Friday, April 13, 2018

Simply brilliant: The boyfriend’s guide to choosing an engagement diamond shape

So you’ve found the girl of your dreams, and you’re ready to “put a ring on it.” You thought all the decisions were behind you, right? Not so much! There’s still that all-important engagement diamond to pick out. You want to create a ring that expresses your love and commitment, but is also a reflection of your bride-to-be’s unique personality and style. It’s a tall order, but this quick primer will break down the basics on selecting the centerpiece stone of this ring of a lifetime.

It all starts with the shape

You have probably heard that when it comes to diamonds, it’s all about the “four Cs.” Gemologists have co-opted the alphabet’s third letter to remind you of the critical characteristics of the diamond: cut, color, clarity and carat. All four of those are important. But there is a fifth “C”, and it is more critical than the rest: Confidence. Make sure you are working with a jeweler who has extensive experience with diamonds and engagement rings and is accredited with the Gemological Institute of America and American Gem Society.

Once you have found a jeweler you can be confident in, the first decision they will likely ask you to make is the shape of your stone. Here, we’ll take a look at the five most popular diamond shapes to help you decide which one will make the cut when it comes to your bride.

  • Round

If you’re not sure where to start with your stone, begin by looking at round shapes. According to Brides magazine, more than half of all brides surveyed wear a round diamond. A traditional choice, this is a popular selection not only due to its timelessness, but also because the round shape maximizes the diamond’s sparkle when it catches the light. In fact, round brilliant diamonds make up ¾ of all diamond purchases, so if your bride is the classic type and likes simple elegance, this may well be your ticket.

She loves monograms, Barbour jackets, and handwritten notes. Even when she’s wearing jeans and loafers, she always looks put together. Her sense of style is evergreen – just like your love. She’s a Round.

  • Princess

First created in 1980, this square shape is the most popular of the “fancy cut” shapes, maybe because it makes a woman feel like the eponymous member of royalty. It offers a modern, metropolitan take on the classic stone, and like the round diamond, makes a highly flexible centerpiece to any setting.

Her outfits are a funky blend of today’s designers and vintage pieces she’s found out thrifting. She reads the New York Times cover to cover every Sunday – on her iPad. Her style transcends time, just like your relationship. She’s a Square.

  • Cushion

Though this shape that blends a square cut with rounded corners has been around for more than 200 years, it has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity after having been seen on the big screen as the ring on Daisy Buchanan’s finger in 2013’s “The Great Gatsby.” A stone in this shape offers a vibe that’s both glamorous and distinctive, reaching into the past but with a modern spark of brilliance.

She’s always seen with that one handbag she carries, and you can bet it’s vintage Hermès – it’s her statement piece. It’s her outfits that all her friends oooh and aaah over … she’s truly a tastemaker. One thing’s for certain: This woman is truly unforgettable. She’s a Cushion.

  • Asscher

Similar to the cushion, this is a centuries-old shape that has regained a great deal of popularity in recent years. Unlike the cushion, however, this cut’s return to the limelight didn’t come as a result of a movie appearance: The Asscher got an upgrade around the turn of the millennium with significant improvements, which in turn led to it being the first-ever diamond shape to be patented. The choice of Hollywood idols from Elizabeth Taylor to Gwyneth Paltrow, this shape calls to mind the Art Deco look of the rectangular emerald cut, but with more facets for increased sparkle and shine.

You know when it’s September because she’s curled up with the extra-thick issues of all her favorite fashion magazines, soaking up every trend- those she hasn’t already unearthed on Instagram, because your bride-to-be is nothing if not an #influencer. She turns heads, she makes marks, she takes names … she’s an Asscher.

  • Emerald

This shape is comprised of a rectangle with cropped corners and a relatively large, flat face that produces a hall of mirrors effect (don’t be confused by the fancy talk; it’s just what it sounds like). Since flaws inside the stone (“inclusions,” in jeweler-speak) will be easier to see in this sleek and elegant shape, clarity is prized over sparkle here.

She’s all clean lines and angles, with a style that’s as understated as her practical approach to life. She loves Frank Lloyd Wright, and her favorite handbag is a late-1990s Kate Spade nylon shopper. She’s no-nonsense and straightforward, and you can’t wait to make her yours. She’s an Emerald.

So, gentlemen, there’s a look at the five most popular shapes. If you don’t see your love reflected in that lot, don’t worry, we have more. You can also choose from marquise (more bling for the buck); oval (sparkles like a round, but with a little unexpected edge thrown in); radiant (a stunner with tons of facets to catch the light – hence the name); pear or teardrop (a hybrid of oval and marquise, great for delicate brides); and heart (sweet and sentimental).

As you can see, there’s truly a special diamond out there for every bride. As your family-owned jeweler, we’d love the opportunity to be your partner in the design process, and put over a century of experience in crafting exquisite heirlooms to work shaping a one-of-a-kind masterpiece just for your bride. Drop by and see us, and you’ll find our team offers not only the personalized service you expect from Hamilton Jewelers – because this process is too important to entrust to just anyone – but also the international resources you need to uncover that one perfect stone.

