Archive for January, 2011

How we Select a Diamond for your Celtic-Inspired Puzzle Engagement Ring

January 30th, 2011 No comments

Selecting a Diamond or a Colored Gemstone
Would you prefer to select a diamond or a colored gemstone such as a: sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, blue topaz, tanzanite, green tourmaline, or another stone?

We will work closely with you by email or telephone in selecting your stone. We will give you honest information.
We will send a diamond to you for your inspection before mounting it in your ring, if you wish. You will simply pay for the round-trip shipping.

Since Crystal Realm is a relatively small business with low overhead, we can save you money on a diamond. We are a little “hungrier” and more motivated than many other diamond businesses, so we will always give you the best deal we possibly can. In addition, we purchase our diamonds from one of the top diamond houses in the world, so we can assure you of exceptional quality from a company committed to conflict-free diamonds.

In addition, it’s important for you to know that we don’t buy quantities of diamonds in “lots.”  We purchase diamonds and colored gemstones one at a time to order.  So when you order from us, you know that we’ll select your gemstone especially for your ring, choosing the very best and brightest diamond or gemstone that we can possibly find for you. We bring almost 50 years of combined experience with diamonds and precious gems to the task of finding the perfect stone for your ring! When we take delivery of your diamond or colored gemstone, it first has to pass our personal inspection, before we will consider setting it on your ring.  Then when we ship your ring to you, you have to be delighted! If your heart is not lifted when you open the package and see the ring, then you need to call me immediately to let me know.  Don’t wait to see if it “grows on you.”  It won’t.  If you’re not thrilled, then we need to address the issue immediately and procure and set another stone in your ring. 

There are two routes to go when selecting a diamond for your puzzle engagement ring. Although we will save you money with either method, the first and most popular method, is known as Diamond Buying Made Easy, Crystal Realm Style. This guarantees you a diamond of excellent quality with brilliant sparkle and beauty on her hand.

Marquise Diamond Puzzle Ring with Latin "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine" Custom Bridal Set


The second method is a higher budget method for diamonds in the VS2 to VVS1 clarity range, at the very end of this post.

Crystal Realm’s Extraordinary Six-Way Diamond Guarantee

1.  Purchasing Your Dream

Whether you are purchasing a diamond engagement ring, an anniversary gift or a special reward of diamond jewelry, you deserve the best. Red Box Diamonds® offer you more than you imagined possible. Every purchase of a Red Box Diamond® (a diamond of 0.375CT or above) is a brilliant choice.

2.  A Guarantee Above All Others
Each Red Box Diamond® is a unique gift of nature, meant to be cherished for a lifetime. It is our responsibility and our desire that you be perfectly satisfied with your diamond purchase. If you are not satisfied, for any reason, return your diamond to your jeweler (that would be Crystal Realm) within their specified return policy guidelines*, and your diamond will be replaced, no questions asked.

Mandira’s note:
Tom, with whom I co-founded Crystal Realm, and I have always joked that we  love our products so much that we’re always happy to buy them back!  The truth is that on custom jewelry over $1,000.00, we are not able to give refunds, though, because we cannot sell your custom ring to someone else.  The pledge that we make to you, though, is that we will work with you until you are absolutely thrilled with the diamond engagement ring we provide you.  If you’re not ecstatic about the diamond you receive from us in your puzzle ring, please let me know within a couple of days, so that we may switch it out for a new one right away.  Our pledge also means that if for any reason you aren’t thrilled with the weave of your ring, or any other aspect of it, we’ll go as far as make an entirely new ring for your diamond or colored gemstone.

3.  Accurate Grading
Each Red Box Diamond® comes with a grading report from an independent lab or a comprehensive report from Stuller. We guarantee our reports provide accurate grading information. If you feel your Red Box Diamond® with a Stuller report is not accurate, we will exchange or refund your purchase within 30 days from the date of purchase (via Crystal Realm). At any time in the future, should the diamond purchased be graded by any of the following independent gemological laboratories (GIA, AGS, HRD, IGI or EGL) and the grade of the stone disputed, we will exchange your diamond or adjust the price of the Red Box Diamond® in question.

