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The "Real Thing" vs. "The Beautiful" when both can't happen - A reflection

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by sapphiredream, Dec 6, 2017 at 12:48 AM.

  1. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 12:48 AM
    I don't have any particular bling to post at this moment but I realized I would love to read a variety of perspectives, stances and "philosophies" on a "jewel-ogical" dilemma. :)
    I guess I can focus mainly on the e-ring, but the question can be extended to any kind of jewelry piece.

    Specifically: If one must compromise, what is most important?
    The authenticity/natural quality of the stone or the overall beauty of the jewelry piece, when all is said and done?

    I know there are many views out there regarding what is MOST important in a jewelry piece - when choices or compromises must be made. And yes, I do understand that each person is different and everyone should choose what's most important to THEM, what makes THEM happy, etc. But the reality is that what will make every person "happy" will still be influenced by a variety of established social views and conventions. And it seems to me there is still a lot of confusion, apprehension and insecurity out there about any potential "faux pas" in the world of "choosing jewelry".

    For example, some will say "I would never go non-natural", yet others say "I just want my jewelry to make a statement and look great on me".

    This led me to reflect on the ultimate purpose of wearing a jewelry - and I concluded it is to "beautify the wearer".
    I think it's safe to say that, for the most part, women wear jewelry to make themselves pretty; to show off something that looks beautiful on them.

    Of course, e-rings are special in that they represent the bond with someone else, love and commitment, etc; and then you have the cases of heirlooms that can be worn strictly for sentimental reasons; but all in all, jewelry is still chosen with the "beauty" criterion in mind.

    In an ideal world, every piece of jewelry would be not just "a work of art" - but "a work of art on the right person".

    That would involve not only a gorgeous-looking stone, but also a finely-made, artistic setting and a sense of grace and harmony with the woman's size, stature, proportions, personality and even social position (if this is not too undemocratic to mention). The end result would be that the wearer is rendered a bit more beautiful by wearing that piece.

    In the real world, however, most people have to compromise on some dimension, somehow.
    Some will choose to compromise on stone quality, others on authenticity (go with simulant/lab-created), others on setting and others on size, proportions and "fit" with the wearer.

    I have often noticed that purists tend to emphasize the "natural-ness" of the stone first, followed by stone quality, then everything else...with the "correct" view being that "stone size should be the least important".

    For example, it is widely considered "de bon ton" to wear a natural, very well-cut, small diamond in a basic, highly common solitaire setting. This has been so even in situations where such a piece of jewelry, overall, may not necessarily flatter the wearer the most or it may come across as plain uneventful on her.
    (Unless, of course, we assume the wearer is wearing just a stone, in and of itself, and not a piece of jewelry).

    I have seen such technically beautiful stones - very high-quality but small, set in a common, rather dainty setting.
    Some make for a ring without much of a personality, especially on the wrong person.
    Sure..the stone sparkles its head off...but...is the woman wearing just some sparkly carbon or a piece of jewelry she would look BEST in?

    Then there's the size issue. Most people seem to think of size as "wealth/success-signaling"; but how about sense of fit, proportion and harmony with the wearer? Size is about that too.
    I have seen many wearers who are simply NOT flattered by the classic, small solitaire in a dainty, basic setting - be it with a very sparkly, authentic stone in the middle. Because ...well...Audrey Hepburn - they're not.

    In my humble opinion, women who are larger, taller, bigger-boned, with stronger/fuller hands or even with a stronger, more "stately", dramatic or formal personality are NOT necessarily BEST served by such dainty, common pieces; not even when the small stone itself is an expression of a gem cutter's highest skill.

    In such cases, I truly believe that a gorgeous, lab-created, larger stone in a beautifully executed, artistic, custom-made setting with a personality, would be a better, more daring and more romantic compromise than the purist, "gemologically-correct" approach "natural stone at any cost".

