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Fine Jewelry Designs, Trends, & Tips

Evil Eye Jewelry

Evil Eye Jewelry

 Talisman, amulet, good luck charm. Known by many names, it is possible that what we've come to know as the 'evil eye' could e the good luck symbol that started it all. Pre-dating the empires of both Greece and Rome, record of the symbol has appeared for over six thousand years, across religions, cultures and geography. However, the evil eye is anything but evil. In fact, quite the opposite, the evil eye is meant to protect us from the bad luck or ill-will wished upon us by others and their evil glare. Additionally, that protective power is believed to be further strengthened when the evil eye is received as a gift from a loved one wishing us luck and prosperity. 

 Today, it's not uncommon to see the evil eye depicted in a variety of colors from pink, said to bring peace and protect friendships, to orange for creativity, and green for success. However, the color most associated with the evil eye, particularly as a form of protection from karma or those who wish us ill, is blue. Dark blue on the outer edge with concentric circles first white then turquoise, and finally a black center. And the variations don't end at the color options. The evil eye has been known by names as well. Nazar eye, Ojo Turko, and Mati being among the most recognized.

 Thus, it is not hard to see how this little blue eye made its way into popular culture. Referenced in music, depicted in art, and through countless modalities, this ancient symbol has been with us for ages. And we show no intentions of letting it go, except of course when we gift it. For all its names, colors and varieties, there is beautiful consistency i our relationship to this symbol throughout time, which is why we bestow it on those we love: to keep them safe. And that is perhaps the key to its staying power throughout history.

 For as long as there have been symbols, we have been obsessed with adorning our bodies with them. Ceremoniously, for status, and of course for protection. With clothing, ink, and perhaps most common jewelry. So it is no surprise that our centuries-long obsession for the evil eye has produced stunning pieces of jewelry. Evil eye necklaces, rings, and bracelets transcend the barriers of gender, age, and culture. Cast in precious metals and studded with diamonds, evil eye jewelry honors the strength and beauty of a symbol powerful enough to bring us together.

Click here to view our coveted 14 karat gold diamond detailed evil-eye jewelry pieces.



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Sneaky Jewelry Tricks of the Trade

Sneaky Jewelry Tricks of the Trade

This brief article is going to cover the most common jewelry tricks of the trade, but before I begin telling you about them, I want to make it clear that there are many reputable jewelers (including myself) who do not employ these tricks. Therefore, the following tricks do not apply to them:

1. Pre-Mounted Diamonds: When shopping for an engagement ring, jewelers may show you already preset mountings to help you select a style. Generally, pre-mounted diamonds are of lower quality and not certified. Some jewelers may set lower quality diamonds into mountings because it can help make them look better and people tend to ignore diamond quality in a mounting. You never know, the mounting could mask a chipped diamond or flaws.

2. Lighting Hides Fluorescence: Fluorescence is one of the characteristics listed on a diamond certificate. Under bright jewelry store lights, a diamond with fluorescence may look fine. However, when you look at it under natural sunlight it may make that diamond look milky, foggy, hazy, or yellow. Under ultraviolet light, such as black light, it will emit a soft glow. Always ask to view a diamond in different lighting before purchasing. 

3. Not Micro-Scoping the Diamonds: If a jeweler doesn't give you the opportunity to view and inspect the diamonds up close under a microscope or jeweler's loupe, then don't buy it from them. A jeweler should show you how to properly hold a jeweler's loupe. The reason why some jewelers don't let you scope their diamonds is because their diamonds are low quality and they're hoping you don't care or notice.

4. Inflated Discounts: If the jeweler is saying the ring has been discounted by 50% or more, be wary. The profit margin in jewelry is not high enough to make a discount like that probable. Also, be on guard for a high appraisal and a low selling price.

5. As for the total carat weight of the center stone and not the whole ring with the diamonds around it. Buy a stone with its certification. GIA grades more strictly than EGL. When you get your ring appraised, it should state the center stone carat weight separately from the other stones around it. 

6. What is a simulated diamond? Sometimes you'll see a product titled as "Diamond Ring" online and when you take a closer look at the description, it states that it's a "simulated diamond". Simulated diamonds, also known as diamond simulants, are stones created in a lab to mimic or simulate the look and feel of a mined diamond. There are many different types of simulated diamonds, all of which vary in composition, quality, and appearance. Some of the most common stones are white topaz, quartz, leaded glass or crystal, lab-created diamond simulants, and cubic zirconia. Lab-created diamond simulants and cubic zirconia are often the most used substitutes for diamonds and have become more popular in engagement ring trends. 

