January 17, 2020

January’s Gleaming Birthstone: Garnet Gemstone Rings

January’s birthstone is the gorgeous, gleaming garnet. January babies are lucky to have the garnet as their birthstone, since this gem is as versatile as it is beautiful. Though red is the most common (and well-known) shade of garnet, garnet can be found in an array of lovely colors, such as orange, yellow, purple, and green. Another major advantage of having garnet as your birthstone is its more affordable price. Garnets tend to be considerably more affordable than other gemstones, thanks to their abundance. So if you’re searching for birthstone jewelry and you were born in January, you can go big and bold with your birthstone– without breaking the bank.

To celebrate the vibrant and stunning January birthstone, below we’re talking a closer look at the gorgeous garnet. Read on to see some of our favorite garnet birthstone rings, to learn more about the history and meaning of garnet, and to get some practical tips on how to wear and care for garnet.

The History of the Garnet

Garnet jewelry, such as this mesmerizing Oval Garnet Ring, has been loved since the time of the Pharaohs.

Garnets are an ancient gemstone that has been worn by humans as far back as 3,000 B.C. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were known to love red garnet necklaces and ancient Roman officials used garnet signet rings to stamp seals on important documents. In the Middle Ages, nobles and the clergy were known to love adorning themselves in garnets. Garnets have been loved throughout every era of history, including in the modern era. Some more recent examples of famous fans of garnets include Jackie Onassis, who owned an intricate garnet and diamond brooch, and Kate Middleton, who often wears a pearl and garnet ring that Prince William gifted her.

The Meaning of Garnets

The 5.20 carat garnet in this lovely Cushion Cut Garnet Ring is thought to attract health, wealth, and happiness.

Like most gemstones, garnet has had many meanings throughout the ages. The people of Ancient Greece believed that garnets could soothe angry hearts and reconcile feuding lovers. Warriors in ancient China believed that adorning a sling bow with a garnet would aid them in battle. During the Crusades, garnets were used as talismans to protect against wounds.

Today, garnets are commonly thought to be a gemstone that attracts health, wealth, and happiness to the wearer. They’re also thought to be especially lucky when worn by those born in January, since garnets are the January birthstone. In addition to being associated with January babies, garnets are associated with the second wedding anniversary, as they are the traditional second wedding anniversary gift.

How to Wear January’s Birthstone: Garnet Jewelry Options and Care Tips

Garnet looks spectacular when surrounded by white diamonds, as seen here in our Halo Garnet Diamond Ring.

There are many types of garnet jewelry for you to choose from, such as garnet rings, garnet earrings, and garnet necklaces. Garnets look lovely in a solitaire setting that lets their beauty take full focus. Then, they also look lovely when accented by other gemstones, such as diamonds. Diamonds look particularly beautiful with garnets, since their bright white shimmer makes the rich depth of a garnet truly pop.

When it comes to caring for garnet jewelry, you should generally care for it like you would other fine jewelry. Keep it stored in a safe place and, if it gets dirty, clean it gently with soap and water. However, one thing you should note about garnet is its unique hardness, which can affect how it should be stored in your jewelry box.

Garnet ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This is a fairly high ranking and it means that garnet is great for everyday wear. However, garnet isn’t quite as hard as some other gemstones, like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Because diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are harder than garnets, they can scratch garnets, should these gems rub up against one another. Then, on the other side of the spectrum, garnets, with their mid-range hardness, are harder than some other gemstones. For example, a garnet could scratch an opal or a pearl. So if you have other gemstone jewelry, be mindful of where and how you store your garnet jewelry.

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December 26, 2019

Best Places to Wed in Southern California for 2020

Are you tying the knot in 2020? Congratulations! Now that you’ve found the love of your life, it’s time to start planning your dream wedding. And the first step is finding your perfect wedding venue!

Here in Southern California, there are so many breathtaking wedding venues. With picturesque beach venues, hip city venues, serene desert venues and more, California has it all. To help you find your ideal venue, in this post we’re highlighting some of Southern California’s very best wedding venues! Read on to see our list of the best places to wed in Southern California for 2020.

1. Casa Romantica

Location: San Clemente, CA

First up, we have Casa Romantica, a venue that’s just as romantic as its name implies. Casa Romantica is a historic 1920s estate that sits atop a bluff overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. With gorgeous Spanish architecture and a panoramic ocean view, Casa Romantica is a sublime place to say “I do.”

