Random Jewelry Questions

Contrary to the claim, lab-grown diamonds are not eco-friendly and do not benefit the environment. Their production requires immense amounts of energy created by burning fossil fuels.

The claim of lab-grown diamonds’ environmental benefits is patently false.
There are many good reasons to buy a lab-grown diamond. But do not fool yourself into thinking that you are fighting global warming.

Set your budget initially, and do not go over, no matter what they tell you. The budget should be roughly an equivalent of 5% of your home’s value, or of the one you will buy, and yes, if you spend less, you are cheap. If this calculation doesn’t help, check your fiancé’s best friend’s ring and spend 10% more. If her best friend is not engaged, what’s the rush for you? Give it more time.

All diamonds have plenty of sparkles; it’s the nature of a diamond, its physical property. A modern cushion cut indeed has more brilliance than a typical Antique cushion diamond. It does not mean that a modern cushion is superior.

The amount of brilliance is only one of many diamond properties. One can argue, not even the most important one. What people call “sparkle” is a combination of fire and brilliance. Antique cushions, much like step-cut emerald-cuts and Asschers, compensate brilliance with superior fire.

Asscher cut and Antique cushion cut are considered some of the most beautiful in the world. British, Russian, French, Austrian, German, Spanish, and all other crown jewels paid for with the blood and sweat of millions of peasants were antique cushions. The antique cushion is the nobility’s favorite diamond cut. Now you can have one as well.

Yes, they are real diamonds, identical to natural diamonds in their chemistry, optical and physical properties. Only gem labs armed with expensive equipment can tell the difference between a natural and manufactured diamond.

Unlike natural diamonds that are 3.2 billion years old, lab diamonds are freshly minted.
An enormous amount of energy (generated by burning fossil fuels) reduces a chunk of graphite into a synthetic diamond. Man-made diamonds are a viable alternative to natural diamonds at a fraction of the cost.

Brilliance, to borrow Nabokov’s description of human life, is a “brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” When we cut a diamond and give the rough crystal its shape, we also add facets.

The facets are mirrors, facing all directions. Facets directed at us are bright; when facing away, they are dark. Brilliance is the constant flickering of facets between light and dark states when the diamond twirls.

Even distribution of brilliance is the key to diamond’s health

Yes. Any professional jeweler can seamlessly size a platinum ring using a laser welder. Platinum is easy to laser weld. Poorly trained bench jewelers using solder to size a platinum ring will leave a visible seam.

Both terms are used to describe jewelry made with casting. CAD (computer-assisted design) is a way of producing a form filled with liquid metal during casting.

There are other, traditional ways to make a model by filling a rubber mold with liquid wax or by hand-carving a piece of wax.

Conflict diamonds are illegal and unethical to buy. Buying conflict diamonds is subsidizing a monster who cuts off little children’s arms. These “blood” diamonds come from war zones where crimes against humanity are committed daily.

You will go to jail (and rightly so) if you buy such a diamond. But thanks to the Kimberley Certification Process, conflict diamonds are barred from the marketplace, so there is a zero percent chance you will find such a stone. Executive Order 13194, signed by President Bill Clinton, makes it illegal to transport, buy, and use such stones.

It just sounds better. The producers of synthetic diamonds cringe when they hear the S-word. They are way ahead of the drug cartels that never thought of calling heroin “lab-grown opium.”

The “Lab-grown” label is supposed to trigger a vision of rows of diamonds peacefully ripening in a heavenly garden. While consumers are hallucinating about guilt-free diamonds, the factories are baking fake, …oops… lab-grown diamonds in huge vats under hellish heat and immense pressure.

These stones have all the physical, chemical, and optical properties of their natural counterparts. They should be called “synthetic,” just like any other artificially produced substance.

Carat with a “C” is the unit of weight for diamonds and precious stones; it equals 0.2 grams. Karat with a “K” is the measure of gold purity. 24 Karat is pure gold. Carrot is a vegetable.

Surprisingly not, but its affordability hinges on the overall budget.

The higher the budget, the better your return. The relatively high cost of professional labor is getting offset by the value of the center stone.

The budget level at which a bespoke ring starts being financially attractive hinges on many factors, such as ring style, etc. but typically begins at roughly $10K. However, if your priorities are craftsmanship and style, as opposed to diamond’s size, $5K is your approximate starting point.

