Diamond Shapes | Which one are you? March 25, 2017 14:20

"But square cut or pear shape these rocks don't lose their shape..."

Classic and Traditional

Round | mathematically the most brilliant cut of all, she embodies traditional ideals with a timeless impact. she is anything and everything, versatile and unpredictable. 
Who wears this shape: Christina Aquilera, Lauren Conrad, Olivia Wilde
Princess | not only is she timeless, she has an edge for life with a modern flare. she is the boldest of them all with the grace and confidence of a princess.
Who wears this shape: Hilary Duff
Emerald | refined and elegant, she is also chic and sophisticated. this cut features clean lines, a window like, transparent look.
Who wears this shape: Angelina Jolie, Eva Longoria, Beyonce'

Trendy and Glamorous 

Cushion | stylish and fabulous, she is a glamour girl with a knack for setting trends, she is posh. This cut features a soft, pillowy or "cushion-like" square or elongated rectangular shape with many facets creating one of the most brilliant looks, it is a combination between a round and princess cut.
Who wears this shape: Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Mariah Carey
Oval | sophisticated and elegant, she strives to stand out beyond the norm. she is posh with an old world sophistication.
Who wears this shape: Blake Lively
Radiant | she is a little bit of everything; unique but timeless, and unconventional; like those who wear it, this cut is bold and brilliant.
Who wears this shape: Drew Barrymore, Chloe Kardashian


Heart | a true romantic, she is perky, and high spirited - she is bubbly, with a child like heart. 
Who wears this shape: Lady Gaga
Pear | she follows the beat of her own drum, transcends trends; this cut is a combination of the round and marquise cut. 
Who wears this shape: Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Heigl
Marquise | she is an old soul, unconventional with a flair; this cut appears larger than real life with the largest table spread of all of the cuts.
Who wears this shape: Catherine Zeta Jones, Christina Milian
Asscher | she is most conservative and refined; like an emerald cut, the Asscher cut features clean lines but with symmetrical sides like a square with beveled corners. Art deco with an old world sophistication. 
Who wears this shape: Vanessa Lachey





100 Years of Engagement Rings March 7, 2017 23:10

Courtesy of Mode.Com

Safest and Most Effective Solution to a Spinning/Loose Fit Ring October 15, 2015 16:23

Have you ever experienced a ring that constantly twists and turns regardless of if the size fits? Or what if the size fits on most days, but not always. There is a semi-permanent solution that may help solve this problem! Ring Shots are precious metal balls that are placed on the inside of a ring to make them feel more snug, or prevent the ring from rotating on your finger. This is an ideal way to size rings that are risky to resize such as pave, micro-pave or eternity rings. Most intricate rings cannot be resized without ruining its structural integrity. Especially when sizing a ring down, there are risks involved with loosening the prongs of the all of the stones set in a shank or disturbing the tiny prongs that hold the ring together. The more delicate the design, such as micro-pave or micro-prong, the higher the risk of diamonds falling out of your setting when it is being sized.

Shots are miracle workers when it comes to a ring that always spins! It is generally very comfortable if spaced properly as in the image and helps keep your ring upright or in the position that you want it in, and prevents spinning, twirling, or even worse falling! Also, the shots are temporary and easily removable - accounting for times or life events such as the joy of pregnancy, or weight gain! 

In short, if you are trying to prevent your ring from spinning on your finger or just cannot size it without ruining the ring, ask your jeweler about ring shots, the best and safest way to adjust your ring size down without changing the original structure of the ring.

Pricing: Sizing Beads/Shots/Bridges
Gold: Small - roughly 1/4th size $65.00 | Medium - roughly 1/2 size $85 | Large - roughly 1 size $125.00. 
Platinum: Small - roughly 1/4th size $95.00 | Medium - roughly 1/2 size $125 | Large - roughly 1 size $165.00. 
More services can be found here.

Secrets to finding the Perfect Cushion! October 15, 2015 15:50

The Cushion shaped diamond is one of the most popular cuts of the fancy-shapes. Many people are still unfamiliar with the cushion diamond, but the cushion cut has been around for over 100 years! Celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, Giuliana Rancic, Catherine Giudici, Kelly Rowland, and Ivanka Trump's engagement rings all feature a cushion cut diamond which has helped the cut gain more popularity. When looking at cushion cut diamonds and deciding if it is the right stone for you, there are many important factors you should take into consideration.


