Category: Engagement Rings and Diamond Jewellery (Page 2 of 4)

Showcase Jewellers ABCs: B is for bezel

We’re back with another instalment of the Showcase Jewellers special series, the jewellery ABCs. Last time around, we took at look at the story behind the beautiful gemstone, amethyst. As we move onto ‘B’, we’re exploring own of the building blocks of jewellery making, the bezel setting. 

B is for… bezel

If you own a ring with a mounted stone, such as a dress or engagement ring, there’s a strong chance you’ll likely have already encountered a bezel setting. It involves a metal rim to secure a gem in place, rather than a classic prong setting which clasps the gem in place. 

A bezel setting is often considered to be the most secure of all gem settings, as it protects the edge from being knocked or damaged, as well as lessening the chances of the precious cargo coming loose. In addition, unlike a prong setting, bezel-set rings as less likely to catch on your clothing and cause a ladder. 

An elegant solution for beautiful gems 

Despite the technique dating back thousands of years, a bezel setting can be a beautiful, modern approach to stone setting. It is also used in designs involving smaller gems to create a halo effect around the central stone, such as in this stunning yellow gold diamond engagement ring

According to Gem Select, bezels are often employed to protect more vulnerable gemstones which have a rating under 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, such as opal, turquoise and fluorite. 

As their lower hardness rating makes these gems more easily scratched, a bezel setting can add an extra level of protection. 

A bezel is also employed in making men’s and women’s watches, with the metal rim framing and securing the crystal casing over the watch face. As part of the watch case, it provides the structure to the time piece, protecting it from wear and tear.

Pick platinum or go for gold?

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Humanity has been using gold decoratively for more than six millennia. Way back in 4000 B.C, an ancient civilisation in the area known today as Eastern Europe used the yellow metal to beautify its people and the objects in their society.

Fast forward to the modern word, and the gleam of gold is as alluring as ever. Society’s craving for the metal is so strong it’s almost instinctual.

Captivated by the metal’s timeless sparkle, lovers have traditionally used gold as the material of choice for their engagement rings. In recent times, however, some people have begun to abandon gold in favour of ultra-rare platinum. They’re both beautiful, quality materials, and are equally capable of being crafted into phenomenal pieces of jewellery.

When it comes to buying your engagement rings, what should you do? Pick platinum or go for gold?

Appearance

The most obvious difference between the two metals is their colour. Gold is naturally, well, gold, while platinum is a dazzling white. Gold is somewhat more versatile, in that it can be alloyed with copper to create rose gold and with some white metals to create white gold. 

The pink hue of rose gold is undeniably romantic, and the presence of copper makes the metal more durable than pure gold and white gold. White gold attracts the eye, but over time will gradually lose its colour and revert back to its natural yellow. To treat this fading, white gold needs to have its rhodium plating reapplied every few years.

Platinum is naturally white and tarnish-resistant, so will never need to undergo this treatment.

Durability

Most people are going to be wearing their engagement band on daily basis – some may never remove theirs. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, it’s inevitable that your ring gets knocked about a bit over the course of your daily life. With this in mind, it’s important that the construction of your ring is hardy enough to withstand whatever you throw at it.

Gold and platinum are both strong, durable metals, but they do have their differences. Platinum is ultimately the strong of the two, but is more susceptible to scratches. 

Comfort

Platinum’s durability comes from its high density. This density means that platinum rings will ultimately weigh more than their yellow counterparts. Some people will prefer the solidity of the extra weight, while others will find it cumbersome.

Although unlikely, the nickel alloy used in many gold rings can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Platinum is considered hypoallergenic and should be safe for anyone to wear.

Cost

Cost can often be a deciding factor when choosing your rings. Platinum is extremely rare, and it has a very low annual supply, making it about 19 times more rare than gold according to analyses by Johnson Matthey and the World Gold Council. Platinum and gold happen to share a similar price per gram, but because platinum has a greater density, more of it is required to create a ring. Consequently, platinum bands are more expensive than gold bands.

