So. Where do I start? I get like this when I have a crush on someone or something. Sort of embarrassingly speechless. Lamozine. OK, I'll get it together to introduce a design team I've had a major Instagram crush on for a while now: @gemsteady. Not only was I enraptured by Brittany's fantastically unique Instragram curation, but I was attracted to her voice. In her own words, they make "FINE JEWELS FOR FUN PEOPLE. Custom made just for you by an actual human person." Visit the GEM STEADY website and you're greeted with the this headline "TURNING THOUGHTS INTO RINGS SINCE 2012" underneath which you might find an image of a small plastic cat next to a small plastic parakeet both gazing at a wildly beautiful ring Brittany designed and her partner and husband Robert hand-crafted. I reached out to Brittany and when she emailed me back this was in her email signature:
Obviously, I wanted (needed) to know more, so hopped the phone to chat. We just clicked. Aside from loving the process of custom design, we both believe in astrology and think our own jokes are nothing short of side split-tingly hysterically funny. We slay us. So we decided to interview one another on the process of custom designing engagement rings.
LITTLE BIRD: How can the you inject some personality into a 'basic' design (i.e. their partner asks for a non-flashy solitaire)?
GEM STEADY: With so many options available out there I do think it’s a little sad when folks go for ‘safe’ options. But hey! That’s just some peoples cup of tea. Do you, girl! That being said; a good way for the buyer to inject some personality in that situation would be to go the handmade route. Having a ring handmade is really cool because you can dictate small details like the number of prongs you want to go with (or bezel perhaps?) or maybe play with the width or shape of the band. Even a ‘basic’ design will end up with defining quirks and characteristics when going the handmade route since the artist is creating it from the ground up.
LITTLE BIRD: How often do ladies contact you for help with their mans ring?
GEM STEADY: Not as often as they should. We do make men’s rings and love to do coordinating sets, but it’s funny bc in my experience the guys ring is kind of an afterthought. Sometimes a couple will contact me literally a week or even days before the wedding in a tizzy because they need a ring on the fly (Not recommended. Try hard not to do this.)
LITTLE BIRD: What is your favorite ring you helped someone design?
GEM STEADY: I have quite a few top favorites (all the images in this post are good examples of faves), but one that sticks out is a ring we created for a friend a couple of years ago. The center stone was a custom faceted marquise shape lodolite quartz and it had a diamond halo that went from black to gray to white diamonds. Everything about it is right up my alley. It was a mashup of classic, goth, and avant-garde glory.
LITTLE BIRD: Are there any gemstones you DO NOT recommend when designing a ring?
GEM STEADY: We get requests for so many different stones, and love making engagement rings with unexpected gems, but of course you have to be cautious since not all stones are hard enough to hold up to the everyday wear and tear of long term commitment.
When someone comes to me asking for a stone that ranks low on the hardness scale I make sure they are enlightened on the risks associated. I never want to ‘talk someone out’ of getting a certain gem if there’s a sentimental reason why they want it in the first place, but I do keep it real on the possibilities of things breaking or chipping in the future so that they are fully aware of what they’re getting.
LITTLE BIRD: Final words of wisdom?
GEM STEADY: Designing and buying an engagement ring should be fun and shouldn’t cause you to wake up sweating from night terrors. There are a million people and places you can purchase a ring from; go with what feels right not with who lays the pressure on thickest. If you want a ‘basic’ ring then by all means get that basic ring, lady. It will look great with your Michael Kors watch. And if you want something bold and colorful then go on with your bad self. It will totally vibe with your combat boots. There are no rules. You’ll be wearing this thing for a long time (hopefully). Make sure it speaks to you.
Well, that was a ton of fun. I look forward to working with Brittany and Robert all of the tiz-ime!
Love them or hate, diamond halos are here to stay. The question really is - to halo or not to halo? Some people stand firm and say "just put all the money into the rock!" others can't get over the sparkle and finger coverage that halos add to a ring. Well, if you are considering a halo engagement ring, then we are here to break down all the options for you.
