Education Center

Designed to answer all of your questions, Universal Jewel’s Education Center will give you all the information to help you find the perfect jewelry from him/her.

DIAMOND EDUCATION

Choosing The Right Diamond

For most people, buying a diamond is a new experience, but that doesn't mean it should be overwhelming. Understanding a diamond's quality characteristics is straightforward and simple. Blue Nile's diamond education is designed to answer all your questions. It explains a diamond's characteristics, how those characteristics influence appearance, and which are more important than others. In just a few minutes you'll know everything you need to know to find your perfect diamond.

This short tutorial explains the Four C's- cut, color, clarity, and carat weight - the most important characteristics of buying a diamond.

Shape

As the name suggests, shape (round, princess, radiant, etc.) describes a diamond's form, primarily as viewed from above. All diamond shapes have different attributes, but overall the beauty of the individual shapes is a matter of personal taste.

Clarity

Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades.

Cut

The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. Put simply, the better a diamond is cut, the more sparkle it will have.

Carat Weight

This is the term with which people are most familiar, but bear in mind that carat is specifically a measure of a diamond's weight.

Color

A diamond's color grade actually refers to the lack of color. In other words, diamonds that are white, containing little or no color, receive higher quality grades than those with visible color.

Quality

Our quality standards are among the highest of all jewelers. As the largest online diamond retailer, Blue Nile offers the largest collection of the world's finest cut diamonds. Pre-selected for exceptional quality, the cut, color, and clarity of our loose diamonds are evaluated based on a standardized grading scale.

CHAIN EDUCATION

Choosing The Right Chain

ROPE FIGARO OR CURB?

UNDERSTANDING CHAIN TYPES

There are many gold and silver chain styles available, each serving different purposes and offering different effects to the wearer. Below we list the more popular chain styles available to purchase from Chains of Gold.

Anchor / Mariner or Rambo

Similar to the Figaro chain (discussed below), except the Anchor chain alternates a single, small, round link with a larger oval link. These links resemble the chain attached to an anchor on a boat, hence the name. Available in a range of widths and popular with men in particular.

Belcher or Rolo

Comprising of oval interlocking links with alternate links turned 180°. This chain comes in a range of widths; smaller chains being more popular with females and larger, chunkier chains with males.

Bead or Ball

The ball chain has round beads fixed along a chain, either with some distance between each bead or, more popularly, strung close together with a small space in-between (as pictured). Popular for use with pendants, particular dog tag pendants.

Box

Box chains have square links rather than round links, giving the chain a ‘boxy’ appearance. Thinner versions of box chains are popular for women’s jewelry and often paired up with pendants. Thicker chains look great work by men or by women as statement pieces.

Curb

Curb chains are a very popular choice, particularly with men as they are available with heavy, large links. The curb is a simple and classic design of flat, interlocking, identical links. Historically, the links were large as they were made with very little machinery and hence were very time consuming. Nowadays however, with the advent of modern machinery, smaller and more feminine curb chains are available. Smaller curb chains work well with pendants and diamond cut or twisted curb chains tend to reflect the most light.

Figaro

The Figaro chain has flattened links which vary in size. It usually has 2 or 3 shorter links alternating with a longer link. Figaro is a style that originated in Italy and is popular with both men and women.

Gucci

Very similar to the anchor chain but the links are round as opposed to square. A wider gucci chain can make a great statement piece of jewelry. Smaller gucci chains are very pretty and a popular choice with pendants.

Rope

Rope chains are chains where small links are manipulated to avoid calling attention to their appearance; instead, they are linked in a twisted pattern to resemble a genuine rope. Rope chains come in both delicate versions where they are a popular choice for pendant necklaces, and heavier versions where the chain itself is the main attraction.

Snake

Rather than visible links, snake chains are made up of rings which fit together closely, making a chain with an appearance of a flexible tube and the texture of snakeskin. Snake chains are usually narrow and delicate. Again, a great choice for a pendant.

Singapore

At Chains of Gold, we refer to the Singapore chain as a ‘twist curb’ chain. The Singapore is made of twisted and braided fibers. Known for its strength, integrity, classic pattern and simplicity, this is a popular choice with those looking for a pendant chain.

Spiga / Wheat

Spiga or Wheat chains are normally created with four strands of twisted oval links. The links are braided and woven together to make a lovely looking chain that is quite eye-catching!

GEMSTONE EDUCATION

Choosing The Right Gemstone

Gemstones have a special allure that has fascinated humans for centuries. From the maharajahs of India to the kings of Europe these colorful stones have been valued for their hardness, bright and various colors as well as their rarity. Gemstones can bring your jewelry to life by adding a bright splash of color. This gemstone guide will give you the tools you need to shop for gemstones with confidence by giving you the understanding of the five basic characteristics of gemstones: color, clarity, size, enhancements, and care.

Gemstones, like diamonds are sold in carats, a measure of weight that equals 0.20 grams. Not all gemstones of equal weight are the same size. All varieties of gemstones are made of different mineral and trace elements making them have their own unique chemical composition and density. Some gemstones, such as emerald, contain many minerals like beryllium, silicon, oxygen, chromium, vanadium and iron; whereas others, like diamond sapphire, only contain a few different minerals. Since gemstones can vary in size even when carat weights remain the same, some gemstones are also sold in calibrated or uniform sizes by measurements in millimeters.

As you probably know, gemstones can come in essentially every color of the rainbow. The color of the gemstone is considered to be one of its core characteristics and is one of the most important aspects when determining the value and beauty of a gemstone. When choosing a gemstone's color it is important to examine the hue, tone and saturation of the stone.

