Picking the Perfect Men’s Wedding Band

Five various men's wedding bands on marble background.

So, you’ve found the perfect wedding set for your sweetheart and it’s time to select your own wedding band. Men’s wedding bands come in a variety of different styles, not just the classic smooth band. You may feel even more overwhelmed by your ring choices than you were by hers. But there’s no need to fret because we will help you navigate the process!

Consider Your Budget & Lifestyle

Considering how much you want to spend could help when it comes to choosing some of your options, such as higher-end metals or embellishments like precious gemstones. But you don’t have to know your budget before visiting your jeweler to try on a variety of bands. Once you find one that is appealing, then you can decide whether to fit it into your budget. After all, a wedding band is meant to be a lifetime investment, so this splurge for the groom is allowed.

When choosing a wedding band, it is important to examine your lifestyle. Perhaps you work in a profession that requires you to work with your hands or use certain tools that could potentially damage your ring. There are certain metals like platinum and titanium that are known for durability. Are you an exceptionally active person? Maybe you’d prefer a ring that is more understated with no fuss. Remember, this is a piece of jewelry that you’ll likely wear daily and seldom remove. You want to make sure it can stand up to your daily activities.

Choose Your Metal & Fit

There are a variety of metals to choose from when selecting a men’s wedding band. Some of the most popular metals include platinum, titanium, stainless steel, and white, yellow, or rose gold. These metals vary in price and durability. For example, platinum is typically more expensive but is also very tough.

One of men’s biggest concerns when shopping for wedding bands is getting used to wearing a ring every day. If you’re not accustomed to wearing jewelry, this can certainly be an adjustment. This is exactly why making sure your band is the perfect fit is so important! Minor details like whether the edges of your band are flat or rounded can make a difference in the fit and feel of the ring. Trying on as many styles as possible will reveal what feels right for you.

Fitting Your Personality

Last, but certainly not least, you want to make sure that the wedding band you choose expresses your personality. This symbol of love and commitment is meant to be worn for a lifetime, so you want to make sure it accurately represents your unique style and identity. If your style is more reserved, you can opt for a classic wedding band with few embellishments. For a more modern look, you can consider adding extra detail or picking a less traditional metal like rose gold. If you’re a guy who doesn’t mind standing out, add some sparkle to your band. You can do this with round or square cut diamonds set in a channel through the center of the band.

Remember these tips and you’ll find the process to be less overwhelming than it may seem. And don’t forget, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers has an exceptional selection of new and vintage men’s wedding bands in all price ranges! Visit our showroom today, meet with one of our friendly experts, and we’ll help you find the wedding band that is perfect for you!

Choose Yellow Diamonds for a Unique Engagement Ring

Drop earrings, stud earrings, and three rings all set with yellow diamonds surrounded by white diamonds.

Thinking of an engagement ring might evoke an image of a colorless diamond solitaire. Although that is certainly a classic choice, there are many other options when it comes to getting engaged. Engagement rings are highly personal items of jewelry and can be set with colored stones as well as colored diamonds rather than colorless ones. The 2017 trends saw a marked increase of interest in non-solitaire rings. Similarly, fancy yellow diamonds have grown in popularity over the past few decades. These gorgeous gemstones can be set in antique style settings as well as modern ones. If making the decision between a fancy yellow diamond versus a colorless diamond is a tough one for you, we’re here to help.

Diamonds are a mineral that is composed of 99.95% carbon. The remaining percentage is trace elements, some of which can affect a diamond’s color. One of the trace elements that can be found in diamonds is nitrogen, which is the source of a yellow diamond’s color.

Colorless diamonds are graded for their color on a scale D-Z, with D being the most transparent, like a drop of pure water. A vast majority of diamonds are graded somewhere between D and Z, which is to say that most diamonds have varying degrees of trace nitrogen. Diamonds which have no nitrogen at all are extremely rare. However, intensely colored or “fancy” yellow diamonds are even rarer than colorless diamonds.

Fancy colored diamonds are not graded on the D-Z scale. For instance, yellow diamonds are graded on a special scale: fancy light yellow – fancy yellow – fancy intense yellow – fancy deep yellow – fancy vivid yellow.

