Solitaire Engagement Rings Don’t Have to Be Diamonds

The prettiest engagement rings are solitaire rings with one big stone in the center. But who says that the stone in the center has to be a diamond. You will also see rings that look like they feature one big stone, but in reality a cluster of tiny stones creates the sparkle together.  Look carefully as a big stone is not always a whole gemstone.

Sometimes the center stone in a solitaire ring is set a little higher than the ring in a clawed setting that resembles a cradle for the stone and sometimes it is embedded right into the band.

However, the main stone in the solitaire engagement ring does not have to be a diamond. The very old traditional route is to contrast diamonds (as either the flanking stones or center stone) with other valuable gems such as emeralds, citrines, topazes garnets rubies or sapphires. You can also buy an engagement ring that has a birthstone. It is also nice to just have a central stone that is a favorite color or that matches your eyes or hair. For instance, a sapphire might look great as a center stone in a ring for a woman with blue eyes.

A pave setting is one that features a row of  five to nine glittering stones either raised or embedded into band. Common combinations are sapphires and diamonds, rubies and diamonds and emerald and diamonds.  One benefit to buying this kind of ring is that it can serve either as a wedding band or an engagement band.

Although the ancient belief is that diamonds were fired in the flames of love they are actually fired in the flames of the earth’s crust where they are compressed until they create unique four-sided crystal that is harder than anything on earth. It is most likely that the diamond you find in today’s stores is mined in South Africa, but for years India and Brazil were the principle providers of diamonds.  Diamond stores have also recently been found in the Yukon.

The brilliance of diamonds is accounted for by the stone’s high reflective index, which is 2.42.  This is many times higher than a rhinestone, which is only 1.6.  The ability of a diamond to sparkle is also depended on how the stone is hewn by the diamond cutter.

If you already have a ring that you have inherited fro you grandmother, it is quite easy to go to jeweler and have its look updated or completely create a new ring for your fiancée.  Sometimes stones can be removed from old rings and set into a completely new design.


Unusual Silver Engagement Rings

Click here to shop for rings.


It used to be that an engagement ring was just a circle. However they have been made in unusual designs.  Silver rings are more in vogue these days just simply because the price of gold has gone through the roof.


If you want to be a bit unusual then one of the coolest designs is the European style known as Russian Wedding Rings. Basically these are three circles of silver that interlock on the finger. You can get these rings in very thick or very thin silver. Many of these designs are also inset with gorgeous stones.  The chunkiest version of this type of ring is most modern and very sixties looking.


In essence the three circles symbolize the couple and God and the union interlocking with the holy guidance of higher powers.


Yet another interesting ring is the spinner ring. This type of ring is a band that features another inlaid piece of silver so that the ring rotates around your finger like a wheel. The nicest ones have a rope like shape that is very elegant and simple.


Of course you can get high-end versions of this ring made by Calvin Klein. About twenty years ago he stole the idea of the Russian ring to create his famous eternity ring, which is made out of three circlets of different types of gold.

You may have noticed that there is a new shape of wedding band around. This type of ring shape crests down into a point. It is called the wishbone shape.

The reason that it has a point is that it is meant to accommodate the really cool pear shaped and marquise shaped single stones that are also so much in vogue.  These large single stones are very much complimented by the inverse V shape of the glamorous wishbone ring.


The wishbone shopped badly is usually between 5mm and 3.5 mm and very much in vogue because chunkier rings like this are definitely in style for 2009.

When buying this type of ring you might also want to make sure that the V does fit the bride in a way so that the point of the V does not dig into the finger in any way.  Usually this is not a problem if the ring is well designed but it can be a challenge if the ring is quite thin.  To make sure it is comfortable by the thicker or larger wishbone shaped ring so the point does not touch the finger.

Click here to shop for rings.


The Vintage Charm of Inlaid Opal Bracelets

Click here to shop for jewelry.


The inlaid opal bracelet is a fashion item that is back in style agian. This is because it really was a style of setting opals that is equated with mid-century jewelry styles.   The inlaid styles first started appearing at the turn of the last century during the Victorian area.  It was also part of the Art Deco movement.  Inlaid styles featuring slabs of pearlescent opal were also seen quite frequently as part of both costume and precious jewelry styles in the fifties, sixties and seventies.



The inlaid style mixes a casual cachet of wood, jet or inlay with the slightly expensive look of opal. It’s quite a hip look to wear one because it is so multi-cultural.  In fact lmost every culture has a version of the opal inlay cuff bracelet. In China, white opals are set into heavy black cuffs or red lacquered wood.  In India you will find many varieties of the inlaid opal bracelet including those that are inlaid and alternated with another stone such as hematite or jet and those that are inlaid in bracelets of gold.   The Mexican version of the opal inlay cuff bracelet comes in copper, silver and exotic South American woods.



The design of an inlaid opal bracelet can be quite intricate or very simple. A common simple Chinese design is a series of inlaid opal triangles into a lacquered bangle. Some Indian designs are very much influenced by the British Empire’s love of everything Victorian. Even today you can still find the opal inlay cuff bracelet adorned with the traditional Victorian flower blossoms and butterflies and beautiful little filgeree designs.



More mod versions of these bracelets appeared in the sixties.  You could find jet and opal styles interlaced in geometric shapes that fit around the wrist. Often the opal is inlaid with semi-precious metals like brass or nickel.



The highest quality inlaid opal bracelet comes the Southern United States, Mexico or Brazil where the opals are more likely to be set in solid silver. The cheapest bracelets come from India and China where they bracelets are mass manufactured and the designs often appear a bit off center.  This is particularly true of the opal inlay cuff bracelet that is made from compressed wood.  Still even the more poorly made inlaid opal bracelets are quite beautiful, even if they are bit flawed.  If they are older examples of the an inlaid opal piece they can also be quite beautiful.

Click here to shop for jewelry.