The diamonds and gemstones we wear on our hands grow dull as they pick up finger oil along with bits of dust and sloughed-off skin cells that adhere to the oil. Not to mention, lotion, ladies, if we put it on without taking our ring off, first. And since we ship our Celtic-inspired diamond and colored gemstone puzzle engagement rings all over the world, so we can’t just say, “Drop by our shop whenever you want your gemstone cleaned.”
We do offer a free annual cleaning and polish for your ring (you pay only the shipping), but honestly, you can keep your puzzle ring jewel(s) sparkling all by yourself, in the comfort of your own home, with no special jewelry cleaners or equipment beyond what you can find at local stores.
This article will explain how to keep your Crystal Realm 14K gold (in any color), palladium, or platinum puzzle engagement ring clean and sparkly. It is safe for all the diamonds or colored stones we mount in rings, unless I tell you personally that your particular gemstone needs special care. This is not intended to be a general jewelry cleaning lesson. Different metals and different stones require different cleaning solutions.
The methods and cleaning solutions I suggest here are proven to be safe for our puzzle engagement rings, and I cannot vouch for instructions given on other websites, which sometimes, by the way, offer conflicting instructions.
First, here is a list of what to avoid when cleaning your ring, as they may damage your ring and/or jewel(s) over time:
Toothpaste (is abrasive)
Baking soda (is very abrasive)
Any kind of harsh chemical (can damage some stones)
I include ammonia in the list of what to avoid. It is in most commercial jewelry cleaners, but I don’t use it, have never used it on jewelry, and I can assure you that you really do not have to resort to such a harsh product to clean your puzzle ring. My avoidance of ammonia-based cleaners is long entrenched – Austrian crystal jewelry and suncatchers can be pitted by long-term use of ammonia, so for the 34+ year history of our business, which was launched as a crystal provider, we have never used ammonia-based cleaners, and I’ve not missed them or their strong, unpleasant odor.
How to clean your Celtic Puzzle Engagement Ring with diamond(s) or colored gemstone(s)
Don rubber gloves. Clean your sink, rinse it, and put a stopper in it. This is so you won’t drop your ring down the drain if you handle it near or in the sink.
Fill a dessert-sized bowl with the hottest tap water into which you can safely and comfortably put your rubber-glove protected fingers. (Do not use hot water for emeralds or opals – use lukewarm water for these stones.) Pour or spray a tablespoon or two of simple household cleaner into the hot water and stir. The one I use is “Cedar & Sage” from Trader Joe’s. Seventh Generation makes an all-purpose cleaner they describe this way:
Non-toxic & biodegradable
Does not create harsh fumes
Not tested on animals (This may not be one of your personal criteria for cleaning your jewelry, but it is more likely that a company that does not test products on animals will produce the type of non-toxic cleaner I recommend)
You want a cleaner that is not “soapy” and does not contain harsh chemicals. If you cannot find a cleaner fitting both criteria, opt for a soapy one over a chemical one. If you need to use a soapy cleaner, I recommend Woolite, Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory Liquid, or Dawn Liquid.
Slip off your puzzle ring and hold it by the very back of the ring. Dip the front (i.e., the top or the part with gemstones) in the cleaning solution, and swish it back and forth a dozen times. You may then leave your ring to soak in the solution for up to fifteen minutes, if you wish. If you think you need to use a brush to clean your ring, use a small soft art paintbrush, rather than a brush with stiff bristles. (Again, do not use hot water for emeralds or opals – use lukewarm water for these gems.)
Now it’s time to rinse your ring. This is where the stopper in your sink comes in – be sure it is in place before you bring your ring to the sink. Rinse the ring well under running warm water. Place it in on a soft dry cloth. Blow it with a hair drier to dry it quickly or pat dry with part of the cloth. If you have soft water, you can likely leave it to air-dry, but if your water is hard, and you leave it to air dry, minerals will cake your ring, which will introduce an entirely different kind of cleaning problem. Another quick way to dry your ring: Compressed air (you can buy a can at an auto parts store).
As for the cloth? Any absorbent cloth will do – just stay away from bath towels or other linty fabrics – and if you want the very best, order the “Purple Rags in a Bag” from the Fly Lady. No, I don’t get a commission, but these are lint-free micro-fiber cloths that are so worth the money (About $13.95 for three, and, as a side benefit, you’ll never use window cleaner again on your glass).
