Handmade milgrain and bezel studs in 950 Pt – Brian Gavin
For the uninitiated, choosing a diamond can be hard. Finding a pair of perfect diamond earrings can be even more difficult. You see, factors like stone sizes, diamond shapes, face contours and etc… all require the right balance and detailing to make a pair of earrings stand out.
Luckily for you, we are here to take the guess work out in today’s blog post. We’ll tell you how to find the right earrings for your face shape, the different styles available, the best places to buy diamond earrings and more below…
The beauty of diamond studs is that they are suitable for most types of face shapes (which is why they are very popular). They are also great accessories to match your dress code for casual wear or fancy ballroom events.
Here are some guidelines to help you choose a diamond shape for yourself. If you have a broader face type, elongated shapes like the emerald cut, radiant cut and marquise cut will complement your face. This is because they provide an impression of length with their proportions.
If you have a thinner face type, symmetrical shapes like the round cut, princess cut and Asscher cut are options that would flatter your face shape. As a rule of the thumb, round diamonds are safe options and can work with any type of face shapes.
Incidentally, round diamonds also have better sparkle factor and brilliance compared to other shapes of diamonds.
Regardless of your personal style or fashion taste, there will always be stud designs that suit your needs. When buying a pair of diamond studs, the 2 most important criteria to look out for are: quality of the center diamond and workmanship of the setting.
Bear in mind that even the most beautiful diamond will look terrible if it were set into a poorly made setting. To find a great pair of earrings, the key lies in balance and craftsmanship.
Now, I emphasize the need to source for reliable bench jewelers because the good ones pay attention to details. They will make the difference between earrings that turn out droopy or the ones that look great.
Basket style diamond stud earrings were one of the original designs that lasted through generations of creativity. Today, they remain one of the most popular styles of setting designs. Feel free to click on any of the stud designs to find out more details…
The 3-prong martini (or 4-prong) setting is one of my favorite designs. It is a simple yet evergreen design. More importantly, the 3 prong martini style setting provides a base with good center of gravity. This enables the stud to fit snugly against your ear lobe for a great presentation.
Bezel set diamond studs are very hardy and designed for maximum security. They are great for people who are rough with their jewelry. Bezel settings tend to be more expensive because of the skilled labor required to set them correctly.
Halo designs add extra bling to a piece and create an illusion of a single large looking diamond without the huge costs. This is achieved by mounting melee diamonds along the perimeter of the center stone.
If you are looking for a bolder or more unique style of design for your earrings, designer brands like Ritani are worth looking into.
You probably came across preset diamond studs if you did some shopping online or around your local stores. The meaning of preset is that the center stones have already been mounted and the piece of jewelry is ready to be purchased.
Now, preset jewelry offers a level of convenience since it completely removes the involvement of the consumer in the fabrication process. Decisions for diamond quality, carat size and price points are predetermined by the jeweler.
As a consumer, you need to understand that preset jewelry is a can of worms because it allows jewelers to abuse marketed claims and misrepresented quality. The fact is, most preset earrings do not have reliable grading reports from GIA or AGS that ensure the accuracy of the represented quality.
Very often, consumers get ripped off thinking that they had gotten a great deal (i.e. earrings advertised as F color/VS2 clarity). In reality, the real quality of the earrings could defer greatly (I color/I1 clarity).
Here’s the bottomline: if you are buying a pair of diamond studs with centerstones larger than 0.30 carats individually, you better make sure there are reliable grading certificates from GIA or AGS. If the jeweler doesn’t offer a grading report or attempts to sell you uncertified diamonds at “cheaper” prices, I can guarantee you are in for a giant rip-off.
The only exception to this guideline is when you are purchasing a pair of diamond studs made of up of melee stones smaller than 0.30 carats (see below). In such a scenario, grading reports are not necessary because the size of the diamonds are too small to make economical sense (cost of grading far outweighs the cost of a melee diamond).
Just like shopping for an engagement ring, cut quality is the most important aspect of a diamond. This is because it directly translates to the amount of sparkle and brilliance the diamond displays.
