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Personalized Engagement Ring

How to Personalize an Engagement Ring

An engagement ring is one of the most special and meaningful gifts a person will ever give or be given, so it goes without saying that it should be as personal as possible. Creating a custom engagement ring is one way to ensure the ring will be perfect for your special someone. There are so many different options to choose from when creating a custom ring, such as choice of metal, style of setting, diamonds or gemstones (or both!), how many stones and the style of the band. From these design elements come an infinite number of combinations that will result in your ideal ring. However, if you are looking to add a personal or sentimental element to the ring there are a number of ways to do that.

Inscriptions

Words are an easy way to add a personal touch to an engagement ring. This can be done with an engraving on the inside or outside of the ring. A romantic quote, a line from a poem or a lyric from a favourite song are all great ideas. If you are religious you can add an important verse from your faith. If your relationship is filled with jokes and laughter, you may want to engrave an inside joke that only the two of you will understand. With laser engraving you can even have your own handwriting engraved on the ring. The one thing to remember is that there is only a limited amount of space on the ring and you don’t want the writing to be so small that it is impossible to read. Keeping things short and sweet is the best way to get your message across.

Numbers

Incorporating significant numbers is another way many people choose to personalize their engagement ring. Having an important date engraved on the inside of the ring is one of the most popular requests. It may be the couple’s birth dates, the date they first met or the date of the proposal. Similarly people often get the date of their wedding day engraved inside their wedding bands. Location coordinates are another way to personalize with numbers, and these can be the locations of where you were both born, the place you met, or the place you now call home. The number of diamonds or gemstones used on the ring can also be personalized and meaningful. A two stone engagement ring celebrates friendship and love, while a three stone engagement ring symbolizes the past, present and future. Stones can even be used to represent the number of years you have been together, as in a five or seven stone ring, or in the number of small diamonds on the band.

Colours

People’s preference for certain colours is something that is totally unique to them which makes it a great choice for personalization. For jewellery, an easy way to add colour is by using coloured gemstones. The gemstone could be the main stone in a ring or used as the side stones in a three stone ring. Alternatively you could use small coloured stones to create a halo or accents along the band. If you prefer to be less conspicuous, the coloured stone can be set as a ‘surprise stone’, where it’s set underneath the main diamond and only visible when looking at the side of the ring. A very small gemstone can even be set inside the band and will not be seen at all when the ring is worn. Birthstones are a very popular option when adding a coloured stone to the design but you could also choose your partner’s favourite colour. The gem could also be chosen based on what the colour represents, such as green for nature or blue for the ocean. If you are adding a coloured gemstone it is important to ask your jeweller about the durability of the gem, as some stones are not hard enough to endure the everyday wear of an engagement ring.

Symbols

There are a few different ways that symbols or images can be added to an engagement ring, with one option being engraving. You could have your fingerprint engraved onto the ring to ensure that your partner will have an intimate one of a kind symbol of you. Or you can get your actual heartbeat engraved from an EKG reading, to show your partner that they will have your heart forever. If your partner is a nature lover you could have the ring decorated by a hand engraver who can carve scrolling vines and intricate leaves or flowers right on the outside of your ring. Another way to add details is with filigree, which is where very thin wires of metal are used to create decorative ornamentation. The filigree can be something abstract or used more literally to create letters, hearts, flowers, infinity symbols, love knots, Celtic crosses and the list goes on and on.

There are so many different options for making an engagement ring really personal, from gemstones, symbols and designs on the outside of the band to super private engravings and hidden gemstones on the inside of the band. When you have finally found a partner who you would like to spend the rest of your life with, it’s great to be able to gift them with an engagement ring that is as meaningful and significant as your commitment to one another.

If you’re already engaged or married, how did you personalize your engagement ring? Let us know in the comments below! And if you haven’t yet taken that step, we’re ready when you are – when the time is right learn more about Kimberfire and get in touch!

