Help combat climate change by purchasing jewellery from Ring Artisan

Say what!? Yes, you read that correctly. Ring Artisan will plant 5 Spekboom for every item that you purchase.

What is Spekboom though? Scientifically known as Portulacaria afra and more commonly known as Elephant’s food or Pork Bush. Spekboom is an environmental warrior indigenous to South Africa; it is an evergreen plant, which uses two of the three types of photosynthesis to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, where most plants only use one type of photosynthesis. It has a very advanced system in which it is able to store solar energy during daytime, while simultaneously performing regular photosynthesis, in order to perform photosynthesis at night as well. Spekboom is able to sequester more carbon dioxide per hectare than the Amazon rainforest. It is in fact 10 times more effective in fixing carbon per hectare than any tropical rainforest. (Kirsten, 2019)

Ample research has been carried out on spekboom in the Thicket Biome. It has been found that spekboom can have a net carbon sequester potential between 3.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 (van der Vyver et al., 2013) and 4.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 (Mill & Cowling, 2006). In arid regions of the Baviaanskloof and the broader Eastern Cape, it has been observed that spekboom can, in some cases, have a total carbon accrual between ~71 to 88 t C ha-1 (Powell 2009, Mills 2010). It is believed that carbon accrual can be even higher in less arid regions where spekboom is found in intact Thicket.

Apart from improving the quality of the air that we breathe, spekboom also has many other amazing characteristics:

  • It is very high in vitamin C
  • It is waterwise
  • It is evergreen
  • Its flowers are rich in nectar and therefore attracts bees and birds
  • It prevents soil erosion as it is excellent at soil-binding
  • It is very resilient and can therefore withstand the most severe weather conditions
  • It is drought tolerant
  • It can live up to 200 years
  • It can grow up to 3m high
  • It is very high in basic nutrients and is therefore an excellent food source for wildlife
  • It can treat dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion
  • Its sap can treat skin ailments, as well as, blisters and sunburn

(Shamwari , 2019)

Assist us in combating the toxic effects of Carbon Dioxide and GHG in our atmosphere by supporting our brand.

REFERENCES

Mills, A.J. & Cowling, R.M. 2006. Rate of carbon sequestration at two thicket restoration sites in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Restoration Ecology 14 (1): 38–49.
Mills, A.J. & Cowling, R.M. 2010. Below-ground carbon stocks in intact and transformed subtropical thicket landscapes in semi-arid South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 93-100.
Powell, M.J. 2009. The restoration of degraded subtropical thickets in the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape South Africa – the role of carbon stocks and Portulacaria afra survivorship. MSc. Thesis. Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
SA wonder plant removes more CO2 than Amazon [Online] / auth. Kirsten Elise // Getaway. – March 20, 2019. – https://www.getaway.co.za/travel/nature-and-conservation/sa-wonder-plant-removes-more-carbon-dioxide-than-amazon/.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve [Online] / auth. Shamwari . – Shamwari , March 21, 2019. – https://www.shamwari.com/5-amazing-facts-about-spekboom/.
Van der Vyver, M.L., Cowling, R.M., Mills, A.J. & Difford, M. 2013. Spontaneous Return of Biodiversity in Restored Subtropical Thicket: Portulacaria afra as an Ecosystem Engineer. Restoration Ecology 21 (6): 736-744.

Why Ring Artisan and not a physical jewellery retail store?

Personal one-on-one experience

There is very little that can compete with the experience of working one-on-one with someone. Large jewellery chain stores and companies have innumerable employees. When shopping for special diamond jewellery at these stores, you don’t know if you’re interacting with an employee who started yesterday or who is leaving tomorrow. The salesperson may have no jewellery experience, very little knowledge of diamonds and their value and may dislike their job and their employer. Employees at these stores may only be there for the salary, and are likely to have no passion or interest in diamonds and the product that they are selling. Thus, they may not offer the best possible advice and their suggestions and guidance may be uninformed.

