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Simulant Diamonds vs. Lab-Created Diamonds: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to a traditional diamond, you’ve come to the right place. We’re explaining the pros and cons of real diamonds and diamond simulants, so you can choose the right stone for you.

Pair of tweezers and various fancy shaped diamonds

Note: At James Allen, we sell only U.S. Federal Trade Commission-certified true diamonds, which include both lab created diamonds and earth-created diamonds.

What’s A “Real Diamond”?

The term “diamond” refers to a very specific stone: the crystalline form of carbon. While other forms of carbon exist, what makes a diamond special is its particular atomic configuration.

A carbon atom can bond with a maximum of 4 other atoms – and in diamond, all the available spots are taken by…other carbon atoms! That’s right, it’s carbon all the way. And this results in an extremely stable, super hard, super sparkling stone. 

Real Diamonds

Lab Created Diamonds

The crystalline form of carbon we call “diamond” can be attained only through intense heat, constant pressure, and a good amount of time. Nowadays, we can achieve that in a lab in specialized machines that knock a few billion years off the cooking time. The result is a lab-made diamond that differs from an earth-created diamond in name only.

If you were to look at both types of diamonds through a professional jeweler’s loupe, or if you were to inspect both diamonds on a molecular level, you would see no difference. The same result was achieved through very different processes.

Lab-grown diamonds and earth-created diamonds are optically and chemically identical, the only difference being their relative origins. And this difference in origin leads lab grown diamonds to flaunt a much lower price point.

Lab Created Diamonds

Simulants, however, are not diamonds. They’re different minerals that bear a resemblance to diamonds. We’ll dig into two of the most popular diamond simulants: cubic zirconia and moissanite.

Diamond Simulants: Cubic Zirconia and Moissanite

Diamond simulants are various types of man-made stones that are synthesized for the purpose of being diamond lookalikes. These clear, sparkling stones mimic the beauty of a diamond, but at a much lower cost. However, they do display marked differences to both lab-created and earth-mined diamonds in non-visual traits.

Why does this matter? It’s important to remember that clarity is only one characteristic of jewelry stones. Color, resilience, and sparkle vary between these different stones; stones’ specific characteristics can greatly affect how you wear them in jewelry, and their lifetime cost to you.

Cubic Zirconia

What is cubic zirconia?

Cubic zirconia is arguably the most popular diamond simulant. It’s a man-made, crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. 

How is cubic zirconia made?

In a laboratory, zirconium oxide powder is melted into various stabilizing agents at a super-high temperature of nearly 5,000 degrees F. When left to cool, this mineral mixture forms crystals, which can then be cut and polished into jewelry-grade stones.

Moissanite

What is moissanite?

Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide crystal that’s synthesized in a lab. The result is a clear stone that, on the surface, bears a striking resemblance to real diamonds

How is moissanite made?

Moissanite occurs naturally, but it’s incredibly rare. Thus, all the affordable moissanite on the market today is created in a lab. 

How to distinguish between a real diamond and a simulant diamond:

Durability

The standard measurement to determine a stone’s strength is the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It describes a mineral’s resistance to being scratched and is measured from 0 (maximum softness) to 10 (maximum hardness).

Lab created diamonds and earth created diamonds:

Diamonds are the toughest stones out there. They score a maximum of 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning they can withstand absolutely anything you throw at them in your daily life. This durability is one of the reasons diamonds are the go-to stone for engagement rings, which are worn daily for decades at a time.

Because diamonds’ structure never changes, they can be passed on as family heirlooms. Both lab-grown diamonds and earth-created diamonds will last for, well, forever. 

Moissanite

While moissanite isn’t the hardest mineral out there, it’s close. It scores a 9.25 on the Mohs scale. It’s more susceptible to scratching than diamonds are, but it still holds up extremely well to daily wear-and-tear.

Cubic zirconia

Cubic zirconia is moderately hard. At an 8 on the Mohs scale, its resilience is comparable to that of other jewelry stones like emerald, beryl, and amethyst. Because it’s scratch-resistant, but not scratch-proof, cubic zirconia (particularly much-worn stones like those in engagement rings) often acquires many tiny scratches that cloud its appearance. When this occurs, a professional jeweler can recut the stone to restore its clarity.

Lifespan

Lab created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

How long do diamonds last? Well, you’ll never have to throw one out due to deterioration. As the famous De Beer’s slogan correctly claims, “A diamond is forever.” The oldest diamonds found have existed for nearly 4 billion years, and they’re holding strong.

You can rest assured that any diamond you buy, whether earth-mined or lab-created, can be comfortably passed down through the generations. 

Moissanite

Though not as long-lasting as diamonds, moissanite will comfortably last for decades without any significant degradation in quality. However, since it’s a relatively newly recognized mineral, its exact lifespan is unknown.

Although discovered over a century ago, jewelry-grade moissanite crystals only began to be synthesized in the 1970’s and only became widely available in the 1980’s. Meaning, many couples getting engaged today with moissanite engagement rings were born before moissanite engagement rings became a thing. 

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is made for short-term wear. With daily wear, you can expect them to last less than 5 years. This means cubic zirconia is a great “for the time being” stone; you can wear it as a placeholder until you replace it with your dream diamond.

Be advised that contact with common chemicals will cause cubic zirconia to lose its shine, making it wearable for shorter periods of time. So make sure to remove cubic zirconia jewelry before doing daily tasks like putting on lotion, using cleaning supplies, or using hairspray.

Color

Lab created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

Colorless isn’t the only option! Due to trace elements in their composition, diamonds can display a range of colors. Plus, diamonds’ color is permanent. It won’t change at high temperatures or fade over time. 

Moissanite

Moissanite exhibits “thermochromism,” meaning that it is sensitive to a color change at temperatures above 150° F (65 C). These are usually temporary, but these heat-sensitive color changes can sometimes be permanent.

Cubic zirconia

Cubic zirconia doesn’t change color when exposed to heat, but under UV radiation it can turn color, albeit temporarily. Most commonly, it turns yellowish, light green, or white. Indoors your stone will remain clear, but if you go outside on a sunny day it may change hue.

Sparkle

A diamond’s sparkle is largely thanks to two qualities: brilliance and fire.

“Brilliance” is a specific term describing a gemstone’s ability to return white light. It’s measured by the refractive index; a higher refractive index indicates a greater amount of white light reflected. The more white light reflected, the brighter the gemstone appears to the human eye.

“Fire” refers to a gemstone’s ability to return colored light, and is measured by the dispersion score. The higher a gemstone’s dispersion, the more it will display a rainbow of colors.

Lab-created diamonds and earth-created diamonds 

Diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42 and their faceting pattern returns light remarkably. They’re strikingly bright, but not too much so. Its dispersion is relatively low, at 0.044, so diamonds remain quite bright, with only minimal colorful sparkle. The combination of this brilliance (reflected white light) and fire (refracted color) give diamonds a truly balanced and unparalleled sparkle.

Moissanite

Moissanite actually has a higher refractive index than diamonds, at 2.65, and thus appears incredibly bright under natural light. However, moissanite has crazy high dispersion: 0.104. This is why it reflects back a ton of colored light, leading to a “rainbow effect” that tends to overshadow its brilliance.

The rainbow effect tends to make moissanite look fake to the well-trained eye, and is especially noticeable under natural light and in larger stones. In short, moissanite can often appear “too sparkly” under certain lights.

Cubic zirconia

With a refractive index of 2.15, cubic zirconia is the least brilliant of the bunch. Its lower score means that it reflects less light back to the eye, appearing duller than both diamond and moissanite under identical light.

It has a slightly higher dispersion than diamond, around 0.058, but isn’t very noticeable. Under natural light, it will appear quite white, but it will definitely lack the sparkle of either diamond or moissanite.

Ideal Size

Lab created diamonds and earth-created diamonds

Diamonds come in every carat. At James Allen, we sell loose diamonds in a huge range of carat sizes: from petite diamonds in 0.20 carats, all the way to large diamonds that are upwards of a whopping 20 carats. Diamonds’ stunning bright white brilliance and minimal color dispersal look amazing in any carat weight.

Moissanite:

Moissanite’s intense rainbow effect increases as the stone get larger. For this reason, it’s best to avoid large moissanite stones in jewelry. Stick with the smaller sizes; under 1 carat is best. Think: diamond for center stones, and moissanite for accent stones.