4.  Guaranteed Value
When you are ready to upgrade your Red Box Diamond®, we can help by offering a phenomenal Trade-Up Program. You can have confidence that the diamond you are purchasing will hold its value over time. When you are ready, you can trade in your Red Box Diamond® for a stone of greater value and receive a credit toward your new purchase of a Red Box Diamond®*. Ask Mandira at Crystal Realm for details.

*Diamonds must be in their original condition to qualify for the Trade-Up Program.

5.  Free Loss Protection for One Year
To help ensure your purchase is properly protected, all Red Box Diamonds® come with free loss protection for one full year.* This provides you with worldwide coverage against theft, loss, or mysterious disappearance. Free coverage of the Red Box Diamond® begins on the postmarked date of the registration form. There is no deductible.
*This applies to diamonds residing in the United States.

In the event of a loss, simply contact Mandira at Crystal Realm for a replacement. This helps to guarantee that you will receive the same quality merchandise as you originally purchased.

6.  Secure Identification
You can have peace of mind that the diamond you purchased is unique. Each Red Box Diamond® comes with the added security of a unique identifier. A laser-engraved number, matching the grading report, is etched on the girdle of the stone. This number allows for proof positive identification.

Plus Custom Diamond Engraving upon Request
Custom engraving is available. You can inscribe a secret message of love on your diamond for a nominal fee. Ask Mandira for details.

*Red Box Diamond® benefits apply to most diamonds weighing 3/8 carat (0.375CT) and larger. We do reserve the right to modify or discontinue benefits at any time. Program benefits are not combinable with other offers.

Guinevere Royal Diamond Engagement Ring with Sapphire Accents

Guinevere Royal Diamond Engagement Ring with Sapphire Accents

Diamond Buying Made Easy, the Crystal Realm Way

Now you know about the multiple guarantees we provide you, courtesy of our diamond vendor.  Now let me spell out how we simplify the diamond search process for you.

Our concern is always in finding you the biggest diamond, with the prettiest cut and shape, the most sparkle, and with no flaws visible to the unaided eye, that will look beautiful on her hand in the price range that you prefer.

Your diamond will be in the top range of color D-E-F, will be cut for maximum sparkle, will be the carat weight of your choice, and will have no inclusions visible to the eye.  We found that starting in 2010, there have been specific circumstances in which we offered or acquired for a client a diamond in the near-colorless G (top of the near-colorless G-H-I-J range). We’ve only done this a few times so far, and in each case, it was because we found a G color diamond with other outstanding attributes.

The easiest way for us to secure a diamond for your puzzle ring is if you decide how much you want to spend, and we’ll get you the best possible diamond for your price, subject to your approval.  However, we also offer you a list of the seven most popular diamond size ranges with prices for each, to help you in your decision making.  In fact, 75% of our clients prefer to select from the most popular sizes:

Seven Most Popular Diamond Size Ranges for Crystal Realm Puzzle Engagement Rings
.375 – .41CT  (this is the approximately 3/8CT range)
.43 – .46CT
.47 – .52CT  (1/2CT range)
.57 – .62CT  (6/10CT range) .
.67 – .72CT  (7/10CT range) – This is the largest size of diamond or colored gemstone we can mount on a four-
band, medium-weight puzzle ring. Above this weight, we need to go to a heavier weight of precious metal stock.
.95 – 1.05CT  (1CT range) – We quote rings over .72CT individually, based on weight of ring planned
and your grading preferences

For diamonds of .375Ct to .72CT, you will receive a certified gemstone analysis of your diamond, along with free insurance against loss of the stone for one year, and complete Red Box Diamond® packaging.  Diamonds in the 1CT range or greater are accompanied by a GIA analysis (Gemological Institute of America).For diamonds smaller than .375CT, we do not provide certification of your diamond. This is because certifying diamonds is costly, so smaller diamonds do not tend to be certified.  Still, we have a reputation for quality diamonds and for delivering legitimate diamonds of great beauty in the smaller sizes.