Conclusion

There’s no clear winner here: both metals have their advantages and disadvantages.

Gold has proven itself over thousands years to be the metal of choice for adorning the body and enhancing the wearer’s beauty. With such a proven history, there’s little chance that gold will go out of fashion any time soon. The timelessness of a gold ring is a nice symbol of the enduring commitment of your relationship.

Platinum, while pricey, is captivating in its rarity and its subtle colour offers an understated elegance. The scarcity of the metal lends a certain exclusivity to its jewellery, and the unique nature of a platinum ring is sure to reflect the unique nature of your marriage.  

e precisely what your best friend will enjoy, what you would be comfortable giving her, and the occasion. Most girls will enjoy all forms of jewellery, no matter whether it’s a necklace, bracelet or watch, but you’ll know better than most what your best friend will admire.

Similarly, if you don’t feel particularly comfortable bestowing certain items upon her, then take your time to choose something that you’ll love to give and that she will adore. Thirdly, consider the occasion. Birthdays and Christmas are the obvious time to present your special friend with a lovely piece of jewellery, but you can choose any time to show your friend how much you love and care about her.

Rings 

It almost goes without saying that most girls love rings, and with such a range on the market, you have a great selection to choose from. Of course, many women already have one or several rings. Some are heirlooms from past family members, others maybe those that she has bought herself, and their perhaps could be an engagement ring on her finger if she is a lucky lady!

Of course, you can’t buy her an engagement ring (unless you REALLY love her!) but you can certainly present her with one that symbolises friendship. Friendship rings’ circular nature reflect the infinite, enduring care that you have for one another, and what’s more, almost any piece can be used to serve this purpose. This selection of lighthearted rings by Karen Walker are perfect for such an occasion, especially if your friend is an animal or nature lover.

Bracelets

Bracelets are synonymous with friendship, especially if you can find one that has a personal relevance to you and your friend. Of course, this can be difficult when buying a new one outright, but with such a range available from Showcase Jewellers, you can find the perfect match. You’ll know what your friend will like better than most, but how about plumping for an informal, bright and bouncy bracelet that doesn’t take itself too seriously? This red hot effort from KAGI stands out from the crowd, and its vibrant colours will act as a constant reminder of the warm friendship you share.

Who is your musical diamond muse?

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There is a whole world of inspiration to draw from when it comes to finding your own unique style. From the latest trends hitting the catwalk today, or the immaculately groomed cast of your favourite TV show, it’s easy to mix and match from different fashion movements as well as looking to the allure of the past. 

Music has a special place in the creative world, transporting us to another place, another time. Songs can also be strongly linked to memory, striking a chord in our minds of that glorious summer or a mellow evening under the stars. 

Choosing a diamond is a serious investment, whether you’re buying your own or looking to pop the question to the love of your life. To help guide you to the perfect fit, here is some musical inspiration for the modern girl. 

For the classic girl – “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” by Marilyn Monroe

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

This enchanting tune came to us courtesy of the 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring the one and only Marilyn Monroe. For the girl who has everything, as well as a flair for timeless style, there is the classic white diamond and yellow 18 carat gold ring, with a bezel centre diamond nestled by brilliant round cut diamonds on either side. 

Together the Canadian Fire diamonds add up to one carat that catch the light as you move, so all heads will be on you, like Marilyn Monroe. 

For the modern muse – “Diamonds” by Rihanna

“So shine bright tonight, you and I we’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky.”

If you’re after an edgier approach to this timeless piece of jewellery, walk in the vanguard footsteps of pop music idol Rihanna. Never content with following the crowd, the Barbados beauty makes her own statements in both her fashion and artistic choices. 

For something a little out of the blue, there is the stunning 18 carat white gold aquamarine and diamond ring. The incredible clarity of the pale aquamarine highlights the brilliant diamonds surrounding it, for a truly unique, eye catching piece. 

