Saturday, October 1, 2011

Emerging Engagement Ring Trends Blend Tradition With Modern Flair

The diamond engagement rings - a timeless expression of love and commitment.

The classic styles available - solitaire and pave, for example - still are popular today, but there are emerging trends of which you, the potential buyer should be aware.

Note: One thing that never changes is what grooms tend to pay for engagement rings - quite a bit! Latest statistics show the average amount spent is $3,000, according to these sources:

" $3,044 (Bride's Millenium Report)
" $2,982 (Bride's Magazine)
" $2,909 (Modern Bride, as cited in Weddings for Dummies)
" $3,576 (Conde Nast Bridal Group)
" $3,165 (Modern Bride Magazine)
" $2,807 (National Bride Service)

Hot ring trends - classic, antique and modern lead the way

For example, classic solitaires are very popular. Many women are choosing a classic-cut diamond solitaire. These are assured of never going out of style and make good heirloom pieces.

However, a traditional solitaire setting is upswept and raises the diamond high. Some people today select settings where the center stone sits low, creating a look that is elegant and ergonomic. Another popular setting is one that is intricately raised, as well as twisted band.

And while the round cut continues to be popular, it is becoming more common to see the oval cut, as well as the emerald.

The pave setting, where the band is studded with diamonds seamlessly, is elegant and is becoming more popular. The idea is that smaller stones are set so close together that no metal can be seen between them. This maximizes the wattage of the ring without pushing the cost too high.

Antique, vintage rings that your grandmother might have worn also are trendy, which combines an historical, period look with current fashion. Look for gold filigree settings, floral accents and gemstone baguettes. The cuts typically are cushion, round, pillow and Asscher , and their larger facets radiate more fire under less light.

Also becoming more popular are modern styles. This type features clean, streamlined designs for a cosmopolitan, chic look. The most contemporary styles feature a bezel-set and designs where the diamond seems to "float," which is a type of tension setting.

Engagement rings with colored stones also are an emerging trend, with colored diamonds being quite the rage. Many celebrities, such as Jennifer Lopez, have chosen colored diamond engagement rings and this has cemented their popularity.

For something different, consider new diamond cuts on the market. The Zales diamond cut has more facets than traditional cuts and can increase the stone's fire. Also consider the princess cut - a modified square.

Platinum - hands down the choice today

Regarding the ring itself, platinum is definitely the hot trend. Platinum is popular because its rich luster sets off the brilliance of a diamond like no other metal. This metal is naturally white and will always keep its shine, unlike yellow gold, which may tarnish. Platinum is the strongest precious metal, and is twice as heavy as most gold alloy rings.
Some women want their platinum ring carved with designs or inlaid with gemstones.

Diamond or Cubic Zirconia: Knowing the difference can save you money!

Diamond or Cubic Zirconia: Knowing the difference can save you money!

So what is the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia? Why is cubic zirconia (CZ) quickly becoming more popular as a desirable substitute for diamond? Gemologists can agree that CZ comes closer than any other gem material to matching the characteristics of a diamond.

Most people, even trained gemologists, cannot tell the difference between diamond and CZ, with the naked eye. Moreover, to the untrained eye, CZ looks identical to a good quality diamond. However, under closer inspection, CZ appears to have slightly less brilliance (or sparkle) than a diamond, and more fire, or flashes of color.

CZs were originally developed by the Russians, for their space program. They were developed as an alternative to diamonds that were used in the optics of their lasers. CZs have a refractive index, dispersion and hardness so close to a diamond it's uncanny.

So what are some key features that can guide you in telling the difference between diamond and CZ? Do keep in mind, though, in order to accurately distinguish the two gems, gemological equipment such as microscope, or loupe, must be used for testing and verification.

To start, let’s take a look at the hardness factor: Did you know CZ ranges between 8.5 to 9.0 on the Mohs’ hardness scale whereas diamond, one of the hardest materials known to man, is rated 10, lying at the top of the hardness scale?

Furthermore, glass (or sand) is rated approximately 5 to 6 on the hardness scale, therefore, dust and dirt will not scratch CZ. Indeed, CZ can scratch glass just like regular diamonds, making it more resistant to chipping.