Marquise Diamond Puzzle Ring with Irish Claddagh Band

Marquise Diamond Puzzle Ring with Irish Claddagh Band


The Four-C’s of Diamond Buying Made easy.

If you wish us to select a diamond for you, based on our judgement, as almost all of our customers do, then here is the diamond quality we guarantee you.

1. Cut – Guaranteed sparkle and stunning beauty on her hand. Since cut  governs sparkle, your diamond will have a good to excellent cut.  If we don’t have a diamond in stock suitable for your ring, we order one immediately. If the first diamond we get in doesn’t meet our standards for cut and sparkle, we send it back and get another. We will only mount a diamond on your ring if it meets our exacting standards.

2. Clarity – We typically look for a diamond of approximately SI1 to SI2 (nearly clear) clarity – it will have only minor inclusions visible under a microscope, but none visible to the eye. Generally, we won’t use your money to purchase higher clarity that can only be seen under a microscope. You, of course, can specify that you want higher clarity, if you want the satisfaction of acquiring a higher clarity of diamond, and you are willing to pay more to achieve this.

3. Color – Colorless in the very top range: D – E – F. The color range for diamonds goes from D (colorless) to V (colored). Every diamond that we put in a white gold or platinum ring is colorless and the same is true for 95% of our yellow gold rings.

Occasionally upon finding a diamond in G or H (near-colorless) that has other very strong attributes, such as a beautiful cut, we will offer it as one of your choices.   In addition, upon client request, we have upon occasion provided diamonds with I or J color (the lower end of the “near-colorless” range), because it is one way to bring the price of a very large diamond down.  I’d like to stress that we can and will will do our very best to provide you with a diamond matching any specs you request.

4. Carat – We will provide you with the biggest and best gemstone we can find for you within an agreed upon price range.  Sometimes the best stone will be toward the lower end of the range.  For example, if your selected range is 0.375CT to 0.41CT, it may be that the very best diamond we can find for you is 0.375CT, so that is the one we’ll select.  However, if there is some challenge in selecting your diamond, we will seek to include you in the selection process, much as I did in the post from Jan. 13, 2010, entitled Finding a Marquise Diamond in the 6/10CT Range. (See Random Posts, top right)

We Will Save You Money on a Genuine, Quality Diamond
These days, you can purchase a flawless imitation diamond for very little money, so if you want a real diamond, with real value, you are most likely going to purchase a diamond with
some internal flaw or flaws. The point is, at what level can these flaws be seen? You will proudly show your wedding set to your friends and loved ones, who are not going to look at it under a microscope. They will admire it based on the four criteria mentioned above.  When we provide your diamond, it will be gorgeous – that’s our bottom line – and there will be no visible inclusions whatsoever.  You can count on that.

Selecting a Diamond in the VS, VVS, or IF Clarity Ranges
If you wish to have us select a diamond for you based on carat weight, a clarity level of from VS2 up to VVS1 or even IF (internally flawless), with D to F color and a very good to excellent cut, then please call Mandira toll-free at 1-866-573-7381 to discuss your diamond requirements. In this case, your diamond of 0.375CT or greater will be a Stuller Red Box Diamond with certification and will be subject to all of the guarantees of the Stuller Red Box Diamond, explained above in this post.

No matter what size or grade of diamond is in your puzzle engagement ring, the ring will be delivered to you in a high quality ring box.

