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Our Earth-First and Fair-Trade Commitments – How Ours Compete with the Best in the World!

We are a small, family-owned business. We’re not a high-volume business by typical commercial standards, though we are happy enough with it! We don’t have the resources to visit the mines from which our gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, and colored gemstones come to ensure that employees are treated and paid well nor to examine the entire supply chain for consistent ethical practices. So how can we make commitments to ensure that we act on your fervent environmental concerns, especially for the most meaningful jewelry purchase of your lives: engagement and wedding rings?

In the early years of our business, one business principle was etched into our minds: Know your suppliers. This has served our company well since 1983, and it is more important than ever today.

When we had stores in California (Concord, Pleasanton, Capitola, and Cupertino variously from 1989 to 2005), we had about 100 suppliers. Today, with our business solely online and more focused, we use very few vendors. Every vendor we use for precious metals, precious stones, and semi-precious stones meet our criteria for:

1. An Earth-First Commitment and
2. Use of Fair Trade principles in the entire production process from mine to finished products.

And perhaps most importantly, our single diamond, gold, and platinum group metals supplier is a certified member of the Responsible Jewellry Council (RJC). RJC is an international body headquartered in London that certifies fine jewelry product vendors for responsible ethical, social, and environmental practices throughout their operations. Certification and membership require an independent third-party audit covering all aspects of operations from supply chain and production to business ethics and employee health and safety. Members must meet RJC’s Code of Practices which respects human rights throughout the jewelry supply chain for diamond, gold, and platinum group metals. RJC members commit to implementing continuous improvement processes to increase performance and achieve higher standards.

In fact, all of our gold and platinum group metals from our vendor are recycled, so in addition to the clean supply pipeline, you can be satisfied that your metals meet the very highest standards of environmental safety.

Our puzzle ring artist has been with our diamond and precious metal supplier since 1972, two years after their founding, and Crystal Realm has been with them since 2005. Why reinvent the wheel?

Selecting an Ethically Sourced 1CT Marquise Diamond for Your Engagement Puzzle Ring

It’s important to me that you know something about my diamond “worldview” as you approach me for an engagement puzzle ring with a diamond of about 1CT in weight. Here I share with you my thoughts so we can be together in our thinking, and so that – if there is something in particular that you want – you may be explicit in describing it to me as you already know the assumptions under which I make a search for your particular diamond. 

Before going into details about diamonds, I want you to know that we use only ethically sourced diamonds of any size, colored gemstones, and recycled metals from our world-class suppliers. You may read about our Earth-First and Fair Trade vendors here

When I first set out to provide quotes for an engagement ring with a larger diamond, I make certain assumptions. For example, for a diamond that will be worn on a daily basis, I assume that you are not looking for an investment-grade diamond. I could quote you on a 1CT marquise diamond ring with a diamond that’s internally flawless, and prices would start at several times higher than those shown on our site. But that’s not what most – read any – of my clients are looking for. That diamond would, when not set in jewelry, likely be kept in a safe.

Measuring Diamonds by Carat Weight or Millimeter Dimensions
You might ask what is the 1CT range? Great question! Generally, that means a diamond of any weight from 0.90CT to 1.10CT. The 1CT-range diamonds offered by our diamond house are almost always found at weights of 1.0CT to 1.04CT, and if we slide down even a few points to 0.93CT, you may not observe a difference in the visual look.

Diamonds are cut to the size that is best for a particular stone in the estimation of the diamond cutter. So, for example, a 1CT-range diamond will likely be close to 10mm x 5mm, which produces the “ideal for marquise” ratio of 2:1, meaning the length is double the width.

But a 1CT diamond-range stone may vary in the millimeter dimensions. 9.8mm x 5.3mm. 10.5mm x 5mm. It could be 10mm x 5.9mm. Diamonds therefore don’t always demonstrate the much-desired length:width ratio of 2:1. The ratio can vary depending on whether a diamond is cut with a greater or lesser depth. To procure a diamond with the 2:1 ratio or close to it, if desired, it’s necessary to look at the millimeter length and width of a given diamond. (And . . . as a caution . . . to reflect that what is “perfect” for someone else may not make a diamond perfect for you!)

If a diamond weighs 0.90CT and has a length of 10.2mm and a width of 5.25mm, its ratio is 1:94. But note that the millimeter dimensions are greater than 10mm and 5mm, so this diamond will look just as big as a 1CT diamond with the equivalent length and width. This is why we can sometimes, not always, get a 1CT-range marquise diamond that can save you some money by virtue of its slightly lesser carat weight.

Diamond prices rise exponentially with size. This means that a 1 CT diamond is not twice as expensive as a 1/2CT diamond. It may be 5-6 times more costly. So what I like to do is focus on the aspects of diamond quality that make a difference to how beautiful and sparkly it looks on the hand.