Now, there are some differences I want to highlight when you are choosing diamonds for earrings. First of all, the viewing distances for earrings are much further away compared to engagement rings. Since size is usually the first thing people notice about diamond jewelry, it makes sense for you to prioritize carat weight when shopping for a pair of studs.
Secondly, when diamonds are mounted onto a stud and worn on the ear, they are usually set lower and seen in the face up view. Combined with longer viewing distances, the color and clarity of a diamond will not be readily noticeable by the naked eye.
So, here are my personal recommendations when choosing diamonds for your earrings.
The guidelines above provide the most practical approach to getting the best value for your money. At the end of the day, your personal preferences will matter the most and these are not hard & fast rules.
If you are in the market to buy a D/IF rating for symbolic reasons, who’s to say you are wrong?
Regardless of your personal preferences, there’s one thing you can never skimp on. And that is cut quality. For a step by step guide to select diamonds with confidence, I recommend you read every single word in this section.
Hopefully, you now have a clear idea on the various types of designs available for ear studs and have learnt something useful in this week’s post. Remember, CUT is KING when it comes to buying diamonds even for earrings.
Here’s a fun reminder. Show off your earrings! Whether you are putting them on for a big night out or on a regular working day, wear them with confidence. If you utilize the diamond shopping tips on Beyond4cs.com, I can assure you that your earrings will “POP” with sparkle.
Lastly, I wish you the best of luck as you pick out your brand new diamond stud earrings. And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email or leave a comment below.Continue Reading...
Did you know that there is more to a diamond than just one stone? Or that the focal point of the centerpiece is not always the only part that matters?
Have you ever thought that it might be nice to add some more sparkle to a piece you own or would like to own? Then you should definitely be considering the use of accent diamonds in your jewelry piece.
More about these beautiful stones can be found here – read on!
Accent diamonds (or sometimes called diamond accents) are much like what you would expect. They are an accent – an added piece and in a way, an elaboration to amplify the beauty of a jewelry piece.
In a nutshell, the goal of diamond accents is to create subtle but observable differences. Feel free to click on the photographs above to see the ring settings in more details.
Diamond accents should not overwhelm the overall appearance of the jewelry piece. When correctly utilized, they add sparkle in a streamlined manner and complement the main gem perfectly.
Well, there’s really no hard science or magic formula here.
This is because relative proportions is a factor that should be determined by your own preferences. Setting design and the shape of the accent diamonds are also things that will affect your decision as well.
With that said, here is my guideline for selecting accent diamonds in a 3 stone ring. In general, I would recommend diamonds that are roughly half the carat weight of the center stone.
For example, if your center stone is a 1 carat G VS2 round diamond, you may want to consider accent diamonds around 0.5 carats in size. I would also recommend keeping color/clarity ratings within 2 grades of the center stone.
Now, I need to emphasize that this is just a guideline and not rules that are cast in stone. If you like the look of smaller or larger accent diamonds, it’s really all that matters. After all, you are the person who is going to wear that piece of jewelry.
In the market, most jewelers offer settings with predetermined carat sizes and quality for accent diamonds. The most common problem here is that these diamonds are seldom graded because their smaller sizes make it uneconomical to do so.
When this happens, you will have to take the word of the jeweler for the represented quality of the side stones. Sadly, this leaves a huge avenue for unethical jewelers to abuse.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that most salespeople and jewelers will simply brush off the importance of accent diamonds and actually OVERSTATE their quality.
Examples of accent stones with terrible quality.
If you observe accent diamonds with your naked eye and find that they are cloudy/dull (left) or heavily included (right), it is a serious cause for concern and a huge red flag.
If you are using larger sized accent stones above 0.30 carats for your jewelry piece, make sure you buy only GIA or AGS graded diamonds. This will ensure you get the quality that is specified.
When it comes to cut quality and light performance, these are aspects of a diamond (no matter how big or small) that I would never compromise. I advocate that you do the same as well if you want a jewelry piece that’s lively and full of sparkle.
Brian Gavin and White Flash are 2 vendors that utilize super ideal cut accent diamonds and melees in their settings. As far as I know, no other vendor offers the same level of cut quality at competitive prices compared to them.
Here’s a perspective on the size of the melee diamonds that are typically used in ring settings.
Some of the smallest melees can measure from 1 mm in diameter!
