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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

115

Ask a Jeweler: Shady Platinum, Sizing Up Your Rings, and the Case For Sapphires

1. My engagement and wedding rings were custom made by a local jeweler in platinum, and have the PLAT marking. I noticed (after over a year of wearing them) that my rings were attracted by a magnet, yet my husband's platinum band isn't.

I recently took the rings back to my jeweler to be cleaned, and I intended to ask him, but I chickened out. The rings cost us several thousand dollars, and the jeweler gave us a valuation certificate when we bought them. Should I be worried?

Don’t worry, your jeweler is legit! Here’s why:

One hundred percent pure platinum is too soft to be used in jewelry, so to make it durable enough for everyday wear, platinum has to be mixed (or alloyed) with another metal. Same goes for gold and silver, by the way. Most platinum jewelry made in the United States these days is 95 percent platinum and 5 percent some other metal (although it’s not uncommon to see different ratios). In your case, I’m guessing the 5 percent Something Else is cobalt, which would make the whole ring magnetic. Platinum/cobalt alloys are often used for casting detailed pieces (like an engagement ring with prong settings).

Your husband’s ring is likely made with a different platinum alloy, probably iridium, which is not magnetic. Platinum/iridium is more commonly used for fabrication work (like taking a piece of platinum wire and then shaping it into a simple band).

Hopefully that put your mind at ease, but in the future don’t be a chicken about asking your jeweler! The PLAT stamp and the valuation he gave you are guarantees of your purchase. If you are worried you bought something on the pretense of incorrect information, it’s his job to fix the problem ASAP. Any honest jeweler will be happy to oblige.

***
2. My wedding band was my husband’s grandmother’s, and has small channel-set (I think?) diamonds all the way around a white gold band. What’s not so small? My finger. I wear the band now, but honestly, getting it off takes patience and lots of tugging and sometimes soap, so I’d really like to size it up a little bit.

However, the internet seems to have lots of conflicting advice ranging from “you can’t do it, you’ll destroy the ring” to “you can do it, but only within certain parameters” to “just lose weight, fattie!” (that last one’s not so helpful).

So is it possible to increase the size of my ring? Are there certain questions I need to ask/things I need to look for to be sure a jeweler will do it correctly? Or do I just leave it where it is and hope I never need to remove it in an emergency?

I hear this one a lot. Essentially, the person who told you, “You can do it, but only within certain parameters,” is correct. Also, just to clear things up, channel-setting looks like this:

Ring by Conroy and Wilcox
The normal way to make a ring larger is to cut it open, widen the gap, and then insert more metal. Of course, this is not possible to do with channel-set eternity bands because changing the circumference of the ring will mess up all the little spaces the stones live in, and then they fall out or get crunched and everyone gets sad. However, if the ring is only a tiny bit too small for you and if the stones are set up high in the ring (meaning there is some space between the bottom of the stones and the inside edge of the metal band), it’s possible for a jeweler to grind down the inside and slightly increase the size of the finger opening.

If that’s not an option for you ring, I’d see about getting the stones re-set in a band that fits you more comfortably. Finger claustrophobia is never fun.

***
3. I'm sure you get all sorts of variations of the I-don't-want-a-diamond-but-what-do-I-want question from us kids who read The Hairpin regularly and who are looking into ways to have their significant others serve up their love without a side of blood. But seriously, what do I want if I don't want a diamond? Do I want a sapphire? Do I want something lab-created? Where do I find it? What do I look for? The purple ones are GORGEOUS but stupid expensive. Is blue the only answer for sapphires? What are other gemstone options?

Also, what do I do if my above questions are moot because I really want an opal engagement ring? What if it's the only thing I've ever wanted in my life, but I've read way too much about them breaking/chipping/falling-out to spend a significant amount of money on them? Do you possess some sort of magic that would prevent any of those tragedies from taking place? Do you know a jeweler that does?

I feel like Love With a Side of Blood is a Lifetime Original waiting to happen. In all seriousness, though, if you want to get an ethically-sourced engagement ring, you have to go way deeper than just avoiding diamonds. Mining operations that focus on other gemstones and precious metals are often guilty of the same environmental degradation and human rights violations as diamond mines. The best way to avoid supporting these dubious enterprises is to buy estate pieces or pieces from vendors that use only recycled, ethically sourced, or lab-grown materials. Luckily, lots of companies are starting to offer products that fall under these parameters. Brilliant Earth is one of the bigger guys, but lots of small-scale artists are starting to use ethically sourced materials as well. Anywayyy, this is a big topic that I could go on about all day but you asked about…

Sapphires!

Sapphires are a great choice for engagement rings because they are very durable and come in all colors of the rainbow.