Despite what many may tell you, clarity is not the most important diamond characteristic. I think many jewelers like to over-focus on clarity, because they can impress us by showing diamonds with inclusions under different microscope settings. “In this diamond, you can see inclusions under only 10x magnification. But now . . . look at this one! The inclusions are so tiny, it takes 25x magnification for you to see them. This is a great diamond!” Do we really care about that if it’s going to be on her hand every day?

We can save significant money by going down a few steps in clarity, because as long as a diamond has internal flaws (inclusions) that are only visible with a microscope, it doesn’t actually matter how much smaller inclusions are or how many fewer inclusions there are – or even if there are no inclusions – because none are visible to the unaided eye and thereby on the hand.

We can also save some money by sliding a tiny bit in color. The top of the range includes colors D-E-F. Those are known as colorless diamonds. By contrast, diamonds with K-L color are yellow-ish. Our site states that we always provide D-E-F color, and we can do so for you, too, but we can save money if we slide a teensy bit down to G or H color. Those are known as near-colorless diamonds. Typically I only do this for larger diamonds for which the savings is significant or if there is an outstanding smaller diamond with G or H color. And I only do this with full disclosure, discussion, and agreement.

I may go a little overboard on the discussion because unless we had gemological-institute-trained eyes and the proper jewelry examining equipment, you and I couldn’t discern the difference between a G or an H diamond when compared with a D-E-F diamond. So that little change in color doesn’t affect how the diamond looks when she wears it.

There is one other criterion for a beautiful marquise diamond that you won’t hear much about, but I’m picky about this. Some diamonds may have an optical illusion known as bow-tie across the center when looked at from certain angles. It makes the marquise look grayish or black in the shape of a bow-tie, again, only if you see it from the angle at which it shows. Some jewelers say, “Bow-tie gives a marquise diamond character.” I disagree. I think a tiny bit of bow-tie can give a diamond a little character, but we generally seek diamonds with the least evidence of bow-tie possible.

If you want to contact me for individualized quotes for diamonds of 0.90CT or greater, please feel free to email me. My name is Mandira, and I’ll be glad to help you!

Check out Our New Six Band Engagement Puzzle Ring with a Marquise Ruby and Accent Diamonds

This ring was on our site long ago and then it fell off along the way. Recently a long-time customer ordered it for his wife, and we got new images. What do you think?
The ring is shown in platinum. The genuine ruby is 1/2CT, and the side diamonds are 5pt each or 0.05CT.  Of course, we can make this ring with a center diamond or any colored gemstone of your choice: aquamarine, blue sapphire, blue topaz, green Tsavorite garnet, tanzanite . .  .  or whatever you prefer. We rarely make two rings the same, so please contact Mandira directly to inquire about your choices.

marquise ruby royale six band puzzle ring with accent diamonds

This ring is a stunner! The rich color of ruby contrasts beautifully with the crisp, sparkling white of accent diamonds. With six bands shown in platinum, it is also available in 14K white, yellow, or rose gold, usually made with all 14K white gold settings.

We are Over the Moon about Our New Gaelic-Lettered Shadow Band Bridal Set

We lost our hand-engraver some time ago when he retired from a long and illustrious career. How sad that someone of his talent – with genuine old-school training and experience – was lost to us! So we’ve been without new lettered rings for two or three years! Well, when my (Mandira) husband and business partner of 37 years,Tom,  decided to take over our shadow band designs a year ago, suddenly it opened the possibility for us to cast shadow bands with lettering in. It was only a little while before we were asked to make a shadow band with Gaelic lettering: ‘grá mo chroí’ meaning, ‘love of my heart.’

We think this set turned out beautifully! Naturally, you can order a set just like this, or however you prefer it! Diamond? Check. Ruby? Check! Any colored gemstone you want, whether genuine or created? Check!

And we can make your shadow band with your choice of words and lettering style. We’re not Gaelic experts, though, so if you want words in Gaelic (or any other language for that matter), please provide us with the words and spelling you want. As for the lettering style, we have a number of very cool, proprietary letting fonts that you may choose from. A number of them are Gaelic in style, but you can choose any style you want. Email Mandira the words you want, and she will provide them for you in a number of lettering styles from which you can choose. 

marquise-green-garnet-puzzle-ring-with-gaelic-love-of-my-heart-shadow-wedding-band

Marquise green tsavorite garnet engagement puzzle ring with Gaelic lettered ‘love of my heart’ shadow wedding band

A Marquise Rose-Cut Black Diamond Engagement Puzzle Ring Sparkles!