After all, you’ve already made one of the most difficult decisions of your life. Let us help you with this next one!

 



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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Here Are the Top Three Takeaways From Baselworld 2018

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It is the biggest luxury jewelry and watch show of the year: Baselworld. The show recently closed its doors after a six-day event that proved highly successful. Retailers, consumer and journalists from around the world converged on Baselworld to see the newest, latest and greatest timepieces make their debuts. In most cases, these watches were years in the design, development and research stages. While they are hot off the presses, so to speak, the newest watches won’t make their way to stores for at least another month or so, but that doesn’t stop us from doing some trend spotting. Here are three key takeaways from Baselworld 2018.

We can’t say it enough. The biggest trend this year revolves around recalling our past. Many watch brands dug into their archives and developed watches based on an earlier, mid-20th-century watch that held some special meaning or appeal. While some brands re-interpreted designs of yesteryear by updating materials, colors, or dials, others unveiled almost literal reproductions of an early iconic watch. Some brands are even celebrating key anniversaries (50th, 60th, 75th) and releasing models in celebration.

Key vintage trends revolve around dial colors, with parchment, silver and lacquered white dials for many classic timepieces. However, also rearing their retro heads are blue and black dials — especially when combined with taupe numerals — as well as salmon or pink-hued dials. Another vintage trend has to do with numerals, markers and hands, with many brands adding Super-LumiNova and returning to classic fonts and hand styles. Lastly, elongated lugs are reappearing on the market — demonstrating a retro look and an ergonomic fit.

While some key luxury brands continue to unveil high complications and complex novelties, many of the big-name brands favored more useful complexities this year. Such functions include dive watches, calendar watches and even chronographs. However, the most important function, it seems, is the GMT watch. Simply put, a GMT watch features  a 24-hour format hand that indicates a second time zone in very easy terms.  This year’s favorite GMT watches are in chocolate brown, forest green, slate gray and ivory dial colors, in addition to the beloved blue.

As always, sport watches are an important category this year from both an aesthetic and function perspective. Classic sport watches and rugged sport watches dominate the scene, always with an eye toward design. On the classic sport side, many brands are inspired by the automobile racing world, with elements of the watch reminiscent of steering wheels, engines and grills. Even straps recall the sport, thanks to perforated holes that resemble leather driving gloves.

On the rugged and durable sport watch side, the sky  — or the sea — is the limit. Most popular this year are the dive watches, with many brands unveiling timepieces ready to weather the saltwater and harsh temperatures and depths inherent in diving. Some pilot watches emerge, as well, but these are taking a slight backseat to the more active sports, such as diving and mountain climbing. Key features in the newest sport watches include the use of a wide variety of materials for the case, ranging from high-tech ceramic and carbon fiber to the much-coveted alternative metals, such as bronze and even tantalum.

As mentioned, each of these trends is important in today’s active lifestyles, where form and function come together to deliver a timepiece that does much more than just tell the time. We will have the newest watches of 2018 arriving in stores beginning next month, and invite you to stop in any time to see them.



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Friday, March 23, 2018

Three Important Watch Trends Already Spotted at Baselworld

The Baselworld Fair just opened, and already we are seeing key trends emerge, including an emphasize on interchangeable watch straps, the introduction of new materials and a general downsizing of case sizes for men and women.

Interchangeability and versatility. As witnessed already at SIHH, watch brands are recognizing that consumers today like choice. As such, we expect to see a lot more brands offering interchangeable watch straps — with new methods for easy-click changeability and with grand diversity of leathers, metal bracelets, finishes and colors.

Continued use of new materials. While gold, steel and titanium remain the staple of watchmaking, we continue to see an evolution of new materials. Our favorite is the use of bronze because it develops its own patina over time, making the watchcase unique to its owners. On the flip side is the innovative use of sapphire, with more sapphire box cases being unveiled at the high-end of the spectrum, allowing for ultimate visibility of the movement, and with some brands unveiling new colors of sapphire. Additionally, certain cutting-edge brands are unveiling new alloys and new colors of alloys that bring an edginess to the timepiece.

Smaller case sizes. While the much-loved 44mm size for men and 36mm size for women will never go away, this year we are seeing a reduction in case sizes. For women, these reductions mean a emergence of “mini” cases (24mm) from couture brands, as well as from fashion-forward brands, and of 32mm and 34mm sizes that sit nicely on a thinner wrist. For men, 38mm sizes in a classic watch are beginning to populate the offerings. For comparison’s sake, a US quarter measures about 24mm.

 



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Friday, March 16, 2018

The Biggest Watch Show of the Year Kicks Off Next Week in Switzerland

The first few months of every year are filled with so many events in the watch world, starting in January with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva and then running into the biggest watch show of the year, Baselworld, in Basel, Switzerland. This year, the Baselworld Fair official opens on Thursday, March 22, with pre-show events taking place on the 21st. The show runs through March 27.

