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This is one of the most popular rings on our site.  It’s an antique style engagement ring, featuring a 1 carat asscher cut cubic zirconia set in a halo, with tiny stones down each side of the band.  People love this ring because of it’s classic design, and because it is a perfect combination of vintage style in a modern setting.  Our customers tell me all the time that it reminds them of something their mother or grandmother wore.  For years people asked us to create wedding bands to match the ring, and I was so happy when we finally did!

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One of the best things about this wedding set is that it is so customizable.  Since the wedding bands have become available, we’ve custom created this ring is rose gold and platinum.  We’ve created it with a sapphire center stone, and with a sapphire halo.

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If you see a ring you love on our site (or anywhere else), but you’d like to change something, please contact us.  We’re happy to make whatever changes we can to give you the ring of your dreams. 

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Expensive Shoes & Wedding Rings

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Full eternity wedding sets are hugely popular, and I understand the appeal.  However, when I started wearing them, I got pretty frustrated.  I’d been in the habit of wearing my wedding rings all the time.  I never took them off, except for the occasional cleaning. Almost 10 years ago I fell in love with this set, and upgraded.  I’m pretty active, and that translates to higher than average wear and tear on my jewelry, but even I was surprised at how much I banged up my new set.  I thought that because these rings were so substantial, with such heavy gold weight and sturdy prongs, I’d be fine wearing them all the time.  Boy, was I mistaken.  Repeated repairs to the set convinced me I needed to start taking more care with them, and since that first year, I haven’t had any other problems.

ImageThis sounds silly, but I started thinking of my full eternity bands as a pair of really expensive high heels.  I never wear my heels around the house.  I would feel ridiculous gardening in platforms, or bathing the dogs in strappy heels,  I’d ruin them if I tried cooking, or cleaning, or picking up after teenagers in them. It might work for Peggy Bundy on Married With Children, or Gloria Pritchett on Modern Family (Hey! Same TV husband, and they BOTH wear heels around the house?!?), but it doesn’t work for me.  I need comfort and ease of movement.  Besides, I love my shoes, and in some cases, I’ve spent a lot of money on them.  I want them to last.  The same is true for my jewelry.

ImageNow, my shoes and jewelry are the last thing I put on when I’m leaving home, and they’re the first thing I take off upon my return.  It did take a little while to develop the habit with my wedding rings, and I forgot them at home a few times.  But that never happens anymore, and now my jewelry stays cleaner, and I haven’t lost a stone or needed to get my set repaired in years.  And that saves money.  Money that can be spent on high heels.

Be Cool

Mike and I attended a very fancy event some years ago.  At dinner, we were fortunate enough to be seated next to a regional celebrity and his lovely wife.  The celebrity regaled the table with stories of his book deal, and his television show.  He was very charismatic, and we were charmed by him.  They were one of those beautiful couples, entertaining, comfortable in the spotlight, and also kind.  They made an effort to include everyone seated, to draw us all into the conversation.  His wife held her hand up to show us all the stunning ring the celebrity had bought her, to thank her for all her support while he wrote the book, and for holding down the fort while he did the book tour, and the television show.  At first, all I could see was sparkle.  Then, Mike grabbed my hand under the table, and I just KNEW.  It was one of ours.  It was huge, and we don’t make that many huge rings, and I’d recognize our jewelry anywhere.  They were passing it off as real, and doing a really good job of it, I might add.

Of course, we kept our cool.  We complimented the ring, and his good taste, and her luck, just like everyone else present.  As the meal progressed, the celebrity was asking everyone at the table about themselves – where they grew up, how many kids, what they did for a living.  And I was dreading it.  I knew he’d get to us eventually, and I just wanted dinner to be over.  Start the music, the dancing, whatever! I didn’t want to put them in an awkward position, but I could find no escape.   Anyway, it’s finally our turn, and Mike tells him we own an internet jewelry store, Orleans Jewels.  Their faces just froze.  Time stopped for them.  We were fine with it. We’re used to telling people what we do for a living.  But that poor couple was mortified.  They were so afraid we’d blow their cover, which of course we didn’t.  Mike and I just kept on talking while they took a second to regain their composure.

When the wife and I had a moment of privacy, she rushed to justify their reasons for buying fake.  They were remodeling their home, putting kids through college, there were causes they wanted to contribute to.  When she took a breath, I explained my position to her, and I told her what I tell everyone who contacts us.  How they spent their money was nobody’s business.  It did not negate their success, or her contributions to their family, or his appreciation of his wife,  because they chose a cubic zirconia.  I believe so strongly that unlike a genuine diamond, when you buy a cubic zirconia, it isn’t the price of the ring that brings it value.  It’s the sentiment, the giving and sharing of the gift adds to it’s worth.  Their choices, to update their home, to educate their children, to contribute to the well being of people less fortunate than themselves, those are all lovely things to spend money on.  I encouraged her to be proud of the choice they’d made to buy a cubic zirconia.  And I told her they didn’t need to worry, Mike and I had been keeping this particular secret for lots of people for lots of years!