    I may be wrong, but to me, the principle "The "REAL thing", even to the detriment of all other parameters (including size, when needed!) can come across as primarily status-seeking behavior.

    I think that going for the overall look of a jewelry piece in relation to the wearer - is more along the lines of seeking beauty, in and of itself, as opposed to status.

    What are everyone's views on this topic?
    I would love to read a wide variety.

    PS: The dilemma applies to other precious, natural stones too, not just diamonds, as they can get VERY expensive when size and quality go up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 12:58 AM
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  2. ringo865
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    by ringo865 » Dec 6, 2017 at 9:40 AM
    I buy what I can afford. I have four "engagement rings". (Upgrades). Three have natural diamonds. One is sic. None is AGS0. None is in a "designer" setting, but one setting was designed (by me) with components from stuller and a preloved stone. One setting was my mom's original engagement ring setting with a stone my husband picked (pre PS). Two were preset and preloved.

    Sure, I'd like a 3 ct VS2 AVR in a CVB setting. Maybe someday I will have one. However, that won't make me more socially "statused" or more beautiful. Or more popular.

    But I might get enjoyment from it, so that's all matters to me.
     
  3. tyty333
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    by tyty333 » Dec 6, 2017 at 9:59 AM
    I wear jewelry for myself. Not for what other people think about it or whether it makes me look more beautiful. I am bigger than norm. I am 5'7'' and
    wear a 6 3/4. I'm sure a 8, 9, or 10mm round would look just fine on my size finger but I would never go with a simulant because part of the "beauty" of
    a stone (to me) is that such a beautiful thing could be formed naturally from the earth over millions (or is it billions) of years. I have in the past considered
    what I would wear if we couldnt afford a diamond and decided it would be a plain gold band. I would not be wearing an 8mm simulant. This is just my
    way of thinking. I have very little costume jewelery and what I do have is very obvious not real gold/pearls.

    I'm not big into variety...I like to have a minimal amount of things (too many choices just overwhelm me). This is my jewelry philosophy and I do not
    judge others on what they choose to wear (as far as earth mined/lab created/simulant).
     
  4. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Dec 6, 2017 at 10:32 AM
    I'm ambivalent on this one because I like the idea of how the stones came to be geologically but cutting down on environmental and labor issues plus saving money is great.

    The issue I think is lab/simulated stones have seriously lagged natural stones in beauty and quality for a long time, so even the high quality ones are taking a while to catch on. It's also not necessarily easy to sift through all the offerings and find the high quality ones either. If you find the right one, I think it's equally lovely in a piece of jewelry as its natural counterpart.

    Keep in mind, these are shiny rocks we're tying to our fingers...if you zoom out far enough it's kind of ridiculous, whatever the stone. :lol-2::mrgreen2:
     
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  5. partgypsy
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    by partgypsy » Dec 6, 2017 at 10:57 AM
    I prefer natural stones. I also like well made settings. I tried to wear synthetics in rings, and I didn't like it. I had a boss who was larger than life. What she wore was a large tanzanite in a custom setting with channel set diamonds. It fit her personality, being larger, unique setting, and her favorite color was purple. Her other ring was a large "diamond" solitaire that I only found out later was a FF. However she wore the tanzanite more than the other ring. There are more options than a synthetic diamond (nothing against those who like them) to have a beautiful piece of jewelry which suits the wearer. I had a friend/colleague who had a commitment ceremony and wears a unique custom made gold band. It is a beautiful piece of jewelry but as it does not contain diamonds it is probably more reasonable in cost. Myself I am a fan of multi-stone rings. Multiple diamonds in an interesting setting may have just as much presence as a single diamond in a solitaire setting. I do agree it is more interesting to have some "personality" to the jewelry. However some people have a "classic" taste and a solitaire is a very classic style.
     
