Care and Feeding of Your Diamond Jewelry

Jewelry Clean and Polish

Raise your hand if you know the best way to clean and maintain your diamond jewelry.
 
Hand up?
 
Are you sure?
 
I’m going to blow your mind.
 
The best way to clean your diamond jewelry is with 3 things you likely have at home already: warm water, a soft-bristle toothbrush, and dish soap.
Whaaaat
I see that look. Well, I hear it. Ok, fine…I’m imagining it.  But really. Here’s why:

 
Diamonds may be one of the hardest substances on earth, but the same is not true of the precious metals we set them in. Metals like gold and platinum are malleable, which means that they can be bent into shape. But that malleability it means that they can also be bent out of shape, dented, or scratched. And with gold, the higher the karat, the softer the metal.
 
Diamonds are a perfect 10 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, which means that there are very few things that are going to damage the diamonds in your jewelry (that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible–but that’s a conversation for another time!)
 
An interesting thing about diamonds, which you may not know, is that they’re attracted to grease. They looooove grease. In fact, they’re so attracted to grease, that grease is utilized in part of diamond mining process; as the diamonds are freed from the crushed ore, they stick to the grease, making them easier to find amongst the rest of the rocks.
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White Gold or Yellow Gold?

White Gold or Yellow Gold?  YES!

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It’s almost a question for the ages–or at least the last century or so: Should I choose white gold or yellow gold for my ring?

 

The answer is not so simple, and yet, it is.

 

While there are trends that come and go in jewelry–for instance, you see a lot of white gold in jewelry from the 20s and 30s, and you saw a lot of yellow gold in the 80s and 90s–it currently is really anyone’s game.

 

There are several things that you might want to take into consideration when selecting gold jewelry. The first, of course, is preference.  If you don’t have a strong preference for one or the other, think about which might look better with your coloring–some people think they look better in one metal tone or another.

 

The second is maintenance. In it’s natural form, all gold is yellow.  In fact, it’s usually a rather rich orangey yellow.  White gold is alloyed with other white metals–usually nickel, manganese, or palladium–in order to achieve it’s white color.  But the story of white gold doesn’t end there. Typically, white gold jewelry is also coated in a thin layer of a platinum-family white metal called rhodium. The rhodium is bonded to the jewelry by a process called electroplating, where the item being plated is dipped in a solution with dissolved rhodium, and then jolted with electricity, causing the rhodium in the solution to bond to the gold, giving the bright, white appearance. The procedure is semi-permanent, in that the bonding is permanent, but the layer of metal on the surface is quite thin. After a while–especially things that are worn very regularly, like rings–nearly all jewelry will show a little wear and tear. When the rhodium layer of a piece of white gold jewelry wears off or starts wearing thin, the ring will begin to look duller, as un-plated white gold has a bit of (what I can only think to refer to as) a “dishwatery” appearance.  Yellow gold generally just needs a quick polish to get it looking brand new again, while white gold will need polishing and then to be re-plated with rhodium (often referred to as “dipping”).  This is something that nearly any jeweler can do for you, for a nominal fee. If you purchased your diamond ring from Union Diamond, you can bring it in to have it polished or polished and re-plated, free of charge, and usually while you wait.  How often you’d choose to have your jewelry re-plated is also a matter of preference, and depending on the ring and the wear, some people go very long periods of time without ever re-plating their white gold jewelry.

Rose Gold Jewelry
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Jewelry Questions? We are here to help!

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Hi, hello, and welcome!  Glad you’re here!  My name is Laurie, and I’m here to help!
 
Ok, maybe that sounded a little weird. Perhaps proper introductions are in order before I get started here, so let me tell you a little about myself: I am a cat lover, a big 80s music fan, and–most importantly for you–a GIA* trained Diamond Graduate and Accredited Jewelry Professional.  I’m here to share with you all sorts of things about diamonds and fine jewelry, answer some questions, and (hopefully) entertain sometimes. But ultimately, my goal here is to do what I can to help you learn the things you want and need know, in order make what might be one of the most significant purchases of your life–an engagement ring.
 
