You bought the diamond, now what?
From stone selection to the type of engagement setting, today's engagement rings have a vast number of options. Learning what you like and being able to communicate that to your local jeweler will help simplify and demystify the purchase process. In previous blogs we have reviewed the necessary vocabulary associated with diamond as well as the anatomy of a ring, now, lets discuss the various types of setting options for both your main stone as well as smaller accent diamonds that your future ring may use.
Prong Thin metal projections that hold a stone(s) in place. Both 4 and 6 prong settings are popular with round center stones. Variations on the prongs include V-Prong, popular with pear, heart and trillion shape stones. (Example, see center stone above in DM4391)
Bezel A perimeter of metal that hugs the entire circumference of the stone(s) (Full Bezel).
Semi-Bezel Similar to a full bezel, the semi-bezel setting has two breaks in the perimeter hugging the top and bottom of a stone(s).
Channel Two parallel strips of precious metal suspend the stone(s). (Example, see accent diamonds above in DM4391)
Bead Metal is moved from the ring over strategic points of the stone(s) using a tiny chisel called a graver or burin.
Burnished Similar to Bead Setting but a burnishing tool pushes gold all around the full circumference of the stone(s).
Tension Pressure is used to hold the stone(s) in place.
Bar Precious metal bars are used to hold the stone(s) in place.
Pave - This term is French for Paved. As described, numerous diamonds are strategically held together closely to cover the surface with shimmering stones.
One of our most popular engagement rings is the DM4527/JA. We receive many positive comments concerning the consistency of the design and quality as well as questions concerning how we accomplish this. We are happy to explain.
There are several steps in the production. We begin by die striking the components. The shank is struck flat in two halves and head is struck singularly. Then both are trimmed of excess metal. Next, galleries are cut into the shank and we round up the half shanks. The parts are given to a crafts person who solders all three components together and drills holes in the shank shoulders at precise intervals and in the sides of the base of the head. The raw mounting undergoes its initial inspection.
The inside and bottom half of the shank and the head are hand polished and lapped in preparation for appropriate stamping (trademark, metal, stone quality and total weight) and stone setting; this leads to a second inspection.
The ring's diamonds are “shared bead set” in the shank; a setter actually hand raises beads of metal over the girdles of the diamonds; these beads are raised at the 10, 2, 4 and 8 O’clock positions on the stones. The shared beads are the two each between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth stones. After securely setting the diamonds the setter shapes each bead individually and as uniformly as possible. There are two small diamonds “burnish set” into each side of the base of the JA head. Burnish setting, also called bezel setting, is accomplished by pushing metal completely over the entire girdle of a stone and trimming it to uniform width and depth.
The next step in the creation of the DM4527 is hand engraving. Jabel's signature wheat pattern is applied to the upper half of the mounting as well as accenting the pattern with minute beading. Upon completion of setting and hand engraving the ring undergoes a third quality inspection.
The final operation is the finishing process. The unengraved portion of the mounting is brought to lustrous sheen by the use of the proper buffing wheel and brushes along with the correct polishing rouge. Now it’s on to washing with an industrial ammonia solution in an ultrasonic tank, steam cleaning and blow drying. Yellow gold, pink gold, green gold and platinum pieces are now ready for final inspection. White gold pieces are subjected to rhodium plating, which whitens the metal even further, prior to final inspection.
These steps are performed by our team of expert craftspeople. It is because of their commitment to producing superior quality jewelry, that Jabel is set apart from others and we can stand behind our heirloom quality jewelry.
The holidays may seem far away as we laugh at stores already displaying holiday ribbons and bows in September, but if you are planning a holiday proposal take their lead and start looking at potential engagement ring settings now.
As you begin working through the 'stuff' of the engagement process; picking the engagement ring setting, the stone, and setting up the perfect proposal, you are sure to work through some big questions.
Hiccups happen all the time, make sure you have enough time to work through them. Recently, a friend proposed to his girlfriend. He was determined to find a vintage engagement ring and searched for months. Eventually, the reality of finding the perfect ring in the perfect condition made the search hopeless. Luckily, he budgeted time to work with his local jeweler and custom design her ring. Keep time on your side! Don't be caught on the perfect day without the perfect ring!
- It may sound silly to ask yourself who am I marrying, but examining you special someone is perhaps the most important step in buying the right ring. If their favorite activity is hiking then you want to look at lower profile die struck settings. If antiques fill your home, you may want to develop a rapport with a reputable estate jewelers. If your fiance has a definite vision of the ring you may want to begin the process of a custom designed engagement ring.
This is the technical end of the process including the type of metal, the method of manufacturing and the shape/make/size of the diamond.
- Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, sizes and qualities. To get start I recommend learning the "4 C's of Diamonds." Even the most basic understanding of these principles will help you communicate more clearly with your local jeweler what you want so you get the best diamond for your budget.
- The jewelry industry experiences different rushes throughout the year, with the holiday rush being the most detrimental to a rushed engagement ring order. This is more than a ring. It is an investment as well as a symbol that will be loved and cherished for generations to come and you want to make sure you have time to get exactly what you want.
Images: Top, A Collection of Jabel Bridal. Second From Top, T564. Third From Top, DM4151. Fourth From Top, BL4503. Bottom, BLF1276.
I have a confession. I didn’t know people still watched the VMA’s.
With all this talk of Miley Cyrus and her fashion choices, she still rocks her stunning yellow gold Engagement Ring.
Above is Miley as Hannah Montana, and below is the evolution of her wardrobe from 2011-2013. Miley got engaged on May 31, 2012 and has been seen on and off with her engagement ring. Rumors are always circulating that her relationship with Liam Hemsworth is a publicity stunt, but in her sassy outfit on Sunday night, she appeared to have two bands around her 3.5 carat diamond. The Ring Guard in 18K yellow gold goes nicely with the other vintage engagement rings she has on.
