Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth. It can cut any kind of rock or metal, but only another diamond can cut a diamond. In fact, a diamond must be heated to a temperature of 1292 degrees Fahrenheit before it will burn. Yet the oil deposited from the mere touch of a human finger can cause dirt to collect and make this nearly indestructible gemstone quickly lose its sparkling appeal.
So how can you keep your diamond looking its very best? The nonprofit GIA (Gemological Institute of America) – the world’s foremost authority in gemology – offers the following tips on diamond care:
Handle your diamond sparingly.
Because diamonds are natural magnets for grease, they’re not easy to keep clean. Handling a diamond with your fingers provides enough oils from your skin (the type of “grease” that most affects diamonds) to alter the way your diamond looks.
Clean your diamond regularly.
A simple plan to keep your diamond jewelry always looking beautiful is to soak the diamond in an ammonia-based household cleaner (such as window cleaner) overnight, once or twice weekly. In the morning, remove the diamond from the cleaner and brush it with a soft, clean toothbrush (one that has not previously been used in any way, and that you reserve exclusively for cleaning your diamond) to remove any leftover dirt. Take extra care to brush the back of the diamond as this will be the area that has collected the most oil and dirt.
Be aware that fragile settings and estate jewelry won’t take kindly to being scrubbed with a toothbrush, so use a soft touch.
Then, just rinse the diamond with water and wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Don’t use harmful solutions.
Chlorine (as in household bleach) or abrasives (such as household cleansers or toothpaste) should never be used when cleaning diamonds, especially those set in jewelry. These erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings, and may loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal completely.
Sometimes an ultrasonic cleaner is necessary to remove encrusted dirt on diamonds.
By sending high frequency sound waves through a detergent solution, ultrasonic cleaners cause vibrating fluid to remove accumulated dirt and grime. However, they can also shake loose stones from their mounting, so this method shouldn’t be used on fragile settings (or estate jewelry), and is best undertaken by a professional jeweler. Regular cleaning will keep your diamond jewelry in gleaming condition and ready to sparkle on that special occasion. If you have additional questions on diamond care, seek the advice of a qualified jeweler – ideally someone who has been educated by GIA.
Stop in anytime for your free cleaning!
MORE INFO: http://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research-Secrets-Keep-Diamond-Sparkling
The engagement ring’s romantic traditions resonate throughout time. The Romans first introduced the betrothal ring as a plain, iron hoop. Among the gentry, the iron ring was worn while indoors and replaced with the more valuable gold band when outdoors. As early as the 4th century AD, inscriptions, elaborate or as simple as “honey,” embellished the inside of the band. According to Macrobius, a 5th century Roman writer, the betrothal ring was worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. It was believed that from that finger a special vein ran directly to the heart. To this day, the centuries-old custom of wearing an engagement ring in this way has endured.
During the Middle Ages, sapphires and rubies initially adorned the engagement ring, while diamonds were incorporated in the 15th century. The earliest written record of the use of a diamond in an engagement ring was in 1477 by a Dr. Moroltinger, who was advising the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian to have a ring set with a diamond for his betrothal to Mary of Burgundy. Resisting fire and steel, diamonds stood for the fortitude of a lifelong partnership. Early cutting techniques caused gems to look dull and even black, according to GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the world’s foremost authority in the grading and identification of diamonds and other gems. Compensating for these lackluster stones, goldsmiths designed elaborate settings, composed of such romantic notions as rosettes and fleur-de-lis, symbolizing the bride’s purity.
More ephemeral than the diamond ring, the rush ring was hastily made from leaves or grass and lasted in many cases as long as the short-lived engagement. A more enduring and popular 16th century ring, the fede (Italian for faith) betrothal ring signified a marriage’s immutability in its central image of two clasped hands.
With the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 18th century, diamond jewelry became more readily available, and diamond cluster engagements rings were in vogue. A common cluster design consisted of small rose-cut diamonds arranged around a larger center stone.
Widespread wealth, initiated by the 19th century’s Industrial Revolution and the rich supply of newly discovered African diamond mines, made diamonds available to a greater public. Diamond experts at GIA also note that this period was marked by revolutionary developments in cutting and polishing, resulting in diamonds revealing a brilliance greater than any other gem. The diamond now could stand alone, and thus, the solitaire engagement ring became fashionable.
The simple elegance of the classic Tiffany mounting, introduced in 1886 by Charles L. Tiffany, offered an ideal complement to the beauty of the diamond. With the diamond set high in an open, six-prong mounting, the design permitted greater amounts of light to enter the gem, allowing it to exhibit maximum brilliance. Given all the choices that are available to couples today, not only can they choose an engagement ring that represents a centuries-old symbol of love and tradition, but more importantly, a ring that is a personal expression of themselves.
MORE INFO FROM GIA
Know what you want to spend
You will be confronted with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to engagement rings. Have a price range in mind. Going in with fairly specific parameters will help your jeweler find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.
What kind of jewelry does she already wear?
Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? Does she wear more silver or gold? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Simple or ornate? Have these preferences in mind when you set out to shop. If you buy something similar to what she already likes, you can't go wrong.
Know her ring size
If she wears rings, borrow one she already owns. Trace the inner circle on a piece of paper, or press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression. You can also slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops. A jeweler can use these measurements to identify her approximate ring size.
If she doesn't wear rings, estimate in the following manner: The average ring size in the US is 6 (based on the 'average' US female being 5'4" tall and weighing 140 lbs.) If she's more slender, or fine boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range. It's always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she'll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size.
Are her preferences hard to pin down?
Consider buying an unset diamond. If you choose the diamond first and have the setting made later, you can include her in selecting the style and final details of the ring (always a good idea) and avoid the awkwardness of choosing a ring that's more to your taste than hers.
Know what diamond shape suits her
If she hasn't made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else's engagement ring), here are a few things to keep in mind when considering shape:
She will be wearing this ring 24/7 every day of your married life. It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear. If you're uncertain about her shape preference, it's sensible to stick to the classics. They became classics because they appeal to most people most of the time.
Shapes with fewer facets, such as emerald or square, require higher clarity. The fewer the facets, the more visible any inclusions will be.
Certain shapes pair more successfully with other gems in multi-stone rings. Round, Oval and Marquise all work well. Pear and Heart shape are more challenging.
Taste in shape is often reflected in other tastes a woman has. If she prefers clean, modern lines in furniture, for example, it's likely she'll react well to the same aesthetic in Emerald or Square shapes. If she tends towards the traditional, a round shape rarely misses. More bohemian types tend to favor more unusual shapes, like Trilliant or Marquise.
What Setting Makes Sense?
While there are an unending variety of patterns, details and metal choices, there are four basic types you are likely to encounter:
Solitaire - A single stone. Still the most popular choice in engagement rings. The head secures the diamond. Prongs allow the diamond to catch the most light. A four-prong-setting shows more of the diamond, but a six-prong setting is often more secure.
Sidestone - Diamonds or other gemstones, flank the main stone for additional sparkle or color. Popular sidestone settings include 'channel', which protects stones by keeping them flush, and 'bar-channel', which allows more light to enter the sidestones.
Three Stone - One diamond for the past, one for the present, and one for the future. Typically, the center diamond is larger than the two side stones.
Pave (pah-vey) - The main stone is surrounded by tiny diamonds to add sparkle and the illusion of greater size. As to actual setting design, consider her lifestyle, and how well a certain setting will fit into it. If she's more active or outdoorsy, look for lower profile, less ornate, more sturdy choices, which are less likely to get knocked or caught on things. If she's more of a glamour girl, look for statement settings, with a higher stone profile and more intricate ring detailing or unique motif.
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