Cubic zirconia:

Cubic zirconia comes in as wide a range of carat sizes as diamonds do. While you can find cubic zirconia in as large a carat as you’d like, it’s best to choose an average-sized carat (around 1 carat) both to maximize the amount of light that hits the stone and to avoid the relatively dull shine that becomes obvious in larger stones.

Cost

Earth-created diamonds

Traditional diamonds are the most expensive choice. The process of discovering, mining, and shipping earth-created diamonds is resource-intensive; the high cost of bringing them to market has helped diamonds achieve their luxe reputation.

Lab created diamonds

For when you want a real diamond, but want to pay 30% less. Because the process of creating a diamond takes significantly less time and resources than mining a diamond from the earth do, lab-made diamonds cost significantly less than earth-mined diamonds.

Moissanite

This is quite affordable compared to diamond, but it’s the more expensive of the diamond simulants. Moissanite costs about half of what a traditional diamond under 1-carat costs. As a traditional diamond increase in carat weight, comparable moissanites become relatively more affordable. 

Cubic zirconia

Cubic zirconia is the most budget-friendly choice. It costs next to nothing compared to a traditional diamond. While a colorless, eye-clean 1-carat diamond could cost thousands of dollars, comparable cubic zirconia will cost only a few dozen dollars.

The Low-Down

Choose a classic earth-created diamond if:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You admire the billions of years of history contained in each stone

Choose a modern lab-created diamond if:

  1. You love diamond’s sparkle
  2. You’ll wear your diamond jewelry often
  3. You want a large diamond at a lower price

Choose moissanite if:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You like small-carat stones
  3. You’ll wear your jewelry intensively

Choose cubic zirconia if:

  1. You’re on a budget
  2. You’ll wear your jewelry carefully and not every day
  3. You’re saving up for a more expensive stone

Choosing the stone that suits your lifestyle is an important part of designing meaningful jewelry that will last you throughout your life. And if you choose to buy either lab-created diamonds or earth-created diamonds, you can choose from 1000’s beautiful options at James Allen.

Keep up on your diamond reading:

  1. Diamonds: The April Birthstone
  2. How To Take Care Of Your Diamond Jewelry
  3. Earth-Created Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds
  4. True Hearts™ Lab Created Diamonds
  5. Lab-Created Diamonds vs. Moissanite

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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Gorgeous Garnets: The January Birthstone

Time to be well-red! Find the perfect jewelry gift with garnet, the January birthstone.

Gorgeous Garnets: The January Birthstone

Start the new year off by shining in garnet red. Garnets get their name due to their resemblance to pomegranate seeds, the name derives from the Latin granatum, meaning seed. While garnet comes in multiple hues, red is the most popular color, and perfect for a January birthday…or any birthday!

What is Garnet?

Garnets can be found in mines and streams, where the water has worn away the rock and exposed the gem. Garnets can be found in green, yellow, and even colorless, but its vibrant and deep red is the most popular color.

While the garnet we are most familiar with is the gemstone found in fine jewelry, it can also be mined for its industrial abrasive version, which is used to polish glass and metal.

The sparkle from garnets is so extraordinary it is often described by gemmologists as fire. The best sparkle can be seen in soft, romantic lighting, such as candles.

The hardness of garnets is not as impressive as their sparkle and should be handled with care. Rating between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, out of a maximum of 10, garnets are still quite strong.

Garnets are thought to bring blessings, love, wellness, friendship, and devotion to those lucky enough to be born in January. It certainly worked for Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

Prior to marrying her now-husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Kate was gifted a gorgeous ring with her garnet birthstone, as well as pearls, her now-husband’s birthstone. The ring was a sign of the Prince’s commitment to his now-wife.

Garnets are always a great choice because as the epitome of affordable luxury, they make for a great birthday gift….or anniversary, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or just a day ending in day!

Kate Middleton isn’t the only celebrity sporting garnet, check out some other famous faces wearing this gorgeous gem! Kristen Bell and Sofía Vergara have both rocked luxurious garnet earrings.

History

Once believed to offer protection from poison and even nightmares, garnets have a long and storied history.

Garnets have been found in the tombs of pharaohs in Egypt and in ancient Persia, where only kings were allowed to own or wear the gem.

In ancient Rome, garnets were typically worn by noble patriarchs, in the form of carved signet rings. They also believed the gem provided protection to travelers and that sparkles were a sign of impending danger.

Children in ancient Greece thought they were protected from drowning by the gem and in ancient China, it was believed that the gems were the incarnation of a tiger’s soul. The Navajo use the gem to bring luck and protection. Navajos also believe, similar to ancient Romans, that garnets bring protection to travelers.

Numerous famous historical figures are thought to have been adorned by this famous gem, including Plato and the King of Saxony, who is said to have had a garnet over 465 carats!

How to Wear Your Garnet

The deep red brilliance of garnets makes it a beautiful choice to wear as earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. They can glamorize an easy-going day look, accessorize a night on the town, or compliment a black-tie outfit.

The hues of garnet are complementary to all skin tones, allowing everyone to achieve that royal look.

Garnets look exceptionally spectacular when paired with black or white outfits, however, they also go great with more neutral tones like deep greens and browns.

January Birthstone Gifts: Garnet Rings

Garnets are the perfect January birthstone. As the gem of love, they are an ideal romantic prelude to Valentine’s Day. Garnets are often given as signs of intimacy and romance, and their rich color makes them a meaningful and gorgeous gift to receive.

January Birthstone Gifts: Garnet Earrings

Garnets are said to have healing properties, in addition to their protective ones. Many people believe that the gems bring peace, passion, and can help cleanse and balance energy. These are just some of the many reasons that garnets have retained their popularity, from ancient times to today.

January Birthstone Gifts: Garnet Necklaces

Garnets affordable luxury and fiery red color make them a popular choice. This gem, which can symbolize both love and friendship, makes a considerable and personal gift to a romantic partner, good friend, or family member.

Check out our other birthstone guides

December Blue TopazNovember CitrinesSeptember SapphiresFebruary AmethystsMarch AquamarinesApril DiamondsMay EmeraldsJuly Rubies.

Check out celebrity engagement rings and looks:

Sofia VergaraHailey Bieber * 2020 Oscars * Royal Engagements * Pippa Middleton * Miranda Kerr * Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, & More!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first order!

Sarah Chin

Sarah is a stickler for grammar and prefers to use the Oxford comma. She enjoys her career as a writer since being a professional snowboarder/powerlifter/pastry chef didn’t pan out.

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Cool Blue Topaz: The December Birthstone

Shine through the winter with blue topaz, the December birthstone.

Celebrate the month of December with its icy blue birthstone. Though topaz comes in a range of colors, the blue variety is the wintry birthstone. From pale blue to a deep, sapphire-like azure, topaz’s tones are perfect for any December birthday or simply any cool-hued adorer.

Blue topaz earrings, blue topaz necklace, blue topaz ring

What is Topaz?

Topaz is a silicate mineral that in its purest state is totally colorless. It’s the trace minerals that give it such a vibrant range of colors, from deep blue to pink, orange, and even purple. 

The index of refraction for topaz is somewhat low (around 1.62), meaning that their many facets sparkle less than gemstones with a higher rating. Topaz tends to look best in oblong cuts that complement its naturally-occurring columnar shape. For that reason, topaz often appears in jewelry in baguette-, pear-, and oval shapes. 

Topaz is an ideal jewelry stone thanks to its high rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale. It scores an 8, which is near the maximum solidity of 10 (a grade claimed by the rock-hard diamond). Practically, this means that topaz is quite impervious to daily wear in all situations. There’s no need to fret about scratching or chipping topaz; it will accompany you throughout your day, no worries.

One of the cooler characteristics of Topaz is its pleochroism: depending on the angle that light hits topaz’s facets, the gemstone may appear to vary in color. This gives blue topaz an incredible variety of aquatic shades.

The History of Topaz

In the past, the most famous variety of topaz was actually yellow. The Bible mentions topaz; although it probably referred to a different yellow stone, the name topaz went on to refer, generally, to any yellow semi-precious stone. Eventually, in the mid-1700’s, topaz started referring to the mineral we now know and love. 

