GSS Tuesday Trousseau :: Eco Friendly & Conflict Free Engagement Rings

image courtesy of Amy Karp

When it comes to choosing your symbol of eternity, the choices are endless. We recently heard about Brilliant Earth. They produce beautiful jewelry and guarantee a conflict free gem. Conflict free diamonds are guaranteed to originate from ethical and environmentally responsible sources. Conflict free diamonds are free from violence and other human rights abuses, and are produced with minimal environmental impact. They also use recycled metals for their jewelry. As part of their comprehensive commitment to environmental responsibility, Brilliant Earth uses recycled precious metals in all of their fine jewelry, guaranteeing their customers an eco-friendly jewelry product of the highest quality. They also have a high standard for packaging with purpose. All Brilliant Earth rings arrive in hand-crafted, natural Rimu wood ring boxes. Rimu wood is sourced from a sustainably harvested New Zealand forest that preserves biodiversity, soil, water, and air quality. These keepsake ring boxes showcase the Rimu’s beautiful wood grain, as well as your ring!

They also give back to the community…

Brilliant Earth is proud to dedicate 5% of our profits to communities impacted by the jewelry trade. Historically, the jewelry trade has incurred great social and environmental cost. We feel strongly that luxury goods should not promote such injustice, and that the communities that produce the products should benefit from them. Through our partnerships with established, on-the-ground efforts, we try to rectify past injustices of the jewelry trade and help communities develop the skills needed to manage their natural resources effectively.

Our overall objective is to invest in long-term community development in regions that can support a self-sustaining jewelry-based economy. To achieve this, we combine our understanding of best practices in the jewelry trade with research-based funding efforts. Through our ongoing initiatives, we’re helping shape a rewarding and self-sufficient future for families who depend on the jewelry trade.

When it comes to choosing your forever symbol of eternity…your bling, your diamond ring, your engagement ring, consider a conflict free, recycled ring. You can even create your own unique design that is beautiful and ethical inside and out. Visit Brilliant Earth for more information.

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GSS Asks an Expert :: Engagement Rings

If you don’t have a family heirloom to give your fiance when you ask her to marry you, be sure to do your research when purchasing an engagement ring. We recently contacted Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store and spoke to the home office in California. We asked them several questions about engagement and wedding rings and what we should know as the consumer. Tanya, General Manager from their Dallas Store wrote us back.

What is the most popular cut of diamond?

The most popular cut of diamond remains the round brilliant. This classic cut diamond is timeless, as well as the most brilliant of all of the cuts. In the past several years, we have been seeing the princess-cut (square, brilliant-faceted) come very close in popularity.

Are you seeing a trend in colored stones being more popular?

The popularity of colored stones, in regards to center diamonds, has decreased most recently. When Jennifer Lopez received the pink diamond for an engagement ring, the demand for color had spiked. What the designers are doing most recently to incorporate ‘color’ into an engagement ring is to add smaller accent diamonds that project beautiful contrast to the icy white diamonds they are partnered with. One of the most requested designs by Simon G. jewelry has a pink diamond set in pink gold on each corner…it’s not a lot of color, but it’s enough to make the statement for a woman that ‘I’m different’.

What different cuts are there?

A diamond can be, and has, been cut into any number of ‘shapes’, including letters and flowers! As far as diamonds for engagement rings are concerned, there are several to choose from:

Round

From the hands of an expert cutter, the Round Brilliant diamond delivers on its promise of “beauty and brilliance.” This is the classic shape for diamonds and a well cut Round Brilliant maximizes light return, better than most other shapes, and creates a dazzling display, sure to make her heart skip a beat and her friends jealous.

Princess

The Princess Cut combines the liveliness of a Round diamond and the contemporary shape of an Emerald or Square cut to create one of the most brilliant fancy shapes of all.

Emerald

An Emerald Cut diamond is an elegant beauty. It has a rectangular shape with cut corners which is also known as a step cut (because its concentric, broad, flat planes resemble stair steps). Looking into an Emerald cut diamond is like looking into a clear pool of water – it draws you in.

Cushion

The Cushion Cut is an elegantly shaped diamond that has recently gained popularity because of the heightened demand for vintage-styled jewelry. Combining the cut characteristics of both the round and the oval, the Cushion Cut’s rounded corners and larger facets increase this special diamond’s brilliance.

