Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2018
What type of wedding band looks best with my engagement ring?
You have recently gotten engaged! Congratulations!
Before you know it, you are well on your way to planning the wedding of your dreams. You start picking out the perfect dress, your venue and every other minute detail that seems like no big deal, but is the very thing that sets your wedding apart and makes your day uniquely yours! The same is true with picking out your wedding band! This is one of the many decisions you will be making before your wedding and hopefully one of the most fun!
In the world of jewelry, your options are never-ending. This can seem overwhelming, but in no way does it need to be daunting. It simply means you get to let your creative side come out and choose the band that speaks to you the most. Fortunately there is no right or wrong answer. It’s just time to relax and have some fun choosing your next favorite piece of jewelry! (We know which is your first favorite…)
So what’s the first step? How do you go about choosing the best band for your ring? We believe in making things easy, so here are some common questions we are often asked:
Do you choose something that is an exact match to your ring or do you opt for something that is unexpected, even daring?
The answer to this all comes down to this. Personal preference. Are you somebody who likes clean tidy lines? When you choose outfits or home décor do you tend to be minimal and coordinated? Then perhaps a matching band or a band that is close to your engagement ring in aesthetic is for you! Maybe the opposite is true… Are you a risk taker? Or do you have a laid back boho vibe? Choosing something unexpected might be the perfect option for you! Go ahead, pair up that edgy wide diamond band with your classic solitaire engagement ring. See what happens! You might just surprise yourself.
Do you have to choose only one band?
Thankfully there is no etiquette that says you have to only have one band. Here at Ascot we absolutely adore the stacked band look, but again this is personal preference. We have clients who purchase the one band that perfectly complements their ring and they feel their wedding set is complete. On the other hand, we have clients who want to keep stacking until they can’t possibly fit one more band on their hand.
Do you have to choose the same metal as your engagement ring?
This answer is simple. Not at all! There are great combinations and examples of mixing metals! You can go one step further and along with a different metal you can do different colored diamonds to give your ring even more contrast! Think pink diamonds set in rose gold!
Does your engagement ring have to fit perfectly together with your band or is it OK if there is a little space in between?
A little space in between your band and your engagement ring is not an issue at all, and can be quite charming, unless it bothers you. Rings are often designed to be beautiful from every angle including the side and sometimes this does not allow for a band to fit flush with the ring. Most of the time this is not a big deal, but sometimes a straight band just might not look right with the ring. This is where a curved band or a custom designed band comes into play. At Ascot we have a team of designers who will walk you through an easy process of having a band custom tailored to fit perfectly with your engagement ring. Click here for more information on custom.
Does the band and engagement ring have to be the same width?
The short answer is no. Make an appointment with us below to find you dream wedding band!
Happy Wedding Planning!
Written by: Angela Daniels, Graduate Gemologist GIA
Posted on Friday, February 23, 2018
What is Rhodium Plating?
What Exactly is Rhodium Anyway?
Rhodium is one of the rarest metals on earth, which also makes it one of the most expensive. It is an extremely durable element that has a gorgeous pure silver-white color that is highly reflective. Think shiny like chrome but lighter in color. It belongs to a family of noble metals on the periodic table that also include platinum and palladium. In general, noble metals are resistant to corrosion and oxidation and have historically been used in jewelry because they can withstand wear and tear for generations.
So if rhodium is so bright, shiny and durable why not make a ring out of pure rhodium you might ask? Aside from the additional cost, rhodium also has a higher melting point than gold and platinum and is not easily molded into shapes. It would be nearly impossible to make a ring, not to mention set a diamond into the ring.
I Understand What Rhodium is, But What is Rhodium Plating?
Plating with rhodium, rhodium flashing and having your rings “dipped” are all just fancy terms for the process that coats a thin layer of rhodium over silver, platinum and most often white gold. The results increase durability and shine.
So Why Plate My Ring? Isn’t White Gold Already White?
So glad you asked! When 24 karat gold comes out of the earth it is a saturated yellow orange color that is very soft. For gold to have strength and durability it needs to be alloyed (or mixed) with other metals, especially if it will be worn on the hand. Common alloys are copper, nickel, zinc, silver, platinum and palladium.
In addition to strengthening the metal, these alloys also create the different colors of gold.
Rose gold is certainly at the top of the trends right now, but have you ever wondered how gold comes out of the ground that color? The answer is it doesn’t. 24k yellow gold is alloyed with copper and silver to give it that beautiful pink color! In the same way white gold has been alloyed with silver, zinc and other white metals to make it whiter in color. It is impossible to completely eradicate the yellow tones though without decreasing the gold content to nearly nothing. This is where rhodium plating comes in. When you plate the ring you are adding a scratch resistant finish with a gorgeous reflective luster, covering up any trace of yellow!
Are There Different Thicknesses of Plating?
The ideal thickness for rhodium plating on a ring is 0.75 to 1.50 microns. Just for reference a human hair is about 100 microns! If the plating is too thin it can cause discoloration and tarnishing on the ring, and will wear off in just a few months time. On the flipside if the plating is too thick it will increase the chances that the rhodium will become unstable and brittle. This is why it is essential to leave your ring in the care of a reputable and experienced jeweler.
