engagement rings

  • 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. 

    The Sapphire

    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.

     

    Emeralds

    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.

     

    Rubies

    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

     

    Colored Diamonds

    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. 

    Merci,

    Set F.

    Founder of La Bijouterie

  • From Clicks to Bricks- A Modern Day Tale of Consumer Buying

     

    Picture Source: Unsplash

     

    If you’ve ever considered the pros and cons of buying a diamond online versus in person, you may be interested to know that Blue Nile, one of the largest online retailers of diamonds, just 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.

     

    This brings us to the question of why. 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.

     

    According to CBRE Retail Services Group Senior Vice President Danny Jacobson, “all retail is reimagining their store experience, and showrooms are a way to draw more people into their space or to supplement their online offering.” Consumers are wising up to the uncomfortable at best, rules around buying a diamond online, and companies like Blue Nile, implementing the rules, are taking a hit because of it. 

     

    For instance, 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. 

     

    This brings us to quality. 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.

     

    Although the customer experience may be at the forefront of why mega online retailers are opening brick and mortar stores, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the need to offset the monetary ramifications of the Tax Lawthat was recently implemented for online diamond retailers. 

     

    More than anything else, placing trust in the establishment you’re buying your diamond from is of utmost importance as it goes hand in hand with the customer experience you hope to receive. 

     

    Buying a diamond online means making one of the biggest financial purchases of your life completely blind. As you might imagine, it takes years to understand and learn how to evaluate a diamond, which is why buying online can be so tricky and unforgiving. 

     

    Do you really want an AI bot determining the future ring or earrings your partner will wear for the rest of their life? Do yourself a favor and go with a jeweler that prides themselves on the customer service they offer, and has many repeat customers. Having a tangible location allows us to meet you in person (safely), and help you every step of the way. 

     

    Have questions? Leave them below or book a no stress appointment to get your questions answered in real time. In the meantime, check out our reviews on Google and Yelp

     

    We can’t wait to see you!

     

    ~ LB 

  • 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,

    Set F.

    Founder, La Bijouterie

     

  • 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.

    Media Contact: 

    Tal T.

    Head of Marketing & Finance

     

    (415) 775- 6622

    www.LB-SF.com

  • Opening Pandora's Box 

     

     

     

    If you happen to keep a pulse on diamond industry latest news, it’s likely you heard about Pandora, a jewelry charm company’s latest announcement regarding their “honorable” venture to only use lab made diamonds for environmentally friendly reasons. 

    At a first glance these headlines make this decision seem responsable, even honorable, but in further unearthing the claims Pandora makes, it’s quite evident that the only thing they have successfully done is fooled the mainstream media, lost the trust of future customers, and made a mockery of themselves. 

    Are Lab Grown and Naturally Occurring  Diamonds Really The Same?

    The first claim they make is that lab made diamonds have similar properties to that of a naturally occurring diamond. In actuality, a lab-grown diamond is a man-made product that shares the chemical and optical properties of natural diamonds, but whose origin and value differ greatly. 

    Lab-grown diamonds are produced in factories in approximately 2-3 weeks using one of two methods originally developed in the 1960s for industrial purposes – HPHT and CVD. These methods artificially replicate natural conditions found in the Earth, forcing carbon atoms into a crystal structure. In more recent years, technology improvements have allowed factories to produce lab-grown diamonds in qualities that allow for uses beyond industrial. (Source)

    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)

    Only a natural diamond has the rarity that supports its economic and emotional value. Consumers use diamonds as a symbol of love for that very reason. We all want to feel special, unique and rare, especially in our relationships, and a diamond communicates that message.(Read more on this topic)

    But people buy diamonds because they know they are literally buying a piece of the earth- a precious gem that was fostered over the course of millions of years, and then transformed by artisans and professionals into a beautifully shining stone. This is the value and the magic carried out by natural diamonds, and purchasing a diamond means respecting the way nature intended it to be formed. 

    Alternatively, what value does a man made diamond carry? The rough material is made in machines and machines can transform them into polished stones like cookie cutters because not a lot of work is needed around a pattern similar to that of a waffle- and you already know what it’s composed of.