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Keep Your Diamond or Colored Gemstone(s) Sparkling

January 29th, 2011 No comments

To learn to keep your diamond or colored gemstones sparkling, on your own, at home, please visit our new page:

Handmade diamond, four band puzzle ring with gemstone shadow wedding band

Diamond Selected

January 13th, 2011 No comments

Marquise Diamond Puzzle Ring with 6/10CT Diamond and Open Weave

Crystal Realm’s client, Frank, selected Diamond #2, from my last post.  It will be mounted on a custom, hand-woven, 14K white gold, open weave puzzle ring in size 5.5. This ring is pictured at the right.

If you have found this page for the first time, welcome!

My goal is to educate you about your jewelry choices, whether or not you ever choose to do business Crystal Realm.   Much of what I’ll share on this page is information aimed at helping you to be more in control of your jewelry acquisition, whether from us, from your local jeweler or another online business. It will help you, whether you choose to order custom jewelry or pieces you find ready made.

My method of education will be to create transparency in the process of selecting options for custom, Celtic-Inspired, hand-woven puzzle engagement rings and custom wedding rings.  To do this, I will post actual communications that I have with Crystal Realm clients, so that you can learn about selecting your own custom jewelry options.

I’ll post more info on selecting diamonds, puzzle engagement ring options, custom poesy rings and other custom wedding bands.  So far, most Crystal Realm clients contact me by phone or email first, but if you wish to contact me through a posting on this blog, please feel free.

I will not accept posts that seek to advertise your business, nor will we accept any posts that are irrelevant to our purpose of educating you on diamonds, colored gemstones, precious metals, custom jewelry and the like.

Surprising Coincidence
By the way, my client, Frank, who just ordered the ring at right, sent me this information in one of his first emails to me:

It’s funny I work for DV Brothers in the accounting department, and we make buffs and buffing compound for Stuller, which set my mind at ease a little about ordering a diamond on the Internet because I know Stuller has been around a long time and has a good reputation for quality.

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Frank.  You will be thrilled with this ring, I promise, and, as always, if there is any aspect of it that is not to your expectations, we’ll remedy it quickly, no questions asked!  (Except those required to get it right, LOL!)

And if you are new to this page, and you love the look of the marquise diamond puzzle ring pictured, you might want to check out more Crystal Realm Celtic inspired puzzle engagement rings and bridal sets.

Have a great evening!

Categories: News Tags:

Finding a Marquise Diamond in the 6/10CT Range

January 13th, 2011 No comments

As you may recall, the four characteristics of diamond grading are Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat.  This system of grading scales, called the Four C’s, was developed by the American Gemological Association in the 1940’s.  Typically, the scale is meant to stand on its own, with the diamonds graded most highly on these characteristics being the best available (and coincidentally, the most costly).

I don’t think that it’s necessary to have the deepest pockets to get a diamond that will look absolutely stunning on her hand.   So I like to think about nuances that we don’t usually hear about, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.  The truth is that there is another way to look at diamonds that frees you up to get the diamond that is “perfect” for you, without your having to break the bank for “perfection” across the scales.





Four C’s
Of the Four C’s, the ones with the most impact on how the diamond looks on her hand are color and cut.  These are what govern the beauty and sparkle.  I usually stick to the top colorless range of D-E-F color, but I also usually search on “G,” the top of the near-colorless range, because I may choose this for you, or suggest it to you as an option, if this  diamond has other outstanding attributes.

As for clarity, once you obtain a clarity level of SI1 or SI2 (or even SI3), with no inclusions visible to the unaided eye, clarity beyond that is pretty much quality you can only see under a microscope.  I can get you a diamond with any specs you want, but I’m usually asked to provide a stunning diamond at a reasonable price on a unique, hand-made puzzle ring.  So my goal is to save you money, without compromising how the diamond will look on her hand.

One additional characteristic that makes a significant difference to how a marquise diamond looks on the hand is the proportion of length to width.  What is generally considered the “ideal” ratio is 2:1 length to width, which is defined as a proportion of 2.  However, any proportion from 1.85 to 2.15 is said by the diamond industry to be very pleasing.  Still, no matter what guidelines are given to help you with your choice, sometimes, there are very good reasons to select a diamond outside of the suggested range.

