Latest Jewelry News

7 Striking Solitaire Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 01:57

 

Classic and eternally popular, solitaire engagement rings put the focus on one dazzling center gem. Their clean lines and streamlined designs exude timeless elegance. While other engagement ring styles fall in and out of popularity, the appeal of solitaire diamond rings is constant.

Although all solitaire ring designs feature a similar theme—a band of precious metal showcasing a single center gemstone—there are many unique designs to choose from. From vintage inspired to contemporary, our collection of solitaire engagement rings features an array of stunning choices.

Here are 7 of our favorite distinctive solitaire settings, guaranteed to stand out from the crowd!

Reverie Ring

 

A contemporary take on the classic solitaire, this ring gracefully divides into ribbons of precious metal that intertwine and embrace the center gemstone, securing it with split claw prongs.

Hudson Ring

 

Intricate hand-engraving and subtle borders of milgrain adorn this sensational vintage inspired ring. This elegant solitaire band gently broadens toward the brilliant center gem, producing a stunning effect.

Twisted Vine Ring

Two intertwined strands of high-polish precious metal twist together in this nature-inspired solitaire ring to perfectly showcase a dazzling center gemstone.

Lumiere Diamond Ring

 

This delightful engagement ring features a glittering diamond-encrusted gallery around the center gem. The petite band complements the gallery for an elegant, chic look.

Luna Ring

 

For a contemporary look, opt for this design. A bezel set center gem and a sleek high polished band perfectly complement each other for a modern take on the classic solitaire engagement ring.

Caliana Ring

 

Six elegant leaves cradle a center gemstone in this open basket solitaire ring. Claw prongs and gently tapered shoulders bring even more emphasis to the graceful look of this setting.

Grace Ring

 

Artfully sculptural, this solitaire ring design features ribbons of precious metal which delicately entwine around the center gem for an exquisite look.

Final Thoughts

Which solitaire ring design is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! For more inspiration, explore our recently purchased 2 carat solitaire diamond rings.

 

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Categories: Latest Jewelry News

8 Amazing Retro Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 17:29

 

Antique jewelry from the Retro era, which spanned the period from the mid-1930s until the 1950s, is exuberant, creative and anything but understated.

During World War II and the post-war years people craved glamour, and Retro-era engagement rings delivered. To get a sense of the artistry of jewelry from this period, take a look at these stunning engagement rings:

The Porsche Ring

The classically beautiful The Porsche Ring features a dazzling old European cut center diamond. The 2 shimmering accent diamonds add intrigue to this Retro beauty.

The Brush Ring

Five brilliant cut diamonds adorn this stunning Retro ring. The delicate appearance of the open gallery gives this ring a dainty appearance.

 

The Cormack Ring

The center tourmaline in the Cormack Ring adds a bright pop of color to an otherwise traditional engagement ring style. The accenting baguette diamonds adds a classic touch to this Retro era platinum setting.

The Davide Ring

The Davide Ring perfectly showcases the glamour and decadence of the Retro era. A stunning opal cabochon is surrounded by a glittering halo of 12 diamonds and set in a warm, yellow gold setting.

The Kendo Ring

The Kendo Ring is a gorgeous Retro piece showcasing an old European cut diamond. It is accented by 2 single cut diamonds in a unique yet classic platinum setting.

The Nour Ring

This breathtaking Retro piece features a glittering radiant cut center diamond. Milgrain detailing along the open gallery frames the sparkling accent diamonds, making this design truly special.

The Stockholm Ring

The dazzling Stockholm Ring features 5 sparkling brilliant cut diamonds set in a mixed metal setting. The overall design appears simple but the unique details on this ring make it a truly special find.

The Kristsan Ring

In this Retro engagement ring, an oval-shaped aquamarine is set east-west in a sophisticated yellow gold setting. The color combination of yellow gold and aquamarine is unique and sophisticated, perfect for the modern bride.

Final Thoughts

Do you like rings from the Retro era?  Which of these is your favorite?  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments section!

The post 8 Amazing Retro Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

10 Unique Oval Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 21:49

 

Oval shaped diamonds are an ideal choice for those who love the dazzling brilliance of a round cut, but desire something more unique!

Oval engagement rings are more popular than ever, and for a good reason! With celebrities like Blake Lively, Jennifer Aniston, and Kate Middleton all wearing rings with oval shaped center gems, oval diamonds are becoming increasingly sought-after. Their shape is not only elegant and beautiful, but they are also a great option for the budget-conscious as they often appear bigger than other diamond shapes of equal carat weight. This is because the oval diamond’s elongated shape maximizes its surface area, resulting in a larger appearance.

Popular Oval Shaped Diamond Engagement Rings

Oval diamonds offer a distinctive spin to the classic round diamond, and look dazzling in nearly any engagement ring setting. We love the look of ovals in three stone engagement ring settings as well as in trendy east-west settings.

Prelude Diamond Ring

Fancy Halo Diamond Ring

Aria Diamond Ring

Odelia Diamond Ring

Simone Diamond Ring

Elodie Ring

Cadenza Halo Diamond Ring

Ellipse Diamond Ring

Selene Diamond Ring

Luxe Willow Halo Diamond Ring

Final Thoughts

Would you wear an oval diamond engagement ring? What setting is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

The post 10 Unique Oval Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

8 of Our Favorite Pear Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 19:55

 

When it comes to selecting a diamond shape for your engagement ring, pear shaped diamonds make for a distinctive yet timeless choice.

Pear shaped diamonds, sometimes referred to as “teardrop diamonds”, are named for their unique shape, one that features both a rounded and pointed end. The pear diamond’s combination of the classic round cut with the stylish marquise diamond shape gives it an elegant and elongated appearance that is sure to stand out. Some noteworthy celebrities with pear engagement rings include Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria Beckham, and Sophie Turner.

Popular Pear Shaped Diamond Rings

We are often drawn to pear shaped diamonds for both their eye-catching appearance and their versatility. Whether featured in a simple solitaire setting or surrounded by a halo of diamonds, pears offer just the right balance of style and grace.

Nouveau Diamond Ring

Petite Twisted Vine Diamond Ring

Lotus Flower Diamond Ring

Luxe Willow Halo Diamond Ring

Felicity Diamond Ring

Vienna Diamond Ring

Circa Diamond Ring

Final Thoughts

Do you love the look of pear diamonds? What is your favorite diamond shape? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

The post 8 of Our Favorite Pear Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Robert Wilson Puts on a Show

NY Times Jewels and Jewelries - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 21:35
A lofty legend of the stage gets chatty about space, light, high jewelry — and his friend Lady Gaga.
Categories: Latest Jewelry News

The True Meaning of November’s Beautiful Birthstones

Brilliant Earth - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 09:30

This month’s birthday girls luck out, because the November birthstones—citrine and topaz—come in a dazzling array of colors and are relatively affordable.  So you can go ahead and drop hints about a big piece of birthstone jewelry in the color of your choice, without feeling too greedy.

Shopping for a November birthday girl?  You’ve got lots of options she’ll love.  For the low-down on these richly-colored November birthstone gems, read on.