She called me years later.  She said she thought about that night often, and wanted to thank me for how we handled it.   And then she said the nicest thing to me.  “You know, Amy, it seemed so important that people think it was real at the time.  But not anymore!  Now, when anybody compliments my ring, I tell them exactly where it came from.”  And that really affected me.  Lots of people buy jewelry from us, but not that many admit to it.

So, don’t worry.  If we see you around, we’ll be cool.

Keeping It Real

“Do they look real?” “Will people know it’s fake?” These are, without a doubt, the two most common questions people ask me about our stones.  So, to answer the first question, “Do they look real?”. Unequivocally, yes.  We use the highest quality cubic zirconias available.  We have purchased our stones from the same person for more than 25 years, because we know he creates the most consistently beautiful and durable stones on the market.  Our stones are hand cut and polished.  This is important because the human eye is incredibly sensitive. And, because high quality genuine diamonds are also hand cut and polished, when you see a machine cut stone, even if it is stunning and perfect, your eye knows the difference.  If you want your cubic zirconia  to look genuine, it must be hand cut and polished.  Our stones replicate internally flawless, D colored genuine diamonds.  Combine the quality of the stone with the fact that we set them in solid 14k gold and platinum mountings, settings that are appropriate for genuine diamonds, and yes, they definitely look real.

“Will people know it’s fake?” That’s…up to you.  If you’re a college student, living on financial aid and ramen noodles, and you buy a 3 carat cz engagement ring, then yes, everyone will know it’s fake.  The key to wearing cubic zirconia is to wear it thoughtfully.  Mike and I were very young when we got engaged.  I was 20.  We decided on a one carat center stone, with smaller side stones.  I didn’t have any expectation that our friends and family would think it was real.  After all, Mike’s parents owned the company.  But, I thought maybe I could fool strangers.  However, the most suprising thing happened.  My friends! My family!  They all started asking if my engagement ring was real!  My cousin even said, “Why should I wear a fake diamond when you don’t?”  Talk about an ah-ha moment.  It’s not just the quality of the stone that lends authenticity, its also the size.

While a few people don’t care if others know they’re wearing fake diamonds, I’ve found that most of our customers do. Just about everyone who call us has a sister-in-law, co-worker, or frenemy, that jabs at every choice they make.  They want to be able to buy the ring of their dreams, without having to explain their decision to purchase a cubic zirconia to every cukoo with an opinion.  And that’s Okay.

Here’s how you do it.  Think about what you could afford if you were buying a real diamond.  The jewelry industry suggests that you spend 3 months salary on an engagement ring.  Brilliant marketing strategy, but insane, especially for young people.  There are so many better, more important places to put your money.  Buy a car! Take a dream honeymoon!  Save it!  Invest it!  Put a down payment on a house! Buy shoes!  OMG the shoes!  But I digress.

After you’ve decided on a budget for a genuine diamond, allow us to help you buy a similar ring with a cz , and save a ton of money.   I can hear you now, saying, “But I don’t like anything I can actually afford, and I can’t afford anything I actually like!”  I know.  We can help.  We do it all the time.  It’s okay to upgrade a little bit.  Just don’t go overboard.  If you’re unsure, a one carat stone is always a good place to start.  And, because you’ve bought a cubic zirconia, you have lots of options.  You can always upgrade later, change your center stone to a larger one, add another band, or splurge on a new setting for an anniversary or career milestone.

If you’re like me, a bit more, shall we say, mature, it gets easier to buy a cz without anyone knowing the difference.  I’ve found that people just don’t question it as much when a middle-aged woman gets a tennis bracelet, or a bigger pair of “diamond” earrings, or upgrades her wedding set.  You’ve accomplished things.  You are rearing (or have reared) children.  I also know that older women have the confidence, and the “It’s none of your business” attitude, that prevents people from even asking rude questions.  Combine a beautiful piece of jewelry with a raised eyebrow, and it shuts down even the boldest busy body.  Many of our customers already have genuine diamonds, and can afford to buy more, but choose not to.  Wisdom and experience have shown them that there are better places to spend money, and they know we will create beautiful jewelry that perfectly suits their lifestyle.  These women have been faithful customers for 25, 30, or even 40 years.  In some cases, we made their engagement rings, the jewelry their husbands have given them over the years, and they still come back to us, because ours has consistently been the highest quality, most affordable cubic zirconia jewelry for more than 50 years.  And for these women, we are grateful.

Stacked Up

Stacked Up

Eternity bands are my favorite. I wear them all mixed up and stacked together. Mike has given them to me for so many occasions over the years, I’ve got quite the collection! He gave me a yellow one the year we bought our house (it’s yellow). They’re personal, and much like a charm bracelet, or a scrapbook, they tell my story.

In The Pink!

In The Pink!

I’m so happy that rose gold is getting popular again. I like it because I think it compliments every skin tone. Rose gold reminds me of teacups, and delicate lace. It’s exquisitely feminine. Most of our jewelry is available in rose gold. Let us know if you’d like like to be “in the pink”.