Hue

Hue refers to the gradient or variety of a color in a stone. You may be surprised that one gem variety can have a variety of hues. For example the sapphire not only comes in the traditional blue that you think of when you hear the word sapphire, but it can also come in a range of other colors including slightly pink, purple, yellow, orange and green. The hue of a gemstone can greatly impact its value. Some gemstone colors, specifically hues like slightly purplish blue or slightly pinkish orange, are more sought after than others.

Tone

Tone refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Tone is usually used to describe the intensity of the color which can range from nearly clear to dark and almost opaque. When light, dark, darkish or other adjectives to our color descriptions, we are referring to the tone of the color being described. For example, the most valued green color is a “grassy” green. Typical light pale lime or dark hunter greens are not as valued and will be less expensive. Of course color is a personal preference and just because a color isn’t as highly sought after does not mean that it will not appear beautiful and unique to you.

Saturation

Saturation refers to the relative intensity of a color, ranging from weak to vivid. A gemstone with excellent saturation will reflect a pure vibrant color without any grey or brownish hues. Top valued gemstones are rated with either an excellent or very good saturation giving the stone a vibrant deep color.

PRECIOUS METALS EDUCATION

Choosing The Right Precious Metals

Gold

The most popular metal for jewelry, gold adds a timeless, classic beauty to engagement rings. Pure gold is combined with other metals to create a harder, more durable alloy and to alter its color to create white, rose, or yellow shades. At Brilliance, we only use 18K and 14K gold in our jewelry and engagement rings, offering our customer’s jewelry created using the most highly-recommended purities of gold.

   Gold is the world's most coveted metal.  It has been used for jewelry for thousands of years. Because of it's excellent malleability and alluring glow, it remains the most popular metal for jewelry.

Pure gold is called "24 karat," meaning that 24 out of 24 parts are gold.  24 karat gold is rarely used for jewelry because it is too soft and easily damaged.  Alloys such as copper and nickel are added to harden and increase the durability of gold. This lowers the purity of the gold, creating 18 karat, 14 karat, and 10 karat gold. 

24k

24/24

100%  gold

18k

18/24

75.0% gold

14k

14/24

58.5% gold

10k

10/24

41.7% gold

Gold's natural color is the rich yellow it is known for.  The color can be changed depending on the alloys that it is mixed with.

Yellow Gold - The color of yellow gold is affected by its karat.  The higher the percent of pure gold, the richer the color will be. Copper and silver are the metals added to gold to maintain a yellow color.

White Gold

White gold is created by mixing gold with white colored metals such as palladium or nickel. Even with white metals added, white gold still has a slight yellowish tint. To achieve a bright white appearance, white gold jewelry is often plated with rhodium (a bright white metal of the platinum family). The rhodium plating can eventually wear away, allowing the off-white color to become visible.  If this happens, the jewelry can be re-plated with rhodium.

Platinum

Platinum is hypoallergenic and is four times more durable than gold. Its silvery-white surface is visually comparable to white gold, although it is noticeably heavier. Consumers can expect to pay two times more for a platinum ring than they would for its gold counterpart. At Brilliance, all of our platinum rings are marked with a 950 purity (95% pure) designation, indicating the highest-grade platinum available.

Palladium

Deemed a smarter, lighter alternative to platinum, palladium has gained immense popularity as the jewelry metal of choice by women and men alike. Palladium is a precious metal that possesses an uncanny resemblance to platinum, without the high price or heavy weight. Other appealing characteristics of palladium are that it is hypoallergenic and resistant to tarnish caused by prolonged wear.

 

Silver

A soft metal with a white coloring and a gleaming finish, silver is a by-product of gold, copper, lead, and zinc refining. Originally thought of as more valuable than gold, silver is now considerably less expensive than other precious metals. The finest sterling silver jewelry imprinted with a purity of .925, which indicates a ratio of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other alloy metals. Any silver containing less than 92.5% pure silver is not considered sterling.

Alternative Metals Used in Rings

Cobalt

Recently, cobalt has become increasingly popular as a material for wedding rings because of its durability, silvery-white shine, hypoallergenic properties and affordable price tag. Perfect for an active lifestyle, cobalt is typically used in men’s wedding bands and rings. Cobalt contains a specific mix of alloys for a beautiful, yet durable, shine.

Tungsten

Tungsten jewelry is a popular metal choice in fine jewelry due to its durability and longevity. Tungsten is combined with carbon and other elements to form an alloy that is 10 times harder than gold. When professionally polished, tungsten has a high, long-lasting gleam and is more scratch-resistant than other precious metals

Titanium

Similar in color to platinum, titanium is a silver-grey metal that boasts incredible strength without added density and weight. Ideal for those with allergies or skin sensitivities, titanium is 100% hypoallergenic. Although lightweight, titanium jewelry is more resistant to bending and scratching when compared to pieces made from other metals.

Stainless Steel

Although not a traditional choice for fine jewelry, stainless steel is being used more frequently for men's rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Its solid durability, hypoallergenic properties, and silvery-white color contributes to its appeal. Perfect for those on a budget, stainless steel is considerably less expensive than other metals.

Metal Finishes

Precious metals can be finished in particular ways to produce specialized looks. The finish helps accentuate details and the style of a piece of fine jewelry. Some of the most popular metal finishes include:

 High Polish

Achieving a highly reflective gleam, this finish is the most popular and is perfect for fine jewelry and classy engagement rings.  

Satin or Matte

Commonly used in contemporary jewelry pieces, this reduced-shine finish is best for drawing attention to diamonds and other gemstones.  

Brushed

A textured look that creates a "brushstroke" effect, this finish retains some of the metals original shine while adding a unique texture.

 Hammered

Popular in men’s rings, the metal is hammered and then given a satin finish for a truly unique texture and style.