Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings on the Rise

Picking an engagement ring is a daunting task for anyone. There are so many variables involved, such as: What kind of gemstone does your partner like? Though a diamond center stone is the most common choice, some people sometimes choose ruby, emerald, or like Princess Diana, sapphire. What kind of metal should you choose? Yellow, white, or rose gold, or maybe platinum. Should you go big and bold, or subtle and minimalistic? Usually all these questions can be answered by a talk with your partner, but if you don’t want to let on that you’re gearing up to pop the big question, this blog might be a good tool to help you out.

There are plenty of options, so many that it can be overwhelming, but there are ways to get beautiful rings at less cost than you’d expect. Diamonds mined from the Earth are the traditional gem of choice for engagement rings, but modern technology has now brought us the choice of a Laboratory Grown Diamond.

White gold lab-grown diamond link bracelet on a wooden tray.
Rose gold three-leaf clover twist stud earrings set with lab-grown diamonds.

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Created?

We’re glad you asked. Lab-grown diamonds are one of the newest and most exciting things in the jewelry world right now. A lab-grown diamond is a diamond created in a laboratory by simulating conditions similar to that of a mined diamond. Scientists start with a diamond “seed” (pure carbon) and, using modern tech, can reproduce the natural situation that grew diamonds, from carbon, in our Earth’s crust nearly 1 billion years ago.

And just like they grew, crystal by crystal in the Earth, they are grown in laboratories but in a much shorter time. As a result, growing is not only less expensive but is ecologically sound and conflict free. To break it down easily, the conditions diamonds are grown in can be simulated in a lab, and thus lab-grown diamonds are made at a fraction of the cost of mined.

Lab-grown diamonds are just as stunning as the mined versions. They have identical chemical, physical, and optical properties as a mined diamond because they are a diamond. Lab-grown stones retain the same brilliant shine and sparkle as a mined diamond but at a much lower cost. What this simply means is that while you are scouring stores for the perfect diamond ring, you might be missing a perfect opportunity to get her the ring of her dreams, all while maintaining your budget.

Picking a Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Ring

Her ideal diamond is usually one on the bigger size, but that often means significant cost increases. This new option means that she can have a larger diamond which is now comfortably within your budget goal.

For the ladies reading this blog, you might want to show your partner the price difference when it comes to lab-grown versus mined. You just might get the ring (size and quality) you’ve always wanted, and your partner wont’ be upset about the dent it puts in their wallet! That sounds like a win-win situation to us. A lab-grown diamond simply means that beautiful rings are attainable and available to everyone.

If you’re already purchased your diamond ring, but are thinking about getting something bigger, we at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers will trade up your mined diamond for lab-grown, right here in our store! Show your partner just how important they are, and everything they mean to you, with a beautiful lab-grown diamond! They are the perfect gift for any occasion, not just engagement rings. Call us today at 619-299-1500, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding lab-grown diamonds and any other jewelry and accessory-related topics you may want to discuss.

Interested in seeing what lab-grown looks like for yourself? Come on down to our showroom, and we will happily discuss your options with you.

Rolesor – The Two-Toned Rolex

Are you looking for a watch that can withstand any type of environment, performs exceptionally well, and offers a classic, sophisticated look? If so, the Rolex Submariner could be the next watch to add to your collection. A legendary diver’s watch, the Rolex Submariner perfectly combines all of these desirable features with its aesthetic appeal and robust, functional design. Launched in 1953, the Rolex Submariner was an instant hit due to its unprecedented underwater performance and technologically advanced perpetual movement. Today, one of the more sought-after models is the Rolex Submariner Rolesor.

What is a Rolesor?

Rolesor means “two-tone,” simply put, there is a meeting of two metals on a single watch. The Rolex Submariner Rolesor juxtaposes stainless steel and yellow gold. The unification of these contrasting color creates a beautiful radiance and balanced harmony.

Submariner Features

Considered the archetype of the dive watches, the Rolex Submariner Rolesor features many innovative qualities. Equally at home underwater, at a casual outing, or a formal event, the Submariner sets new standards for style, comfort, and durability.

