What is UP? Aside from oodles and oodles of interesting auction news, this week was remarkably hot in jewelry news. We had The Duchess declaring her love for a NZ jeweler. Cartier snapped up an insanely gorgeous jadeite necklace of its own design – very eager to get it back into the archives, I assume. Would love to see this puppy on an oscar’s red carpet in the coming years! I made these as my afternoon snack (thought I’d eat the whole cooking sheet, but couldn’t fit more than 5 in my stomach. So rich, so delicious.) And speaking of rich and delicious: I have this meal on my Chicago restaurant checklist. Ridiculous? Yes, but worth it just to say I had it.
We are here today, to talk about the c-word. Clarity enhancement. Like that other c-word, it’s just as dirty when you’re not up front about it. Some women are fine with it, others appalled. But the importance lies in disclosing when you’re about to use it (you know, earmuffs, etc.)
Clarity enhancement is the jewelry industry’s dirty word. If you’re going to treat your stones, then fine, so be it. But you need to disclose up front that your customers should go into the conversation knowing that the c word is going to be used.
You would never roll up on your grandma and drop that into casual conversation! Nor should you roll up on Pinterest (your cool cousin) and (not) drop it. Because, unfortunately, the vast majority of diamond consumers and engagement ring coveters don’t know to look for it. RLJ doesn’t buy clarity-enhanced diamonds (or we try not to) because it’s confusing to consumers. We’d just rather avoid it altogether. If you’re well-versed in diamond treatments and your jeweler discloses up front that a ring has been treated, there’s nothing wrong with clarity enhancement. It’s a great way to get a great deal on a good looking diamond – but it most certainly affects a diamond’s value and you should always know what you’re paying for.
Clarity enhancement refers to several treatments a diamond might undergo to -you guessed it- enhance its clarity grade. Common treatments include laser drilling or fracture filling. To fill fractures, a tiny amount of glass material is introduced into super-thin crevices and fractures (aka feathers). Laser drilling is meant to zap away inclusions, much like unwanted body hair. It doesn’t affect the other characteristics of a diamond, like its carat weight or color. GIA has concluded that for normal wear, clarity enhanced diamonds are durable, but may be more susceptible to high heat, pressure or corrosive materials. So, you know, don’t stick your clarity enhanced diamond in a vat of acid (don’t do that with an untreated diamond either.)
So, the c-word makes a statement about a diamond A big one. Maybe you’re cool with it. Maybe it offends you to your core. Either way. You have the right to know that’s its use is imminent. So avert your eyes, your wallets, and your ears if you’re so inclined, but don’t fall for something that seems too good to be true. A $10k-plus “discount” on a diamond doesn’t suggest wholesale pricing. This particular dealer isn’t acting charitably by giving you access to trade price structure, they’re usually selling treated diamonds. It’s up to them, as reputable sellers, to let you know. but it’s up to you, the one parting with hard-earned cash, to be a savvy, well-versed customer. So if you feel violated by use of the c-word, tell that dealer to wash their mouth out with soap and turn heel away from their shop.
Happy April ya’ll! Besides my distaste for April Fool’s pranks, I was pretty into this week. The promise of spring is on the horizon, there are plenty of yellow diamonds in the showroom, and we picked up this amazing pair of vintage Van Cleef & Arpels earrings today. I got to share some of my favorite wedding tidbits, while simultaneously learning about the Pink Panther-style ring of European diamond thieves that are at large (hide yo diamonds!) Here’s what else I got up to…
Time to get nitpicky. A) This is not Duchess Catherine’s jewelry collection. The first slide was famously borrowed from THE QUEEN. B) A slideshow of her jewelry & not one designer is mentioned. Who wrote this, Ryan Seacrest? C) Droolworthy isn’t the most accurate adjective here people. Princess Kate is all strategy and pragmatism. She purposely wears understated, every-girl-could-own-it jewelry. You wanna talk drool-worthy jewel collections? Let me direct you here.
Sometimes 1 is not the loneliest number. Any well-crafted solitaire engagement ring will argue that fact (and pretty convincingly. Diamonds are good like that.) Today, I’m drooling over a few of our newest solitaire rings back fresh from GIA. The beauty of the solitaire lies in its completely uninhibited setting. The diamond shines singularly, without any kind of distractions – it take a great diamond to pull this off. It’s possible to get a great deal on a solitaire engagement ring, really it is, you just have to shop using your 4 C’s. The cut should be good or better (although I did sneak a very nice fair cut in here, see if you can spot it). The color should be I or better – still virtually undetectable to the eye, but out of the pricey “colorless” range of D,E,F. The clarity should be SI or better, so you don’t have any major inclusions mucking up the statement of your solitaire. And, naturally, the carat weight should be as heavy as your heart desires (and your wallet will tolerate.) With a GIA certificate ensuring you’re actually getting a diamond with these specs, you can rest assured you’re getting a fair deal – and a gorgeous stone. Exhibits A – E:
This little number actually is a coveted E color, but it’s petite dimensions keep it from being a budget buster. The center stone is 1.01 carats, so it’s the perfect size for the classic 6 prong platinum mounting, and its VS1 clarity grade ensures all you see is sparkle.
