29 August

A Black and White Affair

The “black” carpet at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards last night was a sea of black and white… jewelry that is. The stars at this year’s VMAs, held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, have not strayed far from the jewelry trends of last year’s award show, showing up in earrings made of black and colorless diamonds.

The VMAs, which honor musicians and the music videos they create, is usually a venue for the outrageous and extreme when it comes to outfits. Although we can always expect that from the Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry types, this year the stars seemed pretty tame. The only edginess we really saw came from the black and white palette, in fact, many stars arrived wearing primarily black or gray ensembles.

Selena Gomez and Britney Spears were both on the same page with black, gem earrings in gold settings. Katy Perry wore large, diamond studs — a subtle piece to her exuberant “broken record” outfit. Beyonce (who announced during the night that she is pregnant!) and Zoe Saldana both wore long, diamond-encrusted earrings with black and colorless diamonds.

What do you think of the black and white theme? Should the stars have experimented more with color or do you like the classic combo?

Photo Credit: Andrew Evans / PR Photos

18 July

Angelina's Engagement Ring?

It’s official! Brangelina is finally tying the knot! After six long years of PDA-packed romance, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are set to exchange vows within the next few months. According to an article from Us Weekly, the ceremony will be “intimate and informal.” The couple, who we sometimes forget is not married, previously preached that they would not partake in a traditional marriage until it was legal for everyone (gay or straight), but have since changed their story thanks to pressure from their kids.

Way to go tots! Now the fun starts. With no engagement ring reported, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to design some jewels we think Angie might like. Since her style is exotic we chose two rings that match her mysterious personality: The Pave Lotus Ring and the Apex Ring.

The Pave Lotus Ring was our first pick. Symbolizing elegance and perfection, this three dimensional ring was designed by Jeet Palavwala to be an absolute showstopper. With pave all around the band and an inky, black diamond center, we feel this portrays the all the sultry, yet stunning qualities of Angelina.

Anything but ordinary or traditional, we also felt that Angelina wouldn’t settle for just any ring. Our second pick is the Apex Ring, an emerald-cut emerald platinum ring with diamonds. Although it is rare to wear an emerald as an engagement gem, Angelina has made her affection for emeralds quite clear (she has worn them to almost every red carpet event), so why not? Plus, green is definitely her color!

What do you think? Should Angelina go a more traditional route with a colorless diamond, or do you like our contemporary engagement ring picks?

29 March

Diamond: Invincible Style

Posted by in Gems | 9 Comments

Bursting with brilliance and fire, it’s no surprise that diamonds were once thought to be fallen stars. Earth’s hardest substance, diamond is the most eloquent way to say “forever.”

The ancient Greeks called diamond “adamas,” meaning invincible, theorizing that something so beautiful must be the crystallized teardrops of the gods.  Wearing diamond is said to attract good fortune too.

Those who are fortunate enough to wear diamonds quickly discover how versatile they are. Diamond stud earrings are a wear-everywhere basic that can take you from the grocery store to Oscar’s red carpet.  Diamond drop earrings and diamond hoops make every day an occasion.  And most women today, married or single, wear diamond right-hand rings on their right hand, as essential to being well-dressed as the right handbag or shoes.

But diamonds are as desirable for their significance as for their beauty: most women agree that diamond jewelry is the most romantic gift a man can give a woman. Three-stone diamond jewelry celebrates your past, present, and future, a romantic gesture for any anniversary. In addition to being the birthstone for April, diamond is also the 10th anniversary gem.

As anyone who’s researched diamonds knows, their value varies dramatically with quality. White gems with the least amount of color and the fewest imperfections are the most rare and valuable. The bigger the diamond, the higher its carat weight and the more it costs per carat. For center diamonds above a half-carat, you should have quality documented by a GIA or AGS report.

Cut is arguably the most important value factor because the quality of a diamond’s cut gives it its life and sparkle. Higher quality diamonds tend to hold value better than inexpensive gems, so most experts advise buying a better smaller stone rather than a larger lower quality version.

Gemvara chooses diamonds with a minimum H SI2 grade and excellent cutting because we believe that quality diamonds are simply more beautiful. Rather than trade down in quality, we advise choosing a fine quality white sapphire instead. Before buying a diamond, be sure to ask the seller if the gems are conflict free. Responsible sellers will have documentation from the Kimberley Process System of Warranties.