Jewelry connoisseurs associate Tiffany & Co. with fancy yellow diamonds nearly as much as their trademark blue color. In fact, for quite some time Tiffany had exclusive access to yellow diamonds mined in Ellendale, Australia – the largest yellow diamond mine until it closed in 2015. The world-famous Tiffany Diamond was mined in 1877 in South Africa. Once cut and faceted, this impressive fancy yellow diamond weighed a whopping 128.54 carats. It was once set in an enchanting necklace by jean Schlumberger for Audrey Hepburn to wear while promoting the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Remarkably, this famous yellow diamond was never sold, and remains on display in Tiffany’s flagship Fifth Avenue store.

Today, yellow diamond rings are rising in popularity. Many celebrities flaunt their sparklers of the rising sun wearing fancy yellow diamond engagement rings, yellow diamond wedding bands, and yellow diamond right-hand rings. Some of them include Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Hillary Clinton, Heidi Klum, and Rebecca Romjin.

Our culture already attaches certain symbolism to diamond rings. The striking color of fancy yellow diamonds only adds to the meanings of strength and eternity. Yellow diamond engagement rings evoke joy, happiness, and prosperity. Therefore, yellow diamonds make a fantastic choice for an engagement ring.

Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers has been the largest independent and family-owned jewelry store in San Diego for over 44 years. Visit our vast and luxurious showroom on San Diego Avenue, just east of the 5 across from the airport. We carry an extensive collection of fancy yellow diamonds of a variety of cuts and carat weights. If we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, we will go to work to find it for you!

How Are Diamonds Cut?

Woman's hand featuring diamond stud earrings, diamond engagement ring, and diamond pendant necklace.

Looking at a Hearts On Fire Dream diamond, you may wonder how it is possible to extract such a magnificently cut object from a rough crystal? If the diamond is supposed to be the hardest substance known to man, how do they cut it in the first place?

It generally takes another diamond to cut a diamond, since they are equal in hardness, although in modern times, lasers are used in some stages of shaping finished gemstones out of rough crystals. Diamond cutting is a slow and meticulous process that requires superior skill, mastery, and equipment to get first-class results. Here are some of the steps.

Cleaving or Sawing

A rough crystal is carefully inspected to determine if it’s fit to be cut into gemstones. What is also determined is the number and shape of gemstones it can yield while minimizing waste. The crystal is then separated into smaller parts which can be further processed. This can be achieved with a precise blow of a specialized hammer (cleaving). However, as this technique can result in inaccurate splitting, it has generally been surpassed with other equipment. Rough crystals can now be cut into individual pieces with a laser or a diamond saw. Each piece will become a finished gemstone.

Cutting

To give the cleaved diamond pieces a more concrete shape, a diamond saw is used. The saw is covered in linseed oil and diamond dust. The oil serves as an adhesive for the dust, and it also gathers more dust in the process of cutting. This step gets the diamond closer to the desired measurements.

Bruting/Grinding

This step gives the diamond the desired shape in a crude form. For example, a round, pear, princess, or marquise cut, etc. The diamond is often put into a specialized lathe and cut against another rotating diamond. Lasers and diamond disks are also utilized.

Ten diamond in various cuts including, emerald, pear, asscher, marquise, princess, oval, round, and heart.

Faceting

It is this, almost final, step that gives the diamonds the look and allure we know. It is the number and symmetry of facets relative to the overall shape of the diamond that dictates how much light the final product will reflect. Facets are created with equipment and methods like the second step – either with a laser or a blade covered in linseed oil and diamond dust. The final stage involves a thorough cleaning of the diamond in acids.

Grading

The quality of a diamond is described using the 4Cs – carat weight, color, clarity, and cut. The relative quality of each diamond establishes its market value as compared to other diamonds, generally based on relative rarity. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) established a standard grading scale with which to identify each of the 4Cs of diamonds. Some jewelers send their diamonds to the GIA to get a grading report that lists the 4Cs of a diamond. You should always avoid buying a significant diamond without a grading report from the GIA, as without that objective report, the quality of that diamond could be unintentionally (or intentionally) misrepresented and sold for a higher price than the quality would justify.