This ring is a stunning Tiffany & Co. Lucida engagement ring with a massive 2.24 ct center stone. The Lucida cut is Tiffany’s proprietary cut, and it’s shaped similar to a square radiant cut – one of my favorite cuts, as I’ve professed before. The I color offsets the cost of a massive diamond (worth every penny) and it is, as most Tiffany diamonds are, a great clarity grade of VS 1.
This 1 carat round brilliant serves as a perfect demonstration of the difference that cut makes. It’s .01ct lighter than the first ring, but it looks way bigger, thanks to a shallow cut (which is probably what earned it a “fair” cut grade – could you tell this was the one?!) But a stunning color and VVS2 clarity grade make sure this diamond doesn’t suffer at all – it’s one of my favorites!
If 1 carat simply won’t do, let’s bump it up to 2.62 carats. This insane ring (another one of my favorites, but in another division. Like the “Ladies Who Lunch Upgrade” division) features a gorgeous round brilliant with a SI1 clarity grade and an I in color. This is the perfect example of stretching your budget to get the biggest, best, sparkliest, “dayum”-est, B.A.D.
An emerald cut solitaire is something you don’t see every day, and that makes this one even more special. Add to that the fact that this beauty is internally flawless, 1.04 carats and an impeccable G color, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to stare!
We now live in a world where the Grammy’s red carpet is boring. I don’t even know how to react. Beyonce didn’t walk (and I’m not even mad after that opening performance). I remember complaining to my hair stylist when she chopped off all her hair for her pixie cut, so I was nervous when I saw the bob reappear from the Drunk in Love video last night. But in his wise words “Oh honey that wasn’t her hair anyways.” And you know what, I’m a-ok with the bob now, especially since she gave us two handfulls of B.A.D.’s by her girl Lorraine Schwartz. But beyond Beyonce’s bob and smoke/chair/Partition reenactment, there were a few other breakout stars last night (besides Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pharell’s hat.)
Crazy Awesome Hand Jewelry
via Luxury Brand Group
The ringclet, hand chain, hand bracelet had its moment online this summer, but didn’t make it to the big time until last night. From top left: Madonna wore a Maltese cross pin, M & E diamond rings and her idiotic gold grill in addition to this rock crystal bracelet by Loree Rodkin. Rita Ora’s Lorraine Schwartz rings on rings on rings were only part of the fun she brought – check out her gold day-date, Juste un Clou, Love bangle, Panthere bangle and chunky gold chain bracelet! Cyndi Lauper brought the fun with mass amounts of gold chains by g-d knows who because Ryan refused to ask. Anna Faris chose a sapphire Sutra number that had me salivating.
The Man Brooch
Usher, Miguel, L.L. Cool J and Bruno Mars were just the ones I spotted! Soon to be known as the “broochismo” per this guy and soon to be sported by many a street-style star. I especially enjoyed Usher’s antique style but Miguel’s edgy sapphires won out for me.
Dresses that Double as Jewelry
via Just Jared
Gilded gowns were out in full force last night with four very different takes on the gold dress. First up, Chrissy Tiegen, outspoken supermodel and wine-induce-tweeter extraordinaire, who was there to support her fertility-inducing husband John Legend. Chrissy wore a liquid gold sequined gown that hugged every perfect curve and sparkled like the diamonds I wish she wore. It read kind of silvery in the glam cam, but make no mistake, this gorgeous gown was gold. So was Ciara’s, who also went with figure hugging (in fact all of our golden goddesses did). Her look was boho gypset glamour in a sandy gold, long sleeved baby bump accentuating gown. Amber Rose recently lost said baby bump, and decided to let us allllll know in a second skin gold chevron gown. And, Taylor Swift patron saint of homemade baked goods, confirmed that she doesn’t actually eat her confections in a chain mail Gucci glove-fitting dress. All sparkly, all gorgeous.
If you don’t already read this blog, you are doing yourself a disservice. The hilarious, witty and well versed in jewelry commentary will brighten up your day fo realz. When you extract the essence of Adornmentality into its purest form, you get the genius that is her live red carpet coverage. For every snoozetastic jewelry suite or lack thereof, Adornmentality had 3 hilarious tweets. For every superfluous commercial break, she had some choice words for tiny ass kisser Ryan Seacrest. And for every small, spare, glimmer of hope (and by hope I mean diamonds) she was there, cheering valiantly as we all tried not to fall asleep during red carpet coverage. I’m not sure what my life was like before I started following her on Twitter, but I don’t want to remember.