The most popular type of topaz nowadays is the blue variety. Though blue topaz occurs naturally, the popularity of blue skyrocketed in the 1970’s when gem treatments were developed. Gemologists discovered that they could take colorless topaz, expose it to certain types of radiation, and then heat it up. The result was a gorgeous blue gemstone whose popularity immediately shot through the roof. 

Famous Topaz

By far the most famous topaz in existence is the Marbella Topaz, a whopping 8,225 carat faceted blue topaz currently owned by the Spanish government. Yep, that’s a comma – not a full stop. How big is 8,225 carats, you ask? Well, it’s akin to wearing a grapefruit on your finger. A bit heavy, but oh-so breathtaking.

Cate Blanchett has been known to sport blue topaz on the red carpet – a gemstone that perfectly highlights her icy blue eyes. By wearing her topaz jewelry as close to her eyes as possible in the form of earrings, she maximizes the blue-on-blue effect.

Kate Blanchett wearing blue topaz earrings
Kate Middleton wearing blue topaz hoop earrings

And onto another (C)Kate! Kate Middleton’s circular topaz and diamond earrings have made multiple high-profile appearances, and seem to be one of her favorite pieces. The cool tone highlights her green eyes, and the bright white jewelry metal pops against her paler skin.

How to wear topaz

Blue is a beautiful catch-all. If you love blue, topaz is for you, since it comes in every shade – from pale aquamarine to a dark sapphire, topaz has it all. 

Pale complexions: if you have a pale complexion, dark blue topaz will look stunning on you. Especially topaz set in white jewelry metal like white gold or platinum.

Dark complexions: complement your dark complexion by choosing an eye-popping pale topaz set in warm gold.

Blue & green eyes: Choose topaz in the same shade as your irises to make your baby blues (or green) really pop.

Outfit coordination: topaz looks lovely when paired with its complementary color, orange. Practically, this means you can increase topaz’s visual impact by wearing golden or amber-color fabrics alongside your gemstone.

December Birthstone Gifts:
Blue Topaz Rings

Blue topaz jewelry is perfect for December birthday gifts, 4th, and 19th wedding anniversary presents. Not only is it more affordable than other blue gemstones like sapphire, but it also features a unique variety of hues. And why blue topaz rings? They’re easy to wear, will stand up to anything you put them through, and will always be close at hand for you to admire.

December Birthstone Gifts:
Blue Topaz Earrings

Topaz has a history of mind-strengthening powers. Well, at least according to a host of old European folklore. An English superstition states that topaz can cure insanity, while in the Middle Ages it was worn to protect against the evil eye and mind-weakening curses. If you agree with our predecessors, wearing blue topaz earrings close to your noggin will keep you up to speed.

December Birthstone Gifts:
Blue Topaz Necklaces

Statement pieces? Oh yes. Topaz’s relative affordability means that you can go big on the carat weight without going over budget. Plus, a blue topaz pendant completes any outfit with a vivid burst of color. Whether you give it as a present, or you adorn and adore yourself, topaz is a winning December purchase.

Check out our other birthstone guides

January Garnets * February Amethysts * March Aquamarines * April Diamonds * May Emeralds * June Pearls * July Rubies * August Peridots * September Sapphires * November Citrines * December Blue Topaz.

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

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Your GIA Certification, Explained

A GIA certification is an official document detailing the nitty-gritty of your unique diamond. Why’s it important? Read on to find out.

GIA Certification

First of all, what’s a GIA certification?

A GIA certification (so named because it’s issued by the Gemological Institute of America) is a type of diamond certification: a document that describes in detail all the unique characteristics of your diamond. An official GIA inspector analyzes your diamond thoroughly and records its physical attributes in the certificate. The 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight) are covered exhaustively. No two diamonds will have identical GIA certificates.

In short, you can think of a GIA certification as your diamond’s “birth certificate.” 

Martini Diamond Stud Earrings

14K Yellow Gold Three Prong Martini Round Brilliant Diamond Stud Earrings (1.00 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

“What I’m most pleased with is how sparkly the diamonds are. I’m so glad I chose the 3 prong martini style, they don’t stick out or droop. They fit as flush to the ear as possible if that’s the look you’d prefer.” -Joyce J.

Four-Prong Diamond Stud Earrings

14K White Gold Four Prong Round Brilliant Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings (1.50 CTW - F-G / VS2-SI1)

“I absolutely love my new earring studs! I was able to style them exactly how I wanted using the stones and metal I wanted. Couldn’t ask for a better experience.” -Matt T.

Is a GIA certification important? 

Well, yes and no. 

Yes: The GIA certification allows gemologists to identify, price, and appraise your diamond. By documenting its one-of-a-kind characteristics, a diamond certificate ensures that your stone is unmistakable.

No: You wear a diamond for the sparkle, not the certification. The GIA certification often comes in handy at the beginning of your diamond’s life – as you buy, appraise, and insure your diamond – then usually spends the rest of its days in a file cabinet.

To really understand the aspects of your diamond described in the GIA certification, you have to see them with your own eyes. With James Allen’s Diamond Display technology, you can view your diamond in 360° HD and up to 40x magnification. Then you’ll truly understand your diamond’s features.

Four-Prong Basket Solitaire Diamond Pendant

14K Yellow Gold Four Prong Basket Solitaire Diamond Pendant (Mounting)

“More incredible than I could have hoped! I have to say, I am so impressed! This design is just perfect and really lets the diamond “shine,” literally and figuratively.” – Maggie L.

Mounted Pear Shape Diamond Solitaire Pendant

14K White Gold Pear Shape Diamond Solitaire Pendant (Mounting)

“The stone is so beautiful and sparkly. I love how it is set so it shows off the shape of the pear. The workmanship is great and it was shipped quickly. I am so happy with my Diamond pendant” -Lenora L.

Your GIA Certification

The good news is that every James Allen diamond comes with an official certification. We provide reports from the industry’s leading labs including the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Your diamond may come with a diamond certification from the GIA, the American Gem Society (AGS), or the International Gemological Institute (IGI). These labs adhere to the highest grading standards, and only issue diamond certifications certified by professional gemologists.

To get your diamond’s certificate, simply ask our customer service team! Your grading report is complementary with your diamond.

Beaded Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Bead Accent Pavé Trio Diamond Engagement Ring

“I am very happy with this ring setting. It feels very dainty and sort of vintage. I love the small details of this setting that make this ring feel unique, like the milgrain beading around the center stone.” -Noel B.

Pavé Halo Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Pavé Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring (Pear Center)

“I got my ring several months ago and I still get excited every day when I see it. The ring is gorgeous and sparkly and exactly how I hoped it would look when I bought my stone!” Katrina H.

Earth Created Vs. Lab Created Diamonds?

Lab created diamonds and earth-created diamonds both come with diamond certifications. That’s because lab created diamonds and earth created diamonds are, well, diamonds. And since both grow organically (one underground, one in a lab) they both form their own unique, gradable characteristics. In fact, even professional gemologists can’t reliably tell the difference between earth-created and lab-created diamonds.

Four Prong Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K White Gold Four Prong Lab Created Diamond Tennis Bracelet (2.00 CTW - F-G / VS2-SI1)

“I bought this bracelet as a present to myself. I extensively researched the difference between lab grown and earth diamonds and since there is no physical difference and I wanted the bigger diamonds I chose lab grown.” -Katrina D.

Bezel-Set Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K Rose Gold Bezel Diamond Tennis Bracelet (3 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

“I have always been in search of a nice diamond bezel bracelet: something that sparkles and doesn’t get caught in your clothes. This bracelet just exceeds my expectations! The diamonds sparkle, the bracelet is smooth, and overall the design is very nice! I NEVER take it off!” – Beth L.

Still Have Questions?

At James Allen.com, our customer service agents are available to you 24/7. Feel free to contact us, and one of our non-commissioned diamond and jewelry experts will help you find the diamond of your dreams. 

Still diamond curious? Read on!

  1. Diamonds: The April Birthstone
  2. How To Take Care Of Your Diamond Jewelry
  3. Earth-Created Vs. Lab-Created Diamonds
  4. Why Carat Weight Doesn’t Really Matter

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase.

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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Diamond Sparkle: How To Maximize Your Glow

Looking for ways to get the most sparkle out of your diamond center stone? You’ll find all our helpful tips and tricks on maximizing the appearance of your diamond and getting it to shine. 