Knowledge, relationship and guidance

When dealing with a private/unfranchised brand such as Ring Artisan, you are guaranteed a one-on-one experience with the owner of the private brand, such as myself. I stand firmly behind my brand, as it is my business and absolute passion. Thus, I realize that you, the customer, is the most important aspect of my brand. Without my valued customers, Ring Artisan will seize to exist. If a large chain store, lost a few sales every month, they wouldn’t notice it. You can be assured that I will do everything in my power in order to offer you the best I possibly can. I don’t work for a set salary, so if I don’t put in the necessary effort to carry my clients on my hands, my business will be unsuccessful. Unlike a shop employee who earns a set salary every month, whether they make 100 sales or no sales at all.
You and I will build a personal relationship, in which I will come to understand your needs, compared to a chain store where you will be lost in the system. With Ring Artisan, you will be able to build a portfolio and deal with me every single time you would like to purchase an item or have an item custom made. At a chain store, more often than not, you will be dealing with a different sales representative, who doesn’t know you personally nor your needs nor your style and taste. Ring Artisan offers a personal and private experience that cannot be met by any other chain retailer. I have access to large inventories of diamonds, which I fully utilize in order to source the perfect diamond to your desire and budget. In a chain store, you are left with the few options that are on the shop floor, where I will search far and wide to ensure that I find the perfect diamond for you. This diamond can be set in ANY design you desire; you don’t have to settle for mass produced options in shop windows. I will offer guidance and advice, as needed, to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Unbeatable prices

The greatest advantage of this online platform is the fact that Ring Artisan doesn’t have large overheads, such as: rent, water, electricity and staff, like other retail stores. Everything is personally handled by yours truly. Thus, Ring Artisan is able to offer unbeatable prices; this is probably the biggest reason to buy from a private dealer such as myself. You can either end up saving a huge sum of money (up to 300% compared to other retail stores) or you can optimize your budget for the biggest and highest quality diamond possible with your budget. Ring Artisan promises to always give the best possible prices for our high quality items that we source and produce. Our prices are always up-to-date with the real-time exchange rate and gold prices. I always love to use this example of an engagement ring sale I made last year, where the client obtained a quote of R32 000 (with a “35% store discount”) from a very well-known chain store and I was able to supply this exact ring for R10 000. Two diamonds, with exactly the same specifications on their certificates, are exactly the same. They are identical. It certainly does not make it any “better” or a “higher quality” diamond because it was purchased at one of these well-known chain stores at a very high price. They simply overcharged the customer and made a large sum of money. The customer is robbed with up to 300%, that could’ve rather been spent on a much larger diamond or could’ve been put away for a holiday. Be smart, don’t pay retail.

Custom Diamond Engagement Ring Design

Purchasing a custom diamond engagement ring can be one of the most stressful experiences known to man. Not only is the ring that you are going to purchase and propose with going to be on your loved one’s finger for the rest of her life, but ladies also like to think that their engagement ring says something about them and men like to show-off a little as a taste of their ability to provide for their future family. No pressure.

Custom diamond engagement ring options are endless. It’s definitely not an easy choice to pick a ring design for your future fiancé, but we want to help you make it easy. Since we’re able to custom make anything, we are able to combine several designs into one to create the perfect ring for your future wifey, especially if she likes something unique.

Here are a few pointers on how to choose or create the perfect engagement ring design for your future wifey:

Have an insider: ask one of her bff’s to chat to her about what ring designs she likes; she won’t suspect a thing. Ladies talk about rings all the time and there’s a very good chance that her bff might already know exactly what she wants.

Pop into a jewellery store ‘to look at watches’: she will quickly pull you towards all the diamonds and give herself away immediately. This is also a good tactic to get her to try on a few rings and thereby not only determine her style but also her ring size and it will all seem like it was her idea. Just don’t seem TOO eager.

Comment on other friend’s engagement rings: say something like, ‘you know, Bob really went all out on Sally’s ring’ and she will reply with something like ‘oh no, it’s not my taste’ or ‘oh yes, it’s stunning isn’t it?’ – then ask what she likes/dislikes about it.

Scroll through her screenshots on her phone: this isn’t a favourite, because it can be slightly invasive, but you will definitely find screenshots of rings she’s been collecting as ideas for her future engagement ring.  You can also view our gallery and / or online shop.

