Knox Jewelers Blog

Minneapolis Minnesota Jeweler Specializing in Custom Design and Unique Engagement Rings.

Oval Engagement Rings – A Timeless Statement Of Your Love

Oval engagement rings have become a popular choice in 2014. Not only is this style of engagement ring exquisitely beautiful, it also has the added benefit of making one’s finger look more slender. There are many designs of oval engagement rings to choose from. Here are five of the most popular designs at Knox Jewelers:

Flare Oval
This elegant engagement ring is stunning with the oval cut diamond center stone positioned to run east-west (lengthwise) across the finger. It also features a flared band which is set with a series of diamonds that graduate in size. The center oval diamond is surrounded by a beautiful micro pave halo and the sides of the band are polished to a perfect shiny finish.

Flare oval diamond engagement ring. Contemporary setting with micro pave halo and graduating diamonds matching the flare of the band.

Design 2945
The center diamond rests gracefully along the length of the ring finger in this charming oval engagement ring. From the side, this ring gives the silhouette of an ornate cathedral where the band raises to meet the edges of the halo. Both the thin band and the halo surrounding the center stone are detailed with dazzling micro pave in hand-cut settings.

Oval diamond engagement ring, Design 2945 from Knox Jewelers. Hand cut pave adorns the halo and band of this custom engagement ring.

Design 2924
The design of this two-toned oval engagement ring really stands out with the juxtaposition of the sparkling white diamonds against the rose gold halo surrounding the large 1.25 carat oval shaped diamond in the center. This would be the perfect engagement ring for someone who wants their ring to really stand out with color while still having all white diamond stones.

Diamond engagement ring featuring an oval cut center diamond in a rose gold halo. Design 2924 is a unique two tone engagement ring.

Something Blue
This exquisite oval engagement ring is reminiscent of antique signet rings. It features a beautiful extra wide band with an intricate relief-engraved filigree pattern along the sides. The width of this band leaves a lot of room for engraving a special message on the inside of the band. The background of the band is hand-stippled and the raised vines surround beautiful blue ceylon sapphires that sparkle as much as the oval diamond in the center.

Something Blue is a custom diamond engagement ring featuring a wide band. The band is detailed with relief engraving in a vine pattern which compliments the flow of the half-bezel setting of the center stone. The curls of the vine pattern are set with Ceylon blue sapphires, and the background is hand-stippled for contrast.

Rachel Lily
The 1.50 carat oval shaped diamond in this engagement ring is featured with a bezel setting and an intriguing knife edge band. On each side of the center diamond, there are three additional complimentary diamonds. The tapers down away from the center and flows into the double milgrain edge which smooths the knife edge of the band. There is so much attention to detail in the design of this ring that it has to be seen up close to fully appreciate it. This includes the custom engraving on the sides of the band and the hand formed filigree curls. Of all the oval engagement rings, this vintage inspired design is perfect for someone who appreciates fine detail work.

Rachel Lily is a stunning oval diamond engagement ring. This antique inspired design features a knife edge band with hand engraving and filigree details.

For hundreds of years oval shaped rings have been made out of many gem stones. Some of the most notable have been jade, rubies, and emeralds. Until more recently in history diamonds were not on this list of beautiful oval cut gems, however now they are definitely one of the most popular stone shapes. Oval cut diamonds look great in contemporary and antique inspired designs, which lets you combine the best of both worlds by choosing the exact details you love. Creating a custom design is perfect for couples intent on combining their different styles and tastes into one. If you are shopping for oval engagement rings, be sure to check out Knox Jewelers as an interesting and alluring option.

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Mokume Gane Wedding Bands

From the metal working tradition of 17th century Japan comes the artisanal crafting technique of Mokume Gane (pronounced moe-koo-meh gah-nay, without stressing the syllables), a phrase which most closely translates to “wood grain metal.” Mokume Gane is a technique for producing distinctive mixed-metal laminates via a process of permanently fusing layers of alternating metals into one stack, also known as a billet, which is a small and partially completed rectangular, circular, or square shaped amalgamation of the different component metals. The resulting unique wedding band is extraordinarily beautiful and composed of intricate, distinctive patterns not found in the products of other forms of metal working.

