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Understanding Diamond Shapes

Are you just starting to look for a diamond engagement ring? One of the most important steps is to choose what diamond shape to buy! There are so many wonderful choices, all with a different look.

Round brilliant: The round brilliant diamond was devised by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919 as his doctoral thesis at the University of London. He created a mathematical formula based on 58 facets to get the most sparkle and brilliance from a round diamond. Diamonds cut according to this formula are called ideal cut. A round brilliant diamond not cut to ideal specifications will be less expensive than an ideal cut diamond, but will not sparkle nearly as much.

Emerald: The emerald cut has been around since the 1500's, but gained popularity in the 1920's, when their sleek and elegant lines were the perfect look to go with the Art Deco movement. The emerald cut is a step cut diamond, meaning that the facets of the diamond look like stairs. The emerald cut diamond typically has 57 facets. Because the emerald cut diamond has such a large table, it isn't good at hiding inclusions. Be sure to choose a clarity grade of VS2 or better.

Oval: Diamonds have been cut into oval shapes for hundreds of years, but the modern day oval cut diamond was devised by Lazare Kaplan in 1957. Oval diamonds have 58 facets and will typically look larger than a round diamond of the same carat weight. When shopping for an oval, be aware of proportion (the ideal length to width ratio is 1.35 to 1.50), and beware the bow-tie. Oval diamonds almost always have a bow-tie effect in the center of the diamond, but results will vary - so this is an important cut to shop for in person.

Asscher: The Asscher cut diamond was designed by Joseph Asscher in 1902, and was one of the first patented diamond cuts in the world. The Asscher is step cut like an emerald cut, but the shape is square with cut corners. Like the emerald cut, the Asscher was popular in the 1920's, making it feel both vintage and elegant. The original Asscher cut diamond had 58 facets. In 1999, the Asscher cut was reinvented as the Royal Asscher by Edward and Joop Asscher. This cut has 74 facets and can only be purchased by an authorized jewelry store from the Royal Asscher Company.

Cushion: Cushion cut diamonds have soft, rounded corners, giving them a wonderful pillowy shape. Other than that, nearly every cushion cut diamond you see will be different. Some will be more square, and others more elongated. The faceting structure will be different as well. Some cushion cut diamonds have lots of small facets, giving it a shimmery crushed glass look. Others will have larger facets, giving the diamond larger flashes of light. Whichever look you prefer, you'll want to choose one of these unique diamonds in person.

Radiant: Radiant cut diamonds are available both square and rectangular, but unlike the emerald and Asscher cuts, radiant cut diamonds have the faceting pattern of a round brilliant. The radiant is a popular choice for fancy colored diamonds such as yellow, because the cut brings out the color of the diamonds. When buying an elongated radiant cut, watch out for the bow-tie effect. The ratio can have quite an effect on the look of a radiant, so this is another diamond you'll want to shop for in person.

Marquise: The marquise cut diamond dates back to the 1700's, when King Louis XV of France commissioned a jeweler to design a diamond that resembled the lips of his mistress, Jean Antoinette Poisson, the Marchioness Madame de Pompadour. Current day marquise diamonds have 56 facets and an elliptical shape with pointed ends. Marquise diamonds are traditionally set facing north-south, but famous marquise diamond wearer Catherine Zeta-Jones has her diamond set east-west.

Princess: This cut was developed in 1961, and quickly became one of the most popular diamond cuts. It is a square diamond with pointed corners and a brilliant faceting structure. Princess cut diamonds have 58 facets, but use up to 80% of the rough diamond they are cut from. In contrast, round brilliant diamonds only use about 40-50% of the rough diamond. For this reason, princess cut diamonds are less expensive than round diamonds. But watch out for those pointed corners! They are fragile and can be easily broken.

Pear: The pear-shaped diamond can be traced back to 1458, when it was created by Flemish polisher Lodewyk van Berquem. This diamond is shaped like a teardrop, with one rounded side and one pointed side, and has a brilliant faceting structure. The most famous pear-shaped diamond in the world is the 69.42ct Taylor-Burton diamond, purchased by Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor for a whopping $1.1 million in 1969.

