Blog - Diamonds Forever
This intimate boutique offers custom, designer & antique jewelry, plus repairs & jewelry appraisals.
Jewelry Engagement Rings, San Diego Engagement Rings, San Diego Custom Jewelry, Sapphire Engagement Rings, Custom Engagement Rings, Ruby Engagement Rings, Antique Rings, Designer Engagement Rings, San Diego Jewelry Repair, Jewelry Loans, Sell Gold, Jewelry Appraisal
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JCK 2015 + CAD Design


This weekend I went to the JCK trade show, one of the most spectacular shows that are held for jewelry retailers and dealers and buyers. I walked three floors of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and thank god for the A/C and my comfy flats because there almost too much to check out and I was already overwhelmed by the first hour. There were so many colored stones from Opal, Pink Sapphires, Tanzanite, and Emeralds and Rubies that it seemed to go on for miles and miles. The diamonds were quite spectacular; it was like huge D-Flawless diamonds around every corner. So many vendors I’ve never even heard of and a few that we actually carry in our store. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for it next year.



The Battle of the Grading Reports: GIA vs EGL


As you start your diamond research, one of the first things you learn is to always look for a grading report. But… which grading report and from which lab? There’s hundreds of labs out there, many in different countries and with many different standards. With so many conflicting information out there, we’re here to help clear up some confusion.

Before the 1950’s, there was no such thing as a diamond report. Jewelers, gemologists, or anyone in the diamond industry could decide the color, clarity, cut all willy-nilly and set prices according to their own opinions. When Robert Liddicoat’s diamond grading system became an international standards, that’s when the diamond industry started getting it together.  Liddicoat is considered the founding father of gems and jewelry, and his work at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has been a huge freaking deal. That’s why GIA is considered the top grading lab for diamonds and colored-stones, they’re like the Ferrrari of the diamond industry.

All of us at Diamonds Forever are trained at GIA, and so we’re partial to their reports. We know that before a diamond receives it’s official grade, it has been graded by at least 3 highly-trained gemologists in a crazily-controlled environment. The lighting, the air temperature, the microscope are all set to specific standards. We trust GIA’s knowledge and expertise.

GIA is also a non-profit organization, they have no interest in the diamonds they’re grading and do not even suggest a price for the diamond.

However, we think it wise for you to understand how GIA compares to the other big labs out there. Labs such as EGL (European Gemological Laboratory), AGS (American Gem Society, and HRD (Hoor Raad voor Diamant or in English, the High Diamond Council).

In this first post, we will compare GIA and EGL. We don’t see as much diamonds graded from HRD because they’re mostly in Europe or AGS because they’re a smaller lab.

Now EGL. EGL actually has a couple labs that use the same name but are completely different from one another. There is EGL USA comprising of Los Angeles and New York, EGL Israel or EGL International, and EGL India.  This is important because they grade diamonds very differently from one another.

Engagement Ring Spring 2015_DiamondsForeverSD_30

So if GIA is the top-dog, how do EGL USA, EGL International, and EGL India compare to it?

In their color, clarity, and cut grading, EGL USA is usually 1-2 grades off from GIA, EGL International and EGL India is about 3-4 grades off.  That’s a huge difference.

One of the reasons we don’t recommend buying diamonds online is because of this. We have clients who have ordered their diamond online, only to receive it and see that their “G” color diamond is very yellow, like a “J” color and then they realize it was an EGL International report.

You might be asking yourself, well why would I even consider buying an EGL diamond now? It comes down to budget. GIA-graded diamonds command a premium; EGL diamonds often come at a discount. The reason for this is because getting a GIA diamond graded costs more than EGL, so that cost is absorbed into the price of the diamond. Furthermore, because the demands are higher for a GIA-graded diamond, it pushes their price up as well.

We have seen beautiful EGL stones, so don’t let the name scare you away. Just be aware, and double check to see if that color and clarity bothers you. It’s better for you to come into the store and see with your own eyes the difference between the labs. We work with each client to figure out what they’re looking for, and show them live examples of the difference in grading reports so that you find the best diamond for you. If you’re interested in seeing the difference, give us a call at (619) 223-2151 or use our Contact page!




GIA, or the Gemological Institute of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and jewelry manufacturing. GIA’s mission is to protect both buyers and sellers of gemstones by setting and maintaining the standards used to evaluate gemstone quality. The institute carries out its mission through constant research, developing gem identification, diamond grading services and by offering a variety of educational programs and seminars.

In 1953 the GIA developed its International Diamond Grading System called the Four C’s (Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight) as a standard in which to objectively compare and evaluate the quality of a diamond.

Today, the institute is headquartered in Carlsbad, California and operates out of 13 countries, with 11 campuses, 9 laboratories and 4 research centers worldwide.