Fusing the layers together to create a Mokume Gane billet.Mokume Gane billet.Jeweler is grinding into the billet to create a pattern when it is flattened.The billet is being rolled down to the proper thickness and the wood grain pattern is beginning to emerge.

Mokume Gane as a crafting technique was originally derived from the work of Japanese katana makers in the 17th century. Originally, it was used only for the katana fittings of warriors of the Meiji era, until the decline of the arms industry forced the artisans to shift their focus towards decorative art. At the time, no one besides the blacksmiths and metal workers were familiar with the technique of Mokume Gane, and the art form became revered among both members of the aristocracy and the common people for its intricate and beautiful results. The tradition of Mokume Gane was passed down from master to apprentice for generations, all the way down to modern times. Only after the late 19th century did Mokume Gane come into the awareness of western metal smiths.

The process of Mokume Gane is oriented about a solid-state welding technique known as solid state diffusion bonding. However, modern technology now enables us to produce the best and strongest bonds between metal layers, thus providing significantly more consistent and uniform billets than the classical forge-fired and solder-bonded billets of old. With the advancement of technology also comes the ability for our artists to utilize non-traditional metals in the interleaved layers due to the lower temperatures required for successful diffusion bonds.

At Knox Jewelers, we offer a variety of unique and beautiful Mokume Gane bands. In fact, these bands are some of the most unique wedding rings to ever exist, and we are proud to have the ability to offer them to our esteemed customers. All of our rings are forged in-house by our brilliant and talented Mokume Gane artist. We offer a variety of styles of unique wedding bands, including Autumn Wind, Winter Wind, Autumn Water, Winter Fire, and Winter Water, each with their own distinctive variations and characters.

Autumn Water BandMesa - Winter Fire

Our Winter Wind Mokume Gane wedding bands evoke a sense of snow peacefully billowing across a winter landscape. We offer this extraordinarily unique wedding band in four different variants, including etched, brushed, polished, and “Stars,” which features flush-set diamonds to add a truly elegant motif to the ring. Sleek, elegant, and alluring – these are only a few words which describe these beautiful wedding bands.

Winter Wind EtchedWinter Wind - PolishedStars - Winter Wind

Autumn Wind is a vibrant and warm design expertly crafted by our in-house Mokume Gane artist. It features 14k white, yellow, and rose golds that are separated by sterling silver to truly embody the “wood grain” aesthetic of traditional Mokume Gane artworks. Autumn Wind is bordered by sets of elegant diamonds, and our Solstice version incorporates a beautiful round cut diamond in a channel setting, making this one of our most astounding and unique wedding bands.

Solstice - Autumn WindFlora - Autumn Wind

We know you will be truly delighted to browse our exquisite collection of Mokume Gane wedding rings. These rings are among our finest pieces, and we are very excited to present them to you. We hope you will browse our one-of-a-kind collection, and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or custom design requests you may have.

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Unique Engagement Rings For the Love Of Your Life

There is something quite magical about falling so deeply in love with someone that you want them to be your partner for life. In fact, this type of love can be so intense, it may feel like no words could adequately describe just how special this person is to you. This is why a truly unique engagement ring can sometimes express what’s in your heart better than any words you could ever speak! Moreover, these rings serve as a constant and beautiful reminder to your significant other of just how extraordinary they are to you.

Unique Engagement Rings with Filigree and Platinum

Unique engagement rings come in many different varieties ranging from antique engagement rings to sapphire engagement rings to contemporary engagement rings. You may also want to design your own ring with customizations such as filigree and hand engraving. Designing your own rings can also give you the best of both worlds. For example, some couples prefer to design their own brand new rings because of the superior materials and techniques used in modern rings but are still drawn to the styles of vintage engagement rings. In this case, it is possible for the couple to create a vintage style ring but still have the higher quality workmanship and materials of a modern ring. Below, you will find a discussion on several types of unique engagement rings. Hopefully, this will help you generate some good ideas for your own ring!

