So you've got the ring! Now what? Do you know the best way to get your engagement ring insured? This is a question I help LITTLE BIRD clients tackle often. The right insurance path can vary from person to person, but I always recommend to my clients to have their ring insured. Picking a plan and an insurance company can be a head-scratcher. When in doubt, ask yourself: Is your engagement ring custom made? Got lots of pavé diamond accents? Did I select an antique engagement ring or use an heirloom diamond? Is my center stone a sapphire, ruby, emerald, moissanite, aquamarine or other? Am I pretty nervous about losing or causing damage to the ring? I recommend bulletproof insurance in these cases. Enter: Jewelers Mutual. Because my clients always have so many questions when it comes time to talking ring insurance, and because I am an engagement ring expert - not an insurance expert - I had a little conversation with my friends from Jewelers Mutual and asked them the 7 most popular questions I get from my clients. Hope this is helpful!
1. What are you protected against with Jewelers Mutual coverage? Are you covered for loss, theft, damage, disappearance with all policies?
Given that Jewelers Mutual is focused solely on jewelry we approached our coverage from the ground up- and view jewelry differently than a Homeowners policy ever would. We know a disaster can be as simple as leaving your engagement ring in that coffee shop bathroom, or your new watch sitting on the golf cart on Hole 6. That’s why every policyholder receives the same comprehensive worldwide coverage that includes protection against theft, accidental loss, and damage. Lastly, we realize you can’t always pinpoint how or where your jewelry disappeared, so we cover ‘mysterious disappearance’- a coverage often overlooked by other carriers. As cliché as it sounds, we cover real life.
2. So, in a nutshell what are the main coverage differences between adding an engagement ring to an existing renters or homeowner’s policy vs. taking out a jewelry specific policy with Jewelers Mutual?
You can use a Homeowners/Renters insurer to protect your jewelry, but understand your jewelry will only be protected against certain types of losses (like fire & burglary) and up to a specified dollar amount (standard “limits”- the money paid out to you- are typically around $1500-$2500). Additionally, a jewelry claim on your homeowners could affect your entire policy. So, because you lost great-grandma’s Eleanor’s necklace now means you could be paying more to insure your home. Even if you opt for a “rider” (an optional add-on) to your Homeowners coverage, the policy details are still not as comprehensive as Jewelers Mutual’s standard coverage.
Using a real world example- you file a claim because you lost your custom-made, five- year anniversary ring. Typically, a Homeowners insurer will either A. Send you a check and leave the repair/replacement of the piece up to you or B. Direct you to a jeweler of their choice to get the work done. If that same claim was filed with JM, we’d work directly with the jeweler of your choice to get the piece repaired or replaced as close as possible to your original ring. We pride ourselves on SAME kind and quality, not LIKE kind and quality.
3. Are there different levels of coverage, and what’s the most popular?
Whether you’re insuring a charm bracelet, a Rolex Daytona, a Super Bowl ring, each and every one of Jewelers Mutual’s policyholders receives the same policy coverage and benefits. For 105 years we’ve prided ourselves on being the best jewelry insurance offered and we understand that begins and ends with ensuring we are there when our policyholders need us.
4. What are the average cost differences?
Jewelry insurance is much more reasonable than people anticipate. Typical rates average 1-2% of the value of the jewelry you’re insuring annually. So, for example, an $5000 ring would cost between $50-$100 annually to insure.
And we provide you the opportunity to add in a deductible ($100, $250, $500) to knock down the annual premium, but most policyholders opt not too as the cost is so reasonable.
Jewelers Mutual has a quote tool available that allows for you to choose your best option prior to applying for insurance.
5. How long is an appraisal good for?
It’s in your best interest to get your jewelry appraised on a regular basis as jewelry prices (gold & diamonds) do fluctuate. The appraisal will provide you the best insight as to what your pieces are worth which should inform what you insure them for.