 

Citrine: Health & Wealth in Rich Colors

Citrine is a quartz gemstone found in golden shades ranging from pale yellow to deep brownish orange. As one of the more affordable gems, citrine makes for a good choice if you want an eye-catching ring or pendant with a larger gemstone. Citrine appears frequently in Art Deco engagement rings.

This gem is also known as “healing quartz,” because legend has it that citrine promotes vitality and energy in whomever wears it. And according to the Chinese feng shui philosophy, citrine creates wealth and abundance. While we can’t guarantee health and wealth will be gifts with purchase, we do think Fire Citrine™ Stud Earrings make an excellent birthday present for November-born women.

 

Topaz: Symbol of Love in Favorite Hues

Topaz is a hard silicate mineral which gets its color from impurities or defects in its crystal structures, which turn it gorgeous shades of yellow, blue, red, green, brown, violet and pink. Topaz can also be colorless, and colorless topaz is often heated to create blue gems (most blue topaz isn’t natural—the color is created through treatment). The most valuable and expensive shades of topaz are deep orange with pink undertones called Imperial topaz, named after the Russian czars of the 19th century, and yellowish brown hue called sherry topaz.

The topaz birthstone symbolizes love and affection, and is said to bestow strength and intelligence on the person who wears it, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and a gift of blue topaz is said to be a promise of love and fidelity.

Topaz and Citrine’s Famous Fan

Both of the November birthstones have a royal advocate in the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton (who was born in January, but maybe garnet isn’t her color?).  If you glimpsed her engagement photos with Prince William you may have assumed that her glittery pavé drop earrings were diamond, but they were actually made of white topaz (the “Hope Egg” design by Links of London). The Duchess also has a favorite pair of cushion-cut citrine drop earrings by Kiki McDonough, a popular British (but of course) jewelry designer, and has appeared in white topaz and blue topaz earrings by McDonough.  We think topaz and citrine are a perfect fit with the Duchess’s down-to-earth elegance, because they’re nearly as dazzling as precious gems but without the precious price tag.

Sources: Gemological Institute of America, American Gem Society

 

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Categories: Latest Jewelry News

A Shortlist of What We Like Right Now

NY Times Jewels and Jewelries - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:01
Gravity-defying furniture, performance art in the East Village, totes for travel and more.
Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Sculptural Accessories That Are True to Form

NY Times Jewels and Jewelries - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:19
This season’s sinuous jewelry bends with the body and gleams against the skin.
Categories: Latest Jewelry News

How to Pair a Unique Estate Ring with a Wedding Band

Brilliant Earth - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 18:17

 

When couples are selecting one of our unique, one-of-a-kind vintage engagement rings, one question they frequently ask is “How will I pair it with a wedding ring?” In many cases choosing a vintage engagement ring means that your wedding ring won’t match exactly. However, this opens up a world of gorgeous style possibilities.

Here, Brilliant Earth jewelry specialist Mary Newcomb tells her personal story of finding a wedding band to complement her antique engagement ring, and shares advice on how you can do the same:

Our collection of antique engagement rings, which is comprised of one-of-a-kind pieces dating from the late 1800’s through the late 1900’s, presents many incredible options for a stunning engagement ring. These rings were historically worn alone, so their shapes and designs are often quite whimsical and detailed. That beautifully distinctive quality can present a dilemma when choosing a wedding band because the rings may take up more space on the finger, feature gemstones in interesting patterns, have detailed engraving, or have other attributes that make them both uniquely beautiful and challenging to pair with a standard wedding band.

There are a few ways that you can pair a wedding band with an estate ring, each of which I personally had to explore when I fell in love with an Art Deco ring from the 1920’s. Once I tried on wedding bands, I felt a bit overwhelmed about what to do next. To my dismay, nothing looked like it “matched” my ring! I explored all of my options, and this is what I found.

Embrace the Gap

 

Many people are surprised to realize that the custom of pairing an engagement ring and a wedding band in a completely flush style is a relatively recent, modern one. Some of the world’s most famous engagement rings have showcased unique shapes; Queen Victoria’s snake ring, Jackie Kennedy’s split shank emerald ring, Princess Diana’s sapphire halo, and Audrey Hepburn’s stacked set of bezel rings are some of fashion’s best known engagement rings, and none of these would sit flush with a wedding band.

Having a slight gap between your engagement and wedding rings is actually more common than not–even many new rings have a slight a gap with a wedding band, so why fight it? Go with the flow. It shows the world that you have individual style, and certainly makes selecting a wedding band easier. For a unified look, you can choose a wedding ring that shares similar design elements with your engagement ring, such as diamonds of the same scale or special details like milgrain or engraving. Or you can choose to keep all of the focus on your stunning engagement ring, by selecting a timeless plain precious metal band as a wedding ring.

Choose an Antique Matched Set

Some vintage engagement rings are available with a matching wedding ring as part of a matched set. Matched sets are more common in designs from the Retro era, which is when the custom of wearing coordinating engagement and wedding rings started to take hold.

Customize a Wedding Band

One of the most rewarding challenges we face as designers is custom designing a wedding band to accompany a client’s unique vintage engagement ring. Brilliant Earth’s team of design experts can create a wedding band that is custom contoured to fit with your estate ring in such a way that the two look like a matched pair. For inspiration, view our gallery of recently designed custom wedding bands.

With your engagement ring in hand through the process, they will use either CAD imaging or hand carved wax techniques to ensure that your antique engagement ring and new wedding ring will sit perfectly flush. Our jewelers can add an incredible amount of vintage detail to your custom designed wedding ring, by using hand finishing and revisiting old world techniques, so you can keep adding to the history of your one-of-a-kind design!

Wear Your Rings on Different Hands

This is the route that I eventually chose, and is historically how an engagement and wedding band were worn, back when most antique engagement rings were created. For me, this choice allowed the most flexibility with my wedding band options and avoided the gap that would have existed with any non-custom ring. I wanted to still be able to wear the wedding band alone, something I did not feel I could do with a customized ring due to the contour, and found that wearing the rings on different hands solved all of my problems. It also allowed me to choose whatever look I liked, and didn’t take any of the spotlight away from my engagement ring.

Final Thoughts

No matter which route you choose, rest assured that an antique engagement ring and wedding ring can be worn together in harmony. Contact Brilliant Earth’s jewelry experts for more information on the gorgeous options available, and guidance to help you choose the right look for your fashion sense and lifestyle!

The post How to Pair a Unique Estate Ring with a Wedding Band appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Brilliant Earth Funds Vocational Training in Sierra Leone

Brilliant Earth - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:20

Brilliant Earth has partnered with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) to provide vocational training to residents of diamond mining communities in Sierra Leone.

Ten individuals were selected to receive scholarships to attend the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology, a vocational training school. Earlier this year, the scholarship recipients began a six-month program to receive education in trades such as carpentry, metalworking, hairdressing, and tailoring. After the training, DDI will help the individuals to launch their own small businesses.

