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A Diamond By Any Other Name Just Isn’t As Sweet
Last week I came across aNY Times articlethat 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.
Colored Gemstones Are Taking Center Stage
“Don’t be like the rest of them darling.” - Coco Chanel.
In the wise words of Coco Chanel herself, being different and being daring is what gives life it’s luster. Although diamonds may be your best friend, colored gemstones are adding lots of sparkle when it comes to engagement rings, milestone jewelry and heirloom pieces.
Colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, colored diamonds and emeralds are some of the rarest and most precious stones to own. Check out this historic 6-carat Farness Blue Diamond to get an idea.
Today, Millennials are changing the engagement ring market quite a bit, as we are beginning to see a shift in engagement ring preferences. Although brilliant diamonds still reign supreme, more and more gemstone seekers are opting for colored stones and rings made out of unique materials.
A Bit of History
Engagement rings originated in Rome and interestingly enough, did not originally include diamonds, but instead, colored gemstones. It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that diamonds gained popularity. As a matter of fact, pastel colored diamonds are quickly gaining popularity this year. Check out our Latest Trends for 2021 to learn more.
When it comes to adding color to your jewelry ensemble, there’s more that meets the eye than hue alone. Take Sapphires for example. Arguably, the gemstone of royalty, and often associated with a deep blue color, hello Kate Middleton, Sapphires actually come in every color, with the exception of red. Due to their hardness, sapphires are the second hardest (non-diamond) gem, as well as the most sought after. Their deep rich color and complex properties make them an excellent choice when it comes to creating an engagement ring, milestone gift, or simply as a way to say I love you to your Valentine. Check out this ocean blue Sapphire ring for inspiration.
It may not be easy being green, but if you’re an emerald, it sure is beautiful. Understood to be Cleopatra’s gem of choice, Emerald gemstones range in green shades from light to a deep dark color. Like Sapphire’s, Emeralds have a hardness of 8, though do require a little extra TLC. Their unique inclusions and fractures require a routine tune up of oil and filler, but their stunning color makes it all worth it. Check out this stunning Oval Emerald Engagement Ring with a Diamond Halo.
A gemstone by any other name, wouldn’t look so sweet. It may come as no surprise the rubies are often associated with love and the heart, which make this gemstone the most universally romantic. When set in an engagement ring, it makes a striking statement. Like a Sapphire, it’s hardness and durability make it a great choice for an engagement ring setting. According to GemSociety, “Pigeon blood red,” a slightly purplish red with a medium-dark tone and vivid saturation, is the most sought after ruby color. Check out this incredible Art Deco Ruby Ring or these Ruby Earrings with a Diamond Halo.
Did you know Roughly 1 in 10,000 diamonds exhibits natural color? Those with the most intense colors are prized more highly and, thus, cost more. Colored diamond options include bold canary yellow, sparkling pink, pastel green, eye-catching black, and champagne. Pink diamonds rank among the most expensive according to Gem Society due to their muted, yet sophisticated color. Perhaps this Yellow Oval Diamond Ring will make your heart beat a little faster.
Looking to give someone you love the gift of a lifetime? Book a no stress appointment today. We look forward to helping you create a one-of-a-kind piece.
Founder of La Bijouterie
Despite A Third Covid Winter, US Retail Sales Are Jumping
It would have been impossible to predict the ripple effect the Covid-19 virus and global pandemic has had on the retail economy. What the world initially thought would be the demise of brick and mortar businesses, ended up being an opportunity for them to pivot and get to the core of what their consumers were looking for.
For many consumers, it was a moment of realization-- that when it comes to buying something as personal and monumental as an engagement ring, in-person is always the best option.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), "US retail sales rose in September 2021 as consumer fears over the Covid-19 Delta variant redirected spending toward goods rather than services. However, it’s possible September spending could have grown even more if not for the shipping bottleneck at US ports. Overall, the September report is very promising for a strong finish for the year. In September alone, sales increased year on year in all nine of the categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — had the highest growth, up 23%.”
This data tells us that people are choosing to celebrate major life milestones now more than ever. If nothing else, being caught in a pandemic has forced each of us to realize the fragility of life, and why spending it and celebrating with those with love should never be taken for granted.
Even during the height of lockdown, when people were hesitant to see family, we found that our customers still opted to come in person in order to learn about the diamond buying and ring creation process. Our incredible customers still wanted to see and touch and purchase in person. They wanted to get to know our team and build a level of trust. These are the reasons why in-person diamond shopping can never be replaced by a website’s algorithms or AI bots.
Logistically speaking, a diamond should be inspected top to bottom with a magnifying glass by both the jeweler and the buyer, so you have a clear understanding of what you’re actually purchasing. An online website has no pressure to offer you a top quality diamond at a reasonable price since there is no official face to the brand. No one person's name or livelihood is on the line. A much different scenario for local retailers.
Last March, Blue Nile, one of the largest online retailers of diamonds, announced plans to grow its showroom presence from five to 55 locations within the next three years. Others are also dipping their toes back in the showroom waters, according to The International Council of Shopping Centers, as some things just don’t translate well to an online shopping experience.