Use the available resources: all women have a Pinterest account. Create an account with an incognito name and have a look at what boards she’s created. There will almost definitely be a ring board. You’ve struck gold (excuse the pun).  You could also browse our Instagram and see how she reacts to the styles.

Take note of the jewellery that she wears: this will give a direct indication of what her style is and we will be able to advise what kind of ring design or style she will like. Other items in her wardrobe will also reveal some of her character, like, if she likes genuine leather shoes or handbags, or if she wears expensive perfume or makeup, we know that she has an eye for quality and luxury, etc.

Ask her: some ladies aren’t phased by surprises and would rather prefer to be assured that she will be getting exactly what she’s been dreaming of her entire life.

If you use the above pointers and pay a little bit more attention to detail, it can be very easy to hack into your future wifey’s mind and determine exactly what she wants her engagement ring to look like. Happy 007-ing 😉

Determining ring size

Determining ring size can be a daunting experience when one wants to protect the element of surprise. This blog post will cover various ways in which one can determine ring size accurately, without eliminating the element of surprise, as well as, a few practical ways in which you can measure your own finger size accurately.

THE BEST WAY

The best and most accurate way to determine ring size, is to pop into a jewellery store with your loved one to determine her ring size. They will use a set of finger gauges, which is a metal hoop holding a series of metal rings in half size increments. The fit should feel secure and comfortable, taking into consideration the temperature, humidity and time of day as these can affect the size of your fingers. It needs to fit snugly on your finger in order not to fall off, but also loose enough to slide over your knuckle.

You can also order on of our free ring sizers. The sizer has measurements from which you can read the size of her ring finger.

ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

If you wanted to protect the element of surprise by determining your loved one’s ring finger size without her knowledge, there are a few ways in which you can do it quite accurately.

If your loved one is a heavy sleeper, you can slip the free ring sizer (coming soon) onto her ring finger and read the size from it. The fit should be snug, but you must be able to slide it over the knuckle comfortably.

Ask one of her girlfriends or a family member. Girls share their every detail with their close girlfriends and their mums. They will most likely know the size of her ring finger.

NB: For all of the following options you will need a ring that she already wears on her left or right ring finger, or one you know fits one of her ring fingers:

‘Steal’ one of her rings that she already wears on her ring finger and to have it sized at a jeweller. If it is one that she wears on her right ring finger and she is right handed, her left ring finger will be a half size to a size smaller; the opposite applies to left-handed individuals (their left ring finger will be bigger). Do not use a ring that she wears on any of her other eight fingers, as these are completely different sizes to one’s ring finger size. If the ring is destined for another finger, use a ring she already wears on that finger.

If you can’t ‘steal’ her ring for long enough to take it to a jeweller, would be to use a bar of soap. Create an impression of the ring in a bar of soap, by pressing the ring down into the soap bar with some force. A jeweller will be able to determine the size of the ring from the impression of the ring. You can also measure the diameter in mm and compare it to a ring sizing chart.

Trace the inside of the ring’s circumference with a sharp pencil on a piece of paper. When doing this it is important to hold the ring very still, and to trace as close to the ring as possible in order to get an accurate measurement. The ring should preferably be as unadorned and plain as possible. You can determine the size of the ring by measuring the diameter of the traced circle in mm, then comparing it to a ring sizing chart. Here one should always rather go half a size up as the traced circle will always be slightly smaller than the actual ring’s diameter.

Jam it onto one of your fingers carefully noting its position, then visit a jeweller to determine the size with a ring gauge. This one could be a little risking in terms of accuracy.

PRO TIP: rather always go a size larger. Rather have it be too big than too small when popping the question. You can always have the ring resized afterwards.

DON’T: use a string or a strip of paper. This is a very inaccurate method as these materials are not rigid or stiff enough to keep the shape that a ring would.

GOOD LUCK!

The 4 C’s you need to know about diamonds

EDUCATION STATION: A diamond’s beauty is not determined by the values on its certificate

Diamonds can often be very intimidating; leaving the consumer overwhelmed and confused. Jewellers can often mislead the consumer and persuade the consumer into buying something that they don’t fully understand, at a pretty penny. If you have insight on the product, your understanding of the product’s specifications and price will be meaningful and empowering.