Heart: The origin of the heart-shaped diamond is unknown, but the earliest mention of one is letters from 1463. Mary, Queen of Scots sent a heart-shaped diamond ring to Queen Elizabeth in 1562, as this diamond shape used to be a symbol of royalty. The heart shape is essentially a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top of the rounded side, creating two shoulders. This is one of the most expensive diamond cuts, as it is labor intensive to cut, and difficult to create a perfectly symmetrical shape.

Whatever diamond cut you're looking for, come in or give us a call at 206-623-2528 and we will find exactly what you're looking for! If you know what shape of diamond you'd like to buy, but are unsure of the setting, let us set it into a beautiful diamond solitaire ring for you. The diamond can then be reset later into a setting of your choice.

Gem Water and Wine Tasting April 25th

Have you tried Gem Water yet? If you haven't experienced it yet, come in to the store this Tuesday, April 25th from 2pm-6pm for a special tasting! We'll be tasting water that has been treated with Gem Water as well as water that hasn't. We'll also be tasting red wine directly from the bottle compared to red wine that has been decanted into a Gem Water decanter. 

From the Gem Water website:

Amethysts enjoy a long association with Dionysus, the God of Wine. The ancient Greek already created drinking vessels from amethysts. The word “amethyst” means “not intoxicated” (from Greek a- “not” + methystos “intoxicated”). 

A little while ago, selected wineries and professional sommeliers rediscovered the tradition to enhance wine with amethysts and achieved amazing results. But nowadays, amethysts are no longer placed directly into the wine.

With this blend we bring this tradition to the next level. Vino features a twisted surface and as the amethysts are enclosed in the wand, it makes infusing wine so much more hygienic. The effect on wine is truly stunning. The tannins are usually percepted to be smoother and more pleasurable. Vino gives even great wines a very special tune.

 In order to celebrate a great wine properly, we created a uniquely shaped wine decanter. Handcrafted in Europe, it is an exquisite masterpiece. Fill it with a bottle of wine, place the Gem Water Vino inside, wait for 7 minutes and pour yourself and your friends a glass. You‘ll be amazed!

March's Birthstone: Aquamarine

March babies have an especially lovely birthstone - calming, soothing aquamarine. Aquamarine's name comes from the Latin for "water of the sea." Just like seawater, the color can range from pale blue, to greenish blue, to a deeper blue. The deeper the blue, the more valuable the aquamarine will be. Aquamarines are a member of the beryl family, which includes emeralds and morganites. They are naturally very clean gemstones, and it is rare to see inclusions. Aquamarines are found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Africa, Colombia, and the United States.

Alex Sepkus aquamarine necklace and ring

There are many myths and legends about aquamarines. Roman legend has it that that the stone absorbs young love: “When blessed and worn, it joins in love, and does great things.” Aquamarine was also considered the most appropriate gift for a groom to give his bride for their marriage. Today, many brides love to wear aquamarine for their "something blue." The Greeks and the Romans knew the aquamarine as the sailor’s gem, ensuring safe passage across the seas. In Medieval times, the stone was thought to reawaken the love of married couples, and today is the traditional anniversary gift for a 19th wedding anniversary.

Alex Sepkus aquamarine ring

 At Fox's, we have two lovely aquamarine pieces right now, both one of a kinds from Todd Reed:

This stunning cuff features a 12.62 carat aquamarine set in a palladium and oxidized sterling silver bracelet with 0.52 carats of flush set diamonds.

This incredible waterfall necklace features 26 carats of aquamarine, 2.72 carats of diamonds, and Todd's signature finish work on 18k yellow gold.

Whether you have a March birthday, a wedding, and anniversary, or an upcoming sea voyage, come in to Fox's and let us help you pick out the perfect aquamarine piece!