 

About the Program

Our partner in this project, DDI, is an organization committed to economic development in rural diamond mining communities. DDI selected the scholarship recipients in coordination with local chiefs and mine operators. The scholarship recipients are men and women from mining villages in Sierra Leone’s Kono district. Their scholarships cover tuition, meal expenses, and transportation costs. The Institute is located in Koidu, the capital city of Kono.

Students will attend classes two days a week for a period of six months. After the training, the Institute will certify the students in their professions. The scholarship recipients are committed to starting new businesses and practicing their trades. To help them launch their businesses, DDI will provide them with small grants to cover start-up costs and pay for tools and machinery.

 

How It Helps

Although diamond mining is an important income source for the rural poor in Sierra Leone, miners and their communities usually depend on other economic activities to supplement their incomes. A lack of vocational training, however, limits the ability of residents to earn income from other sources. Training in skills such as carpentry, metalworking, hairdressing, and tailoring is often not accessible to individuals living in impoverished communities.

By funding these scholarships, we are expanding economic opportunities for men and women who otherwise would not have access to vocational training. The scholarship recipients will be able to use their new skills to support their families and strengthen their communities. Local residents will gain access to new services, improving standards of living. The businesses that these entrepreneurs form will also create jobs and spread technical skills. Local economies that are dependent on diamond mining will become more diverse and resilient.

The post Brilliant Earth Funds Vocational Training in Sierra Leone appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

3 Reasons to Choose a Lab Diamond

Brilliant Earth - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:55

 

Lab diamonds are becoming increasingly popular for their eco-friendly characteristics and stunning sparkle.

Lab diamonds are man-made diamonds that consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Lab created diamonds are made using advanced technological processes that replicate the conditions in which diamonds develop in nature, and exhibit the same optical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Since they are made of the same material as natural diamonds, they exhibit the same brilliance and sparkle.

Below are our top reasons to select a lab created diamond:

1. Ethical Sourcing

Lab created diamonds are a sustainable and eco-friendly choice. They are ethically grown with minimal environmental impact and require no mining. Although Brilliant Earth’s natural diamonds are mined according to our Beyond Conflict Free Diamond™ standard, lab diamonds are an especially eco-friendly choice!

2. Value

Lab diamonds usually cost about 30% less than natural diamonds of comparable size and quality. In addition to lab diamond engagement rings, jewelry set with lab created diamonds offers great value and makes for an excellent gift!

3. Beauty

Since lab diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds, they offer the same brilliance and beauty as mined diamonds. Lab diamonds are created in high-temperature, high-pressure chambers that reproduce the conditions in the earth’s crust. The result is carbon atoms arranged in the structure of a diamond crystal and diamonds that are every bit as magical as the ones created naturally millions of years ago and mined today. In addition to sparkling white diamonds, you’ll find lab created diamonds in fancy colors that are very rare in nature.

Lab Created Diamond Jewelry

Lab created diamonds are not only sought after for engagement rings, but they are also beautiful when used in fine jewelry!

Here are some of our favorite classic lab diamond jewelry styles:

Lab Created Diamond Tennis Bracelet

 

This classic tennis bracelet features shimmering lab created diamonds individually set in lustrous white gold links, and is available in a range of sizes, from 1 to 4 carats.

Lab Created Diamond Twist Pendant

This spectacular twist pendant is crafted in luxurious gold, and features a lab created round brilliant diamond. Since no mining is necessary to produce this pendant’s center gemstones, it makes for an especially environmentally friendly choice.

Certified Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings

 

A wardrobe stable, these beautifully matched pair of lab created round brilliant diamond earrings dazzle in classic white gold basket settings.

Final Thoughts

Would you choose a lab diamond? Which piece of lab diamond jewelry is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

The post 3 Reasons to Choose a Lab Diamond appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Affordable Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:00

 

 

An engagement ring is one of life’s most significant purchases, in more ways than one! At Brilliant Earth, we understand that an engagement ring is a monumental gift, a special commitment, and an investment too.

Don’t be daunted by cost—there are many options available for affordable engagement rings. Of course, the meaning of “affordable” is highly subjective. But while budgets may differ, everybody has one—read on to make the most of yours.

Set Your Budget

In our Engagement Ring Guide, we recommend that you carefully consider your budget before shopping. Despite what you may have heard, there is no “rule” about how much you should spend on a ring. Everyone will have a different spending comfort level, and you should respect yours. It is important to understand what you can and want to invest in this purchase before you begin your search. Many customers choose to take advantage of Brilliant Earth’s financing and flexible payment options. Regardless of your budget, you will have a breadth of choices from which you can select your perfect ring.

Choose a Diamond Wisely

At Brilliant Earth, our diamond inventory is expansive, and specifically crafted to be inclusive of all price ranges and styles. Because so many customers are looking to optimize value in their engagement ring center diamond, we have created a Recommended Collection of diamonds that have been hand selected by our expert gemologists for their unique beauty and value. Our jewelry experts would be happy to help you select a diamond that offers the best value for your budget, and they have lots of insider advice to share. For example, round brilliant diamonds make up about 75% of all diamond purchases, which means that, as a result of supply and demand, you can save up to 40% by selecting a stunning fancy shaped diamond, such as a princess, cushion, or asscher cut diamond. A white gold princess cut engagement ring is a stunning and affordable choice. Also, if you choose a yellow gold or rose gold setting you can choose a diamond with a lower color grade (and a lower price tag) and it will still look bright white. Just contact us for guidance and more budget-savvy tips such as these.

Opt for a Lab Created Diamond

Brilliant Earth offers a dazzling collection of lab created diamonds featuring colorless diamonds, as well as “fancy colored” diamonds. Lab-created diamonds—which are completely distinct from diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia—are physically, chemically, and optically equivalent to naturally-mined diamonds but they cost less than mined diamonds of comparable size and quality. They are an excellent option for affordable engagement rings.

Consider All Precious Metals

Platinum is a popular choice for engagement ring settings, due to its durability and appealing finish, but it is not the only option. White, yellow, or fashionable rose gold are all stunning precious metal choices that are more modest in price than platinum. If you love the silvery white patina of platinum, consider a palladium setting, which offers similarity in composition and appearance at a lower price.

Step up the Setting

A surefire way to make an engagement ring more eye-catching while respecting your budget is to select a more detailed setting. Because the price of a diamond increases exponentially with size, smaller accent diamonds are much more affordable than larger diamonds. That means that choosing a ring setting with diamond accents is a smart way to create a dazzling ring without spending too much on a large center diamond (many brides-to-be are more interested in a sparkling ring setting than the size of the center gem). One great option is a halo engagement ring, which features a center gemstone completely encircled by dazzling diamond accents that create the appearance of a larger center gem. A rose gold halo engagement ring is as affordable as it is beautiful. Accent diamonds aside, choosing special details, such as hand-engraving, filigree, or milgrain, can make a ring look very luxe, even with a modest-sized center diamond and low cost. For more inspiration explore our recently purchased 3/4 carat diamond rings.