Diamond Sparkle

It’s no surprise that diamonds have remained the most popular choice for engagement ring center stones as they always bring their fire and brilliance. Diamond sparkle is something unique that you may not find in every gem, and that’s why they’re so sought after.

But not all diamonds sparkle equally. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that bigger diamonds are the only ones that can bring the shine. It’s important to get the correct information on what makes a diamond sparkle well. Tricks of the trade can help you find the size and shape that works for your budget and make your ring finger glitter. 

If you want to know how to maximize your diamond sparkle, take a walk with us as we break down six basic rules to get more sparkle out of your engagement ring.

Rule No. 1: Cut Is Key 

People often mistake carat weight as the most important factor when picking a diamond. We’re here to tell you that cut influences all the major 4 C’s; cut, carat, color, and clarity, and should be your first consideration always. 

How the diamond is cut, whether too shallow or too deep, affects the overall sparkle of the diamond. Let’s breakdown how light is reflected off the diamond creating that shine we love:

The light first enters the diamond and is then reflected off its interior surfaces before exiting the stone. If the diamond is cut well, the light will reflect and refract enough to show off its fire and brilliance. 

A well-cut diamond will also appear larger than a poorly cut one of the same carat weight, with better overall color and clarity.  

Rule No. 2: Consider A Lab-Grown Diamond 

Not only are lab-created diamonds physically, chemically, and optically identical to earth-created ones, but they also come with a cheaper price tag. 

At James Allen, our premier collection of True Hearts™ diamonds are Ideal Diamonds, perfectly proportioned to refract light, producing only the best diamond sparkle. 

Rule No 3: Try On A Fancy Shaped Diamond 

While bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, there are specific diamond cuts that can give you more diamond glow and extra finger coverage.

Popular elongated fancy shaped diamonds like oval, pear, marquise, and emerald cuts are perfect if your goal is to enhance the size of your center stone. Many of these diamond shapes are a popular alternative to the classic round brilliant and can make light dance and add a unique feature to your engagement ring. 

If you’re looking for something with a little edge and a bolder outline, consider going for square-shaped diamonds like princess cut, cushion cut, or Asscher cut. These diamonds are known for their clarity and ability to make light dance.

Rule No. 4: Set Your Diamond With A Pavé Band 

Looking for more sparkle on your band as a shining complement to your center stone? We’ve got just the setting for that! 

Pavé bands are becoming a more popular choice as modern-day engagement rings settings because they add that extra sparkle. If your diamond sparkle is not the problem as you simply want your entire ring to have that sparkle factor, pavé is the way to go. 

No matter which way you twist and turn, you better believe your ring will shimmer at every angle. 

Rule No. 5: Say Halo To Your Diamond’s Best Friend

Like the pavé setting, a pavé halo encircling your diamond can elevate its sparkle while also making it appear large. A halo is a perfect accessory to a smaller center diamond that needs just a splash of glitter to bring out its ultimate glow. 

This smart optical illusion is a popular go-to for couples on a budget. Not only does it add to the overall sparkle of the engagement ring, but a halo works with just about any fancy shaped diamond. 

Rule No. 6: Keep Your Diamond Clean 

Diamond upkeep is essential to maintain that glow for many years to come, as dirty diamonds don’t sparkle. We’re all about DIY diamond cleaning, so we’ll let you in on how to treat your gem with care from the comfort of your own home.

All you’ll need is:

  • A toothbrush 
  • Mild dish soap or ammonia 
  • Polishing cloth/ microfiber cloth
  • Two bowls

Steps to clean your diamond:

  1. Add lukewarm water to the two bowls and a few drops of dish soap/ammonia to one of them.
  2. Using the toothbrush, gently use the soapy solution to clean your diamond (circular brush strokes are always better.) 
  3. Once you’re satisfied, rinse any excess oil or soap from your ring and dry it using the cloth.

To Sum It Up

There are so many fun and calculated ways to maximize the appearance and sparkle of your ring. Share your favorite tip with your partner, or use our fun feature to drop them a hint if you’ve already designed your dream engagement ring.

Contact us at JamesAllen.com for our interactive Real-time Diamond Inspection service, where our experts will walk you through the attributes of your favorite diamonds in Super Zoom magnification.

Further Reading That’ll Put a Twinkle in your Eye:

  1. Why Diamond Cut Matters Most
  2. Essential Diamond Terminology
  3. Fancy Shaped Diamonds: Discover Your Unique Style

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first order!

Jessica Thomas

Jessica feels too much anxiety trying to come up with a cool bio. Read her awesome blog post instead.

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How To Clean Your Gold Jewelry

Fine jewelry, engagement rings, and wedding rings – what does it take to properly maintain your gold and platinum jewelry? We’ll give you the complete rundown on how to clean jewelry.

How To Clean Your Jewelry Metals

Every fine jewelry wearer should learn how to clean gold jewelry and platinum jewelry to perfection. Why? Three reasons: sparkle, sanitization, and safeguarding.

For sparkle: Your jewelry shines its brightest at its cleanest. Over time, thin layers of dust and oil accumulate and block light from reaching your jewelry’s surfaces. Without light, there’s no reflection, refraction, brilliance, or fire. So if you notice that your jewelry is looking a bit dull, your first thought should be to clean it.

For sanitization: jewelry is full of prongs and crevices that collect grime. This doesn’t just dull your jewelry’s shine; it also means your jewelry is constantly transferring germs between you and your surroundings. Think of regular cleaning like hand-washing for your jewelry; it keeps your jewelry sanitized and keeps you healthy. Particularly in the era of COVID-19, sanitization is critical.

For safeguarding: A dirty ring is a damaged ring. Particulate build-up can scratch and/or discolor your jewelry metal. On the other hand, cleaning your jewelry too often or too vigorously can also seriously damage your jewelry. Harsh cleaners on some metals can wear away plating, causing permanent discoloration. 

How often should I clean my ring?

How often should you clean your jewelry? That depends on how thoroughly you want to clean it. Regular, gentle cleaning should be performed weekly, while more thorough cleansing should only occur occasionally so that the harsh chemicals don’t damage your jewelry.

Learn how to clean your jewelry like a pro

Light cleaning: every week

  1. Warm water + dish soap + soft toothbrush.
    Make your own jewelry cleaner by filling a bowl with warm (not hot) water, and then adding a few drops of dish soap. Put your jewelry in the mixture and let it sit for 15 minutes. Afterwards, take your jewelry out of the bowl and scrub it clean with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse, dry with a soft towel, and lay out on a soft surface to dry.
  2. Polishing cloth.
    In a pinch, a normal microfiber cloth will do. However, specialty jewelers’ cloths are the best, since they contain particular cleaning compounds formulated to both polish and remove small scratches in your jewelry. 

Occasional cleaning: every 1-2 months

  1. Ammonia.
    For a deep cleaning at home, create a strong jewelry cleaner by adding one part ammonia to six parts water. Let your jewelry sit in this mixture for no more than 1 minute. Remove, rinse under running water, dry with a soft cloth, and place on a towel to air dry completely.

Deep cleaning: 1-2 times per year

  1. Free jewelry cleaning with James Allen.
    Either send your jewelry to James Allen for maintenance or take your jewelry to a local James Allen partner for a complimentary professional cleaning. Minor repairs are also free!
  2. Ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machine.
    These are similar to the machines used by professional jewelers. Ultrasound waves loosen grime from even the smallest of niches, and it only takes about 5 minutes. If you want to give your jewelry a regular deep clean, it may be worth investing in one. However, ultrasound jewelry cleaning doesn’t sanitize your jewelry, so it’s worth following up an ultrasonic treatment with a simple dish soap + water cleaning. Note: ultrasonic waves can damage jewelry that contains tungsten or soft, porous gemstones like pearls.

What daily habits should I adopt to protect my jewelry?

To prevent tarnishing and scratching, it’s worth learning a few helpful jewelry habits. These actions are most important for protecting softer metals like yellow gold and plated metals like white gold, which can be most easily scratched or discolored.