One of the key functionalities of this two-tone Rolex Submariner is the rotatable bezel. Manufactured by Rolex, the corrosion-resistant ceramic bezel is engraved with 60-minute graduations to allow divers to accurately monitor time and decompression stops. The bezel is also carefully designed with maximum performance in mind – the knurled edge offers an excellent grip underwater and on land.

Men's Rolex Submariner in stainless steel and yellow gold with a black dial, white markers, and black ceramic bezel.

Oyster Case & Bracelet

The Oyster case itself is one of Rolex’s renowned innovations. The Submariner’s Oyster case is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 1,000 feet and provides ultimate protection for the watch’s cutting-edge perpetual movement from water, dust, pressure, and shocks. Named after the sea creature, the case ensures watertight security like an actual oyster.

The crystal is made of synthetic sapphire, which is nearly scratchproof. Along with the oyster case, the Rolex Submariner Rolesor also features an Oyster bracelet. The bracelet is outfitted with an Oysterlock clasp. The clasp prevents accidental opening and utilizes a Glidelock feature, which allows adjustments of the bracelet size without any tools.

Triplock Winding Crown

Developed by Rolex, the Triplock winding crown is a triple waterproof system designed specifically for diving watches. The system is made of ten different elements and has four positions. When in the first position, the winding crown screws down into the Oyster case as tightly as a submarine’s hatch. The second position allows for manual winding of the watch, the third position changes the date, and the fourth position sets the time.


Another captivating feature of the Rolex Submariner Rolesor is the luminescence. The dial markers and hands are coated with Chromalight which allows for visibility in the darkest of environments. The luminosity will glow uniformly for up to eight hours. Whether you’re swimming in the depths of the sea or casually strolling the streets at night, the easy legibility of the dial makes the Submariner an excellent addition for any occasion.

Black or Blue Rolex Submariner

While the Submariner can be purchased in numerous metals and colors, the two-tone Rolex Submariner is only offered in a combination of 904L steel and 18k yellow gold. Adding to its attraction, the Rolesor timepiece can be adorned with a black dial and bezel or a blue dial and bezel. Which color combination is your favorite?

View our selection of expertly reconditioned, pre-owned Rolex Submariner wristwatches online or visit our jewelry and watch store on San Diego Avenue to find your next timeless treasure. If you need your Rolex Submariner fixed or refurbished to look like new again, click here to see our article on Rolex-factory trained watchmakers that we have to help you with your Rolex repairs in San Diego.

Who Founded Tiffany & Co.?

Tiffany & Co. is one of the most universally recognized fine jewelry brands. Since it was founded in 1837, Tiffany & Co. has produced highly desirable necklaces, engagement rings, earrings, and other kinds of accessories. Collections such as Return to Tiffany®, Tiffany Infinity, and Tiffany Celebration® have earned the company status as an iconic American brand time after time. The distinct Tiffany blue color has become a symbol of fine jewelry, high-end fashion, and sophistication. That did it take to become one of world’s biggest brand names? There is more to the company’s history than meets the eye.

The Early Years of Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. flagship building in 1906 located at 401 Fifth Ave.

The premier jewelry store was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John F. Young. Originally, it was called Tiffany & Young. In 1853, Charles Tiffany bought out his partners, established sole control of the company, and renamed it as we know it today – Tiffany & Co.

In the beginning Tiffany and Young did not intend on selling jewelry. The store was opened as a “stationary and fancy goods” store with a $1,000 advance from Tiffany’s father. During the 1867 Paris World’s Fair, Tiffany & Co. was awarded the grand prize for silver craftsmanship. This marked the first time and American design house had been so highly honored by foreign peers.

Tiffany has been a valuable asset to America’s history for over 170 years. During the Civil War, Tiffany designed ceremonial swords as well as swords to be used in battle by soldiers. In 1885, Tiffany redesigned the Great Seal of the United States, which is displayed on the back of the dollar bill to this day.