Engagement Ring Trends for 2019

Engagement Ring Trends for 2019

With the start of a new year come predictions of what will be popular in the months ahead. At Kimberfire we work every day to help couples create their perfect engagement ring, which gives us firsthand knowledge of emerging trends. In general, bridal trends move slower and last longer than fast fashion trends, and can last anywhere from a few years to over a decade. While traditional rings featuring a round brilliant cut diamond or a solitaire setting aren’t going anywhere, we believe the following engagement ring styles are going to be huge in 2019.

Three Stone Rings

We can thank the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, for this one. After all the hype around the royal wedding last year, the three stone engagement ring has become extremely popular. Prince Harry designed Meghan’s ring which features a cushion cut center stone from Botswana, a country meaningful to the couple, and two round side stones from Princess Diana’s jewelry collection. The sentimentality behind the ring is quite fitting, as the three stone ring has always been full of symbolism. In fact another name for the three stone ring is the trilogy ring as it represents the past, present and future. This type of ring can look very traditional using three diamonds of the same shape, or it can look completely modern by using fancy cut sides stones, such as trilliant cut or pear cut. With a variety of stone arrangements, and the meaning behind it, this is a trend we see sticking around for a long time.

Fancy Cut Diamonds

Although the round brilliant cut diamond will always be popular, a lot of people are now interested in rings with fancy shape diamonds. The oval cut has seen a huge surge in popularity, as it has a similar brilliance to the round cut but appears larger at the same weight. The pear cut is another shape in high demand, which could have something to do with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Cardi B receiving pear cut engagement rings (let’s not talk about the length of their engagements).The pear cut is an unexpected choice and looks great with a fitted wedding band. Two other fancy cuts we are seeing more of are the emerald and marquise cuts. The emerald cut has a clean streamlined shape and looks great in a horizontal east-west setting, while the marquise cut appears feminine and dainty, fitting perfectly with a thin band.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold has finally made a comeback since falling out of style to white gold and platinum in the early 1990s. They say everything will eventually come back in style, and yellow gold is no exception. What once seemed outdated now feels fresh and modern. The yellow gold trend started with minimalistic fashion jewelry but has since made its way over to bridal. The warm metal looks especially current when it is used in delicate and dainty designs, and the thin bands that have been in style for a while now. These styles really differ from the wide, bold yellow gold rings which were so popular in the 1980s.

Hidden Halo

When deciding on a engagement ring style, one of the big choices is between a solitaire setting or a halo setting. There is an option that can give you the best of both worlds, and that is a hidden halo. This type of ring looks like a solitaire when you are looking straight on it, but when the ring is tilted or looked at from the side there is a halo wrapping around the diamond. This option is great for someone who likes the classic look of a solitaire, but wants something a little different. The hidden halo is a delicate detail that gives the ring just a little more sparkle, which is why it is proving to be such a popular choice.

Double Bands

The double band ring is exactly what it sounds like, two bands on the ring instead of only one. This style of ring is unique and modern, which is exactly why so many people are drawn to it. These rings come in many variations, such as the two bands being far apart, close together, parallel to each other, angled or curved. The centre stone can be set between the two bands or on top of the two bands. A single stone, a halo set stone, or three stones can all look amazing in this style of ring. A double band ring uses negative space as a design element, and takes up more room on the finger, for those who want a ring that makes an impact.

Whether you’re looking for a more traditional ring or something unique and modern, these trends cover all the bases. If you are getting engaged in 2019, or know someone who is, then these are the styles you can expect to see a lot of this year.

Toronto Date Ideas

6 Romantic Summer Date Ideas in Toronto

Toronto is an amazing city with unique neighbourhoods, beautiful parks, great sports teams and a vibrant nightlife. But is Toronto a romantic city? Yes!!! You don’t need to fly off to Paris or Italy to find romance – it is right here! Whether you are planning to propose to your soulmate, go on a first date with a crush, or celebrating a milestone anniversary with your love, we have got the perfect list for you. Without further ado, here are our six ideas for summertime romance in The Six!