Since Jewelers Mutual understands the nuances of jewelry and the chances of our policyholders being underinsured, we have an annual Insurance Value Adjustment (IVA). This increases your policy limit annually by a small percentage and in turn increases your likelihood of being properly insured in case of a claim
6. What is something that you wish all newly engaged folks knew about jewelry insurance?
That it exists! Truly, the biggest hurdle we face is that consumers simply don’t know the category- much less our brand, exists. What I hear most often is “yeah, I think it’s on my Homeowners policy”. It isn’t until you begin to discuss policy details that you see eyes widen and palms get sweaty. I’m not here to induce fear, rather let people know that there’s options outside of a warranty and homeowners insurance. In a survey we did a few years back we found that 33% of those surveyed considered an engagement ring one of the “most expensive things they own”. 43% of them did not have the ring insured. It’s stunning the time and attention couples pay to selecting the ring, planning the proposal, taking the ring selfie, and everything that comes with it, but may not take an additional minute to consider what happens if it’s lost.
7. You’ve been in business for a long time! How has your business changed over the past 100 years?
Jewelers Mutual started in 1913 by jewelers who wanted to help protect other jewelers. We’ve earned the trust of thousands of jewelers over the decade and with that trust came co-creation. They wanted us to offer the same peace of mind they got with their coverage to their consumers. So in 1953, we designed the consumer jewelry coverage we’re discussing today.
While trends and technologies come and go, jewelry buying will always be part of our cultural fabric. It’s a purchase that helps celebrate new love, achievement, birth, or even coming of age. We worked diligently to ensure that buying a Jewelers Mutual policy is as seamless as possible, be it in the eCommerce shopping cart, your neighborhood jewelry store, or in the comfort of your own home. While our gift may not be made of metal and stones, we feel the gift of peace of mind is just as valuable.
"People 'want to feel like they've come away with something bigger,' says Danielle Mainas Etra, who founded Little Bird Told You five years ago. They 'want something off the beaten track...'
So, have the legacy jewelers lost their luster? What kind of legacy should instrusty leaders be leaving to the next generation of jewelers? Here at LITTLE BIRD we are excited to see what 2018 holds for the jewelry industry. Change is always afoot! Read the rest of this fantastic article in AdAge: http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/shine-brighter-legacy-jewelers-lost-luster/311649/
This is a little series of blogs where some of our favorite engagement ring designers tell us how they imagined and then created their own engagement rings. Here for our second entry in the already critically acclaimed series "My Engagement Ring Story", a favorite of both the Giants baseball team and yours truly, our fave jeweler, everybody put your hands together for NICK ENGEL!
So, round here at LITTLE BIRD we suh-eriously heart Nick Engel & Co. He is an incredible jeweler who hand fabricates engagement rings for many of our clients from S C R A T C H. I mean. He's kind of a big deal. Spoiler alert: Best Ring Ever Award goes to Nick for Ali's stunning bespoke emerald cut diamond engagement ring. Without further ado, let's learn how Nick Engel went.........
What are the stats?
2.09ct Post Consumer Emerald Cut Center Stone Flanked by half carat baguette diamonds set in 18K Rose “Ali” Gold which I self alloyed.
How did you come up with the concept?
I started off creating a couple of rings that were more traditionally my style but none of them were just right. My team kept reminding me that this ring had to be exceptional and different from my other pieces. I honestly began playing around with fabrication and ended up with the final design after countless hours of filing and altering it until I was happy.
Did you work on it with your partner? How was that?
I actually did not. We created each others bands (which was awesome!) but I wanted to fabricate her entire ring while keeping it a surprise. I was lucky to have insider information from her best friend who took her ring shopping.
Did you always know what you wanted to design?
I had no idea...I really needed the process to dictate the final design.
What’s your favorite detail or part of the ring?
Setting the sidestones upside down and making the basket float were the two elements that really made the ring feel badass to me.
Did you go over budget?
I didn’t have a budget in mind so not really but I definitely went over what I thought I would make it for.
If your ring was worn by a mythical character, who would that character be? Does it have a special power?
Pegasus! Sparkly, brilliant, and capable of magically making your goals a reality. It’s special power is foresight... it predicts a pretty amazing future!
Is there advice you usually give clients that you didn’t take yourself?
If I told you I’d have to kill you...
A Chronological Account
"Yeah. Just sign me up. Can we just do this? Let's get started now. I was so excited. It made me so excited about the whole process and what I was doing. I was so excited to buy it; I still am now. When she emails me I'm excited to get an email from her."