Radiant

While the silhouette of a Radiant reminds us of the elegant Emerald cut, the Radiant’s facet pattern is arranged to create a much more brilliant return of light – befitting its name – Radiant.

Asscher

The Asscher diamond is named after Joseph Asscher who developed the cut in 1902. The Asscher has a similar facet arrangement to the Emerald Cut yet is square rather than elongated in proportion. The Asscher has 74 facets which make this special cut reminiscent of a bygone era. The Asscher has regained popularity as a result of the many famous stars opting to wear this vintage cut diamond.

Pear

The Pear Cut diamond combines the cut characteristics of the Round Brilliant and the regal Marquise to form an elegant, beautiful and brilliant cut of diamond. Also known as a “teardrop,” this cut of diamond is sure to bring a tear of joy when it is given to the one you love.

Oval

The Oval Cut diamond gives  a softer, rounder look that, along with its elongated shape and amazing sparkle, truly captures the viewer’s attention.

Heart

True romantics love the Heart Shape! The two soft shoulders that lead down to one lower point…the point where two become one.

Marquise

With its design, said to be inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour, the Marquise cut diamond’s elongated shape flatters the hand and symbolizes true love to last the ages.

We have heard about the 4 “C’s” (cut, clarity, carat, and color), could you please explain these to us?

Everyone has heard about the 4 C’s, as you stated. With that said, most people believe it’s the statistics that make a diamond beautiful, and that’s simply not the case. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) developed the 4 C’s as a way to ‘value’ diamonds, therefore making them a commodity that would be able to be traded/bought at a pre-determined price…

Color:

The rarest ‘color’ grade to have on a diamond is ‘colorless’ (D, E, or F). Most diamonds a consumer views in a jewelry store fall into the ‘Near colorless’ range (G, H, I, or J). What changes the color grading in a naturally white diamond is the presence of yellow, which is caused by the interaction of nitrogen during the crystallization process.

Clarity:

Clarity describes the tiny markings, or characteristics, inside (or on) the diamond. The less markings a diamond has, the more valuable (as well as expensive). The clarity scale’s rarest grade is Flawless. The most common grade is Included (or I1, I2, or I3).

Carat weight:

The more the diamond weighs, the more valuable it is considered. As a diamond exceeds the 1ct mark, its’ value increases exponentially. This has to do with rarity.

Cut:

This is the most mis-understood of the 4 C’s. Cut is the overall match of facet-placement and symmetry of the diamond (from side to side). The only shape that can have its’ ‘cut’ graded toward value is Round (GIA), though other independent labs have begun assigning cut grades to princess, oval, and marquise.

Should you invest more in the stone or the metal? And what metals are available for rings?

What a consumer chooses to invest their money in is a personal choice. For some, the most important decision is the style of the ring. For others, it is the size and/or quality of the center diamond. Regardless of which way someone decides to invest their money in the purchase, it is important to protect your diamond by mounting it in a precious metal. The most precious of metals for jewelry is platinum. The other noble metal choices are gold (white or yellow) and palladium.

Insurance…what are the options?

Robbins Brothers provides a Lifetime Diamond Warranty on all of our rings and center stones. As far as insurance is concerned, we recommend that you purchasea policy that suits your coverage needs through your insurance company. This is to ensure if the ring is stolen or lost, your investment will be replaced.

Cleaning…how often should rings be cleaned?

Rings should be cleaned, professionally, a minimum of twice a year. This allows for a skilled jeweler to check your diamond settings for security and review your ring for wear that might need repairing.

Do you have any suggestions for the guys to get the girl’s ring size without her knowing?

There are several ways to get ‘close’ to gathering her ring size…(1) Bring a ring from her jewelry box that she wears on her ring finger. A professional can put that ring on a mandrel and get a proper read. (2) Ask her mother. Her mother will usually have the answer to this, and if not, she can pry without being too obvious (Grandma was going through her jewelry box and noticed a ring she wanted to give you, but it cannot be sized..What size do you wear?) (3) Slip her ring on your ring to a ‘tight’ fit. Whatever finger you use can then be sized for a close guess.

How many engaged couples does Robbins Brothers service annually?

Robbins Brothers services thousands of couples a month! We are the only company that specializes in engagement rings and wedding rings. Our clients range from couples just out of high school, to couples celebrating 50 years of marriage. Our teams of specialists understand the importance of this purchase, as well as the emotions involved during such a significant time!

Thanks for answering our questions and for a Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store location, please visit their website for more information.

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