About Ultimate Silver™: Ultimate silver is an alloy of sterling silver and platinum. Whiter than common sterling silver found in the market place, Ultimate Silver is also harder and more durable. Ultimate Silver is stronger than common sterling silver and seven times more tarnish resistant.
Check out the Ring Sizing Guide to find your ring size.
All weights pertaining to gemstones, including diamonds, are minimum weights. Additionally, please note that many gemstones are treated to enhance their beauty. View Gemstone Enhancements and Special Care Requirements for important information.
Sterling silver, also called fine silver, is a beautifully lustrous cool-toned precious metal favored in fine jewelry among other products. The most reflective of all metals (excluding mercury), sterling silver looks stunning by itself and brings out the best hues in an array of colorful gemstones.
Sterling silver can be polished to a higher sheen than platinum. In fact, Ag, the chemical symbol for silver, comes from a word that means “white and shining.” The surface of silver can boast that shiny, polished appearance, or can be brushed, satin, matte, sandblasted, antiqued or oxidized (chemically blackened).
In order to be called sterling silver, a metal must be made up of a minimum of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy (meaning other metals), including but not limited to copper and nickel. The alloy is added to pure silver to make the metal more durable, tougher and harder. Sterling silver is designated a fineness of “925.” Pieces with sterling silver may be marked “sterling.”
Finishes on Sterling Silver
Finishing, or plating, is a common treatment with sterling silver. Popular types of plating are rhodium plating, gold plating and anti-tarnish plating. Plating is used to extend the life and sheen of the jewelry. After sizing or buffing a piece of jewelry with a machine, it must be re-plated to restore the finish.
Caring for Sterling Silver
Sterling silver becomes tarnished as the result of a natural chemical process that occurs when sterling silver is exposed to chemicals in the air, rubber, wool and latex. Humidity also plays a role in accelerating tarnishing. It's easy to keep your sterling silver sparkling, though, by taking a few steps to prevent tarnish and other wear and tear.
Platinum is an elegant, rare and versatile metal that has exploded in popularity for jewelry in recent years. Its signature brilliant white luster is a result of its incredible purity and is the ultimate backdrop for reflecting a diamond's radiance. Generally, platinum is 95% pure—compared with 18K gold, which is 75% pure. This purity makes platinum hypoallergenic, meaning it won't irritate sensitive skin.
Platinum is also prized for its eternal quality, resisting fading and tarnishing (although it does develop a lovely patina that may be polished out if you prefer) to look stunning for a lifetime of daily wear. This durability is the result of platinum's density and weight. Platinum alloy is virtually anticorrosive, having a melting point of 3,215 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rather than wearing away with a scratch, platinum does not lose volume but is merely displaced. Thus, impressions and scratches may appear on platinum, but it remains intact as an eternal symbol.
Also revered for its great pliability, platinum is so pliable that one gram of it can be drawn out to a fine wire more than one mile long! This pliability creates incredible flexibility in jewelry design, which other precious metals do not have.
Platinum is the most rare of the precious metals, found only in a few places on Earth. Thirty-five times more rare than gold, it has been said platinum is so scarce that if all of it in the world were poured into one Olympic-sized swimming pool, it would be barely deep enough to cover your ankles. The amount of gold in the world would fill more than three pools that size.
The supply of and demand for platinum is tight and getting tighter all the time. If platinum mining were to stop today, already-mined reserves would be gone within a year. Gold reserves on the other hand would last nearly 25 years.
About 90% of all platinum comes from South Africa and Russia, and much of it is used in other fields besides jewelry, including industry and medicine. In fact, platinum plays an important role in the production of about 20% of all consumer goods.
Over the past few decades, platinum's popularity in wedding bands, bridal jewelry and other jewelry has grown exponentially. Today, platinum is a favorite precious metal among women and men alike.
Japanese consumers buy approximately 48% of all platinum jewelry—a much larger number in the past 20 years. Chinese and North American consumer demand has made for double-digit growth rates in recent years, adding up to more than 40% of the world's platinum jewelry.
Platinum is also recognized as an investment, as are other precious metals. In addition to being a stable and secure investment, platinum offers the potential for profit as its demand increases.
As early as 1200 B.C. Egyptians imported gold with traces of platinum, which they made into jewelry. In 100 B.C., Incas used platinum to create ceremonial jewelry. Then, platinum jewelry all but disappeared until European explorers landed in the New World. Spanish conquistadors found reserves of platinum in 1590; they called it “platina,” meaning “little silver.” Again, platinum all but disappeared from history, resurfacing again in the 1700s when it arrived in Europe. In 1751, platinum was classified as a precious metal. In the 1780s, France's King Louis XVI declared that platinum was the only metal fit for kings.
In the 1800s, several major reserves of platinum were discovered, causing the metal to grow in popularity. In the early 1900s, Louis Cartier was the first person in modern times to create platinum jewelry, which King Edward VII of England declared “the jewelry of kings and the king of jewelers.” Furthermore, platinum became a popular choice for “mourning jewelry,” which was trendy after the Titanic sank.
German geologist Hans Merensky discovered the world's largest platinum reserve in 1924 near Johannesburg, South Africa, inspiring the platinum industry as it exists today. In the 1930s, platinum became a Hollywood favorite when actresses Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich wore platinum jewelry. Queen Elizabeth was crowned with a platinum crown and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor exchanged platinum Cartier wedding bands. In 1967, Elvis and Priscilla Presley exchanged platinum wedding bands. Today, platinum is a premiere choice for wedding bands for men and women alike.
