Be Unique With Your Proposal!

Be Unique With Your Proposal!
 

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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.

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.

brilliant-vs-step-cut

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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.

rose gold engagement ring and wedding band by ascot diamonds

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.

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Diamond Stud Earrings

Diamond stud earrings are often the first piece of diamond jewelry bought for a loved one after the engagement ring. Studs are an ideal gift to celebrate one of life’s special milestones like birthdays, anniversaries or birth of a child.
When shopping for diamond studs the criteria used to choose your diamonds should be similar to those used when shopping for an engagement ring however it is quite common for diamond stud buyers to choose slightly lower color and clarity in order to make the dollars go a little further and acquire larger diamonds.
As with all diamonds, cut 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.
Customers usually don’t spend as much on diamond studs as they on their engagement rings and generally certification on diamonds in studs is not necessary if you are purchasing from an experienced and trusted diamond dealer.

diamond stud earringsCarefully 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.

 

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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.

pear-shape-diamond

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.

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Diamonds as an investment alternative to the stock market and gold

During a time when the only thing for certain seems to be economic uncertainty, have you considered investing in diamonds?  For months now, you’ve watched your stocks and other investments see-saw while watching gold prices rise.  Now, more than ever, is the right time for a diamond investment.  After all, wouldn’t it be great to enjoy a diamond both to wear in a piece of jewelry and for investment purposes?!fancy yellow radiant diamond

The diamond investment market has seen a robust recovery since the economic collapse devastated the luxury goods market just a few years ago.  Numerous factors play into rising prices, but among the most significant is the recent news of De Beers cutting diamond mining production. With a marked increase in demand from China and diamond supplies simply drying up, De Beers has reduced production in order to extend the life of their mines.  As a result, we expect to see prices continue climbing as the divide between supply and demand widens.  With scarcity comes increased value, making this the optimum time to consider a diamond investment strategy to round out your portfolio.

Take a look at these Ten Year Annual Investment Results comparing diamond investments with other, more traditional, investment options* …

Gold … up 411%
Platinum … up 178%
5.00 carat diamond (RDI) … up 153%
3.00 carat diamond (RDI) … up 95%
$ per Euro … up 38%
Yen per $ … up 38%
1.00 carat diamond (RDI) … up 35%
U.S. interest rate … up 30%
NASDAQ … up 7.8%
Dow Jones … up 7.3%

According to the Merrill Lynch 2011 World Wealth Report, gemstones and jewelry account for 22% of all “investments of passion” for higher net-worth individuals.  Even the affluent urbanites in China are paying attention to the rising value and are “buying diamonds in droves” according to a recent article in Financial Times.

Diamonds are truly timeless, both in beauty and value.  The higher their rarity, the more valuable they become.  As a long term investment, natural diamonds not only maintain their value but appreciate at a far greater pace than most other investment vehicles.  Other advantages of investing in diamonds include:

  • Diamonds are the most concentrated form of storing wealth.
  • Diamonds require no ongoing management, nor do they incur property taxes or require liability insurance.
  • They offer financial privacy not available elsewhere. Unlike other financial investments, a diamond investor has 100% direct ownership of a portable tangible asset of proven value.
  • Diamonds retain their value even when the rest of the economy bottoms out and have performed consistently well throughout economic downturns.
  • There is a nearly universal belief that diamonds have enduring value.
  • Unlike commodities and other investments, diamonds are insulated from the daily fluctuations of the markets and are not as likely to reflect sharp price changes.
  • Demand for diamonds is international.

Diamond investment may not be for everyone, but during such volatile economic times wouldn’t it be wise to invest in an asset that not only stands a great chance of appreciating and looks great in a stunning piece of jewelry?