Hearts On Fire Dream Diamond

Hearts On Fire already boasts the title of The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond®. The HOF Dream diamond is a fancy-shaped diamond, which simply means it’s not a traditional round cut. It’s sometimes difficult to achieve fancy cuts that have the brilliance and fire of a round brilliant cut. However, the HOF Dream diamond has 70 facets and reflects around 93% of light, which is the highest level of reflection achieved in fancy diamond shapes.

What generally sets all Hearts On Fire diamonds apart are these three facts:

  • They are uncompromising in their choice of rough diamonds. Only 0.1% of the world’s rough diamonds are selected by HOF to be processed into faceted and polished gemstones.
  • Their diamonds are cut only by a handful of master diamond cutters around the world, using only cutting-edge anti-vibration technology.
  • Their diamonds are cut under a 100x magnification, which is ten times higher than industry standard of 10x magnification, thus ensuring a much more precise faceting and maximizing each diamond’s brilliance and fire.

Would you like to browse the largest new and vintage Hearts On Fire jewelry collection in San Diego? Stop by our luxurious showroom on San Diego Avenue and see the difference for yourself. We also offer you exquisite choices in designer jewelry, as well as new, antique, and vintage jewelry!

What’s So Special About Colored Diamonds?

Five round cut loose diamonds showing the range of yellow diamonds.

You might wonder why diamonds come in different colors, and what makes them so expensive. The mineral diamond is a pure form of the element carbon. The appearance of color in a diamond is caused by either trace elements or internal distortions that are included in the crystal as it forms. Although most faceted (cut) diamonds appear to be white, many diamonds that are mined are actually a faint shade of yellow.

Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z. Diamonds with a color grade of D, E, or F are considered colorless. Grades G-J are near colorless. Diamonds that fall in the K-M color grade range have a faint yellow tint. The N-R range has a very light-yellow tint, and the S-Z range is light yellow.

Diamonds can occur in almost any color of the rainbow, but fancy color diamonds are much rarer than white diamonds. Their color intensity is graded from Faint at the lower end to Fancy Vivid at the high end.

Yellow diamonds are one of the most popular fancy colored diamonds, and their color is caused by the trace element nitrogen. Because of the way diamonds form, it’s rare for a diamond not to contain any nitrogen at all; hence the rarity of truly colorless diamonds. On the flip side, a deep saturation of nitrogen creating a “canary” bright yellow color is also rare.

Brown diamonds are the most commonly occurring fancy-colored diamonds. Brown is caused by internal graining, a distortion in the diamond’s crystal structure. This same kind of distortion is also responsible for creating pink and red diamonds. Red and blue are the rarest colors of diamonds. Less than 20 diamonds have so far been certified as red diamond and only 20-30 have ever been mined. Blue diamonds are colored with the trace element boron.

Fancy white diamonds are caused by the scattering of light by thousands of microscopic pinpoint inclusions and have an opalescent look that sets them apart from typical white diamonds.

Black diamonds are actually so heavily included with black crystal that they appear to be solid in color. Irradiation is often used to make the black color look solid; a natural black diamond will have a salt and pepper look under magnification.

An oddity in the fancy-colored world is called the Chameleon diamond. These are typically olive green and can temporarily change color to greenish-yellow when exposed to heat or kept in darkness then exposed to light.

With the advent of the lab-grown diamond, owning a fancy colored diamond has become much more affordable. Even the treasured red, blue, and pink colors are available in lab-grown diamonds.

Here at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, we have a vast array of loose and mounted diamonds from which to choose. Whether you’re looking for the traditional “white” diamond, a fancy colored mined diamond, or a fancy colored lab-grown diamond, stop by our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue to find your favorite colored diamond. Our expert and friendly sales team will always guide you to make the best choice that fits your needs.

Celebrate July Birthdays with Rubies!

Antique yellow gold filigree earrings, ring, and necklace set with rubies.

You’re probably burned out from hanging out at the beach, grilling the day away, and watching a magnificent firework show lighting up the sky, but the doesn’t mean you get to slack on giving incredible birthday gifts. Putting some thought and effort into purchasing a birthday gift makes it that much more special. And that’s exactly why birthstone jewelry always makes an exceptional birthday gift. Ruby is the July birthstone, and we’re here to show you some of the rosiest rubies to gift your friend or loved one born in this glorious summer month.