One - The traditional pave diamond halo (pictured ring from Honey Jewelry Co): this is the most common and the most popular kind of diamond halo you will find. It adds a bit of sparkle without detracting too much from the diamond and subtly enhances the perceived size of the ring without being obvious. If you are a woman with classic taste, this is a great choice. The pave-set diamonds in the halo look ideal in a 1.1-1.3mm range. You want to keep that halo looking light and fine so that it accentuates the center stone without being bulky
Two - Diamond jacket (picture ring from D&H Jewelers and Marrow Fine diamond jacket): diamond jackets are like diamond halos that you can choose when you want them or not. If you want the best of both worlds of a solitaire and the sparkle of a halo, this is the option for you. Here you can play with graduating the size of the diamonds in the band, from tiny to medium in size. You might also decide to champagne diamond it up (shown above)! Or maybe add a pop of color with a green emerald jacket...
Three - Bezel set halo (pictured rings from Jennifer Dawes Design) - a bezel-set halo is when the diamond is surrounded by a complete frame of metal and then a halo of diamonds. This is a great way to add a halo that is also very safe and secure for the central gemstone. It also has a bold goddess vibe. Think Athena, ancient and tough. It's a way to harden up the otherwise ultra femme halo style.
Four - The open halo (pictured ring from Jennifer Dawes Design) - this option is sort like a jacket but instead it is one piece. Like jackets, it is a great alternative if you don't want to commit to a halo full time but want to add some sparkle for special occasions or mix up your look. Pair this with you classic platinum solitaire and bingo-bango, you're stylin like for reals
Five - Scalloped diamond halo (pictured ring from Scout Mandolin) - this is a great example of how designers can use halo to create a unique look and feel for your ring. In this case, the unique design points are the cardinal point prong (north, south, east, west) setting and then diamond halo that is scalloped around the diamond with milgrain detail - lots of detail work on this one!
Six - Larger Halo (pictured antique Georgian rose cut ring) - this is an example of a larger diamond halo which really gives the ring a larger appearance on the hand. Genuine vintage Georgian styles are stunning and completely irreplaceable. We just don't make jewelry like this today. And: major bang for your buck.
Seven - Emerald cut pave halo with vertical baguette accents (pictured ring is from Scout Mandolin) - I mean. This is how you set a 1 carat emerald cut. This ring has it all. There is fantastic contrast between the step cut center diamond and baguettes to the brilliant cut round diamond accents in the halo. We have double claw prongs from that Great-Gatsby-meow-vibe (a technical term), and the whole piece just comes together flawlessly.
This post was co-authored by Catherine Cason of Gem Hunt and Danielle Manias of Little Bird Told You. Originally posted on GemHunt.Co.
Well, there are quite a few ways that an Engagement Ring Consultant can save you money on the purchase of a ring. Chase.com points out three reasons to consider hiring a LITTLE BIRD Engagement Ring Consultant:
1. Hiring a Ring Consultant can save you 20 to 40 percent off the cost of the ring
Linda DiProperzio of Chase.com says: "This is key, since spending on engagement rings is at its highest ever. A survey by The Knot, a popular wedding resource, found that the average price of an engagement ring is about $6,000. Making sure you get the most for your money is crucial." LITTLE BIRD agrees. Big time. There's not a lively secondary market for private engagement ring sales out there. So, you're likely going to hold on to this ring for a very very long time. Let's make sure it's an investment you can stand behind for the long haul!
2. Ring consultants have insider knowledge
We go way beyond the 4c's. A consultant can inform and educate you on nitty gritty diamond and ring vocabulary that you won't glean online. We can also review diamond and gemstones certificate prior to you pulling the trigger. Furthermore, do you have the right metal type selected? Is this the right style of pavé? How will this ring jive with your future wedding band. We know this stuff inside and out and getting personalized advice based on YOUR goals and your lifestyle is what getting great ring consultation is all about.
3. We can offer a wider selection
AND we can help you figure out what you want. Picking out an engagement ring isn't a cake walk. You might not be aware of all your options and of all the bespoke and custom elements that are available to you for each little part of the ring anatomy. The options are endless. Your ultimate ring IS possible. It's just a matter of understanding what's out there!
A word to the wise: check on the commission
The thing is there are a few types of consultants out there. There are consultants with affiliate relationships with 6-8 online diamond companies. There are consultants who also sell diamonds. And then there's LITTLE BIRD. "Consultants like LITTLE BIRD don't profit off the sale of the gems or the design of the ring. Instead, the company charges a flat fee, with packages starting at $75. 'Our clients know that we're giving them unbiased recommendations because we're not profiting in the amount someone pays for the ring,' says Beth Moore, LITTLE BIRD's expert GIA certified Graduate Gemologist."
You may be already starting to feel overwhelmed by all the different looks out there, all the diamond information, and the barrage of marketing coming your way. It is time to stop the madness. LOOK, before you even step foot into a jewelry store or spend another hour poking engagement ring shopping online, you'll need answers to these 9 questions below.