 There you have it - some of the most used tricks of the trade by some jewelers. If you have any questions or feel you've been tricked before, comment below or send an email to Share you store with me!

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Lab-Grown Diamonds Versus Natural Diamonds

Lab-Grown Diamonds Versus Natural Diamonds

 Recently, I've been receiving more and more inquiries from people asking if they should purchase a lab-grown diamond instead of a naturally-mined diamond because of its lower price point and lower negative impact on the environment. At nearly half the price with identical physical properties, lab-grown diamonds are a great alternative to mined diamonds. They've existed since the 1970's. Virtually indistinguishable from mined diamonds, their arrival has sparked debate about the definition of a diamond, mining practices of the natural diamond industry, and the environmental implications of both approaches. With that being said, I'll cover the main similarities and differences between lab-grown and naturally-mined diamonds to help you better determine which one you should go with. At the very end, I'll share with you my personal preference and why. Let's dive right into it.

Lab-Grown and Natural Diamond Similarities

Both lab-created diamonds and naturally-mined diamonds are constructed of carbon atoms structures and have the same composition They're both available in a range of shapes and carat weight. Lab-grown manufacturers claim that lab-grown diamonds are sustainable but both lab-grown and naturally-mined diamonds negatively impact the environment. Diamond mining can cause entire ecosystems to collapse and energy sources used to operate diamond mines can create greenhouse gases. Diesel fuels, electricity, and hydrocarbons used in diamond mining release harmful carbons into the air. These chemicals cause smog, climate change, and other environmental hazards yet to be discovered. Lab-grown diamonds are considered sustainable, in that, they don't cause the same level of environmental damage as mining, which requires the removal of earth and consumes freshwater and fossil fuels. However, their carbon footprint isn't exactly great either. Their manufacturing process uses energy generated from fossil fuels, which may create more carbon dioxide emissions than natural diamond mining. The amount of energy required to create lab-grown diamonds is immense. 

Lab-Grown and Natural Diamond Differences

Lab-grown diamonds are created in a lab in only a matter of weeks, whereas naturally-mined diamonds are formed under the earth's surface over billions of years. Lab-grown diamonds are mass-produced. Mined diamonds are one-of-a-kind. A lab-grown diamond is priced about 40% lower than a naturally-mined diamond. A popular misconception is that the prices of naturally-mined diamonds decrease over time, but in actuality, they increase over time, whereas a lab-grown diamond decreases over time. Consider this. The technology used in creating these diamonds has advanced, which in turn has caused the price of lab-grown diamonds to decrease in value over time. At this point, lab-grown diamonds have virtually zero resale value as compared to natural diamonds. For instance, if you purchase a lab-grown diamond for $16,000 and the try to sell it later, you might only receive a few thousand dollars for it.

While some lab-grown diamond manufacturers claim that their produced diamonds are an "ethical choice", I prefer to use and purchase natural diamonds due to their societal benefits and lasting value. The journey of natural diamonds to your finger is long and difficult. Some of the world's poorest countries have gained many jobs. In sub-Saharan Africa, diamonds can represent as much as 50% of the country's national revenue and can provide employment to hundreds of thousands of people. In India, the diamond trading and manufacturing industry employs more than a million people. In the last 20 years, the diamond industry has evolved into a more transparent and ethical industry that has far more scrutiny applied to it than ever before. If a client of mine wants to purchase a lab-grown diamond, I will happily source lab-grown diamonds because I want my clients to be happy with their purchases.Comment below and let me know if you prefer either a lab-grown or a naturally-mined diamond. 

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How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet

How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet

 (These instructions are based on my Instagram video, which demonstrates how to determine a fake Cartier Love bracelet from an authentic Cartier Love bracelet.)

How to Spot a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet

 In 1969, Aldo Cipullo created the iconic “Love Bracelet” for Cartier. Modeled after medieval chastity belts, the one who wears it is said to be “locked in love”. This unisex bracelet had quickly become a must-have item and it’s still as popular as ever. In 2015, the bracelets became a complication for airport security being called “the biggest problem item” due to the difficulty in removing the bracelets before going through the body scanners. These classic “Love Bracelet” variations start at $1,800 and go all the way up to $62,000 depending on the precious metal and diamonds used. Consistently a best-seller item, you can resell an original Cartier “Love Bracelet” for more than its gold weight at market value. Now, the “Love Bracelet” is also the most counterfeited jewelry piece out there. With that being said, I’m going to give you several tips to help you identify the main differences between a real “Love Bracelet” and a fake.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that not all “Love Bracelets” are made the same. Over the years, there have been many changes in the design and style.