The 4C’s are an age old concept that everyone has encountered when purchasing diamonds, namely: cut, carat, colour and clarity, in no specific order. I say this because, it all depends on what is more important to you. If carat is more important (which is the general trend among women; size does matter boys), then you can compromise on colour and clarity to stay within a given budget. If clarity is more important and size is unimportant to you, then you can compromise on carat to stay within a given budget. If both colour and carat are important, then one can compromise on clarity. A diamond’s beauty is not determined by the values on its certificate, just as it is not determined by the amount of money you spend on it.

But what exactly do all these terms mean!? Here is an extensive guide that will educate you on the product, so that you can feel confident in the money that you are lying out. It is also important to acknowledge that a diamond is not an investment piece, but an eternal symbol of your love to your other half. So yes, if you consider time, it is can be seen as an investment, because your spouse will be wearing it for the rest of their life, but one cannot approach a symbol of eternal love as an investment. (because you will most likely never sell it).

CUT

Cut is definitely the single most important factor to consider when purchasing a diamond. The quality of a diamond’s cut results in the sparkle and fire of a diamond. A diamonds of high quality (colour and clarity) with a poor cut will result in a diamond that is dim and lacks fire.

In general, the word ‘cut’ is used to refer to the shape of a diamond, for example: round, marquise, oval, etc. Some diamond shapes appear larger than others even though they have the same carat weight. Shapes that generally appear larger than their carat weight are pear, oval and marquise cuts – these appear larger than round cut diamonds for the same carat weight. Shapes that generally appear smaller than their carat weight are square cut diamonds like princess, asscher and emerald cuts – these appear smaller than round cut diamonds for the same carat weight.

Cut isn’t merely the shape of a diamond, but, also refers to the quality of a diamond’s cut. The quality of a diamond’s cut is determined by various ratios in a diamond’s anatomy, such as: table (top of the diamond), depth (top to bottom), crown height, pavilion depth, crown angle, pavilion angle, girdle thickness, etc. The most important of these being depth, table and diameter, as the ratio of the depth to diameter and table to diameter are prominent in determining a diamond’s cut grade. The final grading of a diamond’s cut quality also takes the symmetry of the facets and polish into account. A round brilliant cut diamond is cut with 57 facets; some with a 58th facet known as the cutlet, which is located at the bottom of the pavilion. An ‘excellent’ cut means that the ratios are nearly perfect, allowing incoming light to reflect directly back, out of the table of the diamond, resulting in a diamond with beautiful lustre, sparkle and fire. A ‘poor’ cut means that a diamond is cut is too shallow or too deep, the light entering the table of the diamond is directed in a different angle. The stream of light either goes straight through the diamond (generally cut too shallow) or out through the side of the diamond (generally cut too deep). This prevents any light from reflecting back through the top of the diamond, resulting in a diamond that is dim and lacks sparkle. A diamond with this kind of low quality cut is said to “leak” light.

It is also important to note that there are numerous ratio combinations possible within the grading scale of excellent, very good, good, fair to poor, but also within a single grade category. This prompts the topic of diamond ‘spread’. The spread of a diamond refers to its size compared to its carat weight. A ‘spready’ diamond is cut slightly shallower resulting in a larger table, therefore, facing up larger than its carat weight (when observing it from the top) but will have a shallower pavilion (when observing it from the side). These diamonds aren’t necessarily ‘poor’ cuts as the ratios can still result in a ‘very good’ to ‘good’ cut grading, inhibiting beautiful brilliance and fire, but face-up larger than their carat weight. To put it into perspective, one can imagine two people of the same weight e.g. 70 kg, but of different height e.g. 1.6 m vs. 1.7 m tall. The 1.7 m person will appear to be a much larger person due to the added length. A diamond with a ‘poor’ quality cut will result in a diamond that faces-up much smaller than its carat weight (when observing the table of the diamond from the top), as most of the weight will be portioned to the pavilion of the diamond (when observing it from the side). The added weight on such a diamond will also reduce the diamond’s brilliance and lustre as it causes light to leak from the side of the diamond.