Filigree Engagement Rings

Master jeweler crafting a filigree engagement ring

If you and your partner are drawn to antique engagement rings and vintage engagement rings, you may want to design your own ring with filigree. Filigree is delicate wire work featuring intricate details and is more common in antique engagement rings and wedding rings. Filigree reached its peak in popularity during the late 1800s and early 1900s. If you have a family heirloom engagement ring passed down from your Grandmother, or perhaps even your great-Grandmother, there is a relatively high probability that you’ll find some filigree work in the design of this heirloom ring. Custom-made filigree engagement rings can never be copied exactly since the filigree work is all done by hand and it is extremely detailed. Filigree can be done in silver, gold, platinum, or a combination of these precious metals. The beautiful art of filigree traces back to the ancient Greeks and Romans but they were not the only cultures creating these delicate curls of metal. Archaeologists have also found intricate filigree metalwork in artifacts from ancient China and India. If you visit historic museums, you can often find examples of filigree rings and other jewelry from these cultures and see how skilled their artists were to be able to make such masterpieces.

Nic and Alex filigree engagement ring with light blue sapphires
Unique halo engagement ring with hand engraving and filigree
Oval diamond engagement ring with filigree

Hand Engraving

You can add hand engraving to any style of engagement ring on the inside, outside, or in both areas. Hand engraving is a great way of personalizing a ring while at the same time embellishing it with highly attractive design patterns. Hand engraving is often found on filigree engagement rings since the two types of detailing compliment each other and create a vintage appeal. You can add names, initials, treasured words that have special meaning to you and your partner, special dates such as your wedding date or the day you first met, embellishments, or small symbols. This means there is really no limit in how personalized you can make an engagement ring with hand engraving. The most popular design elements are scroll and wheat patterns, though often times floral or organic elements are used. There are two types of hand engraving you can choose from:

Hand Engraved Engagement Ring

Standard Bright-cut Engraving

Hand engraving an engagement ring with standard bright-cut method

With standard bright-cut engraving, a polished graver point is used to make engraving cuts that look polished, i.e. “bright.” This is the most common style of hand engraving.

Relief Style Engraving

relief style hand engraved engagement ring

With relief style engraving, the background metal is cut out so that the designs appear to project above the surface of the background metal (think of the raised mountains on a graphic relief map). This can be done in high relief, medium relief, or low relief, depending on your preferences so be sure to look at multiple examples before you make up your mind. The background metal in relief style engraving is also stippled. This type of engraving is more labor intensive to produce than standard bright cut engraving so it is more expensive.

Sapphire Engagement Rings

Sapphire engagement rings are a vibrant alternative to the more traditional, neutral toned diamond engagement rings. Sapphire is a very durable gemstone and will stand up to everyday use just as nicely as diamonds do. Sapphire comes in a variety of amazing colors beyond the beautiful blue that most people think of. Sapphire also comes in white, red, pink, yellow, orange, peach, green, and even purple! Something that many people don’t know about red sapphires is that they are also called rubies, and these luscious red gems make for truly regal pieces of jewelry. Adding color to an engagement ring is a fun way to create a mesmerizing piece that will truly stand out on your partner’s hand. You can choose your partner’s favorite color or choose a color based on a significant shared memory. Sapphire stones also mix well with diamonds and engagement rings containing sapphire stones can be used for a “layered look” to be worn with a more traditional wedding ring.

Filigree engagement ring with blue sapphires in scrolls
unique ruby engagement ring
Yellow sapphire halo engagement ring
Blue sapphire cushion engagement ring

Design Your Own Ring

Designing your own engagement rings with your partner is an extraordinary and exciting process. You’ll create special memories that will last a lifetime and the experience will bond you even closer together as you make all the necessary decisions. While this is reason enough to design your own ring, when the ring is finished, you will also end up with a highly customized engagement ring that will follow you and your partner everywhere you go. It is something you can share with your family and friends, and potentially your children as well. In fact, your personally designed custom engagement ring becomes a one of a kind original heirloom you can pass down through the generations of your family along with the story of your love.

Sketch for custom engagement ring

If you’d like an old-fashioned look, or even something historic, you can bring in pictures of antique engagement rings and vintage engagement rings you like and share these with your designer. Some couples prefer to come up with a design that matches their cultural heritage. You may also want to combine two or more traditional cultural styles into one ring if you and your partner have a mixed heritage.