  1. Cartier uses top-notch materials, tools, and technology in creating their jewelry. The classic “Love Bracelet” in 18 karat gold weighs between 30 – 38 grams, depending on wrist size. It is solid and never hollow. The bracelet is 2.0 mm thick and its width is 6.1 mm.
  1. Next, check to see how many decorative screws there are on the cuff. Your bracelet should have 5 on each half plus two you can unscrew. The screws must be perfectly straight and evenly spaced.

(The screws on one of the fakes are larger in size and aren’t evenly placed or centered on the bracelet. As you can see, they are closer to the edge on one side of the bracelet than the other. *The screws on the other fake are more closely made like an authentic one, except if we were to closely look at the center line of the screw, we can see the inside is rounded from the way the jeweler has cleaned it. Cartier uses CNC cutting machines. The indented line in the center of the screws on the authentic bracelet are more flat.)

  1. Then, examine the materials. The “Love Bracelets” are produced in 18 karat yellow, white, pink gold, and 950 platinum. If your bracelet has gemstones, they should be diamonds only. The gems are also made visible on the inside of the bracelet with hexagonal cutouts.
  1. Next up, the finishing. Your bracelet should feel secure. The two halves should align perfectly when screwing them closed and the closure screw should turn easily with its accompanying screwdriver.

(Here, the edge of where the bangle attaches is not perfectly aligned. The lines going across the bracelet of where they attach aren’t even aligned. The attachment is rounded from the high polishing instead of being a bit more flat and crisp.)

  1. Investigate the hallmarks. There are several hallmarks to take note of. All markings should be crisp and clear. Smudged logos, uneven inscriptions, or sloppy finishes are red flags.

(Here, the markings are engraved too closely together. There is no space between the size and karat markings.)

Lastly, getting a full set with a pre-owned Cartier “Love Bracelet” increases the likelihood that it is genuine. A full set includes box, papers, and its mini screwdriver. Double-check the serial number on the paperwork and make sure it corresponds with the number stamped on the inside of your bracelet. You may also have someone at the Cartier store look up the serial number of your bracelet to make sure it checks out.

Thank you for making it to the end of this video and hope you don’t get duped into purchasing a fake Cartier “Love Bracelet”.

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How to Measure Your Ring Size

How to Measure Your Ring Size

 So you’ve found your perfect ring and all that’s left to choose is your ring size. You can always visit a local jeweler and get sized in person, but sometimes you just don’t feel like doing that. So I’ll show you a super simple way to determine your ring size at home.

You’ll need a pair of scissors, ruler, paper, and pen.

First, choose which finger you want to wear your ring on. When measuring your finger, make sure your body is at room temperature because our fingers tend to shrink when we’re cold and swell when we’re warm.

  1. Cut a piece of paper.
  2. Wrap it snugly around your finger.
  3. Mark the spot where the end of that paper meets.
  4. Measure the distance using a ruler.
  5. Compare the distance to the measuring chart you can find on my website.

Here are some quick helpful tips to keep in mind when measuring your finger size at home:

  1. When you’re having trouble deciding between two sizes, always select the larger one.
  2. Strings are an inaccurate method of measuring ring size because they tend to stretch, which results in the wrong size.
  3. If your knuckles are a lot larger than the base of your finger, consider going up half a size.
  4. If you’re purchasing a wide band, you’ll find it more comfortable if you move up half a size from your measurement.
  5. Lastly, if the ring is a gift, ask the recipient’s friends or family if they know her ring size. You may also see if you can borrow one of the recipient’s existing rings for the intended finger, and measure the inner circumference of the ring and compare it to the ring chart.

Here is a video on my Instagram account (@varduikarajewelry) that demonstrates how to measure ring size:

How to Measure Your Ring Size

Hope this helps!

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Wear Handcrafted Memorial Jewelry to Keep Your Loved Ones Close

Wear Handcrafted Memorial Jewelry to Keep Your Loved Ones Close

Every day, someone in the world loses a loved one. It is an emotional and devastating moment in our lives to lose someone we love. To honor and cherish their memory, we can wear memorial jewelry to keep them close to our heart. 

I want to share an example of a handcrafted memorial jewelry item I had recently created for a client of mine. Her brother had passed away and she wanted a solid 14 karat gold necklace with his name ("Yusuf" handwritten in Arabic) that she could wear all the time. The Arabic name necklace, in this instance, acts as a memorial piece that is worn with pride to remember a loved one. 

Memorial jewelry is a great way to keep alive the memory of your loved one and can be comforting as you can take it with you everywhere you go. The sentimentality of the piece will always soothe you when you are going through the ups and downs of grieving. 

