"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
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.
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.
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."
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!
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Fancy. Color. Diamonds. Yep, that’s a gemological term! Any diamond that isn’t your typical crystalline white color is likely considered a “fancy color”. Yellow, blue, green, red, chocolate, champagne… the list goes on. Fancy colored diamonds are less common for most folks to choose for a central engagement ring gem, but they are real dang cool and we love it when we do get to work with a client to select one. For those considering a colored diamond engagement ring, we tapped Emily Duke of Diamond Envy. She’s the first person we call when we are on the hunt of a fancy colored diamond and she’s here to give us all a little background on How Fancy Colored Diamonds Work!
What are the most popular of colored diamonds?
Yellow was the gateway to color for most people. “Canary diamonds” as they are often called, are still very popular along with brown or “chocolate” diamonds (Levian’s trademarked term.) They are more abundant in nature and are therefore, a very affordable option for diamond lovers. Thanks to impressive auction results over the past decade, along with some celebrity attention, pinks and blues are also quite desirable. They are much rarer though, so prices are significantly higher - a collector’s item of sorts.
Are colored diamonds more expensive than traditional colorless/near colorless diamonds?
Yes and no. Colorless and natural colored diamonds are both valued based on rarity. As I mentioned above, yellows and browns are mined frequently so their prices are generally lower, especially compared to a D (colorless) flawless diamond. Very rare colors though, like green, purple and red are so rarely discovered that they can sell for over $1 million per carat, blowing colorless diamonds out of the water! Of course other factors like carat weight and color intensity can affect price too.
What is your opinion of lab created colored diamonds?
Lab created diamonds are interesting. Right now they are being touted as an eco-friendly and conflict-free alternative to mined diamonds - but that might be a whole separate conversation to have. As far as their beauty? I can’t say for sure. I would say that because they have the same chemical makeup, they can be just as lovely.
Color treated diamonds though, to me, are just not as incredible as the real deal. Many are “coated” with a color that can wear off or chip. Others are heat treated to get better color. Part of the intrigue of natural colored diamonds is that Mother Nature combined these rare forces to give us unique jewels.
Is there a specific shape and color combo that you see time and time again?
Diamonds with natural color are a challenge to cut. From the rough, the cutter wants to bring out the most color. Rounds are best at reflecting white light so the shape is best for colorless diamonds. Brilliant cut fancy shapes (cushion, oval, radiant, pear, marquise) bring out the color best. We see a lot of yellow radiants because they produce strong color. As far as fashion and demand, we’re seeing a pretty big surge in cushions and pink just keeps gaining popularity. Yellows will probably always have a place in the business though because they are pretty and affordable.
Is there a specific shape and color combo that you think is amazing that the general population just hasn't tapped into yet?
I think chameleon diamonds are just absolutely insane. They change color and scientists aren’t completely sure why. How cool? They are priced really well too but that likely won’t last if we see a spike in demand.… maybe it’s just because my favorite color is green!
My other thought on this has to do with saturation. I think it’s interesting that most shoppers only want really strong color. A nice fancy light pink oval? So dreamy. Plus, they’re way more budget friendly than fancy intense or vivid options.
What are your favorite setting designs for a colored diamond?
I’m not a fan of the halo when it comes to colorless diamonds, but when you put some bright whites around a colored diamond, the color really pops. I think a traditional three stone is also nice for the same reason. There’s something so chic about taking a classic style and adding your own twist - in this case, a colored diamond center.
How long have you been working with colored diamonds? Why did you choose this avenue?
Our founder grew up in the business and he’s had his own wholesale company for over 15 years. He started out cutting colorless diamonds, but when he came across natural colored diamonds, he fell in love. I started in the industry just 3 short years ago but I’m hooked too! For us, color is exciting. Each stone is unique and special. There’s so much to learn and see.
We have an affinity for rare. Since starting in colored diamonds, we’ve added emeralds, sapphires and rubies to our inventory. We focus on each stone individually. If it’s extraordinary, we’re interested. We always joke that it’s hard to sell because we have a hard time parting with something so beautiful.
It can be a challenge to find natural colored diamonds in retailers across the US and the world, so we decided to share our passion with everyone. In 2013 we launched DiamondEnvy.com to bring our rare inventory to the web.