Pick an Antique Engagement Ring

Brilliant Earth offers an extensive collection of authentic antique engagement rings, which offer an exceptional value when compared to their modern counterparts. These one-of-a-kind rings are the ultimate in timeless romance. Exquisitely detailed and hand chosen for their exceptional beauty, our antique rings are a perfect choice for a truly unique engagement ring. They are also an ethical and eco-friendly choice, since no mining goes into their production.

Select a Sapphire for the Center Stone

A sapphire is a vibrant and distinctive selection for the center gemstone of your engagement ring, and choosing a sapphire instead of a diamond for a center gem can provide you with a bigger look for a smaller price. Many brides-to-be are drawn to the deep blue hues of sapphire engagement rings, but keep in mind that sapphires also come in a range of gorgeous yellow and pink hues. So if you want a light-hued engagement ring, look for a pale yellow or pink sapphire as your center gem. Sapphires pair beautifully with smaller accent diamonds to create a really sensational ring. To see a variety of gorgeous colored gemstones that offer value in comparison to diamonds, browse our collection of unique colored gemstones, which includes sapphires in many colors, emeralds, garnets, and more.

Consider a Ring Without a Center Stone

Many brides-to-be are choosing a non-traditional engagement ring that does not feature a highlighted center gemstone. These beautiful diamond bands are increasingly sought after as engagement ring alternatives. These rings do not feature a larger center gemstone but still offer extraordinary details and the gorgeous shimmer of diamonds, which means they are affordable but never look cheap. Many people seek out this option for a distinctive look, or for a style that is more compatible with an active lifestyle. Some stunning examples are the Quintessa Ring, the Bisou Ring, and the Trilogy Ring, which features three rose cut diamonds for a vintage-inspired look. For more inspiration explore more of our 5 stone diamond rings.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your budget, when you are selecting an engagement ring or other piece of fine jewelry, it is paramount to select a reputable, trustworthy jeweler. Brilliant Earth has a completely personalized approach to jewelry, and we welcome you to consult with us by phone, online, or in our San Francisco boutique location.

We are also thrilled to offer a lifetime upgrade on your diamond. Select what is comfortable in your budget now with the luxury of knowing you can upgrade at any point. Whatever affordable means to you, we want to help make your dreams come true!

The post Affordable Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Unique Wedding Bands and Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:18

 

Wedding season is in full tilt, and brides and grooms everywhere are dreaming up ways to make their day special. From having a signature drink served at cocktail hour, to a choreographed dance to “your” song, to dessert buffets featuring your favorite childhood sweets, there are many ways to put a personal spin on timeless traditions.

You can make a one-of-a-kind choice that is truly everlasting by selecting a unique wedding ring (and a unique engagement ring, if you don’t already have one). While a wedding only lasts for one day, your marriage—and a unique engagement ring or wedding band—will last a lifetime.  Here are a few ideas about how to make your rings as special as you are.

Unique Wedding Rings

The wedding ring, the ever-present representation of your loving union, is a great place to express your individual personality and style. If you think of wedding rings as simple bands, think again! As you’ll see, there are endless ways to create the unique wedding ring of your dreams.

Add colored gemstones
Sapphire wedding rings, whether blue, yellow, or pink, make an enduring and special choice, and because sapphires are very hard and scratch-resistant they hold up well to everyday wear. They pair well with diamonds, work in a variety of settings, and also stack beautifully with other bands (think anniversary bands and baby gifts). You might also consider choosing a ring that features your partner’s birthstone as a heartfelt way to celebrate your love. Make a beautiful statement by choosing to live in color!

Focus on the details
Wedding rings that showcase intricate design details, such as a floral- or nature-inspired motifs, an elaborate pattern, dual tone precious metals, or special symbols that honor heritage, create a unique and personal look.

Go the vintage route.
For a truly one-of-a-kind look, browse antique wedding bands from decades past. These rings often feature details that are uncommon in modern rings, such as engraving and milgrain, and you’ll often find colored gemstones or pearl accents in the wedding rings of earlier eras.

Make it custom.
Of course, one way to ensure uniqueness is to create a custom-designed wedding ring. Brilliant Earth works with many brides and grooms to design whatever their hearts desire—if you can imagine it, we can turn it into your own distinctive wedding ring.  Our simple step-by-step process makes it stress-free to create even the most complex designs. Our collection of unique custom wedding bands is sure to inspire you!

Create a twist on a classic style
If you find a ring design that you really like, make it “yours” by combining or changing style elements.  Substitute the gem color or shape of your choice, change the finish (from high polish to matte, or vice versa), or add a fine detail like engraving or milgrain (microbeads).

Opt for Rose Gold
Rose gold is a great choice of precious metal for brides seeking a distinctive twist on a classic style.  This alluring pink hue helps any wedding ring stand out from the crowd, but its soft warmth is particularly suited for sophisticated modern wedding rings or romantic, vintage-inspired rings. While many brides prefer the seamless look of matching a rose gold wedding band with a rose gold engagement ring, mixing metals is a growing trend. For a stand-out look, consider pairing a white gold engagement ring with a rose gold wedding ring.

Personalize it 
For a meaningful and personal touch, many wedding rings can be engraved.  You can engrave your wedding band—inside or out—with your wedding date, a few lyrics from ‘your song,’ your new monogram, a special saying, or even a fingerprint. Creating a fingerprint ring is the best way to make a ring 100% unique. This is an amazing and stylish way to celebrate your partner’s individual identity. You can have a print on the inside of the ring as a secret message, a print on the outside of the ring as a unique design, or combine your prints as a representation of your union. There is no wrong way to personalize your wedding ring!

Add secret details
One fun and meaningful way to make a wedding ring unique is to add personal details to the inside rim of the ring—it could be an engraving, your beloved’s fingerprint or a hidden gemstone (like your new spouse’s birthstone, for example). Wearing these very personal details against your skin, where nobody can see them, might be the ultimate romantic gesture. Need some inspiration? Check out Ideas for Engraved Wedding Bands.

Wear a wedding band-engagement ring in one.
Traditional Celtic claddagh rings can serve as both engagement and wedding ring, and provide a meaningful tribute to Irish or Scottish heritage. These rings feature a design of a heart (signifying love), between two hands (signifying friendship), topped with a crown (representing loyalty). You wear the claddagh ring on your left hand with the heart pointing out when you’re engaged, and pointing in once you’re married.

Should your wedding band match your engagement ring?
In a word, no—unless you want them to. Many brides embrace the opportunity to marry two different but complementary styles when designing an overall wedding set. Instead of wearing them flush together on one finger, some brides decide to wear their rings on different hands, which opens up a world of style possibilities. For more inspiration, explore matching wedding and engagement rings!

 

Unique Engagement Rings

While a unique wedding band can make a fabulous statement on its own, many brides-to-be choose to pair their wedding rings with equally exceptional and unique engagement rings. Here are a few ways to ensure that your engagement ring stands out in a crowd. For more ideas, read our Unique Engagement Ring Guide.

What’s old is new again
If you relish true vintage style, explore our antique and vintage ring gallery to find a one-of-a-kind unique engagement ring for your wedding.  These rings come from romantic eras of the past and feature incredible artistry, as well as distinctive design elements that you’re unlikely to see in a new ring.