1) Sunrise Surprise

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Toronto are the Scarborough Bluffs, 15km of natural cliffs rising 90 meters above the coast line. Wake up while it is still dark and travel to the Bluffs with your partner, then look eastward to watch the breathtaking view of the sun rising over Lake Ontario. Once it’s risen, travel down to Bluffer’s Beach and take an early morning stroll hand in hand across the sand beside the blue water. The beauty of the landscape will have you both feeling like you are on an exotic vacation without ever having to leave the city.

2) Feel Like a Kid Again

Every August Toronto hosts the Canadian National Exhibition, better known as The Ex, for 18 fun filled days. Embrace your inner child and take your date to experience all the rides, games and food. Show off your athletic prowess by winning them a stuffed animal at the arcade games (or have a laugh at your attempts). Enjoy a kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel and share a sweet (and deep fried) treat from the many options in the food building. In the evening take a ride on the Sky Ride, a sky lift that takes you above the entire fair grounds where you can cuddle up while watching all the action below.

3) Travel Back in Time

A favourite spot for romance is Toronto’s Distillery District, an area of Victorian-era heritage buildings and brick-paved roads that are pedestrian only and are filled with cafes, restaurants and trendy shops. Enjoy a cold drink with your love on one of the many European-style sidewalk patios and watch the people go by (there is a good chance you will see some wedding photos being taken). Sign your names to a lock and add it to the famous Love Lock installation (and of course take a photo of it for the gram!). In the evening the area is lit up with white fairy lights strung above the alleyways, making every moment feel magical.

4) Island Time

A short ferry ride from downtown takes you and your partner to the Toronto Islands where you can wander along nature trails or spend a day lounging on one of the beaches. You can also rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy Lake Ontario, while getting a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline. Another idea is to rent a tandem bike, which is a bicycle for two, and take some cheesy photos to laugh about. For a romantic dinner outdoors, pack a cooler of food and head to one of the many public BBQs beside the lake to enjoy your meal while watching the sun go down. You can then take the ferry back to mainland after dark.

5) Living the High Life

If you are looking for something extravagant to knock your date’s socks off, look no further than the luxurious Thompson Hotel. Book a stylish suite in this high-end hotel located in the trendy King West neighbourhood of Toronto. Guests of the hotel can enjoy the rooftop pool which is ranked as one of the top rooftop pools in the world! After a day of swimming in the sunshine hit up the rooftop lounge where you can enjoy live entertainment every weekend surrounded by 360° views of Toronto. If you want to explore outside the hotel (although you may never want to leave), the neighbourhood is filled with romantic restaurants and bars for you both to explore and get a true taste of Toronto nightlife.

6) Pink Sky at Night

There is nothing more romantic than watching the sunset after a summer day spent with the one you love. While Toronto has many beautiful spots to watch the sun go down, our number one pic is Riverdale Park East. Lay a blanket at the top of the hill, where you will get an amazing panoramic view of the sun setting over the Toronto skyline. The sky will be ablaze in oranges, pinks and purples until the night has come, and then the city’s buildings will light up the dark sky like twinkling stars.

Summer Lovin’

Summer in Toronto always feels special, probably because the season seems so fleeting compared to the winter. It’s also the reason that we get out of our houses and enjoy it so much! This city is filled with a seemingly infinite number of things to do, and I hope we have shown you how romantic Toronto really is. Let us know in the comments if you have a favourite romantic spot in this incredible city we call home!

Photo credits: Simply Lace Photography, KubaSuba

Perfect Places to Propose

10 Perfect Places in the World to Propose

There are so many romantic and beautiful places on earth that would make the perfect backdrop to a marriage proposal. So many places for an amazing story and a gorgeous photo to show off on social media! While to list all romantic places would be too numerous for one little article, I did put together a collection of what I think would be the perfect place to propose to different personalities.