The value of a diamond is determined by the Four Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight.
The cut of a diamond (the depth, width and uniformity of the facets) determines the stone’s brilliance and sparkle. Even if a diamond has perfect color and clarity, a poor cut can make it look dull. A diamond’s proportions determine how well the light will reflect and refract within the stone, with symmetry of the cut being extremely important.
Acting as a prism, a diamond can divide light into a spectrum of colors, reflecting light as colorful flashes called fire. Color within a diamond diminishes the brilliance of the stone by diminishing the spectrum of colors that are emitted. A colorless diamond disperses light throughout the entire stone. Therefore, the less color that is in a diamond, the more colorful its fire, the better its color grade, and the greater its value (and priced accordingly). Diamond color is graded using an alphabetical range from D-Z (D being totally colorless). Diamonds graded better than J are colorless or near-colorless, with color that is typically undetectable to the unaided eye. Color K-Z is especially noticeable when set in platinum or white gold.
Most diamonds naturally have small internal flaws called inclusions, which interfere with the passage of light through the stone. The size, number, position and color of these imperfections determine a stone’s clarity grade.
Our diamonds have been evaluated and graded by GIA graduate gemologists using the standards established by GIA (The Gemological Institute of America). Through these guidelines, we no longer provide clarity grades for SINGLE cut diamonds.
Carat is the standard unit of measurement used to determine a diamond’s weight. Although two diamonds may have the same carat weight, their color and clarity may be different, thus determining each individual stone’s value. Additionally, since larger diamonds are more rare than smaller diamonds, diamond value tends to rise exponentially with carat weight.
More About Diamonds
The most precious of all gems, diamonds have an incredible rarity factor. It takes a minimum of one million diamonds to be mined in order to find a 1.00ct gem-quality diamond, so each 1.00ct quality diamond is literally one in a million. Making them even more incredible, the mining of diamonds requires moving and sifting 250 tons of the Earth’s crust to find just one diamond. Mining companies literally move mountains to find diamonds.
Diamonds have the longest endurance of any substance known on Earth. Carbon dating has established that diamonds, on the average, are 3.4 billion years of age. They consist of pure carbon and there is no chemical difference between them and carbon powder (the lead pencil center). Obviously, however, the physical difference between carbon powder and a diamond is fascinating. Diamonds are created from a basketball-sized piece of pure carbon that becomes white-hot. It is squeezed to the size of a small pearl, turning from black to clear in the process and becoming the hardest material known to humans, ranking a 10.0 on the Mohs Scale . Because they are so hard, diamonds can only be ground and polished by using diamond dust that has been ground from other diamonds.
Diamonds are found in a rainbow of colors. The value of a fancy-colored stone depends largely on the rarity of its color, the saturation of the color, and the purity of the color. Probably the most famous colored diamond is the Hope, which features a deep-blue color and weighs an amazing 45.52ct. It can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
With diamonds found all over the world, America has a couple small producing diamonds mines, but it only produces industrial grades with non-gem grade material. These black and brown industrial-grade diamonds are widely used as cutting and grinding tools in various industries, such as oil drilling and stone carving.
Diamonds have come to symbolize the ultimate gift of love and romance and, in the United States, are traditionally used in engagement and wedding rings. The tradition of the diamond solitaire engagement ring may have started in 1477, when the Archduke of Austria gave a large solitaire diamond to Mary of Burgundy for her hand in marriage. Amidst this tradition of romance, the diamond is also the birthstone for April and given as 10th, 30th, 60th and 75th anniversary gifts.
Diamonds have been the pride of empires throughout time. Ancient Hindu followers believed diamonds were created by thunderbolts striking the ground. Ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were teardrops of the gods and splinters of stars that had fallen to Earth. The stones were believed to possess magical qualities and have powers far beyond the understanding of common man. Even the name stems from “adamas,” the Greek word for “unconquerable” and “indestructible.”
The diamond is considered the most magical of all gems. When worn, it is believed to promote spirituality, even ecstasy, and is often utilized in meditation. The diamond promotes self-confidence in relations with the opposite sex and is often worn to conquer infertility. The diamond is the stone of love and is worn to ensure fidelity. Owing to its sparkling and flashing nature, it has long been regarded as a stone of protection and peace. It can be worn today for courage and strength, and represents fearlessness and invincibility.
Since only diamonds can scratch other diamonds, it is important to wrap and store your diamond jewelry pieces separately so they do not touch one another. To clean jewelry at home, soak diamonds in warm, sudsy water made with any mild liquid detergent. Brush with a soft toothbrush and rinse and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Other effective cleaning methods include soaking diamonds in household ammonia, brand-name liquid jewelry cleaners, or even a glass of vodka.
About the Collection
Treat yourself to luxury and decadence with Pamela McCoy’s Gems of Distinction, an exclusive collection of diamond and gemstone jewelry from renowned designer Pamela McCoy. Created for those who love to indulge in the extraordinary, this collection's feminine and delicate designs are the result of Pamela’s unfailing quest to inspire confidence in women.
Delicate and feminine, Pamela's pieces are crafted using beautiful diamonds and gemstones set in 14K gold or Ultimate Silver. Discover Gems of Distinction's full selection of jewelry designs, including cocktail rings, pendants and earrings.
About the Guest
Pamela McCoy, designer for Gems of Distinction, began developing jewelry and fashion items in 2000. She consistently strives to create pieces that help women feel more comfortable and confident in every aspect of their lives. Pamela loves being part of the entire process, from visualizing a design to seeing it come to life.