Engagement Ring Maintenance

The Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement Ring Maintenance

You’re recently engaged and it was the most romantic moment of your entire life. You are thrilled to make a lifetime commitment to the one you love and are filled with joy. And let’s not forget your new engagement ring! It’s so beautiful and sparkly that you just can’t take your eyes off it. You can’t believe you are lucky enough to get to wear a diamond ring like this every day of your life. But then you begin to wonder, how am I supposed to take care of this ring? Am I allowed to wear it swimming? Can I work out with it on? All these questions are running through your mind. At Kimberfire we are engagement ring specialists and we want to help answer all your questions about keeping your ring in tip top shape!

DO get your engagement ring insured.

Your engagement ring was most likely a large purchase and one in which you would be very upset if it became damaged or lost. Insurance will give you peace of mind that if something happens to your ring you will be able to replace it with something just as beautiful. Some people can add their engagement ring on to their homeowner’s insurance, and if you go this route please make sure the insurance covers the ring even when it is outside of the house, as it is not always covered otherwise. Another option is to use an insurance agency such as Jewelers Mutual, which offers specialized insurance for jewelry.

DON’T take off your ring when you are out in public.

Taking off your ring and leaving it somewhere by accident is one of the easiest ways to lose your jewelry. Always keep it on your finger until you are back home, and then try to keep it in the same place every time you take it off.

DO clean your ring at home.

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is how to keep their ring clean in between professional cleanings. Well the answer is simple! Buy yourself a brand new, soft-bristle, baby’s toothbrush, and brush the ring in warm water with a little drop of dish detergent and then rinse it clean. This will remove the built up dirt and grime and keep your diamond sparkling.

DON’T wear your ring when cleaning the house.

While household cleaners work wonders on the house, the harsh chemicals in bleach, chlorine and acetone can erode the metals in your ring, while powder cleaners contain abrasives which will scratch the metal.

DO get your ring checked if you notice a diamond has become loose.

You may notice your diamond makes a small clicking sound when you tap the ring near your ear, or you may be able to spin the diamond with your finger. In either case it’s best to stop wearing the ring and take it to your jeweler to get it tightened. Stones can become loose due to prolonged wear over the years, or they can become loose by the metal accidentally being hit or dinged. Your jeweler should be able to get the stone tight and secure for continued wear.

DON’T wear your ring to the gym.

While some physical activities like aerobics will probably not hurt your ring, there are some exercises that most definitely will. A common cause of ring damage is weight lifting. The steel of the weights is harder than both platinum and gold and can make hammer like dents in the metal. Heavy weight lifting can also distort the shape of the ring so that it is more of an oval instead of round. When the metal becomes distorted it may cause the prongs on the diamonds to become loose and a stone may fall out. Golf and tennis are two other sports which can cause a great deal of damage to your ring.

DO have your ring professionally serviced once a year.

Your jeweler should clean and examine your ring once a year to make sure the diamonds are secure. Every few years you may want to get your ring re-polished if it is quite scratched up. Those who have white gold rings may want their ring re-plated with rhodium to get it back to its bright white colour.

DON’T wear your ring swimming.

An easy way to lose your ring is in the water when it is more slippery on your finger, and you may not notice while you are playing in the waves. Pools and hot tubs are no better as prolonged exposure to chlorine can cause damage and discolouration to white gold.

DO show off your ring proudly.

Your engagement ring is a symbol of love and commitment and you should share that with the world!

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your ring looking as beautiful as the day it was received, as we know it is something very precious and special to you. If you have any other questions about ring or diamond care please contact us at Kimberfire and we will be glad to help.

White Gold Engagement Rings

White Gold Jewelry and Rhodium Plating

One of the most popular ongoing trends for engagement rings is that of white diamonds set into bright white metal. This white jewelry look is very modern and clean and has maintained its popularity for quite some time now. To achieve this all-white effect, diamonds are set into either platinum or white gold. Platinum is naturally a very white metal, but is the heavier and more expensive option. White gold is less costly and a lighter metal, but isn’t naturally a bright white colour. Therefore, white gold jewelry is almost always plated with a rhodium coating as standard practise in the industry.

