It has been too long since we last posted a HIBAW story. But no worries, just in time for Valentine’s Day, our contributor Mario comes to the rescue!
St. Valentine’s Day is upon us again. Time to tell our inamoratas that we love them! Shall we say it with chocolate? Too many calories! Shall we say it with roses? Roses fade and turn brown and sickly. Shall we say it with a poem etched into a card? Unless your last name is Shakespeare or Shelley or Keats… don’t bother; the words of the romantics can ‘sometimes have two meanings’ (yup – I just paraphrased ‘Stairway to Heaven’!) My suggestion then it so say it with something unambiguous – DIAMONDS!
[A quotient of you will read this and ask yourselves: ‘Why does he write these?’ ‘Why does Frank put them out there?’ You say: ‘I don’t need help picking out gifts for my gal! All the major manufactures produce ladies’ watches!…’] How do I break this to you gently? Your wife or girlfriend or significant other DOES NOT CARE ABOUT WATCHES! YOU care about watches! They care about YOU – that’s why they smile politely while you blabber on and on and on about caliber THIS and autonomy THAT…
I’m not making this up! I know it first hand! My wife – bless her – she loves the fact that I have my hobby. Is she interested in the fact that XYZ have introduced diamond encrusted diving watches in 40mm, suitable for ladies? No – not in the slightest! On the other hand I have routinely found glossy magazines around the house with post-it notes and dog-eared pages to call my attention to the latest adds by Tiffany, Cartier, Harry Winston and the like – reminding me that the air we breath and the water we drink are not nearly as pure as a diamond!
Diamonds are funny little things! So small and so very expensive. They are relatively rare; (unless you live here!!!) yet they are born from one of the most abundant materials on earth. They are still so sought after that people routinely die to mine and sell them in the raw. Mined from war-torn countries, these stones are known as ‘blood diamonds.’ But diamonds also come from exotic places like South Africa, Australia, Canada and Arkansas, USA! There is something about those little (sometimes) colorless stones that makes some women go nuts!
Buying diamonds requires something of an education. For those of us ‘not’ acquainted with the famed ‘4 C’s’ of diamonds – the diamond sellers of the world created the four C’s to educate weak-kneed fiancées about to purchase their unsuspecting ladies’ engagement rings. These rules of thumb translate over into other forms of diamond jewelry. The four C’s are:
- Carats (that pertain to weight – not size. Though it is somewhat logical that a larger stone will be heavier than a smaller stone and that a stone that weighs more is likely to be larger than one that weighs less.)
- Cut (which refers to the geometric shape of the overall diamond as well as the positioning of the facets that collect the light and reflect it back)
- Clarity (how many/few imperfection the stone has, and if they are visible to the naked eye, through a loop or under a microscope… or in some case if there are any at all!)
- Color (diamonds can range wildly in color from the totally devoid of color to brilliant yellows, reds and even sometimes blue!)
When potentially spending so much money – consult with experts! Find a jeweler that you like and can trust. (The oft-repeated mantra when buying watches is “Buy the SELLER not the watch” (Control H: find “watch” replace with “diamond”)). There are the major jewelers out there: Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany, Winstons, Chopard, Boucheron, Mauboussin and Van Cleef & Arpels. All are know for catering to a wide selection of buyers, ranging from love-struck teens with limited budgets to love-struck teens with fat insurance settlement cheques to spend and everyone in-between!
If you want to stay local, ask around for a reputable jeweler. Ultimately telling the difference between a real diamond and a fake is not as simple as spotting a fake Rolex. Just like in the watch industry – there are folks out there who recognize the incredible value of these tiny stones and the margins that can be banked for passing something off as a diamond that is really just ‘similar’ to a diamond. Trust and a long track record of trust is an imperative!
But WHAT should I buy?
Rings are great if you are already married – but not if you are not! In the States a diamond ring given as an engagement ring on a recognized holiday can be seen as a gift! (Meaning – if you say tom-ā-to and your loved one says tom- ɑː-to… and you decide to call the whole thing off – the ring is NOT something she needs to return! It was a gift and she can probably keep it! But let’s not think of such things! ) In the event you opt for a ring, clarity and color are your key indicators.
If you decide to opt for a set of studs, clarity is not such an important factor – unless your lover’s friends carry 10x loupes and are likely to inspect the stones in the earrings! With earrings or even pendants it comes down to the cut of the stone and the setting. A stone that is cut well or positioned well can catch more light on the ear or the neck and therefore have more of an impact.
Tennis bracelets and diamond necklaces such as traditional graduated necklaces focus more on the color matching of each of the stones as they are going to be placed side-by-side. Unless the stones are different colors for effect you’re probably going to want some uniformity in the coloring. That being said – I’ve heard that dithering the color of the stones from the center of the necklace out, symmetrically, can have the visual effect of making the necklace appear longer. (I suppose it works on the same principal as why the Eiffel Tower is not painted one uniform color all the way up, but actually multiple hues… for the sake of making it appear taller.)
I’ve been lucky enough to buy a number of pieces of diamond jewelry for my wife over the years. For me, it has always come down to the color! I’ve had folks show me two sets of earrings of similar carat weight and similar clarity – one pair sat there on the counter – the other LEPT UP and said “BUY ME.”
Go into this having an idea as to what you’d like and what you’d like to spend! Tell the sales associates; a good sales associate knows that helping you pick out the right piece of jewelry for an occasion or in this case a gift will almost guarantee that you go back for additional pieces! They shouldn’t need to steamroll you into something that you don’t like, don’t want or worse can’t afford!
This article is written by Mario Squillacioti, contributing writer for Monochrome-Watches.