There is nothing quite so special or emotionally charged as the time when you are considering engagement. Full of passion and promise, nerves and decisions, it’s a time when you’re weighing what may feel like countless options and could use a little guidance.Download the guide
Welcome to Zadok’s introductory guide to selecting and securing your wedding jewelry.
This guide is by no means comprehensive, but it should help you familiarize yourself with pertinent terminology, industry standards, and stylistic considerations as you search for wedding bands and engagement rings.
The jewelry business is an industry of intricacies. Know that we are here if and when you are ready to take that next step—as a continued resource, or as a friendly voice of reassurance.
Every love story is unique. Here’s to continuing yours.
Choosing the Metal
Yellow in its natural state, gold’s shades may vary when alloyed (mixed) with other metals. Jewelry made of pure gold would easily bend during normal wear, so jewelers use an alloyed form known as karat gold (k). Gold content is specified by the codes 14k, 18k, and 24k (pure gold).
White gold contains ~10–25% nickel, zinc, platinum, and/or palladium, which results in a harder metal than yellow gold. To cover the yellow tint, white gold is usually plated with rhodium, a member of the platinum family. Rhodium plating is considered regular maintenance because over time, the rhodium wears away. Rose gold and pink gold are achieved when gold is alloyed with copper.
A metal thirty times rarer than gold, the white luster of platinum is unique. Largely hypoallergenic and tarnish-resistant, it is also known for its durability. Jewelry made with platinum is marked 900Pt, 950 Plat, or Plat and is an alloyed group of six heavy metals, including platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.
Palladium is a member of the platinum group metals that all have similar chemical properties, but palladium has the lowest melting point and is the least dense. In addition to being very durable, palladium is a naturally white metal that is hypoallergenic. Palladium is stamped 950 Pd or 950 Pall.
Tungsten Carbide, stamped TUNGSTEN, has the highest scratch resistance of all metals used in jewelry. The color ranges from white to gray and is both hypoallergenic and tarnish resistant. A popular choice for men’s wedding bands due to its strength and lower cost.
Styles & Settings
Solitaire engagement rings are the most traditional style. Focusing on the beauty of a single diamond, most appear in a classic four- or six-prong setting. Drama can be added with a cathedral or contour style, where the sides of the band rise gracefully toward the top of the stone.
Three Stone Setting
Three stone engagement rings contain a center diamond flanked by two side stones. The cut of the side stone can be the same or complementary to the center stone. Most commonly, each stone is held in place by three or more prongs, which allow the diamond to be visible from all sides for maximum brilliance.
Halo engagement rings highlight one or multiple stones by surrounding them with smaller diamonds. The look of engagement rings with halos can range from vintage to contemporary.
A Cathedral setting, as you might suspect, resembles the building shape of its namesake, with a band that gradually rises upward to secure the center diamond. This not only adds structural stability to the ring, but also allows additional light to enter the diamond, creating greater sparkle.
Tension set rings are among the most contemporary styles. Suspended by metal on two sides, the diamond is held by the pressure of the ring, giving it the appearance that it’s floating.
In a channel setting, a row of stones is nestled into the ring, with metal running parallel on two sides.
Bar setting is a variation of the popular channel setting, where gems are held in place between parallel vertical channels. With flush-set gemstones, only the top of the gem is visible. Because no precious metal prongs are required to hold the gem in place, the ring’s surface appears smooth and even, permitting a number of pattern varieties.
Bezel set rings showcase a center diamond surrounded completely by metal, which protects the edge of the stones.
Pavé engagement rings feature small diamonds of a uniform size that are offset from row to row, creating a honeycomb pattern. The result is a ring paved in diamonds.
French Pavé Setting
In a French pavé setting, the securing metal beads contain small V-shaped cutout beneath each diamond, making them appear as split prongs from the top—and making the setting highly sought-after for its sparkle and sophistication.
Scalloped Pavé Setting
The scalloped pavé setting employs the pavé technique, but the metal beads that secure each diamond feature small U-shaped cutouts, creating a glamorous scalloped profile.
Bead-set is a glamorous one, with gemstones closely set together for a dramatic, diamond-encrusted look. The stones are held in place by small beads of precious metal, hence the name.
Shared Prong Setting
A shared prong setting features adjacent gemstones that share precious metal prongs, allowing more light to pass through and illuminate them in a dramatic fashion.
Milgrain settings (derived from the French millegrain—“a thousand grains”) feature a closely set row of metal beads that are typically used as an ornamental border.
A singular expression shaped by earth, by hand, and ultimately, by the story and sentiment it represents.
We want our customers to feel that the jewelry they wear or present to others is a true extension of them. For decades our family has been designing and customizing fine jewelry. If the specific piece you’re searching for does not yet exist, it’s our joy to help you articulate precisely what you hope to express—even what you aren’t quite sure how to say—through the singular piece we’ll design alongside you.
Reasons for buying diamonds are as varied as the people who desire them.
Through the years, diamonds have provided fulfillment for emotional and practical needs. They are sought-after gifts, status symbols, tokens of romance, and even long-term investments. Most of all, the physical character of a diamond is unparalleled in the natural world and more unique than any other gemstone.