Once it’s dry, you can buff the metal bands of your ring with said cloth, to bring up the shine. Or, order a treated polishing cloth to buff up the metal beautifully.
Alternate Quick Cleaning
An alternate way to clean your puzzle engagement ring, and the one I usually use myself: If you have an espresso maker with a steam setting, and you can protect your fingers from the heat with a wooden ring clamp, shown below, hold the ring at the back and place the jewel(s) into the steam spray. Move the ring all around, so the steam gets the diamond clean from the top, the sides, underneath, all directions. Then use compressed air to dry it. The result? Super quick, super sparkle!!
Please note: Do not use steam or hot water on emeralds. Emeralds are brittle and can break with heat. Heat also dries the oil in emerals.
If you have any questions about cleaning your Crystal Realm Celtic Puzzle Engagement Ring, be sure to contact me.
Wooden ring clamp for steam-cleaning your diamond or gemstone puzzle ring.
Success! Crystal Realm’s client, Frank, selected Diamond #2, from my last post. It will be mounted on a custom, hand-woven, 14K white gold, open weave puzzle ring in size 5.5. This ring is pictured at the right.
If you have found this page for the first time, welcome!
My goal is to educate you about your jewelry choices, whether or not you ever choose to do business Crystal Realm. Much of what I’ll share on this page is information aimed at helping you to be more in control of your jewelry acquisition, whether from us, from your local jeweler or another online business. It will help you, whether you choose to order custom jewelry or pieces you find ready made.
My method of education will be to create transparency in the process of selecting options for custom, Celtic-Inspired, hand-woven puzzle engagement rings and custom wedding rings. To do this, I will post actual communications that I have with Crystal Realm clients, so that you can learn about selecting your own custom jewelry options.
I’ll post more info on selecting diamonds, puzzle engagement ring options, custom poesy rings and other custom wedding bands. So far, most Crystal Realm clients contact me by phone or email first, but if you wish to contact me through a posting on this blog, please feel free.
I will not accept posts that seek to advertise your business, nor will we accept any posts that are irrelevant to our purpose of educating you on diamonds, colored gemstones, precious metals, custom jewelry and the like.
Surprising Coincidence By the way, my client, Frank, who just ordered the ring at right, sent me this information in one of his first emails to me:
It’s funny I work for DV Brothers in the accounting department, and we make buffs and buffing compound for Stuller, which set my mind at ease a little about ordering a diamond on the Internet because I know Stuller has been around a long time and has a good reputation for quality.
Thanks for your vote of confidence, Frank. You will be thrilled with this ring, I promise, and, as always, if there is any aspect of it that is not to your expectations, we’ll remedy it quickly, no questions asked! (Except those required to get it right, LOL!)
And if you are new to this page, and you love the look of the marquise diamond puzzle ring pictured, you might want to check out more Crystal Realm Celtic inspired puzzle engagement rings and bridal sets.
As you may recall, the four characteristics of diamond grading are Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. This system of grading scales, called the Four C’s, was developed by the American Gemological Association in the 1940’s. Typically, the scale is meant to stand on its own, with the diamonds graded most highly on these characteristics being the best available (and coincidentally, the most costly).
I don’t think that it’s necessary to have the deepest pockets to get a diamond that will look absolutely stunning on her hand. So I like to think about nuances that we don’t usually hear about, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. The truth is that there is another way to look at diamonds that frees you up to get the diamond that is “perfect” for you, without your having to break the bank for “perfection” across the scales.
Four band puzzle ring with half carat round brilliant diamond and accent sapphire in four colors of 14k gold: rose, white, yellow, and green.
Four C’s Of the Four C’s, the ones with the most impact on how the diamond looks on her hand are color and cut. These are what govern the beauty and sparkle. I usually stick to the top colorless range of D-E-F color, but I also usually search on “G,” the top of the near-colorless range, because I may choose this for you, or suggest it to you as an option, if this diamond has other outstanding attributes. In addition, for very large diamonds in the one carat or higher range, considering G or even H color can make these large diamonds more affordable while not making an appreciable difference to how the diamond looks on the hand. The subtle nuances can usually only be detected by a trained gemologist with the right equipment. So while you and I may see difference between D-E-F and K-L or M-N-O color with the unaided eye, we won’t really see the difference in color between a D-E-F stone and a G or H stone.
