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Posts by Randy Lapointe

Cushion-Cut Diamonds: Romancing the Stone

by on July 2nd, 2010

3.01 Carat Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, D-Color & VS2 Clarity, $59,500

Having been involved with diamonds for all of my life (no kidding as a child of a jeweler it starts early)… I have become decidedly opinionated.

Of late, there has been an explosion of interest in cushion-cut diamonds. As we are specialists in estate and period jewelry, we see many cushions.

Stones cut in the style of the original cushion shape are beautiful creations that have characteristics that produce a unique blend of scintillation and fire. Just recall grandmother’s diamond ring at a candlelit dinner table! (If you would like to know the technical reason why this happens… ask me some time).

What is marketed today as a cushion-cut is really a radiant with rounded corners – a modern attempt that just falls short. If you want the best, take the time to appreciate the beauty and romance of a ‘true’ cushion.

8.13ct Marquise-Shaped Diamond Ring

by on December 1st, 2009

8.13ct Marquise-Shaped Diamond Ring, D-color and SI1-clarity, $225,000

I am not a fan of modern, long and narrow marquise-cut diamonds. I am, however, in love with this old, chunky marquise-cut that we just acquired!

It’s a nearly perfectly colorless diamond with a charming, antique cut that makes it quite literally a glittering ball of fire.

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One-of-a-Kind 13.35ct, D-Color Golconda Diamond

by on November 1st, 2009

13.36ct Golconda Emerald-Cut Diamond Ring, D-color and VVS1-clarity, $1,100,000.

Every so often we uncover something truly extraordinary like this- a perfect storm of quality, rarity and value, all in one spectacular diamond.

I have been a diamond buyer for much of my professional life, and I have seen- maybe- one or two diamonds that have such a unique pedigree. Wow!

Diamond Studs: True Beauty Requires Artistry & Precision

by on October 11th, 2009

What goes into creating a pair of classic diamond stud earrings that we can be proud to put our name on? More than you might think. We are particularly fussy, here at Betteridge – we should be, as we have a reputation to uphold and skilled craftsmen in-house who can do the job to exacting specifications.

To make a “pair of stones”, lots of things need to match:
– Diameter is the easiest to see and must be identical on both stones.
– Color is the next most obvious matching point. Often a difference of one color grade, although seemingly insignificant, can result in a perception of a very disconcerting and unattractive mis-match.
– Clarity is not as critical, as it is by definition microscopic, but I always like the pair to be within one grade of each other.
– Often overlooked, is the matching of the cut. Table size in particular, is very evident when sitting side by side on the ear. The depth and dimensions of the diamond will also have an effect on the perceived brilliance of the stones and should be as close as possible.

– Finally, diamond studs should be set in platinum to fit our exacting specifications. Platinum is not only stronger and more enduring, but its color is the ideal ‘match’ for diamonds.

Net: ‘Simple diamond studs’ are anything but that, if they’re made here at Betteridge!

Engagement Ring Trends – It’s Still All about the Stone

by on June 1st, 2009

Harry Winston 5.24 Carat Asscher-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, D-Color & VS1-Clarity, $275,000

There has been a shift recently to the selection of ‘new’ diamond cuts. However, you may be surprised to know that the most popular cuts are nothing new! Although roughly 90% of the diamonds sold are round brilliant cuts, we have seen a surge in two alternatives.

One is the Asscher cut, which was developed by the Asscher cutting works in Antwerp during the 1940’s. I like to describe it as an emerald cut with character. It is deeper than a traditional emerald cut, so the extra brilliance comes at a price. Don’t confuse a true Asscher with a ‘radiant’ cut, developed in Israel in the 1970’s. This is in essence, an emerald-cut outline with the bottom faceted more like a round brilliant cut stone.

The second, and perhaps more popular ‘new’ cut, is a cushion. This is an even older development in cutting as it closely resembles an ‘old mine’ cut diamond in many ways. Think of a cushion as the shape of a pillow. It is a personal favorite of mine as the softness of the lines is feminine, and has the flavor of being quite old. I truly dislike the ‘new’ cushion cut, which is a radiant remade to a slightly rounded outline. You can try to disguise a radiant, but it lacks veracity.

Betteridge 3.01 Carat Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, D-Color & VS2-Clarity, $59,500

Despite these trends, choosing a diamond is all about personal preference – what matters is what (and whom) you love!

Diamonds: Cost is the Fifth “C”

by on March 1st, 2009

7.22 Carat Round Brilliant Diamond Engagement Ring

At Betteridge, we balked at buying many fine diamonds early last year, because prices had climbed to unsustainably high levels.

Given the substantial volatility in global economic markets, high quality diamonds had moved out of simply the spheres of fashion, and use, and into investor’s portfolios. This rush to a “safe haven” investment did not indicate increased consumer demand; rather a heightened risk that diamond prices would crash in the near future.

Since we have to pass on the costs of the raw materials that go into our designs to our consumers, we did not feel comfortable buying many fine diamonds, so we relied on diamond inventories that we had built up in prior years.

Over the past few months, fine diamond prices have decreased by 30-40%, which has brought prices back in line with demand.

Betteridge’s mission has always been to provide the best quality, materials, workmanship AND value. We welcomed this necessary price correction, and as markets have stabilized, we are actively buying and selling fine diamonds again.