The Foodie – Rome, Italy

For the food lover there is no greater spot to propose than in the eternal city of Rome. Italian food is one of the most popular and beloved cuisines on earth (pizza alone gets my vote for number 1) which makes it the perfect spot for a foodie. While sightseeing around the city make sure to get yourself a treat of their world famous gelato. There are also numerous food tours to take you to the best markets and restaurants the city has to offer.

For the big question you can sign up for a pasta making class with an Italian chef who will teach you how to make pasta by hand while you sip on delicious wines. When the lesson is finished you and your partner get to relax while you eat the meal that you have made together, and you can ask them to be yours forever. Afterwards head up to one of Rome’s hotel rooftop bars to watch the city while you sip on a glass of sparkling prosecco.

The Dreamer – Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Is the one you love a deep thinker, who is always dreaming of a better tomorrow? Then why not whisk them away to the stars! Take a trip to Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the coast of North Africa. Once there take your loved one to visit Spain’s Mount Teide, a 10-mile-wide volcanic crater that is the highest peak in Spain, and is one of the best star gazing sites in the entire world. The universe has 88 constellations, and 83 of those can be seen from Mount Teide on a clear night. You can travel there part way by car and then a cable car will take you to the top for the view. There are numerous companies that will organize star gazing tours and prepare chef cooked meals and beverages while you are up there. Toast your loved one with a glass of Cava while you watch the amazing sunset, and then pop the question while you gaze at the wonders of the universe.

The Book Worm – Dublin, Ireland

Is your special someone the type who loves to get lost in a good book? Is a library the most romantic spot for them? If so head over to Dublin and visit Trinity College, where you can both walk the cobblestone streets of Dublin’s most famous institute. The college produced many famous literary talents, like Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. You must visit The Long Room, a library that contains over 200,000 books including the Book of Kells which was a manuscript created by Irish monks over 1200 years ago. The beautiful room of old books, dark oak bookcases and marble busts of great philosophers and writers is the perfect spot to get down on one knee. To celebrate your new engagement, walk over to The Brazen Head, the oldest Pub in Dublin, and enjoy a pint like the writers James Joyce and Jonathan Swift did many years ago.

The Beach Bum – Fiji

There are lots of people who love being at the beach, and for whom a beach proposal would be amazing. But how about taking it to the next level with your own private beach in the middle of the ocean! In Fiji there are three small islands – Nukubati, Treasure Island and Royal Davui Island. When you stay at one of these islands, the hotel will provide you with a private picnic on a sandbar! You and your partner will be whisked away by boat and taken to your own private sandbar in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, and given chairs, a table and a champagne lunch. You are then left to yourselves for the rest of the day where, on your own little beach, you can ask for your partner’s hand in marriage.

The Prince or Princess – Prague, Czech Republic

Does your partner think that they are real life royalty? Do they wish they could be in every Disney fairy tale? If so, then consider proposing at a real life castle in Prague! Prague Castle is one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Construction first began in the year 870 and features architecture in both Gothic and Roman styles. After touring the castle, you can head outside to stroll around the many gardens with views of the city and river and then get down on one knee to ask the big question. To celebrate the happy moment head over to Saint Wenceslas Vineyard, an ancient vineyard on the castle grounds, that was restored in 2008. Sip from a glass of wine on one of the terraces and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

The Christmas Obsessed – Quebec City, Canada

We all know that one person who can’t wait until December 25th and who has their tree and house all decorated at the beginning of November. If you are in love with someone like that, then there is only one place to propose… Quebec City! With an average snowfall of 400cm, each winter the city is transformed into a winter wonderland. Starting in early December Old Quebec is turned into an old fashioned Christmas village, straight out of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Twinkling lights, evergreen trees and a sparkling snowfall make for the absolute perfect holiday proposal. Afterwards head over to the landmark hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac to warm up with some hot chocolate while you admire all the decorations.

The Fashionista – Paris, France

If you are in love with someone who loves everything about fashion, then the place for their perfect proposal is surely Paris! Paris is the place where both the first fashion designer made his name and haute couture was born. Coco Channel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent were just a few of the many designers who called Paris home.