Rubies have been one of the most valued gemstones for thousands of years, representing wealth, wisdom, passion, and love. Regardless of the gift you choose, its underlying message will show just how much you care.

A dainty ruby and diamond flower ring makes a beautiful gift. The combination of rubies and diamonds is truly remarkable. The brilliant red ruby give major summer vibes while the diamond halo displays the perfect amount of sparkle and shine. This is a fantastic birthday gift for any July baby who adores all things nature inspired.

Dangle earrings are very trendy right now, so grabbing these for your fashion-forward friend is a great idea. These earrings are versatile so whether she’s trying to keep it casual or dressing up for a night out, they will look absolutely beautiful. It’s essential for every girl to have a pair of earrings that make it easy to dress up or dress down, so you know she’ll really appreciate these.

Brooches are making a comeback! Gone are the days when brooches were only worn by little old ladies in their Sunday best. Now, there are so many different creative ways to wear a brooch! This ruby brooch looks gorgeous securely pinned to the lapel of a blazer, but our favorite way to wear it is as a pendant. All you have to do is clasp the pin shut, slip a chain through and voilà! It’s now a stunning ruby flower pendant! This is the perfect July birthstone gift for anyone who enjoys playing around with creative expression.

Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes something sweet and simple can be more meaningful than something grand and extravagant. This ruby and diamond halo pendant is the perfect July birthstone gift for anyone who keeps her jewelry to a chic whisper. It’s not too big, it’s not too small, and it’s a charming tribute to their summer birthday.

If you’re looking for something truly breathtaking, this is the piece. Doesn’t the vivid red tone of the rubies paired with the sparkle of the diamonds completely mesmerize you? Tennis bracelets are classic and exquisite, making this a fantastic July birthstone gift for any lady who is all about class and elegance. As soon as she opens the box, this is sure to become her new favorite piece of jewelry.

If none of these gorgeous gift ideas seem right for the special person you’re shopping for, don’t be discouraged! Visit our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue to browse hundreds of other options! Our vast collection is brimming with new, designer, and vintage ruby and colored gemstone jewelry. Let us help you select something spectacular to stun your July-born loved one.

Best Tips for Picking Out Ring Settings

White gold and yellow gold engagement rings with different settings and various colored diamonds.

The diamond, or any other gemstone, is the center of attention in any engagement ring. But the way it sparkles and shines can be affected by one important factor that many people tend to overlook – the setting. There are many different choices for engagement ring settings, also referred to as a mounting or semi-mounts. From the classic prong setting to bezel settings, to the modern tension setting, it can quickly become very overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean your decision shouldn’t involve careful consideration.

As you may already know, the 4Cs of a diamond determine its overall quality and appearance. However, engagement ring settings also play an important role. The mounting defines the look of your ring and displays the diamond to its best advantage. The way the diamond is set, and the color of metal chosen, can significantly impact the final look of your ring.

You don’t want to fall in love with a loose diamond, select a style of setting you’ve always admired, and then ultimately decide you don’t like how they look together on your finger. You’d have to start the entire process all over again! That’s why it’s best to consider the ring mounting before making any purchases.

It’s also wise to think about your lifestyle and budget. If you lead a more active lifestyle and plan to wear your engagement ring every day, it’s best to choose a setting that offers more protection for the diamond. Think about your ring being snagged on clothes or in hair, getting banged against your desk or walls, etc.

Additionally, it’s always smart to think about your budget. While the diamond itself can make up a significant part of the overall cost of the ring, the type and amount of precious metal plus additional diamonds or gemstones used in the setting helps determine the total price.

And don’t forget about the wedding band! Do you plan on wearing your engagement ring and wedding band together? If so, you more than likely want them to sit perfectly together and share cohesive design elements. A great way to ensure this is by purchasing a wedding set.

A duo will include an engagement ring and women’s wedding band, while a trio will include an engagement ring plus his-and-hers matching wedding bands. This can help you save money, but you always have the choice of purchasing each ring separately, and even custom designing your rings.

