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  • CLASS IS IN SESSION: THE 4 C’S OF DIAMOND BUYING

     

    Ah yes, summer is almost here and love is in the air. This time of year is famous for intimate proposals and big celebrations. If you’re thinking of popping the big question in the coming months, make sure you do your homework to educate yourself around what to look for when it comes to buying the perfect diamond. 

    If you can’t list the “4 C’s” of diamond buying off hand, that’s okay… check out our guide below and feel empowered the next time you step into a jewelry store. 

    So what exactly are the 4 C’ of diamond buying?

    CUT- how the diamond is essentially shaped

    CLARITY - A scale that determines how clear the diamond is, vs how many imperfections or how much cloudiness exists-- aka: how sparkly the diamond is

    CARAT- The weight of the diamond

    COLOR- A scale which measure how closely the diamond approach colorlessness

    Bonus C: COST- A lot goes into determining this amount. This is an area jewelers get certified in and should be able to explain to you in detail. 

    Let’s being with CUT:

    The cut of the diamond determines how well it reflects light. When a diamond is well cut, the light is reflected from one facet to another, and is then dispersed through the top of the stone, making the diamond dazzling to the eye. However, if a diamond is cut too deep some of the light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion, brilliance is lost, and the center of the diamond will appear dark. If a diamond is cut too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected, again brilliance is lost and the diamond will appear glassy and dark.

    Cut is the hardest aspect for any diamond cutter or polisher to master, however modern day certificates assist you in making the right decision. GIA (gemological institute of america) is the most respected of all diamond certificates and assesses cut ranging from excellent as the best all the way down to poor as the worst. At La Bijouterie, we strictly work with excellent cut diamonds that have been hand picked to maximize brilliance. Hearts and arrows are a modern term commonly used by most industry workers as a way for the public to view and see eight hearts from the back of a diamond, and eight clearly viable arrows.

    At La Bijouterie, we're Certified Diamond Graders from the Gemological Institute of America and the Diamond High Council in Antwerp. It is our duty to show you and explain to you why one diamond's cut is better than another.

    CLARITY

    Each and every diamond is one of a kind. No single diamond is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification (under a loupe), except for diamonds that have been graded 'flawless' by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These are extremely rare, so much so that most jewelers have never even seen one let alone sold one! The GIA clarity scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the vs (very slightly included) or si (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.The grades range from flawless to included as follows:

    • Flawless (fl) - no inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.

    • Internally flawless (if) - no inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.

    • Very, very slightly included (vvs1 and vvs2) – inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification.

    • Very slightly included (vs1 and vs2) – inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

    • Slightly included (si1 and si2) – inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.

    • Included (i1, i2, and i3) – inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

    CARAT

    Now that we’ve taken a deep dive into the first and second of the C’s, cut and clarity, let’s move on to carat weight, and no, we’re not talking about the kind you put in a salad. (wink!)

    Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values depending on the other factors (clarity, color, cut and other dimensions).

    COLOR

    Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color in the white diamond, then the higher the value. GIA's color grading scale for diamonds is the industry and international standard. 

    The scale begins with the letter d, representing colorless, and continues with increasing color to the letter z, which is essentially light yellow or brown. Each letter grade isn't an exact color, but it is a range of color, meaning a diamond of d color at the top of the range will be whiter, while a diamond near the bottom of the range will look more like an e color. 

    It takes a diamond expert to distinguish these differences. White diamond engagement rings are the most sought after. If you are considering a white diamond, g-h color diamonds are most popular as they do not display a yellow tinge. i to j color diamonds could also look white under natural daylight (sunlight), and there are multiple ways that an expert designer can set the diamond in order to make any hint of yellow undetectable.

    Bonus: COST!

    Although not an official C, we consider cost just as important as the rest. 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. Pricing a diamond is much more complicated than it seems. 

    We encourage clients, especially those considering the online route, to conduct a little experiment...

    1. Go to a well-known online diamond retailer website.

    2. Enter in the a carat size, color, clarity, and cut into the provided filters (the 4 C's). If you're unsure where to begin, we recommend entering in a carat weight of 1.00, color G, clarity VVS1, and excellent cut. Press search.