(December 2000-December 2010, courtesy of Rapaport Diamond Report, 2011. RDI is the average price per carat for D-H, IF-VS2, VG+ diamonds)
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Ascot Diamond’s Tips For Getting Engaged During the Holiday Season

Diamond Engagement RingIt seems like not long after Halloween, the ‘holiday spirit’ reignites in us all. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are filled with magic and enchantment. It’s the time of the year when we all take a moment and admire those who are the most influential in our lives. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and ponder the possibilities of the future. It could be said that it’s the perfect time to give that “ultimate gift” of a beautiful engagement ring to that very special woman in your life–the one with whom you want to share eternity with.

In the days leading up to the holidays there is a ton of buildup and excitement. Proposing during this magical time makes giving her a ring during the holidays that more special. Here are a few things to consider when looking to take the next step in your lives together:

  1. Consider proposing while spending time with family and close friends. If you choose to propose with those closest to you around, it can help make your special proposal even more memorable. It’s also a great way to save both of you time spent calling friends and family to share the big news. Before you decide to include your family, consider if this is something she would appreciate or if she’d prefer a more personal experience.
  2. If you do have friends and family around, this is the perfect time to involve them. Have someone film the proposal for you! The proposal video is something you can share with friends and family around the world who aren’t around for the moment. You will both cherish and watch this video time and time again, being able to relive that special moment year after year.
  3. We can all agree the holidays are filled with beautiful decorations that make an exceptional backdrop for a romantic winter proposal. The twinkling lights will help create a dreamy atmosphere that will set the mood for the most romantic moment of your lives. This will also create gorgeous photographs, both candid and posed.

The holiday season is already filled with parties, friends, family, love and joy. Add a proposal in and you’ve got yourself a fantastic time of the year. There is excitement and buzz in the air! Go ahead, pop the question!  Visit of our four locations: Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas or New York City to find the perfect engagement ring.

Ascot Diamonds - Engagement rings

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How to Sell Your Diamond and Maximize Value

how to sell your diamond

This is unfamiliar territory for most people, so to minimize risk and maximize value we offer clients the following advice:

The internet is full of companies offering quick payment for diamonds or perhaps there is a brick and mortar operator in your neighborhood offering to buy your diamond?  While these options might appear convenient they are clearly not the best way to sell and maximize the cash you receive for your diamond.

These operators typically buy diamonds from private individuals at well below market price because their knowledge of the diamond market is ‘limited’ and they protect the value of their purchase by offering rock bottom prices.

A desirable diamond will always be more valuable to a proper diamond company like Ascot Diamonds because they are engaged in buying and selling diamonds on a daily basis and have the skills, confidence and market knowledge to pay a fair price.

What about selling your diamond ring privately? One may think selling to an individual, is the most profitable way to go, however our experience clearly shows that private buyers are also insecure about the ‘true value’ of a diamond and protect their purchase by making “rock bottom” offers. In addition, there are serious security issues to consider in private transactions.

When looking to sell a diamond, use the same intelligent criteria you would use when deciding where to buy a diamond; select a reputable, experienced diamond company with an impeccable reputation like Ascot Diamonds.

Professional diamond dealers like Ascot have years of experience in both buying and selling diamonds and can confidently grade, value and pay realistic market value for your diamond.

Often the value of older diamonds in particular can be enhanced by re-cutting or having a stone certified or both. Once again only a reputable, knowledgeable diamond company would recognize and share this potentially valuable information with clients.

Before selling your diamond ring we invite you to visit Ascot Diamonds where in a professional and confidential atmosphere, clients receive fair value and immediate payment.  Conveniently located in Atlanta, Dallas, Washington DC and New York.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Diamond Dictionary: Fancy Colored Diamonds

Colored diamonds relate to white diamonds as a Ferrari might relate to a BMW… magnificent, exotic and different.

Natural colored diamonds exist in a rainbow of colors and intensities.  Less than one percent of the thousands of diamonds graded by the GIA annually qualify as ‘natural fancy colors” or fancy colored diamonds.

With colored diamonds the criteria to establish value must be re-aligned. Unlike white diamonds, which are valued for their absence of color, fancy colored diamonds are desired precisely because they have color.

