My goal in this industry is to flip the expectations when it comes to jewelry. So much information and details are purposefully or accidentally skipped over when selling jewelry. This is where my passion takes flight. I believe that jewelry is not something that is just sold. Too many stores do not give it the appreciation it deserves. Jewelry is a way to celebrate important moments in life and to express yourself. Just like your relationship, you get out what you put in. This is why I always begin with the finest quality goods as possible. Before any decisions are made, I educate you to make sure you thoroughly understand the product and are confident it will genuinely embody the feelings you have. There is no detail left untouched. Even our smallest of diamonds are precision cut to have perfected proportions and light performance, all the way down to 0.6mm diameters. You do not make compromises when it comes to loving each other, and we should not either when celebrating your most precious moments.
Synthetic diamonds are becoming increasingly more popular and prevalent in jewelry today. You may see stores that carry nothing but synthetics, and hear from those who swear against them. Either way, you are probably wondering what they indeed are and why you should even care about them.
ARE SYNTHETICS FAKE?
Some people refer to anything that is not the natural version of something as “fake.” However, when it comes to diamonds, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Aside from the fact that it is a physical item you can touch and feel, synthetic diamonds are uniquely real. Other synthetics, such as leather, fabrics, and textiles are imitations of their natural counterpart. Synthetic diamonds are chemically and structurally the same substance as a natural diamond, just made in a controlled environment at a much faster rate. There are minor differences, however, and this is where the detection is made when separating synthetic and natural. One example is that there are different chemical types of diamonds, and synthetics are only made as a type that is rare for natural diamonds. This means that the easiest way to separate a natural from a synthetic is to use ultraviolet radiation to determine the type and separate them.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE SYNTHETIC DIAMONDS?
Yes! Synthetic diamonds are made in two different methods: HPHT and CVD. HPHT stands for high-pressure, high temperature, and it mimics the processes of diamond growth in the earth. It is an inefficient and expensive method for creating diamonds. The second method is chemical vapor deposition. This is a process where a carbon-containing gas is broken down in a vacuum, and the carbon atoms are attracted to a diamond seed plate where they grow into the new crystals. This is the type of synthetic that is most common in jewelry.
WHAT CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD I TAKE?
There are many factors to take into consideration when thinking of synthetics; the most common are ethical concerns and budgetary. The most common reasoning I hear is that natural diamonds are mined in ways that violate human rights. The short answer for this is that it is untrue. Many constraints have been put in place to ensure the ethical sourcing of diamonds, the most popular being the Kimberley process. Also, diamond mining is an incredible economic benefit in many communities. The second most common concern is budgetary. Many people are aware that synthetic diamonds have a lower price than natural diamonds. While this is true, the long-term security of this is deficient. Synthetics are priced off of naturals but have a completely different market, demand, and supply chain. Synthetics are a technology, which means that the processes for creating them will only improve and become more efficient. Once this happens, prices will go down. Diamonds are not an investment by any means, but natural diamonds do have a very secure secondary market. When you purchase a diamond, it will have the demand to retain some monetary value. Synthetics have no secondary market and do not have a monetary value once you make that purchase. This is why I believe that it is not right to base the price of synthetics on natural diamond prices, they need their market with prices driven by their demand. With that being said, a diamond purchase is typically made to express love for another individual, and not as something to retain monetary value. So if you have done the research and still feel synthetic is the option best suited to you, then that is all that matters. Just make sure you have a jeweler you can trust, that has the knowledge and education to understand the product they are selling.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR SYNTHETICS?
As technology improves, and synthetics become more available, the diamond landscape will change. It is my opinion that natural diamonds will be unaffected, and synthetic diamonds will have an increasingly lower cost, eventually replacing other diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia and moissanite. In the past year alone, we have seen synthetics drop from being priced at 75% of natural diamond prices, to 16% with the new line of synthetic diamond jewelry from DeBeers. Because of their difficulty in being separated from naturals, uneducated jewelers may accidentally mix synthetics and natural diamonds, and unethical jewelers will do it purposefully. There has never been a more critical time for jewelers to seek proper education in Gemology, and for consumers to understand the importance of finding an educated jeweler they can trust. In conclusion, synthetics are becoming more of an option in jewelry today, but natural diamonds will always be the standard that they are measured against, not something they will overtake.
Spring is arriving in Austin, and with it, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, Indian blankets and other Texas wildflowers covering the Austin roadsides and prairies. At Kirk Root Designs, we’ve always drawn inspiration from Texas for our custom jewelry pieces and wildflowers hold a particularly special place for us. Since 1986, the Bluebonnet Pendant has been our signature design and a customer favorite. It remains one of our favorites as well, so much so that it inspired us to create an Wildflower Collection of handmade Texas wildflower pieces. We’re incredibly proud to carry on our father’s legacy as the original creator of the Texas Wildflower Collection.
The Story of Our Signature Bluebonnets
In the mid-80s, our father was an up-and-coming jeweler in Texas, looking to make a name. He had already distinguished himself by becoming the youngest ever master appraiser at age 22, but as he launched his own custom jewelry store he knew that he needed a signature piece. Inspired by the springtime bluebonnets that surrounded him, Kirk set out to create a statement piece that captured not only the beauty of Texas bluebonnets, but also the sentiment that surrounds them – the springtime joy that heralds long days and warm nights of lounging at Zilker Park, cooling off in Barton Creek and chowing down on tacos. In order to capture the brilliance of the bluebonnets, Kirk opted to use diamond cut blue sapphires, green gold, and tsavorite green garnets, with diamonds running up the stem for an extra sparkle. He knew he had a hit when he finished his first prototype and laid it in the showcase, only to have his mother (our grandmother) grab it, put it on and refuse to take it off.
What Makes Our Bluebonnets So Special?
Unsurprisingly, Kirk’s one-of-a-kind design has inspired many imitators and knockoffs, but no other jeweler can match the love and craftsmanship that we put into our pieces.
- We hand-pick and hand-set our diamond cut blue sapphires.
- No one was diamond cutting sapphires when we started making these pieces in the 80s, so each sapphire is custom cut just for these pieces.
- We use tsavorite green garnet instead of emeralds because garnet is more durable and gives off a shine that truly does justice to the bluebonnet.
- We buy hundreds of carats of garnets and sapphires and choose only the top 10% for our wildflower pieces.
- Genuine Wildflower Collection pieces will always carry the Kirk Root Designs stamp.