Make it last forever

And ever and ever...

One of our most recent crusades is against the commonly held belief that you should never take your most precious jewelry off. We have a theory around here that it happened by watching our mothers' behavior around their diamond/emerald/sapphire/ruby rings and earrings (always blame your parents, right?). Admittedly, we've all had that recurring nightmarish vision of a diamond stud washed down the drain or an heirloom emerald lost to the nether reaches of the heating vents, but we have a scarier ghost story to tell here. 

Diamonds should be forever, but sometimes they aren't.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Image courtesy of Serge Ouachée

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Image courtesy of Serge Ouachée

Things that will pack your ring full of unspeakable horrors and dull the stone:
Gardening. Dirt, rocks, worm bits, whatever! If it's not getting stuffed under your stone, it's softening the facets or putting gouges in the ring or stone.
Washing dishes/Cleaning. Bang, clang, crash. The soap, detergent, food particles, and the abrasiveness of the sponge can all pull a number on your rock and setting. 
Cooking. Unless you're a Puritan, you probably use some form of oil or fat when you cook. Those can build up as deposits in the crevices of your ring and dull the sparkle. Plus, who wants meatloaf hiding under their diamond? (Insert blood diamond joke here).
Lotion and makeup. Make removing your ring part of the ritual of getting ready. When you apply lotion, take your ring off and allow yourself to dry before putting it back on. Why? I'm sure you've guessed by now, but cosmetics build up. We've seen some scary Cucumber Melon scented rings in our time.

More things that will wreck your shit:
Exercise. This is by no means a valid excuse to skip the gym today, but to avoid any undue crushing, twisting, or sweating affecting your setting, we would absolutely recommend ditching the ring. Carrying anything heavy can stretch the ring or damage the prongs.
Swimming. Bare is beautiful! The ocean eats jewelry all the time, so unless you want to leave gifts for the mermaids, leave your jewels at home. Chlorine in pools is also extremely corrosive and will chew at metal and stones. 
Babies. We love babies, but they tug and pull and wiggle. Chains can snap, earrings can pop, or diamonds can appear later in a diaper. 

To be direct as possible, if you wear your ring every second of every day you will destroy it. Diamonds are the favorite for engagement jewelry specifically because they can take a beating, but you should treat them well. Stones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies are also durable, but they're not invincible. In a later post, we'll talk about other popular (but scarier and softer) stones like pearls, opals, and turquoise. And with gold, much like how the river will wear down rocks over time, daily activities will wear down your gold. 

Also, if you got your ring from us we will always clean it for free and look it over for any damage that may have happened along the way. We love our people!

Kate Cosden
Meet the Maker: Melissa Joy Manning

California royalty.

Next weekend our store is hosting a total case takeover of Melissa Joy Manning's work, so we figured it would be a good time for y'all to get to know her! 

This is Melissa: 

<3.

<3.

And this is some of Melissa's work:

Do you think you're ready for this jelly (opal)?

Do you think you're ready for this jelly (opal)?

I'm pretty sure that rock is compressed unicorn.

I'm pretty sure that rock is compressed unicorn.

Psychedelic sunset, maaaaan.

Psychedelic sunset, maaaaan.


Ethos.

Every piece of Melissa's line is hand made in their New York or California studio by people who make a living wage and will actually be able to retire. We love her sincere respect for artisans and craftspeople who make work like this possible.
From her website: 

Domestic handmade production eliminates the heavy waste and pollution that can come from high volume and machine made jewelry, and it reduces the carbon imprint that massive international import and export leaves on the earth. Crafting each piece by hand imbues our creations with a sense of spirit and energy that cannot be replicated in mass market production, and it increases the demand for artisan job opportunities in our own community.

Everything is made to last a lifetime and works counter to the culture of disposable fashion we live in now. In addition to that, all of the gold they use is recycled, which in its small way helps limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury that are dumped into the soil during the mining process.

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The Woman.

Melissa started her company in 1997 with $1000 and a whole lot of willpower. She visited local stores she liked and asked if they were interested in carrying her jewelry (different times, huh?). By continually reinvesting in herself, she built the company into what it it today: a bicoastal operation with a cult following.

As an avid traveller and nature lover, she gleans her inspiration from the world around her and from the natural beauty of Northern California. You can just see it in the stones she chooses, right? 

Melissa is the co-chair of the CFDA Sustainability Committee, and as an advisory board member to Lexus/CFDA Fashion Positive and Nest, where she challenges the perceptions of preciousness and also those of manufacturing processes in the fashion and jewelry worlds.  

How look glamorous holding an artichoke (yeah, i know it's not an artichoke but I have no idea what tf that is). Take notes.

How look glamorous holding an artichoke (yeah, i know it's not an artichoke but I have no idea what tf that is). Take notes.


Why we chose her.

