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Once every few years a diamond so tremendous comes along that the sale of it makes headlines. In case you haven’t caught the latest news in the diamond world, a historic 6-carat “Farnese Blue” diamond just sold for $6.7 million to an anonymous buyer.

The pear shaped fancy dark gray-blue diamond was found in the Golconda mines of India, which also produced the famous Hope and Wittelsbach-Graff diamonds.

This diamond was one of the few gems that made it through a treacherous journey from Cuba to Spain in 1714 as a wedding gift to the Queen of Spain, Elisabeth Farnese who was to marry King Philip V of Spain, grandson of Louis XIV, King of France. .

The “Farnese Blue,” diamond was kept secret for centuries as it passed through the hands of some of Europe’s most important royals, much of which is documented.

It is a ring that will continue to be a part of our world’s history due to the rarity of the color, size and the number of historical figures that it has been passed down to. But that wasn’t the only diamond to make headlines this past Tuesday. Two other jewels went for even higher prices, also eclipsing their estimates. An oval diamond ring weighing 50.39 carats went for 8.1 million francs, while a round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 51.71 carats sold for 9.26 million francs.

These stories are a testament to the unspoken value of naturally occurring diamonds, unlike man made diamonds, that cannot offer the same real and emotional value.

How do you view diamonds such as this 6-carat “Farnese Blue?” If given the opportunity, would you hold on to a gem such a this? Leave us your comments below.

~ Set at La Bijouterie 

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Hi Friends,

We are thrilled to let you know that after 7 wonderful years in our Marina location, we are moving to the Financial District. This move will enable us to be closer to our client base and grow our store. Our official first day in the new location will be on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

If you happen to work or shop downtown, we’d love for you to stop by and say hello! The building has parking and is easy to access from the street.

Our new location is:

388 Market Street

Suite 100

San Francisco, CA 94111

Cross street Pine

In the meantime, please connect with us over our social channels above. We look forward to showing you the new space and seeing you soon.

Cheers!

Set and the La Bijouterie Family

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The Leprechauns had it right! Gold is one of the most precious metals known to man, and arguably, the most popular metal out there. It has recently made a strong comeback in the engagement ring industry, but why did gold get so popular and how did this metal become the chosen one for engagement rings?

Well our story begins in ancient Egypt 5000 years ago. Rings were used as a status symbol and Egypt was the first known culture to exchange rings of love. These gold and precious stone rings soon made their way to Greece where they were given to lovers featuring Eros, the god of love of his cherubs. But it is believed that it was the Romans who finally linked the ring to marriage.

But why gold? For ancient Man, gold had unique properties which made it easy to acquire and work with. It is usually found in a relatively pure state, which means it can be formed by hammering without needing to be annealed by heat treating. It was found often enough in pieces large enough to allow fabrication with the most basic tools. It is soft enough to work with relatively soft tools. It is (relatively) incorruptible, so it can be cast and recast without losing its properties, and does not tarnish. Best of all, it can be joined by fusing with simple technology. (Source)

This St. Patrick’s Day, put on your green but also slip on some gold and take a walk back in history.

-LB

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There is no denying that rose gold is on the rise these days, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Everyone from Disney to Birkenstocks is picking up on this latest craze and customers can’t get enough.

What is rose gold anyway?

Rose gold is a combination of 75% gold, 21% copper and roughly 4% silver, and thanks to the added copper responsible for giving it that rosy color, it is an extremely durable metal making it an excellent choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. 18k rose gold is naturally less rosy in color due to the lesser amount of copper, where 14k rose gold is truly for those who are seeking a stronger rose or blush gold color. 

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Rose gold gives a nod toward traditional gold rings, while offering an updated and alternative look and feel. It’s soft blush color has given it a reputation of being a romantic metal as well.

Best of all, rose gold looks great with practically any diamond setting or can stand alone as a single band.

At La Bijouterie, we have a selection of rose gold engagement rings and wedding bands for you to try and gain some inspiration from. Compare rose gold to traditional gold, white gold or platinum, and learn which metal you like best.

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Another fun ring style is a stack of three metal bands, one rose gold, gold and white gold, or create a two-toned metal engagement ring. Are you as inspired by rose gold as we are? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on rose gold!