How Long Will the Plating Last?
Rhodium plating is not a permanent procedure and will slowly wear away over time. Going back to the previous paragraph, the timing of this erosion depends heavily on how often the piece of jewelry is worn and how thick the initial plating was. For instance a pair of earrings that are not exposed to everyday wear and tear may retain their finish for many years. However, a wedding band that is worn daily may need to be re-plated once every 1-2 years.
Is Rhodium Plating Affordable?
A quality plating from a reputable and experienced jeweler can run anywhere from $55 to $130 depending on the thickness and size of the ring. Here at Ascot we include this as a complimentary service for any item purchased from us for the lifetime of the ring.Ask Us a Question
Nickel free (hypoallergenic)
Keeps piece more scratch resistant
Increases shine, luster and durability
The plating wears off over time
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2018
Is Paris Hilton’s Ring Really Worth $2 Million?
New Year’s Weekend is a popular time for many couples to get engaged and this year was no exception. This weekend will be especially unforgettable for famous celebrity couple Paris Hilton and her new fiancé, Chris Zylka. The Leftovers actor got down on one knee on the slopes of Aspen and proposed with a 20 carat pear shaped diamond to the reality TV star and entrepreneur.
After asking for her father’s blessing and remembering that she once told him how much she loved her own mother’s pear shaped ring, Zylka was armed with all he needed and reached out to his favorite jeweler. “Paris was not involved. Chris did it all” his jeweler said. “He wanted to do everything so perfectly. He wants the best thing for his princess”
With a romantic Aspen vacation in the works and a proposal plan in place, Zylka pressed the jeweler to have the ring ready in time for the trip. The 20 carat diamond ring that would have normally taken a team of jewelers three weeks or more to make, took the jeweler and his crew a total of two days. Impressive for such a beautifully crafted piece of art.
Hilton was quick to post her celebratory moment on Instagram. “I said Yas,” she wrote along with numerous photos of the proposal. “So happy and excited to be engaged to the love of my life. My best friend & soul mate… So dedicated, loyal, loving & kindhearted. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! You are my dream come true! Thank you for showing me that fairytales do exist.”
The stunning pear shape diamond is surrounded by a diamond halo and a beautiful diamond encrusted split band that adds almost 2 carats to the 20 carat sparkler.
Looking for your own fairytale dream ring?
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
One of the world’s largest rough diamond just found in January 2018
In the mountains of southern Africa, miners have uncovered one of the largest gem grade diamonds ever found. This massive discovery of the world’s fifth largest diamond was announced Monday earlier this week. Weighing in at an astounding 910-carats, or 6.4 ounces. The gorgeous gem is slightly heavier than a regulation baseball and roughly the size of two golf balls.
The 910 carat glistening goliath was found in the Letseng Mine in Lesotho. It is the single largest diamond ever recovered from this mine, and the fifth largest in the world.
The mine is majority owned by the London based company, Gem Diamonds Ltd. and the government of Lesotho. It is located in the small landlocked kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa and sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet making it the highest diamond mine in the world. The mine is famous for producing very large and incredibly high quality diamonds and also earns the highest average selling price for diamonds than anywhere else in the world.
Gem Diamonds Ltd. says the discovered diamond is of extremely high quality and is estimating that the type IIa diamond (which is the most valued and purest of all the diamond types) is D in color, meaning that it is completely colorless without any hint of the yellow tint that often comes when nitrogen atoms are present while the crystal is forming.
It is yet to be determined what the stone might sell for at auction. The pricing of diamonds is gathered from a variety of different factors and will depend on any large inclusions that limit the size of the cut and polished stones it can be divided into. Just to give you a comparison, Lucara Diamond Corporation sold a 1,109 carat diamond for a little over $53 million last year.
This massive find is great news for Gem Diamonds, and comes on the coattails of the news from last week that the Mine had unearthed a 117 carat and 110 carat stones also of the same striking quality. In fact Gem found at least seven stones larger than 100-carats in 2017 alone.
Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018
Wedding Band Guide
One of the most frequently asked questions by our clients is “What kind of wedding band should I get?” Our answer is always “get what you love” (and it’s not hard to find a band to love here at Ascot)! There really is no right or wrong when it comes to wedding band selection. The band is a symbol of love and commitment and should be a reflection of your personal style.
A popular trend among brides is mixing metals. It’s fun to pair a classic platinum solitaire diamond engagement ring with a rose gold art-deco diamond eternity band. It instantly updates the engagement ring and gives it a unique flair.
Sarah, one of our favorite clients, had us create a custom braided diamond band to wear with her delicate pave halo engagement ring. Her band creates texture and is the perfect accompaniment to her engagement ring. This wedding band is also gorgeous when worn on its own.
Of course, one can never go wrong with a stunning diamond eternity band. The simple, elegant lines, combined with the impeccable quality of our diamonds produce an iconic look that will never go out of style.
Whatever type of band you choose, make sure it is something you will love for years to come!
Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Be Unique With Your Proposal!
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2016
What is the difference between shape and cut of a diamond?
