Mokume, with its beautiful patterns, is beautiful all on its own. Many people, though, would like to use mokume for an engagement ring or have diamonds/gemstones set into their wedding band.
If a ring is to be worn daily you need to have a center stone (or stones set into the band) that is hard enough to not chip or break from everyday wear. Though even diamonds have been known to chip, some gemstones are harder and better for a ring worn daily/frequently.
We recommend diamonds, sapphires or rubies for rings worn frequently. The Mohs scale of hardness is used to denote the hardness of gemstones. Diamonds are a 10 with sapphires and rubies each being a 9. We recommend not using a gemstone that is less than an 8 on the Mohs scale. Though softer gemstones can be used the risk increases for having to replace the stone at some time in the future.
We can set a diamond or gemstone you provide or assist you with obtaining them. Below is some information to assist you in understanding your options.
Diamonds are available both as natural diamonds and lab created diamonds. Lab created diamonds have all the same characteristics as a natural diamond but usually at a lesser price.
Diamonds can come with a grading certificate from a lab or be ungraded. The most well known lab is GIA and many of the grading reports are based on what they developed. You often hear about the 4Cs of diamond grading: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. There are other aspects to consider and we recommend also looking at the girdle designation (we recommend medium girdle).
The 4Cs of Diamonds:
Color: The color is graded from D to Z; the less color the higher the grade (highest being D). If you wish to have a colorless or near colorless diamond it is recommended to look at diamonds D to H.
Clarity: Unless a diamond is internally flawless (IF) there are inclusions and flaws in diamonds. Some can be seen by the naked eye and others can only be seen with magnification. To have a diamond that has fewer inclusions and does not have inclusions visible to the naked eye one would want clarity ratings of IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2.
Cut: This refers to how well the diamond is cut and how then the symmetry, polish and proportions interact with light. It does not refer to the shape of the diamond.
Carat weight: The larger the diamond the more costly a diamond is per carat when compared to a diamond of equal quality but of smaller carat weight.
The girdle is the part of the diamond that divides the top (crown) from the bottom (pavillion). Ideally one wants a medium girdle on their diamond. You will also see notations such as thin, medium-thin, medium-thick, thick.
Shapes: Though round is the shape one sees most frequently in engagement rings, other shapes are popular as well as less common shapes are attractive for certain designs or meaning. The diamond shapes include: asscher, cushion, emerald, heart, marquise, oval, pear, princess, radiant.
Colors: Diamonds are also available in “fancy colors”. Natural fancy colored diamonds are some of the most expensive gemstones on earth. However you can buy diamonds that have had color added via irradiation.
There are many incredibly beautiful gemstones that can be used in jewelry and rings. However for rings that are worn daily/often you need hard stones that will hold up under the pressures of frequent wear. For our rings we recommend diamonds, sapphires and rubies, due to their hardness and durability. We can set other gemstones though they may last a lifetime they do have a higher risk for cracks or breakage over time. There are some gemstones that are so soft we do not recommend them (such as opals). Most of these softer gemstones will work well in other jewelry but not for rings.
Gemstones can be natural or lab created. Natural gemstones often have imperfections that affect their quality and value. Just as with diamonds, some of these imperfections can be seen with the naked eye and others are only seen under magnification. Lab created gemstones have all the characteristics (such as hardness) of a natural gemstone but without the imperfections. Not all gemstones are also available as a lab created gemstone. One can usually find lab created alexandrites, aqua spinels, sapphires (various colors), emerald, ruby). Lab created gemstones can cost significantly less than a natural gemstone.
The hardness of gemstones are noted from 1 to 10 (hardest). Diamonds are a 10; rubies and sapphires are 9. We do not recommend using gemstones that are less than an 8 (such as alexandrite, cubic zirconia, spinel, topaz).
We understand that there is often a sentimental reason to pick a gemstone (anniversary month, birthday month) or the history of a gemstone…or just the look of a gemstone…but one needs to understand the risks of using a softer gemstone. If color is one of the reason for a particular gemstone you may find the color or a color close to it in sapphires.
Sapphires come in a wide range of shapes and colors. You can find sapphires in blue, green, orange, pink, purple and yellow. Within each of those colors you will find variations (light to dark or different hues of color). Generally sapphires will cost less than a diamond in an equal size but rarer colors and cuts can increase the cost of a sapphire.
Color, clarity and cut (as well as weight) will affect the cost of a sapphire. For more information check out GIA’s information on sapphires.
Color is the most important quality when looking for a ruby. The highest quality and value are those that are a vibrant red to slightly purplish red.
Clarity refers to the inclusions. Rubies without an inclusion are incredibly rare. Therefore the question is how visible are the inclusions and how much do they affect the brightness of the ruby.
Check out GIA’s information on rubies.