Sapphires from Exceptional Gems
Sapphires and rubies are actually the same exact species of gemstone (corundum). The only difference is that when corundum is red it’s called a ruby, and when it’s any other color it’s called a sapphire. Sapphires can be found in lots of vintage pieces, and are also super affordable if they are lab-grown (a.k.a. synthetic). “Synthetic” carries some negative connotations, but lab-grown stones are chemically identical to natural ones and even a trained gemologist will have to do some scrutinizing under magnification to tell a natural stone from a synthetic.

In researching your question I called up Kaye, Zales, and Jared’s and they all said they could get me a “lab-created” sapphire if I wanted. Not that I would recommend shopping at those places if you can help it—Kay commercials make me throw up in my mouth a little—but it confirmed that synthetics are easily available all over the place. You just have to ask! I’m not sure where you were looking, but even “the purple ones” will be a tiny fraction of the cost of natural sapphires. Color doesn’t make much of a price difference when it comes to synthetic corundum.

Other nice sparkly gems that come in all sorts of colors are tourmalines and garnets. Bonus points for tourmaline: a lot of really nice ones are mined in Maine, so you can buy those to avoid human rights issues.

Maine tourmalines from Mt. Mica Rarities
But this is all moot, really, because you love Opals. People have told you to forget this love because opals are too delicate, but you can’t choose who you fall in love with and there are a few options that can make opal engagement rings a plausible choice.

1. Use the design of your ring to protect the opal. I would recommend a bezel setting (a bezel is a strip of metal that goes all the way around a stone) where the opal doesn’t stick out too far past the metal.

Opal ring by Melissa Joy Manning
2. You could buy an opal triplet. Since opal is fragile and can be expensive, sometimes people take a thin opal slice and sandwich it between a stable backing and a clear quartz cap (take away the quartz cap and it’s called an opal doublet). It’s hard to notice the difference between a doublet/triplet and a solid opal once they’re set in jewelry, but when you look at a loose stone in profile it's quite obvious to the eye. Triplets are very inexpensive (like, $5 – $20), so typically people don’t use them in fine jewelry, but don’t let the haters stop you. (Also note that, if possible, you should avoid taking these assembled stones in water, as the adhesive can eventually weaken.)

Diagram from geology.com
3. Boulder opal! Sort of like nature’s opal doublet, boulder opal happens when thin sheets of opal form in the cracks of rocks. The opal is so thin, that when people cut it they leave some of the “boulder” on the back of the stone, which increases durability.

Boulder Opal from Opal Direct
Since most opals are mined in Australia, they are yet another good, ethically-sourced, gemstone option.

Previously: Ask a Jeweler: Nonmetal Bands, Gem Appraisal, and Inherited Damage

Top photo via eastpole/flickr.

Anna Rasche works in the Diamond District by day, and helps run the Society for the Advancement of Social Studies by night. She enjoys good cheese and bad puns. Ask her anything.



115 Comments / Post A Comment

SarahP

LW3! Gemvara is another option: most of their metals are recycled, and they work hard to assure that their gem sources are ethical. My husband got my (ruby!) engagement ring from them and they were great.

robotosaur

@SarahP I have a Gemvara emerald wedding band on RIGHT NOW. Fair warning, LW3--you will lose days to that website.

stinapag

@SarahP Also, try Greek Karat, which I was obsessed with before I found my ring from an antique jewelry vendor.

retrovertigo

@SarahP Melissa Joy Manning is certified green and uses only recycled precious metals. Melissa does everything she can to make sure her stones are ethically sourced, a LOT of time goes into maintaining close relationships with her vendors. We have some incredible raw diamond rings and gorgeous unusual sapphires. Buy MJM so Hairpinners can be wearing my handywork! I'm a jeweler for Melissa Joy Manning, by the way.

puncturedbicycle@twitter

@SarahP Ned Bowman makes beautiful green wedding and engagement rings from recycled materials in his Florida workroom and he is possibly the best communicator and nicest man you will ever do business with. I bought the narrow leaf band - he matched the gold of my engagement ring without ever seeing it and worked within narrow time parameters - and I admire it every day. My only connection is as a very happy customer.
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BowmanOriginals?section_id=5562736&page=1

iceberg

As an Aussie, I remain surprised that non-tacky opal jewelry exists. Generally I've only seen the ones where it's a kangaroo pendant with an oval opal belly or some shit.

Also I did not know that about rubies & sapphires. Cool!

olivebee

@iceberg I went to an opal mine while visiting Australia when I was 14 and bought myself a gorgeous ring. I just found it recently the other day when I went back to visit my mom's house, but the metal of the band around it is all stripped down, which is a bummer.