As you can tell, there are many different factors that go into selecting the perfect engagement ring setting for you. Luckily, we’re here to help you make your decision. Below are some of the many different types of ring settings with a brief list of pros and cons for each one.

Classic Prong Setting - Solitaire

This is the most common setting for engagement rings. Prong settings involve three to six prongs, or claws, that hold a stone firmly in place in a metal “basket.” This type of setting offers a few different options: prongs can be round, flat, pointed, or V-shaped. Four or six prongs are the most common, but this can vary depending on the shape of the diamond. Fewer prongs allow for more exposure to light and thus more sparkle, but more prongs keep the diamond more secure. Solitaire prong settings consist of a band and prongs to hold the diamond – nothing more.

Pros:

  • Allows for light exposure from all angles, which maximizes the diamond’s brilliance
  • Less expensive since less metal is required in the making of the setting
  • Supports a variety of shapes and carat sizes
  • Easy to clean
  • Timeless appeal
  • Shows the diamond off as the star of the piece

Cons:

  • May offer less protection of the diamond than other settings
  • Can get caught in hair or snag clothing. Beware of long-sleeved shirts, stockings/nylons, and gloves.
  • May loosen with normal wear and tear (although, this is a simple fix at your local jewelers).

Channel Set Engagement Rings

This specific setting refers to the band of an engagement ring and is also widely popular for wedding bands. The channel setting features smaller diamonds inserted into a channel that is cut into the band of the ring. This creates a metal channel of sparkling stones set flush with the entire band or most of the band. Most channel settings feature round or princess cut diamonds. The advantage to using princess cut diamonds is there will be no gaps between the stones set in the channel, making the ring sparkle even more.

Pros:

  • Secure; offers protection to the girdle of stones
  • Smooth surface
  • Enhances ring’s overall fire and brilliance

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to resize if set with stones around the entire perimeter of the band. We recommend leaving one third of the band unset in case of future repairs
  • Requires more cleaning to avoid dirt becoming trapped in the channel
  • Not recommended for soft stones

Bezel Set Engagement Rings

A bezel setting is the best engagement ring setting for those who lead active lifestyles. This is because the bezel setting offers maximum protection of the stone. The bezel setting encircles the diamond with a metal rim, either completely or partially. A full bezel completely surrounds the diamond, whereas a partial bezel leaves the sides open for more viewing of the diamond.

Pros:

  • Offers maximum protection of the diamond
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Sleek and modern style
  • Metal can be molded to fit any shape and carat
  • White metals can make diamonds appear larger
  • Yellow gold can enhance the color of red or green gemstones

Cons:

  • Less light reflection, which means less brilliance
  • Hides more of the stone
  • Yellow gold may give colorless diamond a slight yellow tint.

Pavé Settings

Similar to the channel setting, a pavé setting features diamonds encrusted around the perimeter of the band. However, instead of diamonds embedded within the band, several rows of small stones are set level with the surface of the ring. Then, the surrounding metal is raised to form beads, like little prongs, that secure the stones in place. The finished look gives the impression that the ring setting is made entirely out of diamonds.

Pros:

  • Continuous sparkle
  • Design complements modern and vintage styles

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to resize if set with stones around the entire perimeter of the band. We recommend leaving about one third of the band unset in case of future repairs.
  • Small risk of losing side stones

Tension Settings

A more modern approach to engagement ring settings, the tension setting gives the impression that the stone is floating. This type of setting features a design in which the compression-spring pressure of the band holds the stone securely in place. Jewelers expertly cut tiny grooves into the side of the band to secure the diamond in place. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are the only gemstones that are durable enough to withstand the required amount of pressure. There are also tension-style ring settings that have an additional metal band surrounding the diamond.

Pros:

  • Can see nearly 100% of the diamond
  • Ultimate light reflection due to minimal metal surrounding the diamond
  • Unique and modern appearance

Cons:

  • Difficult and expensive to resize
  • Thick metal bands can create the appearance of a smaller diamond
  • Extreme pressure from an outside source can cause the diamond to become loose (highly unlikely, but still possible)

Bar Settings

Bar settings are more common in wedding and anniversary bands, but they are still used in engagement rings. Two metal bars secure the stone in place, leaving the sides exposed for viewing. This setting is similar to the design of channel setting, however, more of the diamond is visible.