For the diva – “Diamonds are Forever” by Shirley Bassey

“Diamonds are forever, they are all I need to please me”

A woman who knows her own mind like the great Dame Shirley Bassey will certainly know which diamond is right for her. She commands the attention of everyone in the room with her mere presence, any other adornment is simply to add to her natural magnetism. 

To emulate the elegance of this charismatic diva, look no further than the 18 carat white gold diamond ring by Je T’aime. A statement piece, this ring is made up of 78 diamonds in total, amounting in just over a carat weight – for when only the best will do. 

Taking inspiration from some of film’s most famous proposals

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When you think you’ve found the one and you’re ready to propose, there are so many different ways to go about it. If your friends are in on the plan, it’s likely you’ll have been bombarded with questions and ideas already. Do you play it cool, surprising your partner out of the blue on a casual night in? Or do you go all out, setting up a scene they’ll likely never forget? 

Only you can decide, knowing your other half better than anyone. With a new quirky marriage proposal video being uploaded to YouTube every other day, there’s a lot of pressure to be unique.

However, no one ever went wrong seeking a little pre-proposal inspiration, so we turn to the world of the silver screen to help you conjure up the perfect setting for your partner. 

The restaurant proposal – from “Love Actually” 

A restaurant proposal with a twist, the Colin Firth’s character delivers the ultimate surprise to his on-screen love, Aurelia in heart-breakingly stilted Portuguese in front of a restaurant full of unsuspecting diners. 

If you and your partner are in different cities, surprising them with a visit and a proposal has the potential to be desperately romantic if you plan it right. A beautiful engagement ring will just put things over the top, such as this beautiful 0.4 carat diamond ring by Canadian Fire.

The street proposal – from “The Proposal” 

Well maybe not the most conventional proposal scenes of all time, when Sandra Bullock’s character gets down on her knees in the middle of a busy New York Street it’s certainly an eye-catching moment. 

There’s no denying it takes guts to do things like this in public, but if you’re ready to take the plunge, find a part of the city you both enjoy, such as a park or lookout point. Whisk your loved one away from the office at lunch and go for gold with the city as your stage and slightly confused passers-by as your audience.

Although there was no ring on hand for this moment, if you’re proposing to your man, have a read up on our recent men’s engagement rings article

Pick the ring proposal – “Sweet Home Alabama” 

Feeling the pressure to find the perfect engagement ring? No worries, you can allow your partner to do the choosing for you, like Reece Witherspoon’s character’s on screen fiance, Andrew Hennings. 

Set in the Fifth Avenue Tiffany & Co store in New York, this dreamy proposal would be sure to make many a lucky lady swoon. 

Men’s engagement rings: Yea or nay?

Traditionally, it’s the lucky ladies who get to wear a gorgeous engagement ring after the proposal, to symbolise their engagement and commitment made, while the man gets nothing. Why should it just be the ladies who get to have all the fun with a new piece of jewellery. These days, some couples are choosing to have a men’s engagement ring too. 

So what are they wearing? 

Men’s wedding rings are typically fairly simple bands, perhaps with a small diamond or an inlay in the design. On the other hand (but still on the left, in most cases), the beauty of a mangagement ring is that it can be anything you want it to be. 

It could be a simple and affordable band that the soon-to-be hubby simply likes, and could perhaps keep and wear on another finger after the wedding. Others will prefer a more ‘engagement ring’ style, complete with a row of diamonds. 

Johnny Depp took this trend a step further when he donned fiancee Amber Heard’s engagement ring because “it was too big for her”, he said. 

Why are other guys wearing them?

It might be 2014, but there are still plenty of Romeos out there who are not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve and show off their love to the world. It’s quite often the case that men who want a physical reminder of their engagement and impending nuptials will wear a placeholder ring of some sort during this time. 

In some cases, a couple may not know when the wedding will take place. Engagements can stretch out for years and years, so in the meantime, both parties can wear a ring on the wedding finger to feel that connection until the actual ceremony takes place.