-LB

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Here at La Bijouterie, we are just as much a sucker for a romantic proposal as the next person, but every once in a great while, a story so romantic and so sweet comes along, it needs to be shared with the world.

Insert Jessica and Mark. It was 2014, and at that time they had been dating for about 5 years. Both were ready to go from girlfriend and boyfriend to engagement.

Jessica had seen a cute little jewelry store on Union Street in the Marina, and decided to do some research to see if this place was worth a visit. She read the Yelp reviews and was very pleased with what she saw. She then told Mark that they should make an appointment to get things moving.

To her delight Mark agreed and before they knew it they were looking at rings and meeting Set the jeweler. They looked at a few different ring styles but there was one in particular that Jessica fell in love with.

Just a minute after trying on this perfect ring, Mark cut their visit short, thanked Set for his time, and mentioned he wanted to do some additional research. Jessica was disappointed that the shopping trip was over so soon, but she simply brushed it off. 

A few weeks later, and no talk of an engagement ring, Jessica was getting ready to go on a trip to Paris with her mom. Mark would be staying in Boston with Jessica's dad.

After a couple days in Paris, Jessica and her mom took a boat tour down the Seine river to enjoy the different sites. Half way through the boat trip, and to Jessica’s surprise, she looked down at her phone and was receiving a call from Mark. Her immediate thought was, "Why would Mark be calling me when he knows I'm on this boat trip with my mom? Could something be wrong with my dad?!"

She picked up the phone and asked “Is everything okay?” Mark then immediately began to profess his love for her: “Jessica, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I love you and I want to know, will you marry me?”

Stunned and convinced her Dad put Mark up to this, she said, “Are you joking? You're proposing to me over the phone?” when her mom yelped, "JESSICA, TURN AROUND!"

There, at the top of the boat was Mark down on one knee. He secretly flown to Paris and had been hiding in the bathroom on the boat the whole time as to not be seen by Jessica or her mom. People on the boat needing to use the restroom actually thought he was a stowaway until he slipped his ticket under the door with the excuse that he was having stomach problems and needed to stay in the restroom.

He then confessed his love for Jessica, and everyone on the boat applauded and began taking pictures! As he went to put the ring on her finger, she noticed it was nothing like the ring they had looked at but she didn’t care. The only problem was the ring didn’t fit - it was too small.

But Mark wasn’t done with the surprises! He said "Oh the ring doesn't fit?" and Jessica said "No, it's a little too small - but I don't care, I'm just happy to be engaged to you." Mark then took another ring out from his pocket, the real ring, opened the box, and said "Let's try this ring, instead"… and it was just like the ring she fell in love with in the store, but even more beautiful than she could have ever imagined! Best of all, it fit perfectly! She couldn’t believe her eyes and thought to herself, how did he pull this off? He then told her he had been meeting with Set on and off for two weeks until the ring was just perfect.

Jessica was both shocked and impressed and knew that after all that planning, coordinating and stress, she was marrying her l'amour vrai (true love). 

 

The first month of 2018 seems to be flying by, but not as fast as these engagement rings are flying off the shelves. Have a look at the top engagement ring trends for the New Year.

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(Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring)

Three Stone Rings

Thanks to Meghan Markle’s recent engagement to Prince Harry himself, it’s not the princess cut that’s topping the trend chart, but instead her three-stone diamond engagement ring. The great thing about three stone rings is they still leave a lot of room for creativity when it comes to the cut and color of each stone.

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(Blake Lively’s Engagement Ring)

Oval Shape Diamonds

Ah yes, the stunning oval shaped diamond most notably made popular by Blake Lively. The great thing about an oval diamond is the fact that an oval cut is considered an elongated cut (same for an emerald cut), and elongated cut diamonds typically appear larger next to the same size round or square cut diamond.

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(Kelly Clarkson’s Engagement Ring)

High Grade Yellow Diamonds

High grade yellow diamonds are even more rare than a highly graded clear diamond which seems to make it a celebrity favorite. Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, Iggy Azalea and Heidi Klum are some notable celebrities who have made a home for these stunning diamonds right on their left hand. If you’re looking for something a bit less traditional that still packs a classy punch, these beautiful yellow diamonds might just be for you.