- Anton Sepetov, VP of Sales, Sumo.com on working with Danielle Mainas, founder of LITTLE BIRD
Wait. What? Me? Cue jumping up and down in my living room. I am beyond honored to have featured on the OkDork podcast by none other than Converse, AKA Rabbi Can't Lose, AKA Noah Kagan. Big moment for me as I'm a huge fan of Noah Kagan's work and it was so exciting to listen Noah and his dear friend and VP of sales for the 8-figure business Sumo.com (AND recent LITTLE BIRD client), one Anton Sepetov, discuss successful sales techniques in episode #9. Spoiler alert: LITTLE BIRD came up in conversation.
To listen to the whole podcast (really great content) head on over to iTunes, episode 9. Below you can read what Anton & Noah have to say about the LITTLE BIRD approach to working with new clients. *blush*
NOAH: What happened recently? You said you had a "ring experience".
ANTON: Yes, I'm going to propose very soon.
NOAH: This is going to come out afterwards. Hopefully she says yes by now.
ANTON: Alison, will you marry me if this is it? Just listen to this podcast.
NOAH: Oh my God, that's cool.
ANTON: I know what she wants. I was like, man I've got to get this done. This is like in a month. I've been putting this off. And so, went on Yelp, started searching, like, different jewelers and found this lady and she was like insanely well rated and I was like let me read these reviews. People were like, "Danielle is amazing. She knows everything about rings. Like, I was so unsure and she helped me." And there was, I don't know, there was like five stars it was like five hundred reviews.
NOAH: How did you even think to search for a ring helper or a ring finder?
ANTON: I didn't. I just searched for jeweler and she was the first result. So I was just trying to find like good places for me to go to to go through that process to have another Jack [previous not great ring sales experience}. And I was like, oh, this is going to suck. I've got to be sold to again. What she does; she's a consultant for men or women like me trying to buy a ring. And so on her website it says like, I'll do a free 30 to 45 minute call with you or I'll educate you about rings and all that sort of stuff. And I thought, why not? 'Cause I had a good idea of like the ring size, carat size, all that sort of stuff and for her to just tell me where to go. So I was like, okay, perfect. Let me just try this; why not. Filled out her form on her site. The way she was emailing me and she was like, okay let's set up a time to chat. It was a great email. She was like, I'm super excited to work with you, etcetera.
NOAH: For people doing "sales," I think the way that she framed it is like instead of me selling you something and come buy, the whole thing was like, I'm going to teach you something for free, you're going to get something out of it regardless if you give me money, is how she's framing it. So let me educate you.
ANTON: Exactly. I never thought I was actually going to use her or anything. I just thought, she's going to tell me the jeweler to go to and perfect; she's basically like my yelp, and I trust her. She emailed me, and then this is kind of cool, she was specifically like okay, we're going to talk at 3 today, but for security purposes, because this is something confidential you're doing I don't want you to get caught, you call me. This is my number. I thought that was cool. I felt like I was a secret agent.
NOAH: That's interesting.
ANTON: I was like, yeah, I've got to call you.
NOAH: Her saying that probably encouraged you to follow through with the call.
ANTON: I called right at three on the dot. Immediately she's like, "Hey Anton." And I was like, hey. And she's super personable; was one of those people that you can like talk to and you just feel good, right? And I think that's one of those things where like-and you talk about like sales and how to be good at sales. You just have to talk to a person like a person is a person. You're not doing a pitch. If she did a pitch to me and was like, I'm going to pitch you on why to buy a diamond.
NOAH: What would have been like the worst experience you could have imagined and then go through what she did?
ANTON: And if she was just really trying to like sell me something I would have felt very strange if she didn't connect with me in any way. That would have felt very strange. I'd be like, well fuck this. I’m just going to go online and find something.
NOAH: Or they just-she just is talking all the time.
ANTON: Yeah, exactly.
NOAH: Like, hey let me just tell you about all this stuff or like doesn't ask you anything about...
ANTON: Oh, totally, yeah. She made it like a diamond demo and she works for, I don't know, Diamonds Direct or something like that. And I know she's going to get paid commission on the diamond. I'd be like, no. I don't want to do this.
NOAH: Okay, so what did she actually do?
ANTON: And so she immediately is like super warm and welcoming. She's like, you know, this is a big decision. The first thing I want to do is I want to learn about you and about Alison and for you to tell me about, you know, you're relationship and then I'm going to really go into, you know, what is diamond, you know, what is in a ring. What's really important, what you should look for? And I really want to educate you and yeah, that's just what we're going to do is explain to you 30 to 45 minutes, is that good with you. And I said yeah, that's perfect.
