Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need in-order to propose? 

You need the engagement ring. Traditionally this is the ring with a larger center diamond. She will wear this ring from the engagement forward. Then a second ring, the wedding ring (usually matching in style but without the larger center) is added at the altar during your wedding.  Some engagement rings will have a matching wedding band, or one can be made.  From us you have a choice to buy the rings all at once or one at a time.  This flexibility allows you both to find the perfect ring or ring set.

 

What is a diamond?

A diamond is almost 100% pure carbon that has been crystallized under the extreme heat and pressure found 100s of miles under the Earth's crust. The crystals are brought to the Earth's surface in lava tubes. Diamonds are considered 1 billion years old or more. Besides rarity, diamonds have some unique properties that make them the most sought after of all gem stones. They are the hardest substance know to man, making them the "forever" gemstone. And they possess optical properties that gather light and bounce it inside itself. While inside light spectrums will separate, and then colors will be released to our eyes giving us fire and brilliance. 

 

How is the price of a diamond determined?

The price of a diamond is set by the industry and based on its rarity. A larger and more perfect quality diamond is rarer than a small or less perfect diamond. The increase in rarity and price is not linear but will go up exponentially with larger and more perfect diamonds. The 4C's sum up a diamond's quality and rarity. From our Diamond page you will find more information on diamond quality and grading. Like any product we will find a range of prices for the same or similar products. We work hard to find the right price from our diamond site holders and then keep our overhead costs low so we can offer you a better diamond for an even better price.

 

What are the 4C's of diamond quality?

Cut; it does refer to the shape of the diamond, but it also refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of each facet of your diamond. Cut is the only man controlled quality of a natural diamond. Cut affects both the visual size and the brilliance of the diamond.

Color; all but the rarest diamond has some body color or tint. It is much like comparing white paint or paper, a varying degree of whiteness. We use master stones of known color to compare and grade our diamonds. The less tinted are brighter with more brilliance. It can more important to pick a whiter diamond when mounting it in a white or silver colored metal. 

Clarity; is a grading of the internal and external inclusions that are part of a natural diamond. Like knots in the grain of wood, diamonds will have crystal formations seen as inclusions inside. When a diamond is examined by an expert under 10 power magnification and no inclusions are found it labeled flawless. But as long as the inclusions do not block light or easily seen to the naked eye they have little effect on the diamonds beauty.

Carat Weight; is simply the weight of the diamond. There are 200 milligrams in one carat. The carat is divided into 100 points like pennies in a dollar. IE: .75 carat = 3/4 carat. If the other 4C's are equal in two diamonds the bigger (heavier) diamond will gather and refract more light, giving your more brilliance. For more details see the GIA Diamond Chart.

 

Why do some diamonds of the same carat weight look to be different sizes?

An important relation to carat weight and the visual size of a diamond is its cut. For example, it is not uncommon for a 1 carat diamond to look like a smaller (lighter) 3/4 carat when it is proportioned deeper. We call this the "face up" size. Typical diamond cutters want to save as much of the rough diamonds weight as possible. This leads to improper proportions, most commonly too deep of a diamond.

 


What is an ideal cut diamond?

"Ideal Cut" describes the top quality of the proportions, symmetry, and polish of the diamond. There are ideal measurements, angles and proportions that a diamond cutter should adhere to that will allow the diamond to give the most brilliance and fire. A mathematician and diamond cutter by the name of Marcel Tolkowsky developed the formula in 1919 for the modern round brilliant cut and is still used today. Unfortunately the term "ideal cut" is widely misrepresented to describe a diamond of only average cut quality. Even many lab report firms will loosely use this term or have their own set of standards. Don't buy a diamond or pay a higher price just because someone says it is an ideal cut. Remember there are many variables that will produce a beautiful diamond and just as many that can produce a poor one. Please ask us for more details and advice.

 

What quality diamond is the best for the money?

You do not need to buy the rarest diamond to have the most beautiful. All factors of the 4Cs affect the price, but only to a certain point do any of them affect the beauty. Like the body style of a car or the color of a house, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It has become an age-old argument on which of the 4C's makes the most difference in beauty. We believe it is a balance of all four, along with your comfort zone of price, which gives you a better diamond. Our preference in our personal jewelry is F to G color, VS2 to SI1 clarity and of an ideal cut. But we own exceptions to this. See some price examples on our Diamond page.

 

What are man-made diamonds?

Yes. Man has developed a way to laboratory grow diamond crystals. They are chemically and physically the same as a natural but cost almost as much to produce.  Other precious gems like Emeralds and Sapphires are also man grown.  But history has proven that the value of these man made stones are not worth nearly as much as the same quality in a natural mined precious gemstone.  I would recommend to wait and see where these manmade diamonds fall in the marketplace.

 

Are there any good substitutes for natural diamonds?

