✩ What is better - white gold or platinum?
Platinum is better than white gold hands down. For centuries platinum was used to make the finest royal jewels. White gold, on the other hand, was developed during WWII as a cheap platinum substitute. Unlike white gold, platinum is hypoallergenic; wearing platinum jewelry will not cause an allergic reaction.
The platinum engagement ring contains 95% pure platinum. Compare it to 75% or even less pure gold in a white gold ring. Platinum has a beautiful color and sheen that white gold cannot replicate and platinum is much rarer than gold.
✩ Are synthetic diamonds ecologically clean?
Contrary to the claim, lab-grown diamonds are not eco-friendly and do not offer any benefit to 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. You are not going to freeze the polar bear with his Coca-Cola bottle to death by buying the lab-grown.
✩ How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
Set your budget at the very beginning 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, then 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.
✩ Does an Antique cushion cut sparkle?
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, and 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 to be some of the most beautiful in the world. All diamonds in British, Russian, and other crowns scattered in museums around the world are antique cushions. The antique cushion is the nobility's diamond cut of choice. And the nobles were picky, after all. Each diamond they bought was paid with the blood and sweat of millions of peasants.
✩ Are lab-grown diamonds real?
Yes, they are real. They are identical to natural diamonds in their chemistry, as well as optical and physical properties. Nobody can tell the difference between a natural and man-made diamond except gem labs armed with expensive equipment.
However, lab-grown diamonds are not 3.2 billion years old like a natural diamond. An enormous amount of energy (generated by burning fossil fuels) is used to reduce a chunk of graphite into a synthetic diamond. But man-made diamonds are getting cheaper and cheaper, so they are a viable alternative for a natural diamond. Wait and you will be able to afford a diamond speed-shift knob for your Tesla.
✩ What is diamond brilliance?
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, in addition to giving the rough crystal its shape, we also add facets.
All facets act as miniature mirrors, small and large, facing in all directions. When the light hits a diamond, some facets reflect it back at us so they appear bright. Other facets appear dark because they reflect the light away from us.
Brilliance is the change of facets from light to dark when the diamond twirls. Even distribution of contrasting pixels is the chessboard effect (checkerboard for intellectually challenged) that is a cornerstone of excellent brilliance.
✩ Can a platinum ring be sized like gold?
Yes. Any professional jeweler can size a platinum ring with ease. These days the sizing is mostly done without soldering, using laser welders instead. Platinum is easier to weld using a laser than gold is. CAD'ers - jewelers who are capable of working with CAD but not trained in traditional bench work will tell you otherwise...
✩ How to tell apart CAD and casting?
When used to describe a finished piece of jewelry CAD and casting are the same thing. CAD is a tool for making a wax model. The model is used to make a form. The form is filled with liquid metal, called casting. Every CAD model is turned into casting, but not every casting model is created with CAD. A wax model can also be made with rubber molds or carved from a piece of wax.
✩ What is the history behind the Leon Mege logo?
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.
✩ What does it mean “A diamond is forever”?
"A diamond is forever" is a famous marketing slogan coined by DeBeers. Widely used in popular culture, it seems to convey the diamond strength that, unlike your toaster, it will not require a replacement every few years.
Thumbing its nose at the second law of thermodynamics the diamond refuses to deteriorate, degrade or wither, contradicting the natural laws of physics by its own existence. Is a diamond a supernatural substance planted by God along with dinosaurs' bones and some oil? Highly doubtful.
The longevity of a diamond means only that it will outlive you, your kids, your family, your cat, and this very planet. A very gruesome marketing message, indeed. Think better next time, DeBeers! Ironically, a diamond's life span came back to bite DeBeers in its capitalist ass.
Since diamonds are 100% recyclable they are passed down from generation to generation, depriving the Cartel of new sales. No wonder diamond prices have been sliding for almost a decade. Everyone owns one already.
✩ Where can I buy conflict diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are illegal and unethical to buy. By buying a conflict diamond, you would subsidize a monster who is in the business of cutting off little children's arms. These "blood" diamonds come from war zones where crimes against humanity are committed daily.
You should and will go to jail 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.
✩ Why are synthetic diamonds called lab-grown?
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". "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. Having all the physical, chemical, and optical properties of their natural counterparts these stones should be called "synthetic", just like any other artificially produced substance.
✩ Carat, Karat, Carrot - which one is correct?
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.
✩ Is bespoke work expensive?
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.
✩ What's the difference between 14, 18, and 24k yellow gold?
Karats are the number of equal parts (out of 24 total) of pure gold. The remaining parts are called "alloy" consisting mostly 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.
✩ Are diamonds rare?
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?
Diamonds are very popular in the US, Canada, and parts of Asia, where the tradition of presenting a diamond engagement ring is not deeply rooted. No matter how many obnoxious Long Island housewives buy more than one diamond at once, they can't possibly offset the number of consumers who bypass diamond altogether in favor of a surrogate such as a man-made diamond, a CZ, or even a tattoo. 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...
✩ Standard prongs vs. Eagle claw prongs which one is better?
There is no such thing as a "standard" prong. The term "standard" prongs come from illiterate bloggers. Professional jewelers call it a "ball" prong because it is shaped on top like a tiny ball. A claw prong and eagle-claw prong is the same thing, "eagle" 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.
✩ Is the HCA Score Reliable?
No, it is not. The Holloway Cut Advisor is benign at best, malicious at worst proprietary tool predicting diamond optical performance. The HCA calculator is hosted by Pricescope and used as a tool 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 Dorothy wore ruby slippers?
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. However, ruby slippers were chosen to replace the original Silver Shoes described in the book because red looks better in Technicolor. Ironically, some ancient cultures harbored beliefs that rubies can protect against evil spirits, such as flying monkeys or lawyers.
✩ What is a cabochon?
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.
✩ What is the Kimberly Process?
There are 43 countries, including the U.S. and the European Community, that participate in the program that requires all diamonds to be certified that they have been 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.
✩ Are Herkimer Diamonds rare?
Herkimer Diamonds are very common and can be bought for about 5 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.
✩ What is die-struck jewelry?
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. A metal punch is compressing the metal into a carved mold using up to 50-ton pressure. Making the mold for a die is an expensive process, so it is done to produce a considerable quantity 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. In fine jewelry, some parts can be produced by stamping, but not the whole piece.
✩ What is the proper finger for a signet ring?
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.
✩ Are diamonds cheap?
Natural diamonds are less expensive now than they were ten years ago, and their prices seem to be heading south. Historically they were expensive, but looking into the future, they get more and more affordable. First, in the past decade, the supply of diamonds exceeded demand. Second, thanks to the Internet, it's easy to see the abundance of diamonds in the world. Third, a lab-grown diamond recently became a viable alternative to a natural diamond.
"Cheap" and "expensive" are relative terms. What is cheap for Bernie Sanders can be expensive for Mike Bloomberg. That's right. It's not a typo - you see, Mike spends his own money while Bernie made a career of spending ours. Are cars expensive? The answer is different for a Chevy minivan and Bugatti Centodieci. A one-carat diamond can cost $500 or $10,000, depending on its color, clarity, and cut.
✩ What is a full parure?
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 set of jewelry indicates a person who is not in step with current fashion or emotionally attached to her inheritance.
✩ When is a good time to buy jewelry?
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 much 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 50's 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 a profit for the full year. 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.
Singles' Day, November 11 Not to be outdone Chinese created their own money-wasting day of irrational shopping. Chinese e-commerce sites Taobao and JD.com, and others salivate in anticipation of the world's largest online shopping festival.