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  6. AllThingsSparkling
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    by AllThingsSparkling » Dec 6, 2017 at 11:28 AM
    I dont think its about what flatters the wearer and works for her in such a philosophical way. I think its about what PLEASES her which is different for everyone. Its not about what on-lookers deem most appropriate for the wearer, and how it "serves" her, its about what makes the wearer happy. If its a dainty high quality ring on a big hand, if thats what she likes and he is proud of, who cares. Same if its a honker of a sim in an ornate setting. If thats what makes her happy then so be it. Your whole theory is based on the onlookers judgement and perspective, not the wearer which I think its totally flawed.
     
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  7. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Dec 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM
    I think the question also has to do with unspoken social norms, pressure, and judgement. It's an interesting one because the "objective" value of these objects is only what we agree them to be, and the subjective value is ultimately up to the wearer as you point out.
     
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  8. doberman
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    by doberman » Dec 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM
    Not sure about the bit about being in proportion to the person in terms of size and stature. I'm a small, slim person, but I know very well that I would not be happy with a small stone. It's not my thing. My friend is 5ft 10 inches and large and strong. She has a delicate ring and it looks great. It's what she wanted.

    I think jewelry exists to make us happy, regardless of size. If it doesn't make you happy, it wasn't worth it, even if 98% of other people think it looks flattering on you. And I also don't wear jewelry to beautify myself, beauty is not frippery.
     
  9. AllThingsSparkling
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    by AllThingsSparkling » Dec 6, 2017 at 12:59 PM
    100% agree with you. In fact on another website I took a poll about my wedding band because I was going back and forth. They all thought the skinny dainty pave band (ie the trendy one) made my ering diamond look bigger, and was more flattering. In the end I realized... who cares. Im getting what makes me happy. Aka the chubby etoile band that came up last in the poll! I find it elegant and stately. Its not about onlookers, its about JOY.
     
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  10. doberman
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  11. AllThingsSparkling
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    by AllThingsSparkling » Dec 6, 2017 at 1:10 PM
    yes indeed :) Im glad I went with my gut over what "suited" me, because I LOVE this ring .
     
  12. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 4:28 PM
    Thank you all for your perspectives. Reading them is fun, interesting and informative.
    Since we live in highly individualistic times, the emphasis on "what makes one happy even in the most subjective manner" is clearly more important than any objective standard of beauty.

    My point is that often times, "what makes us happy" will inevitably be influenced by a certain level of "social consensus". Unfortunately (though some say fortunately!), people will always use their ability to judge/discriminate/opine no matter how much we want to impose the "'anything-goes-as-long-as-one-is-happy" line of thinking. The reality is that people don't become "happy" in a social vacuum.

    After all, if one wears a plastic trinket which they believe is gorgeous and makes them ecstatic (with the "social innocence" of a child :)), you will still see lots of people perceiving that choice as tacky/poor taste and possibly acting in discriminatory ways towards the wearer.
    They may not directly communicate their feelings about that piece to others, and least of all to the wearer - but they WILL think IT and some even ACT it. Eventually, the wearer will become aware of those perceptions. Some will care, others won't...and others will CLAIM not to care/rebel...but the discomfort, secretly, may still be there.

    For example, if a good chuck of the population perceives synthetics/lab-created to be "undesirable" for them, it is likely that some people will become "self-conscious" and apprehensive about getting such a stone, even if they, personally, find it exquisite to look at and feel it would look fantastic on them.

    The same for a "small stone/basic ring on a larger woman" view.
    If there is any level of consensus out there that this may be an "esthetically unpleasing" option, people will become aware and many will be made "unhappy" by that look.

    It is true, however, that today there is a lot of room for subjective, individual preference without concern to anything "objectively esthetic". The advantage of this view is that, in the end, we can all enjoy our choices (often shaped by objective constraints) without excessive concern about external judgements - even when SOME WILL happen.

