We have heard it, said it, sang it before: Diamonds are forever.
It is -most definitely- the most famous, desired and precious gemstone, but what do we really know about diamonds?
Diamond is a rare, naturally occurring mineral composed of pure carbon. It is the hardest natural material known, and is extremely resistant to heat, pressure, and chemical substances. However, contact with greasy substances like hand creams should be avoided, as they can fog it’s adamantine luster. A fogged diamond can always be cleaned by a professional and get reinstated to its initial glow.
All diamonds are unique, due both to their natural formation and their processing. Therefore, all diamond rings should be accompanied by a certificate that states each diamond’s “identity” and distinguishes it from every other. Diamonds can vary in sizes, shapes, colours, clarity, and rarity. In each unique combination of these factors lies the beauty of finding the diamond that suits you best.
There is, however, a standardized method of assessing diamond quality, developed in the 1950s by the Gemological Institute of America, best known as "The 4Cs of Diamond Quality", and it’s referring to their:
- Carat Weight
A carat (ct) is the weight unit of precious stones (and therefore of diamonds) corresponding to 0.2 grams. As diamonds are cut in various geometric shapes, the more the carat weight of the cut diamond, the bigger it is. A larger sized diamond is much more rare and thus much more valuable. The value per carat is growing exponentially as both the weight and the size of the diamond get bigger for every carat.
Diamonds of exactly the same weight can have very different values, due to differences in the other three factors of the 4 C’s.
Diamonds can be divided in two categories, depending their colour.
In the first category, Colourless, belong all diamonds that range from completely colourless to slightly coloured, usually in light tints of yellow. Exceptionally White diamonds are rare, therefore, the closer to colourless the gemstone, the greater its rarity and its value.
However, vivid-coloured diamonds can also be found in nature. They are called Fancy Coloured Diamonds and vary in hues including yellow, brown and even more rarely pink, red, blue, green, purple, black etc. The precise conditions for coloured diamonds to be created naturally, render them extremely rare. Therefore, in this category, the saturation and the intensity of the colour is what increases their value.
The clarity of a diamond depends on the presence of inclusions (particles of foreign material within a gem), visible when under magnification x10.
More precisely as Flawless are considered the diamonds that appear completely clear and free of inclusions under x10 magnification. Depending on the size and quantity of inclusions, diamonds are categorised from Flawless to Imperfect. The clarity of a diamond is also a rarity factor, therefore diamonds with an absence of visible inclusions are more valuable.
The quality of design and craftsmanship used in cutting a diamond can bring out the unique optical qualities that reflect light and create iridescence. It is a common misconception that as “Cut” we refer to the shape of the stone (Style of Cut* ), when in fact it constitutes an evaluation of the proportions, the symmetry, and the quality of the polishing of the processed gem. The cut is graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor.
* Style of Cut
The most popular kind of cut is called Brilliant and can be applied to various shapes. The most usual ones are: Round Brilliant Cut, Oval Brilliant Cut, Pear Brilliant Cut (tear shaped) etc. Of course, many other kinds of cut exist, such as the Step Cut, mostly applied in styles like the rounded rectangles and the Emerald Cut.
For most of the classic designs of the PRIGIPO RENDEZVOUS Special Occasion Rings collection, we choose Round Brilliant or Pear Brilliant Cut diamonds. Nevertheless, some of our most particular jewellery and our One Of A Kind designs also feature various Styles of Cut diamonds and other precious gems.
COLOURED PRECIOUS STONES
The most popular category of coloured gemstones are Corundum minerals, which can be found in nature in various colours. Blue coloured Corundum is best known as Sapphire, while as “Rubies” we refer to only colours belonging to the spectrum of red. Corundum gemstones that have different hues of the above, also constitute as Sapphires and are distinguished by their colour (pink sapphire, green sapphire etc). They are the second hardest mineral after diamonds, and are mostly valued depending on the intensity of their colour. Other factors such as clarity and cut can affect the appearance of colour, and therefore their value.
Sapphires are gemstones that mostly exhibit blue colour. The tints of colour may vary from light to deep, dark blue. However, they can also be found in completely different hues, such as pink, yellow, green etc. The vividness and saturation of colour are Sapphires’ primary factors of value.
One of the most valuable and famous Sapphires is the one on Princess Dianna’s engagement ring, now belonging to Kate Middleton.
Rubies are one of the most precious varieties of Corundum, and their colour range lies on the spectrum of red; from vivid pink, to every red hue until deep, profound red. The intensity of the colour red depends on the quantity of chromium present in the gemstone. Not unlike sapphires, vividness and intensity of colour greatly affect their value.
Following the Conundrum minerals, other popular gemstones are those coming from Beryl crystals. They exhibit significantly less hardness compared to diamonds and sapphires, and are met in nature in the form of long crystals. For that reason, the available styles of cut stones are much more limited. They are relatively fragile and sensitive to corrosive chemicals, and therefore should be treated with caution both in processing and everyday use.
