Love in Vogue – Engagement Ring Trends Taking the Spotlight

Surprisingly, we find ourselves five months into the New Year. Amidst the distraction of stunning jewelry, we’ve closely observed emerging 2024 engagement ring trends. The past year brought us floral motifs, diamond accents, and rose gold settings. While some trends remain popular, this year introduces a few new styles. Let’s explore what’s hot in 2024-based engagement rings.

Colored Diamond & Gemstone Centers

Over recent years, colored gemstone engagement rings have increased in popularity, a trend continuing today. Favorites comprise sapphires in varied hues, yellow diamonds, and morganite. But the choice of color is entirely up to you! From a distinctively colored center stone to tinted gemstone accents, the color splash on your ring will make a striking impression. It’s crucial, however, to select a durable gemstone that can endure daily wear and retain its elegant shine for a lifetime.

Solitaire Settings

Renowned for their classic style, solitaire engagement ring settings were first introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886, accentuating the stone’s beauty and setting a trend. Despite its historical popularity peaking in the 1900s, multi-stone settings took the lead in the 2000s-2010s. However, the 2020s have witnessed a resurgence in solitaire settings’ popularity, particularly with oval cut stones. For an extra touch of sparkle in your solitaire setting, consider bands embedded with diamonds!

Stacks of diamond engagement rings in various styles including three-stone, solitaire, and cluster settings.
Rose gold engagement ring centered with a solitaire princess cut diamond and alternating princess and round cut diamonds in the band with a matching diamond wedding band.

Unique Styles

The ever-classic round brilliant cut will perhaps perpetually dominate engagement ring trends. However, a dynamic shift towards unique styles and shapes, particularly pear and oval cuts, is evident. Boasting similar facet patterns and cutting techniques, these shapes add a contemporary spin on the traditional round diamond. The royal engagement and wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have notably boosted the allure of three-stone rings—these exquisite pieces symbolize a couple’s past, present, and future, imbuing them with an added layer of significance.

Diamond Cluster Rings

For those enchanted by sparkle and glamour, the trend of cluster engagement rings is quite compelling. A magnificently large central diamond nestles amidst a constellation of tinier diamonds, crafting an exquisite and captivating aesthetic. These cluster rings offer a vintage charm, ideal for the bride-to-be favoring a departure from conventional styles. A bonus—these clusters bestow an illusion of larger diamonds on your engagement ring!

At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, we spend our days helping couples pick out the perfect ring, so we see engagement ring trends firsthand. Without guidance, you can always stay up to date on trends too! Visit our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue to find your dream engagement ring. Whether it’s currently on trend or not, the goal is to find the ring that you will love for many years to come.

Did You Know Each Anniversary Has a Special Gemstone?

An anniversary is a joyous occasion, a time to honor and celebrate the love that you and your spouse share. Whether you’ve been married for years, or are just beginning your journey as newlyweds, there’s no better way to mark your time together than with breathtaking anniversary jewelry. Jewelry is romantic and everlasting, a gift that can be cherished long into the future.

Best of all, each anniversary is traditionally marked by an alluring colored gemstone or precious metal, so shopping for anniversary jewelry is that much easier! If you’re in need of a little inspiration before you shop, we’ve put together a quick list of anniversary jewelry gift ideas that are certain to make your sweetheart swoon.

First Anniversary

The traditional gift for first anniversaries is gold, while the modern alternative is green peridot. Gold is commonly used for jewelry and watchmaking, meaning your options will be plentiful if you decide to go the traditional route. A gold bangle bracelet or gold hoop earrings is a gift that she can wear every day or give him a gold link chain that he may never take off. Set the gemstone peridot into gold jewelry, and you’ve got both anniversary markers in one. This enchanting green gemstone can be found in all types of anniversary jewelry. Surprise her with an elegant pair of peridot stud earrings for a unique gift that she surely won’t expect.

Fifth Anniversary

To mark the 5th wedding anniversary, you can give the gift of sapphire or pink tourmaline. Both richly colored gemstones make a spectacular surprise for the loved one in your life. A pink tourmaline pendant is a vibrant accessory to compliment her favorite outfit. Maybe he’d love a deep, blue sapphire ring that makes him look and feel like royalty. If blue is not their best color, not to worry! Sapphires come in a spectrum of colors like warm, golden yellows and enchanting, rich purples, so there’s something for every taste!

Tenth Anniversary

10th anniversaries are traditionally celebrated with every woman’s favorite gemstone – the diamond! There is a wealth of options to choose from when it comes to diamond anniversary jewelry. Dazzle her with a delicate diamond pendant that she can wear with anything. Or perhaps a vintage diamond ring to symbolize your continued love and commitment to her. One or two diamond stud earrings make an elegant gift that any pierced man is sure to love. No matter what you choose, you can never go wrong with sparkling diamond anniversary jewelry.