Gold Alloys

Pure 24K gold is only found in one colour, and that is yellow. However, 24K gold is extremely soft and unsuitable for jewelry purposes, so the pure gold is mixed with other metals to create better working properties. This process is called alloying, and it can also be used to change the colour of the gold. White gold is created when pure gold is mixed with at least one other white metal, such as palladium, manganese, nickel, silver or zinc. 14K white gold is 58.3% pure gold while 18K white gold is 75% pure, with the remainder being a white metal. Although white gold is much whiter than yellow gold, it still has a slight shade of yellow or gray. It gained its popularity for jewelry use in the 1920s as a less costly alternative to platinum.

Rhodium and Electroplating

In the 1930s silversmiths began rhodium plating sterling silverware as they found this reduced the tarnishing and therefore the constant need to polish. This was then applied to white gold as well, as it made the jewelry look much whiter and similar to platinum.

Rhodium is a member of the platinum group of metals and is quite rare and expensive. It is hypo-allergenic, highly resistant to wear, tarnish and corrosion and it has high light reflection. Solid rhodium is rarely used in jewelry as it is extremely expensive and is a very brittle metal. It is much more cost effective and practical to use it as a plating. The official name of this process is called electroplating, where the piece of jewelry is submerged in a heated bath of rhodium solution and then an electric current is run through the bath using the jewelry as a cathode. This causes the rhodium in the solution to bond onto the jewelry. The solution is a mix of sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid or a combination of both, mixed with rhodium and water. A relatively small amount of rhodium can be used to plate many jewelry pieces, keeping the cost of the process down.

Care of Rhodium Plated Jewelry

The one drawback of rhodium plating is that it will wear off over time. The length of time depends on a few factors, such as the amount of wear and roughness the ring receives, its exposure to environmental factors and the wearer’s own body chemistry. Some people can wear a rhodium plated ring for three years before needing a re-plating, while others will need it re-plated more frequently. It is not wise to re-plate more than once a year because, while the rhodium plating doesn’t affect the jewelry, the jewelry does needs to be thoroughly cleaned and re-polished to remove all the old plating and re-polishing removes trace amounts of metal. This won’t affect your jewelry, provided it is not done too frequently, although over-polishing will eventually impact durability. The plating does not affect any diamonds or gemstones which are set into the metal, although it could affect some natural materials such as pearls.

At Kimberfire we provide complimentary cleaning and re-plating up to once a year for any of our white gold jewelry pieces, to ensure they maintain their bright white colour. Whenever you are purchasing white gold jewelry you should ask the jeweller about rhodium plating and if they include re-plating in their care policy, as it is important to know all the costs to be incurred in properly maintaining your purchase. White gold jewelry is both beautiful and popular and it is essential to know how to keep it looking its best throughout the years.

Four Dream Engagement Rings

The Engagement Ring of Your Dreams

You have fallen in love and finally met your perfect match. You start noticing engagement rings all around you; on the hands of friends and family, on Facebook, on Instagram, engagement rings are everywhere! And you start to imagine your perfect ring. Perhaps you have known for years what style you wanted, or maybe you have just started collecting images but haven’t narrowed it down. Either way most people have an idea of what they love and what they don’t really like when it comes to ring designs. But how do you get those ideas into your partner’s head, so that they will know what to look for when the time is right to propose? We are here to offer some suggestions.

Friends and Family

Let your best friends or siblings know what kind of ring you would like. Give them pictures or at least an idea of what you want. It’s very likely that your partner will look to them for advice on the design, and you want them to have the right information.

Window Shop

Next time you and your love go shopping together, tell them you want to take a look at the diamond rings. Go into a couple of jewellery stores and point out or try on ones that you really like. One of my friends did this, and about a year later she received the very ring she had tried on in the store. Bonus points for your partner for remembering the ring you loved.

Pinterest

If you keep a Pinterest board of engagement rings you love (which let’s be serious, A LOT of us do) then you can mention this to your partner. If you think your partner will never go on your Pinterest page, then you can accidentally leave the page open on the computer so they see it the next time they log on. It might be a little bit sneaky but it will definitely help your partner figure out what kind of rings you are into.

