Let’s Talk Gems with Estate Diamond Jewelry Gem Expert: An Interview with Benjamin Khordipour

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Recently, we spoke with a preeminent gemstone expert Benjamin Khordipour from Estate Diamond Jewelry, and among other things, he revealed to us the secrets of sourcing and cutting precious gemstones. Along the same line, we also talked about the most elegant vintage rings and what makes them so attractive.

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Where in the World Are Most Gemstones Found?
Many people don’t know that gemstones are almost everywhere! You just have to know where to look. However, countries like Brazil and India are the leaders of the industry. While some localities are renowned for certain gemstones, you can find almost all of them in Brazil for the size and variety of the land.

On the other hand, India is most famous for emerald and sapphire. In Africa, I have to single out Tanzania and Mozambique as the countries that have a rich reserve of gemstones. But if you’re after high-quality diamonds, you must check out Russia and Canada. As you may know, Russia is Europe’s largest producer of gemstones.

How Are They Sourced?
In the past, people mined gemstones in large industrial mines. It’s was a time when there was an abundant supply of all kinds of gems. The problem is that this had a severe impact on the environment. Fast forward to today and there are more and more jewelers who insist on environmentally-friendly gemstones. People have grown to respect nature and that’s a good thing.

And if you agree with this in principle, you should always look for ethically-sourced gemstones. They usually come from small-scale mining sites where people work with special care.

How Are They Polished and Prepped?
There’s a whole art of prepping gems called lapidary. The lapidaries or artisans tasked with polishing gemstones have to be highly skilled and proceed with great care. Their job is to transform rough gemstones into precious ones fit for jewelry pieces. Every gemstone has to go through a range of phases from rough to finished: sawing, grinding, sanding, lapping, polishing, and drilling.

On its own, polishing means getting rid of everything superfluous until the gem looks flawless.

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Are These Rings Designed in This Age or Inspired by Vintage Rings?
It’s possible to find original rings from the Victorian or Edwardian Era. However, they’re very rare and could cost a small fortune. To cater to the demand, designers use them as inspiration to create vintage-
looking rings. These are more affordable, but they can look stunning and cost a pretty penny.

What Is the Upkeep of a Vintage Ring?
Vintage rings require more care. To begin with, it’s essential to send them in for professional cleaning at least twice a year. Only the experts know what to do with a ring from a particular era and restore its
shine. That said, if you’re to clean it at home, avoid any strong chemicals that could damage the material.

How Are the Gemstones Held Steady in Vintage Ring Designs?
Most vintage rings have prominent gemstones that may seem easy to break off. However, there’s no reason to worry as any competent artisans would have paid special attention to the durability. Among the various techniques, one of the most common is the use of inconspicuous metal prongs to secure gemstones (diamonds, for example) to the rings.

Vintage rings usually have four or six prongs, but I’d recommend the six-pronged for additional security.

Which Design Is the Most Popular in Vintage Rings?
The two most popular vintage designs are the glamorous Edwardian-era rings and the more fashionable Art Deco. Edwardian rings look more feminine with their details and often colorful gems. On the other
hand, Art Deco is the most popular with modern women who crave the look of sophistication and power at the same time.

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Which Gemstones Are the Most Preferred in Vintage Rings?
Traditionally, most vintage rings have diamonds of all shapes and sizes as corresponding to the period. However, if you want something with more color, you could consider sapphire, emerald, onyx and ruby vintage rings. For example, Edwardian rings often have a central diamond decorated with a couple of smaller colored gemstones.

What Antique Gemstones Are the Easiest to Find? And Which Are Most Difficult?
Diamond, Emerald and sapphire are the easiest antique gemstones to find these days, followed by rubies. They’re very common, but it doesn’t mean that the price is always accessible.

One of the most difficult gemstones to find is Kashmir Sapphires, a beautiful blue gem that could only be found in one small area. However, that mine is long depleted now. It’s almost impossible to find this gem unless they were to discover a new mine. Another very rare gem is the black opal that decorates some Edwardian-era rings.

What Are the Different Reasons People Acquire Vintage Rings?
Vintage rings are very popular because they look elegant and timeless. They’re often a better choice than trendy rings because you can be sure that they won’t go out of fashion. The bearers of vintage rings look sophisticated and mysterious as their rings are unique and not easy to copy.

Are Antique Gemstones More Popular in Certain Places in the World Than Others?
I’d say that one’s choice of jewelry has mostly to do with personal taste and style. However, the fact is that women in certain countries prefer antique gemstones more than those in others. It has to do with their culture and traditions. Also, they usually live in areas famous for gemstones and where antique gems are symbols of abundance.

India and Russia, for example, have a tradition of passing down family gemstones from one generation to another.

Vintage Rings have become very popular in the USA and England during the 21st century.

You can look for deals for vintage rings from diverse jewelry merchants on this website.

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