Take your partner to Paris’ Golden Triangle, located between three famous boulevards, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V. Here you will find luxury shopping, legendary hotels and restaurants. Take a break right in the middle of the action at L’Avenue, a café where you will get the best view of Paris’ fashionable people. Both the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower are a short walk away from this area, and excellent places for a proposal. While there will be lots of tourists around, a true fashion lover will want all eyes on them for this big moment.

The Outdoor Adventurer – Big Island, Hawaii, USA

For those people who hate being stuck indoors and love to keep active, head over to Hawaii’s Big Island for an amazing adventure. On the north shore of the Island you will find the Waipi’o Valley, where ancient Hawaiian royalty are buried. This lush valley features 3000 ft. cliffs covered in taro fields, lotus ponds, streams and waterfalls. You can travel through the valley by 4-wheel drive, hiking or horseback riding with guides. Whichever way you traverse the terrain will not be an easy path, however the life affirming beauty of the views will be well worth it. Where the valley meets the ocean is a black sand beach, where you can propose to your love while wild horses run along the sand.

The Film Buff – New York City, USA

If your partner would like nothing more than a proposal straight out of a movie, look no further than New York City! Some people might be surprised I didn’t say Hollywood but, while Tinseltown is where the movies are made, there is just something so magical about the city that makes you feel like you are in a movie. Whether it’s a kids movie like Big and Home Alone, gangster classics like The Godfather and Goodfellas, or romantic favorites like When Harry met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle or Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Big Apple is where it’s at! And it isn’t just the movies, NYC is the home of classic tv shows like Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Seinfeld and Friends. Wherever you decide to pop the question, strolling through Central Park, in the hustle of Grand Central Station, on the observation deck of the Empire State Building or right smack dab in the middle of Times Square, you will feel the cinematic romance of the city that never sleeps.

The Animal Lover – Kenya, East Africa

If no proposal sounds complete without animals nearby, head to Kenya and visit the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. This conservancy is home to a diverse group of wildlife such as lions, elephant, giraffes, gazelles, impalas, and warthogs, and is famous for its conservation efforts of the Black Rhino and Grevy’s Zebra. At the Lewa Safari Camp you can stay in one of twelve tents that are finished like luxury bungalows, with thatched roofs, en suite bathrooms and verandas with views of the plains and animals. The central portion has a dining and lounge space with a fire pit and swimming pool. After a long day exploring the area you can head back to the camp and propose during a sundowner – a safari tradition where you watch the spectacular sunset across the plains while enjoying a cocktail. It is said that this is the place where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton and, if it’s the perfect place for a royal proposal, it’s definitely good enough for me!

Your Perfect Spot

Now that I have compiled my list of perfect proposal spots, I really could use a romantic vacation of my own! These places are romantic, meaningful and beautiful and you really couldn’t go wrong with any one of them. However, there are lots of other places that may be romantic because they have special meaning to you as a couple, such as the place you first met or the place you realized you were in love. Or maybe the place you choose to propose doesn’t have to be significant, maybe it matters more that the moment feels right. There is no right or wrong way to propose, and each couple should do what works for them. I would be just as happy getting engaged to the one I love sitting on the couch at home as I would be on my own private beach. That being said, I would still like to go to that beach!

Where did you, or are you hoping to, get engaged? Where is your perfect place? Let us know in the comments below!

Memorial Diamonds

How Memorial Diamonds Are Made

As we approach Halloween, the Kimberfire team has been caught up in haunted houses, costumes, candy, pumpkin (spice), and the mystery that cloaks this festive season. Inspired by this, we thought we would explore a more unusual diamond concept in this month’s blog: memorial diamonds.

A “memorial diamond” is a lab created diamond that is made from the ashes or hair of a person who has passed away. While this is not something we offer at Kimberfire, we do find it fascinating…

A Memorial Diamond?