Avoid compromising for cut grades lower than ‘very good’ to save on the budget. It is best to compromise on colour or clarity.

CARAT

Carat is commonly mistaken for the size of a diamond but in actuality refers to the weight of a diamond, which is generally proportional to the size of a diamond. One carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams; about the weight of a paperclip. The modern carat system and the word ‘carat’ originated from the very uniform carob seed, which was used as a counter balance on the scales of old gem traders. A 0.15 ct diamond is referred to as a 15 pointer and a 0.95 ct diamond a 95 pointer, etc. Diamonds above 1 ct are referred to as a ‘two point oh four carats’ (2.04 ct), for example. This allows for very accurate measurements as a carat can be divided into a hundred points, therefore, to the hundredth decimal place. The weight of a diamond is measured to a thousand decimal places (0.001), which is rounded to the nearest hundredth decimal place.

Carat weight is not the only determining factor in the value of a diamond; two diamonds of equal carat weight will have unequal value as the value is also dependent on the clarity, colour and the cut quality of the diamond. Two ½ carat diamonds will not have the same value as a 1ct diamond (assuming all other factors are the same); the greater the weight of the diamond, the more rare it becomes, hence the increase in value.

It is an obvious trend that the price of a diamond increases with increase in carat for the same given colour, clarity and cut. A diamond with a bad quality cut, one that is cut too deep, will result in a diamond that appears much smaller than its given carat weight as most of the weight is portioned to the pavilion depth (‘cone’) of the diamond. The added weight on such a diamond will also reduce the diamond’s brilliance and lustre. The same applies to a diamond that is cut too shallow, it will appear much larger as the weight is portioned to the table (top) of the diamond, but it will lack brilliance. However, a diamond that is cut slightly shallow, but still qualifies as a very good to good quality cut, will appear larger than its given carat weight and will still sparkle beautifully. This is referred to as ‘spread’; a ‘spready’ diamond will appear much larger than its carat weight, as most of the weight is portioned to the table (top) of the diamond (this will be discussed more extensively in the next post). One can roughly estimate the size of a diamond according to its carat, but, that is solely dependent on the quality of the diamond’s cut.

Budget hack: if you have a specific carat weight in mind, aim for just below that carat weight e.g. 2ct, opt for 1.90-1.99ct. You will not be able to notice the small difference in the diamond’s size, but this will allow you to save a significant amount of money. One should avoid ‘magic sizes’ which are ½, ¾ and 1 ct. These weights are thresholds for diamond pricing, above these weights the price per carat increases significantly. These weights coincide with popular diamond weights, as with anything, popularity results in demand which results increased prices. For example, two diamonds are exactly the same colour, clarity and cut. The one weighs 1.03 ct and the other 0.97 ct, the 0.06ct (6 pt) weight difference is visually undiscernible, but the difference in price can be up to 20% more. 

COLOUR

The diamond colour grading scale is between D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). Before this grading system existed, there were various other loosely applied systems, which made use of the beginning of the alphabet, roman numerals etc. Thus, GIA chose the letter D as the starting point to fully dissociate itself from the other archaic, inconsistent and inaccurate grading systems. The more colourless a diamond, the more expensive it is. The opposite is of course true for fancy colour diamonds, which increase in value with increase in colour saturation. Fancy colour diamonds are extremely expensive and rare as only every 1 in 10 000 carats is fancy colour. Qualified diamond graders determine diamond colour under precise viewing conditions and controlled lighting by comparing them to stones of known colour, or by years of experience. To the untrained eye, many of the colour distinctions between grades are subtle and unnoticeable, but the difference in diamond price and quality can be vast.

Similar to clarity, one can save quite a chunk of your budget with colour – it’s all about how you set it and what colour metal you choose. D colour diamonds are extremely expensive because they are completely colourless, therefore very rare. Where M colour diamonds, which fall into the “faint yellow category” for example, are less expensive and can still face-up white in colour. A diamond’s colour is determined by turning it face down on a white surface, this saturates the colour in the pavilion of the diamond to allow for accurate grading, but, when turned face up a diamond’s colour is less saturated and faces-up more white in colour than its grading.

