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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ring upgrade ♥

 06/08/2016 — 4.0mm morganite, diamond accent stones, sterling silver plated with rose rhodium, size 5
 03/18/2016 — 5.5mm morganite, diamond accent stones, 10k rose gold, size 3.5 with sizing beads



The old ring



Truth is, in real life my old ring doesn't look as delicate as portrayed in the photos ⊙_⊙ Then again, it only cost ~$70 la what do you expect. It was my first "fine jewelry" ring... I was so in love with it!    #lowstandard



  After 3 minutes in my $27 ultrasonic cleaner. Not bad eh?



Eventually still came a point I couldn't bear wearing it anymore. Factors:
  1. Ring size is 5, smallest size available at the time of purchase. My left ring finger is actually size 2.5 where the ring should sit, knuckle size is 3.5. I coiled Ring Noodle and RinGuard around the shank to make it snug, but they just weren't practical for long term wear: not aesthetically pleasing, moved around a lot and sometimes came loose, such a hassle when I cleaned the ring— had to remove them, clean them, let them dry, put them back on. 
  2. The plating was rapidly wearing off, band color was transitioning from rose gold → yellow gold → silver
  3. The morganite center stone is actually close to colorless I could barely see its pale pink hue. In fact, if someone handed me the ring without telling me it's morganite, I doubt I could ever tell. 
  4. It became more and more noticeable how cloudy and dull those tiny diamond accent stones look— not sure whether it's dirt buildup that even ultrasonic cleaning can't fix, or they were never clear and sparkly in the first place.



Searching for a new ring


Criteria I was dead-set on (descending order of priority):
  1. RING SIZE HAS TO BE RIGHT THIS TIME
  2. Price should not exceed $1.5k
  3. Metal has to be rose gold
  4. Center stone has to be a soft pink gem
  5. Center stone has to be heart cut

Interesting findings after weeks of internet research:
  • I looked up to see if there are better alternatives to morganite. Surprisingly, many gemstones do come in pink: diamond, moissanite, tourmaline, spinel, sapphire, cubic zirconia, kunzite, garnet, topaz... but most come in intense shade of reddish or purplish pink. The light pink I was looking for is very rarely observed in the listed gemstones, except rose quartz, but most rose quartz are very cloudy. I did come across a few loose soft pink diamonds, but not in the size and shape I want... lol who am I kidding here! Even if I eventually find a heart cut one in the right size, confirm cannot afford also lah nbcb.


    Here, an actual screenshot from a website. Only about the size of the morganite in my old ring (exact measurement in mm is 4.25 x 4.34 x 2.17 ), costs more than half of my annual income wtf.

  • Morganite frequently occurs in larger crystals, therefore unlike some other gemstones, there is no exponential increase in price with size. However, a quality morganite with good color, high clarity, and custom cut can be expensive! Very light, included and factory cut stones are on the lower end of the value spectrum— usually the kind found in retailers, like my old ring from Zales. General rule with morganite: the larger it is, the pinker it seems.

  • Morganite is measured in mm, not carat. I thought it's common sense, but apparently not all people know that carat is not a universal size measurement for all gemstones. Carat is a weight unit, 1 carat = 0.2 gram, different gemstones have different specific gravity (density) and therefore would weigh differently. That is to say, a 5mm diamond and a 5mm morganite are not of the same carat weight, a 1cwt diamond and a 1cwt morganite are not of the same size.

  • Facts of morganite in reference to diamond. I looked up birefringence, still no idea wtf that is.

  • Morganite's color is owed to manganese in its composition, heat treatment can remove the orange/yellow hue and turn morganite from peachy to pink. This finding was actually not from the internet but from watching Breaking Bad wtf. Chemistry yo.

  • Morganite tends to get cloudy easily (all beryls attract oil, which then attracts dust), but is also easy to clean: a soft bristle brush and a drop of mild soap would do the job. It does require frequent cleaning to prevent dirt buildup, but frequent cleaning is no big deal to me: I had already been cleaning my old ring almost every day anyway. And I have an ultrasonic cleaner. #OCD

  • I stumbled upon another shape I like: trillion cut. Its sleekness really appeals to me, I was even starting to think that maybe I didn't have to be so hell bent on getting a heart cut, but it seems trillion cut is even rarer than heart cut at the moment.