Three are used with some success. Cubic Zirconium  or CZ is a completely man made material that resembles diamond the closest. It can come clear white or in many colors. It is not nearly as hard and after about a year of normal wear it can look quite dull from scratches. White Sapphire is used at times to substitute diamond. It is harder and will not scratch as easily as a CZ. White Sapphire can be found natural or man-created, but it does not have the brilliance or fire of a diamond. They will look flat and clear in comparison. A somewhat new kid on the block is moissanite, another man-made substance. It does have the hardness of sapphire and to an untrained eye a similar brilliance to diamond. But most have a yellow, green, or brown tint that can turn some off. It also can be expensive compared to the other two substitutes. We can only truly recommend a diamond as the symbol of eternal love.

 

Could I be buying a blood diamond?

No. We buy diamonds direct from what is called a site holder. The site holders we choose to do business with are two of the largest USA owned and run diamond firms. They purchase from the mines and only buy conflict free diamonds that come thru the Kimberly Process. The Kimberly Process documents where the diamonds are mined and by who. Diamonds coming out of certain areas of South Africa are illegal in the United States and this process eliminates them. After purchasing the rough diamonds our site holder will cut and polish them into finished products. They are then laboratory graded for the 4C's before putting them up for purchase to their dealers, Wilsonville Diamond. This direct source purchasing through USA firms help keep the final cost to you down plus assures that they are not conflict "blood" diamonds. 

 

How do I care for my diamond?

Anything that you feel is safe for your hands are certainly safe for your diamond. Clean your gold or platinum jewelry with a warm solution of liquid dish wash soap and an old tooth brush. At any time bring them into us for a polish clean and steam treatment. Don't let diamonds rub against each other. It takes a diamond to cut or polish a diamond so a diamond can scratch or chip another diamond. If you have two rings worn next to each other make sure the diamonds are not coming in contact with each other. If you are not sure, please bring them in for use to examine. We might recommend having them soldered together to prevent wear and damage.

 

What is the difference between 10, 14, and 18 karat gold?

Pure gold is divided into 24 karat. 10 karat gold is 10 parts pure gold and the rest other metals. 14 karat is 14 parts gold and the rest other metals, and so forth. The other metal mixed with the gold will help make it stronger and either keeps the original gold color or changes its color. You can find copper, silver, palladium, zinc, nickel, and platinum is gold alloys. The mix will determine the finished color. Generally the lower the gold contents the harder the metal. 

 

How is white gold made?

The mix of other white metals such as silver, nickel, zinc, palladium or platinum in the gold will bleach most of the yellow out of gold. Some color or warmth will remain so most white gold is electroplated with rhodium, a platinum related metal to give it its final bright finish and color.

 

Why does my white gold look yellow?

That is the "natural" color of the gold and metal mix. Most likely your white gold was electroplated with rhodium to give it its final bright finish and color. As you wear the jewelry the electroplating wears off and allows the white gold to show thru. A gold smith will re-polish the piece and then electroplate the rhodium back on. This process for an all white gold ring costs $30 at Wilsonville Diamond. 

 

Can white gold be made without rhodium plating?

Yes, higher concentrations of the more expensive and harder to work with metals can be used to have more of a bleaching effect making plating less needed. Our goldsmith does work with such metals in our custom designs when requested. Or any ring can just take on the warmer natural color of white gold.

 

What is platinum?

Platinum is not related to gold. It is a much rarer metal. All platinum ever mined would fit in an average size living room. Its natural color is bright silver gray and is about 80% heavier than 14kt gold. Platinum is cast into jewelry at 90 to 95% purity rather than 58% for 14kt gold. The much higher rarity, the higher weight to volume, and the higher purity all add to the cost compared to the same ring in white gold. There is also more labor time put into the casting and finishing of platinum due to its higher toughness.

 

Is platinum or white gold better? Which will look best, last longer?

Quickly becoming an age-old question... When new both look about the same, keeping in mind the white gold will have a rhodium finish. As they wear there individual characteristics come out. First, platinum is tougher, but not harder. The metal will not wear away as much giving the ring about three times the "life span" between rebuilding maintenance. But tougher is not harder; platinum will scratch, and show the scratches more. Worn platinum gets a gray patina finish which many don't like. Normal wear on white gold will first wear away the rhodium finish then wear the metal. This normal wear, even putting your hands in and out of pockets has a healing affect on the less tough metal somewhat polishing scratches out. To help visualize; think about sliding your flatten hand across a patch of sandy beach. Your flat hand will smooth the sand behind it but will remove some from the surface. That is how gold wears. Now take your four finger tips and drag it across another patch of sand. This will form peaks and valleys in the sand but not displace much sand away from the patch. This is more like how platinum wears because of its toughness and would be seen micro size under magnification. Those peaks and valleys cause a rougher and duller "patina" finish in worn platinum. Now if we take both metals thru our polishing process we can understand the wear differences. As gold or white gold is polished we remove a small amount of metal to uncover a smooth clean surface, like your flattened hand brushed across the sand. When we polish platinum the tougher metal will not polish away as much but will be pushed around moving the peaks back into the valleys, smoothing the surface once more. It takes more pressure and time to polish platinum compared to gold. The polish compounds are also different and many while you wait cleaning services don't include platinum polishing, but we do. If your platinum has not been polished in a while or has deeper scratches and dings our goldsmith can burnish and refinish it to like new condition. And you can polish platinum more often than white gold for two reasons. There is no electroplating to polish away with platinum and there's very little precious metal loss since the process pushes most of the tough metal back into place. We prefer platinum for our own jewelry because we have the resources and knowledge to keep it polished. 