If you and your partner prefer a more sleek, modern look, you can still custom create your engagement ring from inspiration images or from combining your favorite details. When you design your own ring, you automatically have the amazing benefit of being able to combine the different elements you love most into one single ring! You can also incorporate elements most liked by each partner into a single style ring. In this way, your ring design becomes a collage of your tastes and preferences — a constant symbol of your union.

Rose Gold Engagement Rings

If you or your partner are set on having diamonds for your gem stones but still want to use color in your rings then consider changing the metal of your design to rose gold. With rose gold engagement rings the warm hue of the peachy-pink colored metal provides a luxurious twist on the cool tones of white gold or platinum. Rose gold is quickly gaining popularity with those who want to create a unique ring because it makes an impressive statement without being too ostentatious. Of course if you love color then you can also combine a sapphire gemstone with a rose gold band to create a magnificent piece that truly reflects your personality. Rose gold can also be used in combination with other precious metals as either the main color or as an accent.

Mokume Gane Engagement Rings

Mokume gane billet of gray gold and sterling silver after firing

Mokume Gane is a tantalizing option for adding detail to the band of a ring and this type of metalwork goes back more than three centuries. Mokume Gane has its origins in 17th century Japan (1600s), during the heyday of the Samurai. The term “Mokume Gane” translates into “wood grain metal,” although it is actually a composite of different colored metals that are fused under high pressure and high heat until the jeweler can work with it as one solid piece. The different colors of the metals interwoven together gives the Mokume Gane design a wood grain-like appearance. This beautifully crafted metal composite was originally used to decorate the swords of the great Samurai warriors, but over time Mokume Gane was also incorporated into jewelry. There are different types of patterns that can be achieved when creating Mokume Gane but the classic wood grain and a star burst pattern are two of the most common. Any engagement ring or wedding band created with Mokume Gane details will be one of a kind because each billet of the composite is created by hand which means every pattern ends up being slightly different than others of the same type.

Engagement ring with mokume gane
Mokume gane wedding ring

Split Shank Engagement Rings

The band on split shank engagement rings divides into two or more bands as it approaches the center stone of the ring. In this way, the eye is naturally directed toward the center stone, whether it be a traditional diamond engagement ring or a sapphire engagement ring. Therefore, a split shank band is a great choice if you really want to highlight your center stone. If you create your own custom ring, you may want the back of the band in a split shank engagement ring to be solid to allow more space for special engraving on the inside. On the other hand, you and your partner may prefer several slim bands interwoven together to create movement and dimension in the design.

Emerald cut halo engagement ring with split shank

Wide Engagement Ring Bands

Extra wide bands give engagement rings a regal look and allow lots of room for customized details. These have become very popular with our customers, generating many inquiries on how to create new custom designs. Wider engagement ring bands can also give you more space to include longer inscriptions inside the ring and other custom engravings. With wider engagement ring bands, you also have more room to include a more intricate design in split shank engagement rings. With wide bands, you can include a traditional, single center stone or you can choose more evenly spaced diamonds and gem stones. More and more frequently people who choose a wide banded ring use it as their engagement ring and wedding band all in one.

Unique wide engagement ring with filigree
Floral micropave diamond engagement ring
Leaf style filigree wide engagement band

Patterns Inspired by Nature

Some couples choose to design their engagement rings to include motifs and patterns inspired by nature. Mother Nature is after all a remarkable artist! While the options for doing so are endless, a few of the more popular nature inspired elements include intertwining branches of a tree representing the union of the couple, leaves, flower blossoms, and nature inspired geometric patterns such as the inner spiral found in many seashells or the pattern you might see on the back of a sea turtle. If you and your partner are nature enthusiasts, these details may be perfect for expressing your personalities. Nature inspired motifs are also common on antique engagement rings and vintage engagement rings so they fit in well if you are inspired by these older designs.

Hiding Secret Details Inside a Ring

Monogram on inside of engagement ring

Sometimes what makes an engagement ring the most special is not what you put on display to the world, but what you “hide” on the inside of the band such as a special message for your true love. In this way, you can choose to keep these details just between you and your partner and/or share these details only with the most special people in your life such as family members and close friends. In some instances, the phrasing of the words on the inside of an engagement ring is something that no one else will understand of unless you explained it to them; something that only you and your partner, and perhaps those closest to you both, know about.