Would you consider either wearing an engagement ring as a male, or talk to your partner about the possibility of wearing one?

Anniversary planning – Part 2: Unique date ideas

In part one of our anniversary planning series, we looked at planning in advance for a special day to treat your loved one. So, if you’re reading this in preparation for an anniversary in a few weeks, or even a few months’ time, first of all, bravo! Second of all, now is the time to start getting the ideas flowing.

Is your partner one of those people who says “please don’t go to too much trouble”, but in their heart know know they’d secretly love for you to surprise them with something special?

Show your true romantic colours with a thoughtful piece of jewellery on the unique anniversary date you’ve dreamed up – we’ve got three ideas to start you out.

Idea # 1 – Go thrill seeking

This is a great idea if you or your other half usually spends most of their days working away in an office, and you want to do something really out of the ordinary. Get the adrenaline pumping with an action packed day of activities such as river rafting, go-karting and mountain biking.

For the ultimate leap of love, you could even throw yourselves out of a plane (attached to a skydiving instructor, of course) for an experience neither of you will ever forget.

Idea # 2 – Make the most of your day 

For a sweet memento of your anniversary, why not roll up your sleeves making something you can both enjoy. Pottery classes, cooking classes or even a cocktail-making course are a fun way to relax and not take things too seriously.

You can also capture the moment with a photograph tour, exploring the area with a guide who will help you to snap the best panoramas and selfies of your lives.

Idea # 3 – Proposing on your anniversary 

While springing an engagement ring may not be the most original idea, it is none the less still an idea with merit – according to a survey by UK company Chillisauce, about 20 per cent of women say that they’d like to get engaged on the day of their anniversary.

If you’re wanting to pop the question as a surprise, it’s definitely worth taking the time to plan in advance. However, your partner may be suspicious if this is the first time you’ve made a big deal out of your anniversary – keep those poker faces at the ready.

Photographed my first proposal yesterday. #ihavethebestjob #proposal #shesaidyes #photographer #engaged @jasonreddecopp @kaylafriesen

A photo posted by Gina Brandt (@ginabrandtphoto) on

Oct 12, 2014 at 2:14pm PDT

How Are Diamonds Formed?

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Diamonds are highly sought after for their shimmering beauty, and over time have – perhaps paradoxically – become a symbol for love and power. 

Where are diamonds found?

Not only do they look superb when set in a lustrous engagement ring or fancy evening necklace, but they’re also incredibly durable. In fact, diamonds are one of the hardest naturally occurring substances on the planet, which is why they’re often used as drill-tips in many industries.

Diamonds can be found in many countries around the world, most notably in Belgium, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Zaire and right here in Australia. It might surprise you to learn that the Argyle mine, located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, is one of the world’s largest supplier of diamonds. It has been in operation for more than 30 years and has produced more than 800 million carats of raw diamonds.

Although only 5 per cent of the diamonds found in the Argyle mine are of gem quality (40 per cent are considered “near gem” and 55 per cent are rated “industrial”) this one mine produces nearly double the amount of diamonds of any other country, according to Geoscience Australia.

How are diamonds formed?

Most of us have a vague notion that diamonds are extracted from the ground, but how do they get there in the first place? Around 150-200 kilometres deep beneath the Earth’s surface, in a layer known as the mantle, conditions are perfect for the formation of diamonds. Here, a combination of temperatures of about 1200 C and pressure of approximately 50 kilobars causes carbon atoms to bond incredibly strongly to one another, which is what gives diamonds their tough, durable properties.

How are diamonds extracted from the ground?

Of course, current technology is not possible of getting anywhere near those extreme depths. Luckily for all us diamond lovers, Mother Nature lends a helping hand here, by pushing molten rock up through the layers of the Earth. During this journey, diamond is caught up in the magma, and is eventually brought to a rest near the Earth’s surface, where the colder climate cools the diamonds and locks them into their hardened structures. Once the diamond deposits have been identified, there are a number of mining methods humans can use to extract the precious stones from the ground.