Jewelers have been identifying their creations using emblems and signature marks for hundreds, even thousands of years. The hallmark communicates the identity of the master visually. A golden M vignette is the symbol of a secret medieval knighthood of merchandisers that Leon Mege adopted as its own at the end of the 20th century. The hallmark identifies every piece that leaves the workshop.

Karats are the number of equal parts (out of 24 total) of pure gold. The remaining parts are called “alloy,” mainly consisting of copper, silver, and zinc. Pure gold has a vibrant yellow color, but it is too soft to be used in Western-style jewelry.

Alloying makes gold harder and changes its color. It also makes gold cheaper since less gold is used. 18K gold is 75% pure gold. It is used in fine jewelry. 14K alloy contains only 58.5% pure gold, and it is used in commercial mass-production. Very cheap jewelry is made using 12K, 10K, and even 8K gold.

Diamond’s scarcity is a myth perpetrated by the diamond cartel, DeBeers. Unless you are looking for a 5-carat plus high-grade natural diamond, there are plenty of stones for you to choose from. Let’s do the math.

The population of the planet grows annually by approximately 80 million people. At the same time, 150 million carats of rough diamonds are mined annually. Out of 80 million newborns, roughly half are women. Most men do not wear diamonds, so they are not included in the count.

Not all women wear diamonds either, but we ignore that fact. The majority of the forty million women live in developing countries where buying diamonds is a luxury only a few can afford. Most live in extreme poverty, so a diamond is very low on the shopping list. So we can safely assume that only half is interested in a diamond, and the rest are busy finding a working toilet. The 20 million left in our calculation can afford a diamond, but will they?
A tradition of presenting a diamond engagement ring is deeply rooted in the US, Canada, and parts of Asia, but there are plenty of places where the engagement ceremony is sealed with something less valuable, like a goat.

Even Long Island housewives buying diamonds by the dozen cannot offset those who get a lab-grown diamond, a CZ, or even a tattoo instead. Assuming that 150 million carats of rough yields 120 million carats of polished diamonds, divided between 20 million yearly newcomers, there are six carats for each. Not so rare after all…

There is no such thing as a “standard” prong. It’s an invention of illiterate content writers.
Low-end jewelry is usually finished with a ball-shaped prong tip.

High-end jewelry is set with claw prongs. The Eagle-claw prong is the same thing; it just sounds better.

Center stones in high-end jewelry are set with claw-prongs, while small stones have round prongs. Round prongs are widely used in low-end jewelry for all stones and sizes. Round prongs are easier and much faster to make.

No, it is not. The Holloway Cut Advisor is a benign at best, malicious at worst proprietary tool predicting diamond optical performance. The HCA calculator is hosted by Pricescope and used to steal away sales from other vendors. With so many alternatives, such as Leon Mege optical score index, the HCA calculator is entirely irrelevant.

Why not diamond stilettos or pearl pumps? When Lyman Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz in 1900, the most valuable gems in the world were pearls. Ruby slippers replaced the original Silver Shoes described in the book because the red color looks better in Technicolor. Ironically, some ancient cultures harbored beliefs that rubies can protect against evil spirits, such as flying monkeys or lawyers.

Our prehistoric ancestors prized shiny pebbles for their vivid colors and glossy surface. Tumbled smooth by the tide or running waters, gemstones seemed to possess mystical powers and unearthly energy. Eventually, people learned how to polish gems using abrasives, and the first cabochons were born.

Cabochons, or cabs for short, are shaped like a button with a domed top and flat or slightly convex bottom. A cab can be made from any gemstone except a diamond, which is too hard. Button-like diamonds with faceted domes are called rose-cuts.

There are 43 countries, including the US, participating in the program requiring all diamonds to be mined and sold through legitimate channels. This program is designed to prevent conflict and illicit diamonds from entering the international diamond trade.

We work solely with suppliers and diamond producers that adhere to the Kimberley Process by selling “conflict-free” diamonds and will never stray from this practice.

Herkimer Diamonds are very common and can be bought for about five bucks a carat. They are not diamonds but unusual quartz crystals that have pointy tips on both ends. They are found around Herkimer County in New York. If you want a Herkimer Diamond for your engagement ring, we suggest fool’s gold for the mounting.

The jewelry is produced by stamping, called “die-struck.” A die can stamp out thousands of pieces in a few hours. A metal sheet is fed continuously into the press, compressing it into a mold using up to 50-ton pressure. Producing a die is expensive, making sense only for a large number of stampings.