Or, if you would like a new ring that has been fashioned in the vintage style, consider antique style engagement rings. These rings are inspired by the unique features of one-of-a-kind antique rings—such as milgrain, filigree, and ornate embellishment—and translate them into styles that feel at once heirloom and contemporary.

Consider unique colored gemstones

Choosing an engagement ring with a vibrant sapphire as a center gemstone guarantees that it will stand out in a sea of diamond engagement rings, and will pair beautifully with a unique sapphire wedding ring. Or you can surround a center diamond with a sapphire halo (or a gorgeous green emerald halo, as in actress Olivia Wilde’s ring). You can set one of our beautiful unique colored gemstones into a wide variety of engagement ring settings, creating a ring that tells the world that you don’t play by the rules!

Fall for fancy shaped diamonds
If you are set on having a diamond ring, but you want don’t want the traditional round shape, consider fancy shaped diamonds, such as emerald, pear, marquise, oval, or asscher cut diamonds. These distinctive shapes lend a more eye-catching and unique look to even solitaires and other very traditional engagement ring settings.

Skip the center diamond
For a beautiful, unusual diamond engagement ring, try something truly distinctive—forgo the big center diamond! Brilliant Earth offers wedding rings that showcase multiple diamonds in intricate designs, such as the Bisou Ring and the Quintessa Diamond Ring (two of many examples). Though categorized as wedding rings, each of these rings is a showstopper when worn alone. It’s common for vintage rings, especially those of the Art Deco and Retro eras, to feature many diamonds but no prominent center gem.

Consider modern rings
A modern engagement ring can be an incredible statement. Many modern styles feature clean, curving lines that bring to mind modern sculpture or the harmony of the natural world.

Custom engagement rings
Nothing’s more unique than a ring designed just for you. Considering creating a beautiful, one-of-a-kind representation of your love with our custom design process. From unique combinations of gemstone colors and cuts, to mixed metals and personal engravings, the options are nearly endless. For inspiration, view our recently designed engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry in our custom gallery. The Brilliant Earth custom design team loves to help couples bring their unique vision to life.

 

Final Thoughts

What do you think of these unique ideas? Let us know on InstagramFacebookTwitter, or in the comments section! Whatever your style and budget, we would be delighted to help you select or create unforgettable rings as unique as your love.

The post Unique Wedding Bands and Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Rose Gold Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 00:36

 

When it comes to engagement rings, rose gold settings evoke effortless style and timeless elegance. The precious metal’s warm pink undertones complement many skin tones, and it has the unique ability to look beautiful in a variety of engagement ring styles from vintage to modern.

While the use of rose gold traces back to over 100,000 years ago, it wasn’t until the 19th century that rose gold made its first jewelry debut in Russia. Originally called “Russian gold”, as time passed the lustrous alloy of gold and copper began to be referred to as rose gold for its pinkish coloring.  Rose gold grew rapidly in popularity during the 1920s.  The 1920s’ Art Deco era was a lively time of gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. The jewelry of this era reflects the flashy and fun spirit of the times. Styles became bolder, sharper, and began to incorporate more vivid colors and straighter lines. Designers like Cartier chose to begin incorporating rose gold in their designs because it offered a warm and feminine touch to the time period’s geometric styles.

Today, rose gold is loved for its timeless appearance. For many, rose gold strikes just the right balance between classic and modern styles. Brilliant Earth offers a variety of rose gold engagement rings from nature-inspired to sleek and contemporary.

Below are our most popular rose gold engagement rings:

Petite Twisted Vine Diamond Ring

 

Waverly Diamond Ring

 

Elodie Ring

 

Aria Diamond Ring

 

Nouveau Diamond Ring

 

Sunburst Diamond Ring

 

Cadenza Halo Diamond Ring

 

Valencia Diamond Ring

 

Delicate Antique Scroll Diamond Ring

 

Final Thoughts

Do you love rose gold engagement rings? Which style is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook!

The post Rose Gold Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

5 Pear Diamond Rings Inspired by Sophie Turner’s Engagement Ring

Brilliant Earth - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:23

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM @sophiet

 

Just when we thought we couldn’t get enough love from the cast of Game of Thrones (cough, Kit Harington and Rose Leslie), another Stark, Sophie Turner, announced her engagement to singer Joe Jonas last night with a sweet Instagram post. It’s almost too much for our hearts to take!

The couple chose to announce their engagement through two consecutive Instagram posts of the same photo, Sophie’s captioned, “I said yes.” and Joe’s, “She said yes.” The photo shows off Sophie’s exquisite pear-shaped diamond engagement ring which features a sparkling double band of pavé diamonds. Inspired by the distinctive look of her ring, we compiled our favorite pear-shaped engagement ring designs!

Luxe Ballad Diamond Ring

Taking a note from Sophie’s glistening diamond accents, the Luxe Ballad Diamond Ring features sparkling scalloped pavé diamonds that extend three-fourths of the way around the ring. The center pear diamond appears to float above the delicate band.

Fortuna Diamond Ring

The Fortuna Diamond Ring features a dazzling halo that surrounds the center pear diamond. Two rows of pavé diamonds sparkle on the contemporary split shank band, making this ring a glammed-up version of the Game of Thrones star’s.

Valencia Diamond Ring

Micro-pavé diamonds shimmer from every angle of this gorgeous engagement ring, which features a diamond adorned gallery and graceful claw prongs that embrace its center pear-shaped diamond.

Dawn Diamond Ring

A double row of pavé diamonds glistens across the top of this stunning pear shaped engagement ring. The Dawn Diamond Ring offers a closed-gap version of Sophie’s double band engagement ring.

Chamise Diamond Ring

Ribbons of precious metal entwine to frame a beautiful pear shaped diamond in this nature-inspired twist on Sophie’s more contemporary engagement ring design.

Final Thoughts

Do you love pear diamond engagement rings? Are these rings fit to rule the 7 kingdoms? What would Ned say? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

The post 5 Pear Diamond Rings Inspired by Sophie Turner’s Engagement Ring appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Five Romantic Antique Rings

Brilliant Earth - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 15:00

We adore our antique and vintage rings, so we thought we’d highlight a few of our favorites! Although each of these rings has its own individual spirit and unique details, they are all feminine, graceful, and very romantic.

These one-of-a-kind rings make the perfect gift, whether as an engagement ring or a gift for a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, or no occasion at all. Imagine introducing one of these stunning rings into your family, creating an heirloom that can be passed down for generations!

The Orleans Ring

Three showstopping rubies take center stage in this dazzling ring from the Retro era. The Orleans Ring also features a glamorous halo of glittering diamonds.

The Devika Ring

Chic geometry defines the design of the Devika Ring, which features a bezel set European cut center diamond. In combination with elegant milgrain detailing, twelve accent diamonds accentuate the geometric shapes in this captivating ring.

The Bel Air Ring

Featuring a dazzling cushion cut center diamond , this three-stone engagement ring is truly one-of-a-kind. With its bullet shaped accents that embellish the shoulders, the Bel Air Ring is a luxuriously beautiful work of art.