Smallison

@iceberg I've seen some nice opal rings, but I have a friend with the tackiest opal necklace I've ever seen. It's a silver duck foot (pretty small, about a half an inch high), and the opals are the webbing. It is hideous, but her father-in-law got for her, so she feels obligated to wear it. Yuck.

iceberg

@Smallison Oh lawd.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@iceberg I'm getting the sense that opals : Aussies :: turquoise : Americans (or, rather, this particular American commenting who can't see turquoise jewelry without thinking of icky oil billionaire trophy wives or toursity rip-offs of Native American designs).

iceberg

@MoxyCrimeFighter YES good analogy! I even love turquoise, just to prove your point further ;)

daisicles

@iceberg I was recently given a ring that's shaped like a flower with teeny opals for each of the petals. It's a pretty ring and I'm fond of it... but it would be so easy to go very, very wrong with the design.

wallsdonotfall

@MoxyCrimeFighter I love the color and sheen of real, undyed turquoise, and I don't encounter enough oil barons to have that problem. Anyone know good sources for quality, non-tacky turquoise jewelry that doesn't exploit individuals or communities?

Ten Thousand Buckets

@iceberg When I was a kid my uncle brought me a koala pin with an opal belly from Australia. :p

olivebee

For LW #3 - my engagement ring is a sapphire, and I used the stones (diamonds and sapphires) from my mom's wedding band to create my wedding band. That way, it was recycled, it held meaning, and it was super cheap for the jeweler to just replace the stones in a new band. I do love the sapphires (and not a single scratch yet!), so it worked out perfectly for me, but I agree with the advice - you do you! If I ran into you on the street with a gorgeous opal ring, I'd be like, "damn girl - you have good taste."

SarahP

@olivebee They are strong! Once I thought I scratched my ruby engagement ring and almost cried about it ("I can't have nice things") until I realized it was actually a tiny bit of food. (I still shouldn't have nice things, though, obviously.)

iceberg

@SarahP I haven't worn my engagement/wedding rings since the BBs were born because I KNOW with all the diapers I have to change, and the claw settings... something bad will happen.

olivebee

@SarahP I know what you mean. I have a white cat, and one time, a tiny bit of her hair was stuck on top of the ring. I was devastated that I had a huge scratch in it ("but they are so strong, how did I do that?!??"), but nope.

highfivesforall

@olivebee Ha, that has happened to me, but with a white cat hair on my head - so I'm standing in front of the mirror going, I just dyed my hair! How is there a white hair poking out?? But no, it's just because I put my face on the cat.

olivebee

@highfivesforall Hahah, I started getting a few gray (white) hairs in my bangs when I was 22 (I am only 25 now), and I still get irritated when I wake up in the morning going, "Oh, there's an Olive hair on my head," and then I pull it to find out it's actually attached. Then I pull it anyway because NO THANKS.

Amphora

@highfivesforall Cat hairs on my eyebrows are the bane of my post-shower morning.

VerityStandingStill

@Amphora This just happened to me with a dog hair. It was placed perfectly, so it took me a second to realize, no, I don't have a single WHITE hair in my eyebrow, it's just a dog's short face hair.

Radio_LJ

@olivebee My engagement ring is also a sapphire in a platinum setting, with teeny tiny diamonds. We found it at an antique jewelery shop. I specifically wanted a vintage piece because they are unique, ethical and have a story and history. Mine came from an estate in New Orleans, which happens to be where my mother was born. Vintage and estate jewelers have such beautiful and unique pieces.

amgram

@olivebee Fun fact (nerd fact): Corundum/rubies/sapphires are one of the hardest minerals on earth. They are super, super difficult to scratch. I was a geology major and could nerd out about this stuff all day (embarrassing)

f.pamplemousse

@olivebee That is so interesting - my mom has always said she doesn't wear her sapphire engagement ring because it got scratched easily, so I'll have to follow up with her...

allendaniel

Omg your new album <3_<3 whut, I'm so in love.@a

SarahP

Oh, and on lab-created gems: my jeweler said that lab-created gemstones sometimes react badly or oddly to extreme heat (like the heat you would need to resize a platinum/palladium setting), so if you go the lab-created route and need work done on it, make sure you tell the person doing the work that it's a lab-created stone.

MilesofMountains

I really wish there was a way to specify the sources of gems and precious metals. I know it's impossible, but it'd be so nice to be able to say "I want a ring made from a diamond from THAT mine, and gold from THAT mine not THAT mine"

laurel

@MilesofMountains I think Canadian diamonds have wee tiny polar bears etched into them in an effort to brand them. Not what you're referring to in re some kind of chemical sourcing, I realize, but still. Tiny polar bears.

OhMarie

GIRL, I have an opal engagement ring and I love it!

Basically, I decided that I was ok with buying a new one if I ever destroyed it. Hasn't happened yet, and I've had it for almost 8 years. I did wear it all of the time while I was engaged but don't anymore, both because of the fragility issue and because a pretty big opal ring is cheap, and the big ring isn't the comfiest for constant wear for me.

iceberg

@OhMarie side note, POLL! Married Pinners: do you still wear your engagement ring, or not, and why?