Miley in 2011 at the VMA's
Miley in 2012 at the VMA's
Miley in 2013 at the VMA's
Jabel carries several ring guards in plain and with diamonds. I am posting in 18K yellow because it seems to be trending these days. Also check out our vintage engagement rings like our F1124.
Are you in the market for antique engagement rings? This expertly illustrated article from Jabel's 1925 catalog, Ring Transformations, gives you a great snapshot into early 20th century ring manufacturing and will help you learn what to look for when shopping today. The excess stress of years of wear may have taken a toll on many of the antique rings you see today, here is why Jabel is always a wise choice!
Features of the Jabel Ring with practical comparative illustrations
PLATE A - Shows the unit parts or pieces of an ordinary ring, known as a "finding" ring. Note (fig. 1) the two complete circular pieces cut cross-sectionally, which must be soldered together at every point. If this type of ring were opened for resizing, it would be seen that the solder running throughout the entire circle of the ring tends to ooze out, the delicate ornamentation of the shank begins to crumble, and the pin holes in the seam continue to increase in size and number as time goes on.
Figure 2 - (Plate A) shows the machine-made tow piece top, which must be soldered at four points.
PLATE B - (fig. 1) shows the Jabel method of welding together the two shanks at only tow points of contact. The resizing of this type of ring offers no problem whatsoever, because it is cut at a point which was originally open, and where there is nothing to give way.
Figure 2 - illustrates the one-piece top, entirely hand-pierced.
Plate C - Note the breadth, heaviness and dignity of the Jabel shank with the vast possibilities of design motifs.
Now contrast this with the thinness, lightness and lack of grace of the ordinary shank.
My Jabel Story: Karin L.
My wedding ring, an antique Jabel ring bought in an antique shop in Stockholm, Sweden. The shopkeeper bought the ring at auction in Boston. Love it to bits!
Karin's antique diamond wedding ring was likely introduced in the late 1940’s, no earlier than 1946 based on similarly designed mountings during this period. During those years Jabel produced a series of "Eastern Star" rings and the F560, while not having the signature star shaped center, was inspired by others in the collection. It appears that variations of the basic design were offered well into the mid 1960’s."
"Today I bought a magnifying glass I had been wanting it because I can't see well. I work in accessories with jewelry and really felt this would help me at work. I took it home and of course first thing I did was look into the band of my near 90 year old heirloom engagement ring of my grandmothers that I have been wearing for almost 27 years. My mother wore it before me. 18K JABEL was so crystal clear it shocked me and I came to the internet immediately. This is a sweet moment. It needs work and I have never wanted to take or leave at any. It is gorgeous and in incredibly beautiful condition. I love it with all my heart!! My grandparents were married in 1918 in Revere, outside of Boston."
Christine's antique diamond engagement is a true heirloom. Our historian was unable to document the exact date because our early records were incomplete and not all styles had reference images. We can confirm as Christine noted that the original ring had a fancy diamond setting which she modified into a solitaire setting.
Image(s): Compliments of Christine
Julieanne Allen's Story:
Hi my name is Julie. I just became engaged and I inherited my great-grandmothers wedding ring.
The exact dating of Julie's Great-Grandmother's die struck diamond engagement ring and matching diamond band is in inconclusive. The mounting may be a modified version of DM3763 which was introduced in 1954. However, the crown style setting of the engagement ring is reminiscent of a series of heads that were introduced in the mid-1930's to mid-1940's. The band is most likely a W4099 which was introduced in 1963 and is no longer available today.
Image: Compliments of Julieanne Allen
Time can take its toll on any beloved piece of jewelry and that includes the antique engagement ring you may be looking to buy. From daily wear and tear to environmental contaminants such as cleaning products, overtime the structural integrity can become compromised. If a ring has been well maintained these issues may be less of a hindrance on your purchase. Regardless, here are some vital structural indicators you want to look for to make sure you are purchasing quality equal to beauty!
Condition of Band
Before buying look at the band of the ring and ask yourself how many times has it been sized? Multiple sizing, while it will not harm the design can affect the structural integrity of the band from repeatedly bending the metal and having sizing joints. Likewise, every time it is sized the ring will need polishing which inevitably removes gold from the original thickness of the band. Fear not, your local jeweler can discuss the possibility of adding a new shank if the ring of your dreams is less than optimal. However, this process will increase your investment in the piece by adding incurring metal and labor fees.
Condition of Setting
The setting is more than just the pretty prongs that hold your diamond in place. They serve a vital role in making sure your diamond does not fall out. Before you buy look at the prongs and make sure they are well maintained; they hold your stone tight and are strong and not worn. If you find a ring that melts your heart but the prongs are in rough shape you can always have your local jeweler quote you on restoring them. However, just like before there will be additional costs incurred for the additional metal and labor.
Die Struck Setttings
At Jabel we strongly recommend looking for antique rings that have been made through the process we use called die striking. Die striking increases the overall strength, density and inherit quality of a rings structure by applying as much as 50 tons of pressure to the gold forcing it to take the shape of a die (see image of die to right). With almost 100 years of history using this method we frequently hear from and 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations Jabel ring owners who continue to enjoy the beauty of their ancestors ring. For more information on die striking you are welcome to watch our two part documentary on YouTube.
If all this seems too overwhelming or you simply want the look of an antique style engagement ring without the worry and concern of its condition you may want to consider buying an antique or vintage inspired ring such as the Jabel solitaire BL4406WKG featured at the top of this article in 18KT white gold and our BL4503 featured to the right in 18KT white gold with hand engraving. This will give you the look you want to achieve without the concern for structural integrity. Likewise, it will also give you the flexibility to customize and order exactly what you envision.