Faceting and Symmetry of the Cut
As far as diamonds, the cushion is one of the trickier cuts in terms of the facets and finding a really "nice make" or in other words faceting and symmetry.

There is the "crushed ice" look versus the more desirable "cardinal cut" where the facets of the diamond are more defined.

Depth of the Diamond
The depth of a diamond is another important factor to consider. You want to be sure that the diamond is not too deep or too shallow. This will create one of two things.

  1. Too Deep: A diamond that looks a lot smaller than its actual carat weight. When a diamond is too deep, this would be a case where there isn't more too love! It is not ideal in the case that this will make the diamond appear a lot smaller because all of the weight is at the bottom of the diamond versus being spread towards the top of the diamond giving a more large diamond appearance. You would not want to get stuck with a 2.00 carat diamond that looks like a 1.25 carat diamond (yes, it's possible)!
  2. Too Shallow: A diamond that looks like there is a dead spot in the center due to the light leaking through the bottom of the diamond versus reflecting back up and creating more brilliance. The ideal diamond will have the perfect proportions that will allow the light not only to enter the diamond but to reflect back to the top giving that gorgeous sparkle and shine!

A brilliant diamond will fall into a very good to excellent cut grade for rounds, and for fancies, a good to excellent polish an symmetry grade. Although a good and above cut grade is important for light return, there are other factors far more important such as hue and luster. To the human eye, a Good/Very Good grade may look better than an Excellent grade depending on a combination of factors such as hue and luster as well as "spread" of how big or wide the diamond may appear with a good and above cut grade.

Hue and Luster
One of the most important factors in any type of diamond is the brilliance and luster of a diamond as well as it's hue or color tint. In the trade, this is referred to as BGM (Brown, Green, and/or Milky). A diamond may look perfect on paper, with D-Flawless features and a triple Excellent cut grade, but if it appears to have a milky or opaque look or a chocolate / brown tint, it would certainly not shine as bright as a diamond free from those features. Hue and Luster are not graded on a certificate currently, so it is very important to be able to identify and compare it properly. This also explains why, when comparing apples to apples on a diamond, there is a large range in price points for the same grades on a certificate. The Classic Gem considers BGM as a 5th component to the 4C's! Read more about BGM here: Beyond the 4Cs of Diamond Buying; Critical Factors That Make a Diamond Stand Out.

Similar Cuts
If you are considering some similar cuts, alternative to the Cushion cut, there are other fancy cuts such as the Radiant cut and the Princess cut which all have four sides and a unique but similar type of brilliance.

White Gold vs. Platinum June 17, 2015 15:51

One of the biggest questions we get from our clients is regarding the difference in Platinum and White Gold.
At the end of the day, it really is a personal preference and depends on many factors, such as budget, allergies to certain alloys, comfortability based on density, maintenance preferences, and overall ring design or style of jewelry. 

First, let us start of with a basic understanding of the two metals as defined in Wikipedia:

Platinum is a chemical element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, gray-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into "little silver".
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese or palladium. In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. 

The concept of Hardness vs. Malleability

One of the most widely misunderstood aspect of these two metals is the concept of hardness versus malleability. In short, white gold is harder than platinum and easier to work with because is is more malleable (or bendable). Although technically in its purest form, gold is a softer metal than platinum, keep in mind that white gold is mixed with white metal alloys which makes the white gold a harder metal after being mixed, so it is also a safe metal to hold precious gems. Comparatively, when used in jewelry, Platinum is technically a softer metal, which means it scratches, dents and dulls quickly, but it is less malleable which makes it stronger for holding gems and stones. Platinum is a very difficult metal to bend and and very few bench jewelers have the right tools and experience to properly work with it. Alternatively, white gold being more malleable is easier to work with therefore most jewelers would recommend white gold over platinum.

Sounds counter-intuitive right? What this means is that gold being that it is harder than platinum, can snap and break easier but scratch and dent less, and platinum while it is is softer can easily be scratched or dented but is less malleable meaning the prongs are technically safer. It would take a lot of mishandling to break a prong in either white gold or platinum, but platinum in theory is a safer or stronger metal than white gold. 