Additional Thoughts About Unique Engagement Rings

Your engagement ring is a lifelong symbol of your enduring commitment and love for your unique partner. It is only natural for you to want the engagement ring you choose to reflect the personality of the one you adore. Unique engagement rings say to your darling, every day, that they are exceptional, treasured, and loved immensely. The custom-made ring that you propose with will be a constant reminder of the very special bond you two share. Making your engagement rings unique gives you the opportunity to infuse your heart, soul, and outstanding personalities into the ring.

While customizing your engagement rings may at first seem like a daunting task, here at Knox Jewelers we are thrilled to walk you through the process step by step in such a way that it seems totally natural to design your own engagement ring. This makes it easy and fun to express yourself in the details of the ring without having to be a professional designer or creative artist to do so! Remember too, you can actually combine different elements from different rings you have seen and liked, so in a sense, you can become a mosaic artist. So you if you like the band on one ring, the pattern of the settings on another ring, and the way the inscription is done on another ring, speak to your designer about combining all three elements into one ring.

You may have noticed that people often cry over engagement rings, this is because there is probably no other object, except perhaps their wedding ring, that evokes a more deep heart-felt emotion. This is why it is important to pay attention to details and get your custom engagement ring absolutely perfect. Knox Jewelers can be a trusted partner in this process and can help you with one of the most important decisions of your life. We take pride in creating heirloom quality masterpieces that are the perfect fit for you and your partner.

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Filigree Engagement Rings – A Top Choice for Exquisite Ladies

We live in a world and age where more and more women want to wear something unique, something that sets them apart and is a distinct extension of their personality. An increasing number of couples are turning to the vintage look of filigree engagement rings in order to be unique.

Unique Filigree Engagement Ring

Filigree rings are becoming increasingly popular all around the world, as they feature a beauty and delicacy that is hard to match with other engagement ring styles. The unique combination of femininity, exquisite beauty and deep nuances is perfect for many brides that are willing to try something new, something that features an amazing vintage aspect. Due to their ornamental, delicate and romantic motifs, filigree engagement rings have spiked in popularity in the last decade.

What is Filigree?

Filigree is a complex metalworking technique that involves working threads of precious metal into elaborate designs and patterns. Some of the most common motifs of a filigree ring include scrolls, vines, flowers, hearts and flourishes. When master jewelers design and create filigree, they use metals like yellow, white or rose gold, or platinum to create astounding designs.

Please note that filigree is different than engraving. While engraving involves carving away or sculpting a metal or piece of jewelry for an astounding decorative effect, filigree involves creating and shaping metal wire embellishments into a design.

Master Jeweler Forming Filigree for an engagement ring

A Short History of Filigree

Back in the year 3000 BC, filigree was an ancient form of art employed by the Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans. The word “filigree” comes from Latin and means thread seed or wire seed. Its name represents the exact features of this technique. In the jewelry industry, filigree became widely used in the early 20th century, and was extremely popular in the Edwardian era, mainly in France and England. In 1900, during the Edwardian rule, filigree rings were created of platinum and featured intricate scroll and vine-like designs.

Benefits of Filigree Engagement Rings

There are several reasons to choose a filigree engagement ring over more traditional types of rings. Here are some of the most important:

- Romantic and Old-Fashioned

- Unique and Distinct

- Personalization and Customization

Types of Filigree Engagement Rings

Antique Filigree Rings: these rings, even though they have a vintage aspect, are exquisitely beautiful and shine with glamour. The rings in this collection are handcrafted by master jewelers, offering a distinctive and romantic link to the 20th century. Choose an antique styled filigree ring to be continuously inspired by its timeless beauty. Some beautiful antique rings are Seville, Vera, Classic Filigree and Oval Aurora.

vintage styled engagement ring with filigree
antique filigree engagement ring with milgrain
classic filigree engagement ring
Modern Vintage Style Filigree Rings: this collection includes beautiful rings that feature both the old and the new embedded into the same piece of jewelry. Rings like Bonita, Haley Allison, Meghan Renee, or Louise are some of the most adorable modern filigree rings that can help you combine vintage with modern.
Haley Allisin filigree engagement ring
cushion cut filigree engagement ring from Knox Jewelers
Bonita engagement ring with scroll filigree in platinum
Custom Filigree Engagement Rings:  Custom filigree engagement rings are growing in popularity, as more and more couples prefer to be totally unique and wear something they have designed together.