White diamonds are classified on a D to Z color scale, with D being whitest and Z denoting a yellow hue.   Once the color grade goes beyond Z and the hue turns to fancy yellow, also called canary yellow, diamonds become more rare and valuable.

Color ‘intensity’ is described by the GIA as follows (Ascending order of rarity and value):

  1. Faint
  2. Very Light
  3. Light
  4. Fancy Light
  5. Fancy
  6. Fancy Intense
  7. Fancy Vivid
  8. Fancy Deep

The GIA describes color in many interesting ways with are infinite possibilities.

Examples: orangish yellowish pink, greenish yellow purplish pink, pink yellow blue, bluish green, brownish orangy pink, etc.

Often described as ‘canary diamonds,’ yellow diamonds are more reasonably priced than pinks, blues, greens, purples and reds. The more exotic colors can be very rare and quite costly.

Variations in color are caused by the presence of different natural trace elements when the diamond crystallized millions of years ago under enormous heat and pressure.  For example, fancy yellow diamonds have nitrogen in their atomic structure; fancy blue diamonds have boron; fancy green diamonds exhibit natural radiation in the earth; and fancy pink diamonds have traces of titanium.

When cutting and polishing colored diamonds, the priority is to achieve deep, even color distribution, and cutters will often use unusual proportions, facet lengths and angles to optimize color and brilliance.

Clarity in a fancy colored diamond is secondary to color, and the GIA will certify “color only” for a fancy color (if asked to do so).

When selecting a fancy colored diamond, remember that each gem is unique… many of the less intense colors have a wonderful charm and a colored stone should be selected because it speaks to you rather than because of details on a certificate.  Colored diamonds often look best when contrasted with fine white diamonds… visit our gallery to view designs from the Catherine Ryder collection.

 

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Oval Cut Diamonds: Classic Elegance Meets Non-Traditional

Oval Cut Diamond

An oval shape diamond engagement ring is perfect for a woman who seeks a timeless, classic look combined with a shape that is slightly more uncommon.

Koh-I-Noor diamond, crown jewelsPopularized and perfected in the 1960’s, Oval shape diamonds have a rich and controversial history dating back several hundred years.  The 186 carat original Koh-I-Noor oval diamond (meaning “mountain of light”) was believed to date back to the early 1300’s in India.  It was then sacked by the Mongols and continued to be fought over for hundreds of years until landing in the hands of the British during the 19th century.  In an effort to increase the diamond’s brilliance it was re-cut in 1852 to its current weight of 105 carats.  The Koh-I-Noor oval diamond resides today as part of the crown jewel collection in Great Britain.

Even today, the Oval diamonds continue to be a popular choice for women who are searching for that combination of elegance and uniqueness in their fine jewelry collection.

Oval diamonds are described by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) as ‘”Oval brilliant’’ meaning oval in their shape in conjunction with many brilliant cut facets.  When cut correctly Oval diamonds provide a larger ‘face to weight ratio’ than most other diamond shapes and buyers frequently find this feature attractive.

Although most Oval diamonds have 56 facets, the visible beauty and life that can radiate from the stone depends greatly on the talent of the cutter and goes far beyond the number of facets.

oval-damondDiamond cutters often produce Oval diamonds that are too shallow, too deep or have inappropriate length to width ratios because they are driven to produce heavier diamonds.  This can result in poor brilliance and/or an exaggerated ‘bow-tie’ effect through the heart of the stone.  The ideal length/width ratio for Oval diamonds should fall within the range 1.30:1.00 and 1.50:1.00.  Oval diamonds with proportions outside of this range are less valuable.

Defining a specific depth and table percentage range for any fancy shape diamond (other than round) is not feasible because the percentage ranges are dynamic and change based on the length and width of each diamond.  Specific depth and table percentages are reliable only when related to either round or perfectly square diamonds that have just one face dimension.

As with all diamonds, the shape of the stone should best suit the personality of the person wearing it.  Consider taking a closer look at oval shape diamonds as you look for your diamond engagement ring and the odds are that you might just fall in love with its size and elegance.

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