Bethany Murray@twitter

@iceberg I still wear mine! My engagement ring was my great grandmother's engagement ring and is platinum with a few tiny diamonds (less than a carat all together), but I have been really happy to wear it. I got a simple white gold band as a wedding ring I just wear them stacked on my ring finger. It's not a lot of bling and I think it suits me.

olivebee

@iceberg Yep. But (and I have mentioned this on the 'Pin before) I take it off immediately upon entering my home. I never wear it at home and pretty much only put it on to go to work or out with friends or something. I am just so frightened something is going to happen to it. I am also planning on leaving it at home when I go to Europe this summer.

ghechr

@OhMarie Nope! I lost both my engagement ring and wedding ring while preggo. My fingers swelled up so I had to take them off. I put them on a chain around my neck. Then I realized one day that the chain was no longer there (broken, I presume). Gone forever. We replaced by band with an inexpensive (~$300) titanium and gold number. Love it.

smidge

@iceberg Yes, I wear it all the time (except swimming and showering) because I just absolutely love it and don't want to leave it behind. I work in an office, so it's not inconvenient.

loren smith

@iceberg I wear mine engagement ring like 90% of the time. I leave it at home if I go on a big vacation, or go skiing or surfing or something. But it comes to yoga and the gym, and the lap pool and the shower.

emeegee

@iceberg I wear mine day in and day out! It's an opal, and it's one of the few tangible things my partner has given me that he chose completely on his own (he selected brilliantly). Usually he gifts with experiences or to my exact specifications, so the ring is mostly special to me because he found it.

snowmentality

@iceberg Most of the time yes, because hey why not, it's pretty and it's not overwhelmingly blingy or anything.

But sometimes I want to go more minimalist, and then I just wear my plain wedding band. I do this for job interviews, presentations, anything where I'm trying to look professional. I also tend to do this when traveling. And sometimes I just feel like it.

Also, about half the time I take my rings off to shower or wash dishes or apply hand lotion, and then completely forget to put them back on.

KatieBarTheDoor

@iceberg Yep, all the time, because I think it's gorgeous and my husband designed it and it makes me happy. It fits really nicely with my wedding ring, even though they're not a set, and the stones sit low enough that it doesn't really snag on things. The only time I take it off is when I'm putting on lotion or baking when I have to use my hands.

OhMarie

@iceberg Obvs I already answered, but I actually got out of the habit of wearing my ring all of the time because it was a little bit too big. I got it fixed and it's MUCH better. So PSA: if your ring fit is even a tiny bit off, get that stuff fixed!

I never take my wedding band off.

BosomBuddy

@iceberg I still wear mine. I do not have a wedding band, so it's the only formal ring I have. It's a relatively simple and discreet ring, and it more or less suits my personality, so I don't mind wearing it all the time.

sophia_h

@iceberg Yes, because it is a teeny diamond in a vintage-esque setting, very unassuming (oh getting married in your early 20s). But it always sits sideways or upside-down, which drives me nuts, yet I can't get it sized because the problem is actually my finger -- I never take my rings off, I gained some weight, and my finger indented underneath them, so now that I'm a little skinnier they are too big for just that one little strip of my finger, but if I got them resized I wouldn't be able to get them on. I tried leaving them off for a month once to see if my finger would go back to normal, but no dice. :(

knittinginheels

@OhMarie I don't, but that's because our "engagement rings" were really just the test rings that my dad made for our real wedding rings. Our rings are pretty wide, and wearing both would not only look weird but keep me from bending that finger! I wear my wedding ring 90% of the time, becasue I like it, I am still quite young to be married (hooray getting married irresponsibly young- we have been very lucky) and it's nice to not have to deal with the random date request, and I love that my father made it. My husband did wear the "engagement" version until a few weeks ago when he lost it- the fit wasn't as good as the real one- so we'll probably have my dad re-size his.

Ophelia

@iceberg I WOULD wear mine, but we accidentally let the insurance on it lapse, and now I have to get it re-appraised so I can re-ensure it, because otherwise I'm totally neurotic about losing it. My wedding band is just a plain band, so it's nice to have something "fancy" every so often. I do take it off to travel or do anything particularly dirt/goop related.

catwithglasses

@iceberg I wear mine sometimes, more now after I got it re-sized to fit on my right ring finger. It's a garnet and tourmaline ring (which are indeed nice and sparkly and available in lots of colors like the author said) but the arrangement is such that I can't wear it on top of my wedding ring. Plus, I like the minimalist just-the-band look. So I wear my wedding band 95% of the time (it's usually off when I'm working out/sleeping/cleaning) and my engagement ring maybe 25% of the time, for going out.

But I love it-- my husband worked with a local jeweler to design it and it's totally unique and not something I would have thought of on my own.

lemonadefish

@iceberg
I wear mine all the time (two years married, had the ring for 8 months before), except I'm getting too fat for it, and I'm hoping to get pregnant and therefore even fatter soon, so I've purchased a super cheap goldish band to wear instead when I can't stand it anymore.