Fifteenth Anniversary

Romantic red rubies are the traditional gemstone to mark 15th wedding anniversaries, while alexandrite is the modern alternative. If you’re celebrating 15 years with your sweetheart, these two popular gemstones make a superb gift. She’ll look ravishing in a ruby bracelet, or even a charming ruby brooch. If he’s a sharp dressed man, give him ruby cufflinks. Rubies look great on their own but are exceptionally beautiful when paired with diamonds.

Alexandrite, on the other hand, has unique color changing properties that make it especially attractive in anniversary jewelry. This exotic gemstone is known as the “emerald by day, ruby by night,” appearing to be a greenish blue color in daylight, and a deep red to purple in darker environments. If she loves pieces that are uncommon, she’ll be mesmerized by a piece of alexandrite anniversary jewelry.

Twentieth Anniversary

20 years of marriage is quite an accomplishment, and a wonderful excuse to spoil your loved one. The traditional gemstone for 20th anniversaries is emerald, and the contemporary alternative is yellow diamond. These vibrant, colorful gemstones look beautiful when they’re set in jewelry, and will surely brighten every day. A vintage emerald cocktail ring is an eye-catching statement piece that she’ll love to accessorize with, and his yellow diamond ring will be the envy of his friends. Or give her a special glow in a pair of brilliant yellow diamond earrings. What better way to show them just how much you’ve cherished the last 20 years than with splendid emerald and yellow diamond anniversary jewelry?

Thirtieth Anniversary

The 30th year of marriage is celebrated with pearls and is known as the pearl jubilee. Pearls are classic and timeless, a fitting representation of your love that has endured for so long. An elegant strand of pearls makes a charming gift, one that she’ll wear for many years to come. If she prefers something with a bit of sparkle, opt for a pair of pearl earrings with diamond accents.

Pearls may be traditionally worn by women, but famous men in music and film are now wearing pearls, from chokers to earrings. Pearls come in a variety of colors besides the conventional white. Golden pearls, for example, have a warm, champagne colored glow that looks especially glamorous. She’ll be itching to get dressed up and show off her new pearl anniversary jewelry!

Fiftieth Anniversary

Not many couples can boast that they’ve made it 50 years with their better half. Imagine all the tender moments you’ve undoubtedly shared with someone after so many years living as one. 50 years should be celebrated spectacularly, which is why it’s known as the golden jubilee. For your first gold anniversary, you may not have been able to afford anything extravagant. After half a century together, you’re able to splurge on something truly special for your loved one. A luxurious gold watch always makes a wonderful gift for the man of your life, and a gold diamond bracelet is one perfect gift to completely dazzle your woman.

Anniversary Jewelry in San Diego

Shopping for an upcoming anniversary with your loved one? We can help you to make it an event to remember! Whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers is your go-to San Diego jewelry store for beautiful, one-of-a-kind anniversary jewelry. Our selection of gemstone jewelry is vast, so there’s no shortage of options when choosing the perfect gift!

What Makes a Black Diamond?

Be spooked by the intensity of a black diamond this year and enchant your jewelry collection with a gemstone rarity. Similar to white diamonds, black diamonds are crystallized carbon and are evaluated by the 4Cs: color, carat, cut, and clarity. Along with the appearance of a glossy surface, a black diamond is higher in density than a white diamond. This means that stones of the same carat weight have different relative measurements.

White gold drop earrings centered with black pear cut diamonds surrounded by white diamond haloes.
Yellow gold engagement ring centered with a pear cut black diamond and white diamonds in the band.
White gold pendant centered with a pear cut black diamond surrounded by a white diamond halo.

The mesmerizing dark color occurs from exposure to extremely high temperatures or dominating dark inclusions. Although shiny on the surface, black diamonds absorb light rather than refract it. They don’t exhibit the multi-colored sparkle for which white diamonds are known. Industry standard treatments ensure a uniformity of color in most black diamonds. Natural, untreated black diamonds are extremely rare and carry a remarkably hefty price tag. Looking for a truly rare gift to give in the new year?

Consider wrapping up this unique gemstone that is quickly rising in popularity. With artful conceptions from designers such as John Hardy, Sydney Evan and treasured vintage jewelry, the beauty of a black diamond can be found in a variety of pieces currently for sale in our San Diego showroom. Stop by our Old Town location soon and see what timeless pieces we have in store!

Tips for Taking Care of Fine Jewelry

Did you get a fancy new gold necklace of a shiny engagement ring for Christmas? Congratulations! What makes jewelry so eternal is that it can always look as shiny as when you first got it, provided you take good care of it. Properly storing and caring for your jewelry, combined with an occasional visit to a professional will ensure that you will proudly wear your precious possessions for years and years to come. While some pieces of jewelry are fairly easy to maintain, others like pearls require extra attention and special precautions to be taken. In this guide, we will go through the proper ways of cleaning and taking care of different pieces of jewelry so that they truly last forever.