 

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(Paris Hilton’s Engagement Ring)

True Diamond Rings

There’s been a lot of debate around diamonds vs. lab made diamonds which is why we added some information about both to our FAQ page. This year, lab made rings are giving up their 15 minutes of fame and rightfully so. Couples looking to symbolize their marriage in an engagement ring are not digging that fact that lab made diamonds are made 'in a matter of six weeks in a microwave,  have no inherent value and most certainly won't be trending this year', according to Gemologist and Director at Pluczenik, Grant Mobley.

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(Alison Brie Engagement Ring)

Rose Gold

From  summer wine to fine metal and smartphone covers, Rosé or rose seems to be the go to color when it comes to choosing a setting for your engagement ring. Still falling into the gold category it offers a sense of nostalgia or tradition, combined with a little update. Rose gold is a classic choice that will surely stand the test of time.

What are some of the top trends you hope to see in 2018?

~ LB

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You’re about to make the biggest purchase of your life, yet wish you could clarify a few questions and clear up a few rumors you have heard about the diamond industry as a whole. Well look no further because we’re debunking some of the common misconceptions in hopes you breathe a sigh of relief.

Myth: Diamond mining is terrible for the environment

Reality: Considering little to no chemicals are used during diamond mining, (which would otherwise be harmful to the staff’s health), diamond mining is generally less harmful to the environment than other types of mining. Additionally, the orebodies used in mining are vertical not horizontal, ultimately affecting less of the surrounding area. Many companies have established protected habitats adjacent to their operations, often times larger than the mining operation itself.

Myth: There is a high chance that you could buy a conflict diamond

Reality: One of the most popularized myths of all is the issue of conflict diamonds — or “blood diamonds”. During the brutal civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola in the 1990s, the diamond industry has made great strides given what this time unveiled. Since the introduction of the Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme and the World Diamond Council (WDC) System of Warranties, more than 99.8% of the world’s diamonds are certified conflict-free, with the support of 81 countries.

Today the industry is mostly self-regulated, and various countries have additional layers of government regulation in place. The UK’s Government Diamond Office, for example, works closely with HM Revenue & Customs, the European Commission and civil groups to combat illicit diamonds.

Additionally, there are voluntary and self-regulation systems that are effective in maintaining the diamond pipeline. Like most jewelers, we want to ensure our customers have the confidence to know that our source of supply is conflict-free. Additionally, may jewelers subscribe to the Responsible Jewelery Council, De Beers’ Best Practice Principles, and the Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol.

Myth: The diamond industry is a monopoly, owned by De Beers.

Reality: The good news is no one company has had controlled the market for decades. This myth dates back to the 1980’s when De Beers did indeed control over 90% of the supply chain and was almost wholly responsible for marketing diamonds, having developed its famous “A Diamond Is Forever” slogan in the 1940s. This also led to the perception that De Beers “invented” the diamond engagement ring, when in fact the first was recorded as early as 1477 by Archduke Maximillian of Austria, who commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy.

By the 1990s, the market for new mining companies opened, breaking the hold that De Beers and Alrosa had on the industry and ushering in a new wave of diamond discoveries in Angola and Canada, according to Pouroulis.

Today De Beers company share of the diamond market is closer to 35%, while five other companies divide the remaining 65% of diamond share.

Myth: Diamond mining individuals and communities are mistreated and at-risk

Reality: To first understand why this myth is so false, you must first understand how the mining process works and how much diamond mines actually help strengthen a community. The isolated nature of diamond mines means the workforce lives close by and develops a community spirit, which the diamond industry supports by investing in hospitals, schools, training and bursary programs.

For example, 33% of Botswana’s GDP comes from diamond mining, and an estimated five million people globally have access to health care thanks to diamond revenues, according to diamondfacts.org.

Today’s mining is not done by hand but is quite automated with miners moving millions of tons of rocks per year. Miners operating large earth loaders in open pits or underground would never even see a diamond.

Myth: The diamond industry is secretive and closed to outsiders and not to be trusted.  

Reality: This myth simply stems from a place of fear. The high-value nature of diamonds may be to blame for the presumption that the industry is filled with inaccessible people and organizations, more comfortable with secrecy than transparency. The reality is there is a whole spectrum of hard-working people all at different levels of financial success. Just like any business, success in the diamond industry is all dependent on how a business has been built.