2. The Parker Palm Springs

Location: Palm Springs, CA

The Parker Palm Springs is an incredibly unique hotel that’s located right in the heart of desert getaway city Palm Springs. Designed by Jonathan Adler, this hotel’s retro chic decor is so picturesque, you won’t have to do much wedding decorating to make this venue look incredible.

3. The Pelican Courtyard

Say “I do” in the OC with this unique, vintage-inspired engagement ring.

Location: Newport Beach, CA

Pelican Courtyard is an intimate event venue that’s located right in the bustling center of the gorgeous beach town Newport Beach. Often described as a “secret garden,” Pelican Courtyard is a beautiful, charming patio space with plenty of lush greenery. This lovely venue, located just a few blocks from the beach, is the perfect space for a small wedding (and, as an added bonus, it’s also one of the most affordable venues on our list!).

4. Bernardo Winery

Location: San Diego, CA

Bernardo Winery features acres of vineyards, rustic decor, olive trees, gardens, and, of course, plenty of incredible house made wine. With so much to offer on their sprawling vineyard, it’s no surprise that Bernardo Winery has several charming wedding venues on their property. Two of our favorites are The Barrel Room, a 125 year old wooden building that’s home to large scale redwood wine storage barrels, and Vito’s Park, an outdoor venue that overlooks the vineyard. Whichever venue you choose, you’re sure to be surrounded by beautiful scenery at Bernardo Winery— and there will be no shortage of excellent wine!

5. The Fig House in LA

Image Credit: Bossladies Magazine 

Location: Los Angeles, CA

The Fig House is an indoor/outdoor wedding venue that’s half rustic, half modern glamour. With a lushly green, chic patio space for your ceremony and a hip, beautifully decorated interior space for your reception, The Fig House offers the best of both worlds, all within the heart of LA.

6. San Ysidro Ranch

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

San Ysidro Ranch is easily one of the most beautiful wedding venues in California. Nestled in the Montecito foothills in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, San Ysidro Ranch is a hideaway-style luxury hotel with several beautiful wedding venue options. Choose from garden, lawn, cottage, and restaurant spaces to find your perfect wedding atmosphere.

7. Calamigos Ranch

Location: Malibu, CA

Calamigos Ranch is what rustic wedding dreams are made of. This simply enchanting wedding venue is located in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. With four gorgeous, rustic wedding venues options (one of which has a ferris wheel on site), Calamigos Ranch is a whimsical and serene option for your wedding.

8. Kona Kai Resort and Spa

The classic Alison Engagement Ring is the perfect complement to an elegant beach wedding.

Location: San Diego, CA

Kona Kai Resort and Spa is a secluded, elegant hotel that is located on Shelter Island, one of California’s only privately owned beaches. Kona Kai offers 10 different indoor wedding venues and several outdoor spaces. Though, we’d have to say our favorite options are their outdoor ones, which include a private beach and a lush tropical garden. Whichever venue space you choose for your wedding, Kona Kai Resort and Spa is a venue that will create a simply magical atmosphere for your wedding.

9. Malibu Rocky Oaks

Location: Malibu Rocky Oaks

Last but certainly not least, we have Malibu Rocky Oaks, an absolutely breathtaking venue that’s high up in the Santa Monica Mountains. Malibu Rocky Oaks features a Tuscan-style villa, a vineyard, and a helipad ceremony site that overlooks the mountains from its 2,000 feet high altitude. The sights from this venue are nothing short of spectacular, which will make for some incredible wedding pictures and even more incredible memories.

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December 23, 2019

What Does Diamond Fluorescence Mean?

As a jeweler that specializes in diamond jewelry, we often get questions from our customers about diamond fluorescence. Many of our customers wonder if diamond fluorescence is a good thing or a bad thing, or they may wonder what it is to begin with.

To help clear up some of the confusion around this topic, in this post we’ll be taking a closer look at diamond fluorescence. We’ll talk about what diamond fluorescence is, what causes diamond fluorescence, what diamond fluorescence means, and how you can tell whether or not a diamond is fluorescent.

What is Diamond Fluorescence?

Does the marquise diamond featured here in our Ella Classic Diamond Engagement Ring have fluorescence? You’d have to look at it under a UV light to see.

Fluorescence is a light effect that occurs when something (such as a diamond) is exposed to ultraviolet light. Some diamonds can emit a “glow” under UV light. When a diamond glows or radiates under UV, it’s displaying fluorescence.

According to the GIA, around 25% to 35% of diamonds have some degree of fluorescence. Then, if a diamond has fluorescence, the fluorescence can range from faint to very strong.

