Welcome!

Like most people, I find searching for information on the type, quality, and cost of something I don't buy on a daily basis can be pretty demanding. I am glad that through the internet I am able to find incredible amounts of information on almost any subject. Maybe the less appealing aspect is that for all of us very busy people, much of it is really confusing, so let me help you get right to the point and perhaps save some of your precious time.

1. GOLD — WHY IT'S SO DESIRABLE!

Gold is precious because of its lustrous beauty, easy workability, and virtual indestructibility. It is so rare that only an estimated 102,000 tons have been taken from the earth during all of history. Since it does not rust, tarnish or corrode, it virtually lasts forever. Something I find fascinating about gold is that because of its rarity and its long life, part of the gold on the ring I am wearing might have been worn by, say, a Medieval king!

As far back as in the Bible, gold was mentioned as being precious and beautiful. In the times before we had coins, dollars, and credit cards, and when gold was the only valuable currency, for a man to give his betrothed bride a gold ring was a sign of security and trust.

WHITE GOLD — WHAT IS IT?

In nature, there is no such thing as white gold. There are, however, gold alloys that have the property of bleaching the appearance of 24 Karat gold to white (some less white, and some more silvery).

19 Karat white gold (79.2% pure gold, 20.8% alloy), a new combination of alloys that we have recently developed, is the ideal metal for fine jewellery. It is a very strong kind of gold, difficult to work with so it is rarely found in mass-produced jewellery, and has the advantage of retaining its whiteness.

Properly alloyed 19 Karat gold will produce the whitest gold we can use for fine jewellery. There are, however, no fixed rules or formulas for alloying and it is up to the goldsmith to formulate the optimum combination of alloys. This is often the result of years of trial and error. Even then, the results are dependent on factors such as the blending process. Melt temperatures, purity of the metals, and timing of the melting are crucial. 19 Karat white gold is a strong metal that stays white without repeat rhodium-plating, and that's why I use and recommend it.

18 Karat is also recommended, but unfortunately it is not as white as 19 K. 18 Karat white gold will likely become "yellowish" over time so recurring rhodium plating, sometimes recommended yearly at a cost, may be needed to maintain the whiteness.

YELLOW AND ROSE GOLD

Just like with white gold, we need to use alloys to reduce the karats from 24 to 18 or 14 to make the metal stronger.

Pure gold can be alloyed in such a way that it will result in different tones of colours, from regular yellow gold (I like to use the European-style) to rose-gold. There is also light green gold. In the rose gold, I find it interesting to produce softer (less intense) rose-gold, regular rose-gold, and intense reddish Royal Gold. The latter I find very appealing in men's jewellery (you can see a wedding band sample in the photo section.) This 18 Karat gold has a lovely subtle tone, beautiful in combination with the white gold.

2. MY TAKE ON DIAMONDS

This is likely the most important information regarding the purchase of a diamond. It will take you a lot less of your time than going out on your own, or seeing some complex and elaborate website. This section should teach you all you need to need to know, to get you "4C Degree" without wasting time on tons of unnecessary details. I know you're a busy person, so instead of doing the fancy footwork in analyzing the tons of details on diamonds, please feel free to get your "Diamond Buying Degree", and then just enjoy some time with the one you love!

HOW TO GRADE THE QUALITIES

  1. THE CUT — WHY DO I FIND IT SO IMPORTANT?

    Close your eyes and envision a beautiful diamond. Now tell me the most essential part of what you see.

    You're right — the sparkle and radiance!

    It is the cut (a.k.a. the make), more than any other characteristic that gives the diamond its sparkle and character. The make determines over 90% of the beauty of a diamond.

    Generally, the round brilliant cut is the most dazzling of all — that being said, there are many reasons why people like the princess, marquis, Asscher and many other shapes, each beautiful in its own way if well-cut.

    The positive part of all this? The cut grade, being such an essential part of the diamond beauty, is probably the least influential on price mark-up.

    Conclusion: The cut is the most important factor, so Very Good-Ideal is my recommendation.

  2. CLARITY — A BIG FACTOR IN THE COST (WHY DO IF FIND IT THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT?)

    The clarity (meaning the lack of inclusions in the diamond) can be, for some people, the most significant factor they are looking for. And it is the most significant in the price, because the internally flawless diamonds are extremely rare. The highest grading in clarity is "FL" (Flawless), and I have only ever seen maybe two large ones of this grading - with an armed security guard beside the showcase! From there, the ratings go down from VVS1-2 (Very Very slightly Included), VS (VERY slightly included), SI1 (SLIGHTLY included) and on to SI2-I (eye-visible inclusions).

    As a passionate diamond fan, I am always interested to see a rare VVS1 stone, and likely my clients would too. But given the idea that most people don't carry a microscope with them, and are working on the idea of saving for a wedding, a house, travel, or advanced education, they find that a beautiful diamond set in a ring personalized and created with the love for a special person, seen with bare eyes is more important than the clarity grading you see on the appraisal — and the amount you see on your invoice!

    Conclusion: VS2-VS1-SI1 is my recommendation.

  3. COLOUR

    The alphabet for diamond colour goes from "D" to "Z", and once in the middle of the alphabet, significant yellowish colour is visible. The rarest and whitest of all (which makes the price somewhat rare, too), is "D" Colour.

    Technically, the colours "D", "E", and "F" are classified as "Colourless", while "G, H, I and J" are "Near Colourless". Seeing as the colour differences in the "D-E-F-G" category are not hugely apparent with the naked eye, if price is important for you, check out an "F" or "G". A "H" Colour, beautifully cut, in a nice setting, is very attractive and appealing and can reduce the price somewhat.