This should give you some insight and help you determine what direction you should focus your attention and research energy. By the end of this lil exercise, you should have a firm idea of your next steps and whether or not you need additional guidance along the way.
NOTE: we recommend copy and pasting this list into a Google doc or similar and recording your answers in note form so that you can actually reference back to it. Seriously, if you bring these answers with you anywhere you will have a much more successful experience. Ok, here goes!
HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR DIAMOND SIZE from GH's Expert Panel on Engagement Ring Advice You Haven't Heard Before
Jewelry blog GEMHUNT.co hit the Internet like WHOA in 2016. We are honored to be joined by Jewels by Grace, The Clear Cut, Victor Barboné & Designs by Kamni on their expert panel, topic: Engagement Ring Advice You Haven't Heard Before. Among sage advice on how to find imperfections in the diamond and how to find the perfect engagement ring that is utterly personal, and unique is our hot pro tip on how to maximize the size of your diamond:
4. Don’t forget that “carat” refers to the weight, not how large the diamond actually appears when viewed from the top. Therefore, it’s super important to me that my clients choose a high standard for the quality of “cut” and then select the stone with the largest millimeter measurements so that they get the largest top view of the diamond for their money. Danielle, Little Bird
Get all the wisdom here:
Antique engagement rings are a fantastic choice for a multitude of reasons: they are super unique and one-of-a-kind, they are recycled and therefore make a socially and environmentally sound choice, AND if you're planning to propose during the holiday season (or an any type of tight timeline) they are a huge timesaver. If saving time is a factor in your engagement ring shopping process, then you've likely considering shopping online as well. Shopping online for an engagement ring can be a challenge, and it might feel extra challenging to decipher the visual characteristics and inherent rarity and quality of a genuine antique ring from afar. While there are many online engagement ring offerings, not all of them offer fantastic imagery and details about each ring. Furthermore, perhaps the most important feature of an online collection is that it is curated by someone with an eye for unique, well balanced, beautiful pieces in fantastic condition. Enter: one of our favorite online antique engagement ring shops, Victor Barboné!
Owner and curator Andria is newer to the antique ring scene and has arrived with a stunning collection of both classic antique engagement rings alongside really unique silhouettes, all with extremely reasonable price points. We picked her brain to learn more about her curating process. Check it out:
LITTLE BIRD: At any given time, how many rings are on your site and how long do they tend to refresh? How quickly do they sell?
Victor Barboné: We try to keep a wide variety of rings on our site at all times and are constantly adding to our selection! We add 3-6 rings to our site per week so it is a good idea to get on our email list so that you can be one of the first to see our new additions! I’ve had rings sell within hours of listing and some that have taken MONTHS to sell. You never know which person will connect with which ring! Because all of our rings are one-of-a-kind pieces, we strongly encourage you to move quickly when your dream ring pops up! We offer 90 day payment plans for this reason so that you can secure your unique ring and have up to 90 days to pay for it!
LB: How do you select rings? Do you have a favorite era? And who is the woman you shop for?
VB: I have learned to select rings based on my gut. “Would I wear this ring?” is the question I always ask before I make a purchase. I once saw a ring that I thought was rather odd (the Caitlyn ring) but gorgeous! I thought, no, people will think that it is too weird. But, I just had to have it! So I bought it and it has been one of my most popular and widely shared rings! Once Wed even pointed out that it is their favorite!
LB: What are the most popular antique ring styles you sell? Also, most popular era?
VB: Solitaires with engravings and clusters go the fastest! Solitaires that have delicate, subtle details where it’s all about the diamond are super popular, such as the Lola and Marcella rings. Clusters where there is a central diamond surrounded by other diamonds (not quite a halo) such as the Clementine and Jacqueline rings are the second most popular!
LB: What's your favorite ring in your collection right now and why?
VB: Oh, gosh! My favorites change from day to day but if I had to choose which I would have as my engagement ring, the Vivienne ring as my engagement ring! I love the old cut diamonds and to me the diamond in the Vivienne is the PERFECT example of what makes an old cut diamond special! It has the perfect checkerboard patterns, a good sized culet, and a high crown that gives OECs that cloud-like appearance! I am also baguette-obsessed so I love those tapered baguettes that highlight that stunning 2.60 carat diamond!