  1. Store each piece of jewelry in its own cloth bag to prevent scratching.
  2. Keep a jeweler’s polishing cloth in your bag or backpack. That way, you can polish your jewelry on the go whenever you realize it’s looking a bit tarnished.
  3. Take your jewelry off when you’re sleeping. During sleep, your ring can catch on linens. Not only can this damage your fabric, it can also pull prongs out of place. Plus, the more your skin touches your jewelry, the quicker your natural oils accumulate and dull the sparkle of your metal and stones.
  4. Remove your jewelry during certain activities, including whenever you:
  5. Work with your hands
  6. Use caustic materials like household cleaners – or wear rubber gloves.
  7. Apply makeup or hairspray
  8. Exercise. This is especially true when you do upper body work that requires gripping, like lifting weights. However, cardiovascular activities like running may also deposit sweat on your jewelry which can tarnish it over time.
  9. Swim in chlorinated pools
  10. Paint your nails

How do I clean my yellow gold jewelry?

Most yellow gold jewelry is offered in two different karats of metals: 14k and 18k. While 24k is pure gold, lower carats are actually mixed with other metals (like nickel, copper, and silver) in order to strengthen it to the point that it’s suitable for jewelry. If you’re wondering how to clean gold jewelry, you’re in luck: yellow gold is slow to tarnish and dull, and doesn’t require maintenance as frequently as other gold jewelry metals.

  1. Use: Dish soap + water, ammonia, or polishing cloth.
  2. Avoid: Bleach and tough scrubbing brushes

How do I clean my white gold jewelry?

White gold’s silvery luster is created by alloying yellow gold with white metals like nickel or zinc, and finishing with rhodium plating. Normal wear and tear will result in the need for rhodium re-plating every 5-10 years in order to maintain white gold’s silvery appearance. This rhodium plating can also be worn down by strong chemicals, so take off your white gold rings when cleaning.

  1. Use: dish soap + water or polishing cloth
  2. Avoid: harsh chemicals which can strip the rhodium plating.

How do I clean my rose gold jewelry?

Rose gold is a yellow gold/copper alloy. The gold gives it a malleability and sheen that’s perfect for jewelry, and the copper gives it its distinctive pink hue. It’s also the strongest of all the gold metals, so your rose gold jewelry can be worn more often, with less chance of scratching.

  1. Use: dish soap + water or polishing cloth
  2. Avoid: abrasive chemicals

How do I clean my platinum jewelry?

Platinum is a rare, valuable metal with a gorgeous silvery sheen that retains its white luster with minimal maintenance. It’s also the most durable of all the ring metals! In general, you’ll have to clean platinum jewelry less regularly than gold, and it will also scratch less.

  1. Use: dish soap + water or polishing cloth.
  2. Avoid: Ammonia

A Tidy Summary

No matter what metal your jewelry is made from, it’s important to maintain its sparkle via weekly cleanings with dish soap, warm water, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. For a squeaky-clean professional shine, either send your James Allen jewelry to us for a quick and complimentary deep cleaning or take it to one of our brick-and-mortar partner jewelers. Or spend a bit of money to DIY, and deep clean it with either an ammonia-water mixture or purchase an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. 

Treating your jewelry right will help it look continuously brilliant throughout the years.

More jewelry maintenance tips

  1. How to Take Care of Your Diamond Jewelry
  2. Ring-Cleaning Tips for the Age of COVID-19
  3. Rose Gold Jewelry Pieces You’ll Never Want To Take Off
  4. 14K Gold vs. 18K Gold

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase.

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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How to Stack Your Jewelry Like A Pro

Stacking jewelry is a small pleasure that is both fun and fashion-forward. Keep reading on to find out all the ways you can combine your favorite pieces to perfect the art of stacking your jewelry. 

Stack Jewelry Like a Pro

We adore well-stacked and layered jewelry. It can take a bland outfit to a whole new level while appearing effortless. There’s no limit to what jewelry you can layer, from fine jewelry accessories to diamond trinkets. 

Layering your jewelry in a way that leaves your look polished and perfect can be a little tricky. There are basic rules and tips you can follow to make sure your style isn’t screaming “overkill.” We’ve come up with a few trusted tips that you can always keep in mind before you get ready for a casual night out or an important event. 

Whether you love layering necklaces or enjoy stacking rings, let us show you that more is definitely more when piling on sparkling accessories. 

The Art Of Layering And Stacking Necklaces

When layering your necklaces, it’s important to remember that it can be done no matter what time of year it is. Layering necklaces and pendants can be just as gorgeous over a turtleneck sweater as they would on a bare neck in the glowing summer.

As you layer, keep your touch as delicate as possible. You don’t want to add one chunky necklace next to another and risk looking sloppy. If you love the more heavy neck accessories, then consider layering a chunky choker with bolder chains.  

Pro tip: pearl necklaces make for a perfect classic chunky choker.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Lariat Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Freshwater Cultured Pearl Lariat Necklace (8.0-9.0mm)

Pair this timeless pearl necklace with smaller chains and be the picture of grace and sophistication. 

Triple Layer Pierced Diamond Specks Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Triple Layer Pierced Diamond Specks Necklace By Brevani

They say all good things come in threes: three layers of glittering perfection. 

For a softer look, we recommend taking a few elegant pieces, like a diamond or gemstone pendant, and pairing it with a few thinly chained necklaces of varying lengths. Allow them to rest about an inch from each other to get a decorated look.

Pro tip: Feel free to mix and match different metal types when you’re layering your necklaces. 

Kite Set Solitaire Diamond Pendant

14K White Gold Four Prong Basket Solitaire Diamond Pendant (0.25 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

What we love about a diamond pendant is that it can be paired with just about anything. 

East-West Diamond Halo Necklace

14K White Gold East-West Oval Rhodolite Garnet And Diamond Halo Necklace

Make a bold statement and keep all eyes on you with this showstopping stunner. 

Ring Stacking For Glamorous And Bold Ensembles  

We have two tips and tricks for stacking rings. One for stacking gemstone and fine jewelry rings and the other for artfully stacking your engagement ring

Stacking rings can be one way to express your unique personality. Stacked rings can give off an elegant aesthetic or more of a contemporary vibe, depending on your outfit of choice. 

Skies the limit when layering your rings, as texture and color mixing is always welcome! Play around with various shapes and lines to add horizontal and vertical dimensions to your style. 

Pro tip: make sure to leave one or two fingers ring-free when stacking and layering your rings.

Evil Eye Diamond Ring

14K Yellow Gold Evil Eye Diamond Ring

Try this beauty on for size and add all the texture and symbolism your ensemble is missing. 

Open Infinity Diamond Ring

14K Rose Gold Petite Open Infinity Diamond Ring

This piece is beautiful on its own or worn with other stackables for a trendier look. 

Stacking engagement rings with accented diamond rings is a trend we’ve seen celebrities like Hailey Bieber adopt in recent years. 

Depending on your engagement ring’s setting and center stone, there are endless ways to pair it with your wedding band and anniversary rings. You could pair a solitaire engagement band with a thin-band pavé eternity ring or stack your fancy-shaped diamond with a geometrical ring that sits well against its shape. 

Pro tip: stack your engagement ring with thin band rings, so you add to your sparkle without taking away its spotlight. 

Deep V Diamond Ring

14K White Gold Deep V Diamond Ring

The perfect partner to sit flush against your marquise or pear-shaped engagement ring.

Contour Diamond Eternity Ring

14K Rose Gold Shared Prong Contour Diamond Eternity Ring (1 CTW H-I / SI1-SI2)

This sparkling eternity ring will make you shine from every angle. 

Stacking Bracelets From Gemstones To Diamonds 

Layering your brackets is simply the easiest way to stack jewelry, as you’ll have a lot more wiggle room for quantity and can mix up your favorite metals. 

Try stacking smooth and clean-lined precious metal bracelets, either on both wrists or layered up one arm for a chic and polished look. This is lovely for your everyday work look or a semi-formal event.

If you’re feeling colorful and want to go wild with an array of textured and gemstone bracelets, then pick two main pieces you wish to highlight and dress them up with thick and thin bracelets and bangles. 

Pro tip: Invest in easy-to-slip-on bracelets if you’re planning on wearing them often.

Perpetual Diamond And Emerald Tennis Bracelet

14K White Gold Perpetual Diamond And Emerald Tennis Bracelet

Your friends will be emerald green with envy over your exquisite bracelet. 