The Welbeck Ring

This especially glamorous ring features a cushion shaped diamond surrounded by seventy-four accent diamonds. An intricate gallery display and milgrain detailing add to the eye-catching look of the Welbeck Ring.

The Lucero Ring

In this unique filigree ring from the Edwardian era, a marquise-shaped aquamarine is gracefully set in white gold.

Final Thoughts

Which of these romantic vintage rings is your favorite? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section. And view our antique rings gallery to see more vintage jewelry and discover your perfect one-of-a-kind ring!

The post Five Romantic Antique Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

A Guy’s (Unbiased) Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Brilliant Earth - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 17:49

 

So you are in the market for an engagement ring, or think you might be—congratulations!  Although we don’t know your girlfriend, we’re pretty certain she’ll be overjoyed when you ask her to marry you.

Ideally, she’ll also be giddy with excitement over the ring you’ve chosen, and that’s where we can help. Yes, Brilliant Earth sells engagement rings but we are setting aside our interests to give you an unbiased “just the facts” guide to choosing an engagement ring that your future fiancé will love, and that will get you the most value for your money.  Here are the decisions ahead of you, and our tips on how to make them:

 

Choose a Gemstone

You know that the most classic engagement ring style features a center diamond, but you may not know whether your girlfriend craves that style or wants something more unique. We can tell you this: close to 90% of engagement rings feature a diamond, and sapphires are the second most common engagement ring gemstone. If your girlfriend’s taste runs to the unconventional, then she may prefer something other than a diamond or sapphire engagement ring—but based on the numbers, a diamond or sapphire is a very safe bet.

Diamonds and sapphires are also the hardest gemstones (Diamonds rank 10 and sapphires rank 9 on a 1-10 mineral grading scale called the Mohs scale of hardness) meaning that they’ll hold up well to the everyday wear required of engagement rings. Sapphires cost less than diamonds, so choosing a center sapphire allows you to get a bigger gem for your budget. Although you probably think of sapphires as being a deep blue, they also come in yellow, pink, and a variety of other colors.

 

Select a Gemstone Shape

Diamonds are cut into ten standard shapes, and round is by far the most common choice, making up 75% of all diamond purchases. In part because they’re so popular, round diamonds cost more than other shapes. In fact, you can save up to 40% by choosing a non-round diamond. Some non-round shapes that are also very popular, but less pricey, are the princess cut (which is square) and the cushion cut (somewhere in between a round and a square, featuring softly tapered edges).

 

Choose a Precious Metal

The main choices for engagement ring metals are platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Platinum and white gold are the most popular choices. These two metals look very similar, but platinum is more durable and costs about 50% more. To get a sense of what type of precious metal your girlfriend would prefer, pay attention to the jewelry she currently wears.

 

Choose a Ring Style

Would she prefer something sleek and modern, or detailed and vintage in feel?  Dazzling with diamonds or more understated?  Selecting a setting and ring style may be the hardest part of buying an engagement ring. For guidance, think about the clothes she wears and the art and furniture she appreciates—that should give you some clues as to whether she’d prefer a ring that’s classic, modern, nature-inspired, glamorous, or some combination of those. To make the decision less stressful, we offer 30 day free returns, so if the style you choose doesn’t fit her vision you can always return or exchange it for one she’ll adore.

 

Consider Buying an Antique

If your girlfriend loves vintage jewelry, clothing, and décor, or if she’s a history buff or a lover of movies and books set in decades or centuries past, then she’d likely adore a vintage or antique engagement ring. Rings from earlier eras are often one-of-a-kind, and come with a sense of romantic history that many women love. As an added bonus, they generally cost less than a new ring of similar quality.

 

Consider Whether to Go Custom

If you’re an artistic type or if it’s important to you to propose with a ring that’s completely unique, consider collaborating with a jewelry designer to create a custom engagement ring.

 

Decide on a Budget

There is no hard and fast rule about how much you “should” spend on an engagement ring, other than that you should spend what feels comfortable for you. We can assist you in finding a diamond or other gemstone that balances size with quality at a price that works within your budget, and can tell you about lab-created diamonds, which can be a budget-friendly option. You can also consider a variety of payment options, including bank wire, layaway, and financing.

 

Figure Out Her Ring Size

 

Determining her ring size without asking is tricky, but not impossible. The most common women’s ring size is 6-6.5, and you want to err on the large side. You could sneak a ring from her jewelry box and take it to a jeweler to have it sized, or trace one of her rings on a piece of paper. For more strategies, check out How to Find Out Her Ring Size Without Her Knowing. Most rings can be resized, so check your jeweler’s resize policy.

Consider a Semi-Surprise

If you know you want to surprise your girlfriend with a ring when you propose, but are daunted by having to determine the right ring style and size, consider purchasing a diamond or other gemstone and having it set in a temporary ring setting. You can then have the gemstone re-set into a setting of her choice once you’re engaged. We let people have a gemstone set into our classic 18k Gold 2mm Comfort Fit ring, then return it within 60 days to have the gem re-set into a ring that’s the perfect style and size.

For more extensive education about how to buy an engagement ring, including what “the 4 Cs” of diamonds are all about, and how to find a ring that has been ethically sourced, consult our comprehensive Engagement Ring Guide.

 

Contact Us

Do you still have questions about purchasing an engagement ring?  Just contact us via phone, email, or live chat, and we’d be happy to answer them.

The post A Guy’s (Unbiased) Engagement Ring Buying Guide appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Irish Engagement Rings

Brilliant Earth - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 19:00

 

You don’t have to be from the Emerald Isle to love Irish engagement rings. These beautiful, detailed rings are overflowing with history and symbolism, making them highly sought after for their enchanting appeal.

Irish engagement rings encompass a wide array of designs, from the knots and braids of the ancient Celts to the more recent style of Claddagh rings. If you are looking for a ring that symbolizes enduring love, these Irish rings are the perfect choice.

There are two main styles of Irish engagement rings. The first is the ever popular Claddagh ring. This ring can be worn four different ways throughout a lifetime, and they make beautiful family heirlooms. The second style features mesmerizing Celtic knots. These knots are looping and infinite, representing an endless path or never-ending love. These styles are beloved as engagement rings because of their romantic symbolism and charming designs.

Claddagh Engagement Rings

Though rings with Claddagh-type elements have reportedly been in existence for thousands of years, the traditional Claddagh ring was rumored to be created in 1700 by a young Irish man by the name of Richard Joyce. Joyce supposedly learned his trade of crafting fine jewelry overseas, but returned home to Ireland to marry his sweetheart and set up a jewelry shop selling the first Claddagh rings.

There are quite a few legends such as this, so jewelry experts continue to disagree on the Claddagh ring’s true origin. For the foreseeable future it will remain shrouded in mystery, making Claddagh rings even more desirable.

Claddagh rings follow a simple style guide. At the top of the band, two hands clasp a heart, and on top of that heart is a crown. Once again, what these three images symbolize is not official, but this ambiguity allows you and your partner to create your own meaning.