What Causes Diamond Fluorescence?

As diamonds form in the earth over millions of years, they can absorb other minerals. And if these minerals are fluorescent, the diamond can become fluorescent. Trace minerals that can cause fluorescence include aluminum, boron, and nitrogen.

What Does Diamond Fluorescence Mean? It is Good or Bad?

So, now that you know what diamond fluorescence is and what causes it, let’s talk about the top question we get about diamond fluorescence: its it good or is it bad?

In our opinion, whether or not you like or dislike diamond fluorescence is largely a matter of personal preference. Diamond fluorescence primarily affects whether or not a diamond will glow under UV light. If this is something you dislike, then you may want to select a diamond with little to no fluorescence. If this is something you don’t care about, then you may be perfectly happy with a diamond with fluorescence.

However, there is one important thing to understand about diamond fluorescence and what a diamond looks like when it’s not under UV light. Even in regular lighting, diamond fluorescence can sometimes affect the color of a diamond— in either a good way or a bad way.

There are two primary types of diamond fluorescence: blue fluorescence and yellow fluorescence. Blue fluorescence, the most common type of diamond fluorescence, can actually have a positive impact on a white diamonds color, since it can make a diamond look a bit more white in full natural daylight. Yellow fluorescence, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on a white diamonds color, since it can make the diamond look more yellow in natural daylight. Additionally, yellow fluorescence can sometimes give a diamond a “hazy” or “milky” look.

So, if diamond color is important to you, it’s important that you consider a diamond’s fluorescence before you purchase it. You’ll likely want to avoid diamonds with yellow fluorescence. But on the other hand, you may be happy with a diamond with blue fluorescence, since it can give a diamond’s color a boost in natural lighting.

How Can You Tell if a Diamond is Fluorescent?

To tell whether or not a diamond is fluorescent, all you have to do is check its grading report. Since 1997, the GIA has included fluorescence on all white diamond grading reports. So, a diamond’s level of fluorescence will be noted on its GIA report. Then, if it has a fluorescence level of Medium, Strong, or Very Strong the color of the fluorescence will also be noted on this report.

Additionally, if you’re shopping for an engagement ring on our online site, know that you can sort diamonds by fluorescence when you browse our diamonds. You can also request a diamond’s full grading report by clicking the “Request Diamond Certificate” link below a selected diamond.

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December 23, 2019

5 Ways to Care for Your Engagement Ring

Engagement rings are usually made of durable materials, like gold and diamonds. But though engagement rings are built to stand the test of time, they do require a bit of maintenance if you want them to look their best year after year. Wondering what you can do to take care of your engagement ring? Read on to see 5 jeweler-approved ways to care for your engagement ring!

1. Get a Professional Cleaning Twice a Year

Getting your engagement ring regularly cleaned by a professional is extremely important. At a professional cleaning, your ring will, of course, be thoroughly cleaned, which will make it look brand new. But then, additionally, the jeweler who is cleaning your ring will inspect its structural integrity. They will examine your ring’s settings under magnification to make sure they’re secure, which will help your gemstones stay firmly within your ring when you wear it.

Wondering how often you should get a professional cleaning for your engagement ring? The general rule is to get your ring cleaned twice a year.

2. Clean Your Ring At Home, Gently

In between professional cleanings, you can clean your ring at home to ensure it looks bright and brilliant. The best way to clean your ring at home is to use the simple, jeweler-approved soap and water method. To use this method, first soak your ring in a dish soap and warm water solution for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, gently scrub your ring with a soft toothbrush. Finally, rinse your ring and either pat it dry with a soft cloth or let it air dry. If you think your ring still looks a bit dim or dull, simply repeat this process.

We recommend using this soap and water method because it’s simple, effective, and gentle. Gentle is a key word here, since there are many harsh ways people may try to clean their rings at home, which can end up damaging their jewelry. To avoid damaging your engagement ring when you clean it, never use harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry, which can damage both precious metals and gemstones. Then, also never use anything physically abrasive, which can leave unsightly scratches on your ring. And lastly, we recommend that you do not use at-home ultra-sonic cleaners to clean your engagement ring. These machines can loosen gemstone settings, leaving you at risk of loosing a stone.

3. Don’t Wear Your Ring in Potentially Dangerous Situations

There are certain activities that put your engagement ring at a high risk or being damaged or lost. For example, going out on a boat or swimming in the ocean. Being out in the open water is freeing and fun— but if your engagement ring slips off into the ocean’s depths, you’ll almost certainly never see it again. Then, to give another example, many common activities put your ring at risk of getting extremely dirty or even damaged. Playing sports, working out at the gym, and even doing certain types of chores (such as gardening) can put your ring at risk of getting grimy or damaged.