Akoya Cultured Pearl Brilliance Bead Bangle Bracelet

14K Yellow Gold Akoya Cultured Pearl And Textured Brilliance Bead Bangle Bracelet (8.0-8.5mm)

We’ve said it, and we’ll continue to say it: you can never go wrong with pearls. 

Diamond bracelets are always a swoon-worthy trinket most of us would gladly slip on without hesitation.

The best way to stack your more expensive tennis bracelets without downplaying their brilliance is to layer with petite bracelets like an open cuff bracelet with diamond accents or a minimalist bangle bracelet. 

Pro tip: layer your bracelets with classic and modern pieces to achieve contemporary chic. 

Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K White Gold Two Prong Diamond Tennis Bracelet (2 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

This tennis bracelet is ideal for everyday wear and designed for easygoing glamour.  

Staple Cuff Bangle

14K Yellow Gold Staple Cuff Bangle

Lightweight and perfect for a minimalist or stacked look. 

Key Takeaways

Stacking and layering your jewelry may take a while to get right, but it’s part of the fun to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

We hope you enjoyed our helpful tips and tricks and will continue experimenting with your favorite pieces. Don’t be afraid to invest in new fine jewelry and stay on top of the latest trends (or set your own!) 

We love to talk jewelry; that’s why James Allen‘s customer service agents are available to you 24/7. Feel free to contact us or visit our website here.

See our related articles below if you’d like to learn more about fine jewelry trends and stackable rings: 

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first order!

Jessica Thomas

Jessica feels too much anxiety trying to come up with a cool bio. Read her awesome blog post instead.

More Posts - Website

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Are You A “Normal” Ring Shopper?

Want to know how you compare to other ring shoppers? We can tell you thanks to this survey collaboration with SWNS.

A picture of an engaged couple. The woman has her arms wrapped around his neck and is showing off her diamond ring.

When do I know I’m ready to get married?

Half of Americans in a relationship knew they wanted to marry their partner the moment they met. In fact, that statistic holds up across genders! 46% of women and 47% of men immediately knew that their partner was the one. 

What about those who are skeptical of marriage? A third of respondents say that their current partner made them want to get married – that’s a quarter of women and half of men.

What does this mean for you? Well, there doesn’t seem to be much of a correlation between how long a couple dates and the strength of their marriage. Whatever feels right is right for you. It doesn’t particularly matter whether it takes months or years for you two to arrive at the altar. Your journey is your own, but the destination is the same for each married couple. 

A statistic answering the question: "When do I know I’m ready to get married?"

After the wedding, should I wear my wedding ring, my engagement ring, or both?

If you’re asking yourself, “How should I wear my wedding ring set?” then we’ve got news for you: there are no absolute rules regarding how to wear your rings! After the wedding, most Americans wear their wedding ring closest to their knuckle, paired with their engagement ring just over it. 

Other ring options:

  • Wear your full wedding set, but swap the order: the engagement ring closest to the knuckle, with the wedding ring further down on your finger.
  • Wear only your wedding ring

If you like your wedding ring best, or if your engagement ring tends to get in the way in your day-to-day life, then you may want to wear your wedding ring exclusively.

  • Wear only your engagement ring

Do you like your engagement ring more than your wedding band? Then leave your wedding band at home! You’re still celebrating your relationship, just with more emphasis on your sparkling center stone.

  • Wear your wedding ring and engagement ring on different hands

This can be a great choice for those whose wedding ring and engagement ring don’t sit flush. Or, on the other hand, your local tradition may dictate this. In Spain, for instance, the engagement ring usually goes on the left hand, while the wedding ring usually goes on the right. 

  • Wear your wedding ring and engagement ring on different fingers

Other than for style reasons, this choice is common for those whose fingers have changed size, particularly post-pregnancy. If this strikes a chord, remember that James Allen offers free ring resizing either via mail or in select Jared jewelry stores.

  • Wear your wedding ring and engagement ring on the right hand

In some cultures, right > left. In fact, Catholic and eastern European tradition dictates that the wedding and engagement ring both be worn on the right hand. 

All in all, only about half of respondents constantly wear their wedding rings and engagement rings together. The other half either wear only one ring or forgo wearing rings altogether.

The bottom line: you do you, boo.

How long should I save up for an engagement ring?

This is totally up to you. A quarter of Americans say they don’t believe there’s a set amount of time, while 65% of Americans believe you should save up for a year at maximum. 

However, there’s no majority consensus. How do people determine how much a ring should cost?

  • You can set your ring budget by the amount of money you can save in a certain number of months
  • You can determine a budget independent of time constraints
  • You can find your dream ring and save up until you have enough to purchase it

The time necessary to save up money is heavily dependent on both your budget and the price of your desired ring. And if your budget is inflexible, here are some options for lowering the overall cost of your ring!

Important: James Allen offers special financing options if you can’t fully afford your ring right now, but still want to get engaged ASAP!

How much should my engagement ring cost?

Just 15% of Americans believe an engagement ring should cost over $5,000. Why is this important? It means you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy an expensive ring.

If you want to splurge on an impressive ring, go for it! You can always add more diamonds to the basket and shank, upgrade to a more pricey diamond, or choose platinum as your ring metal.

On the other hand, you should know that smaller budgets are extremely common. Additionally, many people’s dream rings fall well within their ring budgets! 

If you’re operating within a smaller budget, have a look at our favorite affordable engagement rings. You and your wallet will fall in love!

Is it important to buy an expensive engagement ring?

71% of Americans don’t really care about the cost of the engagement ring.

What seems to be most important is that the ring suits the recipient. If your dream ring is priced higher than your current budget allows, there are plenty of ways to adjust your ring’s cost without compromising on appearance.

Ways to reduce the cost of your engagement ring:

  1. Choose a lab created diamond, which can cost up to 50% less than a traditional earth-created diamond.
  2. Go for slightly under full carats. For instance, the price difference between a .95 carat diamond and a 1.00 carat diamond is significant, but the size difference is not noticeable to the naked eye.
  3. Choose an elongated diamond shape, which appears large for its carat weight.
  4. Want a white jewelry metal? Go for white gold rather than platinum.
  5. Compromise on color. The less colorless a diamond is, the more affordable it is. Save money on a diamond with a slightly yellow tint, then pair it with a yellow or rose gold setting. The warm jewelry metal will mask the diamond’s color and no one can tell the difference!
A statistic answering the question, "Is it important to buy an expensive engagement ring?"

Should we share the cost of an engagement ring?

4 out of 10 couples share the cost of their engagement ring. An engagement ring is a big purchase! Not only can sharing the cost be a practical decision (and perhaps one that would allow for a more expensive ring), but taking this important journey together can bring a couple closer to one another.

Whether or not you share the cost of an engagement ring, here’s why we recommend designing your ring together.

A statistic answering the question, "Should we share the cost of an engagement ring?"

Should I get a custom engagement ring or a pre-set engagement ring?

36% of ring shoppers prefer a customized engagement ring, while 26% would rather go with a pre-set ring.

Any of James Allen’s rings can be customized with your unique gemstone and jewelry metal. For additional customization with unique baskets, halos, and shanks, visit the Ring Studio.

A statistic answering the question, "Should I get a custom engagement ring or a pre-set engagement ring?"

What’s the perfect proposal?

Ring in the champagne glass? “Will You Marry Me?” written in the sky? An impromptu proposal at home?

71% of Americans prefer a traditional proposal, in which a partner gets down on one knee and pops the question. It’s traditional, but there are a thousand and one ways to do it! Customize your proposal to your hearts’ content. 

Which proposal will suit the two of you?

  • Just the two of you vs. alongside friends and family
  • A destination proposal vs. a proposal at home
  • Simple vs. extravagant
  • Impromptu vs. planned

Check out our Engagement Moments for proposal inspiration from real-life James Allen customers. And for some currently relevant inspiration, have a look at our list of 9 COVID-friendly proposal ideas.

More ring-shopping guidance to browse:

  1. Top Engagement Ring Tips From the Experts
  2. At-Home Proposal Ideas From TV & Film
  3. Engagement Ring Advice from Real Couples
  4. Engagement Ring Etiquette: 5 Big Questions

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase.