 So let us speak a little bit about engagement rings, especially diamond engagement rings. Besides a home or a car, the third biggest purchase that most people make in their lives is an engagement ring.  And just like you’d ask for someone to inspect a home before you buy, and have a mechanic look over a vehicle before you drive it off the lot, it’s a very good idea to work with an expert before buying a diamond.  But why should you seek help buying a diamond?
 
Diamonds are one of the few things in the world that actually ARE special snowflakes, in that NO two diamonds are ever alike. This is not something you can tell simply by looking at them; it requires magnification, proper lighting, and a trained eye. A diamond professional can help you evaluate a number of things that contribute to both the value and beauty of a diamond, and help you balance all the characteristics that you want, in order to guide you to the perfect stone to create your ideal diamond ring.
 

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Wedding Photography Tips for Summer

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Behind the Bench

News and Musings from Union Diamond

Spring and Summer are the most popular times to say “I do” and wedding season is now in full swing. Wedding trends come and go…mason jars, burlap, photo booths, and pastel florals are on the way out…vibrant color, minimalist design, unique dessert options and vintage engagement rings are trending for 2016. In the end, the most important nuptial decisions involve careful selection of a wedding photographer to capture these lifelong memories and selecting the perfect wedding bands to commemorate your special day.

 

Union Diamond partners with many spectacular wedding vendors. We are especially fond of our relationship with Melissa Prosser Photography! Melissa Prosser is trusted with styling and photographing our stunning product photo shoots and we welcome her as guest blogger to our Behind the Bench Newsletter!

 

  1. 1. If you live in the south, we all know it can get a bit toasty outside.  A great idea is to provide water bottles for your guests as they arrive.  Helps take the heat factor down and cools your guests off!  

 

  1. 2. Fans!!!  Make your program a fan.  It’s adorable, functional, and fun!

 

  1. 3. Set your ceremony time later!!!  This is such a great idea.  An ideal ceremony time during the summer is 6:30pm.  The main heat of the day has passed, the sun is a little lower and photos will be perfect. Daylight doesn’t fade until about 8:30pm, so there is still plenty of time for photos.

 

  1. 4. If you can’t start your ceremony later, save some time for sunset photos!  This is the most beautiful time of the day to photograph.  The light is perfect for that time of you and your honey to snuggle up for some camera time.

 

  1. 5. Make sure to get photos of your rings!  We like to take some dedicated time during the reception to get creative portraits of your rings.  They symbolize your marriage, so it’s important to get a great photo of the pair together.  We usually look around the room and find something that is representative of your day and take some photos of them.  The reception is the ideal time to do this since we have ample time to set up the shots and get it just perfect.
Melissa Prosser Photography is a boutique studio specializing in weddings and portraits.  We have been in the industry for 11 years and absolutely love getting to know our clients and capturing the wedding day of their dreams.  We have several teams that work together to document each event from start to finish.  Our main focus is to capture moments as they unfold.  We are constantly looking around the space to capture moments like mom giving the bride a kiss, dad bawling his eyes out as he gives his little girl away.  All of those moments are what we as photographers live for.  When photographing the couple together after the wedding (a favorite moment for sure!) we still capture the couple naturally.  No awkward poses or unnatural smiles.  Just the newlyweds being happy and married!
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Yellow Diamonds

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Behind the Bench

News and Musings from Union Diamond

Did you know that diamonds come in nearly every color of the rainbow? Termed ‘fancy color diamonds’ in the diamond industry, colored diamonds have been steadily gaining in popularity. When grading the color of fancy diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses terms such as Light, Intense and Vivid to define the saturation of color in yellow diamonds. Large, vivid colored diamonds are extremely valuable as evidenced by The Hope Diamond, the world’s most famous gem, a 45.52-carat fancy deep grayish-blue diamond. This diamond is valued at $350 million!
Pop culture has also influenced the popularity of colored diamonds..Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a 6.1-carat pink diamond worth $1.2 million. And while this relationship wasn’t meant to be, and not to be out-done, J Lo was recently gifted a 14-carat blue diamond from husband Marc Anthony upon their first wedding anniversary….valued at over $4 million!!
We share with you some exclusive pieces from Union Diamond’s fancy yellow diamond collection. Yellow diamonds hold tremendous value and we think you will swoon over these beauties.