NOAH: So she committed you; she confirmed you.
NOAH: Like, hey, here's the agenda for what we're talking about.
ANTON: So yeah, there were no surprises. I know what was going to happen which is good. And so she starts and she starts asking open ended questions about me and about us. She asked about the relationship then she asked about Alison herself and I was like, this is kind of weird. I have to like open up and she was like, yeah I know this is kind of hard, but I really want to like know about you because this is a huge decision you're making and I really want you to feel right about this and that you're picking the right thing and I'm helping you pick the right thing.
And so I said a couple of things about like what's important to us and what we looked at last time we went to get rings and why we didn't buy in Austin, why we wanted to buy in San Francisco. And she was like, "So I can tell form what you're telling me it's important to you where you get this ring from." She said that and I was like, wow, like, you're right. That actually is really important to me. And so she said there's numerous ways you can go about that. Certain people just go to like a warehouse and but a diamond, it doesn't matter where they're getting it from. I think for you it matters who is the jeweler, who is the one that made the ring, made the diamond. So that made me feel really good. So I opened up, she knows a good amount about me; she's asking questions, taking notes. It was also making me feel really good about the relationship and what we're doing. She's like that's amazing. I can't believe your story. That's so cool. And I was just like, yeah, like, I'm doing this. This is awesome. And I have already known a good amount. If you're buying diamonds there is this thing called the four C's and I already knew that and so I went through like what we wanted. We want like an oval shaped diamond, all this sort of stuff, the setting; and I know most of it.
She's actually educating me even more. She's like, what you're looking for is an oval and you're looking in like the, you know, 1.5-2 carat ring. I love how I'm going to say this and people will know how much the ring's going to cost. Isn't that ridiculous.
NOAH: If I ever marry Luna just leave the price tag on it when she walks around. It's like then you can see how expensive...
ANTON: Don't take that off, don't take that off.
NOAH: In case we return it [OVERLAP]
ANTON: Yeah, it's like, you may want to return it.
NOAH: During this process what do you think of the elements that made this a good sales experience? You know in some part, it's almost not even a sale. It's more of like...
NOAH: It's more of like an education as a friend; be like hey here's my recommendations of things you need to do and you're like, yeah I have to do that. What are the elements you think she did that made it that way?
ANTON: Once we had rapport I was able to speak with her and I felt like I was talking to a friend which was really good. Right, so I felt comfortable with her. And then secondly, like I'm saying is that educational piece, right. So she taught me even more about-she specifically said write these things down, right. At that point I was like wow, she's an expert in her field, she knows everything about diamonds. I really trust her.
ANTON: At this point this was already 45 minutes in. I was like, can you just do this for me? Like, why are we still on the phone? I want to do this with you. And so she said there was two options and one was like, I can go to the jeweler myself and then she gives the final okay on the ring-the diamond. It's like 75 bucks. Or she does everything for me. She's like, I'll go to the store with you, which will be, you know, very reassuring for you and it would be cool for us to go together. And I was like, yeah it would be awesome. I don't want to go to the store by myself and have to buy like a whatever.
NOAH: It's a huge purchase, yeah.
ANTON: Yeah. Just sign me up. Can we just do this? Let's get started now. And I was so excited. It made me so excited about the whole process and what I was doing. I was so excited to buy it; I still am now. When she emails me I'm excited to get an email from her. She emailed me this morning and she was like I've been working with the jewelers, I have something like a couple of options. We're going to get on the phone today. I was like, I can't wait to see what she put together.
NOAH: So it sounds like a few of the things was the rapport is really important.
NOAH: Another thing that they're underlying tone is that teaching you something you didn't know.
ANTON: Yeah, exactly.
NOAH: Right? Like, the expert part is that hey, you need to watch out for this. And you're like, oh, I didn't even think about that.
ANTON: And the other thing too I think at the end is that she didn't come and like, try and hard close me and was like we've got to get started.
ANTON: Like, if we don't get started today then spots are going to be gone, etcetera. I was super excited and it was funny, she didn't even name the price for like, the whole management service. I was like, how much do I have to pay you? She's like, oh I'm so sorry I didn't tell you. So it's five hundred. And I actually don't have to pay her until I pick out the final ring and I'm very happy with it.