DIAMONDS ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Their exquisite beauty and mystique provide us an outward expression of love. They create an aura of success and inspire feelings of distinction. A diamond interacts with white light better than any other gemstone, giving it fire and brilliance that dazzles the eye and provokes the heart.
DIAMONDS ARE RARE.
Although there have been new discoveries of gem diamond resources, the supply is still limited. Larger diamonds are increasingly more difficult to find. When 250 tons of ore (mineral-bearing rock) are blasted, crushed, and processed, chances are there will only be one carat of rough diamonds recovered; less than 20 percent of all rough diamonds are suitable for cutting into gem-quality diamonds for jewelry. While diamond prices may fluctuate with economic conditions, even after years of being worn and enjoyed, a diamond retains its value and may be passed from generation to generation.
DIAMONDS ARE DURABLE.
The word diamond is derived from the Greek adamas, which means unconquerable—particularly fitting, as diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. In fact, because of the hardness of this gem, the vast majority of diamonds mined today are not sold to be manufactured into jewelry, but are utilized in industrial tool parts.
Learn about the key characteristics of diamonds—carat, clarity, color and cut— to make your purchasing experience smarter, easier and more enjoyable.
More than 50 years ago, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) created a universal standard for determining and describing diamond quality: the 4 Cs (Carat, Clarity, Color & Cut) and the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, which today includes the D-Z color scale, the Flawless-I3 clarity scale, and the Excellent-Poor cut grading scale. This standard is accepted by virtually every professional jeweler and used by every knowledgeable diamond buyer in the world.*
At Zadok’s we have introduced two additional Cs: Certificate and Cost. With our expert advice, you will have the education and confidence you need to make this important decision.
* Provided by GIA
Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats.
One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats.
Because diamonds are naturally formed under extreme heat and pressure over thousands of years, they often contain unique birthmarks.
These birthmarks are either internam (inclusions) or externam (blemishes). Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and effect a diamond’s value.
No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. Exceptionally rare.
Very Slightly Included (VSI & VS2)
Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.
Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2)
Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (vvs1 & vvs2)
Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, & I3)
Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
The most widely used color grading system is the one developed by GIA.
This system identifies colors with alphabetical letters ranging from D (colorless) to Z+ (a diamond with a light yellow or brownish shade). Stones with a grade from D to J are sometimes referred to as white diamonds. Many of these color distinctions are subtle and are nearly invisible to the untrained eye. These slight differences make a difference in diamond quality and price.
For example, the nuances of color are so fine between the grades that the average consumer cannot tell the difference between a D and F color. However, the price difference between D and F color diamonds many be as much as a 10% to 20%, depending on their size and clarity. The GIA color grading scale above applies only to white diamonds and not to fancy color diamonds.
Cut is an essential factor in determining a diamond’s value, fire, sparkle and brilliance.
Relative to its long history, only in modern times have cutters been able to successfully harness a diamond’s potential beauty. If the diamond cut too deep or too shallow, it will not reflect light nor fiery brilliance in the most optimal fashion.
In 2004, GIA unveiled a diamond cut grading system for standard round brilliants in the D-to-Z color range. This system, the product of intensive research and testing, assigns an overall diamond cut grade as one of the following: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The diamond shape you choose is a matter of personal preference. Zadok Jewelers carries many different shapes and sizes of stones. Your consultant will assist you with additional information to help you make a decision.
Not all certificates are created equally.
Staffed by expert diamond graders and gemologists, GIA laboratories set the standard for grading practices used worldwide. Known for its strict impartiality and benchmark grading services, GIA is entrusted with grading and identifying more gems than any other lab, including some of the world’s most famous diamonds.
Because of their outstanding reputation for having the strictest standards, a GIA Certificate with your purchase is highly respected by your insurance company and solidifies your investment. A certificate thoroughly describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not place a monetary value on the gem. (You will receive a complimentary appraisal with your purchase.)
GIA Graduate Gemologists on the Zadok staff combine their education and vast experience to present diamonds that meet the criteria of our valued customers. We select only the best of the best.
GIA is an independent, nonprofit, gemological research and academic organization focused on the science of gemology and is internationally recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology™. Through research, education, laboratory services, instrument development, and communications outreach, GIA is dedicated to serving the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. GIA can be found on the web at www.gia.edu.
Zadok Jewelers is committed to the ongoing global efforts to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.
In January 2003, governments, non-governmental organizations and the diamond industry created an intergovernmental agreement called the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (“KPCS”) to eradicate conflict diamonds from the world’s diamonds supply. Zadok Jewelers participates in a voluntary program of self-regulation to complement the KPCS in cooperation with the leading organizations in the jewelry industry, including the World Diamond Council and Jewelers of America. Through these joint efforts and as announced by Kimberley Process authorities in 2004, well over 99% of the world’s diamond supply is certified to be from sources that are free from conflict. Zadok Jewelers continues to do its part to ensure the diamonds we sell are certified from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with the United Nations resolutions.