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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The September Birthstone: Sapphire Jewelry Pieces

Sapphire, the September birthstone, is the perfect combination of jewelry qualities: beauty, strength, affordability, and prestige. Learn why September’s birthstone is the standout gemstone you need to keep your eye on! 

The September Birthstone: Sapphire Jewelry Pieces

Sapphire, a variation of the mineral corundum, is the ultimate classic blue gemstone. What sets it apart from other blue stones like topaz, aquamarine, or turquoise? Sapphire has an intensity of color that’s unparalleled. Its rich azure color is unique among gemstones. As an added bonus, it’s been prized for millennia as a stylish ward against ill-fortune. 

Mined primarily in countries around the Indian Ocean (and in lesser quantities in the United States), sapphires pop up in royal families across multiple cultures. 

Durability

Sapphire is one of the strongest gemstones, with a score of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. For comparison, the famously durable diamond claims the top score of 10. What does this mean for you? Confidently wear your blue sapphire jewelry, going through your daily routine without worrying about scratching, chipping, or any other wear-and-tear.

Birthstone

Sapphire is the September birthstone. By wearing sapphires, September birthdays can secure good luck year-round while also ensuring perpetual chic style. 

Color

The most popular sapphire is, of course, blue sapphire. In fact, its popularity overtakes this gemstone’s other hues. That’s right – it’s not widely known that sapphires also come in 3 other gorgeous colors. Blue sapphires, pink sapphires, yellow sapphires, green sapphires, OH MY!

Sapphire is a type of the mineral corundum, of which ruby is the red variation thanks to high amounts of chromium. As the amount of chromium decreases, corundums display paler hues, and under a certain chromium threshold, corundums are called pink sapphires. Blue and green sapphires owe their intense color to trace quantities of titanium and iron, and yellow sapphires to iron only.

History

Sapphires have been prized by royalty and clergy for millennia. Believed to protect against the evil eye, promote sanctity, and reveal the cryptic, sapphires have always been popular among the powerful.

Popes of the past wore holy, engraved sapphires set in gold. England’s royal family is known for wearing sapphire jewelry, from Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring (currently worn by Kate Middleton) to Queen Elizabeth II’s sapphire wedding jewelry. 

Affordability

Across the board, sapphires are more affordable than diamonds, making them a wallet-friendly alternative to traditional diamond jewelry, especially in engagement rings. Choose sapphire jewelry when you want to go for sparkle + intense color.

Complementary

Blue and green sapphires perfectly complement winter skin tones, as well as blue and green eyes. Set cooler-toned sapphires in a white jewelry metal, like white gold or platinum, for maximum effect.

Want jewelry that suits warm skin tones? Go for pink and yellow sapphires set in white or rose gold. 

Novelty

While sapphires are famous, they’re not the most worn stone. So when you want to go for unique jewelry that turns heads, sapphire is a perfect choice. This is especially true for sapphire engagement rings

Sapphire Engagement Rings

Customer Sapphire Engagement Rings

Looking for gemstone engagement ring inspo? Have a look at how James Allen‘s real-life customers have styled their sapphire engagement rings in these real-life sapphire ring galleries!

Customer Creations: Blue Sapphire Engagement Rings

2.16 Carat Round Natural Blue Sapphire Cathedral Star Engagement Ring

Customer Creations: Yellow Sapphire Engagement Rings

Customer Creations: Pink Sapphire Engagement Rings

Stackable Sapphire Rings & Sapphire Wedding Rings

Sapphire Earrings

Sapphire Necklaces

Sapphire Bracelets

A Cerulean Summary

Sapphire has it all: an air of royalty, stunning hues, and it’s pretty easy on the wallet to boot. It’s the perfect gift for September birthdays! But the September birthstone is also ideal for anyone who craves a year-round burst of color, no matter their birth month. 

SHOP GEMSTONE JEWELRY

DESIGN YOUR DREAM SAPPHIRE RING

Looking for ideas? Browse these customer sapphire and diamond engagement ring designs!

More gem-related reading!

  1. Blue Sapphire Rings
  2. Gemstone Engagement Rings
  3. Zodiac Engagement Rings and Jewelry
  4. 10 Celebrity Engagement Rings

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first order!

Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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Minimalist Jewelry: A Beginner’s Guide

Discover the jewelry that minimalists are going crazy for to wear alone, stacked, or layered with other fine jewelry pieces that will remain trendy now and for years to come.  

A collection of fine jewelry, from earrings and bracelets to necklaces.

Are you a beginner only just discovering the incredible power of jewelry? Or perhaps you already know what jewels you like, and you’re looking to add a more minimalist edge to your style. Whatever category you fit into, we’re here to guide you on your journey of discovery.

Minimalist jewelry is and always will be a fashionable option for just about any event or occasion. We’ve looked at common mistakes made when trying to pull off this look and how we can make it easier for you to rock minimalist jewelry and still look effortlessly stunning. 

Here are our top six tips to look out for when purchasing, pairing and wearing minimalist jewelry like a pro. 

Play It Cool With The Classics 

When it comes to minimalist jewelry, invest in the essentials. Add a few classic pieces to your jewelry box for a chic minimalist style that works every time. Timeless jewelry pieces will always pass the latest trends, whether it’s a pair of diamond stud earrings or a dainty pearl bracelet.

Classic or vintage jewelry can be bought for absolutely any occasion and will stand the test of time. They also make for the best gifts and are perfect for both casual and formal environments. 

Four Prong Round Brilliant Diamond Stud Earrings

14K White Gold Four Prong Round Brilliant Diamond Stud Earrings (0.50 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

Keeping it classic with brilliant round diamonds. 

Pearl And Diamond Curving Bangle Bracelet

18K White Gold South Sea Cultured Pearl And Diamond Curving Bangle Bracelet (12.0-13.0mm)

A simple piece of jewelry with stunning curved features. 

Make One Bold Statement 

The key to a minimalist style is an outfit that has one showstopping jewelry piece. Whether it be a sleek pair of gemstone earrings or a sparkling diamond ring, a single jewel can keep you looking fashion-forward. Nothing screams minimalist chic more than one impactful piece of jewelry to keep all eyes on you.    

Pink Sapphire Trellis Oval Hoops

14K White Gold Pink Sapphire Trellis Inside Out Oval Hoops, 0.8 Inch (1.9 Mm)

Give this inside-out design a try and glow like never before. 

Open Waves Diamond Ring

14K Yellow Gold Open Waves Diamond Ring

You can pair this edgy and elegant design with more stackable rings or let it shine on its own. 

Keep Your Jewelry Box Light 

Minimalist jewelry can serve you time and time again. Stick to a few versatile pieces that you might wear for both informal and formal occasions with any type of outfit. Here, we suggest starting with precious metals. These metals often appear as clean, sleek lines with smooth satin surfaces.

This type of jewelry is a staple of simple elegance and easy to throw on at a minute’s notice. Take a pair of simple gold earrings, for example, put them on and you’ve gone from casual to polished in an instant. Plus, it’s a long-term investment in quality and style you’ll get to cherish and wear any time you want. 

Interlocking Rings Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Interlocking Rings Necklace

Sentimental jewelry is the style statement you can make anytime and anywhere. 

1.5 Inch Hoop Earrings

14K Yellow Gold 1.5 Inch Hoop Earrings

Dare to be bold with these precious metal hooped earrings. 

Simple, Yet Sparkling 

Just because you’re going with minimalist jewelry doesn’t mean you need to lose your shine. Diamond jewelry is still the perfect choice for a polished and sparkling aesthetic, like diamond pendants or diamond tennis bracelets. Our only advice here will be to stick to one kind of metal if you wear more than one piece of diamond jewelry. 

Kite Set Diamond Pendant

14K White Gold Kite Set Solitaire Diamond Pendant (0.25 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

Add a twist to the classic solitaire pendant and dazzle with a sparkling round brilliant diamond. 

Bezel Diamond Tennis Bracelet

14K White Gold Bezel Diamond Tennis Bracelet (2 CTW - H-I / SI1-SI2)

Practical and stylish. You’ll find this diamond bracelet is fit for any occasion. 

Spice Up Your Minimalist Jewelry With Gemstones

A pop of color may be just what the fashionistas ordered. If your outfit of choice happens to be a simple white, beige or black ensemble, gemstone jewelry will serve as your ideal accessory. 