  • Just had to show you this because I'm madly drooling over that huge trillion cut morganite.
    Also, holy freaking fuck, that really looks like my hand! But no it's not. Hand doppelganger?  

  • None of those famous fine jewelry retailers carries sizes smaller than 4 wtf. Resizing is an option, but cost extra money la and can only be done on rings with minimalist design (plain band, no accent stones). Put aside the sizing issue, I didn't find anything I like anyway.

  • ETSY IS HEAVEN. So many unique designs, quality of gems is higher in general, price is also more reasonable! Beats all those retailers! Although I still didn't come across anything I love, I noticed that many jewelers on Etsy accept custom order. SOLUTION FOUND!!!



Getting a new ring made


I asked many jewelers on Etsy for a quote to make a replica of my old ring with rose gold setting and a bigger morganite of better quality. Some replied saying they don't make a ring from scratch (they only customize metal type, stone type and ring size of their ready-made designs). Some flat-out refused, said they only do original designs wtf.

Fine, I know designers can be prideful when it comes to ingenuity, but customers want replica because of sentiments cannot meh? ಠ_ಠ Technically, what I asked for was not even an EXACT replica— I mean, surely slight tweaks have to be made in order to accommodate a bigger center stone, and for a simple design so generic don't tell me there exists any risk of patent violation la wei, I don't get it! Maybe they are already so rich they don't mind having a smaller clientele and earn less money???

Of all the jewelers I contacted, only 2 expressed interest in taking my order: LaurieSarahDesigns and JewelryArtworkByVick. The former sounded more professional in our communication and was more established— 1600+ reviews on Etsy (all 5-star), stand-alone website of their business, products come with warranty and certification, but quoted me a higher price and only worked with 14k or 18k rose gold, whereas the latter quoted me a few hundreds less and would work with 10k rose gold. I preferred 10k rose gold, which is pinker, cheaper and more durable. Fyi, higher k indicates a higher percentage of gold, but is more malleable and scratch more easily. Vick Kass only had 58 reviews on Etsy at the time, but all were 5-star. After going through all 58 reviews, I was assured so I went ahead and placed the order!

I was very hesitant to upsize the center stone too much, firstly I didn't want to be too flashy, secondly I didn't want the center stone to be too raised as I have to wear nitrile gloves at work. I found this website that illustrates how big a diamond will look on finger (default measurement is in carat for diamonds but can be changed to mm for other stones). Quite helpful, but my finger is smaller than regular size, meaning the stone would look bigger on me than illustrated. I found a big stone tacky for everyday wear! I would rather it looks smaller than expected, so I decided to go safe with 5.5mm.


After the details were finalized, my jeweler sent me the following computer-aided design (CAD) sketch.


Modifications I requested:

Vick assured me that the ring appeared unsymmetrical and has a weird-looking cut-off at the side solely because of issues with rendering the CAD preview images. He sent me another sketch with the band flipped horizontally and modified to more of a ribbon shape. I gave the okay so he proceeded with building the ring!



The new ring



I received the end product 17 days later, just in time to wear it to Universal Resort!

I AM OBSESSED. My gorgeous ring is the first thing I look at every morning after I wake up, and the last thing I look at before I go to bed. I would try to catch some quick glances of it when I walk to the bus stop and when I wait for the bus (don't want to get seen doing it). I would sit by the window at the back of the bus so no one would see me admiring how the stones sparkle under sunlight. I would stare at it at work when I'm not wearing gloves. WSK commented that from an evolutionary perspective, human's obsession with shiny objects is rooted in a primitive desire for sparkling clean water as a vital resource. Thank you honey I get you're trying to imply. I do feel very baboon wtf.

Mad difficult to capture the pale pink of my morganite in photos/videos! Idk if this makes sense to you, apparently my stone appears clear and colorless when it reflects too much light... like when the sunlight or indoor lighting is too bright, I won't be able to tell it's pink unless I tilt it at an angle or cast a shadow on top of it. But I had to take photos/videos under bright light, otherwise I can't even get my ring in focus! No matter how many times I tap tap tap tap tap on the ring my stubborn phone brain still insists the background should be in focus. ಠ_ಠ I also suspected that the whatever built-in color correction setting of my phone camera must have decided to remove the pink tint, but I have no idea how to customize that. I only know how to use the auto mode because I'm a baboon.