The Bottom Line

If you love the look of filigree, do not hesitate to create your custom filigree engagement ring or choose one from our Filigree Engagement Rings. Be unique and show others that you have amazing tastes.

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How Diamond Cut Grade Affects Fire, Sparkle, Scintillation

Have you ever looked at a diamond and wondered why some diamonds are more attractive than others? While some are bright and flash with a rainbow of colors, others look dark and lifeless? These differences are all based on the cut and shape of a diamond. Cut grade fuels a diamond’s overall visual appeal in fire, sparkle and scintillation.

The light behavior within a diamond directly correlates to how well a diamond is cut. GIA recognized this relationship of a diamond’s cut and the quality of fire and the return of white light. Developing a grading system that quantifies specific measurements, angles, and percentages GIA was able to determine parameters that embody the best qualities in the cut of a diamond.

GIA's Diamond Cut Grade: Example of a Round Brilliant Excellent Cut and Poor Cut

GIA began their 15 year study on the round brilliant by creating a computer model to examine light behavior within a diamond. Developing proportion-based metrics from this model they were able to predict a diamond’s performance on fire and brilliance. However, research proved that computer-based results could not be the only determining factor in judging a diamond’s overall brightness. After surveying industry leaders and general consumers, GIA created a foundation for the round brilliant cut grade.

When a cut grade is given, it is the component of brightness, fire, scintillation, polish, and symmetry, as well as durability and weight concerns. These are all an integral part that make up the GIA diamond cut grade system. With many different proportion combinations possible, GIA was able to determine the relationship of a stone’s interaction with light.

The reflection of light internally and externally in a diamond is called it’s brilliance. Fire is the dispersion of spectrum colors you see when light hits the diamond. The pattern of light and dark areas and the flash of light that emits when a diamond is moved is called scintillation. A well cut diamond will attribute to these three desired qualities because it directs more light through the top of the stone. A poor cut will appear dark because light is exiting through the bottom of the stone if it is too deep or too shallow.

Diamond cut is often confused with its shape. Round, used in most diamond jewelery, is the shape of a stone. All other shapes are classified under fancy shapes. Evaluated only on polish and symmetry, fancy shapes do not receive a cut grade like the round brilliant. These grades are valued ranging from Excellent to Poor.

GIA's Diamond Shape: Round Brilliant and Fancy Shapes

Polish is rated on the overall surface condition of a diamond’s facets. It is the result of the polishing process and blemishes created after cutting. These grades are given to a diamond when viewed under 10X magnification. An Excellent or Very Good may have minute or minor features that can only be seen with the aid of a microscope. Anything Good or lower can affect the appearance of a diamond and may be seen by the naked eye.

GIA's Diamond Cut Grade: Example of Poor Polish

Symmetry is the exactness of shape and placement of the facets. It is subdivided into two types of features, proportion-related and facet-related. These grades are also performed under 10X magnification for its initial face-up impression and profile view. Both angles are evaluated because of the three dimensional nature of a diamond; one symmetry feature can be linked to others. Similar to polish, grades given Good or lower can have symmetry features that are noticeable to the unaided eye.

GIA's Diamond Cut Grade: Example of Poor Symmetry

Understanding GIA parameters for each grade and the specific guidelines they represent, Knox Jewelers recommends fancy shapes to be Good or Better. With almost 30 years of industry experience, we have found that the beauty of a diamond is greatly reduced when selecting polish or symmetry below this standard. A diamond that contains Good or Better qualities enhances the elegance of a handmade Knox custom design.

The care and craftsmanship that goes into each ring is harmonious to the quality of diamond a customer chooses. As the focal point, a diamond captivates the attention with its radiance of sparkle and luster. Selecting a well cut stone to compliment a Knox diamond engagement ring is a timeless expression of love, forever evoking a sense of glamor and romance.

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