Yes, it is possible to create a diamond out of the ashes or hair of a deceased loved one. Not so surprisingly, when I told a couple of friends I was writing a blog about memorial diamonds they were shocked that it was possible. Some were intrigued, while others were uncomfortable with it. The truth is, it may never be fully accepted as a mainstream option. However, the reviews from people who have chosen to create a memorial diamond are overwhelmingly positive and it has brought them comfort during their mourning process.

Memorial diamonds are only offered through a small number of companies, as it is a highly complex and technical process. The four memorial diamond companies that I researched for this blog were Algordanza and Lonité, based in Switzerland, and LifeGem and Eterneva which are based in the United States. These companies are aware of the sensitive nature of their work, and treat both the deceased and their loved ones with the utmost respect.

Growing a Diamond in a Lab

How does this process work? Well it all starts with carbon, the element that a diamond is composed of. It has been determined that the human body is made up of approximately 18.5% carbon. When a body is cremated most of the carbon escapes as carbon dioxide, but 1-5% of the carbon remains in the ashes. This carbon is extracted and made into a diamond using the same process that is used to create other lab grown diamonds.

Lab grown diamonds possess the same characteristics as natural diamonds but are created in man-made conditions above the earth instead of natural ones below the earth’s surface. Lab grown diamonds were first invented by scientists in the 1950s when they were able to replicate the same environment in which diamonds are formed deep in the earth.

There are two methods by which lab grown diamonds are created, either the High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) method or the Chemical Vapour Distribution (CVD) method. The HPHT method places a carbon source, a small diamond “seed” and a metallic solvent in a large press which is then placed under extreme pressure and high temperature to produce a diamond. The CVD method starts with a diamond seed planted in a chamber where it is exposed to a gas such as methane. The gas is then activated and broken down by microwaves which cause the carbon atoms to accumulate on the diamond seed. Both these methods were only able to produce very small diamonds up until the last ten years. New technology is now growing larger diamonds, and is also able to produce colourless diamonds. This is opposed to coloured diamonds which are much easier to grow in a lab.

Memorial diamonds are created using the HPHT method.

The Memorial Diamond Creation Process

The companies that I looked at all use similar processes to create their memorial diamonds. First, they need between 100-500g of ashes (amount differs by company). If you do not have this amount then you can also send them hair, as hair also contains carbon. The ashes and fur of pets can also be turned into diamond using the same process.

The carbon is extracted from the ashes by heating them up to extremely high temperature over a period of days and then further purifying them using acidic chemicals. The carbon purification system often leaves traces of nitrogen or boron, other elements found in the human body. Carbon with traces of nitrogen will create a yellow or amber coloured diamond, while traces of boron will create a light blue diamond. Blue memorial diamonds are the most common type, as boron is extremely difficult to extract from carbon. Red, green, pink and purple diamonds can be created through further manipulation of the carbon, usually through irradiation. Black memorial diamonds are actually a very dark green colour which, to the naked eye, appears black. To produce a colourless diamond all other elements must be removed from the carbon, which is an extremely difficult procedure.

The purification process turns the carbon into graphite. The graphite is then packed into a cell with a metal catalyst and diamond seed, and put into an HPHT press. After a period of time (it takes longer for larger stones, as well as colourless ones) the press is opened and the cell of graphite is cracked open to find a rough diamond inside. From this point the diamond can be left as a rough crystal or can be cut and polished by a gem cutter. It is then either delivered as a loose diamond or made into a piece of jewelry.

The total time it takes to create a memorial diamond is between 4 and 9 months. The price ranges from between US$3,000 to US$20,000, with larger sizes and colourless diamonds costing the most. The price also reflects the expensive machinery and precise lab work which goes into creating these diamonds.

A Diamond, Like a Memory, is Forever

One reason to create a memorial diamond is that it is a wearable memento of a loved one, and something that can be taken with you wherever you go. It can also be passed down through the generations and shared with other loved ones. Whatever their individual reasons, people often find meaning in different experiences and in different ways. Only you know if a memorial diamond is right for you.

Images: Algordanza