    3. Notice the results they give you are vast. Even though the diamonds you are seeing have the exact same specifications, their prices range by the thousands.

    4. Decide which one you should choose and why.

    Of course this is easier said than done.The idea of this exercise is to simply show you how complicated it is to choose a diamond. At La Bijouterie, we love helping our customers find the exact diamond that fits any budget and any style, and one that will impress the person on the receiving end.

    When it comes to customer experience, you can rest assured that your satisfaction is our utmost concern and that your happiness is our singular focus. Curious to learn more? Book an appointment today and check out our reviews on Yelp. We can’t wait to serve you!

    ~ The LB Team

  • 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

  • How to Buy The Perfect Diamond To Last a Lifetime In 4 Simple Steps

     

    So you’re thinking of buying that special someone in your life a piece of timeless jewelry, or more specifically, a diamond ring, but where do you even begin?

    This is a question we love to simplify for potential buyers because let’s face it, diamond buying can get overwhelming. Typically speaking, having an initial meeting with your jeweler 4 months before you’d like to propose is what we would recommend. With that said, there are certain rings that need far less lead time.

    Below we’ve broken down “How to Buy the Perfect Diamond” into four simple steps for consideration:

    Step 1: Play Detective

    It’s important to have an idea as to what style jewelry your partner typically wears. Are they into bulky style jewelry or more minimal, dainty jewelry? Do they like gold, white gold or platinum? What about diamond shape, have they ever mentioned a style or pointed to a ring they like? Having a general understanding of these answers will help you when making your decision.

    When it comes to size, this can be tricky. If you want to keep everything a surprise, you can try to measure by “borrowing” a ring they typically wear and getting it sized, or having them try on one of your rings to get a general idea. Also, never underestimate their friends. Who knows, their BFF might already be prepared for this question.

    Ring Design Pro tip: Search their name on Pinterest to see if they’ve pinned any engagement ring styles, as this could be your north star. Otherwise, check out our list of Engagement Rings Trends for 2021 for a little inspiration.

    Step 2: Search out some reputable jewelry stores

    From Yelp to Google, spending a little time finding a local store that has good reviews, (and plenty of them), is important. You want to find a jeweler you feel you can trust and ask questions to in-person or over the phone. This will likely be the most important part of your shopping experience. 

    Any jeweler worth your time should have no problem sitting down and educating you on the GIA and AGS grading scale of the 4 C’s, (Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat), as well as how their process typically works. 

    Do they custom create the ring for you or do they have rings available to buy off their display, or both? We often get asked our thoughts on buying a diamond online, you can read our full post on why we think local connections are so important

    Step 3: Start creating a plan

    You definitely don’t need to have it all figured out, as a matter of fact, we hope you don’t, but it is important to have a general understanding of how much you would like to spend, and a list of questions or concerns you’d like to address. Your budget will help determine things like diamond carat size, clarity and color. Check out our Diamond Education Page for more information, specifically the 4 C’s of Diamond Buying. 

    Step 4: Book an Appointment

    We believe the only way to truly understand what you’re looking for and provide you with the attention you deserve is through an appointment. This enables us to talk through a budget you’re comfortable with and show you some of our many designs. We see the appointment phase in 3 easy steps:

    First, we sit down and get to know you. Unlike other stores, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our customers. Ask us any questions you may have or share any concerns that might be lingering and let us show you what being part of the La Bijouterie family is all about.

    Second, we find your diamond. No matter your preference on cut, color, clarity, carat size and cost, we can find you the perfect diamond at prices that work for your budget.

    Lastly, together we design your ring. From sketches and Pinterest pictures, we have seen and heard it all. Let us help guide you to create the perfect ring to last a lifetime. 

    Curious to get some additional questions answered right away? Check out our FAQ page. Looking to get started? Book an appointment today, we can’t wait to begin this journey with you.

    Merci,

    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 Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The Diamond Industry

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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 byArchduke 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