Tips from the Pros: Decoding Diamonds with Ritani

I had the pleasure of talking with Kevin Flaherty of Ritani, makers of fine diamond jewelry and engagement rings this week to get the scoop on decoding diamonds. In the following guest blog, Kevin shares his expertise on everything from Ritani’s ethical sourcing to trends for 2013 in the world of fine jewelry. Enjoy!

{ Masterwork Cushion Halo Triple Diamond Band Engagement Ring with Surprise Diamonds }

Q: Ethical sourcing is a hot topic in today’s market, and a practice that Ritani follows, but what exactly is ethical sourcing?

A: Ethical sourcing is the practice of producing and selling products from materials that have been created in ways that are environmentally sound and where workers in that industry have been treated fairly with concern for their overall well being. With regard to diamonds, ethically sourced diamonds typically refer to diamonds that adhere to the Kimberly Process. The Kimberly Process was implemented by the United Nations to ensure that mined diamonds were not being used to finance political unrest and hostilities. Ritani, along with all reputable sellers of diamond engagement rings adhere to the requirements of the Kimberly Process.

Q: One of Ritan’s taglines is “From Mine to Finger” – just what does this process entail?

A: Ritani’s concept of “from mine to finger” means that we are intimately involved in every step of the engagement ring manufacturing process. We start by working closely with the diamond mines to pick rough (the term for a diamond in its natural state) and match it with a diamond cutter best able to unleash the diamond’s sparkle through polishing. We also purchase the precious metals for the engagement ring setting. Ritani craftsmen pour metal for each made-to-order ring – every ring we sell is made for the person placing the order so they are truly one-of-a-kind. From there, we are closely involved in the selling process, either directly to the customer through Ritani.com or through our 300 jewelers around the country who carry Ritani in their store. So we truly take part in every step of the process from the moment the rough comes out of the earth until the ring is put on her finger.

Q: Does it make a difference where in the world a diamond is mined? Do certain places have “better” diamonds?

A: Diamonds can be found practically anywhere; however, the ones used for engagement ring jewelry typically come from mines located in Africa. It really doesn’t matter where a diamond is mined. What is really more important is what happens to that diamond once it is mined. How is it cut? What are its physical characteristics as judged by the AGS Laboratory or GIA (two diamond certification labs). These are the things most diamond purchasers want to know.

 

{ Shared Prong Diamond Band Engagement Ring }

Q: Speaking of the cut of the diamond, how does that differ from shape? And how does one choose the “right” shape? Are there classics?

A: Shape is the “look” of a diamond. Most shape names describe the profile view of the diamond when viewed from above – round, pear, and oval. Others, like asscher and marquise reference historical characters in the diamond trade. Cut refers to how perfectly symmetrical and proportioned the diamond shape is as crafted by the diamond cutter. The better the cut, the more sparkle the diamond will produce. We believe cut is the most important of the four c’s – and that’s why we use the term “The Science of Sparkle”. The “Science of Sparkle” is all about the importance of cut when it comes to diamonds. Each cut, if done correctly, unlocks the beauty of a diamond. We spend a lot of time making sure the diamonds we offer are cut to sparkle in amazing ways because we know, at the end of the day, that is what every diamond customer wants from their diamond engagement ring. As for choosing the shape of a diamond, it’s totally about personal style. The most popular shape is round, followed by princess. Round diamonds never go out of style and look fantastic in a variety of settings.

Q: What would you consider to be the top 3 ring trends right now?

A: The biggest trend with engagement rings right now is vintage. Anything that looks to the past is hot right now. You will see lots of engagement rings with classic styles like milgrain (thousands of little diamonds) and emerald cut diamonds set in very traditional settings. We’re also seeing lots of woman stack their engagement rings with multiple wedding bands, especially eternity bands that have diamonds which go all the way around. You get tons of sparkle when you do this! And finally we’re seeing a lot of interest in side-stone detailing and surprise diamonds. With these rings, when you really look at them you’ll see all sorts of personality crafted into them!

{ Halo French-Set Diamond Band Engagement Ring }

COMPANY BIO
Ritani was founded in 1999 and since that time has pioneered many of the most popular engagement ring styles seen today. Last year, Ritani took another leap forward by integrating the online engagement ring shopping experience with the in-store one by making it possible for Ritani shoppers to reserve an engagement ring online and have it shipped to a local jeweler to see in person before purchase. This clicks-and-bricks experience is very common in other industries but Ritani was the first to do it in jewelry. Aside from selling direct to consumers through Ritani.com as well as in jewelry stores around the country, we offer custom design services and a full collection of diamond jewelry as well.

All photos courtesy of Ritani.

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