 

What is palladium?

Palladium is one of the newest precious metals used in jewelry. It is a sister metal to platinum, as rare and is naturally white in color. The good news is on the commodity market palladium is a bargain! You can enjoy all of the advantages of platinum at about the same costs as 14kt white gold. Palladium is cast with 95% purity and weighs slightly less than 14kt gold. Not all ring manufactures work with this new metal as it takes some special equipment and a very controlled environment. Our main manufacture in New York does a great job with it. We just made Katie's newest ring from this great metal and are very pleased.

 

How do I keep my ring clean and shiny?

Please come in and let us polish, ultrasonic, and steam clean it. We will check the gemstone security and then recommend the proper cleaning process for you at home when you are between visits to our store. All this is a complimentary service just for stopping in. Don't use harsh cleaners, and some gem stones should not be cleaned in many mild soaps. We don't recommend toothpaste either; it will dull your gold or platinum and make a mess of your husband's toothbrush. Please come in so we can give you the right help and advice.

 

Should I have my two rings soldered together?

Yes, it will prevent the rings from rubbing against each other. We have seen many rings worn thin and finishes ruined from this rubbing. Another big concern is some ring designs will allow the diamonds to rub. This is a sure way to chip your precious diamonds. If you need a lower set, simpler band to wear while working with your hands we suggest purchasing one for this purpose rather keeping a matching set unsoldered.

 

Can I reuse my old gold to make a new ring?

Yes, we would be happy to use your gold to make a new piece. Many choose to do this to keep the same precious metal that is sentimental to them in their new design. It also can save you money. Our goldsmith has many years of experience to prevent some problems associated with reusing gold in new castings. If you are changing from one color or metal to another in your new ring we can give you cash or credit for your old gold or platinum.

 


What are the different types of gemstone settings?

•Prong set, can be 2, 3, 4, or six prongs. Used for center stones as well as side stones. 

•Bezel set is a ring of gold around the gemstone. 

•Half bezel is just part way around the gemstone. 

•Bar set is a flat channel on two sides of the gem stone.

•Punch set is a hole drilled and a diamond set flush.

•Pave is French for paved. Small diamonds prong set very close to each other.

•Tension setting is like bar set but no structure under the gemstone.

•Channel setting is a bar of gold along both sides of a row of diamonds.

 

Am I getting the best price on my diamond or jewelry?

Yes. We work hard to buy direct from diamond site holders and manufactures. We are picky about the quality of the product but also aware of what our dollar should by. We found a good balance in fashion design, quality workmanship, best materials available, and the right price. We then keep our overhead low so we can pass these savings to you without sacrificing quality.

 

Do I need to ask for a discount?

No. We have already tagged our jewelry, diamonds, and watches at the lowest price. We feel that every customer should get the right price whether it is their first or tenth purchase from us.

 

Can I find something similar cheaper elsewhere?

If I may quote John Ruskin; “it is reckless to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much it’s true you may loose a little money, but that is where it ends. When you pay too little you risk everything because what you have purchased is not able to do the job you purchased it for. Common business law makes it impossible to pay little and get lots: this cannot happen. If you deal with the lowest offer you should remember to build a certain reserve fund to cover the risk you are taking. But if you can do this then you certainly also have enough money to buy something better.”

 

How can a single store compete with large chain stores?

We work direct with manufactures and diamond site holders, so we buy right.  The we run our own store, keeping a modest overhead.  You get to deal directly with the boss. :)  We do avoid mass produced overseas products that produce inferior products. We don’t overstock our store with ready to wear, but produce what you want, in your size and gem choice when you want it. This also keeps our overhead low and gives you a superior USA made to order product that will last you a lifetime. And we do this in about ten days. Please take a look at our Better Ring page.

 

What is the difference between an appraisal value and real retail prices?

The price on jewelry from many jewelry stores can be confusing, having 50 to 80% off sales and such. But their regular prices are not real and often there are never any sales made at these false prices. Many better manufactures do have suggested retail prices and these can be fair and real prices. We discount off these fair prices 25% and even more off the diamond retails. Jewelry appraisals can present the same confusion. It is common practice to mark up an appraisal 2 or 3 times the real retail price. This gives false satisfaction of the price that is paid for jewelry and overly inflates your insurance premiums. A Replacement Value Appraisal should be for the retail replacement before the discount of say 25% as we give on a ring setting. There are other reasons you might need an appraisal, such as court or estate settlements, and the value scale will be reduced as a Used Sale Value.  We can provide these jewelry appraisals.  Please ask if you have any addition questions on our prices or appraisal prices.

 

How do I insure my jewelry?

Most home owner's or renter's insurance policies will cover jewelry. But check the limit; many only cover $1000 to $2000 without any further information or rider. We can help you with an appraisal for our merchandise or others. Then give your agent a copy and they will add this to your policy. We use Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company for our store inventory. We can give you some information on this jewelry specific insurance company so you can check their policies and rates.

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