Anyway here are my best attempts at capturing its beauty:









OMG WHY SO PRETTY BRB CRYING


What sorcery is this?! I used to find my old ring super pretty. Now it looks like a piece of junk wtf. My jeweler made the right call to use GH/SI quality diamonds as accent stones, although I didn't even specifically ask. Didn't know good quality stones could make this much difference!


Center stone size
I actually panicked a little when I first saw my new ring. I didn't expect sizing up the center stone by 1.5mm would look so much bigger! I showed 3 girls in real life and asked them if this size is too flashy. They were all like, chill la this is so modest can go even bigger okay? Must be big enough otherwise people cannot see! The bigger the better! ...baboons. -_- Yet a baboon immediately got brainwashed and started to regret not getting a 7mm for only $90 more. ಥ﹏ಥ


Ring size
As mentioned, I ordered my ring at size 3.5 because my knuckle size is 3.5, but I am size 2.5 where the ring should sit. I didn't want to leave room for the ring to spin around, so I asked my jeweler to add sizing beads. Turned out I have to wet my knuckle with soap for the ring to slide through painlessly because of the sizing beads, but once the ring goes past my knuckle it fits perfectly and sit where I want it, doesn't move up and down or spin around. At first the sizing beads did cause a little discomfort, but a few days later I couldn't even feel their presence anymore.


Cleaning
I was OCD about maintaining my morganite at its most sparkly state for the first 2 weeks. I would inspect its every facets and clean it every day, sometimes a few times a day: rubbing with alcohol to quickly clean the top; manual brushing with hand soap for a more thorough cleaning, especially the underneath; ultrasonic cleaner; drying with blowdryer and compressed air to not leave any water stain. Now I am less of a baboon and only clean it twice a week.



Afterthoughts:


This post takes forever to complete because a baboon keeps getting sidetracked by all those pretty gemstones and rings that are out there. A baboon is indeed very baboon— she ended up buying a pair of 1.6ct heart-cut simulated diamond 14k yellow gold stud earrings in the middle of drafting this. -_-

Backtrack a little: a month ago I bought a $8 navel barbell with a 7mm heart-shaped white cubic zirconia.


Now I think 7mm center stone is doable, not as drastically bigger as I thought. This photo also got me wondering why the cheap ass CZ appears more sparkly??? I am not talking about the brightness, of course white is brighter than pale pink la duh, I am talking about the "shimmer"— the CZ seems to reflect more light despite its shitty generic machine cut.

I looked it up and verified that my eyes weren't fooling me:
  • CZ has a refractive index of 2.18, dispersion is 0.06
  • Diamond has a refractive index of 2.417, dispersion is 0.044
  • Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.69, dispersion is 0.104
  • Morganite has a refractive index of 1.59, dispersion is 0.014

Which also means
  • CZ has more fire than diamond, brilliance is only slightly lower than diamond.
  • moissanite has more brilliance and fire than a diamond.

Additionally,
  • most naturally occurred diamonds are slightly tinted and have inclusions.
  • CZ and moissanite are colorless and flawless since they are lab-created. 

With these cheaper and better alternatives, I seriously don't get why people would still opt to pay a fortune for natural diamonds??? Ignorance? Resale value of regular-sized colorless diamond is very low, so don't bullshit me about how it's a good investment for rainy days or profit. I didn't ask for moissy or CZ accent stones because diamonds that small are super cheap anyway, but had I wanted a colorless center stone, my preference would be moissy > simulated diamond > CZ. Solely based on their attributes since these three with good custom cut cost around the same. I placed CZ the last because it clouds easily and ranks the lowest in hardness among the three.

I died when I came across these moissanites:


I didn't inquire the price since I am still very in love with my new ring the way it is. But if I want an upgrade again in the future, I think I might replace my 5.5mm morganite with a 7mm peachy pink moissanite, since there is room in the setting for a bigger center stone... might also have the sizing beads removed so that I didn't have to lubricate my knuckle every time I want to take my ring off or put it back on. For now I don't see myself ever getting another ring to replace this one, but who knows? The baboon in me is strong so never say never :P



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