Increasingly popular black diamonds are a creative choice for the woman who wants a stone that is truly unique for her engagement ring. We’ve long offered black diamonds with a more traditional cut, and now we bring you rose-cut black diamonds. Here we show a marquise shape, but we can also offer rose-cut, round black diamonds. You may select this ring in your choice of precious metals: platinum or 14K rose, white, or yellow gold. You can also request a combination of metals. This would be fabulous in four colors of 14K gold (the three aforementioned plus green gold).

Full disclosure on black diamonds: Black diamonds are different from white diamonds in one particular way. A black diamond will almost always have one or two small unpolished spots on the underside of the stone. The difference between our black diamond vendor and others is that ours is committed to providing you with a black diamond that only has small flaws on the underside. Some black diamond vendors provide stones with small, unpolished surface areas on the top of the stone. Plus Mandira inspects every black diamond before it’s mounted in a puzzle ring. “I don’t do that with every stone, because I let our puzzle ring maker inspect stones. We will simply not put a poor quality stone in our rings. But inspecting the black diamonds is more my thing, because of the relationship I have with our black diamond vendor. If I receive one that isn’t up to my expectations, I’ll return it right away and get you another one.”

Present her with a rose-cut, black diamond, engagement puzzle ring in your choice of metal.

A rose-cut black diamond sparkles! Note the facets on the top of the diamond which make for a whole new look on an engagement puzzle ring.

Three-quarter view of a rose cut marquise black diamond puzzle ring

Here you can see the rose-cut black diamond puzzle ring in a three-quarter view. The top of the diamond is faceted to be rounded in shape.

At Last! Marquise Blue Topaz Engagement Puzzle Rings

I believe our first order for a marquise blue topaz engagement puzzle ring was in 2010. We’ve made a few since then, but it wasn’t until just this year that we finally got images. Tom and I are in New Mexico, and our puzzle ring maker is in California, so many times we don’t get images of new creations if they must be shipped directly to our clients.  I have long desired to add these rings to our website because they are simply delicious in blue topaz. Now to get these added to our online store! In the meantime, if you love this ring and must have it, please feel free to call me (Mandira) at 1-866-573-7381.

A genuine, marquise blue topaz engagement puzzle ring in 14K rose gold

A marquise blue topaz puzzle ring is lovely on 14K rose gold.

Marquise blue topaz engagement puzzle ring in platinum

A one-half carat marquise blue topaz is effulgent on a platinum engagement puzzle ring.  Shown here with an open weave; you may choose from a standard or tight weave.

 

See our first ever Trillion-Cut Gemstone on an Engagement Puzzle Ring

Brand new and simply breathtaking is a trillion-cut gemstone on a platinum and 14K rose gold engagement puzzle ring. 

This gemstone is a purple/teal color change, lab-created alexandrite. Click on any photograph to be taken to the product page. You may order this ring with three sizes of lab-created alexandrite: 0.55CT, 0.93CT, and 1.5CT.

We usually limit the diamond and gemstone shapes we use to the settings we can source that will hold the diamond or colored gemstone ultra-securely on our engagement puzzle rings. Since this trillion shape setting is very secure, we’re super excited to add this stone shape to our collection. Contact Mandira if you wish for a different colored gemstone or a diamond. 

A trillion-cut, lab-created alexandrite graces a 14K rose gold and platinum puzzle ring.

A trillion-cut, lab-created alexandrite is bright and beautiful on a 14K rose gold and platinum engagement puzzle ring.

Our First Ever Trillion-Cut Alexandrite Engagement Puzzle Ring in Platinum and 14K Rose Gold

Trillion-Cut Alexandrite Engagement Puzzle Ring in Platinum and 14K Rose Gold

Side view of a triangle-cut, lab-created alexandrite on a platinum and 14K rose gold engagement puzzle ring

Side view of a trillion-cut, lab-created alexandrite on a platinum and 14K rose gold engagement puzzle ring.

This is the teal color change from purple in our alexandrite, whether genuine or lab-created

This is the teal color change from purple in our alexandrite, whether genuine or lab-created. Please note we are unable to source quality genuine alexandrite in a trillion-cut (aka trilliant-cut) stone.

Shadow Bands Choices for an Engagement Puzzle Ring with a Tight Weave

For a long time, I’ve been encouraging clients to go with an open weave for a puzzle ring destined to be paired with a shadow wedding band. The shapeliness of the sides of an open weave puzzle ring result in a set that seems to “hang together” better on the finger. But a conversation yesterday with a client who initially* wanted a four-band, tightly woven, puzzle ring with a shadow band resulted in an aha! moment for me. Okay, so maybe I’m a little slow, but the answer has been on my site for a quite a while now. 

