Diamonds One-oh-One: The Cut

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Girl’s best friend...shine bright like a diamond...yes, we know all that already, but which shape says it all and fits our relationship, personality, and style? Decisions, decisions...The good news? You’re not alone and this Diamond Guide will help you to better understand the 4 main components of buying a diamond. No matter what your budget and preference is, there is a unique stone out there for you and we’ll help you find it. Our first segment: The Cut.

Although the shape of your diamond is not part of what is known as the 4C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat-size,) the shape of your diamond goes hand in hand with the cut. The most common shapes are Round Brilliant, Oval, Princess, Emerald, Pear, Marquis, Radiant, Heart, and Cushion.  

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Now for more details about The Cut. Diamonds are desired for their ability to transmit light so intensely. A diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light, AKA, The Sparkle!!

It takes quite a bit of artistry and workmanship to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the best "shimmer." A diamond’s cut is absolutely crucial to the stone’s beauty and of course, value. Of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.

The following terms help to evaluate how a diamond interacts with light to create that desirable sparkly visual effect and will help you sift through the jargon when buying your stone:

  • Brightness: This is referring to the internal and external light reflected from the stone.
  • Fire: This means the scattering of white light into every color on the spectrum of the rainbow.
  • Scintillation: This is the amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond.
Diamonds and graphite have exactly the same chemical composition!

FUN FACT: Did you know diamonds and graphite have exactly the same chemical composition!? Wait..what!? They couldn't be more different in appearance, but they actually share many of the same chemical and physical properties. They are both made of pure carbon (the chemical composition is identical), have insanely high melting points, and occur naturally on the earth. Mind blown.

We hope this guide will help you in your journey to finding the perfect stone that reflects your love, personality, and style. Stay tuned for the other 3 parts of the 4C's.

With Ashley by your side, we will be sure to find the perfect shape and cut to fit your budget. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

XOXO,

The ASJD Team

Earrings for the Bride: To Drop or to Stud...

...that is the question! And a good one, at that!

For the classic bride, complement your style with our Pavé Earrings in silver, yellow gold or rose gold (seen below in rose gold):

For simple sophistication, a drop earring can go a long way in lighting up your bridal style. Below is a vintage Ashley Schenkein style (available by request as a custom design), but more of our bridal drop earrings are here (don't miss our popular Opalite earrings - for the bride and maids).

For the bride who craves high-impact, dramatic accessories, our Salvador Art Deco earrings pack a polished punch of style and statement...

Are you a bride on the funkier side? Our Melrose CZ Ear Vine will add a unique dash of "YOU" while keeping your bridal status center stage...

Last (but certainly not least, considering we have so many earrings to choose from!), here's an option for the bride with a romantic side: our Tibidabo Petite Green Amethyst earring. But don't be mistaken...your guests will only be green with envy at your wedding day glow! :)

Browse all of our Bridal Collection earrings here. Browse all of our Global Collection earrings here.

xox, Ashley

Birthstones + Bridal

June birthdays are for...pearls! Pearls make a staple jewelry item, and have been popular for centuries because of their natural beauty and shimmery essence. 

From our Paris Global Collection, here is our gorgeous Pont Neuf necklace, featuring a faceted chalcedony dangling accented by three off-set freshwater pearls. It's stunning elegance makes for the perfect gift to give yourself or to a fabulous friend!

From the Ashley Schenkein Bridal Collection, these gorgeous Mother of Pearl earrings and necklace will make any birthday girl (especially if she's a birthday bride) glow!

Cheers to a month-long birthday celebration...and if you're a birthday bride...even better!!

xox, Ashley

Ring Stacks for Everyone!

Whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, mother of the "____" or a guest, summer ring stacks are back, brightening your style in every way! Above are our Positano rings - available in nearly every color under the sun. 

Below, our Havana Rhodium Bar Ring illuminates while it captivates, with contrasting dark/bright tones to give a sultry day wedding-to-night reception or ANY type of celebration finishing touch to your fingers. Stack them or wear alongside a Positano ring for added dimension. 

Next, our open-sided Cartagena ring - shown below with our circular Salvador Pavé Ring - is just a bit fem and just a bit fierce when stacked together on same and/or opposing fingers. 

Lastly, our Havana Gold Hammered Band is a delicate, hammered, 24k vermeil matte band that will make a beautiful addition to your stacking ring collection and wedding day style. Theyse classic pieces will transcend your style for seasons to come, simple enough to mix with other styles and metals. 