It’s not uncommon for society to expect to see businesses reporting on their social activities, financials and stakeholders to increase transparency and trust. This shift in societal expectation has created major changes in the diamond sector for the better - more transparency and more trust.

You might also be pleased to know that diamond retailers such as De Beers are not sitting on stockpiles of diamonds nowadays, but instead build up inventory before making a sale as any retailer would.

Have a question that wasn’t addressed above? Leave us a comment below!

~ LB

                                                                                  

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Last week I came across a NY Times article that breaks down the elements that actually make a diamond. This short article got me thinking about the difference between man made vs. naturally occurring diamonds, and the confusion around both. Below I’ve shared my thoughts on this.

A man made or lab made diamond is omitting the timelessness and everlasting value a naturally occurring diamond possesses. It takes away the precious scarcity and value that has made today’s diamonds so popular and desired. Although to the naked eye, these so-called diamonds may look similar, they are quite fake and unfortunately do not hold their value. Also, rarely talked about is the fact that these man made “diamonds” actually give off a blue hue.

Imagine years later passing down a lab made stone...one that no longer holds its value due to how common it is to create. Now imagine passing down a family heirloom diamond, one that no matter how old or dusty it becomes, remains timeless. A prized treasure for generations to come. It’s the scarcity and naturally occurring timeless beauty you are purchasing when you seek out a precious diamond gem.

As this article states, “Just as one cannot compare an original painting to a reproduction, one cannot compare a diamond to a manufactured replica”. In order to be called a diamond it must be naturally occurring.

Trends around diamond shape, diamond settings, and gem color may come and go, but the beauty that is of a true diamond is everlasting.

Have questions or comments? Share them them below, we’d love to hear from you.

-LB

Princess Harry Engagement Ring

By now most have heard the exciting news that Prince Harry has proposed to American actress and humanitarian, Meghan Markle. The ring he designed for the proposal is nothing shy of dazzling! It incorporates a large center stone from Botswana (a place near to both of their hearts), and two smaller size diamonds from his late Mother, Princess Diana.

The value of such a ring is quite simply put-- priceless. This is primarily due to the history of the side diamonds, as well as the size of the center stone.

According to an article written by Real Men, Real Style, in “British law, heirlooms were moveable properties that had to be inherited through the family estate. You could sell one that you owned while you were alive, but once you died, it couldn’t be willed away from the family.

These days, the law is obsolete, even in Great Britain’s landed classes. But the concept — a piece of moveable property tied by tradition to the family — is still strong in Western culture”.

The wonderful thing about heirloom diamonds is that they are so versatile. They can be added to other pieces of jewelry or can be reset into a completely new piece. When needed, they can also be sold in order to buy a newer, more modern piece that better suits the purchasers taste. Over time they become much more than a beautiful sparkling stone, they become a piece of history to be passed down from generation to generation-- a true family heirloom.

If there is a precious piece of jewelry that you or your family owns, you just may want to hold onto it. Someday it may just be priceless too.

LB

 

It’s hard to believe a new year will be here before we know it! The holiday months are typically filled with celebration and champagne, and end of year marriage proposals are no exception. This month we wanted to share our Top 5 engagement ring trends for 2017 that are sure to sparkle their way into the next year.


Oval Cut Diamonds

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Engagement Eternity Bands

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Halos and Double Halos

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Two-Toned Metals

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Colorful Center Stones

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Which ring is your favorite? Comment below and let us know!

LB

 

Our customers love coming in to recount their proposal stories. Some proposal tales have been worthy of Ryan Gosling's The Notebook performance. Others were closer to Seth Rogan in Knocked Up. While it is very much the thought that counts, a dreamy proposal with some effort can really mean a lot to a girl. 

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do need to make it special.

Here’s our complete guide to proposing to your girlfriend - from romantic dinner ideas to exotic locales travel precautions. 

Dinner time 

Proposing at dinner is traditional and quite spectacular. Everything you need is at your finger tips. The champagne (make sure you have it come after you propose so the surprise isn’t ruined); the intimacy of a cozy table (ask the restaurant for a corner booth); the excitement of having everyone around you toast and congratulate you afterwards. The best way to execute this is to call the restaurant in advance. You may want to propose right after the appetizers come, which is a natural lull in service and good time for to prearrange for the wait-staff to let you be for a while so you can execute your proposal. 