Why get a diamond with different proportions?
An excellent reason can be that an extra-long marquise has the visual impact of a higher carat weight diamond.  A marquise diamond with an unusually long length, relative to the width, may be a bit shallower than typical, so length accounts for a larger proportion of the gem.  A marquise diamond that looks like a significantly higher carat weight is more valuable than one that looks to be its actual size.

So when I find one like this in a G color, the lower price of the color offsets the higher value of the longer diamond, and it makes for a very attractive option.   “G” color is the top of the near-colorless range, so it is still highly desirable.  Most of us could never see the difference between a diamond with “F” color and one with “G.”

Frank, I’m really glad that you are familiar with our diamond supplier, since your company makes products for this vendor.   Our diamond supplier gives truthful information about their diamonds, but their pictures, with all due respect, are definitely not up to scratch. The diamonds themselves look many times better than their images, and they consistently sparkle LIKE CRAZY, so I look for certain things in the images that give clues to a diamond’s true beauty.  I will try to share some of those observations with you, now.

I’ve posted below some of the available diamonds in the range you’re interested in, and I’ll talk about the various characteristics of each one.  I don’t think they are all contenders for the ring you want, but several of them are.

Five Diamond Choices

Today we’re looking for a marquise diamond in the 0.57CT to 0.63CT range.   This diamond will be placed in a medium, four-band puzzle  ring in 14K white gold.

The only problem is that the rare 6/10 CT range that we seek usually offers very few diamonds from which to choose.  That’s because diamonds are usually cut in the 1/3CT, 1/2CT, 3/4CT, and 1CT range, with precious few diamonds in the in-between sizes, especially the larger you seek.

I happen to be very committed to offering the 6/10ths CT range, because it is one of my favorite sizes in almost any shape of diamond.  It is prominent, but not gaudy.  It looks bigger than a 1/2CT, and yet it is only priced at about 1/3 more than a 1/2CT.

Diamond prices go up exponentially, and even to find a diamond around 0.70CT, the biggest we usually put on  the four-band medium puzzle ring, the purse strings need to be quite a bit looser than they need to be for a 6/10CT range diamond.  Today, I found five diamonds ranging from 0.56CT to 0.58CT.  The very next diamond up the size scale was 0.70CT.  So let’s look at what is available today.

The important thing to know is that these are not great images.  They are wholesale pictures, and they are meant to show the shape and relative proportions of each diamond.  When we select your diamond and it arrives, it has to pass our inspection, first.  We are super picky about the stones we puts in our rings – call it pride of craftsmanship – we won’t put just any diamond in your ring.

















Diamond # 1

This diamond is  1/100CT smaller than the range we’re looking for today, which is .57CT to .63CT.  It’s a .56CT.   It has excellent color and clarity.  With a size of 7.88mm x 4.26mm, it’s proportion is 1.85.

This diamond has a length more typical of diamonds in the .46 – .52CT range.  It has four inclusions, and one is a cavity on the pavillion.  Cavities are natural; they are good to know about, because some unscrupulous diamond sellers fill cavities with epoxy.  But my thought is, why get a diamond with a cavity when you don’t have to?  Other thoughts about this one:  even though it is probably just the image, I tend to steer clear of diamonds with images dominated by brown and beige tones.

The ring would be $3,597.00 with this diamond.















Diamond # 2

I’m confident this diamond will be a beauty.  The dimensions are 8.81mm x 4.26mm, which gives it a proportion of 2.06, just about right on the dot of 2.  With D color, it doesn’t get any better or more colorless.  It has a very good cut, with SI1 clarity.

The only down side?  Still 1/100CT smaller than we want, although I would like to point out that we cannot see a difference of two to three points in diamond size when we just look at two diamonds with no real means of measuring them.