Claddagh Ring Styles

Simple Claddagh rings are made of precious metal and commonly include milgrain detailing around the crown. Both men and women opt to wear Claddagh rings, though the style is most popular among women.  If you want a bit of sparkle added to the ring, you can incorporate diamonds and gemstones in a variety of ways. Turn your Claddagh into an elegant solitaire diamond ring by replacing the heart with a round or heart shaped diamond or colored gemstone.

Don’t wear it the wrong way!

Those who understand how Claddagh rings work will glance at your finger and make assumptions based on how you are wearing your ring. There are four options: single, in a relationship, engaged, and married. There’s no “it’s complicated” option, so you’ll have to leave that for Facebook! As can be expected, wearing the ring on your right hand indicates that you are either single or in a relationship. If the crown is pointing toward you, it means you are single. If it is pointing away from you, it means you are in a relationship. When the ring is worn on the left hand, the crown pointing toward you means that you are engaged, and away from you means that you are married.

If you are going to give or receive a Claddagh engagement ring, make sure that you are in the know!

Celtic Knot Engagement Rings

Used primarily as decoration by the ancient Celts in Insular Art (the art produced in the British Isles in the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire), these endless knots were typically used as adornments in Christian books and statues, such as the Book of Kells. These symbols have come to represent the nation of Ireland, and they have made their way into the hearts (and onto the rings) of millions worldwide.

Simple Celtic Knots

A beloved Celtic knot called the trinity knot is a simple looping pattern that comes to three points and forms a triangular shape in the middle. Those three points have been said to represent a variety of things, such as earth, air, and water; life, death, and rebirth; and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Like the Claddagh ring, you can allow the three points to stand for whatever forces are most meaningful to you. For your engagement, they could possibly represent the past, present, and future of your relationship.

Braided Knots

Beautiful and complex, braided knots are perfect for the shank (the band) of the ring. They take the traditional eternity ring—a ring with a design that continues around the ring’s entire circumference—and take it to the next level by making the design itself represent infinity. If you choose a strand from the braid and follow it around the ring, you will never encounter an end.

Custom Irish Engagement Rings

If you have a unique vision of your perfect Irish engagement ring, you may want to work with a custom jewelry design expert to bring that vision to life! For Claddagh rings, a popular option is adding a heart shaped diamond or colored gemstone to the center. You can line the entire ring with diamonds, or put very small ones in the crown. A beautiful option would be to create a pave heart, the small diamonds creating a solid expanse of sparkle. Many pay homage to Ireland by including stunning green emeralds in the ring, representing the island’s beautiful green pastures.
If you prefer Celtic knots, try drawing your own knot that we can wrap around the band or highlight at the top. This is a great way to express your creativity! Brilliant Earth’s custom design experts will be happy to make your dreams a reality.

Alongside the shamrock and the harp, Celtic knots and Claddagh rings have become representative of Ireland. If you are looking for a way to express fidelity and eternal love, Irish engagement rings are the way to go!

Final Thoughts

Do you love Irish engagement rings? Tell us why on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

The post Irish Engagement Rings appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Global Witness Unmasks Zimbabwe’s Diamond Thieves

Brilliant Earth - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 00:18

One of the biggest diamond heists in history has been taking place in slow motion and in plain sight. It’s been widely known for years that political elites in Zimbabwe have been looting the country’s diamonds. Yet because the people stealing the diamonds have covered their tracks, it’s been difficult to prove who they are.

A new piece of detective work by Global Witness, a group that fights natural resource exploitation, offers some clues. In a report issued last month, Global Witness offers the most detailed look to date at the five companies operating in Zimbabwe’s valuable Marange diamond fields. The report describes how political insiders, military leaders, and security officials control the mining companies and use them as personal piggy banks. It also shows the tricks these owners use to shield their businesses from scrutiny and keep their identities a secret.

 

When the Marange diamond fields were discovered about a decade ago, it was hailed as an event that could change Zimbabwe’s future. Observers predicted that the diamond fields could produce as much as $2 billion in diamonds per year, boosting Zimbabwe’s economy and lifting millions out of poverty. Three quarters of Zimbabwe’s population lives below the poverty line.

 

Those hopes were dashed. After initially using violence to clear away small-scale miners from the diamond fields, Zimbabwe’s government handed over mining operations to a small group of companies. The country’s people waited for significant diamond revenues to enter the public treasury—and then waited and waited. According to the report, government revenues earned from diamonds since 2010 have amounted to $300 million, far less than the over $2.5 billion in diamonds that Zimbabwe has officially exported.

 

Secrecy about the ownership of the companies is one reason why the government has been cheated. The companies were each supposed to be at least 50 percent owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), a government-owned company, with 50 percent of the profits going to the treasury. But elites, including military and security officials, have pushed the ZMDC aside. They’ve taken control of the companies, reaped the profits, and used shell companies to hide their identities.

 

One company, Kusena, is supposed to be entirely owned by the ZMDC. Global Witness has found evidence showing that it is in fact controlled by Zimbabwe’s spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), and used as a source of off-budget funding. The Zimbabwean military is believed to control two other companies, Anjin and Jinan, having edged out the ZMDC. Global Witness has evidence that the biggest company, Mbada Diamonds, is controlled and partially owned by Robert Mhlanga, an ally of President Robert Mugabe. A final company, the Diamond Mining Corporation, is believed to be a partnership between the ZMDC and an alleged diamond smuggler named Imad Ahmad.

 

These opaque ownership arrangements have reduced the profits flowing to the ZMDC, and thus back to the people of Zimbabwe. And the companies have used other methods to stiff the government. Global Witness believes that to reduce export taxes, the companies have smuggled diamonds out of the country and underreported the value of the gems they do officially export. The companies have also failed to disclose accurate data on their revenues, costs, or profits. Without this data, the ZMDC is unable to be paid its fair share of profits, and the government has no way to calculate what the companies owe in corporate income taxes.

 

In 2016, Zimbabwe’s government announced what it pitched as a way forward: it would establish a single new unified company, called the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), owned half by the government and half by private investors. But the move is being challenged in court and is unlikely to help, Global Witness says. Many of the same groups, including Zimbabwe’s spy agency, are still stakeholders in the arrangement. In effect, the change looks less like reform and more like a way to redistribute profits among existing players.

 

Global Witness instead calls for the mining companies, Zimbabwe’s government, and the governments of diamond-consuming countries to commit to transparency and accountability. It also argues that the global diamond industry, together with the Kimberley Process, need to practice due diligence to avoid unethical gems from entering the global supply. The report is blunt about the role of the diamond trade in perpetuating abuses in Zimbabwe: “Rather than encouraging transparency and reforms, international demand has delivered a market for Zimbabwe’s diamonds,” it states.

 

Zimbabwe’s vast diamond wealth has the potential to transform the lives of its people. Unfortunately, Global Witness’s report has demonstrated that without additional international pressure and regulation, Zimbabwe’s diamonds will continue to benefit only the elite and corrupt and perpetuate human rights abuses. We continue to believe that additional reform, including how the Kimberley Process defines conflict diamonds, is necessary to ensure a responsible and transparent diamond industry.