The history of GIA begins in the 1920s with a man named Robert M. Shipley. Shipley, a successful jeweler, began  to realize the unfortunate state of the gem and jewelry industry and he believed the greatest improvements would come through gem and jewelry education. He took it upon himself to bring change to the jewelry trade, and re-instill public trust.

Shipley established the first GIA laboratory in Los Angeles in 1931. Gemologists could become educated, certified and the industry was transformed with the legitimization of gemology as a recognized scientific field of study. Almost a century later, the list of accomplishments and innovations is too long to list. So here are just a handful of contributions GIA made to the jewelry industry.

-The 4 C’s of diamond grading standardized the way diamonds are graded around the world in 1934.

– GIA created the diamond grading report, which is accepted internationally by the jewelry industry to be both fair and accurate in 1955.

– GIA creates more legitimacy and accountability by developing a way identify diamonds that have been color enhanced by radiation in 1956. And once again in 1999 GIA discovered a way to detect diamonds that had been decolorized by the High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) treatment.

– In 2003 GIA identified a way to identify natural vs. synthetic sapphires, protecting all from misrepresented gemstones.

– GIA created an in-depth step by step system for evaluating and assigning a cut grade for round brilliant diamonds that fall in the D-to-Z color range in 2005

– After a significant influx of man made diamonds GIA introduced techniques to identify unnatural diamond and also created the Synthetic Diamond Grading Report in 2007

– GIA introduces a system called Diamond Check  to expand on the accuracy in differentiating between natural, treated, or synthetic diamonds in 2014

Today, GIA provides a variety of gem grading and identification reports. The labs most popular service, diamond grading, provides two types of grading reports. The full report and the diamond dossier both detail a number of measurements including carat weight, proportions, and symmetry. The main difference between the full report and the dossier is a full report includes a diagram (or the diamond plot) that shows where and what types of clarity characteristics (also known as inclusions) a specific diamond contains and illustrates their locations and size in relation to the stones size.

At Diamonds Forever in San Diego, we are all GIA trained professionals and we have had the privilege of visiting the Carlsbad GIA campus/laboratory and we would recommend that you take a tour and see what all the fuss is all about!


Lost Wax Casting + the Making of Your Engagement Ring

Hi everyone!

I’m Dani with Diamonds Forever and I’m a big part of the team. I’m a young jeweler with a sharp eye and a helping hand. I plan to make you happy and proud of your ring just like I’m proud of the store im a part of.

Making engagement rings is sort of like baking an amazing mountain berry crumb pie for someone. There are a few things you need: a little bit of cash for all the fixin’s, a very special recipe, and someone who loves you so much that they make sure the result is nothing but amazing!



The first steps in making an engagement ring is figuring out what you want to wear and what style you know you won’t get tired of. Of course, you’ll want it to be something unique and something you helped make. If you don’t have any ideas yet or are overwhelmed by the possibilities I know a few ways to help ease the stress. Simply going online is a good start and looking up cool rings or telling us some styles you’ve noticed. Some people like one of a kind vintage, antique style rings and others like a clean cut and polished contemporary style. Some want a little bit of both! We can make that happen.

Now once we execute the design you’re excited about we start to carve a wax! You can either go the route of expert hand carved waxes or computer designed models (CAD).  No matter which way you decide to go we are making you a family heirloom here at Diamonds Forever!  We want you to pass the ring along for generations. Making the wax model is extremely cool and artsy but the part where it gets really exciting is when you get to cast the ring. This is called “Lost Wax Casting”. Whaat- where does the wax go!? You might say. The details are a little technical but very cool.

Engagement Ring Styles | Diamonds Forever

In Lost Wax Casting you need a handful of things. Start off with the wax model and attach it to the rubber base securely using hot wax and covering it with a metal cylinder called a flask. After the flask is ready, we then pour investment (think plaster) to fill the cylinder. Let it harden for about 10 or 15 minutes and put it in the kiln (oven) overnight. When the flask is inside the oven, the wax evaporates and the investment takes the same form of the ring. The next step is my favorite! We use a huge torch to melt the metal and use a spin caster which uses centrifugal force and the gold shoots into the flask and-Boom! Your ring is now a real piece of jewelry made of gold.  At this point it’s not polished at all so it’s not pretty yet. The key to a gorgeous ring is the polish. Cleaning and polishing off all the excess metal and making sure everything has a mirror finish is the key in an impressive ring. This is where I step in and check the quality of the ring before setting and once it passes we proceed to set all the stones with care and after a few more checks and polishes, we finish and present to you a ring you’ll feel so proud of and maybe even a little giddy because it’s just so beautiful you can’t even believe it.

