many brides admit that planning their wedding would be much harder if it wasn’t for their bridesmaids. Often your bridesmaids help with logistics and things that just can’t be handled by a single person. So when it comes time to say, “Thank you!” to these lovely ladies – we know you want to pick out special bridesmaids’ gifts. But after the expense of a wedding, adding any other expenses can be a challenge. Here are some of our favorite bridesmaids’ “Thank you” gifts that are thoughtful and won’t have you reaching the top limit on any credit card.
Personalized Makeup Mirror. Many women like to touch up their makeup during the day, and what could be better than a personalized makeup mirror as their bridesmaid’s “Thank you” gift? This is an ideal gift, as they will think of you each time they use it and it is reasonably priced. Best of all, it is personalized with their first name or monogram for a sophisticated and elegant look. Any bridesmaid will appreciate this gift ideal for daytime and evening use.
Birthstone Jewelry. This is a thoughtful gift for your bridesmaids and you’ll find a wide selection of birthstone jewelry to choose from. There is personalized birthstone jewelry and simply birthstone jewelry that features the lovely gemstones on their own. One of the best things about this choice is that each woman will feel special and remembered as “their” birthstone month is uniquely their own. While they are there to share your Big Day, their “Thank you” gift is something that remembers them as unique individuals. You’ll find birthstone jewelry for every budget price and both daytime to evening looks.
Handmade Gift. Now this can be a very special and thoughtful gift if done with care. A handmade gift is best when it is created specifically for the recipient. So you are using their favorite color, their name or initials and including themes or topics that they enjoy. Any ways you can make this special for them or about your friendship/relationship will make this a grand-slam gift. Let’s say you are known for making delicious chocolate pretzels. So you choose to make this as your bridesmaids’ “Thank you” gift. Make this even more special by dipping each bridesmaid’s set of pretzels in their favorite color of sprinkles. And then put them in a pretty re-useable tin or jar. Include a thoughtful note saying how “sweet” they are. You see? Your handmade gift suddenly becomes something uniquely about them.
Plan a Fun/Girly Activity for After Your Honeymoon. This is a great choice especially if your bridesmaids are conveniently located and can all come back together. Treat them to a “Thank you” barbeque, fancy picnic or day at an amusement park. Or go be girly together and take them for manicures and pedicures. The key is to choose activities and themes that they will especially enjoy. Simply remember that this day is not about you as a bride or your getting married but about your friendships and celebrating them.
Many brides today are choosing to not wear a wedding veil. Looking at the bridal magazines more and more bride models are shown without veils. Are the styles changing so brides will now go veil-less? Only time will tell. But if you do wish to be without a veil, there are a number of lovely options for the blushing bride.
Fresh flowers are one of the most popular options for the bride without a veil. These brides have fresh flowers created into a custom-made headdress they wear. This is an ideal choice for brides who feel especially close to nature or want to celebrate the seasons. Flowers are also very romantic. You may choose a flower to design your headdress around that your groom first gave you when he was courting you. That expression gives your bridal ensemble much more meaning than choosing a wedding veil. Fresh flowers can be worn any time of year with the assistance of a florist.
Tiaras are another excellent choice for many brides. Who could resist a bit of sparkle on their wedding day? The bride who chooses a tiara often has an elegant or evening themed wedding. Compliment your tiara with some sparkly jewelry if you can – as your tiara will be flattered with the extra shimmer and shine. Many women dream of being a princess or a queen for the day and a tiara makes their dream come true!
Theme weddings often make it possible for a bride to forego a traditional wedding veil. Some brides during the Halloween season have all of their guests dress in costume – right along with the bride and groom. Depending on what type of costumes the bride and groom have chosen, a wedding veil may not be the ideal expression she wants. She can get just as pretty a “bride” look from a wedding bouquet, lovely jewelry or fancy shoes.
Wraps are also quite popular and another choice for the bride who wishes to forego the wedding veil. With a wedding veil the eye is naturally brought down to your neck and shoulders. You have the same “eye appeal” when you choose a beautiful wrap. Many bridal stores like David’s Bridal now carry wedding wraps to compliment wedding dresses. A wrap can be perfect for a Winter wedding in a faux or real fur. Or a silk or linen fabric for the Spring and Summer. You have many options when you choose a wrap.
Stunning wedding jewelry is an ideal choice for the bride that doesn’t wish to wear a veil. There are so many choices when you choose jewelry to compliment your wedding dress. You could wear heirloom jewelry from your grandmother and mother. Or you could wear jewelry ideal for the theme of your wedding. Your new husband may even give you special jewelry to wear for your wedding day. Or you could have jewelry custom designed for this day to celebrate your union.
If you choose not to have a wedding veil, know that there are many options to stay just as lovely a bride as you would like to be. Every bride deserves to express her originality and personal style as she says her vows and dances for the first time with her new husband.
Tiara photo by robleto
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