Although those in the industry have a good insight into the conditions that create diamonds, much of the process is still unknown. Artificial diamonds can be grown in laboratories in controlled environments, but we may never be able to fully replicate the mysterious events that occur in the centre of the earth to create this majestic gem.

A Quick Guide To Coloured Diamonds

When we think of diamonds, many of us conjure up images of brilliant, colourless gems set in stunning engagement rings and dazzling feature-piece necklaces.

Public perception of coloured diamonds

While these imaginings are certainly true, they don’t take into account the myriad coloured diamonds that are out there in the world. Some people have the idea that coloured diamonds are made artificially or have somehow had their pigment manipulated during the formation process. However, the truth is that coloured diamonds are formed in the same way as their colourless cousins – they’re both the result of carbon atoms being forced together in extreme conditions deep beneath the surface of the Earth.

What causes the presence of colour in these diamonds?

If all natural diamonds are created the same way, why do some contain colour? Well, during formation, external particles can enter the crystallisation process. Over time, these foreign bodies can have a significant effect on the chemical process, and over time cause the diamond to develop a unique and distinct colour. Let’s take a look at which factors result in the creation of each colour of diamond.

-Pink

The undisputed colour of love and romance, pink diamond jewellery is the perfect gift to show that special someone how much they mean to you. It’s thought that pink diamonds are created due to above average levels of intense pressure and heat, which results in a process known as ‘plastic deformation.’ The Argyle mine in western Australia, the largest producer of coloured diamonds in the world, is home to many of these gorgeous stones.

-Green

Green diamonds are exceedingly rare. Ranging from a mild tone to a deep verdant, these diamonds obtain their unusual colour from absorbing the radiation that naturally exists in the rocks and soil near the surface of the planet.

– Yellow

Yellow diamond rings are steadily gaining popularity in Hollywood as people come to appreciate the warm, gentle hues of the mesmerising gem. The colouration comes from the presence of nitrogen atoms during the formation process.

-Blue

Sophisticated and regal, blue diamonds are typically a result of the presence of the chemical boron. The exact tone of blue depends on the boron content of the diamond.

-Red

The rarest  – and most expensive – colour of all diamonds is red. The jury is still out on how these unique gemstones are exactly formed, though it’s thought to be a similar process to that involved in the creation of pink diamonds.

How To Look After Your Engagement Ring

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As far as jewellery goes, you will expect to wear your engagement ring far more than any other. These particular pieces are crafted to last a lifetime, spending the best part of fifty-plus years on your finger. With such extensive wear, it’s important to give your ring the love and attention that it deserves. This will ensure that it retains its sparkle and shine from the very first day that it was slid onto your finger.

Intimately understand your ring

It’s important to know precisely which metals and gemstone your ring is constructed from before you embark upon cleaning it. This will prevent you using any damaging products that could ruin certain aspects of your piece.

Diamonds, for example, are among the hardest substances on Earth, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely immune from damage. Luckily, caring for diamonds is easy once you know how, but you should still take extra care when working around any gemstone or precious metal.

With this in mind, gemstones other than diamonds will require a certain degree of extra care, as they lack the high durability of the said stones. Pearls and turquoise, for example, are particularly soft, so keep all chemicals away from those little guys. On the other hand, sapphires and rubies are not too far behind diamonds in the durability league.

Is your ring already hurt?  

If it is, don’t attempt to clean it just yet, as you could exacerbate the problem and cause even greater damage. Common ring imperfections include scratches, loose or missing gems, or a bent shape. If this is the case, it’s probably best that you bring your ring into a Showcase Jewellers store. We can clean it up and repair it for you, so that you can then start looking after it as you would any other piece.