NOAH: See, I love that type of pricing. You're like look, until I'm happy then you don't have to get paid.
ANTON: Exactly, yeah. She wasn't just like Jack who just like walked out the store and whatever.
ANTON: Hopefully they come back. She specifically said, "Okay, perfect. So the next time we're is on Monday so that's going to give me two days to do some research. Don't talk with the jewelers.
NOAH: Just setting the expectations and then following through with it. We've done this for a lot of years with Sumo is that when you talk to someone and you want to sell them something you put it in the calendar. One of my favorite lines is "Hey, I'm open next Wednesday at three. Does that work for you?"
ANTON: Exactly. Name a time. Right, she named a day and time for me and I was like yeah, that works great. Let's do it.
NOAH: So let's come back to full circle with the Appsumo story. You've built a sales team, you're growing your sales team; for everyone out there today, what it one thing that they can do for themselves to be better at sales in some capacity?
NOAH: Whether they recognize that they're a sales person or even if they don't.
ANTON: Whenever I see anybody doing sales, and we work in spaces here in San Francisco around a bunch of people doing sales and I'm around it all the time. And I want to sit so many of them down, and I do give some of them feedback, is to make it natural. So going back to Danielle, that I was talking to about the diamond, right, it felt so good and natural. And I'm still so excited about the process, right. Don't treat sales as like, I've got to do a product demo. I've got to pitch something. When you do that to me you ultimately hurt yourself so much because it's going to feel unnatural. It's going to feel like a push. Maybe you'll close some people, but you're not going to be super successful. You have to make it natural, like we're sitting down or like you're sitting down with a friend and you're telling them about, you know, your product or whatever it is that you're trying to sell and you're trying to get them signed up.
Interview goes on from here. Don't miss the audio version here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1187402810?mt=2&ls=1#
We are introducing a new series to the LITTLE BIRD blog. Enter: "My Engagement Ring Story" where some of our favorite engagement ring designers tell us how they imagined and then created their own engagement rings. Should be illuminating for those who are looking to create their own ideal engagement ring. Our first story comes from Brittany Stadtmiller about her engagement to Bobby. You guys. Brittany is the funniest. She runs the most attractive AND hilarious jewelry Instagram account I know of: @gemsteady. Not only did their engagement lead to MARRIAGE, but it also created the alternative fine jewelry company I've come love to hard: GEM STEADY. Enjoy!
THE TLDR (too long, didn't read) VERSION:
Nuff said. Let's get right down to our interview with Brittany about her engagement ring...
Tell us the stats!
I actually never had an engagement ring. My husband and I got married on a whim so it was straight to the wedding band which was a super fat sterling silver cigar band.
How did you come up with the concept?
We had just begun our adventure to start a jewelry business and I thought the idea of just one really sexy wide band would be timeless (and fairly simple to create for freshly self taught jeweler). Our story is probably best saved for another day/blog post, but I knew I never wanted to be engaged or ‘have a fiance’ so one big band is all I needed to seal the deal.
Did you work on it with your partner? How was that experience?
Our wedding bands were some of the first rings we ever created (my husband is the maker) and marks the beginning of both our personal and business life together. It is definitely a pretty straight forward design, but we did work together on figuring out the perfect width and sizing.
Did you always know what you wanted to design?
I had no idea. We literally decided to get married after only a matter of a few days spent together so I had never really even thought about what my ring would look like. It was spontaneous to say the least.
What’s your favorite detail or part of the ring?
My favorite part of the ring is the fact that it was one of the very first rings my husband ever made. He had never dabbled in jewelry before, so you can see the seams and imperfections of where the metal connects. I guess that is a pretty good metaphor for our relationship too :)
Did you go over budget?
Not even close.
If your ring was worn by a mythical character, who would that character be? Does it have a special power?
A super powerful sorceress. It would definitely absorb and emit healing powers and have the capability to manifest pretty much anything I ever wanted and deflect all bullshit.
Is there advice you usually give clients that you didn’t take yourself?
I always tell my clients that they should make a decision based on what makes them feel good even if that means getting something made by someone other than me. There is no right or wrong way to wear your jewels. They should go for something that will feel timeless to them.