February's Birthstone: Amethyst

February's birthstone is the regal purple amethyst. Amethysts are a member of the quartz family, The name comes from the ancient Greek a- ("not") and μέθυστος méthystos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone prevented drunkenness. Medieval European soldiers wore amulets made out of amethyst into battle, believing that it would keep them cool-headed, and Tibetans consider amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.

Amethyst "Cityscape" ring by Alex Sepkus

In the Old World, amethyst was considered one of the most precious gems until large deposits of it were found in Brazil. Amethyst can also be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Austria, Canada, and even the United States, where it is the official state gemstone of South Carolina.

At Fox's, we think the perfect February birthday gift is this gorgeous amethyst necklace by Ray Griffiths:

If you don't like purple but still want to be protected from intoxication, you can still wear amethysts. These gemstones can be heat treated to become citrine and prasiolite, which are yellow and green in color, respectively. You may also find very pale amethysts, which are called Rose de France. Whatever shade you prefer, we can find it for you at Fox's!

 

 

Bridal Metals - An Overview

With so many choices, how do you choose the metal for your wedding rings? Here are some fun facts about each metal:

Gold: Gold is a rare element, and has been used throughout history as currency, jewelry, decorative objects, and more. It has spawned wars and launched voyages. It is extremely durable and malleable. One ounce of gold can be pounded into a 187 square foot sheet or stretched into a wire 40 miles long. Pure gold is 24 karat, although you will more often see it alloyed with other metals to bring it to 18 karat or 14 karat. Its bright yellow color is loved for being rich and beautiful.

Alex Sepkus Diamond and 18K Yellow Gold Ring

Rose Gold: Rose gold is simply gold that has been alloyed with copper to give it a pink or red hue. Almost every designer who uses rose gold has a slightly different shade. Rose gold is available in 14 or 18 karat, and has a lovely romantic look.

John Apel Diamond and 18K Rose Gold Engagement Ring

White Gold: White gold is gold that has been alloyed with nickel or palladium, then plated with rhodium to give it a cool, white tone. Rhodium is extremely hard and bright, and is actually one of the most expensive precious metals. Over time, rhodium may need to be reapplied to maintain its white finish.

Harry Kotlar Diamond and 18K White Gold Wide Ring

Platinum: Platinum is the strongest and rarest of the precious metals. It is naturally white, and platinum jewelry is typically 95% pure, making it a good choice for those who have sensitive skin or an allergy to nickel. Platinum is a dense metal, and jewelry made from it will be more expensive than gold. Platinum is also used in the medical field for pacemakers, and in the automotive industry for catalytic converters.

Mark Patterson Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring 

Palladium: Palladium a naturally white metal from the platinum group of metals. It is lighter weight and therefore less expensive than platinum. Palladium was first used in jewelry when all platinum was declared for military use only during World War 2, and grew in popularity in 2008 when platinum soared to $3000 per ounce.

Todd Reed Raw Diamond Diamond and Palladium Ring 

Titanium: Titanium is a non-precious metal that is popular in men's wedding bands. It is a grayish white color, and is extremely lightweight. Titanium is as strong as steel, but 45% lighter. It is commonly used in aircraft and missiles due to its strength and ability to withstand high temperatures. Titanium rings are far less expensive than the precious metals above, but they cannot be sized or cut off in an emergency.

Titanium Beveled Band 

January's Birthstone: Gorgeous Garnet

Garnet, January’s birthstone, is one of the most diverse gemstones. It comes in an array of colors, although it’s most commonly known for its classic shade of red. Garnet varieties and species actually come in a rainbow of colors, including orange, yellow, and green. While rare, these gemstones can also come in blue and violet, and even color change! Here at Fox's we have hand picked some of the most rare and vivid species of garnet. Below are some amazing one of kind pieces featuring these special gemstones.

Alex Sepkus 18ky and mint green garnet ring, $7,500

Alex Sepkus 18ky and spessartite garnet ring, $11,600

Alex Sepkus 18ky and hessonite garnet ring, $10,380

Alex Sepkus 18k rose gold and tsavorite garnet necklace, $5,725

Arman Sarkisyan 22k gold and tsavorite garnet locket, $3,780