One of our favorite clients opted for this combination recently and the results were spectacular. More people should do this. We wanted to discuss the pros and cons for the rest of y'all out there.
Old Mine cuts and old European cuts are harder to find. They are not included in the inventories of major diamond retailers, so you have to have an insider hookup. That being said, they are not as expensive as you'd think - considering their rarity - and if you know the right people you can get your hands on some truly gorgeous diamonds. Luckily, we do. ;)
Old Mine cuts and European cuts were crafted long before the Modern Round Brilliant was invented. The cut is blockier, more fiery, and is not graded by the same standards that the industry uses to analyze modern brilliant cuts. Often these stones do not come with a certificate from GIA or another grading lab. This makes antique cuts a bit tricky to shop for, but on the plus side they are valuable because of their appeal, so you can feel free to trust your gut, follow your instincts, and choose a stone that you fall in love with. (If this sounds really scary to you, never fear, we are here to talk you through it.)
If you are looking for the classic Tiffany or Cartier engagement ring, this may not be the best route for you. These diamonds generally have a slightly warmer color and a faceting pattern that needs a jeweler who specializes in setting antique cuts to compliment their uniquely beautiful qualities. This is the best way to get the warm look of an antique without the years of wear and tear on the setting. You can work with your jeweler (such as the lovely and talented Linsday Chapman of Giador Fine Jewelry in Nashville, TN) to decide what antique elements you want to include, and what elements you want to update for your modern, glamorous lifestyle. Or your rustic, bohemian lifestyle. Or your drunk, yoga, camping lifestyle. Your call.
"Thea is also inspired by the sun itself and also the word “sun,” as it reflects my mother’s Korean name, “Pok Sun” and the golden color of her favorite flower, the sunflower. The four diamond-trio clusters also have significance, as the number 4 has myriad personal meanings for people—the four points of a compass, the four seasons, and four earthly elements, for example. And finally, the finish of the ring is very special to me, as it’s soft, but not quite matte. There is a very subtle shine to it that reminds me of my favorite time of day, dusk in the summer, when the sun has almost set but still shimmers in the distance. " -Erika Winters
Erika Winters- Thea Halo Setting
The loveliness of this ring comes from a balance between detail and negative space. As usual, Erika has chosen a stunning European Cut diamond, but she has framed it with two pools of swooping matte gold, delicately milgrained, and studded with clustered accent diamonds at the compass points. The design hovers between worlds; modern yet antique, delicate yet linear, simple yet abundant. We asked her what inspired such a ring…
"I love how contemporary jewelry draws from ancient aesthetics, so I developed Thea to translate old forms into a 21st century design. And there is another layer with Thea, in that she is set with an old European cut diamond that could easily have been cut in the early 20th century—or during the late Victorian period, when many classical designs were revived. "
Todd Reed - Cognac Diamond Ring with Cubic Diamond Halo
Check out this amazing creation by Todd Reed. His use of a cognac rose cut diamond with a halo and band of rough diamond cubes is just stunning - even to seasoned diamond-watchers like ourselves. We asked him for his perspective on the halo...
"It’s my belief that the halo setting really defines the concept of Infinity. It’s a continuous circle running around and around symbolizing eternity and infinite love. Not one type of diamond means any one thing to me; ultimately they become a tone. Sometimes I’ll use raw diamonds to achieve a chiseled Halo setting which creates elegant lines around the center stone. Other times I’ll use brilliant diamonds in asymmetrical Halos to create smoothness, especially when used around rough diamonds. Colors, shapes and size play a big role in each of my designs, but above all, the elements I use in my jewelry must be intentional." - Todd Reed
This just in: Todd Reed's halo ring was named one of the Top 40 Fabulous Engagement Rings by InStyle Magazine.
Digby & Iona - Raziel Ring
This ring is a perfect example of genius breaking all the rules. Not only does it feature an upside down, black princess cut diamond, but it also has a square half-frame set with ombre diamonds. The effect is so novel and perfectly executed it stopped us in our tracks. Now honestly, does the term Halo really do this work of art justice? From the artist himself:
"The Raziel design began with the diamond, a black princess cut especially this large is a very unusual diamond in an engagement band and I wanted to create the strongest possible home for it. I really like combining classic elements with new and non-traditional gems so the black to white diamond gradient pave was a nod to the transition from the norm of white diamonds to where we’re at now where a black diamond which was once a throw away item is now accepted as high end." - Aaron Ruff
Next up is a beautifully classic and simple ring designed by Little Bird's own Danielle Mainas during her time working with Brilliant Earth's custom design team. She took the classic notion of a halo and put it to work. She widened the bezel around the central diamond until it became a framing element in its own right. The result is a glittering, streamlined, and incredibly well engineered ring. Call us if you want one of your very own.
