Why do you Wear Jewelry?
Jewelry is meant to Adorn, bring Beauty and Style, AND Evoke Feelings.
Completing your look or outfit
Love, Symbolism and Connection
Reaching a special benchmark or milestone in your life.
What about the design? Why do you choose a design?
The design represents your personality, what you want to show to the world.
The design has to fit your unique character—whether you are bold or introverted, natural or modern, colorful or monochromatic.
But, you also need to consider some other factors so that you don't choose a design that you will have problems with when you wear it.
As I learned in my studies about architecture…"Form follows function".
Yes, the design should be beautiful, but you also must consider:
As a designer, appraiser and gemologist, I see a lot of jewelry disasters that can be avoided.
Most people believe that the precious metals and gemstones are indestructible.
But the TRUTH is, Metals get scratched, can crack & wear away.
Stones get loose, chipped and sometimes fall out.
So what are the design disasters you should avoid?
1. Exposed diamonds
The look of floating diamonds is beautiful, there is no doubt.
But you need to have metal blocking and supporting the diamond against chipping and scratching.
Without it, when you wear this ring everyday, the diamond can get chipped from banging it around or scratched by exposed diamonds in your wedding band.
Also, you need that extra metal support to keep the diamond tight in the mounting.
Recently I had a client come in for an appraisal of her engagement ring. She had a center princess cut diamond in a custom made mounting where the bottom of the diamond was exposed.
I examined the ring under the microscope and saw scratches and small chips.
It didn’t concern me at the time and I graded it an SI1 (slightly included).
But then, she said the diamond had a GIA certificate. So I looked at the certificate and saw that those scratches & chips were not originally on the diamond.
The diamond was actually graded a VS1 (very slightly included).
Since the scratches were in a weird spot, I asked her if I can see her wedding band.
She had a diamond eternity band with large diamonds all around.
As I put the band next to the engagement ring, I saw the answer!
The edge of the diamonds in her eternity band was actually cutting into her VS1 diamond and permanently lowering her grade & the value.
Of course this is Not her fault and I know that a lot of people aren’t aware of this kind of thing.
Even most salespeople do not know enough about jewelry to point this out and are usually more concerned about making the sale :(
2. Not enough Metal
Take a look at this ring. Do you see a design disaster?
Single prong diamond wedding band
There is only One prong holding TWO diamonds.
The mounting (or metal portion) is very light and airy, making it easy to bend.
What happens when the mounting bends or gets slightly misshapen?
The prongs open up and you lose a stone.
I know thin is all the trend. But with rings especially, since they take more of a beating wearing them in your daily tasks, the metal will:
Not be enough to secure the stone properly
Another point on this: I was given a ring where the prongs were very thin and the diamonds went ¾ around. The thin prongs were so sharp and painful, they felt like little pins sticking me. So I Had to return it!
3. Stones set too High
I was cruising on Istagram and saw this ring..
B-L-I-N-G and beautiful, right?
So, Jen, what’s wrong with this gorgeous ring?
Since the diamond is pretty large, that means the depth of the stone is higher than a smaller one.
When you set it like the photo above, you can
Easily hit it, causing it to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Knock it completely off (think Queen of Hearts and “Off with Her Head!”)
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m never wearing rings again”.
That’s not why I am telling you all of this.
I want you to be knowledgeable and be able to wear and enjoy beautiful jewelry safely and for a long time.
So now that you know some design disasters, what can you do to avoid them?
For Disaster #1 "Exposed Diamonds", Some Solutions are:
You can wear a guard (plain gold or platinum band) in between your engagement ring & diamond band.
Choose an engagement style where the stone sits high enough that a band can sit flush to the band of the engagement ring.
Wear your wedding band on the other hand.
For Disaster # 2 "Not Enough Metal", Some solutions are:
Make sure to have chevron or V tip prongs for stones with points (pears, marquise, heart and princess).
If you are a very active person, consider a bezel setting (metal goes all around the stone) or a style where each stone sits in a 4 prong setting.
Make sure the prongs are thick enough to hold the stone and do not feel pointy.
For Design Disaster #3 "Stones Set Too High", Some Solutions are:
For larger stones that are naturally deeper, go with a split shank setting. This will make the ring more stable and secure (less spinning or falling over from the weight of the stone)
A cathedral setting where the sides of the mounting comes up to protect the center.
A nice basket setting. The wider base is better than a pinpoint attachment of the head to the shank.
The Best way to avoid design disasters is to
Work with a Professional
Know yourself and your lifestyle
And if nothing suits you, get it custom designed just for you!