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Daphne Bridgerton Inspired Dainty Jewelry

Daphne Bridgerton Inspired Dainty Jewelry

“This season’s incomparable, a diamond of the first water:”

In the most popular series on Netflix right now, Bridgerton, its star Phoebe Dynevor, quickly became known for her dainty and minimal jewelry layering style.

The show takes place during the Regency Era, where the fashion and jewelry was known for its simpler, less complicated style. Women began to wear dresses with scooped necklines and little jewelry, if at all. Dainty earrings and pieces were worn during casual events, while more elaborate and bigger pieces were reserved for important and formal events.

After watching Bridgerton nontop, I am confident in my ability to share a few dainty jewelry items that live up to Daphne’s dreamy, simple, and subtle aesthetic.

A delicate chain and simple hanging charm grace her collar bone, making it perfect with the open neckline. To create this look, we have got you covered with three of our diamond necklaces. To sit elegantly between your collar bones, 14 inches is a perfect choker necklace length for most; however, 16 inches might fit better for some.

Our first look to achieve the Daphne Bridgerton style is the Three Stone Diamond Necklace. Shimmering and dainty, its full-cut diamonds would make it grande my dear.

three stone diamond necklace

Our second look is the modern classic Solitaire Diamond Necklace that can also be worn as a choker with an adjustable length from 14 to 16 inches. Simple, delicate, and sophisticated. This necklace is the perfect way to accent any occasion. We think Dahpne would approve.

Lastly, we cannot forget to mention our Mystique Pear Diamond pendant necklace. Embraced for its teardrop shape, the pear diamond is delicate, strong, and poised, just like Daphne Bridgerton. Choose among three different chain styles: Rolo, Box, and Cuban; all adjustable from 14 to 16 inches.

mystique pear diamond charm dangle necklace

Quite ravishing my darling.

Yours Truly,

Lady Whistledown

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How to Clean Your Jewelry

How to Clean Your Jewelry

Today I’m going to talk about one of the questions I get asked most as a fine jewelry designer, which is how to clean jewelry. Cleaning your jewelry will ensure its beauty and longevity. Good news is the safest cleaning methods are also the easiest. Here are two simple and quick ways in which you can do this:

If you’re engaged or married, first and foremost, congratulations! You’ll probably be wearing your diamond ring on a daily basis and believe it or not, it should be cleaned about every 1-2 weeks. Don’t worry; this is very easy to do. I use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Amazon sells many different kinds at different price ranges. They pack a mean punch of about 42,000 Hertz of ultrasonic energy waves that create millions of microscopic cleansing bubbles that gently lift dirt without using harsh chemicals or scrubbing. I either pour straight boiling hot water into it or mix it with a tablespoon of jewelry cleaning solution. It takes about 5 minutes. Then I take the jewelry out and rinse it under warm water.

engagement rings

Although I have this ultrasonic cleaner, there have been many times where I’ve simply used a soft toothbrush and baby shampoo to clean my jewels. Baby shampoo is a good option for both costume and fine jewelry that’s fragile or delicate. Just mix a few drops of it with ¼ cup of warm water. Soak your ring in it for about 5 – 10 minutes. Follow by gently cleaning around the stone setting and under using a very soft toothbrush, then rinse under warm water. Lastly, dry the jewelry with a soft cloth.

Sterling silver jewelry naturally tarnishes, especially when exposed to salty air. For high-polished silver jewelry, I recommend using a special silver cleaning cloth to restore its shiny surface.

Lastly, if you have any type of plated jewelry, gold-filled or vermeil, it’s not advised to polish, wipe, or use any dip style cleaning products because it can cause the plating to wear off. If you would like to re-plate your jewelry, please contact me at and attach a photo of the item to receive a quote.

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How To Tell a Real Diamond from a Fake!

How To Tell a Real Diamond from a Fake!

I posted an poll on my Instagram (@varduikarajewelry) story asking my followers what my next video topic should be. Of those who voted, 68% of you voted for me to do a video demonstrating how to tell a real diamond from a fake. We’re not going to be comparing diamonds to lab grown diamonds because lab grown diamonds and real diamonds are both chemically and visually the same. Instead, we are going to be testing real diamonds against simulated diamonds, such as cubic zirconia (or CZ for short). CZ is clear in color like a diamond, but it is not the same chemical substance as a diamond. At the end of this blog post, I’ll tell you my only reason for why I think you should consider CZ engagement and wedding rings.

 diamond engagement ring

The word, diamond, comes from the Greek “adamas,” which means unbreakable. As time goes by, more and more imitations are being made. Fortunately there are ways to detect them before it’s too late. These things are good to know, right? There are five easy quick tests you can do at home and two quick ones a local trusted jeweler could perform if you’re somewhat still skeptical. You will need a newspaper, lighter, a sheet of sandpaper, a loupe, and a flashlight.