Plug the gap

One of the biggest problems with cleaning jewellery isn’t the actual act itself, but the fact that jewels can get washed down that pesky hole in the sink! There are two easy solutions here: Check, double check and thrice check that you have put a sturdy plug in place, or use a clean washing up bowl.

Make a simple solution

There is no need to run out and buy an expensive cleaning solution for your jewellery. Often, home is best, and all you really need is warm water and a reputable detergent, such as mild washing up liquid. The more bubbles, the better! Have a soft toothbrush to hand as well, but make sure that it’s both new and used only for cleaning your ring, as contact with other chemicals could have a detrimental effect on your piece’s materials.

Using the detergent and warm water solution is not only effective, but it will also safeguard your precious ring from the detrimental effects of other, shop-bought jewellery cleaning products.

Some of these can actually do more harm than good, so what exactly are the products that you should avoid?

Cleaning products to swerve

Toothpaste may seem soft and gentle on your ring, and it is indeed great for ridding it of gunk and grime, but it is, in fact, pretty abrasive. Therefore, it has a tendency to scratch some of the softer metals, and is better avoided.

Other cleaning solutions to give a miss are ones that contain overly harsh chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia. Keep it simple and stick with detergent and warm water.

Soak to sparkle

With your bowl or sink half full with the solution, it’s now time to start the cleandown in earnest. Firstly, submerge your ring in the bowl for five or so minutes before you get down to business, as this will help loosen old, solidified grime and makes your coming work a little easier. The oily residue that excretes naturally from your hands can also find a home somewhere on your ring, and soaking will help dissolve it.

Brush up on your cleaning skills  

Using the tooth brush, gently sweep away at your ring, targeting visible dirt and grime but also working your way into crevices, getting under the jewels and other hard-to-reach places. Work over all sides of the piece, but ensure that you pay a certain attention to the ring’s underside – a lot of dirt finds its home here!

Rinsing it

Don’t use your cleaning solution to rinse your ring, as this may leave residue spots when the ring dries. Running water from a tap works much better, as you’ll have a constant stream of fresh water to wash away any remaining product. Ensure, of course, that you plug the sink, and hold your ring tightly!

Dry it out

Use a lint-free or specialist jewellery cloth to polish and dry your ring. Don’t use tissues or paper towels, as the lint contained within them can scratch your piece.

Even though you can clean your engagement ring at home, it’s good practice to have it professionally maintained at least once a year. At Showcase Jewellers, we’ll check your piece over thoroughly, making sure that the stones are secure and set to sparkle for years to come!

When Flowers Don’t Work, Say It With Diamonds

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to apologise to a special someone, and flowers just won’t cut the mustard. When you’ve done something you really, really want to make up for – such as forgetting an important anniversary or forgetting to pick the kids up from school for the fifth time in a row – say it with diamonds. Why? We’ll tell you why.

They last longer

A vase of cut fresh flowers lasts, on average, from four to ten days, with some squeezing out more time with the proper care and conditions. Let’s say you get your loved one a bunch of flowers that makes it to two weeks. How does that compare with a diamond?

Like the James Bond film said, Diamonds are forever. Whether nestled in a stunning ring or strung upon a necklace, as long as your loved one doesn’t lose them, they’ll last until the end of time.

They’re stronger

Flowers are exceptionally pretty, but strong they are not. Drop them on the floor and you’ll get pollen stains, roll them around between your fingers and you’ll crush them completely. The same can’t be said for diamonds – in fact, these bad boys the hardest material found anywhere on earth.

If the person you’re apologising to is perhaps a little more careless than your average person, don’t tempt fate with a delicate crystal vase full of chrysanthemums or roses. They’ll end up broken on the floor in no time. Give them a diamond that they can stomp on, scratch and drop to their heart’s desire and see the glee on their face when they realise this is one gift that can’t be broken.

They’re shinier

There are very few flowers that glisten and shimmer quite the way that diamonds do – it’s just the a fact of nature. If your loved one has magpie tendencies, give them something that will attract their eye time and time again.

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