    Man made diamonds carry the same value as any other machine made products, while diamonds carry an almost priceless value. Something that can be cherished for generations. (Read more about this topic)

    Are Lab Grown Diamonds Better For the Environment?

    Pandora wastes no time positioning lab made diamonds as an “ethical choice,” versus natural diamonds. It’s quite ironic that they should bring ethics into what could be considered the diamond industries greatest marketing ploy in quite some time, especially considering Pandora used mined diamonds in about 50,000 of the 85 million pieces it created in 2020. 

    This misleading narrative has conveniently left out the fact that 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.

    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. (Read more on this topic)

    What About The Future of the Diamond Industry?

    We’re reaching a point in our industry where lines are being drawn in the hypothetical man made versus lab made diamond sand. Customers will have no choice but to decide if they’re for or against the marketing manufactured narrative relating to lab made diamonds, and the type of impermanence they offer, or if they believe in the true value of a man made diamond. 

    It will likely come down to what feels right for you as an individual and what tangible legacy you’re hoping to leave behind. A family heirloom perhaps? 

    Coaching individuals through decisions such as these is what we pride ourselves on, and have been doing for the last 10 years. (Read more on this topic)

    At La Bijouterie, we never work with conflict diamonds. We strictly work with ethically sourced GIA certified diamonds, and you will receive a GIA certificate and appraisal with your jewel. We’ve worked in the diamond wholesale business for generations and only work with trusted and ethical sources.

    If you’re not sure where to begin in your quest for a diamond, come talk to us. What we pride ourselves on most is educating individuals and helping you make decisions in a no pressure environment. You can book an appointment today or read our client reviewson Yelp.

    We’re always at your service,

    Set F.

    Founder of La Bijouterie

  • The “What To Know Before You Go” Diamond Buying Guide

     

    Not many things in life carry the emotional thrill that comes with buying the perfect piece for the one you want to spend forever with. If you’re starting to venture into this world of diamond buying, let this guide help you make educated and stress free decisions. Here are  Five Tips to consider before you go ring shopping.

    Tip 1: Have a clear understanding of the 4 C’s of Diamond Buying

    The 4 C’s of diamond buying include: Cut, Clarity, Carat and Color. Having a basic understanding of these 4 diamond characteristics will help you have better conversations with your jeweler and offer you the vocabulary to ask important questions with. 

    Tip 2: Set a budget that works for you. 

    Forget every rule of thumb you’ve heard in the past, and instead make sure you are comfortable with the amount you’re looking to spend. This number will also enable your jeweler to show you all that’s possible. Because of our customized approach, we have engagement rings that fit every budget and style. We do not work off commission so you can feel confident knowing that this will be a stress free experience. 

    Tip 3: Decide which of the 4 C’s will be most important to you and your partner. 

    For some, carat size is the most important, while others focus on color or clarity, but the “C” that determines the sparkle/luster and beauty of a diamond is the cut. Some other things to also consider are colored diamonds or fancy cut non-traditional diamonds.  

    Tip 4: Understanding the role Table Size plays in a diamond. 

    Table size or table percentages indicate the ratio of the width of the diamond's top facet (table) in relation to the width of the entire stone. When it comes to diamond tables, bigger is not always better. If the diamond table is too large, the upper facets on the crown will lack the room to disperse light. Generally, the best-looking diamonds have table sizes in the range of 55% to 60% (measured as a percentage of the diameter of the diamond). The size of the table is more important in larger diamonds, say over 1/2 ct.

    Tip 5: Verify that it is a GIA certified diamond

    Feel confident asking to see the diamond certificate. This is a monumental purchase so of course you want to know that what you’re buying is authentic and conflict free. GIA tests every diamond submitted to establish its authenticity as a diamond and whether it's been subjected to treatments. GIA reports provide a full description of the diamond, including color, weight, measurements, and cutting style, and will disclose any known treatments.

    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,

    Set F.