Pros:

  • Versatile design that works well for engagement rings, bands, and stackable rings
  • Amplifies sparkle and shine

Cons:

  • Resizing can be challenging and costly
  • Slightly higher chance of chipping since there is less metal protecting the stone.

Halo Settings

Halo settings are one of the most popular settings for engagement rings. Smaller diamonds or other gemstones encompass the center stone, creating a look of ultimate sparkle. Halos are more commonly seen with round or princess cut diamonds, but they look great with any shape. This is a great option for smaller center stones since the halo makes them appear larger. There are also double halos, which feature two concentric circles of gemstones surrounding the center stone.

Pros:

  • Maximizes sparkle and shine
  • Complements a variety of diamond shapes
  • Enhances appearance of smaller diamonds
  • Can be paired with a pavé band for a look of continuous sparkle

Cons:

  • Tiny side stones have the potential to come loose

Cathedral Settings

Cathedral settings have an elegant and classic appeal. This mounting is similar to the classic prong setting, but the diamond is set much higher up on the band. Metal arches are used to hold the center stone, much like the graceful arches of a cathedral. The arches are used to add extra height to the ring, elevating the center stone and making it the center of attention.

Pros:

  • Unique and eye-catching design
  • Showcases the center stone
  • Very secure
  • Cost-saving style; less money than adding more diamonds

Cons:

  • Can snag on clothing
  • Easier to accidentally hit on hard surfaces since the stone is set so high

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Appropriately named, three-stone engagement ring settings feature three stones: a larger center stone and two smaller side stones. This setting has a special meaning behind it as the three stones are said to represent a couple’s past, present, and future. Round brilliant and princess cut diamonds are the most popular for this particular setting. Personalization is an option by using different colored stones.

Pros:

  • More brilliance and fire
  • Opportunity for color contrast and personalization
  • When properly paired with side stones, the center stone appears larger

Cons:

  • More cleaning and maintenance required
  • Side stones might distract from beauty of center stone when paired poorly

Gypsy Settings

Gypsy settings, also known as flush settings, feature a diamond drilled into a hole in the band of the ring. Metal is pressed and hammered around the stone to secure it; the gemstone does not protrude at all. This is a very popular style for men’s wedding bands.

Pros:

  • Very secure
  • Maximum protection of the stone
  • Conceals any nicks or chips on the stone’s girdle, which can be cost effective when selecting a diamond

Cons:

  • Not recommended for fragile stones
  • More expensive than other engagement ring setting since it takes more time and effort to produce

Cluster Settings

Cluster settings are one of the newer styles for engagement rings. Many smaller diamonds are clustered together to create the appearance of a larger diamond. This style of setting can contain a larger centered stone with many small stones clustered around it, or a cluster of stones of equal size.

Pros:

  • Unique and modern design
  • Can be crafted into many different shapes
  • Less expensive than purchasing a larger diamond

Cons:

  • More cleaning and maintenance required depending on number of stones and shape
  • Smaller stones can potentially become loose and fall out

Split-Shank Bands

Shank is another term for band. Therefore, this type of mounting features a split in the band. The band splits into two separate shanks that come together at the center stone. Channel settings and pavé settings are typically combined with this style to provide more texture and sparkle.

Pros:

  • Works well with modern and vintage designs
  • Different from traditional styles
  • Offers more surface area for more side stones
  • Offers a number of variations on design

Cons:

  • More difficult to pair with wedding bands, but still possible
  • Requires more cleaning and maintenance

Affordable Engagement Rings and Settings at Leo Hamel's

Now that you have a bit more knowledge about specific engagement ring settings, we hope you’ve been able to narrow it down to your favorites. Keep in mind that no specific setting for rings is superior to the others; it’s all just a matter of preference, lifestyle, and budget. So, which engagement ring setting is your favorite? Still can’t decide? Stop by our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue to try on different ring settings. Our experts will help you find your dream engagement ring at a price that is right for you.

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