Clarity As for clarity, once you obtain a clarity level of SI1 or SI2 (or even SI3), with no inclusions visible to the unaided eye, clarity beyond that is pretty much quality you can only see under a microscope. I can get you a diamond with any specs you want, but I’m usually asked to provide a stunning diamond at a reasonable price on a unique, hand-made puzzle ring. So my goal is to save you money, without compromising how the diamond will look on her hand. So while it is commonly believed that the higher the clarity, the better the diamond, we have seen diamonds with very high color and clarity that are not necessarily beautiful. So our bottom-line criteria is beauty and sparkle on the hand.
Speaking of Sparkle Do you think it odd that one of the most important criteria for a beautiful diamond is sparkle, yet no diamond is graded for sparkle? It is rather odd, but it makes sense when you think about it. Who would purchase a diamond with a “sparkle grade” of low? No one, so no grading report will ever mention sparkle. Cut is supposed to govern sparkle, quite frankly, so we generally look for “very good” or “excellent” cut and finish characteristics, but we have set some diamonds with a “good” cut grade that had fantastic sparkle. This is why we hand-select every single diamond that we set, and each diamond must pass our inspection for beauty and sparkle. Those are the most important characteristics of any diamond.
Proportions One additional characteristic that makes a significant difference to how a marquise diamond looks on the hand is the proportion of length to width. What is generally considered the “ideal” ratio is 2:1 length to width, which is defined as a proportion of 2. However, any proportion from 1.85 to 2.15 is said by the diamond industry to be very pleasing. Still, no matter what guidelines are given to help you with your choice, sometimes, there are very good reasons to select a diamond outside of the suggested range.
Why get a diamond with different proportions? An excellent reason can be that an extra-long marquise has the visual impact of a higher carat weight diamond. A marquise diamond with an unusually long length, relative to the width, may be a bit shallower than is typical, so length accounts for a larger proportion of the gem. A marquise diamond that looks like a significantly higher carat weight is more valuable than one that looks to be its actual size.
So when I find one like this in a G color, the lower price of the color offsets the higher value of the longer diamond, and it makes for a very attractive option. “G” color is the top of the near-colorless range, so it is still highly desirable. Most of us could never see the difference between a diamond with “F” color and one with “G.”
Frank, I’m really glad that you are familiar with our diamond supplier, since your company makes products for this vendor. Our diamond supplier gives truthful information about their diamonds, but their pictures, with all due respect, are definitely not up to scratch. The diamonds themselves look many times better than their images, and they consistently sparkle LIKE CRAZY, so I look for certain things in the images that give clues to a diamond’s true beauty. I will try to share some of those observations with you, now.
Marquise diamond puzzle engagement ring with 2mm shadow band all in 14k yellow gold with 14k white gold setting. This is an approximately half carat diamond with a length more similar to a typical 3/4CT diamond. It is an extremely rare stone.
I’ve posted below some of the available diamonds in the range you’re interested in, and I’ll talk about the various characteristics of each one. I don’t think they are all contenders for the ring you want, but several of them are.
Five Diamond Choices
Today we’re looking for a marquise diamond in the 0.57CT to 0.63CT range. This diamond will be placed in a medium, four-band puzzle ring in 14K white gold.
The only problem is that the rare 6/10 CT range that we seek usually offers very few diamonds from which to choose. That’s because diamonds are usually cut in the 1/3CT, 1/2CT, 3/4CT, and 1CT range, with precious few diamonds in the in-between sizes, especially the larger you seek.
I happen to be very committed to offering the 6/10ths CT range, because it is one of my favorite sizes in almost any shape of diamond. It is prominent, but not gaudy. It looks bigger than a 1/2CT, and yet it is only priced at about 1/3 more than a 1/2CT.
Diamond prices go up exponentially, and even to find a diamond around 0.70CT, the biggest we usually put on the four-band medium puzzle ring, the purse strings need to be quite a bit looser than they need to be for a 6/10CT range diamond. Today, I found five diamonds ranging from 0.56CT to 0.58CT. The very next diamond up the size scale was 0.70CT. So let’s look at what is available today.