As a company, we’ve always believed in the value of in-person shopping, especially as it relates to something as important and meaningful as an engagement ring. Ten years ago, when La Bijouterie was formed, we made the purposeful decision to open a brick and mortar location, not an online store, because we value the importance of helping customers in person, especially when making one the biggest and most emotionally charged decisions of their lives. It seems as though today’s consumers value the same.
Want to learn more about our thoughts on purchasing a diamond online? Check out our previous blog post, “5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Buying a Diamond Online”.
There is no denying the retail industry is alive and well. At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision, book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.
At Your Service,
Founder, La Bijouterie
GIA: Fake Certificates Accompanied Lab-Grown, Treated Diamonds
Take our word for it, no one likes a dishonest jeweler more than an honest one. Recently, an article was published stating that a jeweler outside of the US who was known to sell lab-grown and treated diamonds had been charged with selling diamonds that had fake GIA inscriptions.
According to JCKonline, “The inscriptions were linked to GIA grading reports that indicated the accompanying diamonds had higher-quality characteristics than they actually did, '' the publication stated. The accused allegedly “targeted comparatively less-experienced businessmen,” a police inspector told the newspaper.”
But this wasn’t the only recent report of fraudulent certifications. Another Diamond With Fake GIA Inscription Surfaces, this time in Antwerp. According to the article, “During testing, lab graders discovered the diamond had indeed undergone high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) treatment even though the GIA grading report that corresponded with the inscription number made no mention of color treatment. Upon detailed microscopic investigation, graders noticed that even though the stone’s carat weight, cut and final clarity grade (VS1) matched the report, the clarity characteristics, while “quite similar,” did not match up exactly.”
If these findings weren’t unsettling enough, these fake certifications tend to happen mostly with lab-grown diamonds. But what does this mean for potential consumers?
These news articles bring to light some important topics relating to the circulation of fake stones, as well as the legitimacy of the jewler you decide to work with, and the overall integrity of lab grown diamonds.
As with most things nowadays, the internet is used in the beginning stages of the sales cycle, meaning, individuals start their research there. There are many online websites that promise you a great deal and premium quality, but it’s important to do your own research.
At La Bijouterie, we encourage clients to do online research of their own, and then come to us with questions in order to talk through the pricing, certification process, and guarantees you found online. You may be surprised at what you learn, which brings us to our next point-- finding a jeweler you can trust.
When it comes to avoiding fake stones, this is where going with a trusted jeweler is imperative. It’s more important than ever to know who you’re working with. But how to find one you ask? We suggest starting with their Yelp and Google reviews.
Some questions to ask yourself as you’re browsing include are the reviews mostly positive, and does it seem like this company has a lot of repeat clients? Next, check out their social media pages… are they active, do they engage with those commenting? Do they promise a no stress appointment and are geared towards educating? If not, it’s probably best to keep looking.
Remember, when it comes to online shopping, less expensive doesn’t always point to a good deal. Make sure you do your due diligence and understand your 4 C’s of diamond buying and come to the initial meeting with questions.
Lastly, when it comes to lab-grown diamonds, here are some things to consider.
Although their chemical structure is the same as a natural diamond, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a lab-created diamond cannot be called “real” because it does not come from the Earth and it is not a gemstone. (Source)
In trying to differentiate natural diamonds from the lab grown alternative, the Natural Diamond Council quite truthfully underscores natural diamonds' rarity.
“Natural diamonds are finite and rare. Diamonds are becoming rarer every day because no new significant deposits have been discovered in about 30 years,” it states. However, lab-grown diamonds can be manufactured in potentially unlimited quantities similar to any manufactured product, thus they are not finite and cannot be considered rare.”
To which, the NDC adds, “Natural diamonds obtain their value from their scarcity as a natural, billion-year-old precious gem and have shown over decades to grow in value as they become more rare.”
It’s important to consider Price vs Value. When it comes to value, you can’t put a price on rarity. As basic economics states, once demand goes up, and inventory goes down, price goes up. So where does this leave us, as each claims they are better than the other for different reasons? More importantly, how does one ensure they are not getting taken advantage of? In our optionion, it all comes down to trust and transparency.
At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in integrity, only working with distributions we have a personal relationship with, quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision, book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.
At Your Service,
Founder, La Bijouterie
How to plan a cinema-worthy surprise engagement proposal for your girlfriend
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
La Bijouterie Welcomes Carol R., G.G., G.I.A, as Head of Diamond Sales
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LA BIJOUTERIE LTD, AUGUST 13, 2021
La Bijouterie Welcomes Carol R., G.G., G.I.A, as Head of Diamond Sales
This exciting addition to our team comes during a period of tremendous growth for La Bijouterie and transformation within the consumer purchasing ecosystem.
San Francisco, CA- La Bijouterie, a jewelry store designing custom pieces made with ethically sourced diamonds, welcomes Carol R. as Head of Sales. Carol comes to us from Barneys New York, where she worked in Diamond Sales and brings 40 years of experience to La Bijouterie, beginning August 9, 2021.