Today, unusual black diamond jewelry is also becoming popular: they are the black-swan opposite of white diamonds: inky dark and opaque, with mysterious glamour. Black diamonds are the perfect choice for women who prefer not to sparkle, with hidden depths.

Even if you were not born in April, you were probably born to wear diamonds.

13 September

Black Back at VMAs

Black and white dresses matched with black diamonds and blackened metal were the top trends at MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday.

Katy Perry wore a heart-shaped black diamond ring by MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza and bold pear-shaped drop earrings to accessorize her topless henna-tattooed figure skater style dress.

Other stars wearing black diamonds on the red carpet include Sofia Vergara, host Chelsea Handler, and Twilight‘s Ashley Greene, who also wore a black and white dress. Rosario Dawson’s large pear-shaped Amrapali rose-cut diamond drop earrings were set in blackened metal.

Short sequined dresses were also popular. Audrina Patridge paired multiple belts with multiple diamond bangles from Jacob the Jeweler. Taylor Swift went all white, with drop white diamond earrings by Le Vian.

At the Emmy Awards, many stars chose black nail polish.  Katy Perry sported the manicure of the night, matching her black diamond ring to “Brand-ed” nails, adorned with tiny images of husband Russell Brand’s face.

23 July

Buyer's Guide to Black Diamonds

Dark and handsome, with a touch of mystery, black diamonds are pretty irresistable. Looking for a black beauty of your own?  Here is everything you need to know about how to buy black diamonds.

Are black diamonds really diamonds?

Although it might be hard to see the family resemblance between the glittering socialite and her goth sister, black diamonds are real diamonds. Each starts out as pure crystallized carbon. The black color is caused by graphite inclusions or, more commonly today, enhancement by a safe form of irradiation and heat that turns a paler diamond black.

Is enhancement bad?  Should I pay extra for an unenhanced black diamond?

Many retailers, including Gemvara, offer enhanced black diamonds because they have better color and fewer inclusions, making them as durable as colorless diamonds.  Black diamonds that owe their color to natural inclusions can have patchy color. Natural colored black diamonds that are attractive are much more rare. If you decide you prefer natural, don’t take the seller’s word for it: you’ll need a laboratory report confirming the natural origin of the color, not just the gem.  GIA is the most respected laboratory for this sort of thing.

Do black diamonds have the 4Cs too?

Not really.  Color should be an even inky black.  Clarity doesn’t matter much since you can’t see inclusions in the dark.  Unlike their colorless cousins, many black diamonds have surface inclusions, especially larger size gems.  Bigger black diamonds will be more expensive per carat, just like white diamonds, but don’t go up quite as much in price. Black diamonds generally weigh a bit more than colorless diamonds: a one-carat black diamond will be smaller than a one-carat colorless diamond.  To be sure of the size, look for the milimeter dimensions of the black diamond as well as the carat weight.

Do they sparkle? They’re diamonds, right?

Unlike other diamond colors, black diamonds don’t sparkle but they do have a highly reflective adamantine lustre.

Is black diamond OK for an engagement ring?

Black diamond engagement rings are an appropriate engagement choice for women who don’t follow the crowd. Carrie Bradshaw receives a black diamond engagement ring in Sex and the City 2.  Carmen Electra also has a two-carat black diamond engagement ring. Black diamonds are becoming more popular: Brides magazine predicted black diamonds would be the next big thing in engagement rings in November 2008.  Looks like they were right!

What about “Alaska Black Diamond”? Do they mine black diamonds in Alaska?

“Nevada Black Diamond” and “Alaska Black Diamond” aren’t black diamond at all: these are advertising terms for obsidian volcanic glass and hematite. They’re not bargains, they’re misrepresentations.  If you want the look for less, try faceted black onyx or black spinel.

7 July

Top Three Sex & the City Trends

As you might expect, the second Sex and the City movie is a feast of fashion.  But this time, the three trends with real staying power are jewelry, not clothes or shoes. Here are the top three Sex and the City trends and some tips on where to find these sizzling styles.

