Posts

10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings

10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings | Color Change Sapphire Ring by Hunt Country Jewelers

  1. They’re Awesome.

    Rarer than diamonds, colored gemstones have been used as articles of adornment and affection for millennia. A gemstone engagement ring pretty much guarantees your ring won’t be anything like your sister’s, or your neighbor’s, or your mom’s ring because each stone is inherently uniquely colored and formed to be one of a kind.

  2. Get to Know MOH.

    Gemstones aren’t as durable as diamonds, but there are several varieties that are plenty durable to wear every day as your engagement ring. The MOHs Scale of hardness helps identify which gemstones are excellent engagement contenders: Diamond is the hardest at 10, Corundum (Sapphire and Ruby) is a 9, Chrysoberyl an 8.5, Spinel an 8. Gemstones rated 7 and above can be safely worn with care on a regular basis, but we like to stay about 8 for engagement rings because they get so much daily wear! This hot pink spinel is a little known type of gemstone that is an excellent choice for an engagement ring!

    10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings | Black Opal and Pink Tourmaline rings by Hunt Country Jewelers

  3. Taste the Rainbow.

    All the colors of the world are open and available in gemstones, even if you stay within the MOH rated 8 and above varieties, there are thousands of color options. Did you know Sapphire comes in every color? And not just ROYGBIV, but thousands of variations on tone and saturation of color: hot pink, baby pink, purple pink, barely pink, bubblegum pink, reddish pink.  And then, of course, the stars!

    10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings | Tsavorite Garnet, Merelani Mint Garnet, Tourmaline, and Diamond rings by Hunt Country Jewelers

  4. Show me the Money!

    There are colored gemstones that will run you upwards of diamonds- but they don’t have to. Choosing color is a great way to get more size, more punch, more stones, more bang for your buck than a diamond engagement ring. Most gemstones will be less than their size-equivalent diamond counterparts, some significantly so!

  5. Yin and Yang.

    You don’t have to forgo diamonds to add color! Diamonds and colored gemstones have been used together since forever and for good reason- it’s a stunning combination! So add some diamond side stones to your ruby center stone or use a halo of blue sapphires to highlight the icy whiteness of your diamond.

    10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings | Ruby and Diamond Halo Engagement Ring in 18K yellow gold by Hunt Country Jewelers | Photo by Lelia Marie Photography

  6. Yang and Yin.

    Want the unique personality of a colored gemstones, but don’t want to forgo the brilliance and durability of diamond? Try a colored diamond! Diamonds also come in every color, but some are very rare and very expensive, like purple or orange. Yellows, silvers, champagnes, and irradiated blue-greens, however can be comparable to white diamonds and can be beautiful statement pieces that mix tradition with a pop of modernity.

  7. Color is King.

    Gemstones are not graded the same way diamonds are; color is first and foremost what determines the value of a gemstone, but the most important thing about color is that YOU like it. The jewelry industry may say that medium royal blue sapphires are the ideal, but they aren’t ideal for YOU if you love the lighter hint of purple in a cornflower blue sapphire. Gemstones are all about your personality!

  8. Cut is Queen.

    Cut is important in all gemstones, but especially in colored gemstones. A well cut stone will show even color throughout without a lighter center (a ‘window’); this helps the stone perform to the best of it’s ability. Diamonds are known for being super sparkly, but a well cut gemstone can also be full of sparkle. Some varieties of gemstones can even throw rainbows (technically called spectral color) like their diamond cousins. But poorly cut gemstones will leak light out the window in the middle and this seriously inhibits the sparkle potential.

    10 Things You Need to Know About Gemstone Engagement Rings | Blue Sapphire Engagement Rings by Hunt Country Jewelers

  9. Gemstones are Special.

    Not just because they are all so unique, but because they do need a bit of special treatment when being set and handled. If you are purchasing a gemstone engagement ring or having one custom made for you, especially, choose a jeweler who works with color on a regular basis. There are special considerations when setting and working on gemstone jewelry about pressure and heat that don’t necessarily apply to diamonds, so choose your jeweler wisely and it will serve you well over the lifetime of the ring!

  10. Easy Peasy.

    Some gemstones, like opals and emeralds, are delicate and need special attention to clean and maintain them, but most are as simple to care for as diamonds! They can be cleaned in an ultrasonic by your jeweler or by you at home with mostly water and some dish soap and a clean toothbrush. Cleaning often is recommended- clean jewelry is prettier and lasts longer!

 

And now you know the 10 most important things about gemstone engagement rings!

Handmade Custom Jewelry: Pairs Well with Everything!

Handmade Custom Jewelry: Pairs well with Everything!

 

One of my business goals for this year was more collaboration with other creatives; not only to increase my network but also for the refilling of the creative cup that comes along with working with highly motivated, creative, entrepreneurs.

 

I had the opportunity to head out of the store not too long ago to do just that! I was thrilled to join Cathleen Titcomb of Curious Fox Press in her studio for a photo session- fine, handmade custom jewelry and fine, handmade, custom, stationary!  We had a wonderful afternoon of brainstorming, styling, photographing, chatting, and getting to know more about each other’s businesses.

