Cape Diamonds Blog

24Nov/14Off

Why Choose Handmade Engagement Rings?

While at a glance it is hard to tell the difference between handmade engagement rings and store-brought, pre-cast rings, there are a number of things that ultimately determine which ring lasts the test of time.

There is a common misconception that buying a custom-made ring is more expensive, and yet stores can easily charge a fortune for a ring that is not only mass produced, but also far harder to track in its authenticity and true value. A ring from a large chain store for example may have less-than-clear policies on where it sources its stones and metal. This means that there are fewer guarantees that the ring was not made in whole or part from ethical, conflict-free sources. As for the mass production aspect, the ring you choose is often one of thousands exactly like it… even if you are paying a small fortune to buy it.

Handmade engagement rings on the other hand offer a number of benefits that, while they might not be instantly apparent, will certainly make a difference to the wearer over the years.

Handmade vs Pre-Cast – Which is the Best Choice for Engagement Rings?

Some of the things to consider when choosing which type of engagement rings you wish to purchase include the following:

  • Uniqueness. We recently shared some of the most popular diamond ring cuts and styles, while also offering some insight into other factors that influence the overall look of the ring, such as the band and setting. When buying a ring at a store, you would typically be shown a selection of rings, which you can then pick and choose from when you see one that stands out from the rest. A custom ring however is designed from scratch with your input provided at every stage, from the metal of the band to the size and cut of the stone, the carat, the stone itself and many other individual elements you wish to include. This means that the final ring is 100% unique, with no two rings every being the same.

 

  • Value. By having full say over the ring’s specifications, you also have control over how much the final ring will cost. While you want to give your beloved a handmade ring that is as valuable as the one who wears it, you do not want to end up in debt forever after over-spending. By working with your jeweller from the initial design phase to completion, you can find a balance that is realistic and achievable. By choosing everything from the setting to the carat and the metal of the band, you will be able to plan and budget well in advance of your proposal.

 

  • Integrity. Last but certainly not least, with a handmade ring that is made by a jeweller approved by the Kimberley Certification Scheme, you will always be completely sure that you are not buying conflict diamonds. This certification was set in 2000 by Southern African diamond sourcing countries in the mining town of Kimberly, in order to find a way to end the sale of stones used to fund war, violence and other unrest. In the same year, the United Nations adopted the resolution, applying it to the control and sale of all rough diamonds sourced from this region. Without this certification, there is simply no way of knowing whether the stones in your ring have been ethically sourced or not. Rather than focusing on sales figures and profits, as, sadly, many large-scale diamond retailers have been known to do so, smaller jewellers who craft their ware by hand are committed to upholding the principles of conflict-free

At Cape Diamonds, we believe that you are not simply buying a piece of jewellery, but rather a symbol of your love that has been crafted into something unique and precious. And that is what makes the most important difference of all when deciding on which type of engagement rings you should choose.

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19Nov/14Off

Choosing the Best Cut for Engagement Rings

The term cut is used to describe the shape and dimensions of the diamonds used in engagement rings, with many different cuts to choose from when selecting a ring. Along with colour, carat and clarity, this makes up one of the 4 Cs of diamond grading that is used to categorise each ring for its individual, unique characteristics.

Over the course of history, many cuts and styles have come into fashion, with just as many continuing to remain popular. As a general rule of thumb, a classic cut will never go out of fashion, which is something that becomes important when you consider that an engagement ring is worn for a lifetime.

What else should you be looking for when choosing the cut the stone, and how does this affect the overall look of engagement rings?

How Cut Determines the Style of Engagement Rings

Almost every diamond is expertly cut into shape by professional jewellers and gem craftsmen. The cut determines how the light shines off the stone, which, along with colour and clarity, all affect the final result. A good cut ensures that the ring sparkles perfectly, with multiple facets that catch the light. Some of the most popular cuts for diamond rings include the following:

  1. Round. The most popular cut, this type of diamond makes up the biggest percentage of all diamond sales. The round shape reflects maximum light, providing the best potential for brilliance.
  2. Princess. Created in 1980, this is the most popular non-round shape. Like the round cut, it is versatile and flexible, making it ideal for almost all ring styles, including engagement.
  3. Oval. This shape is an altered brilliant cut like a round shape, but as the shape is longer, it gives the impression of a larger size stone.
  4. Marquise. A football-shaped cut that also falls into the brilliant-cut category of round shapes, this long and narrow shape also gives the illusion of larger size. It also has the biggest surface area of any diamond cut.
  5. Pear. This cut combines round and marquise in a pear shape, with a tapered point positioned at the end. This diamond requires perfect symmetry to have its full shine potential.
  6. Heart. A popular choice for solitaire rings, what could be more romantic than a heart-shaped diamond? Ideally, carats under .50 do not work as well in this cut, as the shape of the heart becomes much harder to see when it is too small and set in prongs.
  7. Cushion. As its name implies, this cut is a square cut with round corners, making it look much like a cushion. It is a classic shape that has been popular for nearly two centuries, particularly in the first hundred years of its creation.
  8. Emerald. The step cuts and large, flat surface area give this shape a unique and dramatic look. Unlike the brilliant-cut sparkles, this cut has a mirrored look that makes it easier to see the colour and tiny inclusions of the stone.
  9. Asscher. Produced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, this cut is a precursor to the emerald shape. Like the emerald cut, it has a mirror effect, but with a square shape that has bigger step cuts, a smaller flat surface and a higher crown, giving it more sparkle.
  10. Radiant. The first rectangular shape with a full sparkle on the crown and flat surface, this cut is, as the name suggests, radiant. The square shape is somewhat like a combination of cushion and princess in its cut, and works well when set with round or square smaller stones.

With so many cuts to consider, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the choice. The best way to make an informed decision that will give you the greatest degree of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the recipient, is to try and get input wherever possible. Look through the rings already owned, ask a mom (who always knows these things!), or a best friend (who will also know), or look for any other clues. When all else fails, always go for a simpler, round shape that leans more towards classic than bold and is not dictated by passing trends but more by lasting style and elegance.

To find out more about choosing the perfect ring, contact Cape Diamonds today and we will assist you with a variety of expertly crafted engagement rings to suit every taste and budget.

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18Nov/14Off

Competition: Win earrings and an engagement ring!

We've got a fantastic competition for you to enter!

  1. Once we reach 15,000 likes on Facebook we will give away a pair of 0.6ct diamond earrings worth R20,000.
  2. Once we reach 30,000 likes on Facebook we will give away a diamond engagement ring of your choice valued at R30,000

To win the engagement ring, you need to leave a comment below telling us about your idea of the most romantic proposal ever!

If you purchase a ring from us before the winner is announced, you still have the opportunity to receive a R30 000 back as a discount. We make any ring to suit any budget at half retail price!!! Email us any pic and we will give you a quote!

 

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17Nov/14Off

5 Rules to Remember When Purchasing Engagement Rings

Let’s face it – purchasing engagement rings is not the easiest task on the planet. This is even truer when you are shopping in the dark, without any clue on what to look for, where to start shopping and how to be sure that you are on the right track.

To make things at least a little bit simpler, we have put together some of the most important “rules” to keep in mind when you are searching for diamond engagement rings. We can’t promise that it will make the search a complete cake walk, but it will definitely give you a better idea of the things you cannot afford to overlook.

Important Things to Remember When Buying Engagement Rings

You can find out more about choosing the right cut, or even the romantic symbolism of rings in our previous posts. Some of the most important things besides the stone and symbolism that you need to consider include the following:

  1. Choose the ring shape and design carefully. This should not be based on rough guesses or assumptions. A good way to get an idea of the way the ring is shaped and styled is to sneak in to her jewellery box and look at the other rings she has gotten herself. Ask her friends, too. Taking some phone pictures of her rings will help provide some indication of the things she will be most likely to wear – bold, subtle, elegant, vintage or modern to name but a few typical styles.
  2.  Consider the settings of the ring. The diamond is placed with a metal setting, which is then fitted to a band. There are many different options to choose for settings. Some rings only have a single stone, while others have smaller stones placed around a centre stone. Some have prongs that encase the stone; others have stones that are deeper set into the metal. Having the perfect balance in setting and shape is essential – your research in the above rule will help with this one.
  3.  Know her everyday style. Going back to that research, it is also essential for you to know how she dresses on a daily basis. Look at the type of jewellery she wears. Does she wear more silver, or more gold? Is she a platinum fan, or does she opt for soft yellow gold? Look at the stones she favours too. Remember to also consider her occupation. Will the ring be practical when worn every single day, or will it get in the way?
  4.  Select the right band. Then there is the band of the ring. There are many different metals to choose from, ranging in price and durability (and colour). Platinum is a popular choice, as it is a pure metal that is hypoallergenic and very durable, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. Remember that often wedding bands will match the engagement ring, which means that you will wear a similar ring in the same metal.
  5.  Make sure you plan ahead and be patient. The creation of a ring is not to be rushed, and can take a few weeks at the very least if you are having it custom made. Make sure that you have ample time when planning your proposal, so that you do not have an awkward wait to get the ring. You will also need to inform your jeweller of any inscriptions if you want them engraved inside the ring band too.

Keep these simple rules in place when shopping for engagement rings and you are sure to be on the right track in choosing a ring that will be as perfect as the one you are proposing to.

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17Nov/14Off

10 Important Tips When Choosing An Engagement Ring

10 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PURCHASING A DIAMOND!

