2015: A gem quality diamond larger than 1,000 carats was found in Botswana. The first of that size in more than 110 years! That's 200 grams or 0.44 lbs! A diamond almost half a pound- better use your other hand to hold up that ring!
Why did it take another 110 years to find one that large? Two reasons are thought to be the causes: economics and technology. Economics created the necessity- the 1990s brought an explosion in wealth which lead to the appetite of the wealthy for large diamonds. Technology made it possible with new advances in diamond recovery from mining to cutting.
It might sound ridiculous, but many of the larger diamonds could be easily crushed during the mining processes pre-1990s. Through much of the last century mining profits came from speedy recovery of as many diamonds as possible. This led to practices like blasting the hosting rock, using giant steel jaws to crush it into smaller pieces, and then crush it again into even smaller pieces for processing. There are stories of workers seeing flashes, hitting the emergency stop button on conveyor belts leading to the crushers to save the larger diamonds- a 968.9 carat stone was saved in this manner.
Increased competition over the larger carat stones (a nearly 4 fold increase in prices between 1995-2005) caused mining companies to re-think their processes. Many mines now tumble or grind rock pieces together as this takes away the intense pressure that crushing produces. X-ray processing has also improved recovery rate of the larger stones by identifying them before they hit the crushers.
Mining companies still have a ways to go. Lucara mining executives think a 374 carat diamond had been part of a larger stone, but that blasting broke it...
To learn more visit gia.edu
Inspiration and facts/photos from this article pulled from gia.edu
December is a popular engagement month. While engagement ring buying has changed over the years, the need for informed buyers has not- in fact, now more than ever, buyers need to be more aware of what they're getting and ask questions!
Here are some common settings with some pros and cons.
Solitaire (common prong set)
Pros: Your diamond is on a pedestal...but really. More light can bounce off each facet on your diamond, giving it amazing sparkle. It is simple, elegant, and classic.
Cons: Depending on what you do, you may be uncomfortable with the setting no matter how low the prongs set the diamond. If you work with your hands a lot (secretaries, nurses, stylists, artists, etc) you might be afraid those prongs might snag and you might lose your stone. It will need to be checked at least twice a year (maybe more) to ensure that the gem is tight and that the prongs are holding strong.
Pave (and Micro Pave)
Pros: It's a lot of flair and flash for a small buck. If you want something that will be an attention grabber, then this is a style for you to consider. It is also initially less expensive on the pocketbook.
Cons: Yes, above I said initially less expensive; this is where the con comes in. If you need your ring resized, or use your hands a lot, or have an accident where your ring was banged against something then you may have to replace some of the tiny diamonds; this type of setting has a higher risk of lost diamonds. While they are small and do not have a large replacement cost, those small costs can add up over time. And not all Pave settings are made equal- some are better when it comes to settings that will protect your stones and prevent stone loss. Overall, if you're rough on your jewelry, then this might not be a good option.
Pros: Invisible setting creates a big diamond center stone look. It is also less expensive compared to a single larger stone (common: 4 square stones create center - see picture right).
Cons: This type of setting is riskier because it is harder to keep the diamonds in place. Some jewelers aren't able to repair these, so you should consider having a plan in place should something go awry (insurance, reputable jeweler for repairs, etc).
Channel Setting (usually on the sides)
Pros: Each diamond is set flush side by side with the gold over the "sides" to hold them in place. This gives a lot of sparkle (multiple diamonds!) with a lot of security; this setting is wonderful for those of us who are active and use our hands a lot.
Cons: Channel setting can be more expensive. It uses more gold and has more stones. Some people don't like it because they feel the extra metal can take away from the look.
What's the Takeaway?
It is all about taste and lifestyle. Find a look you like. Take into account what fits with your lifestyle, and then consider price point. The styles shown above are just examples, there are many variations and many unique designs. If you need advice on anything from style points to insurance, find a reputable jeweler to help you.
An easy and safe way to do that is to soak it in a mild solution of water and a few drops of dish soap once every couple weeks. After you remove your diamond from the water, use a new soft toothbrush to remove any remaining dirt (check the back of the diamond close to the metal- this is where the bristles come in handy). Reserve this toothbrush only for your jewelry cleaning purposes. And be sure to be gentle. Older settings and more intricate settings won't take vigorous scrubbing; be gentle so as to not damage your ring. If you're working over a sink, be sure to close the drain! Even better, rinse your ring over the bowl you used to soak and scrub it over. Rinse it gently and dry it with a soft cloth.
Do not use bleach or toothpaste and other household strong/abraisive cleaners.
While your diamond might be fine, they can damage the metal.
You should also consult a jewelry professional regularly (at least twice a year) to make sure that your stones are tight and that the metal is not getting too worn; this will help prevent you from loosing diamonds and/or colored gemstones.
Parker Jewelers believes in giving their customers the best! This includes information about what we can offer as well as what's new in jewelry!