One great difference between diamond and CZ is weight. CZs are heavyweights in comparison to diamonds; a CZ will weigh approximately 1.75 times more than a diamond of equivalent size. So basically, a piece of CZ the same size as a one-carat diamond weighs about 1.75 carats. Well…isn’t that interesting?

Contemporary production of CZ is virtually flawless, whereas diamond usually contains impurities and inclusions, or have some sort of defect, be it a feather, included crystal, or perhaps a remnant of an original crystal face (e.g. trigons).

In regards to color—more precisely, the lack of color—only the rarest of diamonds are truly colorless, as most have a tinge of yellow or brown to some extent. By comparison, CZ in most cases can be made entirely colorless, equivalent to a perfect "D" on diamond's color grading scale.

Also, under close inspection with a loupe, the facet shapes of some CZs appear different from diamonds. Both gems disperse light a little differently. Dispersion is just a scientific term for the breaking up of light into its spectral colors. With a dispersive power greater than diamond (0.060 vs. 0.044), the more prismatic fire of CZ can be seen by even an untrained eye.

Dispersion occurs based on the gem’s refractive index. In this case, refractive index simply indicates how much a beam of light will bend, based on the direction in which it is traveling when it passes between two materials of different optical densities (such as between diamond and air; or between CZ and air). Being that CZ has a refractive index of 2.176, compared to a diamond's 2.417, diamonds are therefore said to be brighter than CZ.

Another difference between the two gems is that CZs are thermal insulators—meaning, they reduce the rate of heat transfer—whilst diamonds are among the most efficient thermal conductors—meaning, they allow heat to easily pass through them. Without testing the gems’ heat conductivity, it can be difficult to tell them apart.

Remember, it is a 50/50 guess to identify a gem by visual inspection; it is not a scientific method of authentication. That is why even certified and degreed gemologists use gemological equipment for testing and verification.

You will also be glad to know that CZs are not only durable and inexpensive, but just like diamonds, they come in any color of the rainbow, making them even more desirable.

There have been many instances to see if jewelers can tell the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia, just by examining the gems with the naked eye. Over and over again, it was inconclusive; jewelers could not tell the difference just by looking at the gems. So you can now understand why the difference between diamond and cubic zirconia rests in the price, and in the mind…

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tips on Taking Care of Your Cubic Zirconia Jewelery

When cubic zirconia is set in gold or sterling silver, it can be worn everyday without any damaging effects. Of course the exceptions are as follows.

Make-up, face and body powder and lotions can also cause the shine of the cubic zirconia to dull. So remove your cubic zirconia jewelry before coming in contact with any of these products.

Polish your cubic zirconia jewelry with a soft cotton towel or a chamois skin cloth in between cleanings.

We all get business with various projects and responsibilities, so it is not uncommon for the cleaning of our jewelry to slip through the cracks. Have you caught yourself at the last minute of getting ready taking a couple of minutes to clean your jewelry before you put them on to go out for the evening? All jewelry requires regular cleaning and proper care to maintain their beauty. So, set aside one day a week, every two weeks, or every month to attend to the cleaning of all your jewelry. You will be amazed at the results, and you won't have to worry about what condition they will be in when you choose them to wear for a special occasion.

Cubic zirconia jewelry and diamonds jewelry

Since coming to the world's attention in the 1830s, diamonds in has been a favorite of stones for jewelry. Not everyone can afford to buy diamonds, so the search for the best man-made version has been battled for years. Cubic Zirconia is considered to be the best man-made diamond for jewelry on the market today.

There are other synthetic diamonds used in the market today to replace diamonds in jewelry settings. The moissanite is a mineral created by a laboratory as a good diamond replacement stone. It was introduced into the market in the 1990s. It has become the choice of some for their fine jewelry collection. There are those who prefer moissante to cubic zirconia. The moissante match diamond in the hardness of the mineral, but there is a downside. The cost is about $500 per carat and the moissante does not have the brilliance and fire of a diamond or the cubic zirconia.

The Russian cubic zirconias used in jewelry are hand picked from the highest quality raw stones, hand cut by master cutters and hand polished. The specifications used for each of the Russian cubic zirconias are the same as those set down by the Gemological Institute of America for diamonds.

For my money, I will take a cubic zirconia jewelry over the other synthetic diamond jewelry any day.