Do you need an engagement ring? Well, do you? Must you have a ring to call yourself committed? Is there a right way to get engaged? I've been an expert for a decade, but when I went through it myself, man oh man, did I learn a lot about love, commitment and the meaning of rituals. So after years of hearing your stories, on my one year wedding anniversary (today is my anniversary) I'm sharing my engagement story! Spoiler alert: commitment is what you make of it. OK, I'll just get right down to it then...
Here is what I did to find the love of my life:
1. many many dates in San Francisco using online sites (ehm ehm OkCupid)
2. An evening in with a bottle of red wine and my good friends ADVANCED FILTERS. People, this is the only way. You have to manifest your fate. I even paid the extra $10 to unlock the "A-List" search filters (some of which were ridiculous):
this is what happened when we tried to get engaged:
It really was love at first site. The rest was history...
UNTIL it felt like it was time to get engaged. If you've been through it, you know. It's kind of *a thing*. Are we ready? Am I ready?? Are YOU ready??? You take many many long hard looks at your partner and yourself as you imagine making this kind of commitment. For us. Well. It took us some time...
AND THEN: one crisp and cold winter night at a cabin we rented off of HWY 1 on the Sonoma Coast of California, we were making dinner in our pajamas listening to makin_science's (aka Jordan's) Spotify Discover Weekly (his is oddly far better than mine which feels unfair because he doesn't even have it connected to a Facebook account as he refuses to have one). So, we are slow-dance/hug-swaying in the kitchen to something along the lines of Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt and he takes the rubber band off the little bunch of rosemary and he loops it around my left ring finger. And that was it. The best ever. Ever. And, I mean, how can you pick out a ring for an Engagement Ring Consultant that's more perfect than a rubber band? Yes, the title is official and therefore capitalized. In any case, makin_science an I were gonna make_it_official.
IMMEDIATELY we (me) started making plans for how to use a three stone heirloom diamond ring from his mother and father so we could create two rings out of the stones - one for each of us. I was going to make a David Bowie space-inspired ring and he was going to make a Conan the Barbarian-inspired ring with a flush set a diamond in a big yellow gold band. My heart swelled. He even wanted a diamond in his ring. We was into this. You guys, we’re engaged!
WAIT. We are "engaged" though, right? Like, plans were in the works on our rings and I had a rubber band on my left ring finger. So it's official, right? Well, later makin_science informed me that we "still had things to do" before we were officially engaged. Dun dun dun. And here I thought I was the engagement ring expert...
TURNS OUT, he just wanted to have the rings on our hands. It mattered to him. This guy who mocked tradition. This guy who valued science and reason. Listen people the guy wanted rings on fingers dammit. Rings on fingers and then, and only then, is it official. So we had the David Bowie/Conan the Barbarian mash-up rings made by the best jeweler ever, Nick Engel. And when they were done, I couldn't wait to put my engagement ring on and then finally be "engaged" to makin_science aka Jordan. I never knew I actually cared this much. When we got the rings we both put them on immediately and never took them off. Jordan's "wedding band" was actually his "mangagement ring" till we got married and it was the sweetest thing ever. It felt like solidarity. It felt real.
what I learned about getting engaged:
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: We make it up as we go. For Jordan, rings meant something. For me, THE resident engagement ring lady, it actually didn't matter at all. I'd take the rubber band. There's no right way to do this life. No correct way to love. No proper way to show love. Us humans made this whole crazy courtship->ring->engaged->married thing up from the start. We did it for many different reasons, but that's Esther Perel's territory, not mine. It's up to us to decide what it all means for ourselves. Oh, and one more conclusion: if you need help with this whole crazy engagement ring stuff, I'm here to help you figure out what it means to you ;) ;)
First, what is a diamond solitaire? It can actually be confusing as this nomenclature is thrown around for rings that aren't actually solitaires. Hint: it doesn't have to do with the shape of the center stone....
A solitaire ring is when there is only one diamond in on the ring and that diamond is the main focal point of the ring. Solitaries do not have any other diamond accents on them, no diamond halo's, nothing - just one beautiful diamond! The name actually refers to the technical setting and can mean to any piece of jewelry with a solitaire setting - such a necklace, or earrings.