 


Cushion Cut FCY Color 18K White Gold 4.52 Carat Yellow Diamond Ring


Round Cut LY Color 18K White Gold 1.01 Carat Yellow Diamond Ring


Cushion Cut FCY Color 18K White Gold  5.24 Carat Yellow Diamond Ring


Radiant Cut FIY Color Platinum 10 Carat Yellow Diamond Ring


Round Cut FCY Color 18K White Gold 1.41 Carat Yellow Diamond Ring

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Guest Blogger and Vendor Spotlight…Event Passion!

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Introducing Keshawn Hughes of Event Passion, LLC! Union Diamond has been designing engagement rings for over 15 years, and we especially appreciate the relationships we’ve cultivated with other wedding designers, artists, and vendors over the years. Keshawn provides wedding and event planning services in the Atlanta area, and we think you’ll swoon over the magic and creative flair she provides when planning for the big day or a special event.

 

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Top 10 Jewelry Resolutions

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Top 10 Jewelry Resolutions

Happy New Year from Union Diamond! We hope 2016 is off to a fabulous start! As you prepare your list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to include some style, fashion and accessory goals for 2016. Some of these are simple reminders for jewelry maintenance and care, while others should be considered for your “wish lists” or to up your style game! Cheers!

  1. Have your jewelry checked. As least once a year, your jewelry should be checked by a professional for loose stones, worn mountings and overall condition.

 

  1. Have your jewelry cleaned. A cleaned and polished piece of jewelry is always dazzling! Such an easy way to restore natural beauty and can be done in our showroom while you wait!

 

  1. Insure your jewelry. Submit all appraisals to your insurance company and store these documents (appraisals, laboratory reports etc.) in a safe location or safety deposit box.

 

  1. Pass down an heirloom. Out with the old, in with the new! We encourage you to treat all of your jewelry as if it is an heirloom, because one day it likely will be. Passing down an heirloom piece of jewelry is an excellent way to commemorate a special occasion or celebration.

 

  1. Repurpose something special. Are you holding on to grandma’s wedding band or an old set of pearls from mom? We love helping to recreate antique jewelry into something current and modern-day.

 

  1. Upgrade your sweetheart’s ring. Anniversaries, milestone birthdays and the birth of a child are opportune times to celebrate and acknowledge with a special piece of jewelry…a stunning pendant, right hand ring or stacked band are excellent choices.

 

  1. Buy a second watch. We often get in a rut of wearing the same watch every…single…day. Your watch should reflect you and different occasions necessitate switching up this everyday accessory.

 

  1. Make a statement. Consider adding a few statement pieces to your jewelry box. Chunky necklaces and bold colors dramatically increase your style and presence.

 

  1. Don’t forget to stay true to the basics. Every jewelry collection should include the basics: diamond studs, a nice set of pearls, gold hoop earrings, a right hand ring. And don’t forget to upgrade your basics from time to time!

 

  1. Lastly, have fun in 2016! Get outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself in 2016, and don’t forget to Sparkle and Shine!
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Wedding Wisdom: Invitation Vendor Interview

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We are pleased to introduce you to our wedding vendor partner, Alee & Press!

We think you’ll swoon over this Atlanta-based event invitation designer!

 

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Tell us a little about you and your company.

About a decade ago I drove three days non-stop from Georgia to Northern Canada to pick up the letterpress of my dreams. I crammed it into my 700 square foot condo, quit my corporate design job, and launched Alee & Press with a line of letterpress wedding invitations and baby announcements. We specialize in invitation designs & letterpress printing. One launch of a wholesale greeting card line and two studios later we are continuing to do what we love. We’re about ready to open an Invitation Studio here in Atlanta called The Impressionist where we will be able to have face-to-face sit-downs to share the excitement of specials days with clients. When I’m not in the studio I’m teaching at The Creative Circus, working out or traveling.

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How do you differentiate yourself from other invitation designers?

Our love for typography, color and simple sentiments are the driving force behind our work. We definitely have our own style but we work with our clients to tailor each custom piece so It is a true reflection of them & their event.
We go above and beyond with all our clients and give exceptional custom service.

What was the most unique design request you’ve had to accommodate? 