Jewelry Cleaning Advice

A rule of thumb for most pieces of jewelry in your collection is to follow your common sense. That said, one thing that can irreparably damage your jewelry is exposing it to household chemicals like chlorine bleach. These chemicals can discolor or completely ruin precious metal mountings. Likewise, avoid wearing your jewelry while you are doing rough manual chores or while you are playing sports as a hard blow could chip or jar loose the precious gemstones. When storing your jewelry, make sure that the pieces do not tumble against each other, as this can scratch them. Each piece of jewelry should be stored in a separate soft cloth bag or in a separate compartment in your jewelry box.

Silver Jewelry

You can clean sterling silver with a mild soap and warm water applied to a cotton cloth. To bring back its glow, wipe it with a jewelry polishing cloth specially made for polishing silver. Avoid circular movements and rub the silver in one direction instead.

Yellow gold ring centered with a blue gemstone and diamonds.
Yellow gold earrings centered with blue sapphire surrounded by diamond halos.
Yellow gold open heart necklace set with diamonds.

Platinum & Gold Jewelry

Dilute dish detergent in a small bowl filled with warm water and soak your gold or platinum jewelry for three to five minutes. Rinse the jewelry under warm water using a clean cotton cloth to remove any traces of the dish detergent. Use a soft cloth to pat the jewelry dry. Make sure to dry it completely before wearing it again.

Gemstone Jewelry

Amethyst, citrine, blue topaz, and other crystalline gemstones should be cleaned in a bowl filled with water and a drop of mild dish soap. You can scrub the stones’ surroundings with a soft baby toothbrush. Rinse the soap thoroughly and dry with a cloth. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies in gold or platinum are best cleaned by using water with a drop of ammonia. However, silver and organic gemstones can be damaged by ammonia, so use this solution only for gold and platinum jewelry.

Pearls

Keep pearls away from cosmetics, perfumes, chlorine, vinegar, ammonia, perspiration, and dirt at all costs. After wearing the pearl jewelry, clean it with a slightly damp cloth. You can wash pearls with mild soap using a soft cloth. Rinse any excess soap in clean water and wrap them in a damp cotton towel until dry. Store them in an environment that’s not too dry, as they require some humidity, so they don’t crack.

Professional Jewelry Cleaning

If you want to make sure your jewelry keeps its sparkle for years to come, have it professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. If you notice that the stones in your jewelry are chipped, the prongs damaged or clasps malfunctioning, contact Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers immediately. Don’t risk losing your precious gemstones from a broken or bent prong! Our in-house jewelers are available for all your cleaning and jewelry repair needs so visit us on San Diego Avenue today.

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.

Cut

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

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.

Color

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).

Carat

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.

Certificate

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!

A Diamond’s Journey to Fine Jewelry

Have you ever wondered how diamonds are formed and what the mining process looks like? Diamonds have a long way to go, starting with their formation in the Earth, mining, and cutting to reaching diamond wholesale brokers and jewelry stores in San Diego or elsewhere. Read on to find out how diamonds travel from beneath the ground to your jewelry box.

How Diamonds Are Formed

For a diamond to form in the ground, extreme temperatures and pressure are necessary. More specifically, the temperature has to be between 1700 and 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, while the pressure has to be between 650k and 870k pounds per square inch. This critical environment is necessary not only for diamond formation but also diamond stability. According to geologists, commercial diamond deposits contain diamonds that are formed in the Earth’s mantle, 90-120 miles beneath the Earth’s surface. Once formed, these diamonds are believed to be brought to the surface by deep-source volcanic eruptions. Diamond prospectors are on the lookout for kimberlite and lamproite pipes formed during these eruptions.

Main Diamond Miners and Producers

Originally, the majority of the world’s diamonds came from South Africa, India, Brazil, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Congo. Nowadays, the majority of mines are located in Russia and Botswana. The biggest diamond miners of today are De Beers, ALROSA, Rio Tinto Diamonds, Debswana Diamond Company Ltd., and Dominion Diamond Corporation. Around 50% of all diamonds are mined either directly from the ground, the mines or kimberlite and lamproite pipes, while around 48% is mined from riverbanks and other marine environments. Miners have to sift 200-250 tons of Earth on average to mine 1 carat of diamonds.

Rough uncut diamond on black rocks.

Sorting the Diamonds

When they are mined, diamonds are far from polished jewelry-grade gemstones; instead, they are still in their crystal form. Before they are sold, they have to be sorted. The majority of diamonds are sorted by DeBeers (around 45%), whereas the rest are sorted in Mumbai, Antwerp, and Johannesburg. There are three categories into which a rough diamond can be sorted.