Solitaires are an extremely popular style these days and are known for showing off the classic elegance of beautiful diamond. But, be careful! The thing about a solitaire is that you simple must nail the design. As with all things simple, you need to refine, refine, refine. Think about the concept of "jeans and a shirt" - this simple layout can be super polished and date night ready or it might be what you wear to repaint your room that chic gray you've been pinning all week at work.
Any stylish low key dresser will tell you that you have to have a particular vision in mind in order to slay minimalism. Same deal with your fine jewelry, curation is crucial when designing the ideal solitaire diamond engagement ring.
How To Create Your Dream Solitaire Ring
Step 1 - The Center Diamond
Since the diamond is the centerpiece of the ring, it best to start with picking a stone shape that resonates best with you. The most popular shape you see in a solitaire setting is round but any stone shape can be in solitaire. Such as pear, heart, oval, emerald, Asscher, marquise, etc. Because the solitaire setting shows off the diamond as the main focal point, we would recommend you work with your jeweler to really find a stone you love.
Step 2 - The Prongs
The prongs are those claw like things that hold the stone in place. First and foremost, they must do their job holding the stone in place but after that is done they we can talk about the aesthetics of the prongs.
You have a few choices to make here: metal type, the number of prongs, shape of prongs and orientation of prongs.
1. The metal type could be the same as the band or you might switch it up and go for a mixed metal look. Imagine the combinations out there with rose gold, yellow gold, white gold and platinum all at your fingertips (see what we did there?!)
2. The number of prongs you choose will be based on many factors. In short, you can go with 4 or 6. There are some stones larger enough to accommodate 8 or even 12 - very Marie Antionette and we love this antique twist on a solitaire if your stone has the surface area to pull it off.
3. The shape of the prongs is really a place to get creative and personalized. The prongs can be rounded/"bead shaped", pointed/"claw prongs"/"talon prongs"/"pointed prongs" (all terms for the same thing), or paddle shaped prongs. Then once you pick a shape, you can add another dimension: you can have split prongs or single prongs - seriously the list is endless. You can find good examples of all of these prong shape options online, but most jewelers don't have examples of all the shapes in one store. This a great question to ask your jeweler about because the prongs can really add style and personality to a ring and an important for a solitaire setting.
4. The orientation of prongs is another thing to consider. The most common prong orientation for 4 prongs is to have them at the four corners of the stone, as if each was the corner of a square. You can switch this up by going for a "compass prong orientation" where you shift the prongs to sit at the North, East, South and West points of the stone. The 6 prong options are the opposite. The classic 6 prong has a prong on the North and South point of the diamond and the East and West are open. The alternative 6 prong option is to leave the North and South open, covering the East and West. This is a lot to visualize, but it's simple enough once you do a little visual research.
Pro tip: you might also consider a bezel or semi-bezel setting.
Step 3 - The Setting
Here we are referring to the band and the way in which the prongs connect to it. There are so many types of settings that we can't go into them all. But here are a few key questions to ponder when choosing the setting.
Is stacking with bands important to you? You may want to consider a cathedral setting that allows the diamond to be visible and stack with multiple rings. Do you have any antique stone that might be more fragile? You might want a bezel setting. Wear gloves every day? You might want a low profile setting with diamond set into the band.
Because the diamond is the focal point in a solitaire setting, the details are super important! Make you go over all of them with jeweler or reach out to u for a chat about what options might suite your personal style best!
This post is co-authored by Danielle of LITTLE BIRD and Catherine Cason of Gem Hunt
The national average for an engagement ring generally fluctuates between $3500-6000. It's our pleasure to bring you our curated collection of fave engagement rings under $3000 on Pinterest. There are absolutely stunning rings out there that don't require you to overspend. We are big fans of helping people stay within a super reasonable budget. All said and done, $3000 is still a lot of dough to throw at some rocks and metals. So you'll want to come out on the other side with a stunning, heirloom quality piece that is both stylish and unique.
The THREE pro tips for folks looking in the $3000 engagement ring budget range:
1. Look for antiques! Play up clusters, halos and unique styles....
There are some really amazing antique ring curators out there. I always find something amazing at Erica Weiner, Victor Barboné & Metier.
2. Check out artists on Etsy! There are some incredible designers showcasing their work here. You just have to sift a bit.
Don't be afraid of Etsy designers! Some of my fave indie designers list on Etsy. Check out Sharon Zimmerman, Melanie Casey & Kate Szabone.