"I had been wanting to make this ring design for a long time. It was just a matter of meeting the right couple to take on the design with me. I love that this ring is comprised of very simple (humble even) design elements. Bezel settings and channel-set diamond accents are both ancient design elements. There are no frills, just clean and simple intentions, and the result is a stunningly feminine ring. What sets this halo apart from the rest? 1. A bezel set center diamond. 2. A channel set halo. 3. The tiniest diamond accents possible. The platinum bezel set center diamond is more durable and stylistically bold than the classic prong set design. We also chose to channel set the diamonds in the halo instead of the usual prong-ladden pave setting you always see, which is typically more fragile than the clean channel setting. Lastly, we opted to use 1mm diamonds as the accents in the halo. Most halo diamonds are 1.5-2mm. Making the halo diamond accents each smaller than the status quo meant we could increased the quantity of them. The result was a super fine and continuous ring of light around a bold and clean center diamond. " -Danielle Mainas
Hey, that’s our favorite. To celebrate the transition into freshness and spring we have selected a stunning palette of colored diamonds for you to browse. Colors range from the rainy grays of April showers to the soft greens of new shoots and dewy buds. The word diamond comes from the Greek word adámas meaning "unbreakable.” FYI the colors in diamonds appear because of trace minerals that become trapped in between the layers of carbon as the diamond crystals are forming deep within the earth. Some diamonds are 3.3 billion years old, making them the OLDEST THINGS ON THE PLANET. Older than the continents.
In case you didn’t know, people love garnet. In fact, it's a very popular as a Valentine’s Day gift (ehm ehm, see details at the bottom). But wait, there is so much more to garnet than meets the eye. Garnet’s chemical structure is X3Y2(SiO4)3 , which makes them about a 7 on the hardness scale. This means garnet is a fairly sturdy gem. Pro tip: Just like your heart, your garnet will never break if you are gentle with it and you never give it to someone who will run it over with a truck.
The word garnet is from the Latin word ‘granatus’, meaning grain or seed (most likely referring to pomegranate seeds) Garnet appears naturally in every color in the spectrum, but it is usually a deep rich red. Unsurprisingly, it is associated with love, passion, and the God of war. Pretty dramatic, right?
In addition to being diamond experts, we are admittedly huge gem nerds. November is Topaz month so we wanted to share some of our favorite topaz facts. Because we have such a thing as "favorite topaz facts".
(Hint: treasure lies at the bottom of this post.)
"Topaz" is related to the Sanskrit word "tapas" meaning "fire", and also to the Hebrew word for "orange fruit". Yes, she's one sexy mineral, that topaz. In case you care, the chemical formula is Al2SiO4(F,OH)2 - Little Birds get excited about such things. Topaz is a popular alternative center gem choice for an engagement ring. It is an 8 on the mineral hardness scale, meaning it is more durable than other popular engagement ring gems like amethyst, aquamarine and peridot, but less durable than sapphire. Topaz is also very cost efficient. It's plentifully found in many non-conflict areas. To boot, topaz comes in so many unique colors - all of them glimmering through a very translucent crystal structure. While some precious gems appear opaque or cloudy, topaz is known for being intensely clear.
Anyone who lives in the Bay Area can tell you there is a wealth of talented and oh-so-cool local designers and amazing style curators who make their home base this gorgeous part of the world. We decided to pick a neighborhood and visit every fine jewelry store. On our list was Pave, Melissa Joy Manning, Fisher’s Jewelry, Oaks Jewelers, M Lowe & Company, and McManus & Sons. Then we stopped at H Julien Designs even though there is no jewelry, because it is just plain amazing. (Ladies, this guy KNOWS floral design. Also, gifts for your mom.)
Melissa Joy Manning has an incredibly recognizable style. This is not your typical princess cut solitaire sort of store. Once you've seen her delicate bezels, lovingly presented diamond slices and amazing variety of gemological designs, you too will be able to spot an MJM ring from down the street. While we were there we got the skinny on MJM’s process for how to design an engagement ring using uniquely shaped stones. Every piece is one-of-a-kind. As a result, they are happy to work with customers who want to choose their center stone and work with a craftsperson to design a special and amazing ring.
Next stop: Pavé has a reputation for being a high-end, digestible art jeweler. Their range of rings includes the most streamlined designs to the most delicate and detailed. They happily do custom work, and are known for their customer service.
At M. Lowe & Company we chatted with the owner Margo about Fall trends, sapphire engagement rings and the process of working with a jeweler to choose your diamonds and settings separately. As usual, Margo was an absolute delight to talk to. We could have spent hours in there looking at the uh-mazing collection of antique and eclectic jewelry as well as all the modern gemmy stuff. She showed us a gorgeous 1.2 carat F VS2 round brilliant diamond that she was planning on putting in an 18k white gold halo setting. (see below) It is a popular and pretty diamond ring design, and with that beautiful center stone it is sure to be the perfect engagement ring for some lucky lady out there. We hope she says yes!