Your Opinion Matters

Another idea is to comment (in private) on rings that your friends have. Let your partner know that you absolutely love Ashley’s rose gold ring with the diamond halo while you really don’t like Melanie’s yellow gold ring with the three diamonds. If your partner is paying attention they will make a mental note of these comments, and hopefully purchase something you will like.

Be Obvious

If you have been with your partner for many years and are certain an engagement is coming your way, you may feel comfortable being straightforward about what you want. Send them an exact image of a ring or a couple of rings that you like. Let them know what metal type and diamond shape or other gemstones you would like for your ring.

Shop Together

There are a lot of couples who chose to pick out or design a custom ring together. Sometimes the couple has gotten engaged without a ring and is looking to make the perfect one. Sometimes the couple decides on the engagement ring, and then the one partner buys it and holds onto it for a surprise proposal. There are no rules these days. You can do whatever feels right for you as a couple.

Surprise! Do you like it?

Now, sometimes the proposal is a complete surprise and you didn’t get a chance to let your partner know what you wanted in a ring. Hopefully the ring is stunning and fabulous and you love everything about it. Maybe it’s not the exact design you would have picked, but you love it because of the thought and love that went into it. If you really don’t like it, you always have the option of telling your partner that it’s not quite what you wanted, and they might be ok with changing the setting or diamond. However, I would say be very gentle if you are going to do this, as I’m sure a lot of thought, time and money went into the ring. In the end the most important thing about the ring is that is it a symbol of your commitment and it should reflect the love you and your partner will share for a lifetime.

Holiday Marriage Proposal

Holiday Marriage Proposals

December is the month for celebrating the holidays, reconnecting with family members and proposing marriage to the one you love. Did I just say December is for proposing marriage? Yes I did! A survey conducted by TheKnot.com showed that 16% of couples get engaged in December, and a survey from event company Chillisauce showed 45% of people believe that Christmas Eve or Christmas day is the best time of the year to propose. So what are you waiting for? The timing is right! But if you are considering a December engagement let’s go over what you need to know.

Public or Private?

First of all, consider what your partner would like. Are they super outgoing and love attention or are they private, preferring to keep things intimate? If they are the outgoing type, consider proposing surrounded by friends and family. The holidays are the busiest travel time of the year as families who are usually far apart come together, and this is the perfect chance to share the moment with them. However, some people find getting everyone together quite stressful and overwhelming, and some families have more than a little drama between them. In these situations, I would suggest a more private proposal.

If your partner avoids the limelight and prefers to keep intimate moments private, a proposal very early on Christmas morning before anyone else wakes up would be very romantic. Or perhaps wait until boxing day, when you are both relaxing and your partner doesn’t see the proposal coming.

6 Holiday Marriage Proposal Ideas

If you have already decided to propose during the holidays there are so many creative ways to do it:

1. Engagement Ring Stocking Stuffer

If you propose on Christmas morning you could put the ring at the very bottom of a stocking, and as they go through all the silly stocking stuffers they will be in for a huge surprise when they find the ring.

2. Surprise Christmas Tree Ornament

Another option is a beautiful ornament hanging on the Christmas tree, with “Will you marry me?” written on it in sparkly writing.

3. Lots and Lots of Boxes

If you are with someone with a great sense of humour you could wrap the ring box in many bigger boxes, and have a great laugh while they unwrap each box, one by one.

4. Christmas Lights Proposal

If you were going to propose on Christmas Eve, you could write out the words in Christmas lights and bring your loved one outside once it got dark. Although it would require some planning and sneaking around, I guarantee it would be an amazing sight.

5. Family Time

You could also propose at the holiday dinner table, when all of your family can share in the moment.

6. Hanukkah Surprise

If celebrating Hanukkah is more your style, for 7 nights you could give your partner small gifts which reflect your relationship and on the 8th night write them a note that says ‘Marry Me’, and be kneeling on one knee with the ring in hand.