The important thing to know is that these are not great images. They are wholesale pictures, and they are meant to show the shape and relative proportions of each diamond. When we select your diamond and it arrives, it has to pass our inspection, first. We are super picky about the stones we puts in our rings – call it pride of craftsmanship – we won’t put just any diamond in your ring.
Diamond # 1
Diamond # 1
This diamond is 1/100CT smaller than the range we’re looking for today, which is .57CT to .63CT. It’s a .56CT. It has excellent color and clarity. With a size of 7.88mm x 4.26mm, it’s proportion is 1.85.
This diamond has a length more typical of diamonds in the .46 – .52CT range. It has four inclusions, and one is a cavity on the pavillion. Cavities are natural; they are good to know about, because some unscrupulous diamond sellers fill cavities with epoxy. But my thought is, why get a diamond with a cavity when you don’t have to? Other thoughts about this one: even though it is probably just the image, I tend to steer clear of diamonds with images dominated by brown and beige tones.
Diamond # 2
I’m confident this diamond will be a beauty. The dimensions are 8.81mm x 4.26mm, which gives it a proportion of 2.06, just about right on the dot of 2. With D color, it doesn’t get any better or more colorless. It has a very good cut, with SI1 clarity.
The only down side? Still 1/100CT smaller than we want, although I would like to point out that we cannot see a difference of two to three points in diamond size when we just look at two diamonds with no real means of measuring them.
Dropping the size by a couple of tenths of a carat can sometimes save a few $$, although not in this case. This diamond looks exceptional to me, so it’s a true contender for this puzzle ring.
This diamond, by the way, has a single inclusion, which is a crystal in the table. A crystal in a diamond is actually a diamond within a diamond. How cool is that? It’s not visible unless you have a trained eye and a microscope, but still, it is pretty awesome that this diamond has only a single inclusion, and it’s another diamond, no less!
Diamond # 3
This diamond is a contender, as well, though it doesn’t appeal to me as much as # 2, above. At 0.57CT, the dimensions of 8.41mm x 4.28mm give us a proportion rating of 1.96, also very close to the magic 2.
What about the slight blackness across the center? That is called bow-tie, and traditionally, we look for minimal bow-tie like this in a marquise diamond. But in the last two years, we’ve experimented more with diamonds showing more prevalent bow-tie in an image, and we find it does not affect the way the diamond looks in person.
So what exactly is bow-tie? It is an artifact of cut that appears in many pictures of marquise diamonds. It’s essentially an illusion that does not appear when examining a diamond in person, unless the amount of bow-tie is extraordinary.
This diamond has almost nothing in the way of inclusions, only feathers on upper girdle and pavilion.
Diamond # 4
This diamond is the rare one with G color that I like to consider. At 0.58CT, and with a length of 9.52mm (4.03mm width), the proportion rating is 2.36. It has a length more typical of a 1CT diamond. It’s going to look much bigger than the 0.58CT it is on the hand. It has SI1 clarity, a good cut, and it’s closer to the 0.60CT mark.
Inclusions in this diamond include a twinning wisp in table and crown, a feather on upper girdle and pavilion. The reason I tell you this, is that these are insignificant inclusions.
With SI1 clarity, you can’t see any inclusions with the unaided eye, anyway, but it’s still important to make sure that there are no fracture lines, or other structural problems with the stone. I’m always happy when a diamond has few, insignificant inclusions.
Diamond # 5
This diamond jumps out as a beauty to me. It’s that rare diamond that doesn’t come with specs significantly higher than the diamonds shown above. But I’m sure you can see that this one seems to have a lot going for it.
With D color, it is perfectly colorless. It’s 0.58CT, very close to the magic 0.60CT mark. The proportion rating is 1.9. It has few inclusions: Feather in bezel and upper girdle, indented natural in upper girdle, none of which you’ll see without a trained eye and a microscope.
Even clarity of VVS1 and an excellent cut cannot guarantee that a diamond will look gorgeous on the hand. The image of this diamond with “only” a good cut, suggests it will be spectacular.