Adult Footie Pajamas

@iceberg I'm getting married in September, and my engagement ring will be my wedding ring too. I just can't justify two rings when there are so many plane tickets to be had. My ring is an art deco antique ring that I got from Gilt in Portland. It's white gold filigree, which means it's super light and kind of small, and the diamond (which I felt fine about, because it's an antique and my money went to local shopkeepers and not child slavery) is small and unobtrusive.

stinapag

@iceberg I wear mine all the time. It's an antique blue sapphire in a platinum deco-ish crown setting with eight tiny diamonds in the setting from the 1910s. It's sized slightly smaller than my wedding band, so I might take it off when I get pregnant if my fingers swell too much. (I was pregnant earlier this year, but only made it to 8 weeks before a miscarriage. I didn't have swelling then, but apparently each pregnancy is different.) I thought about taking it off when I travel or otherwise am doing something rough, but I'm so used to wearing it it doesn't occur to me to take it off except when I'm bathing my dog. My wedding band sort of matches. It's a white gold band with alternating sapphires and diamonds in a Channel setting, but only halfway around.

My husband and I went engagement shopping together six months after we got engaged. He says finding my ring was one of the more squee moments he's ever seen.

barefoot cuntessa

@iceberg My engagement ring is an antique emerald and I'm a chef so I'm constantly working with and washing my hands, so I don't wear that ring every day. I do, however, have my grandmother's engagement ring that looks almost identical but is made with diamonds instead. I wear that one on my right hand every day. I break out the emerald when we're going out fancy or I've got a free day. Somehow I went from a girl who never wore jewelry except for an occasional necklace or bracelet to wearing sparkley things every day.

Roxy Throatpunch

@iceberg All the time, unless I'm putting on lotion or kneading dough. It and my wedding band are a beautiful set that my husband designed, and it would look/feel weird to me to wear one without the other. Sidenote, but my rings are nothing I ever would have picked out for myself, but the longer I've worn them (EIGHT YEARS for my engagement ring), the more I've figured out that they are absolutely perfect for me. He knows me pretty well, that husband of mine.

Bebe

@iceberg Yep, still wear mine, on top of the wedding band. Both my rings are from my husband's family, and I love the stories behind them both, and when I heard that both rings came from the in-laws (and are very precious to his family) it just made me feel so loved and embraced by them. Warm fuzzies all around.

However, I am also terrified of losing them, so I never, ever wear them while swimming or showering, and I can't sleep with any jewelry on so I take them off at night, too.

Bittersweet

@iceberg Very late to this thread, but YES I wear my engagement ring, because it is attached to my wedding ring. The underside of my engagement ring is very thin, and 2 weeks after I got engaged, I smacked it just wrong against my (massive steel 1940s era) work desk. It flattened, and had to be cut off and repaired.

Fast-forward 15 years to 2010, when I banged it against something and it split. After that I said forget it, and got it soldered to my (much thicker) wedding band. Now they're a single unit but still 2 separate entities...sort of like me and my husband.

polyhedra

@Adult Footie Pajamas yes! gilt! that is where I got my rings as well. I hear the "why buy two rings" but they had some really lovely sets that were somehow the exact same price as the bigger one-off rings.

seriously y'all if you are in the pacific northwest, gilt is just the very very best for recycled jewelry. and it is SOMEHOW way way way cheaper than a jewelry store. I got both of my lovely, unique, beautiful gold and white gold with one diamond (who knows the carat, they don't tell you at this small size, ha ha!) for five hundo, which, in the grand scheme of weddings, is goddamn (unfortunate) peanuts.

cuminafterall

I honestly didn't put that much thought or heartache into picking my major-life-event jewelry, but ended up with a more or less ethical option: vintage engagement ring, recycled gold bands. If you want new, Bario-Neal in Philadelphia uses recycled metals and ethically-sourced diamonds and their stuff is purty.

cuminafterall

@cuminafterall Also the Bario-Neal blog is a rabbit hole you might want to jump down if you're interested in ethically-sourced gems and precious metals.

ellochka

@cuminafterall I'm drooling over their custom stuff now. Ughhhh so pretty.

highfivesforall

@ellochka Wow! I love the rings that look like the stone just grew inside the setting. Symmetry is overrated!

Sam I am

@cuminafterall Such nice work! Thanks for sharing!

Judith Slutler

@cuminafterall THE SHALE EARRINGS omfg love

angelinha

@cuminafterall Oh my. Glad I'm at work so the boy I've been dating for less than 2 months doesn't happen to see that I spent a whole afternoon browsing engagement rings.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

There are cool opals mined in Idaho as well, at the Spencer Opal Mine. And, if you're looking for something extra awesome, Montana has Yogo sapphires, which are only found here and are a delightful cornflower blue (for some legitimacy, check Montana sapphires' references in the English Royal Crown Jewels).

olivebee

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Google image searched it - those are a gorgeous shade of blue! I love my sapphire, but now I kind of wish it was that color.

smidge

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Aw, we went to the Spencer Mine on a family vacation! Memories.

par_parenthese

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Dude those Yogo sapphires are an AMAZING color! Love.

hallelujah

SO RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. I've been married for half a year and still haven't settled on a ring (I didn't have an engagement ring either, so I want that style instead of a band). I've leaned towards opals as they are the shit and also my son's birthstone, but have heard the same scary stuff. But now I'm leaning towards those tourmalines, because they killed me, and now I am dead.

robotosaur

@hallelujah GEMVARA FOREVER. They have tourmalines and you can design the band/setting.