Dropping the size by a couple of tenths of a carat can sometimes save a few $$, although not in this case. This diamond looks exceptional to me, so it’s a true contender for this puzzle ring.

This diamond, by the way, has a single inclusion, which is a crystal in the table.  A crystal in a diamond is actually a diamond within a diamond.  How cool is that?  It’s not visible unless you have a trained eye and a microscope, but still, it is pretty awesome that this diamond has only a single inclusion, and it’s another diamond, no less!

The price of this finished puzzle ring is $3,797.00.





Summary: 0.57CT, E Color, SI1 Clarity, Very Good Cut


Diamond # 3

This diamond is a contender, as well, though it doesn’t appeal to me as much as # 2, above.   At 0.57CT, the dimensions of 8.41mm x 4.28mm give us a proportion rating of 1.96, also very close to the magic 2.

What about the slight blackness across the center?  That is called bow-tie, and traditionally, we look for minimal bow-tie like this in a marquise diamond.  But in the last two years, we’ve experimented more with diamonds showing more prevalent bow-tie in an image, and we find it does not affect the way the diamond looks in person.

So what exactly is bow-tie?  It is an artifact of cut that appears in many pictures of marquise diamonds.  It’s essentially an illusion that does not appear when examining a diamond in person, unless the amount of bow-tie is extraordinary.

This diamond has almost nothing in the way of inclusions, only feathers on upper girdle and pavilion.

The finished ring with this diamond will be $3,697.00















Diamond # 4

This diamond is the rare one with G color that  I like to consider.  At 0.58CT, and with a length of 9.52mm (4.03mm width), the proportion rating is 2.36.  It has a length more typical of a 1CT diamond.  It’s going to look much bigger than the 0.58CT it is on the hand.  It  has SI1 clarity, a good cut, and it’s closer to the 0.60CT mark.

Inclusions in this diamond include a twinning wisp in table and crown, a feather on upper girdle and pavilion.  The reason I tell you this, is that these are insignificant inclusions.

With SI1 clarity, you can’t see any inclusions with the unaided eye, anyway, but it’s still important to make sure that there are no fracture lines, or other structural problems with the stone.  I’m always happy when a diamond has few, insignificant inclusions.

The price for the finished ring with this diamond is $3,797.00

As soon as I locate it, I’ll post an image of a puzzle ring we recently did with a long, slender diamond similar to this one.  My clients in Canada were over-the-moon about it!















Diamond # 5

This diamond jumps out as a beauty to me.  It’s that rare diamond that doesn’t come with specs significantly higher than the diamonds shown above.  But I’m sure you can see that this one seems to have a lot going for it.

With D color, it is perfectly colorless.  It’s 0.58CT, very close to the magic 0.60CT mark.  The proportion rating is 1.9.  It has few inclusions: Feather in bezel and upper girdle, indented natural in upper girdle, none of which you’ll see without a trained eye and a microscope.

Even clarity of VVS1 and an excellent cut cannot guarantee that a diamond will look gorgeous on the hand.  The image of this diamond with “only” a good cut, suggests it will be spectacular.

True, it looks fantastic, and besides it’s beautiful proportions, top color, and structural integrity, the biggest difference between this diamond and the previous four?  This one costs 40% more than the others.  It’s a lovely diamond, to be sure, but is it worth the price to you?  The retail price on this ring is 28% higher than our target price for a 0.60CT puzzle ring.

The finished ring with this diamond would be $4,877.00.

My recommendation?  Go with any of these diamonds from #2 to #5.  Trust your instincts and select the one that appeals to you most, with a price tag you’re comfortable with.  Frank, you don’t have to choose one of these – we can wait for others to become available, but I’m quite pleased with the selection today.  I hope you are, too!



I also welcome inquiries about puzzle rings with any size of marquise diamond from 1/3CT up at 1-866-573-7381.  Many thanks for visiting!