Tiffany has been a valuable asset to America’s history for over 170 years. During the Civil War, Tiffany designed ceremonial swords as well as swords to be used in battle by soldiers. In 1885, Tiffany redesigned the Great Seal of the United States, which is displayed on the back of the dollar bill to this day.

Trademark Collection and Other Accesories & Adornments

Besides brilliantly stunning jewelry, Tiffany is also known for producing a variety of accessories. In the 1960s, Tiffany was commissioned to create the White House China for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Today, Tiffany has an entire line dedicated to accessories consisting of key rings, handbags, sunglasses, writing instruments and more.

One of Tiffany’s signature accessories if the Return to Tiffany® key rings. Introduced in 1969, eack key ring is inscribed with the message, “Please Return to Tiffany & Co., New York”. Each one has a unique registration number so if the key and owner are ever separated, they can be reunited at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship store. Now, the company has a whole collection devoted towards the iconic phrase, “Please Return to Tiffany & Co.”

Sports Trophies

Vince Lombardi Superbowl trophy designed and produced by Tiffany & Co. for the NFL.

One of the more surprising details of Tiffany’s history is how involved the brand is in the sporting world. Tiffany has been at the center of American sports since 1860, creating trophies for horse racing, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Indianapolis 500, and more. The iconic brand also creates championship rings for the NFL, MLB, and USA Basketball.

Since Superbowl I in 1967, Tiffany & Co. has created each Vince Lombardi trophy. The trophy stands just under two feet tall at 22″, weighs over 7 pounds, and is adorned with a regulation-size football. While the first trophy was given to Vince Lombardi in 1967 after the Green Bay Packers victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the trophy wasn’t the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” until his death in 1970.

Engagement Rings & Other Fine Jewelry

In 1886, Charles Tiffany had an epiphany about how engagement rings should be set. Rather than having an exceptional diamond hidden in a bezel setting, as was the fashion at the time, he decided that the diamond should stand out above the band, maximizing its brilliance. Thus, the creation of the Tiffany engagement ring became the engagement ring as we know it today.

Tiffany & Co. is also highly regarded for their yellow diamonds. Tiffany’s love for these rare and radiant diamonds dates to 1878 when Charles Tiffany purchased the 287.42-carat Tiffany Diamond. The priceless stone, one of the world’s most important diamonds, was cut into a cushion-shape brilliant weighing 128.54 carats and still resides at the trademark New York Tiffany location.

Tiffany’s reputation continued to flourish with the production of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This was allegedly the first time the store ever opened on a Sunday and allowed filming inside. During production, Tiffany hired 40 security guards to protect all the precious pieces.

Tiffany & Co. in San Diego

Whether you’re looking for a classic Return to Tiffany key ring, vintage Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti earrings, or unique Tiffany & Co. engagement rings, our vast vintage collection is bound to impress. Although we’re located on San Diego Avenue, not Fifth Avenue, we guarantee your experience will be just as remarkably high-class as Holly Golightly’s outing to Tiffany & Co. New York.

How Do Mechanical Watches Differ From Quartz?

Mechanical watches are wonders of tradition, meticulousness, and craftsmanship. That’s what makes them loved, prized, and coveted. Luxury watch brands, such as Rolex, often grow in value as time goes by. But this is only if you take good care of them. There are a few things that you should be careful about after buying your Rolex in San Diego stores, and we’re listing them here. Feel free to visit us in store to get more first-hand information about the care and maintenance that premium-quality watches require.

Adjusting the Day & Date

In general, adjusting the day and date shouldn’t be done when the watch reads between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. This time window varies from one manufacturer to another, but the point is that you shouldn’t do this a few hours before or after midnight. Even though the date and date functions do the changeover at midnight, the gears that perform this engage earlier. If you don’t follow your instruction manual when it comes to changing the day and date, these indicators could get misaligned, and some components might get broken.

Screwing Down the Crown

Some professional watches, like diving models, have a crown that must be screwed down. This gives the watch added waterproof capacity. The crown should screw between 1.5 and 3 full turns to only finger-tightness. However, owner sometimes cross-thread the crown in this process or screw it back too tightly. Cross-threading could cause permanent damage, and forcing the crown back could make it almost impossible to unscrew. If you ever feel resistance while doing this, stop, carefully unscrew the crown, and start again.