As “Emeralds” we refer to Beryl Crystals that exhibit a bright green colour, or other vivid hues of green. Commonly, inside most naturally formed Emeralds exist visible inclusions, an effect that gemologists call the “inner garden” (jardin) of an emerald. Due to the form of the natural crystals, the dominating shape for an emerald is an octagonal rectangle step cut, also known as the Emerald Cut. Similar to other precious gems, the quality of the cut and the intensity of colour are the main factors that can affect an emerald’s value. However, due to their difference in density, emeralds can appear slightly bigger than diamonds or sapphires of corresponding carat weight.
Aquamarines are named after the word for sea water in latin, and sea colour is exactly what defines them: deep blue, pale blue, azure and turquoise, from intense and saturated, to light, almost transparent hues. Ideally, the most valuable Aquamarine gems are those of vivid, deep or light blue colour.
One of the most wide colour spectres is met in Tourmaline crystals, that range from green to blue, yellow and pink hues, often gradiently mixed in the same crystal. A popular example is the “Watermelon Tourmaline” consisting of a gradient of green, pale yellow and vivid pink hues.
An ever-lasting symbol of elegance and luxury; pearls, throughout the years, have never lost their glow. They are famous for their iridescent lustre and their shimmery colours. Their quality factors consist of the sharpness of their lustre, the quality of their surface, their shape, size, and the thickness of their nacre. Another factor is the colour. While the most popular colour is white, other natural pearl colours are pink, yellow and black. They can also be found in various other hues of pink, yellow, green, blue and grey.
All pearls are organic and should therefore be treated with caution. They are susceptible to even weak acids that exist in cosmetic products, and contact with substances that can affect their surface lustre should be avoided. It is also best to avoid blows and hits when wearing them.
For the jewellery you choose to keep forever and want to last in time, there is one prefect material. What else could it be, if not gold?
Goldsmiths use the term alloy to refer to any material that consists of an admixture of metals. In gold alloys, the presence of gold (fineness) is measured either by Karat (one part out of 24, where 24K is pure gold) or as parts of a thousand (1000 is pure gold). Due to the fact that gold exhibits very low hardness in comparison to other metals, the use of pure gold is avoided in crafting jewellery. Within alloys, gold acts as the softer metal, therefore, the lower the percentage of gold in the alloy the harder it is. For example, a jewel made of 14K gold is significantly harder than a 22K one.
At PRIGIPO RENDEZVOUS we specifically use only 18K or 14K gold, and on the inside of all jewellery the corresponding stamp of 750 or 585 parts is engraved.
In its purest form (24K) gold has a distinct, bright yellow colour. In alloys of both 18K and 14K, the remaining metals are the ones that affect their colour. In doing so, we have the capacity to create “white” or “rose” (red) gold. 18K gold has a warm yellow hue as a result of the high percentage of gold (75%), while 14K has a cooler, less vivid yellow hue. Likewise, white gold exhibits a subtle yellow tint while rose gold a faint, copper-like, warm pink hue.
For our designs, we mostly choose to maintain the natural colour of gold, regardless of the karats. However, the possibility to alter the colour exists, through a procedure called gold plating. Gold plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal by chemical or electrochemical plating, affecting only the colour and not its texture.
All PRIGIPO RENDEZVOUS plated jewellery can either have gold (24K gold plating), rose gold (14K rose gold plating) or light grey colour (platinum plating).
MAKING UP YOUR MIND
Whether you are looking for the perfect jewellery for yourself or for a loved one, there are some basic steps that can guide you make the right choice more easily.
For us at PRIGIPO RENDEZVOUS, the ideal way is to make an appointment. In doing so, we can have a look at every design together, and address any questions you may have, right then and there. However, in case that this is not possible, we can always guide you remotely, starting with these simple questions:
- What is your budget? While searching for the perfect jewellery you might get puzzled by the vast amount of designs, precious stones, gems and combinations. If you provide us with a price range, we can always propose a selection of designs to start from.
- What are the designs that best suit your style? Classic and timeless, unique and peculiar, minimal, romantic, or extravagant? The perfect jewel is the one that can accompany you always, and suit your unique style and personality. You can have a look at our available designs HERE or even customise them to fit your needs, if necessary.
- What will the final specifications of your jewellery be? The metal and the gemstone best combined? Do they fit your budget and suit your style at the same time? One glance at our ESSENTIAL TIPS section, and you can find the information you need about our materials that can help you make your choice.
How to find your ring size:
Ideally, a ring fits your finger best when it is impossible to slip off during a sudden move, and at the same time can slide over your knuckle with a little effort. Our fingers, as the rest of our body, change and swift sizes organically. When heated they get bigger. Also, in the morning they are usually bigger than in the evening. Temperature, fatigue and activity are all factors that affect your finger size. It is best to check your ring size 3 or 4 times during a day.
*useful tip* If your finger is between two sizes, go for the smaller one.
If you are looking for a surprise gift/proposal ring:
Best chances? “Borrow” one of your loved one’s rings and follow the instructions on our size guide. The simpler the ring you choose, the closer to its true size. It is also best to avoid using bold rings (they are usually a size bigger), so go for a thin one. In any case, remember - we can easily change the ring size even after construction!
You can find our Ring Size Chart HERE.