    Founder, La Bijouterie

  • The Best Time of Year to Propose

    beach proposal.jpg

    Ah yes, the smell of summer is in the air and with that comes the excitement of summer proposals. Although summer isn’t the most popular time to propose, (that would be winter, more specifically, Christmas Day), it is when many who are hoping for a summer wedding wish they would be proposed to.

    Typically speaking, planning a wedding takes roughly a year, so whichever month you decide to propose often times determines the season of your upcoming nuptials. This is because most vendors require you to book at least a year out.

    Instead of using a cliche holiday like Valentine’s Day or your significant other’s Birthday to pop the question, try finding a special date that the two of you can celebrate and reminisce on each year.

    There is no right or wrong time to propose since it is so personal to each couple. Perhaps hinting to find out if a snowy white proposal vs. a beach proposal is something your person might prefer and working off of that. Are you planning an upcoming trip with just the two of you? That might also be a great time to get down on one knee. Does your love like being the center of attention? If so, do we dare suggest a dance mob as part of their ultimate proposal.  On the flip side, a more reserved, private person might just prefer a quiet in home proposal.

    One helpful tip that can make a lasting impression is finding out if having family nearby is important to them once they do get proposed to. Meeting up with both of your families can be the grand finale to a wonderful day!

    Whatever the type of proposal or time of year you decide, when it comes from the heart there is little else that matters.

    Cheers!

    -LB

  • The Engagement Ring You Can’t Put a Price To

    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

     

  • The Rise of Local Connections

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    Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash

    It’s an all too common misconception that purchasing a diamond online is cheaper than ordering one through a brick and mortar retailer. This misconception stemmed mostly from the lack of sales tax for online purchases. Did you know that as of December 1, 2018, online retailers began collecting and remitting sales tax for online orders placed by consumers, making the idea of a blind, online purchase, even less appealing. 

    The once financial benefit of buying a diamond online has drastically changed. Today more than ever, consumers are looking to have a local connection with a jeweler and build a level of trust before making such a large financial decision. The bond you build during an educational in-person visit is unmatched.

    Take Blue Nile for example, a diamond retail company that was born online and built to disrupt the whole diamond/jewelry business. They have now been forced to open five retail stores just to stay relevant.

    The idea of wanting human to human interaction isn’t something new. Today, consumers want to be educated and feel like they’re not getting taken advantage of, regardless of the industry. 

    When purchasing an engagement ring, they want to physically see the diamond they are purchasing and play an instrumental role in the process of designing it for their significant other. 

    The truth is, when it comes to diamond shopping, there’s a lot more to consider than just the listed price on the website.  

    For one, you want to ensure you’re being offered a quality guarantee. This means if something is in fact wrong with the diamond you purchased, (say an imperfection you weren’t expecting, or the color is off), you want to know that this can all be taken care of for you. With an online purchase, this type of quality guarantee just doesn’t exist. Buying a diamond with no guarantee could result in you overpaying for a diamond you thought was a great deal. 

    A second thing to consider is the Customer Experience.  Buying a diamond online means making one of the biggest financial purchases of your life completely blind. As you might imagine, it takes years to understand and learn how to evaluate a diamond, which is why buying online can be so tricky and unforgiving. Sure you can try to pawn-off a faulty diamond, but you will end up losing hundreds, if not thousands in the process. Do yourself a favor and go with a jeweler that prides themselves on the customer service they offer, and has many repeat customers. 

    Purchasing a diamond online means you’re not able to work with an experienced jeweler to come up with a diamond ring, (setting and all), that fits within your budget. It’s a common misconception that a shopping online will get you a better deal. An experienced jeweler can help you prioritize what is most important to you and your significant other, (say diamond size perhaps), and find you the best options given your criteria and budget.

    At La Bijouterie, our goal is to find a diamond that makes sense for you by sharing our years of knowledge to help you make the best decision. The in-person shopping experience is here to stay, we are for it. As a matter of fact, we’re huge purveyors of it. 

    Curious to learn more about what we offer? Book an appointment today and check out our reviews on Yelp. We’re here to help!

    -LB

  • 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

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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