Die-struck jewelry is denser and more durable than jewelry made by casting. Stamped jewelry is also very cheap and has a distinct look most people find unattractive. There is only limited use of stamped parts in fine jewelry.

Germans wear their signet rings on the third finger of their left hand. English gentlemen and connected New Yorkers wear the ring on their left pinky. The pinky ring will not interfere with the index finger when it’s busy pulling a trigger. A pinky ring worn on the active hand is associated with the art of persuasion and the ability to express yourself. A pinky ring on the passive hand broadcasts a strong intuition and excellent listening skills.

Diamonds can be cheap and expensive at the same time, depending on whom you ask. Cheap people consider diamonds expensive, while expense account holders think diamonds are cheap.

Natural diamonds are less expensive now than they were in the past. Diamonds lost their aura of exclusivity courtesy of online shopping and the proliferation of lab-grown diamonds. Is a perfect one-carat diamond costing $10,000 cheaper than a one-carat piece of charcoal wrapped in a diamond skin costing only $500?

A parure is a suite of matching pieces designed to be worn together en-suite. A full parure often included six or seven pieces such as a necklace, earrings, and often a tiara. Several brooches and bracelets would be thrown in for good measure.

A demi-parure is a less elaborate set of two or more pieces, a “poor woman’s parure,” if you will. Parures were popular in the past when jewelry was a compulsive part of a dress code. It is still prevalent in the Middle East as a requisite element of wedding attire. Wearing a matching jewelry set indicates a person who is not in step with current fashion or emotionally attached to her inheritance.

A good time to buy jewelry is when you feel a desire for it. You are reading this, so it’s safe to say – the best time is now. At Leon Mege, never use inflated markups and deceptive discounts. We prefer to give the lowest price upfront, so you can enjoy shopping at any time without having to wait for the next “sale event.” In case you wonder, here are the worst days to buy jewelry:
  • Thanksgiving Day, November 24 It’s not just parades, turkey, and football. People spend a lot of money on that day shopping online. Unfortunately for you, retailers know that and adjust prices accordingly.
  • Black Friday, November 25. The day after Thanksgiving, shopping madness originated in the ’50s when people got a taste for a four-day weekend by calling in sick. They went shopping instead and bought so much that stores turned an entire year profit in one day. Small Business Saturday, November 26. It started in 2009 as a promotional event to help small businesses recover from the recession, and it grew in popularity. Consumers are encouraged to shop local when the prices at their highest.
  • Cyber Monday, November 28. A marketing push by Shop.org in 2005 created an opportunity for online businesses to jack up prices during this goofy event. The Giving Tuesday, November 29. A social media movement designated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day of giving. You were shopping for four straight days; why not set yet another money-wasting occasion.
  • Green Monday, December 12. eBay picked the second Monday in December as a special day to buy junk garage sales failed to liquidate. Great opportunities if you beat a trash collector to it.
  • Super Saturday, November 17. The last Saturday before Christmas, called Panic Saturday, often brings a new round of fake discounts to attract last-minute shoppers.

Using carats when comparing modern round diamonds is better because they are relatively uniform. All other stones should be compared using both: their weight and measurements.

Millimeters are helpful to compare fancy cut diamonds or colored stones because their size does not directly correspond to carat weight. Stones with identical weight can vary significantly in size. Some “spready” stones can be twice as big as deep stones of the same weight.

Elongated stones can have different length-to-width ratios, which is an important consideration.

Colored stones have a different density than a diamond. Comparing sapphires to a diamond by weight is fruitless because sapphire density is much higher. A sapphire is smaller than a diamond of the same weight.

“A diamond is forever” is the iconic marketing slogan coined by DeBeers. Widely used in popular culture, it seems to convey the diamond longevity that does not require a frequent replacement, unlike a toaster or a TV.

A diamond refuses to deteriorate, degrade or wither, thumbing its nose at the second law of thermodynamics and contradicting everything they teach at Harvard business school.

Is diamond a supernatural substance planted by angels along with dinosaurs’ bones and oil? It is possible. Forever means a diamond will outlive your cat, your kids, your grandkids, and this very planet. A very gruesome marketing message that came back to bite DeBeers in its colonial ass.

Since diamonds are 100% recyclable, they are passed down from generation to generation, depriving DeBeers of new customers. No wonder diamond popularity is sliding. Every family already has one.

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