The terms “shape” and “cut” are often confused when discussing diamonds. The cut of the diamond is the most important characteristic when it comes to a diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. A diamond must be cut to create its shape. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they mean very different things. They do, however, work together to create the overall style and impact of a diamond engagement ring.
The shape is usually the first thing most people think about when choosing a diamond. There are many-shapes, round, princess, cushion, emerald, pear, oval- to name a few. The shape is an aesthetic or style choice. Different shapes appeal to different people and there is no right or wrong. The graphic below illustrates the most popular diamond shapes.
The cut of a diamond determines the fire and brilliance of a diamond. There are two types of cuts- brilliant and step. A poorly cut diamond will not be beautiful regardless shape, color or clarity.
Brilliant cuts have facets that are mainly triangular and a round diamond is the most brilliant of all brilliant cut diamonds because of the perfect symmetry of the cone shape that generates maximum light return through the top of the diamond.
Step cuts have fewer facets and exude an understated elegance with facets that run straight and parallel. Asscher and emerald cut diamonds are the best examples of step cut and are usually the choice of buyers seeking larger diamonds of 3.00 carats or more.
Whichever cut you choose, Ascot clients take comfort in knowing that our diamond inventory represents only the ‘best of the best’ in each size, shape, cut and grade.
Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2016
How to Establish Her Correct Ring Size?
Over 80% of women have an engagement ring finger size ranging between 5 and 6. Researching your loved one’s finger size, has the potential to upset the ‘once in a lifetime element of surprise’… so we offer a simple solution:
Share an image of your soon to be fiancé with an Ascot professional and describe any observations you may have about her hands. In virtually every case we successfully create a diamond engagement ring that either fits perfectly or is within just ¼ size of being correct, which means the ring will fit on her finger when you present it.
It might be slightly tight or loose, but not sufficient to spoil this wonderful moment in your lives and in any event, Ascot makes sizing adjustment for our clients within just 24 hours of visiting one of our locations in Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas or New York… part of the comprehensive Ascot lifetime guarantee.
Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2016
Buying Diamond Stud Earrings For Loved Ones
The first piece of diamond jewelry bought for a loved one, after the engagement ring, are usually diamond stud earrings. Studs are an ideal gift to celebrate one of life’s special milestones like birthdays, anniversaries or the birth of a child.
When buying diamond stud earrings some criteria to consider are: diamond shape, prong settings, cut quality, diamond quality, personal style, bezel settings and screw backings..
The criteria used to buy diamond stud earrings is similar to those used when shopping for an engagement ring however it is quite common for buyers to choose slightly lower color and clarity in order to make the dollars go a little further and acquire larger carat stones.
As with all diamonds, cut quality is paramount and the priority should be brilliance and proper face size (i.e. a 1.00 carat round diamond should spread no less than 6.30mm).
Diamonds that face up brilliant, white and without visible inclusions are most desirable for studs.
Generally customers don’t spend as much money on stud earrings as they do on their engagement rings. Certification on diamonds in studs is usually not when purchasing from an experienced and trusted diamond dealer.Shop Diamond Stud Earrings
Carefully selected bright, eye-clean diamonds that do not show yellow to the naked eye, from a trusted dealer should work very nicely.
Diamond studs, while being an important part of any diamond wardrobe usually do not invite the same scrutiny that an engagement ring purchase would.
Diamond stud earrings are probably the most versatile piece of diamond jewelry one could own. Studs look equally great with formal dress or a t-shirt and jeans.
They can also be enhanced with the addition of diamond halo “jackets” , easily added or removed. It’s like having two different pair of earrings for modest additional cost.
For versatility and outright fun, it’s hard to beat a pair of diamond studs.Ask Us a Question
Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2016
Pear Shape Diamonds
Pear shape diamonds offer both classic elegance and a unique look outside of the more traditional shapes of round and cushion.
Pear shape’s origins lay in 15th century Belgium where legendary diamond cutter Lodewyk van Berquem revolutionized cutting techniques, proportion and standards for symmetry and brilliance still used in the diamond industry today. In fact, it was van Berquem’s creativity that lead to the first diamonds. For his contributions to the diamond industry, van Berquem has been honored with a statue in the Antwerp diamond district.
As with all diamonds, the cut (or “make”) of the pear shape is of prime importance. Pear shapes are ultimately a modified round brilliant, and a well-made Pear shape will have similar brilliance to a beautiful round. The wide end of the diamond should not be shallow resulting in a glassy appearance, nor should it be too deep resulting in a pear shape that faces small relative to weight.
Perfectly symmetrical faceting and proper depth minimizes any “bow-tie” effect through the heart of the diamond as will the correct length to width ratio that should be close to 1.50 to 1.00. The gradual taper down to a point should also be beautifully fluid with no bulges, and the point should be perfectly centered. Pear shapes are understandably also referred to as ‘Teardrops’ because of the likeness to the shape of a tear or drop of water.
The pear is a versatile shape that works beautifully as an engagement ring, pendant or a matched pair produces stunning drop earrings. Smaller pear shapes are also an excellent choice as side accent stones, often used with different shape centers.
Pear shapes should be worn pointing down the finger and have a very distinct charm and elegance.