    Conclusion: E,F,G Colour I would highly recommend.

  4. CARAT

    Size vs: Quality - The price per carat of a diamond increases with the carat size, as the larger diamonds are rarer and more demanding to cut. A "big rock" standing alone on the proper setting has quite a punch impact. That being said, though, when a budget is important, there are many ways to make a smaller but beautiful diamond look significant and emphatic.

    Conclusion: Go as big as you want and afford, without compromising any of the above!

  5. CANADIAN DIAMONDS

    I am carrying more and more of these as they can be of excellent cut and quality. If it is significant, for any reason to have a Canadian diamond, I am pleased to provide it. Sometimes, though, a specific cut, size, or style may only be available on import diamonds, which is why we are members of the Canadian Code of Conduct. This means that we can only use suppliers who can certify that their product is conflict-free, and we must specify this on the invoices for our clients.

3. HOW IMPORTANT IS A FAMOUS BRAND NAME?

Choosing the finest quality long-lasting jewellery for such a significant event in your life can be very important. I find that my clients, being in a city with a very high level of education, enjoy being a major part in the design and quality of their jewellery — ironically, they usually find that the price is less and the quality higher than a similar "high-end" product. Perhaps because, unlike the "outsider", while I work on a piece I am remembering the person who inspired it, so seeing the client's smile and satisfaction when they receive their creation is essential for me. So for you, if something personal, custom-made and reasonably-priced is more important than the etched commercial trademark inside the ring, you might want to visit our studio!

WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT TO OUR CLIENTS?

They are from all walks and styles of life — from students to retired CEO's, art students to engineers, engaged people to fiftieth-anniversary couples. Some want ultra-modern, unique, or personalized designs - others are looking for antique, ultra-conservative or reproductions of generation-old family jewellery. The only thing they have in common is how nice they are, and the pleasure each one gives us in working with them.

4. "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS"

Does my jewellery leave your shop for any reason?

"Absolutely not! In the upper floor of our building we have our workshop where we create all the new pieces and do the repairs, so I personally get involved with all the jobs. I am lucky to have a couple of very qualified helpers (two talented hard-working ACAD Graduates) so with our combined knowledge and experience we are able to do an extraordinary amount of work. It is good to have young apprentices who can come up with a brilliant idea, as I find that fresh new people who are anxious to learn and absorb the techniques become very competent, and to me it is a satisfaction to pass on my own experience."

How much time is needed to create a piece?

"One of my priorities is to have the work done on the date I promised. It is advisable that when a certain date is necessary, you come with enough time to ensure that it can be on schedule. Every piece of jewellery made has to be uniquely created so time can be needed for a concept to mature and achieve proper proportion and also the anticipated inspiration.

What if a ring becomes a bit duller and doesn't look quite as bright?

"Well, any metal which, over time, is exposed to a lot of contacts is going to scratch, especially when it is comes into contact with hard objects. When gold is rubbed against something rough like granite etc. the effect on the metal would be to scratch and dull (even metal as hard as steel will be affected in that way — just look at a steel kitchen sink or the back of a steel watch strap after a year or two) but when the metal is exposed to soft surfaces such as our hands, or fabrics etc. the ring surface tends to brighten. This is normal to happen over a period of time.

I find that the fact that some people's rings look fairly shiny and bright, and others are duller, is a result of the activities of the wearer. Having said that, the beauty of gold is such that over time, it tends to shine itself with use, which is why it is such a precious metal.

The difference between gold and platinum is that the latter doesn't shine up itself with use. It becomes increasingly scratched and duller. It can be polished but unfortunately you will remove layers on the surface in order to remove any dents and scratches, which will make the piece thinner and reduce the durability, (although "durability" is often said to be the advantage of platinum). In reality platinum does last, but it is also rather soft so it dents and scratches easily.

FUN FACTS!

WHERE DID THE IDEA OF THE RING ORIGINATE?

The Pharaohs of Egypt are thought to be the first to use a ring, in the form of a circular band, as a symbol of eternity. The early rings were made of iron, which was rare and difficult to make at the time, and soon became a tradition by Roman times.

By medieval days, diamonds and coloured gems were used by wealthy citizens. Rubies (the colour of the heart) and sapphires (the colour of the heavens) held certain significance, but the diamond being the rarest and costliest of gems became prized above all.

Medieval goldsmiths were incredibly imaginative and clever in creating beautiful mountings, given the rather limited use of elaborate tools, to hold the diamond crystal. By 1477, ne of the first recorded accounts of the use of diamond in a betrothal ring, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy, heeding the words of a trusted advisor: "At the betrothal your grace must have a ring set with a diamond and also a gold ring."

By the 18th Century diamonds were more accessible, and the improved candle-lighting made rings more noticeable at social events. The innovative and talented diamond-cutters were quickly improving the cut and brilliance of the stones. By the 20th Century, diamond-cutters were able to produce the maximum brilliance possible — aren't we lucky!!

WHY THE FOURTH FINGER?

The romantic legend that harkens back to Egyptian times holds that the fourth finger of the left hand follows the "vein of love", a vein that was believed to run from that finger directly to the heart. Perhaps as the fourth finger is the one most protected, a ring placed there would be less prone to damage. And that's why the wedding band goes on first — it is "closer to the heart". During the engagement period in Elizabethan times, three rings were given out: one to the groom, one to the bride, and one to be worn by a witness. At the time of the wedding, all three would be united on the bride's finger!