Men's stainless steel Rolex GMT Master II with blue and black bezel.
Men's Rolex Submariner in yellow gold with a white dial and bezel.

Underwater Functions

Chronographs are generally water-resistant, to varying degrees. While there are some chronographs that are fully operational even while submerged, you want to check this before you do it. You can refer to the manual or ask the seller/manufacturer. If you are not sure whether you can use the chronograph underwater, better not to risk it. When the pushers are pushed into the case, water may enter, depending on the watch’s structure. Needless to say, this turns into major water damage very quickly.


Don’t rest your hand with the watch on large stereo speakers, clock radios, an iPhone, and iPad or Kindle cover, etc. The magnetic fields inside these appliances and objects can magnetize the watch, causing it to run ahead or late. You can check this by placing your watch under a compass and moving it slowly. If the compass needle reacts and moves likewise, you can be sure the watch was magnetized.

Buy, Repair, or Service a Rolex in San Diego

Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers is your go-to place for anything related to Rolex in San Diego. Our in-house Swiss factory-trained technicians are at your service, as well as our friendly and knowledgeable staff. Stay ahead of our best deals by subscribing to our mailing list and visit us regularly in store. We are San Diego’s largest independent jewelry and watch store and we’d love you show you what we’ve got!

November Birthstones: Citrine & Topaz

November babies are lucky enough to have two beautiful birthstones: topaz and citrine. For centuries, the two gemstones have been confused since they have a similar appearance. However, there are a few distinct differences between the two November birthstones. Citrine, said to be a gift from the sun, ranges in color from lemon yellow to bright orangey brown. It is also said to be the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe, and calm. Citrine is one of the most popular and affordable gemstones, making it a great choice for big, bold, statement pieces.

Topaz is also considered to be a soothing stone that can calm tempers and eliminate nightmares. Unlike citrine, topaz has a wider range of colors and is offered in shades of yellow, brown, green, blue, red, and pink. The most popular color of topaz is Imperial Topaz, which features a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones. Both gemstones are durable and are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Topaz and citrine’s beautiful colors make exceptional centerpieces for rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. If you’re looking for the perfect birthday gift for the November baby in your life, or maybe just a special holiday present, view some of our favorite November birthstone selections below.

Citrine & Diamond Dangle Earrings

The enchanting beauty of these pear-shaped citrine gemstones is perfectly complemented by yellow gold and diamond haloes in these charming dangle earrings.

Citrine dangle earrings surrounded by diamond haloes.

Citrine & Diamond Ring

Bold and eye-catching, this oval citrine sparkles brilliantly in this vintage diamond halo ring.

Cushion cut citrine ring surrounded by a double diamond halo.

Blue Topaz & Diamond Ring

Blue topaz is beautifully accented with shimmering diamonds in this delicate halo ring.

Blue Topaz & Diamond Ring

Smokey & Blue Topaz Necklace

The warm tones of this smokey topaz exquisitely complemented by blue topaz and white gold makes the perfect autumn gift.

Smokey and blue topaz pendant with a diamond bail.

Blue Topaz & Diamond Earrings

Mesmerizing blue topaz stuns in company with glittering diamonds in these unique and intricately designed carved earrings.

Woman's ear with blue topaz and diamond dangle earrings

Looking for the perfect November birthstone gift? If you’re interested in any of these gorgeous pieces or would like to view more citrine and topaz new and vintage jewelry selections, visit our showroom on San Diego Avenue to find the perfect gift for the November birthday celebrator in your life.

Why Do the 4Cs of a Diamond Matter?

When it comes to buying an engagement ring, knowing and understanding the “4C’s” of a diamond can certainly come in handy. Considered the universal method of evaluating a diamond, the 4C’s can help both consumers and professionals determine qualities and classifications of a diamond that differentiates it from the rest. Standing for cut, clarity, color, and carat, these four characteristics are used to help measure the quality and determine the value of a diamond.