See, it’s almost as easy as pie! Now your next move is to make the grand gesture and pop the question. Make sure it’s a day she’ll never forget! Call me and let’s bake something sweet!;)


Dani, Diamonds Forever


History of Jewelry


Flashback thousands of years ago, people all over the world loved and admired jewelry. It showed status, social + official rank, religious or political affiliation and of course for personal enjoyment. Even during prehistoric times, our ancestors found a way to create many types of custom jewelry  made with many types of materials such as hair, feathers, bones, wood, shells, minerals and later gold, silver, platinum and colored stones. Their ingenuity grew with each passing generation, and advancements in technology and gathering of available resources gave birth to the creation of some of the most iconic and beautiful jewelry designs. Today we look back at those ancient times and remember them not only for their accomplishments, but as a moment when the entire industry of metal smiths and colored stone processing became formed and the lessons they learned became basis of many modern processes.

The first pieces of jewelry were being made during the same time that African ancestors started making clothes and tools. The oldest surviving prehistoric pieces of jewelry were decorative sea shells from over 110.000 years ago! They give solid proof that the human race used jewelry even before they departed Africa and spread across the entire world.

Nephrite Necklace

Even though the old world produced their own versions of simple accessories during those prehistoric times, sudden rise of technology in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia proved to be a dynamic moment in which jewelry finally started gaining shape of modern items that are used today. Ability to mold and bend bronze and copper 6 thousand years ago into many shapes finally enabled the creation of highly detailed jewelry that carried designs of animals and people, something that could never be done before. Discovery of gold a few thousand years later influenced even more varied designs, and Egyptians quickly took advantage of the softness of gold  to create timeless pieces of jewelry that were saved to this day but deeply buried Pharaoh burial chambers.


Emerald:  A Gemstone for Good Luck and May’s Birthstone

DF_diamond Band emerald earrings

The great naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century AD “no stone has a color that is more delightful to the eye, there being no green in existence more intense than this.” Pliny is referring to the beautiful and vibrant hues of the beloved emerald. The emerald gemstone is a medium to dark green color and is part of the beryl family.  Emeralds are the birthstone for the month of May and also the gemstone for celebrating the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

The name emerald comes from the Greek word “smaragdos” through the Old French word “esmeralde,” which actually means ‘green gemstone.’  The emerald has been considered a valuable gemstone since the ancient times and worn by royalty.

Emeralds were first discovered in Egypt near the Red Sea, where they were mined for Egyptian pharaohs.  Cleopatra was a huge fan of emeralds and they even named the emerald mines in Egypt after her. She would often present visiting diplomats with emeralds carved in her likeness as a symbol of her power.  The Inca priests’ filled their templs with emeralds because they believe their goddess loved emeralds over anything else. In Islam, emeralds are often associated with paradise and is also the official color of Islam. The historical and cultural significance of Emeralds make it a widely popular and sought-after stone throughout the world.

People of ancient times thought of emeralds as a promise of good luck, and also to have healing properties or promoting good health.  The Aztecs regarded the stone as holy.   The deep green color emits a love of nature and harmony with the earth.

Emerald Gemstone

Today the emerald gemstone is mostly mined in South America and still plentiful.  Columbia is the home of the Muzo mine, where some of the finest quality emeralds are mined in the deep emerald color.  A large amount of emeralds are also found in Brazilian mines, which are lighter in color and have no inclusions.  Emeralds can also be found in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Zambia.

It is difficult to find an emerald with no inclusion, almost all have some type of eye-visible inclusion. However, emerald inclusions are often little signs that help us determine origin and the nature of the stone. The inclusions in an Emerald are actually very beautiful and is often referred to as a “jardin”. It is important to note that the inclusions in an emerald do make the gemstone more fragile than others.  The inclusions also tell you know that the gemstone is authentic and not synthetic or man-made.

As mentioned above, the emerald is a member of the beryl family.  Beryl is a clear and colorless gemstone.  Emeralds are formed when the beryl is combined with another element.  In this case, beryl, chromium, and vanadium combine for the deep rich emerald green color.   The beautiful deep green stone is fragile and makes cutting the stone a challenge for even the best gemologists.   The emerald rates a 7.5-8 on the Moh’s scale of hardness.

The emerald, one of the most precious gemstones is often found showcased in museums around the world.  You can see the famous emerald clad cup that belonged to Emperor Jehangir at the New YorkMuseum of Natural History.  This museum also houses one of the largest emeralds found, weighing in at 632 carats and nam
ed “Patricia.”

Emerald NecklaceSignature pieces of jewelry have been a common thing for women for centuries and sometimes passed down through the generations.   You may want to create your own signature piece of jewelry with emeralds.  Emeralds are lovely in cocktail rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.   We can help you design your own signature piece of jewelry at Diamonds Forever.  Call me at  (619) 223-2151 to schedule an appointment for us to show you our exclusive designs or to create a design just for you.