Cheers to Happy Stacking! xox, Ashley

Rose Prose

It's not everyday that a stunner like this catches your eye...but things are about to change. Rose Gold has increasingly become the metal of choice for many brides and grooms - not only for her engagement ring, but both of their wedding bands! Here's one we custom-designed for a very special bride (notice how the side profile looks like a rose!!)...

And while it's not for everyone, Rose Gold looks gorgeous in classic engagement ring settings, and in newer, more trendier ring styles. Rose Gold also nicely complements colored stones, like Morganite, shown here, or in hues of pinks, reds, blues and greens...even with black diamonds! 

Of course, there's something to be said for the classic DIAMOND in Rose Gold...like this Morganite and Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Everything's coming up rosy, so here's to a rosy day!

xox, Ashley 

Flower Crown Flair

If you're planning to wear a flower crown (crowns shown are from Free People) for your special day, the thought of accessorizing could be daunting! Fear not - we have options for you!

Whether you're dainty or daring, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

- For a crown with neutral whites, creams and pinks, try a Rose Gold earring.  

- For crowns in hues of blues, a Silver earring will keep you balanced so YOU stay the center of attention.  

- For darker purples, reds or wildflower blends, a classic Gold earring will complete your look for a timeliness YOU. 

- When it comes to stud versus drop earrings, go with something that fits YOUR personal style. A stud with a large, lush flower crown will give you a balanced, beautiful, timeless look. A drop earring paired with a smaller, daintier crown will bring the focus down to your face a bit more, leaving plenty of room for your smile to shine!

Check out our Bridal earrings for more ideas...and feel free to call us for more custom options!

White-Hot Havana = Honeymoon Heaven

Helloooooo, Havana! Just back from a week in Havana, Ashley has a few tips for couples interested in a Honeymoon in Havana...

1) Be sure to visit visit Castillo de la Punta and Castillo de la Real Fuerza – Cuba’s oldest building.

2) Don't miss the open-air cabaret, Tropicana.

3) A visit to a local cigar factory is an absolute must.

4) The Sierra Maestra Mountains are great for hiking, camping and swimming under waterfalls.

5) Cuban bars, live music and dancing are everywhere - just do it!

6) Varadero is an amazing beach destination with white sands and crystal clear waters - perfect for a romantic sunset walk on the beach.

7) Take a tour of Havana in an old-timey car!

8) Although I hate to say it, bring your selfie stick and take plenty of newlywed pictures in front of the beautiful, colorful buildings!

Enjoy and cheers to love!

Green = Good Luck: Emerald for the Bride

While it's not an obvious choice, emeralds are a precious gem that make an extremely rare and eye-catching statement when wrapped around your "I Do" finger.

And why wouldn't they?! After all, emerald was the sacred stone of the Goddess Venus. Long thought to preserve love, emeralds are also a symbol of hope...making them an ideal token of love to share with your spouse-to-be. 

Visit our Bridal Gallery to see a few Emerald Engagement Ring examples, or contact us today to design your own! 

xox, Ashley

Wedding Planning 101: Wedding Band Buying Tips

We found this article on TheKnot.com - chock full of great tips when purchasing your wedding bands - and just had to repost! Here's the story:

Certain buying basics apply to all jewelry, but when it comes to your wedding rings—that pair of bands you'll wear for countless anniversaries to come—a different set of shopping tips apply. Here are our 10 commandments to finding, affording and caring for your all-important wedding bands.

Narrow Your Choices: Because this is one of the few pieces—if not the only piece—of jewelry you'll both shop for and wear, make some preliminary decisions (flip through magazines and browse jewelry stores to get ideas). What color metal are you interested in—yellow or white? Perhaps all the jewelry you own is gold, but he wants a white metal to match his watch. Compromise: Look for bands that have both yellow and white metals. Are you interested in something simple or eye-catching? What about a wedding band with diamonds or colored gems?

Set a Budget: A set of simple gold bands will cost from $125 to $200 each; plain platinum bands run $400 to $600 each. Diamond wedding bands average $742, according to the Diamond Information Center. Engraving on the inside of the wedding band can cost from $1 to $8 per character (letter or number), depending on the font and whether you have it engraved by hand or machine.

Start Browsing Early: Begin looking for your wedding bands at least two months before your wedding date. This gives you time to browse and revisit rings that catch your eye. (Browsing is an important part of the process. Don't skip this step and buy the first thing you see.) Allow even more time if you're interested in a custom piece. Keep in mind that engraving can take up to one month.