Investment & Price
Both white gold and platinum historically have been great investments over time, however gold is a little easier to sell or liquidate. Most jewelers will buy or trade gold at 15% - 20% below market for the percentage of alloy that exists, and this covers costs of recovering and refining the gold. Generally platinum jewelry is 35-50% more than white gold.

Look & Feel
Platinum tends to look worn, and is easily scratched into a dull whitish/gray patina which is the most distinguishing feature of platinum, and generally desired. Those who love platinum love this look. Platinum is one of the densest or heaviest precious metals, so it will feel heavier compared to gold. The specific gravity of platinum used in jewelry is 19-20.1, and 18K white gold for instance is 14.7-16.9.

Overall, while platinum is more expensive and considered to be more luxurious, it also stays whitish/gray eternally and is a stronger setting for ring suchs as solitaires with larger center stones. White gold is also a great option because of the lightweight feel which can be more comfortable. White gold scratches less easily, but overtime where the metal is worn the most (typically at the bottom of the setting), there can be a very light gold color that appears once the rhodium wears. The color is so subtle though that most people do not notice it, however it depends on how acidic ones skin is or how much wear and tear occurs over time. Re-plating is a process that can be done to restore whiteness to rhodium-plated jewelry.

Restore the Brilliance in your Diamond June 17, 2015 15:51

Finding the right cleaner at home cleaner to recommend to our clients has been such a large undertaking! Although we have all the professional cleaning tools and chemicals with a dedicated 500 square feet of space to polish, ultrasonic clean, rhodium, steam, and check the prongs, we realize this is not realistic for non jewelry professionals, or our clients who need to sparkle their diamonds at home! Brilliance Gemstone & Diamond Shine Restoring Foam is highly recommended and used forensic gemologists and appraisers to ensure a diamond of gemstone is the most brilliant and clean from dirt, skin oils, lotion and product deposits, and hard water residue.

Pre-order yours today!


Beyond the 4Cs of Diamond Buying | Key Factors that Impact Beauty and Value June 10, 2015 15:31

The 4Cs stand for Cut (symmetry of facets), Clarity (how clean the diamond looks to the eye or under a loupe), Carat (a diamond's weight or size), and Color (generally how white/colorless or yellow the diamond is), and in no particular order is one more important than the other but rather it is a combination of factors that make-up the overall beauty of diamond. The human eye is most attracted to brilliance and undoubtedly, most people would agree that as long as the diamond has fire and scintillation with no real visible inclusions or flaws to the naked eye, and faces up pretty white (or is not obviously yellow), it will be attractive!

However, there is a lot more to consider beyond the 4Cs when investing in a diamond and there are features to watch out for that impact the beauty and value of a diamond.

Outside the scope of the 4Cs are diamonds that appear to have a milky appearance and/or a brown tint. This is probably one of the most critical factors to consider when buying a diamond as it is least understood, and has a larger impact to the appearance of the diamond regardless of how high the grades for clarity and color are. The diamond could be D-Flawless, and if it has a milky tone, it could appear that the diamond is dull and lifeless and in smaller scales, it takes away from the brilliance of a diamond. The trade refers to these as "BGM", "TLB", "Milky", "Cloudy", just to name a few. BGM stands for "Brown, Green, and/or Milky," and TLB stands for "Top Light Brown." In the trade, these diamonds are sold as a loss, or below market at a deep discount. 

For example: Brown Tint, or Top Light Brown (TLB), is a bit easier to identify to those who are more sensitive to color but generally when compared on white paper, and if there is an awareness to look for it, most people can pick it up.

Milkiness, seen in the image below, is a cloudy or opaque look can occur at many levels, some grade them from 0-4, 4 being the most opaque or cloudy and 0 being non-existent, and 1-2 being difficult to identify without a benchmark or trained eyes. This is probably one of the trickiest factors to identify and requires a trained eye, lab environment, lighting and tools, and clear master stones for comparison. The milkiness is caused by microscopic pinpoints that are scattered throughout the entire structure of the rough diamond. The pinpoints are so small that it does not count as a clarity inclusion but a concentrated amount scattered will cause a milky appearance overall. 