The cut of a diamond is the most important factor in determining the beauty and value of a diamond and has the most significant effect on its overall look. When a diamond has an “ideal cut” the light reflected from the diamond is unobstructed and maximizes the brilliance, scintillation, and sparkle of the diamond. Often confused with shape, different types of diamond cuts include round brilliant, princess, pear, old European, marquise and more.


Clarity grades are used to describe internal imperfections of a diamond called “inclusions” and external imperfections called “blemishes.” Both blemishes and inclusions can diminish the light as it passes through your diamond and some can even be seen with the naked eye, appearing as dark specks, white feathers, or “cracks” in the stone. The clarity of a diamond is measured on a scale ranging from F (Flawless) to I (Included).

Images showing VS1 and SI2 clarity diamonds.


The most valuable white diamonds have no color at all. Most diamonds have some tint of yellow or brown in the body of the stone and generally the more color, the lower the value (fancy-colored diamonds are the exception, such as intense fancy yellow). The color grade of a diamond is based on a scale ranging from colorless (D) to deeply colored diamonds (Z).


The carat weight of a diamond is often categorized as size, but it’s the weight of the stone. One carat is divided into 100 points (like a dollar is divided into 100 pennies) so a diamond weight half a carat if 50 points, written “0.50ct.” The larger the carat the rarer the diamond, and rarity drives price. An average of 250 tons of ore must be mined to produce a 1 carat gem quality polished diamond.


Often referred to as the 5th C, the diamond certificate is your guarantee that a diamond’s 4C’s have been confirmed by a reputable laboratory. Since anyone can print an invalid certificate and offer their opinion on the grade of a diamond, it’s important that the certificate comes from a well-known independent laboratory. The best independent laboratories are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society).

Buying a diamond engagement ring or any diamond jewelry can be a stressful experience. At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, our expert sales associates, will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision and feel confident about your purchase. After 43 years of helping our customers invest in the best quality diamonds, we are experts on the 4C’s!

What is a Troy Ounce?

One of the main questions that we are often asked by first-time customers looking to sell their valuables is: “What is the process?” That depends entirely on the item itself, its condition, the market price for its material on a given day. However, there is one factor we consider and that’s the item’s weight, especially when it comes to precious metals. This value is based on the actual weight measurement of the materials at hand.

Seems straightforward, right? But did you know that precious materials have their own standard unit of measurement? Chances are when someone refers to the weight of an ounce, they are referring to the avoirdupois ounce used on bathroom scales, kitchen scales, produce scales, etc. Precious metals, however, are measured in troy ounces. The difference between these standards of measurement is minimal – a troy ounce weighs 31.103 grams, while an avoirdupois ounce weighs 38.349 grams. But it’s important to understand that a troy ounce weighs slightly more than the ounce most of us are used to.

American gold coin.

History of the Troy Ounce

The term “troy” is assumed to have been adapted from the name of the French market town of Troyes. The merchant fair held there is believed to date back centuries and was known to have grown internationally famous by the 13th century. As one of the most significant centers of commerce in existence at that time, with merchants attending from various countries, it was necessary to have a standard system of weights and measures that would be understood by all. It’s easy to forget in our modern world that operates on systems of paper and electronic transactions, that once upon a time money was a commodity measured by the weight of real goods.

As the avoirdupois ounce became more popular, the troy ounce was retained for measuring gold, platinum, silver, and even gunpowder to maintain purity standards and common measures across time. Most of the bullion, bars, and coins still in existence today were cast and created in troy ounces, so to convert everything into avoirdupois ounces now would create a bit of a headache. Items would have to be individually converted and recalculated every time or melted down and recast at a different weight entirely. So, the troy ounce lives on, operating in harmony with the common avoirdupois ounce. Do you have gold or silver bars or coins that you want to sell? Visit Leo Hamel Jewelry & Gold Buyers to get the best price for your valuables! Gold is at a record high so now is the best time to sell. No appointment necessary and you’ll get a full evaluation from our expert jewelry and gold buyers.