Thank you for
Guys, sorry but we are officially in engagement season. It's the time of year when couples are getting ready to see family at holiday gatherings, draw closer for the Winter, and make lifetime memories. It's possible that an engagement could me in your near future. So, how long does it actually take to get an engagement ring in hand once you start looking for the perfect ring? Well, how much time ya got? The lead time can depend on a few things, so we broke down your options in terms of the the time needed to have a ring in hand. Hope this helps!
I need an engagement ring within 1 week from now!
There is a 1-7 day lead time for off-the-shelf rings. There are some fabulous "off-the-shelf" engagement ring options. Just because they don't take forever to get in your hot little hand, doesn't make them any less beautiful or valuable. The two main options are...
Antique Engagement Rings - Super romantic. Antique pieces make for fantastic engagement rings. Art Deco, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Retro... the styles and options are practically endless and you're sure to find something that fits the style and budget you're aiming for.
Favorites: Erstwhile, Lang Antiques, Trumpet & Horn and Victor Barboné
Boutique Engagement Rings - Super cool. There are some really excellent online and brick & mortar boutiques that offer already made, one of a kind, stunning engagement rings. There's a store out there for almost every style you can dream up: clean & classics, modern and streamlines, romantic and alternative, organic and wabi-sabi. What vibe are you going for?
Favorites: Catbird, Shibumi Studio & Gallery, Esqueleto and Trabert Goldsmiths
Pro tip: There's always the "temp setting" option. It's fabulous for nailing a tight timeline once you've found the perfect diamond. This is a blackbelt move, so feel free to buzz us for some free advice on how to tackle this option.
I need an engagement ring in 2 weeks from now!
There is a 1-2 weeks lead time for standard design engagement rings. What does that mean? Well, when a designer or a jeweler offers a standard design then they are able to produce that ring to your exact specifications within about 2 weeks. Think of it this way, if there's a style number or style name associated with the piece, then it's likely part of that jeweler's "standard collection" and therefore they have all the design parameters already laid out and ready. You just have to pick the center diamond or gemstone, a specific ring size and metal type (platinum, white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, etc). There are fantastic in-store and online jewelers who offer fabulous, unique and well-made standard collections.
Pro tip: if you're going this route, be sure to confirm that you have a return and exchange policy. It's customary to offer this option for standard collection pieces.
I need an engagement ring in the next 1-3 months!
Well then! You've got the perfect amount of time to tackle a bespoke engagement ring project if you so desire. Off-the-shelf options or standard designs may still be at the top of your list based on your ring style goals, but if you feel like custom is the route you would like to take then buckle in for a bit of a ride. Once you pick a jeweler and have a basic design scheme in mind your next steps are to select the center diamond or gemstone with the jeweler, and then move to the sketch or CAD design phase. Once you approved of the stone and the ring specifications, the ring will take another 2-4 weeks to be crafted from scratch. Hence, the whole process takes about 6-8 weeks on average.
Need some personalized ring wisdom in regards to your timeline? We are happy to chat with you about the best strategies based on your schedule. And it's free!
We are honored to have been included in Style Girlfriend's LEVELED-UP ENGAGEMENT RING GUIDE. Among many nuggets of wisdom are a couple of favorites:
1. SNOOPING IS ENCOURAGE and it's good to do your homework, but....
2. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE SIZE (OR PRICE)
Read the whole guide here!
Thank you for the stellar review, Blinklist! Read the whole review here.
We. Will. Keep. It. SIMPLE.
Here are the major things you need to know about men's wedding bands:
1. ON MATCHING: Her wedding band needs to match whatever metal the engagement ring is. So if her engagement ring is platinum, her wedding band needs to be platinum, too. If her engagement ring is 18K yellow gold, so should her wedding ring be. Unless you are mixing metal colors, stick to one metal type. However, YOUR ring doesn't need to match hers. So go with what you truly like the look and feel of! Definitely consider all the options: white gold, platinum, palladium, yellow gold, rose gold, matted, hammered, an alternative metal...
2. ON WIDTH: The most standard width for a men's wedding ring is somewhere between 4 - 6 millimeters. If you want a thinner, lighter band, then choose something closer to 4mm. If you want a wider, heftier band, then skew closer to 6mm. The 5mm is dead on "classic". Thinner than 4mm is totally cool, but on the slimmer and more feminine side. And wider than that is also a great look, but it's certainly going to feel heavier and bulkier.
3. ON METAL & STYLE CHOICE: If you decide to go with a white metal, then we strongly