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Top 10 Reasons Amber Jewelry is Better than Diamond Jewelry

December 2, 2005 4 Comments


Okay. I admit to being partisan here. But don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you buy an amber engagement ring at the end of this! We get many inquiries about amber engagement rings, but we usually recommend against this. The one legitimate quality I think a diamond engagement ring has is hardness- whereas amber is the softest of all gems- they’re really polar opposites in that sense.

This time of year I become weary of being subjected to the barrage of hokey, upscale black & white "You aren’t loved unless you get a diamond" ads splashed all over television. When it doesn’t make me laugh, the diamond industry makes me cry. Last year about this time I watched my brother go through the covert (to his finance) process of purchasing a diamond engagement ring over a period of a few weeks.

More than once he stopped by looking rather pale & wan to ask our opinions about this cut or that carat- to get a female point of view. These visits usually ended with him saying, “But you don’t understand…” followed by repeating the propaganda spouted by the salespeople, mumbling the vaunted “Four C’s of Diamonds” & murmuring darkly about investments. He discussed various loan programs, considered buying a rock three times the price of his car, wondering how much quality of life he was prepared to sacrifice in the name of this one small but important object.

Then he would put his head in his hands, take a deep breath, check the internet, take the call or head off to the next jewelry store on his list in the dark December night through the snow, just to be sure he covered all the bases. It was so very important to him that she be bowled over by this diamond engagement ring.

In the end I’m proud to say he chose something on the more humble side. And the smile on his her face couldn’t have been bigger or more radiant when she presented us with her engagement ring. GRIN!!!! She was beyond glowing. But guess what- it wasn’t the diamond, it was the promise. Thank god my brother didn’t allow himself to be brainwashed into financing a diamond ring the price of twenty vacations!!!

This time of year I get weary of being subjected to the sustained billion dollar marketing campaigns of the diamond cartels. You know the ones- they’re always black & white, implying you aren’t truly loved if you don’t have a dazzling hunk of diamond teetering on a platinum setting dripping off your finger, etc.

The World’s Purest Gems are Fueling One of the Dirtiest Wars in History
Revenues from diamond mining, oil production and gold mining have been used to perpetuate bloody conflicts in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone.
The Fatal Transactions Campaign works for an effective system of monitoring the raw materials trade from conflict areas, to make sure that by buying a glittering diamond, golden jewellery or petrol, we do not support terror.

What can you do? A little knowledge goes a long way. If you’re enamoured with diamonds- & they are beautiful & durable- insist on purchasing a clean, conflict-free diamond, not a blood diamond. You can learn more about an international intiative called The Kimberly Process. Also review Blood Diamonds Are for Never.

So I thought I’d have some fun & offer you my take on the difference between Baltic amber & diamonds when it comes to the famous Four C’s– Color, Clarity, Cut & Carat Weight.


1. Color: Sure, you can get fancy colored diamonds in natural & synthetic forms. And they’re very pretty, drawing on a pale pastel palette.

Photo ©Gemological Instituteof America(GIA is a good non-profit place to read up on diamonds as well).


Amber comes in 256 documented shades – from bony white, vanilla, butterscotch, classic whisky colored cognac to cherry, green, lemon & champagne tones- not to mention innumerable combinations thereof. Take a design such as our "Seven Leaves" amber bracelet, which contains several shades of amber in one compact design.


2. Clarity: With amber, inclusions are a desirable asset- something to be celebrated, a conversation starter & a jumping off point for the imagination, a gateway into the ancient world. With diamonds, inclusions are “flaws” & “bleminshes” to be avoided. Photo courtesty of wikipedia


In fact, this little guy right here is one of the most famous amber fossil inclusions in the entire world- known as the Gdansk Lizard.


3. Cut: Diamonds are rightly famous for their dazzling, angled faceted cuts. But amber is friendly to stonecarvers & artists, it takes on the myriad forms of nature. Because it is the softest & lightest of all gems, artisans can create incredible jewlery forms- amber carvings, intaglio, cameos… each one of a kind & never to be repeated. The shape amber takes on is limited only by the skill & imagination of the artist in whose hands it sits. Michelangelo said of his methodology with marble that he "liberated the figure from the stone" rather than imposed his vision into a block of marble. The very best artisan amber jewlery shares this philosophy- inthe way of the old masters, when artists first choose stones, then discover figures hidden inside the amber to delight the eye & the soul.

4. Carat The largest known diamond is

I’ll have to finish up with my thoughts about this comparison later… -Holly

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