Great locations for such a proposal are your favorite restaurant where everyone knows you guys or the site of your first date. We’ve even heard of fantastic proposals where all of their family and friends joined the couple for dessert and drinks at the restaurant after the proposal.  

If you choose to go the fancy restaurant route instead, then try to conceal your intentions. For example, you can try to throw her off by telling her that you want to go to dinner there because it’s with an important potential client or an out of town friend. This will ensure that a proposal won’t be on her mind. Then set your phone alarm and pretend that your client or friend is calling you. Step outside to take the call and say they canceled on you and it’ll just be the two of you. She won’t be disappointed and it will guarantee a surprise.

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In front of the jewelry store

Almost every girl vividly remembers Breakfast at Tiffany’s and that episode of Sex and the City when Charlotte picks our her ring from the jewelry store window. Imagine her giddiness if you grab brunch with her and then take a stroll down Union. You stop in front of La Bijouterie and say something like: “Should we get you a beautiful engagement ring today?” She might laugh but right then you can tell her everything you feel and walk right in to choose the ring of her dreams. (Of course you'll want to give us a call in advance so that we’re prepared for you to come in and choose among a variety of diamonds and rings in your budget range.) 

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 Doing a mundane task

If you really want to guarantee a surprised reaction - give her the ring while you’re doing the dishes or walking the dog. Having a proposal come out of nowhere is very exciting. You can have her family on standby later, or take her to dinner afterwards. 

This is a particularly great proposal plan if she thinks romantic comedies are cheesy or if she isn’t the type to like frilly dresses and random strangers congratulating her. Just be sure that what you say isn’t mundane. Make it very heartfelt and romantic, and she'll have the most unique story of all of her friends.

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On a beach or mountain top

Proposing at the beach or on a cliff can be very dreamy for many couples. If you hike or visit the beach often, then treat it like an everyday activity so that she doesn’t suspect anything. If you don’t often visit the beach, and you insist on having a beach day out of nowhere, then she might be suspicious, especially if you’ve discussed engagement in the months prior. So just make sure that the beach is a common activity for you and that you have a way to maintain the element of surprise. 

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Abroad on vacation together

This is a very romantic way to propose. Especially if you do it when she least expects it. 

If you haven't let her in on your engagement plans, you have the freedom to propose in just about any famously romantic locale - whether that’s the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Just be sure to pull her away from the tourists so that you don’t get interrupted. 

There’s something very sweet and romantic about proposing somewhere like the Empire State Building or on a Venetian gondola. Like a 1950’s Clark Gable movie, it’s classic and guaranteed romance. 

While guys often think it’s cheesy, girls love tried and true proposal edifices like the Eiffel Tower; you’re almost guaranteed that she’ll cry happy tears. 

On the other hand, if she’s aware of the fact that you might propose soon, then you can still absolutely propose overseas, you just need to be strategic about it. If she suspects that you have a ring in your pocket, then be sure that you don’t visit traditional proposal spots before you propose. She might be anticipating a proposal, and it can be a bit of a let down if you take her somewhere that feels like a proposal destination and you don’t pop the question. 

A few things to keep caution of regarding travel w/your ring. Every airport is different, but all of them do body scans. So if you keep your ring in your pocket, be careful that they don’t make you expose it in front of her. If you want to let it run through screening in your carry on luggage, be sure you place it in a secure nonchalant bag so that it doesn’t get stolen or fall out.

If you are traveling somewhere potentially dangerous, it may be smart to propose using a cubic zirconia - also known as a CZ - so that you don’t risk getting it stolen or lost. Make sure that the diamond is around the same size that you plan to give to her eventually, so that’s it’s similar to the real thing she’ll be wearing.  

After you’ve proposed and shared the special moment, ask her: “What kind of an engagement ring would you like?”  The next part is extra fun - she gets to work with you and your jeweler to help design her engagement ring.  

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A word to the wise - whether you purchase and design your ring with or without her, be sure to hide the ring receipts somewhere she will never find them. Many proposals been ruined when the check receipts or bank statements arrived at the house. Also be sure to engage her in some element of proposal talk beforehand so that you can figure out what kind of ring she wants. For more proposal tips check out our blog post on how to create the perfect ring for her.