This show is important for many reasons. To begin with, this is where the majority of watch brands — from Patek Philippe to Rolex — unveil their newest timepieces, watches destined to set the wrist trends for the coming year. During Baselworld, thousands of new timepieces are shown, many of which will start to make their way to stores later this summer and fall. This is where the trends are set, this is where the new materials in watchmaking are unveiled and this is where brands, retailers and even customers congregate to get the newest info on time and timekeeping.

About 800 brands will exhibit at the show. This list includes big name brands, niche brands, dozens of top independent watch brands and even some top jewelry brands. Additionally, around the city of Basel, another 30 or so brands are showcasing their new timepieces for those adventurous enough to step outside the show’s cavernous halls.

We anticipate that this year’s Baselworld exhibition will bring us some great new trends and directions for the coming year, and will keep you posted with more news and information very soon.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March Birthstone

The serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. In fact, the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Like emeralds, this gemstone is actually a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.

Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.



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Monday, March 12, 2018

Ask the Experts, Our Engagament Ring Guide!

You’ve found the one, and you owe cupid a huge favor.  Maybe you’ve even planned the proposal or you’re working on some spectacular ideas.  No matter what your circumstances, buying an engagement ring can be a daunting and overwhelming task.  Here are some pointers to get you started in the right direction — some practical, some romantic, and some steeped in history and tradition.  We should know a thing or two…we’ve been helping happy couples for over 105 years!

The Top 3 Things to Know Before You Start This Amazing Adventure:

  • What is your budget?

You don’t need the exact number, but have a range in mind, be it monthly payments on an installment program, financing the entire purchase, or any combination of either.  You may be pleasantly surprised that financing offers now allow you to find the perfect ring for less than you may have imagined.

  • What setting is best?

While there are an unending variety of patterns, details, and metal choices, there are four basic types you are likely to encounter:

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Solitaire- A single stone.  Still the most popular choice in engagement rings.

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Three Stone- Best described as ‘One diamond for the past, one for the present, and one for the future.’

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Sidestone- Diamonds or other gemstones flank the main stone for additional sparkle or color.

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Vintage Inspired- Designs that are vintage inspired often have halo settings and filigree details to further enhance the ring.

  • What is her style/taste?

What kind of jewelry does she already wear?  Is she more classic or modern?  Feminine or sophisticated?  Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky?  Simple or ornate?  Observe her demeanor, her body language, her dress, and any references she makes about jewelry, fashion, and style.  She will be wearing this ring every day of her life.

And yes, the 4 C’s are really important…

You don’t need to obtain a gemology degree, but you should have a basic understanding of what contributes to a diamond’s value and appearance.  And as fundamental as it sounds, there IS a fifth “C”…Confidence in your jeweler.  Ask for referrals — be sure you’re buying from a reputable jeweler who is a member of either the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS).

Carat

The concept her is straightforward:  Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. However, there’s no need to focus solely up on the carat weight number. Through proper mounting and shaping, a master jeweler can make a diamond appear larger than its carat weight might suggest, while also bringing out its maximum brilliance.

Clarity

Evaluators of diamonds base part of the value on luster and sheen. These relate to the clarity of the stone. You can spend less on a very large but cloudy diamond for example, than on a small but transparent and shiny one. The important thing to bear in mind, however, is that the less flaws visible to the naked eye, the more valuable the stone.

Cut

A good cut determines the amount of light that can enter into the stone, refract, and emit that brilliant quality that people love in a diamond. Cut doesn’t refer to the shape of the diamond, but rather the angles and proportions of the stone. While nature determines the other three C’s, the diamond’s cut is determined by a cutter. A well cut diamond refl ects light from one facet to another and projects the light through the top of the stone… giving a diamond its sparkle. Out of all the four C’s, cut is the most important. Even if you have the perfect color, clarity, and carat, if the cut isn’t right, the diamond won’t have that fiery brilliance that your fiancé willbe proud to show the world.

Color

To the surprise of many people, diamonds come in a variety of colors. Diamond color is graded on a scale that ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Truly colorless diamonds are the rarest,  most exquisite.



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Monday, March 5, 2018

Diamond Drop Earrings: 2018 Academy Awards

If you watched last night’s 90th Annual Academy Awards, you may have noticed a stunning jewelry trend on this year’s red carpet.

Many starlets opted for beautiful diamond drop earrings, the longer the better with intricate details.

Check out some of our favorite drop earring looks below from top to bottom (Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Ashley Judd, and Zendaya Coleman).  You can find your very own red carpet look here at Hamilton Jewelers, linked below are some of our favorite diamond drop earrings options.

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18k Gold and Diamond Openwork Earrings  

JaneFonda

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Platinum and Rock Crystal Drop Earrings

AshleyJudd

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Sterling Silver and Diamond Large Drop Earrings

Zendaya

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18k White Gold and Diamond Long Drop Earrings



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