Buy your diamond from a reputable company such as Cape Diamonds, which only deals in GIA-certified, conflict-free diamonds.

GIA-CERTIFICATION

Making sure that your diamond is GIA certified is essential. Non-GIA laboratories do not grade diamonds to the same standard, and you could lose a fortune if you invest in a diamond that turns out to have improper certification.

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grades of diamond cut are “excellent”, “very good” and “good”. Ideally, you would want to choose the categories of “excellent” or “very good.”

If you are looking for a ring that will retain its value, we also suggest that you invest in diamonds of VS2-SI2 clarity and H-I colour. Our expert team can help you avoid the mistake of buying a visibly-flawed white diamond or a flawless but off-colour diamond.

We look forward to working with you in sourcing the best conflict-free, GIA-certified diamond to suit your budget.

CHOOSING A DESIGN

At Cape Diamonds we have the expertise to make any ring in consultation with you, based on a picture or sketch that you send us. If you are unsure about what might appeal to your partner, we recommend simple but unique designs.

Our workshop on Prestwich Street in Cape Town offers free design consultations. Sample engagement rings, such as the Soul Ring, exclusive to Cape Diamonds, can be viewed here at your leisure.

CHOOSING A METAL

Platinum is the metal of choice for budgets over R10 000. This is because platinum is durable and low maintenance. It is also HYPOALLERGENIC and not likely to cause allergies.

White gold may require re-plating eventually as it can revert back to an off-white colour. Yet white gold is still a beautiful, resilient metal and we recommend using 9 carat White Gold if your budget is under R10 000. For a more traditional or antique effect, we can also make rings from yellow gold or rose gold.

CHOOSING A SIZE

The average engagement ring size is Medium.

Many people want to surprise their partner with an engagement ring and therefore have to speculate about size. If you cannot bring us a ring that fits your partner’s ring finger, send us a picture of your partner’s hand next to a standard size item such as a pen or coin. We are very good at estimating size.

We will also happily resize your ring – free of charge if no extra metal is used.

 

TIMEFRAME

Once you have paid a deposit, it will take two to three weeks for your ring to be handcrafted at Cape Diamonds.

In some urgent cases we can offer a speed service of 24 hours.

CASH DEALS?

Cash discounts can be linked to tax evasion. That is why we do not offer cash discounts, and all final quotes are inclusive of VAT (Value Added Tax). We trust that you would want to purchase your diamond engagement ring through properly registered companies such as Cape Diamonds.

IS IT OK TO BUY A RING ONLINE?

While it may seem like you are saving money by buying online, you should be aware that many online sellers count on the buyer’s lack of knowledge. Often, all the qualities of the diamond are not properly stipulated online, and practically worthless diamonds are sold online for large sums of money.

So be sure that you make an educated, informed decision when buying your diamond, and buy from a reputable seller, as your diamond engagement ring should be an investment in “forever”.

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14Nov/14Off

Selecting The Perfect Engagement Ring

SELECTING THE PERFECT ENGAGEMENT RING

Choosing just the right ring for your proposal is not always the easiest task. Aside from practical considerations such as budget, you also need to take into account the wearer of the ring.

At Cape Diamonds we understand that every person is unique, and believe that each ring should be unique too. Whether your future betrothed has classic tastes or casual tastes, loves all things bright or all things elegant, we will help you find the perfect fit.

As you plan the last details of your proposal, you can be sure of one thing: an original Cape Diamonds engagement ring is the ultimate way to express your love.

COST

Cape Diamonds specializes in crafting high-quality engagement rings to suit your budget. Please call our experienced consultants who will help you choose an engagement ring that is uniquely perfect and affordable.

CHOOSING A DESIGN

At Cape Diamonds we have the expertise to make any ring in consultation with you, based on a picture or sketch that you send us. If you are unsure about what might appeal to your partner, we recommend simple but unique designs.

Our workshop on Prestwich Street in Cape Town offers free design consultations. Sample engagement rings, such as the Soul Ring, exclusive to Cape Diamonds, can be viewed here at your leisure. Please also look through the designs below for ideas and inspiration. Each style has its own story and meaning.

CHOOSING A METAL

Platinum is the metal of choice for budgets over R10 000. This is because  platinum is durable and low maintenance. It is also hypoallergenic and not likely to cause allergies. White gold may require replating eventually as it can revert back to an off-white colour. Yet white gold is still a beautiful, resilient metal and we recommend using 9 carat White Gold if your budget is under R10 000. For a more traditional or antique effect, we can also make rings from yellow gold or rose gold.

CHOOSING A DIAMOND

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grades of diamond cut are “excellent”, “very good” and “good”. Ideally, you would want to choose the categories of “excellent” or “very good.”