Gem-Quality Diamonds

Around 20% of mined diamonds are sorted into the gem-quality category. These are composed of at least 99.95% carbon. As the name suggests, they are used for jewelry making. They are valued for their color and clarity, whereas shape is not so relevant at this point.

Industrial-Quality Diamonds

Around 80% of the world’s mined diamonds fall under this category. They are mostly yellow in color as yellow diamonds are the hardest diamonds. Industrial diamonds can be classified either according to their carat weight or the number of points. They are used in the automotive, aviation, and marine industries for making tools for drilling or as abrasives.

Other Diamonds

Diamonds that are not sorted into the gem or industrial categories appear in very small percentages. They are typically crushed and later used as diamond dust for diamonds polishing.

Tweezers holding loose round cut diamond.

Diamond Cutting and Grading

After they are sorted, gem-quality diamonds are cut into the desired shape. Cut is the most important feature of a diamond, so this process is extremely important. Most diamonds are cut in Belgium, Israel, India, South Africa, Russia, and Canada. The cutting process can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, with some large diamonds event taking years to cut. For example, the Pink Star diamond, the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever graded by GIA, took two years of cutting and polishing to be honed into the desired oval shape.

Reaching the Consumer

Once the diamonds are cut and polished, they are ready to be sold to the manufacturers, dealers, retailers, or collectors. At this stage, gem-quality diamonds are ready to be set into jewelry. On average, it takes around 5 months for a diamond to reach the consumer after it has been sorted.

Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers offers premier-quality diamond jewelry, most notably exquisite new and vintage diamond engagement rings. Stop by our luxurious showroom on San Diego Avenue and check out our collection of dazzling diamond jewelry!

What Makes Colored Diamond Jewelry So Unique?

Diamonds come in as many hues and intensities as nature can possibly create. The most common diamond is the white, or colorless, diamond. However, this “white” color ranges from completely colorless to actually showing a light tint throughout the body of the diamond. The light coloring is most commonly shades or yellow, and sometimes shades of brown.

These color distinctions are very subtle and are often indistinguishable to the untrained eye, but they can make a big difference in diamond quality and price. Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z, from absolutely no hint of color to a visible tint of color throughout the body of the stone. Diamonds graded from D to F are considered colorless; G to J is considered near colorless; K to M is faint color; N to R is very light color; and S to Z is light color. The less color in the diamond, the whiter the diamond appears.

The further down the scale (from N to Z), the more yellow or brown the diamond appears. Diamonds actually occur in all shades of the rainbow, not just white. Naturally colored diamonds include brown, red, pink, gray, blue, green, violet, purple, orange, yellow, and black. When yellow and brown diamonds are an intensely saturated color, they are referred to as “fancy” colored diamonds and are most valuable.

Colored diamonds are created in the same fashion as colorless diamonds, but more chemistry is involved. When foreign materials other than carbon are present during a diamond’s crystallization process, it alters the chemical development, thus changing the color of the diamond. The result is a beautiful, naturally colored diamond.

How Do Diamonds Get Their Natural Color?

When different trace minerals and elements are trapped during the crystallization process the result is the creation of different hues.

Rose gold engagement ring centered with a pink diamond surrounded by a white diamond halo and white diamonds in the band.

Brown, Red, and Pink Diamonds

While still buried deep within the Earth’s core, intense pressure and heat causes distortions in the crystal lattice during the diamond’s voyage to the surface. This change in the electron structure absorbs green light, which reflects a pinkish hue and produces brown, red, and pink diamonds.

Gray and Blue Diamonds

When boron is present during the chemical process it bonds to the carbon in the crystal structure. This bonding causes the absorption of red, yellow, and green areas of the color spectrum and reflects a bluish/grayish color.

Green Diamonds

Right before a diamond is about to burst through the uppermost layer of the Earth’s crust, it absorbs naturally occurring radiation. This radiation absorbs red and yellow light, which creates a green reflection.

White gold engagement ring centered with a green diamond and white diamonds in the band.

Violet and Purple Diamonds

There are a few different theories about how these diamonds get their color. The cause of color is due to a type of crystal distortion; however, it is also believed the presence of hydrogen is a key factor.

Orange and Yellow Diamonds

Orange and yellow hues are attributed to one specific element – nitrogen. Nitrogen atoms will bond in such a way that blue light is absorbed, producing a yellow reflection. The absorption of both blue and yellow spectrums results in an orange reflection.

Black Diamonds

Contrary to all the above colors, a black diamond’s color is not related to trace elements. Small inclusions of graphite and iron clusters create this color, making the diamond appear opaque.

Here at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, we have a vast array of loose and mounted diamonds to choose from. Whether you’re looking for the traditional “white” diamond or a unique, natural color, stop by our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue to find your favorite diamond. Our expert salespeople will guide you to make the very best decision for your needs.

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.

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