1. The Black Diamond Engagement Ring

Big chooses a black diamond engagement ring for Carrie because she is “not like anyone else.” Ironically, this unusual choice is becoming a whole lot less unusual since the movie, with women everywhere choosing basic black for their engagement ring. Sales of black diamonds have been surging in the past few weeks. The ring in the movie is a five-carat 18k black diamond ring by Itay Malkin which is being offered for $10,000.  If that’s a little out of your price range, Gemvara has a 1.5-carat black diamond engagement ring in a similar style in platinum for less than $2,500 that’s still plenty breathtaking.

2. The Moon & Star Pendant

Patricia Field found Carrie’s Moon & Star pendant in a bazaar in Turkey.  Ever since, fashionistas have been searching for something similar (and it’s a bit frustrating since many styles advertised as similar really aren’t the same.) At Gemvara, we saw your Moon & Star and raised you one brilliant planet. It’s Carrie’s Moon & Star pendant. Only better.  We promise.

3. The Four-Leaf Clover Pendant

This oversized diamond pave four-leaf clover is the only design that Patricia Fields herself knocked off. She made an inexpensive copy.  It’s totally sold out for now.  You can find a similar three-leaf Shamrock pendant on Gemvara and a five leaf flower on emitations. SheFinds has some more alternatives. But, alas, nothing is exactly the same. But be patient! In the next few weeks, more four leaf clover styles are sure to be available: it’s the horseshoe pendant of 2010.

2 July

Glittering Graduation Gifts

Looking for the perfect graduation present? Whether she’s graduating with her high school diploma or a master’s degree, celebrate her academic achievements with a gemstone jewelry keepsake.

When choosing a graduation gift, pay attention to what she normally wears. Don’t give her something she’s going to lock away in a jewelry box for years — give her jewelry she’ll wear proudly as she continues her schooling or begins her career.

Here are some top-selling pieces to consider:

Circular Style
Gemstone necklaces have come a long way from simple solitaire pendants. This circular, elegant design may symbolize your never-ending love or her constant quest for knowledge. Have it personalized with her birthstone or customize the gemstones to match her favorite colors.

Modern Love
Is your graduate attracted to simple, modern elegance? Give her a versatile pendant she can wear to a cocktail reception or a job interview. Black diamond jewelry wears well with many styles. Try customizing this striking design with the understated elegance of a black diamond.

Fabulous Filigree
Does she gravitate toward hand-drawn illustrations or vintage poster art? Draw inspiration from the art she loves with this unique pendant. Customize it to match what she already wears. For instance, does she wear blue topaz jewelry? If so, customize this piece with blue topaz accent gems.

Dramatic Drops
Did you know you can design your own earrings? Find a style you love and customize it to match her favorite precious metals and gemstones. These modern drop earrings by designer Ji Hwang will carry her from date nights to formal events. Pair diamonds and blue topaz for a cascading water effect.

Maria Mora is a memoir blogger and photographer. She loves emerald-cut diamonds, dainty pendants and anything and everything sparkly.

3 February

Five Engaging Trends


Although every gem is as unique as a fingerprint, it’s the setting that truly makes your engagement ring your own. Couples today are more adventurous than ever before, customizing every detail of the ring to express the uniqueness of their bond. Here are the top five trends in engagement rings today.

Halo Effect

To emphasize the center stone and make it look larger, many engagement ring designs today surround the center stone with a halo of small diamonds. It’s a great way to add sparkle to your ring while keeping the style simple.

Curves Ahead

Twists and turns give make these settings feminine but modern too. Some have a simple twist or braid in the shank, others a sweeping line that embraces the stone.

Showing Colors

For Carrie Underwood, it was a fancy yellow diamond. Other brides flank a white diamond with colored gemstones. Carmen Electra even chose a black diamond center. A shot of color is the quickest way to express your individuality in your ring.

Triple Play

If one diamond is brilliant, three is even better! Many couples today are choosing a center diamond flanked by two more diamonds. They love the “past, present, future” symbolism and also the extra dazzle. If you are looking to upgrade your ring for your fifth or tenth anniversary, this style lets you continue to wear your original stone as one of a pair of sidestones flanking a new larger center.

Putting on Air

The sleekest new styles use negative space to keep styles streamlined but delicate too. The ring splits into two before embracing the center stone, leaving space between the two halves. These styles are very light and comfortable to wear, even if the center stone is large.