If you are looking for a ring that will retain its value, we also suggest that you invest in diamonds of VS2-SI2 clarity and H-I colour. Our expert team can help you avoid the mistake of buying a visibly-flawed white diamond or a flawless but off-colour diamond.

We look forward to working with you in sourcing the best conflict-free, GIA-certified diamond to suit your budget.

GIA-CERTIFICATION

Making sure that your diamond is GIA certified is essential. Non-GIA laboratories do not grade diamonds to the same standard, and you could lose a fortune if you invest in a diamond that turns out to have improper certification.

Cape Diamonds only recommends GIA certified diamonds, and we only sell conflict-free diamonds.

CHOOSING A SIZE

The average engagement ring size is Medium.

Many people want to surprise their partner with an engagement ring and therefore have to speculate about size. If you cannot bring us a ring that fits your partner’s ring finger, send us a picture of your partner’s hand next to a standard size item such as a pen or matchbox. We are very good at estimating size.

We will also happily resize your ring – free of charge if no extra metal is used.

IS IT OK TO BUY A RING ONLINE?

While it may seem like you are saving money by buying online, you should be aware that many online sellers count on the buyer’s lack of knowledge. Often, all the qualities of the diamond are not properly stipulated online, and practically worthless diamonds are sold online for good sums of money.

Your diamond engagement ring should be an investment in “forever”.

So make sure that you buy your diamond from an honest and knowledgeable diamond dealer such as Joel Graham at Cape Diamonds.

CASH DEALS?

We do not offer cash discounts, and all final quotes are inclusive of VAT (Value Added Tax). We trust that you would want to purchase your diamond engagement ring through properly registered companies such as Cape Diamonds.

TIMEFRAME

Once you have paid a deposit, it will take two to three weeks for your ring to be handcrafted at Cape Diamonds.

In urgent cases we can offer a speed service of 24 hours.

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7Nov/14Off

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Engagement Rings

When the time comes to pop the question, having the most perfect of engagement rings is every bit as essential to the setting, the moment and of course, the delivery.

You may assume that choosing a ring is as simple as, say, picking out a special gift for your loved one, but in reality, there are many things that need to be considered… and not just the cost. From finding a good jeweller to selecting the cut, carat and stones, not to mention ensuring that your ring is authentic and certified, buying that ring can be downright daunting. Then there is the sheer number of choices out there, too. And we haven’t even got to the cost part yet either!

Before you worry though, things get a lot simpler when you know what you should NOT be doing (or choosing) when you are hunting for engagement rings…

Engagement Ring Catastrophes (And How to Avoid Them)

While luckily, most stories involving engagement rings and the giving thereof are generally romantic stories with happy ever after conclusions that are immortalised in photo albums and picture frames, there are a small number of horror stories out there too. In order to make sure that your story is a happy one, here are a few mistakes to avoid making when ring shopping:

  1. Not keeping the wearer in mind. Your partner is unique, with many traits, quirks and characteristics that makes them one of a kind. What is bold and beautiful to one person might be hideous and tacky to another. As such, it is always a good idea to know what the wearer of the ring likes and dislikes – colours, style and personality are all factors to consider.
  1. Forgetting to be practical. A lavish, over the top ring is a wonder to behold, but will it be practical? This ring will be worn daily for many, many years to come. If it is too large, set in a way that stones can catch on fabric or chip, too heavy or impractical in any other way, it may not be comfortable once the initial euphoria wears off.
  1. Going bankrupt to buy the ring. Even the most gorgeous of rings will come at a price that may be a bit too high if you are suffering financially to afford the purchase. There are a number of financial plans that allow you to make a large purchase such as this, but even then you should think carefully about what you can realistically manage. Starting out a new life together when you can barely pay the rent is not romantic in the slightest.
  1. Being fooled by too-good-to-be-true deals. You may have come across an advert that promises a high carat ring at a price that seems just a bit too good. Or perhaps someone at work knows someone at the gym whose brother lives next door to a diamond ring salesman. No matter how tempting it is, it is vital to purchase through a reputable, trusted jeweller that is able to provide proper certification for your diamond. Taking a risk when it could mean getting a fake stone is just not worth it in the end.
  1. Forgetting to follow the ‘4 Cs’ approach to diamond grading. Comprising Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat, the 4 Cs are a grading term that helps you determine that you are getting the best possible diamond ring. For those unsure on how diamonds are categorised, this approach is easy to understand, giving you all the information you need. You can read more about how rings are graded in our recent post on the 4 Cs approach to diamond engagement rings.

The good news is that once you know what to look for and what to avoid, and you have a better idea of the sort of ring that will suit your partner perfectly, your search for fairy-tale-perfect engagement rings will become much simpler. Contact Cape Diamonds today and let us help you find the perfect engagement ring.

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