First of all, the small size of the melees make them difficult to handle; let alone to polish them to ideal proportions. Yet, vendors like Brian Gavin are able to offer ideally cut melee diamonds because of their commitment to achieving the highest quality in the jewelry they make.
This is an ASET image I captured with difficulty due to the tiny size of the melee (handling them is really tough!). As you can see, the saturated reds indicate very strong light return. What’s even more amazing is that the contrast patterning of the melees is highly symmetrical!
The skill and craftsmanship standards of a vendor make all the difference between settings that “pop” and the ones that look “meh”. Since every accent diamond is different and polished individually, details like diameter dimensions, table sizes and cut quality can vary.
In jewelry designs where the accent diamonds are supposed to look uniform, scrutiny is required at the backend processes of the jeweler’s bench.
On the other hand, when different sized accent diamonds are required in designs like tapered channels, the craftsmanship of the jeweler will make or break the final appearance.
As you can see in the example above, the finished shanks display a fluid flow of mounted melees in decreasing sizes. The shanks are cleanly made and show a high level of workmanship expertise.
The point I want to bring across here is that good bench jewelers care about the smallest of details and impose strict standards when the ring is fabricated.
Just like selecting your center diamond and ring design, the quality of accent diamonds DO matter. If you want the overall jewelry piece to have the best possible brilliance, every tiny detail will matter.
With that, I want to end off this month’s blog post by wishing our readers a Happy Mother’s Day!
A diamond ring is a significant purchase, and you want to find one that suits both your style, and budget. They also make great gifts! In this week’s blog post, we will take an indepth look at buying a 2 carat cushion cut diamond ring.
2 ct Cushion Cut Diamond in Petite French Pavé Crown Setting
So, what is a cushion cut, how do carats work and how do you even pick a great looking diamond? We will answer these questions below, as well as show you some of the best 2 carat cushion cut engagement ring designs on the market.
Read on to find out more! (more…)Continue Reading...
Getting engaged is one of the all-time highs of life. It is both a memorable moment and a commitment to forever. You want everything to be exactly right for that day.
That being said, of course you want to find the perfect ring – with an equally amazing deal to match. Staying on a budget at any point in time is a great idea, but especially during this season.
So, when is a good time to buy an engagement ring? When will you find sales? What times of year should be avoided?
Answers to these questions and more below.
Well, that depends on how flexible you are with your proposal date. If you are just dying to pop the question than it will not make sense for you to wait six months to do so just for a sale. So, we will take many factors into consideration.
But, as far as the date goes, we have all seen the commercials that come out right around Christmas time for engagement rings from every major retail store in America. This is a big indicator. Engagement season is November through February, for the obvious holidays that exist during this time frame.
There are multiple opportunities to propose when the family is all gathered for Thanksgiving or when on a Valentine’s date. This being the case, you will find this to be the most popular time to buy a ring. Retailers are smart about their tactics – they know what sells and how to take advantage of the situation.
If you really want to propose during this time of year, try planning ahead and getting the rock a few months before all the craziness and frenzy starts.
Based on experience, the best time to buy an engagement ring is about 2-3 months before you plan to propose. This will leave you with enough buffer time in case things don’t go smoothly.
Let me tell you the last thing you want is for an engagement ring production to be delayed (happens frequently during peak periods) and wreak havoc to your proposal timetable. And this isn’t something you want to experience when the proposal draws near.
If there’s one thing you need to learn from this article, it is that truly high quality diamonds NEVER go on sale.
The seasonal sales and promotions that you frequently see in stores aren’t applicable for high quality diamonds. And when I mean high quality diamonds, I am referring to engagement rings that consist of a center diamond larger than 0.30ct that comes with a reliable grading report from GIA/AGS.
Forget the signs that scream 50% OFF! or “MASSIVE SALE TODAY!” because you’ll only end up paying more for inferior quality when you buy a diamond ring on “sale”. That’s the cold hard truth behind the majority of “flash sales” or “promotions” in the jewelry industry.
Don’t believe me?
I challenge you to go out to the stores and start performing price comparisons of diamond jewelry with identical quality. Read every single word in this article on diamond pricing and use it as a benchmark to do your own comparisons.