True, it looks fantastic, and besides it’s beautiful proportions, top color, and structural integrity, the biggest difference between this diamond and the previous four? This one costs 40% more than the others. It’s a lovely diamond, to be sure, but is it worth the price to you? The retail price on this ring is 28% higher than our target price for a 0.60CT puzzle ring.
My recommendation? Go with any of these diamonds from #2 to #5. Trust your instincts and select the one that appeals to you most, with a price tag you’re comfortable with. Frank, you don’t have to choose one of these – we can wait for others to become available, but I’m quite pleased with the selection today. I hope you are, too!
Greetings, P, (who asked about ordering a diamond puzzle ring, sight unseen, in a private email to me)
Thanks for getting in touch. To answer your smaller questions first, delivery of an engagement puzzle ring tends to depend partly upon when you need it, but we are 4 weeks out at present (2018 update, we promise the puzzle ring in 16 to 21 days). The sizer is $3.99 with free shipping, if you want it ahead of time. If you order the ring first, I’ll send out the sizer for free.
As for your question about what happens if you don’t like the puzzle ring when you get it, I have two simple and seemingly contradictory answers, but, below, you’ll see what we offer you ahead of time, to ensure that you are thrilled with the puzzle ring you get.
So here are the two answers: You have to be absolutely delighted with the ring, or I will work with you until you are or you have your money back. That is stated on our website in writing. At the same time, our site also states that we do not give refunds on custom items over $1,000.00, which each puzzle ring over that price is.
Obviously, that’s crazy, so how can I expect you to take our refund policy seriously?
Guinevere Royale four band puzzle ring with center princess cut diamond and two round, five-point accent diamonds.
The answer is that I prefer to ensure before you order the puzzle ring that you are a) certain about what you are ordering, and b) that there are no surprises and no disappointment along the way. Each and every ring is made specifically to order, so we would not be able to sell it to someone else, so therefore, we don’t, in fact, take custom rings back. So how do we make sure that you are not stuck with a ring you’re not happy with?
We have developed a number of ways to ensure your comfort level, before you commit to ordering an engagement puzzle ring. Following are five choices, though not a single person has asked for even three of them (though there will be a first time). Generally, what steps to take is a matter of individual preference. In fact, most of our clients only choose step 1 and step 5, but lots of folks order the trial sterling silver ring, and other clients have chosen to have a sample ring in the desired style sent out with an inexpensive stone in it, to really get a sense of the ring. We will work with whatever your preferences are!
Platinum four band puzzle ring with one half carat marquise tsavorite garnet.
1. Order a sizer gauge or take advantage of our free resize for $3.99 with no need to return it. We send it out with free shipping. Using this sizer gauge makes for a more reliable fit, because it has pop-out rings, so she can wear one for a couple of days. On the other hand, if the puzzle ring is a surprise, just do the best you can in selecting a size, because we do offer a free resize for each puzzle ring (you just pay the round-trip shipping).
2. Order a trial sterling silver sample puzzle ring. Then we’ll apply the $60.00 cost to the engagement ring. This is an actual hand-woven, four-band, medium weight, puzzle ring that allows you to evaluate quality, to learn how to put the puzzle ring together, before the diamond puzzle ring arrives. If you do order the engagement puzzle ring, we apply the $60.00 cost of the trial puzzle ring to your engagement puzzle ring order, and you get to keep the silver puzzle ring.
3. Order a trial gemstone puzzle ring, by phone, in the style you want with an inexpensive stone; we authorize your card, but you only pay shipping. As soon as we get the ring back from you, I capture only the shipping charges (round-trip), and the rest of the authorization falls off your card. This only works with credit cards, not with debit cards.
4. Inspect the diamond before it’s placed in the ring. Again, you pay only for shipping, although we authorize the value on your card. We usually prefer to send out the diamond in the puzzle ring, because you and she can get a true idea of how the diamond will look on her hand. And since, once you get the ring, you must be delighted with it or we will replace the diamond or adjust anything else about the ring, it’s fairly low risk to you to have us send out the finished ring.
5. Evaluate the ring when you get it and ask for any changes you need. Pretty much covered this in number 4, above.
Guinevere puzzle ring with 4mm rhodolite garnet in 14K yellow gold with Celtic shadow wedding band
I’ll be happy to work with you however you wish. Thank you again for your email today. I look forward to assisting you in getting the perfect engagement puzzle ring.