Choosing a Diamond

October 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Wedding Jewelry, Wedding Planning

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.

The Making of Your Wedding Ring

September 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Wedding Jewelry

big-diamond-ringThere are a variety of different methods used to create fine jewelry. Some rings are created using wire stock which is usually either half round or flat. The designer takes a precut length of this wire and uses a ring mandrel to make the ring the desired size. The two ends are then soldered together. Using filler and polishing the ring it is made to shine and the solder point isn’t noticeable. This type of ring looks good at first but eventually the place where it was soldered will become noticeable. This is because the solder seems to tarnish at a faster rate than gold alloys.

There are other methods used to make seamless wedding rings. These rings are created from cold worked tube which allows the finished product to be seamless and solder free. A long length of tube is used and ring “blanks” are cut and machined to the proper size. A seamless ring will wear better over time and will be tarnish resistant which makes the ring stronger. When you are buying a piece of jewelry you can ask about the method used for creating the store’s rings.

Casting is a manufacturing process where a mold is created and molten metal is put into the mold and set aside to cool. This process is sometimes referred to as investment casting or the lost wax process. This is a common process for making jewelry and is an easy way to produce multiple items. The drawback to casting is that the mountings are slightly porous and less durable than hand fabricated or die struck.

The process called die striking to produce a ring is the process using metal parts mechanically stamped out of a compressed sheet of metal using steel dies. This is the same type of process used for stamping coins. A bar of alloyed gold is rolled under heavy pressure to produce a metal ribbon. The pieces are cut out using steel dies, the whole process is repeated until the ring is formed. The die striking process is very time consuming and it can require up to 35 separate steps to produce a ring. The end result is a ring that is perfectly proportioned and has a superior finish.

Hand fabrication is when a mounting is made by sawing, filling and shaping metal parts by hand and then soldering them together. This type of mounting will be a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. This method is very time consuming and requires a high skill level and should only be done by a talented artesian.

A quality ring will look like one continuous piece of metal and will have no large noticeable pits or bumps. The ring will be of high quality if the metal looks perfectly smooth and does not show tiny pits or pores which are called porosity. This can result from cooling the ring too slowly or by casting too many rings together. All parts of the mounting should look symmetrical, balanced and well proportioned. The piece holding the stone should not be tilted or bent. The right side of the ring should look the same as the left side.

These are some of the methods used for making jewelry. It is always a good to ask the jewelry what specific method was used to produce the jewelry you are intending to purchase. These are some things to take into consideration when looking for that special piece of jewelry.

photo by Lori107