Body Piercing Jewelry

Body Piercing Jewelry

by: Guest
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History and evolution of body piercing and body piercing jewelry

The Bible mentions that body piercing was popular amongst nomadic tribes approximately 2000 years ago. Whereas, at some places like Egypt only people from the royal family could get body piercing done. Various reasons have been associated with different cultures and different castes for getting body piercing. For example, it was a symbol for strength for roman warriors, who had a practical approach towards body piercing. Whereas body piercing jewelry was just a way of beauty enhancement in some other cultures.

In the Medieval times, the art of body piercing was condemned by the masses and was banned by a few communities. But it regained popularity again. People started using body jewelry as a way of showing off their wealth and status by wearing a lot of jewelry and getting body piercings done. About a decade ago, body piercing jewelry was considered to be a symbol for rebellious and hip youth. In the recent times, relevance of body jewelry has changed a lot.

Current Scenarios of body piercing and body piercing jewelry

Interestingly, there are different societal and personal attitudes attached to modern day body piercing and body piercing jewelry in the current times. While ear piercings and nose piercings have been very popular since the ancient times in countries like India etc., The other forms of body piercings had different reasons for coming into being. Mostly, it became a way of enhancing beauty and adorning the body. It soon became a fashion statement amongst youngsters and people saw it as a form of self expression and body art. For some, it became a way of increasing sexual pleasures or for sexual stimulation. Gay men get body piercings done for identification. These days, there are a lot of stores available for body jewelry and body piercing jewelry and several celebrities sport them as well.

Different kinds of body piercing jewelry:

1) Naval Piercing Jewelry
Naval piercing, also known as belly piercing is a very popular form of body piercing. Naval is considered to be very seductive. Increasingly, many women sport interesting belly buttons and belly piercing jewelry to adorn themselves.

2) Nostril Piercing Jewelry
Nose piercing has been prevalent since ages. Till date, it is a very unique form of body piercing popular amongst youngsters. Stars like Madonna and Lenny Kravitz also sport nostril body piercing and wear piercing jewelry.

3) Nipple Piercing Jewelry
Nipple piercing has also been in existence since the ancient times. Nowadays too, many people get this form of body piercing done as it enhances sensual stimulations.

4) Ear Piercing Jewelry
Ear piercing jewelry is the most common and most popular forms of body piercing. Ear piercing is popular all round the world amongst both men and women.

5) Labret Piercing Jewelry
You can sport trendy piercing jewelry on your labret piercing for enhancing beauty. It is very popular form of body piercing in Central America.

6) Eyebrow Piercing Jewelry
Eyebrow piercing too is also a very popular form of body piercing amongst the youth since a long time. Many celebrities sport it too.

7) Tongue Piercing Jewelry
This is a very interesting form of body piercing. Celebrities like Janet Jackson and Mel B of Spice Girls wear tongue piercing jewelry.

Materials used for body piercing and body piercing jewelry

In the ancient times materials like wood, metals etc. were used for making body piercing rings, body piercing jewelry etc. These days, there are a variety of materials being used for making body jewelry and body piercing jewelry like semi-precious stones, steel, bronze, silver, titanium, gold, diamonds etc. Stress is laid on quality standards as it is now a very popular fashion statement. Gold and diamonds are increasingly being used for this purpose, as they are a store house of value and are more trendy and elegant at the same time.

Knowledge and after-care

You must be well aware of body piercing procedures, healing process and the after-care in order to enjoy your body piercing.
Also, make sure you get your body piercing done from a professional.
Confirm the quality of your body piercing jewelry before buying it. Make sure you obtain extensive knowledge about the store you are buying your body piercing jewelry from.
Quality standards are of a great deal of importance in body piercing jewelry to avoid any problems in maintaining and after-care of your body piercings and body piercing jewelry. – Unique Gold body Jewelry and Body Piercing Jewelry

The Chain Gang has a variety of body piercing jewelry of the finest quality made by the best body jewelry designers from all over the world. Being over 13 years in the body jewelry and body piercing jewelry business, they provide a huge selection and variety of products with 100% guarantee in body piercing jewelry. Check out some of their featured products here.

About the Author

Ritu Raj RAi is copywriter with