It can get really confusing to know what color to pick after all, there is D-E-F which is colorless, and then there is G-H-I-J, which is near colorless and it's been proven many times that even the trained eye will have a hard time identifying the correct colors when a diamond is mounted.  For instance, most diamonds in the near colorless scale (G-J), and even at the cusp of the low end, going to K will appear to be "near colorless" or off white and attractive to the human eye. 
As long as there are NO elements of a brown tinge or an opaque or milky tone, more than likely it will still be beautiful. The key is to make sure that there are no brown tinges and no opaque or milky lusters, and that it is eye clean which on the clarity scale is up to an SI1-2 and in some rare cases even an I1 level can be eye clean, and you will have a dazzling diamond! 

Color Scale

FAQ: Price Range | How do I choose for my budget?

For Quality (Great or Best + Truly Rare)
If budget is not an issue, and you want a diamond that is rare, then D Color, Flawless Clarity, or "D-Flawless" is the best quality available. Can you tell the difference between colorless, and near colorless when mounted, or flawless to slightly included? Not really, but the fact that perhaps less than .01 % of people might have diamonds of that statistics might mean something to you. For instance, all things being equal, a great quality diamond, with no brown tinge or milkiness will range in price as noted below;

  • a 1ct D Flawless is roughly 15-20K
  • a 1ct G SI1 is roughly 6.5K and up, and;
  • a 1ct J SI2 is roughly 4.5K and up

    As long as they are eye clean, with no brown tinge or milkiness, they will sparkle and scintillate and move you equally on its own. Rarity counts, and there's a larger price to pay for it. Diamond prices are also NOT linear, but more exponential so as sizes go up, the price may jump quite a bit.

For Budget and Size (Good to Very Good + a WOW Factor)
Look for a good, white facing K color, or to be on the safer side a I-J color, but be cautious that the diamond does not have a brown tinge! Look for eye clean, meaning if it passes the eye test and you cannot see any inclusions under good lighting. Start from SI2, and if time is on your side, then sometimes an I1 can be eye clean but it takes a lot of patience, perhaps 1 out of 50 I1s can appear to be acceptably eye clean. More likely, SI1-SI2s tend to be eye clean, but also takes a little bit of work to find the best ones. Look for inclusions off to the side or blended in a facet, or inclusions of lighter nature such as pinpoints or twinning wisps. Generally, crystals are black inclusions and can sometimes show but do not always discount them because diamonds with black crystals tend to be the clearest all over. See price ranges below:

  • a 2 ct D Flawless is roughly 80-100K and up;
  • a 2ct G SI1 is roughly 17-20k and;
  • a 2ct J SI2 is roughly 9-12K.

    Prices are definitely not linear! As mentioned before, when mounted as long as they are eye clean, with no brown tinge or milkiness, they will sparkle and scintillate, and move you equally on its own.

For Budget, Size and Quality (Very Good or Better Than Good + Peace of Mind) 

This is a tricky one because it can be very subjective, but most people who are unsure of what to choose generally feel better taking the middle road and pick colors that are between G, H, and I, and between a VS2-SI1 clarity. For instance, prices vary, but assuming that it is eye clean, best symmetry and cut proportions and no brown tinge or milkiness;

  • a 1.00ct H-I, SI1+ will range approximately 5-8k and;
  • a 1.50ct H-I, SI1+ will range approximately 8-12k and;
  • a 1.90ct H-I, SI1+ will range approximately 10-15K
The overall key is to maximize table size, while maintaining a good to excellent cut grade, ensure the diamond faces up bright and is completely translucent (e.g. no milkiness) and it will have an amazing sparkle to it no matter what budget you have! 

***Please note that diamond prices reflected here change on a daily basis and these are estimates from a snapshot from 07/10/2015.