To us, MJM's line represents everything we want to carry in our store. We love that she eschews traditional white diamond jewelry and asks you to think about what makes something precious and irreplaceable. All of her work is either one of a kind or limited run, which makes anything you buy from her line extra special. We love the chunky stones and bold colors, that it's all "green" gold (if you look into gold mining practices, this would become important to you too), and that everything is made by respected craftsmen in the United States. 

Kate Cosden
Engagement Series, Part 2: Diamond Basics

All that glitters...

Alright, so now that you have an idea of what her style might be, let's talk about picking a stone. We know this is probably one of the more intimidating aspects of ring purchasing because the De Beers branding from days of yore has pressured us into thinking we should spend three month's salary on a ring. Granted, if you want to do that, please do it here! But ultimately, we want to help you make the best choice. We believe the best customers are educated customers, so let's break down diamonds today! Let's start with the basics.

Brilliant diamond, left. Diamond in the rough, right. Images courtesy of GIA.


The 4C's

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Clarity

Sizes up the number of inclusions, blemishes, and other whoopsie-daisies.

Image courtesy of GIA. Photo by Gary Roskin GG, FGA

Very few things in life are perfect, and the same goes for diamonds. There is a grading scale for diamonds that ranges from I/Included (most diamonds fall into this category) to F/Flawless (many jewelers will go their whole careers without seeing one of these babies). Diamonds on the upper end of the scale are going to have the signature diamond glitter, but they aren't for everyone. We sell and love heavily included diamonds for engagement rings, because the inclusions really set your diamond apart from everyone else's (and has the potential to save you a ton of cash).


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Color

For white diamonds, we take a look at the tint to determine value.

Image courtesy of GIA & Tino Hammid

For white diamonds, they are graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light color). Colored diamonds (think blue, pink, red, etc)  are valued completely differently, so we'll address that in a separate post. Truly colorless diamonds are very rare, so yes, they are hella expensive. Don't fret though, it's almost impossible to tell a D from a G unless you're trained, so if it's a white diamond you seek, we can find one that matches your budget. 


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Cut

The cut of a diamond can elevate it from "meh" to "DANG, GIRL."

The whole reason we love diamonds so much is because of the way they play with light, i.e. how goddamn sparkly they are. There are three factors at play when it comes to diamonds that thrill you: the white light is called brightness, the color flashes are called fire, and the contrast between light and dark in a stone is called scintillation. 


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Carat Weight

'Nuff said.

Something important to note that a carat is a measurement of weight, not of diamond diameter or optical size. Diamonds of the same carat weight can look dramatically different sizes because of the depth or shallowness of the stone. Generally speaking, the larger the stone the larger the cost, but diamond pricing can seem convoluted. Double the size doesn't mean double the cost. A one carat diamond is easier for the gem cutter to find in raw material than a three carat diamond, and the price increases exponentially to reflect that rarity.


We farmed the GIA site like crazy for the great images and info for this post and we highly recommend them as an educational resource. We like this one for an intro and this one if you want to go all in

Kate Cosden
Fall Freshness

Transitions and change

Fall evokes many different feelings for people who live in places with seasons (giving serious side eye to you, Southern California and Hawaii). We're all fall babies at Nine Roses (two Scorpios and a Libra, look out), so it's birthday season as well as the slow and steady shift into hibernation. Fall is change, crunchy leaves, spooky holidays, and believe it or not, the beginning of engagement season (no really, that's a thing, ask any other jeweler), so we want to show you what we've changed around here.

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Great bowls of diamonds!

Lower left and center by us, top right Yasuko Azuma.


We need to talk about color

Coming from Upstate New York, fall was always a brief and anxiety filled affair. "WINTER IS COMING," people would cry on the streets, knowing that soon everything would be grey and cold for six months. I don't think I ever truly appreciated color until I spent a winter up there, so these luminous beauties really speak to me. 

1: Nine Roses. Grey diamonds, sapphires, 18k yellow gold.
2: Nine Roses. Paraiba tourmaline, diamonds, 18k white gold. 
3. Nvit Blanche. Lemon diamond, white diamonds, 18k white gold.


Witchy Vibes

Halloween is without a doubt one of the best holidays and while you won't find us in a sexy bumblebee costume anytime soon, we embrace the freedom it gives us to be someone or something else just for a moment. We love that Halloween gives you the chance to transform yourself before winter comes and honestly, just to let your freak flag fly in general. So in addition to colors and sparkles, we're also thinking about the uncanny, the esoteric, the odd, and the "other."

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Momento Mori

#2spoopy4u

Both rings by Nvit Blanche. 18k yellow, diamonds, and enamel. We love how the enamel gives the skull a ghostly cast.

Both pieces Nvit Blanche. Necklace is 18k rose gold and shows the Scorpio constellation (hellooooo birthday present!). Bracelets are 18k yellow and show Perseus galaxy. You can read more about this series here.


Hope you've enjoyed this little peek into our cabinet of curiosities! Next week we're getting a really exciting shipment from a designer we've never represented before, so we will show you that as soon as we have it in our hands. 

xoxo kate

Kate Cosden