We get unique requests all the time! One that has stuck in my head was a request for a custom illustration of the couples dog with a halo over it’s head. Their poor pup had passed away but they still wanted to include him on their save-the-date.

 

Tell us about one of your most favorite designs.

I have so many favorites and they are constantly changing with new work. I would say that anything that is simple + typographic and printed in black ink on a very thick paper stock with a deep impression will always win me over. I love anything that is timeless & not over designed.

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How do you creatively challenge yourself? What are your sources for inspiration?

I am never at a loss for inspiration or for being challenged. We are continually coming up with new designs, collections & products. Most of the time the challenge is in deciding which direction to take and how to edit down the ideas.

The most influential places for being inspired comes from traveling abroad, type & typography & nature. I also feed off of other peoples energy which is why I love teaching in the creative field. My students are so passionate and excited about design that it gets me fired up and I find it very inspiring & motivating.

How is the wedding invitation and stationary landscape evolving? Any recent trends that are on the forefront? Any you could do without?

It’s not just about the invitation and having a matching suite. We are constantly pushing our clients to think about all the opportunities they have with their paper goods to tell a story.
It’s more about creating something that is truly a reflection of the couple and the event they are having. There are definitely a lot of trends right now. The biggest being anything that is hand done. Custom illustrations, watercolor, & hand lettering or custom calligraphy. We love mixing it up and pushing the trends in unexpected ways so it doesn’t look like everything else out there. High end custom printing is also very popular right now. Everyone is trying to stand out from the crowd and from what is filling their Pinterest boards.

What is your favorite color combination?

This might be my all time dreaded question. I LOVE COLOR. It really depends on the day and my mood & what I’m trying to communicate. I tend to gravitate towards monochromatic or analogous color palettes with one hue or shade that feels a little off.
I like my color palettes to make a statement. I also will always love red & purple together but I rarely use this combination in my work.
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What tip of advice would you like to offer our readers when it comes to invitation design?

An invitation is a sneak peek of your big moment, it can be a first look full of gorgeous detail that sets the tone and mood, gives your guests something to dream about, and tells the very personal story of your day, before anyone even arrives.
Work with a designer that can help you take your vision from stuck in your head to saying something amazing on paper.
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Custom Diamond Rings Now 20% Off

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Custom Diamond Rings Now 20% Off!

“I’m interested in an extra special gift to commemorate my wife’s 40th birthday…”

“Our first baby is due, and my wife is expecting a push present…HELP!”

“Is it possible to use our family heirloom sapphire in a pendant?”

“I would like to design an engagement ring that’s a little unique…can you assist?”

 

Life’s magical moments are intended to be celebrated and treasured. And quite often, Union Diamond’s team is approached to help acknowledge such occasions with a custom piece of jewelry. Working together, ideas become a reality! Contrary to what you may believe, the custom design process can be a fun, engaging experience and is almost always possible within varying budgets and price points. Union Diamond’s jewelry designers and consultants have extensive experience in conceptualizing and crafting something unique, something just for you. You could say it’s kind of our thing…our forte.

So, how does the custom design process work?

 

Step 1…Inspiration meeting! We gather inspiration from all areas of life…nature, family, friends, art, travel…even the various forms of media targeting us each day inspire our ideas and senses. Let’s talk about your ideas! A consultation appointment will be scheduled. We invite you to provide any and all inspirational elements to this meeting…Pinterest boards, magazine clippings, sketches and concepts. And if you need additional inspirational resources, we can certainly provide those as well. An estimate is delivered based on our discussions.

 

Step 2…Blueprints and Renderings. Now for the fun…based on our inspirational meeting, drawings are then entered into our software program and a detailed CAD drawing is presented for review and discussion. Changes can be communicated and implemented. Once the drawings are approved, a wax mold is created to replicate the finished piece. Once again, we welcome your feedback and final approvals are received.

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Step 3…Shine On! Based on your metal selection, the finished piece is cast. Previously selected stones are set by our qualified and certified gemologists. Your finished piece is polished and packaged! The whole process can be completed in 4-6 weeks.

 

Ready to set and polish

 

All that’s left to do is to formulate your plan on presenting your handcrafted gift! Smiles await for years to come! If you’d like to learn more about Union Diamond’s Custom Jewelry Design, Click Here!

 

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