Relevant and Useful Blog Articles

    DIY Jewelry Cleaning at Home January 21, 2015 00:08

    As counter-intuitive as it sounds, do not over clean your jewelry as this activity over time and if done improperly can cause wear and tear on your jewelry! At home ultrasonic cleaners should be used with caution, especially for micro-pave' rings, tension set rings, or very delicate designs with a lot of tiny diamonds. Since ultrasonic cleaning works through sound waves, they can cause a stone to vibrate in its mounting, and the agitation can cause stones to become loose. Very often, you may not find out that your setting is loose until later, when your stone falls off. Always pay special attention to jewelry that is very dirty as sometimes dirt particles hide damaged mountings and help weak settings keep the gemstones in place. When the dirt is cleaned off by the ultrasound, however, you may find that your stones are no longer held tight. Below are some safer and effective methods of cleaning your jewelry on the go or at home!
    Here is a great at home, DIY cleaning solution that is safer and easy to do: 
    If you have Dawn dish soap, (with de-greasing power) at home, mix roughly one part soap to five parts warm/hot water. For every half a cup, you can put in a few big drops of soap. Soak it for 10-30 minutes, then take a brush with a soft bristle and gently brush all over, especially under the diamond or setting where dirt and oils accumulate. Pat dry, place it on a tissue or cloth, and blow dry on high or medium until completely dry. Blow drying helps to remove water residue which can leave spots that block the critical angle of a diamond or gemstone and make it less brilliant. When blow drying, wait for the ring to cool before picking it up to avoid dropping it as the ring may be very hot.

    On the Go Cleaning Foam:
    Here is a product that I highly recommend. For many years in trade, I could not find a great at home cleaner, nothing that my Dawn dish soap, warm water, and blow dryer couldn't handle for those moments when I needed a quick clean and did not have access to my jewelers bench and fancy industrial grade tools and solutions. This foam cleaner is worth every sparkle and the secret sauce is that is is completely water soluble and removes not only dirt, and oils but tap water residues! There are only two forensic gemologists in the world, and it comes very highly recommended from one of them! 

    Diamond Engagement Ring & Wedding Band Care January 14, 2015 18:22

    One thing we always asks our clients to consider when creating their dream ring, for instance is lifestyle. For those who are more active, we typically recommend choosing a stronger and more agile metal such as Platinum, and/or a less ornate design. However, styles and trends have changed to favor a cleaner and more delicate look with less metal (micro-pave, tension set) or more ornate rings studded with many tiny little diamonds, featuring halos and pave accents, and all sorts of unique features. Below are some general guidelines, tips and best practices to keep your jewelry in great shape.

    Avoid wearing your jewelry when;


      • Always take your ring off before bed and place it in a safe spot.
      • Clothing fiber, bed sheets, or pillow sheets can snag on the prongs and break them. This is especially recommended for delicate designs such as micro pave', pave', and micro-prongs which contain many little diamonds held by tiny little prongs.
      • When putting jewelry away, choose a hidden place that you can easily remember to go back to. Carefully place it in a cloth lined box to prevent it from scratching.

    Swimming or Showering

      • Remove ring when showering and when applying products and lotion. Hairspray, moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners can not only make your jewelry look cloudy/dirty, but it can also build up between the crevices of your ring and the product particles can lodge between the prongs, thus causing the stones to shift and become insecure over time.
      • Additionally, over time chemicals such as chlorine can weaken metals and cause prongs to break.

    Physical Activities

      • Always remove your ring when participating in any sports or activities that require vigorous use of your hands - i.e., gardening, swimming, cleaning, cooking, laundry, gym activities such as weight lifting, even yoga poses can bend your ring.
      • In general keep in mind any risk of snagging or bending, or accidental blunt force, is not good for the structural integrity of the ring and repetitive tension on the ring can eventually lead to damage.
      • Lifting everyday heavy items such as luggage, strollers, etc.
      • Precious metals such as gold, and platinum are soft! It will bend if not worn carefully.

       Around Chemicals

        • Avoid chemicals such as bleach and chlorine, or anything highly acidic as these chemicals can break down and discolor or weaken the base metals in a ring.
        • Do not clean jewelry with chemicals or abrasives that are not made for precious metals or natural gemstones (i.e. toothpaste). It can scratch metal and harden under stones.

      Here are some things to do, or keep in mind:

        • Get it serviced professionally. Bring your ring in once every year for routine check-ups and professional cleaning! Our clients can schedule a free cleaning and maintenance check-up by emailing: info@theclassicgem to coordinate a visit, or scheduling time.
        • Be sure to speak with an expert before having your rings serviced in any way. For example, events such as sizing can can increase the chance of losing stones or deforming a ring if not done carefully or with experience. When a ring is re-sized the angle of the prongs changes too. 
        • Get it insured! While we do not offer insurance in house - we do recommend a few insurance companies that you can reach out to to get the best value and coverage, coupled with first in class customer experience. Reach out to us for more info, and we'd be happy to share!
        • Click here for DIY ring cleaning tips at the comfort of your own home or office.