The best value for money without compromising on colour are diamonds within the ‘near colourless’ grading class G-J. Diamonds in the K-M ‘faint yellow’ category are also good budget savers, but these should preferably be set in rose or yellow gold to neutralize the colour of the diamonds; they will appear much whiter than their grading, sometimes by 3 colour grades. The cost saving in these categories can be very significant compared to colourless diamonds between D-F. Colourless stones are more complimented by white gold and platinum settings to enhance the very white appearance of these diamonds; setting these colourless stones in yellow gold may show through the colour of the gold. Some diamond shapes also show colour more shyly than others. The more brilliant cut stones such as cushions, pears, ovals and radiants show colour less distinctly than step cut diamonds such as emeralds and asschers; these cuts have larger facets which reflect more colour. The size of the diamond will also influence the saturation in colour as larger stones, over 1 ct, show colour more easily.  A colour grading lower than H for a stone larger than 1 ct may be unfavourable. Beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder; and there is no way to predict how a diamond will appear in a certain setting or a certain cut.

CLARITY

Diamonds were formed in four natural processes 1. In the earth’s mantle (commercial diamond mining), 2. In subduction zones (rocks subducted into the earth’s mantle during plate tectonic movements), 3. At asteroid impact sites, 4. In space (some meteoroids contain nano-diamonds). The majority of diamonds were formed at about 150-200 kilometres under the earth’s surface in its mantle; where temperatures are between 900-1200 Celsius and the pressure 45-60 kilobars (50 000 times more than atmospheric pressure). It is thought that these diamond stability zones, where diamonds were formed and stored, are mainly under the interiors of continental plates. Rare, deep-source volcanic eruptions, unobserved by the modern human, carried these diamond deposits near the earth’s surface. During these volcanic eruptions once the magma (kimberlite and lamproite), carrying diamond containing rocks, had erupted through the earth’s surface and cooled down, kimberlite and lamproite pipes were formed. These pipes are where most of the world’s diamonds are found. Bearing this incredible natural phenomenon in mind, one can have better insight on the flaws that a diamond may inhibit. We can think of these flaws as birthmarks.

The clarity of a diamond refers the purity of a diamond, which declines with the increase in natural inclusions found in a diamond. Flawless diamonds that are without any natural inclusions are extremely rare, therefore, extremely pricey. These inclusions manifest in many different forms such as: pinpoints, clouds, needles, knots, crystals, feathers, cleavages, internal grains, twinning wisps, indentations, cavities and chips – a mouthful. But, what do these actually look like and do they really matter? Although inclusions take on many different forms and grading categories, it is not necessarily such a negative thing. Firstly, most imperfections up to SI2 cannot be seen with the naked eye, i.e. they are only noticeable to the trained eye under a 10x magnification diamond loupe. Secondly, you can save a lot of money by opting for an imperfect diamond, which still appears perfect to the naked eye. No, Jealous Jenny’s will not be able to notice these imperfections (SI1 or higher grading) in your diamond when you are showcasing your brand new sparkler. In fact, some I (Included) graded diamonds may also be eye clean, depending on the location of the inclusions. Thirdly, it can also be used as an identification tool. If you get to know your diamond and know exactly where these inclusions are and what form they take, you will easily be able to identify your diamond. Fourthly, inclusions also make diamonds unique; no other diamond will ever be the same as your diamond, as no two diamonds will have exactly the same type of inclusion in the same place. Unless you’re a big baller and money is no object, opt for diamonds that aren’t flawless to get more bang for your buck.

When diamonds are graded under 10x magnification by a skilled grader, the quantity, size, nature, position and colour of the inclusions are considered. There are 11 possible categories in which a diamond’s clarity can fall:

*NB to remember that this is under 10x magnification*

  • Flawless (FL): no blemishes or inclusions are visible
  • Internally Flawless (IF): only blemishes and no inclusions are visible
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): inclusions are difficult to see
  • Very Slight Included (VS1 and VS2): minor inclusions that can range from difficult to somewhat easy to see
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): inclusions are noticeable
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3): inclusions are obvious which may affect brilliance and transparency