    To me, personally (highly subjective!)- the overall look of the jewelry in relation to the person is very important. I am drawn to setting first and stone second.
    I love hefty, custom-made looks that make a statement. If stones are involved, I need them to be both objectively beautiful (sparkly, well cut, beautiful color, looks natural) but also large enough to create a statement jewelry piece in harmony with the person (and thickness of finger in particular!).
    I don't mind a lab-created stone with the same chemical composition and look as a natural - as long as it is superbly cut by human hand and looks amazing.

    This is just an example of subjective personal preference and what makes one person happy.

    Thank you all for describing what makes YOU "most happy" about a jewelry piece/e-ring :) .
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 4:47 PM
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  13. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 4:42 PM
    I have definitely seen small, slim women who can "rock a large rock" amazingly.
    Could be something about their personality, confidence, attitude - who knows? Could be the jewelry is very finely made and not bulky - which goes well with the person's "slim-ness".
    This can be filed under the "esoterics and the metaphysical..." :)

    I also saw small women who looked overwhelmed by a large piece.

    The most common cases of "mismatch to my eyes" - are the cases where the woman is imposing in some kind of way - larger, more confident, more dramatic, more formal, older and fuller, etc. - and she is wearing a tiny, dainty piece.
    By no means does it mean I am "judging" such people and I DO respect their right to wear what makes THEM happy. But neither can I suppress my mind into oblivion for formulating a perception about the esthetics of this LOOK (not the worth of the person). :) Kind of like when I see my daughter putting on an unfortunate outfit. I love HER but I don't love THE LOOK. :)

    I would be a bit hesitant to equate jewelry with "frippery". This way, anything else we put on us that goes beyond basic body coverage to defend us from the elements - would be frippery.
    I do think a piece of jewelry can improve the external beauty of a woman by flattering her in a variety of ways.
    If we are taking about inner beauty - that is a separate story.
     
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  14. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 4:44 PM
    Precisely. I think we often forget (or insist on forgetting!) that what PLEASES most people is inevitably strongly influenced by the norms of their social environments. Whether we like it or not, we are social animals.
    :( or :)
     
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  15. Matthews1127
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    by Matthews1127 » Dec 6, 2017 at 8:45 PM
    I think I’m kind of the odd ball out, in this crowd. I only wear jewelry that has meaning or sentimental value to me. I wear pieces that reflect my personality, and fit my overall style/taste.
    Every piece of jewelry I own is connected to a memory, a place that I’ve visited, reminds me of a loved one, or was gifted to me by the love of my life. The Anniversary Band I plan to construct in the near future represents our marriage and our family. It will be designed to reflect that.
    I have “unpopular”, and “not so common” taste in jewelry; I’m in my early 40’s, and I ADORE anything vintage, Art-Deco or antique! I’d snatch up an antique piece before I’d choose a more trendy, simple piece...because that’s just me. I’m a lover of the “unusual”.
    When I find a preloved piece, I long to learn its history; who the previous owner was, their story, and it’s origin. I love to know the story behind it all. I have to feel connected to it, to wear it. I intend to pass on my pieces to my children & family members. Being able to tell the story behind each one will give me joy, and allow me to share a piece of history with them; it connects us through the piece. It should also help my children appreciate what they are given; what has been passed down to them.
    Every time I put a piece of jewelry on, whether it’s my rings, a necklace, a bracelet, or earrings, I want to feel connected, and know that what is on my body is special, and means something to me. THAT is my joy!
     
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  16. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » Dec 6, 2017 at 9:00 PM
    Ain't nothing like the real thing baby!...Ain't nothing like the real thing!

     
  17. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 9:41 PM
    I can completely relate to everythhing you said as I too am an antique lover.
    But I still have to see said antique jewelry as "beautiful" as there are also antiques I do not like.

    I LOVE wearing an heirloom and I would wear any piece for the sentimental value only, unless it was something really hideous - and then I would try to transform it somehow.
    Unfortunately, my most cherished heirloom jewelry (9a pair of earrings) was stolen.
    I am still not over this horrible thing a decade after that fact. :((
     
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  18. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 9:50 PM
    Correct. But if the "real thing" is very much real yet not all that beautiful (compromise on quality, size or both) then a gorgeous lab-created stone will be the "real thing" for many people's overall purposes.