  1. The Fog Test – Real diamonds disperse heat instantaneously and the special crystal structure of diamonds has the side effect of hydrophobia. Diamonds are afraid of water. Water does not stick to them. It just falls off, so if you breathe on a diamond, the fog clears up almost immediately because it repels water and steam, whereas for a CZ, it will take about a good 3-4 seconds before the fog clears up because imitations take longer to disperse that heat.
  2. Newspaper Test –This is meant to check the transparency of your stone. Your diamond technically can’t be mounted for this one, but if a diamond is mounted, you shouldn’t be able to see through to the bottom of it. The reason is simply because of the way the light passes through the many facets of the stone. For this test, grab a newspaper and find a small bold text. Place your diamond face down on the text. Real diamonds refract and bend light as it passes through them making the text appear blurry and impossible to read. If we were to place the CZ face down on the text, we’d be able to read the newsprint clearly or at least distinguish the letters through the stone.
  3. Sandpaper Test – My favorite. You might have to be a little brave for this one. (The diamond does need to be unmounted, so that the prongs don’t get scratched.) You put the stone face down on the sandpaper and rub it right to left. If it’s a fake stone, you’re totally going to destroy the top of it and see lots of scratch marks. If it’s real, there won’t be any marks and the stone will be as it was before you rubbed it on the sandpaper. *Rub As you can see the fake stone is totally scratched up and the diamond is crystal clear. There isn’t a mark on it.
  4. Burn Test – To do this test you put the stone in between the tweezers and hold it under the flame for about 30 seconds then you dip it into the glass of water. The real stone should be totally fine and look the same as before you burned it. If it’s a fake stone, it should be cracked internally and be smashed into pieces. This happens since weaker materials are not able to handle the rate at which the materials expand then contract due to the heat of the fire, unlike real diamonds that were formed under intense heat and pressure billions of years ago.
  5. Magnification Test – You’ll need a loupe, which is a 10x jeweler’s magnifying glass. If you look at the edges of a real diamond, they’re always pointy and crispy. Cubic zirconia and other simulants are smoother on the edges. Also, under the magnifying glass, you’ll be able to see abrasions and scratches on the surface of simulants.
  6. Refractivity Test – This one is a little tricky to do. One of the beauties of diamonds is their ability to refract light causing the light to bend and curve with every movement. A fake diamond will not have this effect due to its lack of density. So, the way a diamond reflects light is unique in that if you were to hold a diamond under sunlight, the inside of a real diamond should sparkle gray and white, while the outside reflects a rainbow of colors onto other surfaces. A fake diamond will have a rainbow of colors that you can see inside the stone as well.
  7. Weigh It – Interestingly enough, a diamond weighs less than a cubic zirconia. A jeweler can remove your stone and place it on a scale to see if its total carat weight roughly matches the size of the stone. Next, you can place a similar sized CZ onto the scale. If your stone weighs about 55% less than the similar sized cubic zirconia, your stone is real.
  8. Conductivity Test – Most jewelry stores have a simple device for testing conductivity, known as the Thermal Conductivity Probe. It has a metal needle that touches your stone. If the light goes off then you have a real diamond on your hand. If it doesn’t go off, then it’s a safe bet you’re rocking a cubic zirconia.

Of course this all by glancing at a stone and they’re not definitive ways to tell whether the stone is real or fake, but they are good indications. The best way to prevent any doubt about your diamond or stone is to verify the authenticity of the stone before purchasing and only purchase from a place that you trust. It is always best to consult a professional gemologist and purchase stones with a GIA certificate.

This might come as a shock, but many people are buying cubic zirconia engagement rings for specific personal reasons. And I’m not going to judge. I just want to mention that although traveling is not a priority for anyone right now due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 and with lockdown measures being taken worldwide, many of you leave your expensive engagement rings and wedding bands at home during your travels due to the potential fear of theft or loss. A great solution for that would be to have a much more affordable version of your rings made. If you’d like to create a decoy version of your ring in rhodium-plated sterling silver with cubic zirconia, send me an email at In the email upload photos of your ring; indicate your finger size, and specifications of any stones your ring has. If you are located in the Los Angeles area, you may also make an appointment to visit us at our Downtown, LA office where we can better assist you.

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