3. Open your mind to something totally different!
Often times the bigger the budget, the more basic and well travelled the ring style. Open your mind to something unique. I mean. This ring. Can you believe it's under $3000? I know! You'll find treasures in many places, Jewels by Grace has a great eye...
If you need help understanding how to set your budget and what you can expect to find based on your desired price range, don't hesitate to reach out of a BIRD CALL. We will hook you up with all the salient deets you need to nail it.
Ah, rose cut diamonds! With a name like that what's not to love? We started a month long affair with rose cuts when we kicked off the Dream Diamond x Gem Hunt pop-up which features 10 rings made from rose cut diamonds.
Rose cuts are currently the Edison light bulb of the fine jewelry world. Soft, glowing, warm and yet functional - designers just can't seem to get enough. And we don't mind one bit. While this cut is all so en vogue at the moment, rose cuts are not new - they have a very rich history. This cut dates back to the 1500s.
Rose cuts were first seen in the Georgian and Victorian Eras, with many cuts coming out of the Dutch region of Europe. They faded in popularity, but as we entered the 20th Century and brilliant cuts became more popular for their firey sparkle. Rose cuts have re-surged in popularity in the last five years and many designers are finding inspiration in their glowing facets and flat bottoms - there are some seriously incredible designs featuring rose cuts.
They are not as *flashy* as brilliant cuts and they can sit more flush to the finger and accommodate a different variety of setting types. Rose cuts a great alternative from someone looking for something more subdued or alternative. Even though they are having a moment, rose cuts have and always will be here to stay.
They were named rose cut because the cut resembles the petals in a spiraling rose bud. In general, they have a flat bottom and a domed crown coming to a subtle peak at the top. It's important to note they have no pavilion (basically, the triangular bottom part you see on a brilliant cut - rose cuts don't have that). This cut creates a more subtle look and won't have the same intense scintillation and light return you see in a brilliant cut diamond, instead you see a softer, glowing kind of sparkle. Rose cuts sort of beg for candle light and flowers (and champagne). And we're cool with that.
Without that pavilion, they can be cut into many different shapes and tend to have more "spread" which means more of the carat weight faces up making the diamonds appear larger than a brilliant cut of the same carat weight. We're also cool with that. Rounds reign supreme in terms of popularity, but you'll also find elongated cushions, pear shapes, kites, ovals trillions... the list goes on.
Unlike many modern cuts that have standardized facets and cut patterns (aka rules), rose cuts can have anywhere between 3 or 24 facets. The faceted top is what makes them different from other flat bottomed stones such as cabochons or sugar loafs. The most popular and classic ones you see today have 24 facets but many have less to make some very unique and beautiful shapes. Despite their specific flat bottomed fashioning, they look baller next to small brilliant cut accents, so don't be afraid to accent a killer rose cut with small traditionally cut stones with pavilions. Magic. Another spectacular thing in the rose cut family is what is known as a double rose cut! It's essentially like you have two rose cuts put together. These stones are exceptionally beautiful because double the facets double the sparkle!
Before you leave and start creating your Rose Cut Diamond Engagement Ring *secret* Pinterest board, let's talk colour. We spelled it fancy there just now to match the allure of a rose cut gem with color. In the diamond category, you're going to find that opaque white, grey, champagne, light brown, salt and pepper, and black diamonds are increasingly common. The cool part about this is that each one is totally one of a kind. The hard part about this is that designing a custom ring and sourcing your ideal rose cut stone can present itself as a challenge. Take a deep breath and know your ideal rock is out there. It might just take some digging! It's a good idea to find an artist you love that already works with the stones and then have that artist help you source your perfect gem.
A note on sapphire rose cuts! Sapphires look amazing in rose cuts. So, go for it. Here are a couple of tips: turn the color saturation up a notch to maintain the color when worn over skin, or ask your ring designer to back the rose cut with metal in order to reflect light and maintain the color through the stones, esp if it's a lighter color.
There's always one more thing: we don't 100% recommend a rose cut for an engagement ring that isn't diamond or sapphire. Because of the shallow depth of the stone, you especially need a hard mineral. So, diamond and sapphire are your go-to's for a rose cut ring.
This post was co-authored by Danielle Mainas of LITTLE BIRD & Catherine Cason of Gem Hunt and
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!