 

Cathleen has many of the same philosophies that we do at Hunt Country Jewelers- mainly, that there is something indefinably special about small batch, handmade, fine pieces.  We work in gold and gemstones and she works in paper and ink, but the concepts are the same.  What a joy to find such a kindred spirit right down the road!  We are both in the business of helping people commemorate their best days with visual, concrete products that last long beyond the day itself to always serve as reminders of those happy times.  Weddings, new babies, anniversaries, milestones in business and life- they all deserve a beautiful announcement and a beautiful gem to celebrate.  And Cathleen and I are both on the same page about another thing- we work hard to create the external beauty to match the internal beauty of those moments, using only the finest materials, and taking the time to make each piece by hand, with love.

 

The Curious Fox Press studios are much like ours- full of equipment that not many people use anymore!  I was so excited to see the antique printing presses, the type setting cabinets with all their original letters in tiny organized drawers, the reams of handmade papers.  It’s the same thrill I get when I stop to think about our studio- antique jewelers benches spread with wax and handmade carving tools, trays of glittering gemstones cut by Claire and waiting for homes in Ed and Logan’s mountings, refining equipment that most of the industry doesn’t bother with anymore.  It’s a philosophy, a way of life and working- our hands are capable of so much, what a gift that is! And when we take the time to print each wedding invitation by hand, turning the wheel of the antique press, adjusting the lettering until it’s perfect; when we take the time to carve each setting individually, cut each facet carefully, design each piece thoughtfully, it becomes not just a gift to use our hands, but a gift we can share.

So let me share some of the images we created; I was inspired and I hope you are too! The diamond ring was a custom commissioned piece, but the aqua ring and the fox brooch are in stock and available- browse our Original 18K and Platinum Jewelry page to see what else is currently ready to ship, just in time for Christmas!

 

Cathleen has a real eye for styling! Her set up for this ring really compliments the organic design of the band and it inspired me to think outside the (jewelry) box for ways to photograph our work!

Do you see that gorgeous texture on the pink linen paper Cathleen used here for envelope liners? So pretty! And the perfect compliment to our zig zag diamond wedding band!

This is Cathleen’s Fox hanging out with our Fox! Fast friends!

I just love this image of this diamond halo engagement ring in a perfectly pink Mrs. Box!

I’m in awe of Cathleen’s attention to detail; she uses the prettiest papers in place you don’t expect them so that all the finishing details are polished and refined. Look at that floral paper! Just like our attention to detail when setting stones and shaping prongs; if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right!

 

Handmade Custom Jewelry: How to Buy It!

Handmade and Original Custom Jewelry: How to Shop Our Site

 

Custom?  Commissioned? In stock?  So…you want a piece of handmade Hunt Country jewelry, there are many avenues!

Avenue One: Original Handmade 18K and Platinum Jewelry

This is our in stock inventory; these pieces are all Hunt Country designs– handmade by us right here in Virginia.  Many will feature gemstones cut by our very own Claire; we try to note which stones are cut by us or have our patterns in the product descriptions.  These pieces are one of a kind-ish; design elements and combinations we use in our work, but unique in their gemstones, sizes, metals colors.  We can sometimes recreate a similar look, but no two pieces are exactly the same.  These babies are in stock, ready to be sized and shipped/picked up.  They can be purchased via the site, in our store, or over the phone.  We create about 100 new pieces of handmade original jewelry in 18k gold and platinum every year.

 

Avenue Two: Custom Commissioned Jewelry

Custom commissioned jewelry doesn’t exist yet; except maybe in your mind’s eye!  These pieces are created in collaboration with you from start to finish.  So we start with a design consultation, choose stones (yours or ours or both!), develop design details, work up an estimate, carve your wax, get your approval, cast, set, and finish your piece of handmade custom jewelry!  This process takes between 8-12 weeks to complete, so plan early!  We can collaborate throughout the process via email and phone conversations, FaceTime or in store and in person.  In store and in person is by far the smoothest and quickest way, but we’re well experienced in long distance design too.  Plan for about an hour for the design consultation and be prepared to answer about 17 thousand questions!

 

Avenue Three: Hunt Country Silver

Available only in our store (or via phone, if something catches your eye over on the ‘gram!), Hunt Country Silver is, as the name implies, a collection of some of our most popular designs in sterling silver.  These are all our original designs and they feature genuine gemstones in a variety of colors.  Someday these will be available through the site, but that day is not today.  Sometimes we can customize the gemstone colors or the earring tops or the chains, sometimes we can’t.  You can see the start of our efforts to organize and upload our sterling pieces under the Jewelry Collections tab in the menu- these are collections and suites that are made to order in your choice of metal and stones.  These pieces are produced in 10-14 days.

 

But what are all those other pictures and sections on the site?  Our Galleries are examples of our work from over the years, both inventory and commissioned work.  With over 3,000 molds of original pieces not everything we’ve made is up, but it’s a great place to start to look around at design elements and see what catches your fancy!  2017 Goal: Actually use the negative scanner we own to digitize the thousands of deep dark pre digital photos we have a get them up here for your enjoyment!

And, how, exactly do you find the details for all these lovely photos- it’s not a dumb question, it took me a minute and some serious clicking around to figure it out!  Hover over the photo and click on the little link icon- it will take you to the page for that piece and allow you to add it to your Wish List, add it to your cart, etc.  We’ve tried to update this- we can’t, but it’s not difficult once you know where it is!

 

So now you know and there is nothing to impede adding a piece of handmade custom Hunt Country Jewelry to your collection!