While we were browsing the internet looking at beautiful rings we noticed that many people are using a few terms for metal-smithing techniques interchangeably. If you are finding this confusing, you are not alone. Never fear, we are here to set the record straight.
Filigree is the process of coiling and bending tiny threads and beads of metal into ornate patterns and soldering them together or onto another metal surface. The term comes from the Latin word filum - meaning thread, and granum - meaning grain.
Milgrain refers to the delicate edging of tiny indents and bumps that jewelers sometimes apply to the borders of a design using a "knurling" tool. It is a great way to add a bit of intimate detail to your ring. Sometimes milgrain is incredibly tiny and delicate, sometimes it is so large it can look like a row of beads along an edge. The word milgrain is a literal translation of a French word meaning 'a thousand grains.'
Engraving is when the jeweler cuts grooves into the surface of your ring to create images or patterns.
Relief is much like engraving but instead of simply carving a pattern into the surface, in a relief the background is deeply cut away to leave a raised surface which is then carefully engraved. The end result is a is much more three dimensional effect.
Don't worry, there isn't going to be a quiz. If you have any questions about the techniques or rings you see here please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Are you confused by diamond cut grades? How is a diamond graded for it's cut quality? What is an ideal cut diamond? Do you need some simple, clear, diamond buying advice?
Look no further. We are Little Bird - Diamond & Engagement Ring Consulting. It is our job to explain the basics of diamond grading in a way that makes sense to a non-gemologist.
Cut is one of the 4 C's of diamond grading, along with Clarity, Carat size, and Color. Cut evaluation is by no means everything you need to know about a diamond, but it will help you understand why some diamonds have more fire and brilliance than others. Here is a great article from GIA on how they grade a diamond's cut. (GIA stand for The Gemological Institute of America.)
GIA is the largest gem grading laboratory, operating facilities all over the world. They are certainly not the only lab, but their grading system is considered the standard in the in industry. In addition to grading diamonds, GIA also has an educational facility. Us Little Birds are very familiar with GIA's grading system. If you need help understanding a GIA diamond certificate or even help buying an uncertified diamond please get in touch, or leave us a question in the comments section. This is a lot of information to take in, and you are not expected to understand all the details immediately.
You're lying in bed, but you're still flying high off that pour over you thought was a good idea at 3pm. You have a long car ride ahead of you and you've already listened to all of the recent The Moth podcasts. You're hanging in the park just kicking back and acro-yoga just isn't your thing. The next time you have some alone time with your partner and want to pick their brain re: engagement rings, we've got you covered.
1. How do you feel about your friends who have gotten engaged? What’s the gossip? Do any of your friends secretly not like their rings?
Engagement Ring = Diamond + Ring Setting
In order to offer the best possible support for the engagement ring shoppers, Little Bird maintains a wide network of experts and insiders in all parts of the diamond industry. One of our FAVORITE experts is Marilyn Weiss, a national estate and antique ring specialist. Marilyn buys and sells vintage, estate and antique diamond engagement rings. Some samples of her current collection are shown here. At any time, she will have close to 100 completely unique pieces. She doesn’t generally sell them directly to retail customers, but she’s always happy to meet privately with Little Bird clients. Her clients include some of the finest retailers in the US known for antique fine jewelry. Let’s just say it’s good to have a friend like Marilyn.
Little Bird: So you’ve specialized in all sorts of jewelry over your many years in the industry, from semi-precious to precious. When did you get into antique and estate fine jewelry?
Marilyn Weiss: About 13 years ago I walked into a used bookstore,,,
I need an engagement ring within 1 week from now!
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
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!
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!
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
Step 2 - 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
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!
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....
2. Check out artists on Etsy! There are some incredible designers showcasing their work here. You just have to sift a bit.
3. Open your mind to something totally different!
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.
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
This post was co-authored by Catherine Cason of Gem Hunt and Danielle Manias of Little Bird Told You. Originally posted on GemHunt.Co.
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