So if you’re going to be engaging in any situation where your ring could easily get damaged, lost, or even especially dirty, what should you do? We recommend that you leave your engagement ring safely at home. If you’re ever unsure whether or not a particular situation would be risky for your ring, we also recommend erring on the side of caution and leaving your ring at home to keep your ring safe and sound.

4. Rock a Backup

So, we mentioned in our last tip that you should avoid wearing your ring in potentially dangerous situations. However, we know that some people just really want to wear an engagement ring all the time. And if you’re one of these people, we have another tip that’s perfect for you: get a backup ring.

If you want to wear an engagement ring during a potentially risky situation, you can keep your real engagement ring safe by rocking a backup. There are many department stores that sell costume jewelry rings that look very much like engagement rings. Also, if you want to wear a backup ring made that looks just like your engagement ring, a jeweler that does custom work can easily make you a faux version of your ring using non-precious materials.

By having a backup available, you can still wear an engagement ring whenever you want— but also protect the monetary and sentimental value of your real engagement ring.

5. Get Your White Gold Ring Re-Plated When Necessary

If you have a white gold engagement ring, eventually it’s going to start looking a bit yellow. This is because white gold is actually yellow gold that has been plated in an exceptionally shiny white metal called rhodium. With regular wear and a bit of time, rhodium plating will always start to wear off. And at that point, your white gold ring may start to look yellow.

But if your white gold ring is starting to get a golden glow, you can easily just have it re-plated with rhodium. Rhodium plating is a standard maintenance treatment that’s simple and fairly inexpensive (on average, it costs between $60 to $120 have a ring rhodium plated). And after your ring gets a touch up with a rhodium plating, it will look bright white, shiny, and brand new again.

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December 10, 2019

Blue Topaz Engagement Rings: Why They Are Trending This Holiday

Blue topaz engagement rings are trending this holiday season. This is, in part, because of the ongoing popularity of gemstone engagement rings in general. But there are a few more things about the brilliantly blue topaz gemstone that have made soar in popularity– which we’re sharing with you today! Read on to learn why blue topaz engagement rings are the hottest trend of the holidays.

Blue Topaz is Gorgeous, Versatile, and Affordable

Topaz is a gemstone that comes in a rainbow of beautiful colors, including blue. Then, blue topaz has three different color families of its own: Sky Blue topaz (a pale, light blue), Swiss Blue topaz (a bright, electric blue), and London Blue topaz (a rich, deep blue). Each of these blue hues offers its own unique, mesmerizing beauty that can make an engagement ring incredibly eye-catching.

This stunning, incredibly unique 2.1 carat trillion cut blue topaz engagement ring has an equally stunning price tag: it’s under $1,000!

Then, on top of being beautiful, blue topaz is a very affordable gemstone. Gemstone engagement rings are, in general, more affordable than diamond engagement rings. But even among gemstone engagement rings, blue topaz engagement rings are one of the most affordable styles. The attractive price tag of blue topaz means that many couples can fit a much more glamorous, sizeable engagement ring into their budget if they opt for a blue topaz center stone, which has helped this gem’s popularity soar for engagement rings.

Blue Topaz is Great for Everyday Wear

Another thing that makes blue topaz an attractive option for an engagement ring is its superior hardness, which makes it great for everyday wear. All gemstones are ranked on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. And while some gemstones are a bit too low on the scale to make them practical for an engagement ring, blue topaz ranks high on hardness and durability. Blue topaz comes in an 8 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale, which makes it an excellent option for frequently worn pieces (such as engagement rings).

Blue Topaz is the December Birthstone

This oval cut blue topaz engagement ring features December’s beautiful and meaningful birthstone.

Blue topaz has been growing in popularity all year, as more and more couples are drawn to its beauty, its attractive price tag, and its practicality. But its popularity has spiked even higher leading up to the holiday season– and we have a theory as to why: because it’s one of the December birthstones.

Selecting a blue topaz engagement ring can add even more meaning to your engagement ring if you or your sweetheart has a December birthday. Blue topaz is a stone that is always associated with peace, honesty, loyalty, and deep emotional attachment. Then, for December babies, wearing blue topaz is also thought to attract good luck. So while blue topaz has a lovely, appropriate meaning for an engagement ring no matter when you were born, it’s particularly fitting if you or your partner has a December birthday.

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