Sunny Schomaker@twitter

@hallelujah It may not be an apt analogy, as it isn't a ring I wear all the time (unlike a wedding ring), but I have a marquise cut opal ring. (Like your son, I am an October baby.) Jewelers I've met have been surprised by the cut because of the fragility issue, but I've had it over 15 years and nary a crack. Although, it is true that I'm not a stevedore, but an academic, so the risk of damage is reduced slightly.

Coal Tar Epoxy

It's probably been asked before, but what about Canadian diamonds?

loren smith

@The Angels Have the Phonebox I'm not sure, but I think there have been tensions with First Nations groups regarding labour agreements, land and mineral rights, environmental impact. On a personal level, a friend of my brother's, his dad owns a northern Canadian diamond mine, and I can tell you that that diamond money contributed to Hank being a giant ass all through high school.

Coal Tar Epoxy

@loren smith Oh, you're probably right about that. I'm probably a bad person in saying so, but tension over those issues is pretty much a given for any resource here.

loren smith

@The Angels Have the Phonebox Oh well yeah that's sadly rather true - I didn't want to make any assumptions about your knowledge base though :)

Coal Tar Epoxy

@loren smith It's a good reminder that things aren't always sunshine and roses here in maple syrup land.

MilesofMountains

@The Angels Have the Phonebox Ooo! ooo! Me! Ask me!

I'm an environmental scientist who works primarily in gold, silver, and diamond mines in Canada so I have Feelings on this topic. From an environmental perspective they're really not very bad at all, if I had to choose between a gold mine and a diamond mine in my backyard, I'd choose a diamond mine any day. The First Nations and Inuit have valid complaints regarding the level of consultation and cooperation required by mining companies developing on their land, but like you said I don't know of any resource development types where that isn't an issue, sadly. On the plus side, the companies I have worked with do make a strong effort to provide stable, well-paying employment for local First Nations and Inuit (although that's kind of secondary if they didn't want the mine there in the first place). On a safety side, I'm pretty sure your average office is less safe than a large diamond mine. They are crazy serious about worker safety.

Soo, Canadian diamond mines, not terrible, not perfect, it'd be more ethical to go without a metal ring at all, really.

Claire Lovell

I got my sapphire ring from Brilliant Earth and I love it. They make really nice stuff, but it's not cheap. Worth it though I think. And I still wear my engagement ring because I have a solitaire enhancer wedding band, ie it looks dumb worn by itself cause it has a big hole in it for the engagement ring to go in.

Amphora

@Claire Henry@twitter Isn't that kind of the standard now, though, to get your wedding band made to fit the existing ring?

Claire Lovell

@Amphora I think the picture explains it better. http://zales.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pZALE1-11626269t400.jpg

stinapag

@Amphora My rings aren't flush at all. My stone juts out from the band on my engagement ring, but my wedding band is flat. I could have had a band made to go around my engagement ring, but I wasn't sure if I'd want to wear the band alone. I don't even notice that they're not flush with one another.
Uh, that's not a great description. Here's a picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stinapag/7490112634/in/set-72157630516593470

Amphora

@stinapag Ooh your husband's ring is nice too! is that copper?

stinapag

@Amphora Copper and silver. He found it from an Etsy seller. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaggiDesigns

evil betty

LW3: I received a bezel set opal ring as my 18th birthday gift and wore it without incident for nearly 10 years until my fingers got too fat. Wore it in water, doing the washing up, etc. etc. don't let the opal haters put you off. Even if you got a diamond you couldn't guarantee it wouldn't drop out of the setting- I've seen it happen, so get the opal you've always wanted and wear it with pride.

Briony Fields

@evil betty Yep! The diamonds totally fell out of my ring. Two of them! Lost somewhere in the carpets at work. Meanwhile, I have opal earrings I have worn quite a bit without incident.

Buffy Summers

My engagement ring stone (I don't have it yet- but it's in the making omg so excited) is a Montana sapphire from Gemfix. They are beautiful and we love the whole mined-in-the-US thing! They are less cobalt-colored than sapphires from Ceylon, which, to me, makes them feel more wearable for everyday.. not sure if that makes sense to anyone else. Anywhoo, Gemfix is a very highly-regarded vendor and my bf had nothing but positive things to say about his experience.

ETA: we did check out the Natural Sapphire Company's showroom in NYC. Not super impressive- many of the stones were cut quite shallow and the girl never followed-up. YMMV.