 

 

 

The post Global Witness Unmasks Zimbabwe’s Diamond Thieves appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

Today’s Top Engagement Trends

Brilliant Earth - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 16:00

At Brilliant Earth we spend our days helping couples select the rings that symbolize their love and commitment, and designing rings that capture their individual styles and personalities.

POPULAR ENGAGEMENT RING STYLES

We are among the very first to see engagement ring trends as they emerge. Here are a few things we’ve noticed about the popular engagement rings we are loving now, and trends that we expect to stay strong.

Twisting and Woven Silhouettes

Many of today’s couples are drawn to ring bands featuring intertwining strands of metal and diamonds (as seen in the Petite Twisted Vine Engagement Ring). These rings can symbolize both infinite love and intertwining fates, making them a very romantic choice.

Surprise Details

Flashy rings may be less popular than in years past, but couples crave beautiful little touches that set a ring apart. Think gallery diamonds and double prong settings, as seen in the Lumiere Ring, above, surprise filigree and sparkling secret diamonds tucked into the side view of the Sonata Ring, and diamonds on all sides of a perfectly curved band, as seen in the Enchant Ring. Couples adore surprise details that are less about dazzling others and more about bringing delight to the wearer.

Distinctive Diamond Halos

Halo designs featuring traditional round and cushion shaped diamonds have been very sought after for the past few years, perhaps because of their romantic vintage-inspired look, or because of the way a halo of accent diamonds makes a center diamond appear larger. Now we see couples craving more distinctive halo designs, such as the curvy and ornate halo of the Cadenza Ring, above, or the multi-dimensional halos of the Cordoba Ring and the Circa Ring, both of which feature stunning side views.

The New Three-Stone Styles

A three-gemstone engagement ring is a timeless look, and a symbolic one too—the three gemstones are said to represent a couple’s past, present and future. Recent trends have gravitated toward fresh, updated takes on this classic look. For example the Three Stone Petite Twisted Vine Ring offers a sculptural, nature-inspired take, and the Prelude Ring combines the sought after halo design with a classic three-stone style. Couples who crave an elegant and understated three-stone design might love the Selene Ring, above, which features a delicate, gently tapered band and chic claw prongs securing the center gemstone.

Delicate Silhouettes

We’ve seen a return to classic elegance as couples opt for thin, petite bands, both in engagement and wedding rings. Often these rings feature accent diamonds that add subtle shimmer and make the center gemstone really pop, as seen in the Lissome Diamond Ring, which features scalloped pavé diamond accents on a thin band that rises to a cathedral setting.

Rose-on-Rose Rings

Rose gold has been beloved by brides-to-be in recent years, and now those who adore this warm and romantic look are taking it a step further and combining gorgeous morganite gemstones with rose gold settings. Morganite is a semiprecious gemstone with a warm pink hue and sparkling clarity, and when set in rose gold it creates a breathtaking effect that reflects your rosy outlook on your future together. Rose gold halo engagement ring settings, such as the Morganite Lotus Flower Ring in rose gold, above, add dazzling diamonds to create a bit of contrast, while solitaire styles, such as the Morganite Hudson Ring in rose gold have a gorgeous all-rose look that draws attention to the detailed setting.

Geometric Designs

While engagement rings with feminine curves will always have devoted fans, many of today’s couples are captivated by rings with sleek and contemporary lines and a geometric aesthetic. Designs such as the Lucy Ring, in which the center diamond is surrounded by a diamond shaped halo, and the Flair Ring, with a frame of glittering scalloped pavé diamonds, have been especially popular. The Caldera Ring, pictured above, brings a hexagonal shape to a classic six-prong solitaire.

Colorful Jewel-Toned Rings

A few years ago it would have been an untraditional choice, but many people are now falling for joyful multi-colored rings. These color-loving couples might choose sapphires set in rose gold, such as Sapphire Fancy Halo Ring in rose gold, and some even set sapphires and emeralds side by side in rose gold in the Sapphire Willow Ring with Emerald Accents. Couples who adore blue often create a gemstone ring that combines sapphires and aquamarines for a multi-tonal look.

Scalloped Pavé Accents

When it comes to accent diamonds along the band, today’s couples gravitate toward scalloped or French pavé diamonds (a seen in the Simone Engagement Ring, above). This look minimizes visible precious metal, creating an effect of pure shimmer. Not too long ago bands with channel-set diamonds and straight pavé with metal “rails” were the go-to look. We suspect the shift toward scalloped pavé accents may be inspired by the current popularity of handcrafted vintage rings, which often feature this style of pavé.

Fancy Shaped Accents

Although shimmering pavé accent diamonds remain a favorite feature on the shoulders and shanks of engagement rings, we now see a growing number of couples opting for fancy shaped accent diamonds, such as baguettes, trillions, and pear-shaped diamonds. With their rectangular shape and step facets, baguette accent diamonds possess an elegance that gives rings a classically beautiful look, as seen in the Tapered Baguette Ring. Triangular trillions like those that dazzle in the Esprit Ring and the delicate pear accent diamonds in the Aria Ring, above, lend an extra element of eye-catching shape to a ring.

Claw Prong Settings

Claw prongs narrow to a super-fine tip (hence the name) and minimize the precious metal needed to secure the center gemstone, showcasing more of its beauty.  Claw prongs and “split-claw” prongs (seen in the Reverie Engagement Ring, above) are very en vogue because they add a special designer detail to a classic style.

Nature-Inspired Designs

Ring settings that evoke vines, leaves, and buds using wispy, naturalistic designs remain very sought after, especially with couples who love the outdoors. Our Willow Engagement Ring features marquise-shaped “buds” of accent diamonds.

Fancy Shaped Gemstones

While traditional round brilliant cut diamonds remain the most popular shape for center gemstones, more and more couples now opt for distinctive fancy shapes, such as square cushion cut diamonds and elongated fancy shapes, such as oval and emerald cut diamonds. The Waverly Engagement Ring makes an elegant showcase for an oval cut diamond. White gold princess cut engagement rings are ever-popular.

Non-Traditional Designs

While today’s brides-to-be love the tradition of engagement rings, they don’t always want the rings to look traditional. Many women are opting to make a statement, to express their unique personalities or aesthetics. These couples usually seek custom designs or non-traditional rings involving elements like black rhodium, rose cut diamonds (as seen in the Rosebud Ring, above), and less traditional colored gemstones such as aquamarines and morganite.

Unique Vintage Rings

The romantic rings in our collection of vintage and antique engagement rings are beloved by couples looking for a unique piece that tells a story. A few years ago diamond rings from the Edwardian era were especially in demand, but we’re finding that couples are now drawn to a broader swath of styles, especially Art Deco engagement rings, as well as distinctive pieces from the Victorian and Retro eras. Couples love both the old-world feel of these designs and the chance to weave a vintage piece into their own story.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of these engagement trends?  Have you recently become engaged?  Share your story with us on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section!

The post Today’s Top Engagement Trends appeared first on Brilliant Earth Blog.

Categories: Latest Jewelry News

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