    I don't know much about the "real diamond - lab created diamond" comparison because I am not a diamond type. I love sapphires - because they speak to me, stand out and rarely clash with other colors.

    So I've seen quite a few sapphires - both natural and lab-created - and goodness...the difference between some "meh" real sapphires and some top-of-the-line lab-created stones can be shocking in terms of appeal/attractiveness. I would not hesitate for a second to go with the latter.

    Sure...if we compare two equally formidable stones - one natural, one lab-created - with money not an issue, the question would be "why not natural"? Unless one has any "ethical" reservations related to the mining and trading of natural stones.

    The variety of factors that we must take into account when deciding on jewelry make things more complicated then most people expect them to be when they first start looking.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 10:00 PM
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  19. Matthews1127
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    by Matthews1127 » Dec 6, 2017 at 10:40 PM
    That is absolutely terrible, and I’d be devastated. I’m so very sorry. :blackeye:
     
  20. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 10:47 PM
    Thank you. I guess I can use hearing this because sometimes I think I am crazy for not being able to get over this and for getting sick to my stomach every time I think about it - even 10 years after the fact.

    The sentimental value was 1000% non-replaceable; but to make matters worse, the objective value was serious enough that today I could not afford to just buy an equivalent pair of earrings to replace.

    Yeah. But oh well. It's just life.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 10:53 PM
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  21. lalala
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    by lalala » Dec 6, 2017 at 11:06 PM
    Just wanted to clarify that a lab created diamond is in fact a diamond but a simulant is not. I feel like they are being used interchangeably and that is not correct.
     
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  22. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 11:17 PM
    I did indeed notice that these terms are used inter-changeably.

    Then I should emphasize that I am referring strictly to LAB-CREATED stones that have the same chemical composition as the natural ones, only they were forced to happen under pressure in the lab - as opposed to underground over millions of years.

    I would NOT consider anything that just "simulates" the natural stone but has a different chemical composition. This is because I would be afraid that the stone would end up losing its luster, become matted, washed-out or plasticky looking at some point - no matter how beautifully cut the stone was originally.
     
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  23. sapphiredream
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    by sapphiredream » Dec 6, 2017 at 11:22 PM
    BTW, Matthews...the ring on your finger with the accompanying band(s) is a beeeautiful view!
    LOVE IT! Just perfect for your hand ... speaking of harmony. :)
     
  24. Bron357
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    by Bron357 » Dec 7, 2017 at 3:21 AM
    I love anything pretty and sparkly. So yes, I do have a few of those “Moissanite” pieces. While I wear real diamonds and real other gems, I was interested in seeing what a Moissanite looked like in person. And I like them. Very “rainbow disco ball type” sparkle, not to everyone’s taste. And no, I don’t get hung up about synthetic vs natural - they are what they are. The white one was expensive (from Charles and Colvard) and I wear it as my travel ring. Later I bought a few green /blue colored ones in silver from India for very cheap. I look at them as more durable “costume jewelry” wear for fun. Apart from diamonds, my favorite other gem is opal. It is just so intriguing and a wonder of nature, but I detest the synthetic opals, to me they can’t even come close to the natural wonder and variation of natural opal. You just pull it out of the ground and it looks to die for amazing from the outset. I often wonder what the first people who found opal thought about their discovery. With diamonds, their true beauty wasn’t “unlocked” until brilliant cutting came about.
     
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  25. kenny
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    by kenny » Dec 7, 2017 at 4:21 AM
    When my diamond surprises me with a blast of scarlet or lime green it gives me a rush.
    In some lighting conditions looking into it is like looking into a kaleidoscope on steroids.

    I'm not sentimental about my diamond.
    To me it is not full of meaning.
    It does not make me beautiful.
    It does not raise my status.

    It's just a natural rock that does cool things with light.