We can create a modified shadow band that fits beautifully with a tightly woven puzzle ring. We’ve done it before, as you will see below. The engagement puzzle ring is a three piece puzzle in these photographs, but the shadow band will work equally well with a four band, tightly woven puzzle ring. And while the shadow band we show here is a plain tapered band (with hand-engraving on the inside), there is no limit to the kinds of designs we can offer with a flat edge mating with the puzzle ring: claddagh, Celtic knots, lettered, diamond, colored gemstones. Bring us your ideas for something truly custom.

Trinity puzzle ring with diamond and custom wedding band

Trinity knot, three-band puzzle ring with diamond and custom fit wedding band. Notice that this shadow band is not a “perfect reflection” of the puzzle ring at the front. With three bands, there is only one little “nook” in the puzzle ring with which we could mate the puzzle ring. It doesn’t give much shape for the two to hang together on the finger, so we skip the nooks and crannies of the puzzle ring for a wedding band to go with a tightly woven puzzle ring. However, the wedding band is uniquely designed for your puzzle ring, so that the two fit together beautifully. The secrets are in the sides and back of the shadow band.

Trinity puzzle ring with marquise diamond and shadow wedding band

Here you can see that the wedding band is slightly tapered to the back. More importantly, it is carefully fitted to the shape of the puzzle ring on the sides, so there are no gaps between the two rings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversely, when we place a wedding band with a uniform width with a puzzle ring, there are gaps on the sides between the two rings. Unfortunately, I can’t show an image of this, because when we did more of this type of bridal set, we didn’t take side photos, because our then-website didn’t enable us to show multiple images per product. And yes, we still do provide engagement puzzle rings with posy rings and Irish Celtic rings, and they fit best, i.e. the gaps are minimized, with puzzle rings with tight or standard weaves.

The kind of wedding band shown here – that is, a wedding band with a flat mating surface at the front of the ring tapering to a slighter width at the back – can accommodate many different designs. So please talk to Mandira, that’s me! I’ll collaborate with you so you have the perfect wedding set for you and your beloved. And . . . naturally, we can make a gent’s wedding band to complement or match hers. Some men get a puzzle ring in a heavier weight without a stone or some get one that is closer to the shadow band in design, as shown below.

14K rose gold tapered wedding band

Tapered wedding band in 14K rose gold with hand-engraving on the inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*So what did my client who “initially” wanted a four band, tightly woven engagement puzzle ring with a shadow band decide upon? He wants the very three band puzzle ring shown on this page with the matching tapered shadow band into which we will set alternating round diamonds and aquamarines. 

 

Arriving Soon in our Store! Guinevere Sapphire Engagement Puzzle Ring with Diamond Shadow Band

We completed this puzzle ring bridal set for a client, Leslie, who wanted a very light blue sapphire, so light, in fact, that we were not able to find a sapphire that satisfied her. So instead of a genuine sapphire for the puzzle ring solitaire, she chose a lab-created sapphire which gave her the choice of several shades of blue. Leslie selected the lightest color, as she loved how much she could see the facets.  She also opted for a diamond shadow band to go with her puzzle ring. 

We give you lots of flexibility, so you can acquire just the bridal set you want. For example, we can make this set for you with all genuine stones: genuine sapphire and diamonds. Or we can make it for you with all lab-created stones: lab-created sapphire with moissanites in the shadow band. If you prefer a marquise or princess-cut solitaire for your puzzle ring, you’ll have it!

All of our precious metals are recycled, and you may choose from 14K yellow, white, or rose gold or platinum. Platinum is beautifully priced at present, much lower than it has been for about 15 years. So it’s a great time to buy platinum jewelry.

Guinevere sapphire puzzle ring with diamond shadow band

Sapphire engagement puzzle ring with 5mm lab-created sapphire and diamond shadow band. Choose all lab-created stones if you prefer or all genuine-stones. Contact Mandira with your wishes!

Initials Posy Ring – Your Choice of Gold Colors

We are excited about our new initials posy ring. The one shown in the image has her three initials and his three initials. We can do any combination of letters or symbols with a total of six.

Initial or name posy ring with Russian accents

Custom posy ring with initials or name, exclusive to Crystal Realm. Available in your choice of width by special request or in a 6mm width on our site. 

6mm wide posy ring with initials or name

Custom 14K white gold posy ring with initials or name. This ring is antiqued, meaning the letters and symbols are darkened. You may choose no antiquing if you prefer.

8mm wide posy ring with initials or name

Exclusive to Crystal Realm – a 6mm wide initial or name posy ring. You may have up to six letters or symbols separated by Russian scrolls. Or . . . bring us your design idea, and we’ll bring it to life for you!

Posy wedding band with initials or name

Shown in 14K white gold, and available in 14K yellow or rose gold or platinum with or without antiquing. Antiquing is the darkening of the letters, and when the rings are not antiqued, the letters are light and sparkly.

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