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.
Huge congratulations to Dan and Michelle on their engagement! Dan reached out to Little Bird because he had a family diamond that he was hoping to use as the center stone in a very special engagement ring for Michelle. He was dedicated to working with a local jeweler so together we did a bit of sleuthing and eventually settled on Alex's Jewelry in NY. Dan was looking for an engagement ring that would match Michelle's classic beauty, sparkling personality, and sweetness. He also wanted something practical and wearable, so Michelle could enjoy it every day for the rest of her life. Jacob at Alex's Jewelers was fantastic to work with. Dan was picturing a low profile setting with a simple halo and smooth band. As you can see from the photos, Jacob and the people at Alex's Jewelry totally nailed it! If you are in the neighborhood, go check them out. They have some gorgeous designs in there.
Dan, it was such an honor to be able to coach you thought this process. This is a beautiful ring for a beautiful couple. We wish you two all the very best in life!
"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