    In response to all the social factors the OP brings up I'll just say I am reminded of a wonderful saying, "What others think of me is none of my business."
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 5:02 AM
  26. Jimmianne
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    by Jimmianne » Dec 7, 2017 at 6:25 AM
    Number one for me is the entertainment factor.I like to have something to look at as a boost during travel, waiting in line, at an appointment or in a boring meeting.
    And fun. A diamond is a neat toy for playing with my camera. I love what diamonds do and enjoy their unique personalities. They make me happy.:appl:
    eta
    I don’t enjoy wearing faux gems unless a gift from a loved one. I also don't wear false eyelashes, padded bras or fake couture bags.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 6:31 AM
  27. Tourmaline
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    by Tourmaline » Dec 7, 2017 at 8:46 AM
    I am joining this conversation late. I think you made a lot of assumptions in your first post, the main one being that people wear jewelry for others. I wear jewelry for myself and most of the time I am in my house and nobody else sees it. When they do, they usually don't comment on it, because I dress so informally that people assume my jewelry is fake and don't want to embarrass me or themselves by mentioning it. There are reasons other than status to prefer natural stones. I have a vast respect for nature, and I love that the stones are so old, and that people weren't involved in their creation until the cutting. I do like some fake stones, too. They are pretty, but they don't give me the same feeling of awe when I wear them, and I almost never wear them because of that. I do think it's all personal, and, while quality is important, the image one wants to portray is also important, because people make split second judgements about others based on what they are wearing. They look at me and think I'm a very busy mom who may have forgotten to brush her hair and wore the same jeans yesterday, but loves jewelry. All that is true, but I'm also a business owner - just not the kind that has to see people in person, haha. So, again, I'm not particularly concerned with my appearance (I don't wear makeup or dress formally), but I do love really, really nice jewelry, and I wear it for ME. I happen to like large pieces, because they are easier (for me) to see. :)
     
  28. ChristineRose
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    by ChristineRose » Dec 7, 2017 at 11:44 AM
    Lab diamonds are real--they cannot be distinguished from mined stones without very, very, special equipment.

    The reality of lab diamonds is that there are precious few of them and buying one will not save you a lot of money. Most lab stones are sold to people who want one for various reasons, typically ethical and/or environmental. If you want one that is very well cut--"Pricescope Quality"--you will have a hard time finding the right fit for your budget and needs.

    Beautiful synthetic colored stones are available for almost nothing, but you will probably have to pay someone to custom set them if you want something really special.

    Lab diamonds are difficult to compare to mined diamonds because neither AGS nor GIA will grade them. IGI will grade them, but most IGI stones are mediocre. Many posters will tell you IGI is soft compared to GIA, but I don't believe this is true. But they are cheap and sloppy.

    GCAL will grade lab stones, and their reports are good, but their technical techniques do not match GIA/AGS so the grades may differ even though GCAL isn't soft. So you will have a hard time comparing stones over the Internet.

    In short lab stones are not a compromise. You won't get anything out of buying one unless you actually WANT one.
     
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  29. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Dec 7, 2017 at 12:34 PM
    .
    I cannot think of how synthetic crystalline carbon & corrundum would be interesting without masquerading diamond & sapphire ( would-be exception: a ring carved of a synthetic crystal, with a fantastic ruby cab of matching colour set on top - a very $$$ prank ... )

    Would agree that jewelry is a great format for art that has its own value ... rarely matching the value of historical gems & who can tell for how long. I happen to love things made of seashells - not precious, not art ... just beautiful to me & therefore worth the dare of sporting them, KWIM ,-
     
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  30. EvaEvans
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    by EvaEvans » Dec 7, 2017 at 9:00 PM
    @sapphiredream
    In fact, your dilemma is "Real, but ugly vs Fake, but beautiful"
    My answer to you is in these two sentences:
    "All glittering thing ain't gold!"
    "The beauty is in the eye of the beholder!"
     

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