“We are thrilled to have Carol join our team as she has a customer first mentality and a real passion and knowledge for diamonds,” said Set F., Founder of La Bijouterie.
Carol is certified by both the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), as well as the American Gem Society, and has worked for some of the world's leading luxury diamond brands such as Tiffany and Co.
She will be instrumental in offering top tier customer service, while educating and guiding potential customers with one of the biggest purchases of their lives. As a company, we are committed to making the diamond buying experience one that is enjoyable and memorable. We have a no-pressure approach and only work with conflict free diamonds.
About La Bijouterie
As a third generation jeweler, we believe that an engagement ring is more than just a piece of jewelry, it’s a handcrafted family heirloom, it’s a symbol of love, and oftentimes, the start of a family. We attribute our success to the trust we've built with clients over the years. When making one of the biggest purchases of your life, it’s imperative to have someone that can break down cost, design and most importantly, make you feel comfortable. Being local and serving the greater Bay Area means no feelings of being left in the dark or taken advantage of.
Head of Marketing & Finance
(415) 775- 6622
The Engagement Ring You Can’t Put a Price To
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.
The Top 5 Engagement Ring Trends That Are Here to Stay
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
Engagement Eternity Bands
Halos and Double Halos
Colorful Center Stones
Which ring is your favorite? Comment below and let us know!
Understanding the Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Diamond Industry
Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. It has come into our lives rapidly, and transformed the world in many positive waysmaking it easier for people to contact friends, send emails, and ride a ride-sharing app. But when it comes to AI and something as personal as engagement ring shopping, is there a place for automation?
To answer this, it’s important to first understand the longevity behind diamonds as well as the reason jewelry even exists today. You may be surprised to know that most diamonds are at least 990,000,000 years old, with many as old as 3.2 billion years, (Source). It has been discovered that the first jewelry making occurred 142,000 to 150,000 years ago by Archaeologists working in the Bizmoune Cave in southwest Morocco, with the sole intent of expressing identity, (Source). Understanding that jewelry making was born from the desire to express oneself via art and is linked to one's identity, greatly contradicts AIs automated approach to jewelry shopping.
Blue Nile, a well known jewelry company that started entirely as an online retailer and disrupted the diamond industry, is now opening multiple brick and mortar retail stores due to the realization that buying something as personal as an engagement ring or heirloom piece requires communication, education and observing the item in person. They have foregone their online only model to meet consumers needs and accommodate those who feel never seeing their diamond in person before purchase is too risky.
Diamonds have value in terms of cash money, and obviously a strictly graded diamond is more valuable than a poorly rated diamond. There is always a reason why one diamond is less expensive than another. More often than not, potential buyers believe the difference in price is due to retail margins, however the most common reason for price inequality is diamond inequality. This is not something AI bots take into account because there are so many variables to consider. Be sure you’re asking these important questions to any diamond retailer you work with.
The most important thing to consider when buying a diamond is both the diamond and the dealer, not just the diamond report. Diamond reports do not assign dollar amounts, they only describe diamond characteristics. This is where real life jewelers play a vital role in helping to determine the price and guide you around getting the best value for your budget, a talent that cannot be replicated by AI.
Did you know that online diamond stores do not offer any quality guarantee? If something is in fact wrong with the diamond you purchased, (say an imperfection you weren’t expecting, or the color is off), it would result in you overpaying for a diamond you thought was a great deal. The truth is there is a lot to consider outside of the 4Cs that someone who isn’t in the diamond profession would have no way of knowing, say a robot. Read more about how online retailers cannot offer aquality guarantee.
As a retail business owner, we believe our mission is to add value to the consumer and help guide in the purchasing process in order to ensure the customer makes an educated decision at a fair price and leaves feeling proud of their purchase. Explaining why one diamond is half the price of another is important information to have in real time when considering diamonds.
Twelve years ago, when La Bijouterie was formed, we made the purposeful decision to open a brick and mortar location, not an online store, because we value the importance of helping customers in person, especially when making the biggest and most emotionally charged decisions of their lives. It seems as though today’s consumers value the same.
While Blue Nile may use AI to help determine style suggestions based on purchase history and tracking, there’s a good amount of marketing that goes into what you’re being targeted without really understanding why or the unique footprint of the stone you’re considering.
In the case of engagement ring shopping, AI takes the humanization, the identity of expression, and the personalization out of something as intimate as picking out a tangible symbol of your love for the person you wish to spend your life with.
At La Bijouterie, we take a personalized 1:1 in-person appointment approach. We adopted this way of conducting business over 6 years ago because it allows us to educate the potential buyer and it has proven to be most successful. Now more than ever, customers are seeing the value of dedicated and uninterrupted appointments. It’s a time to ask questions and express any concerns you may have.
Interested in setting up a Phase I appointment? You can do sohere. To learn more about the “Reasons To Think Twice Before Purchasing a Diamond Online,”click here. Want to learn about the 4 C’s of Diamond purchasing,click here. As always,reach out to us with any questions you may have. We love hearing from you!
At Your Service,
Founder of La Bijouterie