It’s a Magical Time

Family, friends, celebrations and special dinners are all great reasons to propose during the holiday season. Not to mention all the decorations and lights which provide the perfect romantic backdrop to photograph the moment. People often feel sentimental at this time of year and reflect back on the magic they felt when they were young. But it’s nice to feel a bit of magic as an adult too, and a holiday proposal guarantees your happy memories will live on forever.

Remembrance Day Love Story

In Remembrance: A Soldier’s Love

The bright red poppy on the lapel of a coat is a common sight across Canada every November. The poppy is worn to honour the men and women who have bravely fought to defend our country. November 11th is the day we take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by those who fought in war, as well as those who lost their lives.

During WWI and WWII the Canadian soldiers were usually very young when they were sent over to Europe, and it is hard to imagine how fearful they must have felt leaving their families and friends. One surprising aspect of these wars was the number of romances that blossomed during the time of such horrors, and there are many books and websites dedicated to wartime romances. My very close friend’s grandfather shared with her his story of love in WWII, and she has passed on his tale to share.

Escape From a War Zone

He was born Haroutoon Hatchadorian and he was born in Armenia in 1911. Tragically the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire began in 1915 in which 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. Young Haroutoon’s father was killed and he, his older brother and his mother escaped Armenia into Greece. His mother was very ill and his older brother unable to care for him, so he was sent to live in an orphanage. The Canadian government and churches worked together to help the children of the war, and in 1923 the first 50 Armenian orphan boys were brought over to Canada. Haroutoon was chosen to go at the very last minute, when one of the other boys didn’t pass the medical exam. When he arrived in Canada his name was changed to the English name Harry Hatch. These boys were brought to Georgetown, Ontario and raised on farms to be farm hands.

The Beginning of WWII

In 1939 World War II broke out, and Harry enlisted like many young men in Canada. He was stationed at a barracks in Hamilton and began going to the local Armenian center to hang out. It was here that Harry first met Roxie Eloian. After hanging out with Roxie a few times he said he “really went for her in a big way. But I never mentioned any marriage or anything before I left overseas”. Harry was sent to England where he became a driver for the Army Generals. Not too many people knew how to drive or had a chauffeur’s license, but he had learned how to drive on the farm.

Love Letters Across the Sea

During this time he wrote love letters to Roxie back in Canada. Not just a couple of letters, but hundreds of them… enough to fill an entire suitcase. In these letters Harry told Roxie how he had fallen in love with her back in Canada and thought of her all the time. Unfortunately while Harry was driving around the generals he was also training for the raid at Dieppe France. The day came to depart to France and Harry was getting on the truck to go, when one of the generals pulled him off saying, “Hatch is too valuable a driver to us, he can’t go”. This act could have very likely saved his life, as the Dieppe raid was one of the most deadly operations for the Canadian soldiers, with a 68% casualty rate.

An Engagement Ring from England

Harry now knew he wanted to spend his life with Roxie and start a family. He wrote asking her to marry him, but didn’t receive a letter back. He wrote again, telling her “I know that it is hard for you to make up your mind, you don’t really know anything about me and I don’t really know anything about you – this is quite true… It is not that hard for you to say no and it is not that hard for you to say yes… but if you say no I am not coming back to Canada, I am going to stay in England”. After that letter he said “Geez I got a letter from her in no time soon and she said yes!” From England he sent her a ring-sizing card to get the correct ring size and then mailed her diamond engagement ring to Canada. She sent him back a photograph of her wearing his ring.

A Loving Marriage

In 1945 Harry was discharged from the army and came home to Canada. Harry and Roxie married 18 days after he arrived. They moved up into the mountain in Hamilton and had three daughters. Eventually they opened up a convenience store and billiards hall and worked side by side every day. They were married for 36 wonderful years before Harry passed away in 1982. Roxie lived for another 20 years and watched their grandchildren grow up.

It was an amazing life, and an amazing love story. How did Harry know Roxie was the one after spending such a short period of time with her? What was it about her that even after years of being away at war he couldn’t get her out of his mind? And was it just luck that Harry was able to escape both the Armenian genocide and the raid at Dieppe? These are mysteries of life and love that we will never know the answer to, and I think that is what makes this story so very special.