Think Practical: Keep your lifestyle in mind at all times. What's the point of buying something pretty if it makes you uncomfortable or you have to remove it often (and increase your chances of losing it)? Remember: You will wear this band every day. The idea is to choose something that becomes a part of your life seamlessly. For example, those who enjoy—or have a career in—sports or music should avoid wide, bulky bands and opt for a slimmer ring with rounded edges (appropriately called a comfort fit). Those who work with their hands a lot might want to avoid the hassle of a diamond engagement ring or wedding band and opt for something simpler that can't trap dirt. If you're allergic to certain metal alloys, invest in platinum. Its purity renders it hypoallergenic for most people.

Do the 20-Year Test: Don't be afraid to be different, but make sure the style you choose is something you'll still want to wear in 20 years (not to mention all the jobs, PTA meetings and social functions in between).

Be Smart About Size: Most people rarely take their wedding bands off; they wear them through summers, winters, exercise, pregnancies—all times when your fingers swell and contract due to heat, cold, water retention and weight gain. To find the size that will best weather all these changes, do your final fitting when you're relaxed and your body temperature is normal. Never finalize your ring size in the morning (you retain salt from the night before), after you've just exercised (your fingers swell) or when you're extremely hot or cold.

Check for Quality: This applies to all rings, but it bears repeating here. Make sure your wedding bands have two marks inside the shank (the "ring" part of the ring): the manufacturer's trademark (proves they stand behind their work) and quality mark (24K or PLAT, for example—proves that it's what they say it is). If the ring consists of two or more metals, make sure there is a quality mark for each.

Keep It Clean: Cleaning your wedding ring is a cinch. For a ring with no stones, simply rub it with a soft, lint-free cloth (chamois is good). Grease can be removed by dipping the band in alcohol; tarnish can be cleaned with a solution of soap, water and a few drops of ammonia (simply brush the ring with a soft toothbrush, rinse–make sure the drain is closed!—and dry with a soft cloth). If your wedding ring has stones, wash and soak it in warm sudsy water, then brush with a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush, rinse, and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Protect Your Investment: Metals are vulnerable. Real life will never allow your rings to be completely blemish-free, but avoid wearing it when doing rough work or playing a sport (which can nick and scratch your rings), and when working with concentrated chlorine, such as that found in bleaches, cleaners and swimming pool disinfectants (which can cause pitting or discoloration to your band). Nicks and scratches are most obvious on matte finishes and most easily affect platinum, which is softer than white or yellow gold on the surface, but more durable overall. Luckily it's easy for your jeweler to reapply the finish or plating on your ring to restore it to its former glory.

Safety First: You'd be surprised how easy it is to lose your ring. Hopefully, you've chosen something that you rarely have to remove. When you absolutely have to take it off, put it in a designated place so you'll always know where it is (pockets don't count)—and never near a sink. If it doesn't fall down the drain on its own, your cat will help it along. The most dangerous time to remove your wedding ring? When you're away from home. That's when rings are most likely to be lost or set down and forgotten.

Love Imprint: Fingerprint Wedding Band

Incredibly sentimental and unique, this meticulously hand-crafted band is made from the Bride’s own fingerprints! Timeless and near perfection, this is the perfect ring to symbolize a wedding, partnership or special commitment. You can even engrave a special message or date on the inside!

We've created this as a matching hers-hers wedding band set and as an anniversary gift from bride to groom, showing the other that "wherever you go, I'm always with you."

Shop our Fingerprint Wedding Band online, then call us for a custom design consultation today!

Havana Drop Earrings: Brides, Maids + Moms

Our new Havana Collection (part of our Global Collections) features the gorgeous Havana Drop earring - a bridal party necessity!

For the bride, the Silverite pair stuns against any gown color, while the Pink Moonstone complements bridesmaids with a subtle, timeless style. For mothers of the bride and groom (who need sparkle, too!), our Gray Moonstone version adds elegance without upstaging their pride. :)

Shop Havana Drop Earrings now.

XXOO, Ashley

Meet The Havana Collection

We're excited to announce the newest hotspot for our Global Collections: The Havana Collection! We love it for it's easy, breezy, fun and edgy design...and also because many of the pieces are perfectly suited for an Engagement Party, Welcome Dinner or Rehearsal Dinner! Even gift your bridesmaids with a little something sparkly to wear as a token of your friendship.

Shop The Havana Collection now. We hope you love it! 

XXOO, Ashley

 

Fun Fact Friday: The World's Largest Diamond

Did you know? The largest diamond ever found was the Cullinan Diamond, recovered in South Africa in 1905 and weighing in over 3100 carats. 

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The diamond was later split into nine parts. 

The largest of which is known as the "Great Star of Africa" and is mounted on a golden scepter in the British Crown Jewels. 

Cullinan I and II

Cullinan I and II

Cullinan III and IV

Cullinan III and IV

Find all Cullinan Diamond artifacts here.

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend." - Marilyn Monroe