Once you do this, you will realize that the majority of brick & mortar stores that offer these tricky promotions had already marked-up their prices excessively to begin with. You see that even the discounted prices would be higher than those offered by reliable vendors at their normal prices.
Yes there are but you will need to keep your expectations in check.
Reliable online vendors like BlueNile or JamesAllen do run seasonal promotions during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Here’s a screenshot of the latest promotion James Allen ran recently…
If you look at the fine print, you will realize that these discounts are not applicable towards the center stone of an engagement ring. (Remember I mentioned earlier that high quality diamonds NEVER go on sale?)
This is actually a typical promotion you can expect from vendors who already offer very competitive pricing on their diamond rings. Since their margins are already low to begin with (unlike what you see with the fake promotions run by many brick & mortar stores), they base their promotions on settings, preset jewelry and accessories like earrings/necklaces.
Seeing this, I know many people will assume the best time of the year to buy an engagement ring would be during the festive periods. After all, having some discount is better having no discount right?
Let’s do some math…
14K scallop style ring – $1,600
First of all, you need to understand that the savings made are usually insignificant since the bulk of an engagement ring’s cost comes from the center stone. If you are in the market for a simple solitaire setting (costs about $200), the 25% discount amounting to $50 is really nothing to be excited about.
That is unless you had your eyes set on a setting that costs in the range of $1,600. In this case, the dollar amount you can potentially save could be substantial (a 25% discount equates to roughly $400 saved) and would make sense now.
In my personal opinion, the downsides of timing your engagement ring purchase to seasonal “sales” far outweighs the upside of saving a few dollars. The fact that you are joining thousands of others in the same mad rush makes it harder for you to shop for something within your specifications.
If you are shopping for a diamond engagement ring during peak periods, you need to understand that the inventory moves at a very fast pace because of the sheer volume being sold. This means a diamond painstakingly found and shortlisted may just be sold by the next hour when you get back to it.
During this busy time frame, the bench jewelers and back-end manufacturers will also be under significant pressure to rush out completed jewelry for deadlines. From experience, I can tell you this is the time where things have the highest possibility to go wrong.
That happens. You just suddenly know that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, but its smack dab in the middle of the proposal season. Don’t get too concerned, there are plenty of ways to score a deal, even during jewelry’s busy times.
Here’s a few options to point you in the right direction.
Consider an Antique From a Relative
Think of a non-invasive way to ask family members if they have a ring or gem they want to make a legacy of by passing it on to you and your beloved. If it’s a ring, all you will probably need to do is get it sized and appraised. If they want to give you a family diamond or other stone, you can find a setting. Either way, it’s a great deal and means a lot!
Buy From the Internet – Significantly Better Selections & Prices
The web is great for so many things, and one of those is ring shopping. If you hate the idea of spending hours in a physical store, opt for online shopping instead. You start by just googling and looking around, pricing things out. Take notes as you do this.
Then check out some reliable sites like James Allen or Blue Nile. Both have great reputations and selections. You won’t be able to physically see the stone before buying, but check out their return options. And James Allen will even let you see a 360-degree video of the ring before committing.
Although there are both “good” and “bad” times of the year to buy a wedding ring, really the best time is when you know you want to get married. Yes, getting an awesome buy has its place, but remember that you can find something within your price range at any time. It might require a lot more effort, but it is out there.
Shop around, take your time, and know what you are buying. An engagement ring is very important, and will be worn with pride for many years, so it is worth it to find a thing of true beauty. Best of luck!
My recent 1ct halo diamond ring purchase from BlueNile.com
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, a 1 carat diamond is the benchmark size that most people will shop for. So, what’s the reason behind their appeal? Well, my take is that humans are naturally drawn towards things in their entirety.
Think about it; would you rather buy a 0.94 carat sized diamond or would you prefer to own a 1.00 carat diamond?
If you chose the latter, it’s perfectly normal because that’s what most people would choose too (including yours truly).
In fact, 1 ct sized engagement rings are such a hot topic that I receive questions about them everyday!
In this write up, I’m going to reveal insider buying tips and walk you through the shopping process with a real-life example of a 1-carat diamond ring I purchased with my own money. (more…)Continue Reading...