MandaX

Waitaminnit, I thought (re the first question) that jewelry could be resized by annealing it, then stretching it gently over a sizing rod. That's what was done with my engagement ring from my first marriage. I know in some cases that might make a ring too thin/weak, but then again so would the grinding-out-the-inside option. If you only need a little bit more room in the band, wouldn't that be a sizing option as well?

In addition, I've never heard of having to cut into a ring to size it larger -- I thought that was only if you want to make a ring smaller and needed to remove some of the metal.

Not that I have been in the market to do any of these things for some years. I'm sure any reputable jeweler could tell you if these are valid options (particularly for the exact ring in question). I'll just sit here admiring my tough-ass tungsten carbide wedding band with the celtic knotwork now.

Judith Slutler

@MandaX I was about to say the same thing! My dad gave me a gold ring with a small blue semiprecious stone (no idea what it is) when I was in 4th grade, and I had it sized up by stretching the gold at least twice as I grew. It is pretty dang thin at the bottom of the band now, and when I got waaaaay tooooooo skinny, the extra weight of the stone and its setting meant that the ring would always turn upside down on my finger - so that as a word of caution, don't get your ring stretched too much, LW2!

stinapag

@MandaX The problem with eternity rings is that the stones go all the way around the ring, so if the ring is stretched, the stones pop out.

snowmentality

My engagement ring has three lovely, sparkly lab-created sapphires. It's from a place called GreenKarat -- they specialize in lab-created stones and recycled gold, so it's all earthy-crunchy and whatnot. (They are also super-awesome about doing custom designs, or just small tweaks to their standard designs.)

I am a huge proponent of lab-created stones. They're more environmentally friendly, they're less expensive, and they're sort of symbolic of the power of science. Because how awesome is it that we can reproduce the earth's heat and pressure and make gemstones happen in a lab? Super awesome, that's how awesome.

stinapag

@snowmentality I almost got my ring from them! I had it picked out and bookmarked and everything. And then my husband and I went to an antique jewelry store "just to look" and the next thing I knew a vintage sapphire from the 1910s ended up on my finger. I really do love GreenKarat, though. If I can think of a reason for an extravagant (for me anyways) piece of jewelry, I might go to them.

Elle Marie@twitter

I had a platinum engagement ring made with an antique diamond (it was cheaper than a new, ethically-sourced stone, too!) by a local jeweler, and then had a matching wedding band made with channel-set square sapphires. I think the cost of the sapphires was actually the same as or slightly less than what it would have cost to have a solid platinum band, since platinum is so expensive. I have metal allergies so platinum was the best choice for me.

At any rate, I found it super-awesome to work with someone local to have our rings made. We got personalized service, and were able to customize everything about our rings. I have gigantic hands (my hands are the same size as my husband's, and he is not a small person at 6'3") and really wanted rings that looked proportional on my hand. All of the vintage settings that I loved would have looked comically small on my huge hands, so the jeweler made a vintage-inspired setting.

Amphora

@Elle Marie@twitter Yeah, the best part about going and talking to a jeweler in person is they can suggest things you hadn't thought of. I ended up with a really nice horizontal oval diamond claw-set in a thicker band that looks better on my man-hands than something daintier.

amzuki

i didn't want a stone at all, but i still wanted a ~pretty~ ring. my partner and i had a really great experience with an artist based in california we found on etsy. i cannot recommend her enough. she was so amazing! and as a lady who never thought i'd be into jewelry, i am obsessed with my beautiful ring. http://www.etsy.com/shop/jennykim

Mingus_Thurber

Moissanite bezel-set in silver here. Moissanite is lab-created out of silicon (the original source is meteorites; how cool is that?) and is almost as hard as a diamond. Everything is recycled in my ring, including the stone. It's teen-inesy, and I love it, because what with the small size and the bezel setting, it'll be practically indestructible.

MrsLlama

I have an opal engagement ring! Go for it, gurl.

But they are delicate, I don't wear mine on the daily (I did during my engagement but now I just wear it for special occasions).

Steph

Aquamarine! I love mine. Etsy FTW.

NevilleLongbottom

We picked out my ring from Brilliant Earth. I think it's called whisper or something? Anyhoo, it also has a channel setting, and because of problems, when I got the ring and it was too big, rather than sending it back we had to go to a different place to get it resized. Had the same issue of the resizing affecting the channel setting, and so the solution we came up with was sort of the opposite of the shaving some metal out suggestion, and instead added two little metal balls to the inside of the band to make it fit a little snugger. It's a little weird, but it works.

Oh, squiggles

When I was little I thought opals were fossilized magic, and like the dinosaurs, that's why magic isn't around any more, but if I owned/wore opals *maybe* I would be able to figure out how to activate the magic they contained?

But opals are lovely, I've had a ring with three tear drop shaped opals that I had made when I was 11, and even after heavy wear while I was a child/teen (so, not the most careful) it is still perfectly (miraculously?)intact and pretty (I'm 29).