What we love about gemstones is their ability to look fabulous in whichever fine jewelry piece you prefer. Their color will give you the extra finesse your outfit needs to make a statement; from gemstone rings to a chic gemstone necklace, your options are endless. As a minimalist rule, it’s less complicated to stick to your favorite type of gemstone and avoid unnecessary mixing and matching. 

Emerald Birthstone Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Emerald Birthstone Necklace

This vibrant necklace is the perfect accessory to add a pop of color to your look. 

Infinity Emerald Birthstone Ring

14K Yellow Gold Infinity Emerald Birthstone Ring

Want to upgrade your look? Trust this chic sparkler to get the job done. 

Avoid Complicated Designs 

Minimalist jewelry can be fun and explorative, from asymmetric lines for abstract simplicity or perfectly symmetrical pieces that give you a sleek look. Try to avoid designs that are too intricate and move towards more opulent jewelry with clean cuts and smooth surfaces. You don’t want to take away from the curated minimalism that comes with uncomplicated jewelry designs. 

Duo Stability Balance Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Duo Stability And Balance Necklace

This necklace has just the right amount of edge you need for a casual event or a fun night out. 

Front To Back Teardrop Earrings

14K Yellow Gold Front To Back Teardrop Earrings

Portray effortless elegance with a trendy diamond cut cable chain.  

Closing Thoughts

We at JamesAllen.com hope you enjoyed this article as much as we loved writing it. Our archives are brimming with fun and helpful tips about fine jewelry. Learn how to match your personality and style with the jewelry of your dreams. You can find our selection of reads below. 

If you have any questions about our products or you’d like to design your own earrings or pendants, visit our website here or get in contact with one of our 24/7 customer service agents here.

More Fine And Minimalist Jewelry Inspiration:

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Jessica Thomas

Jessica feels too much anxiety trying to come up with a cool bio. Read her awesome blog post instead.

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Engraved Rings: All You Need To Know

Getting your jewelry engraved with a personalized message is the ultimate way to create a unique and thoughtful sentiment. 

Engraved rings

Engraved rings are the romantic gesture you never knew you needed. Not only is it reasonably easy to get your wedding ring or engagement ring custom-engraved, but it’s affordable too. 

Perhaps you and your partner have an inside joke you want to be engraved on your wedding rings. Maybe, you’re planning on adding that personal touch but have no idea what to put on your engraved ring? That’s where we come in.

We have plenty of romantic, funny, and traditional ideas to share with you as well as some helpful facts and tips about engraving your rings and jewelry. Read on to learn more and get inspired. 

Engraved Engagement Rings

Planning a proposal is one thing, but gifting your love with a custom-engraved engagement ring will take the touching moment to a whole new level. When engraving engagement rings, sentiment plays a huge role, but personality is definitely more important, so skies the limit.

Dare to be cute, funny, and even a little cheesy! Your proposal is sure to be a happy and memorable occasion, so use this opportunity to make sure the inscription you choose adds to the laughs, smiles, and happy tears. 

Here are some romantic and funny ideas for engagement ring engravings:

Romantic:

  • I love you 
  • Yours forever 
  • My eternity 
  • Keeper of my heart
  • All my love
  • Yours eternally 
  • Mine forever, always yours 

Funny: 

  • Resistance is futile 
  • Non-refundable 
  • Dibs
  • Do not remove 
  • Finders keepers 
  • Why is this off? 
  • Insert finger here 

Our tip: keep this engraving a secret (if your partner has helped you pick out or design the engagement ring, this will make the reveal so much sweeter. 

Six-Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring

14K White Gold 2mm Comfort Fit Solitaire Engagement Ring (Six Prong)

“STRONGEST TOGETHER”

Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

14K White Gold 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

“As Flawless as You”

Engraved Wedding Rings

Wedding rings – the final piece of forever that seals the deal when you and your partner say, “I do.” For this magical moment in time, your engraved rings should hold the utmost sentiment.

Unlike an engagement ring, this engraving should bring a tear to the eye and tug on those heartstrings.

We recommend going traditional here: 

  • Add your wedding location 
  • A line from your wedding song 
  • A line from a poem you both love 
  • A bible verse 
  • The date of your wedding
  • The date you first met  
  • Your initials 
  • Mr & Mrs _____
  • Split message; you will be one half of a whole, after all! 

Our tip: take your time to choose the perfect engraving for your wedding ring. Either work with your partner to do a split message or use a combination of ideas you both like. 

Engraved Anniversary Rings

Celebrate your anniversary with a stunning anniversary ring or check out our range of sparkling eternity rings for alternative options. We have a couple of lovely ideas for engravings to make this milestone truly memorable.

  • The date of your honeymoon 
  • The initials of your children 
  • The dates of your child/children’s birthdays 
  • The written number of years you’ve been together 
  • An image of your choice (two hearts) or something that represents you two 
  • A sentimental quote like, “still going strong” or “as beautiful/handsome as the day we met” 

Our tip: we know it’s not always easy to think of a suitable inscription and so remember that it’s okay to wait until you know what the perfect engraving is. It can always be added in the future. 

The Most Asked Questions About Engravings

Traditionally, engravings are done by machines that use a diamond tip instrument and a clamping technique. However, with the introduction of the latest technology, laser engravings, your choice of engravings on your wedding, anniversary, or engagement ring are now boundless. 

What is Laser Engraving?

Laser engraving is performed using a machine equipped with a pencil-like laser that a person or artist controls. A laser beam allows the device to trace words, images, symbols, and patterns, to create the perfect custom engraved rings. Laser engraving can be done on just about any surface and works on all precious and alternative metals. 

Fun fact: Laser engraving is different from machine engraving, as it allows for more accurate engravings with clear-cut and deeper lines. Plus, it’s not limited to any particular font either.  

Pavé Knife Edge Lotus Basket Engagement Ring 

14K White Gold Pavé Knife Edge Lotus Basket Engagement Ring

““Mein Schatz” (my sweetheart)”

Matching Pavé Wedding Ring

14K Yellow Gold Matching Pavé Wedding Band

“I FOUND LOVE 3-14-19”

Why is Laser Engraving Easier to Read?

Laser engraving is much easier to read than machine engraving because it has a higher precision rate. It doesn’t chip away at the metal, and there is no wear and tear from tool usage because it’s a laser. 

The laser burns the metal, turning the messaging or imagery darker, making it easier to read. The laser is also more detail-driven and can produce the tiniest features, making unique personalized engraved rings or jewelry all the more appealing. 

Thin Channel Set Engagement Ring 

14K White Gold Thin Channel Set Round Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring

“YOU HAVE MY HEART”

Matching Filigree Wedding Ring

Platinum Matching Wedding Band

“I KNEW I’D MARRY YOU”

Will the Engraving Scratch off?

Our rings go through natural erosion the longer we wear them. Men’s wedding rings, for example, often need to be polished and mended for damage or breakage. The tougher your lifestyle, the more strain your ring will take long-term. 

If you’re planning to make a personalized engraving on the outside of your ring, chances are, somewhere along the line, you may need to have the engraving redone. But, the durability of the engraving relies mainly on the durability of the metal itself.

Opt for stronger metals like tungsten or platinum when engraving on the ring’s exterior, as softer metals, like white gold, are more vulnerable to chips and scratches. 

On a more encouraging note, engravings on the inside of a ring are likely never to wear away or become scratched, no matter the ring’s metal. 

What’s the Cost for Engraving?

Laser engraved wedding bands are the most popular jewelry to receive personalized messages and details. Experts estimate that getting a ring engraved can cost between $25 for up to 30 characters, including spaces. 

Here at James Allen, our customers can opt for a free engraving at checkout, on us! We offer you the choice between block or script fonts. You choose the engraving and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Pro tip: choose the block font if your band is less than 2mm thick. 

Keep Us In Mind

Here at James Allen, we love the little extra things we can do to make your experience all the more special. If you want to learn more about engraved rings, see our featured articles below. 

Don’t forget that you get your own customer engraving for free with any ring purchased from our on-site store. Contact our 24/7 customer service agents for any questions. We’re happy to help you find the ring of your dreams or the perfect gift for your loved one. 

Searching for more wedding ring engraving ideas? Read more below!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Jessica Thomas

Jessica feels too much anxiety trying to come up with a cool bio. Read her awesome blog post instead.

More Posts - Website