Judith Slutler

@Absurd Bird Your imagination is fossilized magic all its own!

Oh, squiggles

@Judith Slutler Thanks!

lemonadefish

My mom's most recent wedding ring is kind of big, with I think eight panels of opal surrounding a diamond. She's had it for around four years, and just sent it off to have a broken panel replaced, and the jeweler told her actually five panels were broken, and they were going to replace all of them. It was something like a tenth of the original purchase price (though the presence of the diamond made the original price more than it would have been without, obv.) She is the sort of lady who doesn't take her ring off for anything - baking, yardwork, pouring concrete, etc. She says it's better to break a stone than to leave the whole thing in a public bathroom after washing her hands, and never see it again...

LauraLasher14

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franceschances

I'm just going to put this here: HOLY CRAP SOMEONE GIVE ME SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS

Hot Doom

@franceschances WOW that site is killing me! I want to get engaged 20 times with those rings.

you're a kitty!

You want to talk about fragile jewelry? I'm nowhere close to getting engaged, but what I'd really want is an antique memento mori ring, and those are INSANELY fragile.

mopple

Another moissanite in a bezel setting, and it is the shit! Love that it's lab-created, cost a fraction of the price for a diamond, and was discovered in a meteorite. It was also very useful for sussing out jewelers - anyone who turned up their nose at moissanite or tried to convince us how important a 'real diamond' was (my ring isn't 'fake diamond', it's 'real moissanite'!) we passed on.

biscuits

My engagement ring is a vintage sapphire with tiny bead-set diamonds flanking it on either side, and I love it. Couldn't imagine using a diamond. However, there are couple of things to keep in mind with sapphires: heat and cleaning. Lots of sapphires are either lab-created or heat-treated to give them a pretty blue color. Some sapphires (like mine) are naturally blue. These are known as - wait for it - natural or unheated sapphires. If you happen to get an unheated sapphire, always make sure that anyone doing repair work on your ring is aware that your sapphire has not been heated. Otherwise, if they use very high levels of heat on your ring, the stone can change colors and perhaps become ugly. Note: you cannot accidentally heat your natural sapphire yourself with, say, hot water in the sink. We're talking about thousands of degrees. Second! Sapphires tend to attract dirt and oil faster than diamonds, at least in my opinion. They can become duller and much less sparkly. I clean mine about once a week by letting it sit in a mixture of Dawn dish soap and warm water.

biscuits

@biscuits If anyone is looking for some pretty vintage/antique baubles, I recommend Erie Basin, Bell and Bird (they tend to have a fair amount of memento mori jewelry), Eragem, and Bellflower Bay (etsy shop). I am not sophisticated enough to set up a link in the comments, but google any of those names and you should find the shops!

squishycat

Oh my god help me I am now actually looking at engagement rings based on all these links and thinking "I would actually like that one" instead of "that one is awesome from an artistic perspective" HEEEELLLP. My boyfriend and I have agreed that getting engaged before at least the two-year-mark is unreasonable, even though we are basically in agreement also that we will get married, but even being teased about getting engaged freaks him out a tiny bit. (But also the two-year-mark is in less than 4 months, or about 4 months exactly if you mark from "officially a couple and not just seeing each other".) WHAT THE FUCK HELP ME. (At least I have talked him over somewhat to the side of "engagements of longer than a year are JUST FINE, you do not have to get married within a year of engagement", which I think is part of what makes him anxious about it. I guess if we are still going strong in 6 months (which I think we will be), I kind of want that official level of commitment, but it also makes no sense for us to get married until I at least have my BA (I am a non-traditional student, I'll be 28 when I finish), just from a financial perspective.)

BUT OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. PLEASE RATIONAL BRAIN, KILL THE ENGAGEMENT OBSESSED BRAIN. PLEASE.

Harriet Welch

Woot!
I have a sapphire. It's a white sapphire though. In passing, it looks like a diamond, but up close it has a nice brilliant shiny blue-ish-ness. I get a bazillion compliments on it and I love love love it. I didn't particularly care to have a diamond, but I love clear stones and didn't love any colored stones enough to commit to it forever.

kileysmith52

If you think Dennis`s story is unbelievable..., 2 weaks-ago my moms girlfriend basically also made $4343 sitting there eighteen hours a week from home and their co-worker's mother-in-law`s neighbour did this for three months and made over $4343 part time On their laptop. use the steps on this link. Bow6.com

bonymaroni

http://eragem.com/enameled-snail-brooch-pin-w-diamonds-and-textured-accents-18k-gold.html

OH MY LORD THIS SNAIL BROOCH.

Chriss

I always prefered platinum rings over gold or silver ones. It gives them that nice premium feel, but I have to admit, I never knew they are not 100% platinum but rather a mix of two metals. Good to know :) If you need a good pdf site feel free to visit pdfsnatch.com: Download Avaya 9650 pdf manual

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