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7 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts That We Love February 08 2018

Is it really already February? If you're feeling crunched for Valentine's Day gift ideas like we are, we've put together a short list of fun gift ideas that aren't chocolates and flowers—although those are great, too!

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Hatch Notebook for Makers & Entrepreneurs / Creative project planner, idea journal, business planner, and sketchbook / Gifts for designers — by TwoTmbleweeds

Hatch Notebook for Makers & Entrepreneurs / Creative project planner, idea journal, business planner, and sketchbook / Gifts for designers — by TwoTmbleweeds

Retails for $25, ready to ship in 1 business day.

This handy notebook is a great gift for someone creative! Printed on acid-free paper that's sourced from sustainably-managed American forests, this notebook helps the maker or entrepreneur in your life to organize their ideas, from brainstorm to reality (and all of the steps in between). 

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Mixology Dice Tumbler / Laser engraved wood dice to inspire craft cocktails / Bartender gift, gift for boyfriend, men, him, Valentine's Day - by TwoTmbleweeds

Mixology Dice Tumbler / Laser engraved wood dice to inspire craft cocktails / Bartender gift, gift for boyfriend, men, him, Valentine's Day - by TwoTmbleweeds

 Retails for $34. Ready to ship in 1 business day.

Bring your bartending to the next level with this laser engraved wood dice set. Sure to be the hit of your next get-together, this set includes eight dice, packaged in a reclaimed wine bottle tumbler.

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Diamond Round Faceted Dangle Earrings, made from recycled gold and conflict free diamonds, eco-friendly and ethical - Aide-memoire Jewelry

Retails for $380 in pictured combination (14k yellow gold with diamonds). In-stock items ship within 1-3 business days.

The faceted dangle earrings are a studio favorite! We love the way that the facets (and the tiny flush set diamonds) catch the light. Check out the necklace version, too!

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Valentines day gift for her, Anniversary gifts for men, Wedding gift for husband, Romantic gifts for him, Husband gift Anniversary gift - by MessyBedStudio

Valentines day gift for her, Anniversary gifts for men, Wedding gift for husband, Romantic gifts for him, Husband gift Anniversary gift - by MessyBedStudio

Retails for $35. Ready to ship with 1-3 business days.

Say everything you want to this year with a minimal, petite painting. Perfect for weddings and anniversaries as well.  

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Ceramic mug set, Black and White Mug, Valentines Day Mug, Espresso, Foodie Gift, Espresso Set, Husband Gift, Matching mug set - by roselinepottery

Set of two retails for $30. Ready to ship in 1-3 business days.

We're fans of a gift that the giver also gets to enjoy, which is why we love this minimal matched mug set. Perfect for sharing your morning cup of coffee (or tea!) and some quality time with your partner.

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 Wine Bottle Wall Vase SETS of 2, 3, 4 – Perfect for Valentine's Day, Home Decor - by ShopMerakiDesigns Wine Bottle Wall Vase SETS of 2, 3, 4 – Perfect for Valentine's Day, Home Decor - by ShopMerakiDesigns

Prices range from $49.95 to 59.95 for a set of three. Ready to ship in 1-3 business days.

This wall-mounted vase set has a charming, rustic quality, making it ideal for the your kitchen or entryway. This gift would be perfect paired with a bouquet of flowers with which to decorate your walls.

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White Structured Votives - by ConvivialProduction

Prices range from $28 to $38 for single votives, with sets available. Ready to ship in 1-2 business days.

We're crazy about how versatile these ceramic candle holders are—they can be used, as intended, to hold candles, as well as to decorate your shelves and as a planter.  


12 Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas for Everyone in Your Life: Handmade in Seattle November 17 2017

With the holiday season fast approaching, planning gifts for all the important people in your life can get stressful—and it doesn’t have to be! We’ve compiled this list of the things we’re giving this year (and some of the gifts we’re hoping to receive). All of these gifts, by the way, are handmade by Seattle small businesses. Score!

Gift Ideas

Hemleva's Orb Mini Himmeli Air Plant Holder, handmade in Seattle
Photo credit to Hemleva.

What: Hemleva’s brass himmeli air plant holders—plants not included (but for sale!)

Where to Buy: Online, from Hemleva’s website, or in-person, at one of several Seattle-area holiday markets

How Much: Prices start at less than $10, for some of the smaller himmeli, and range upwards for the large mobile pieces.

For Whom: Your friend who just moved to a new apartment; your coworker who loves air plants (true story: Aran got two of these for Christmas last year!); someone who’s looking to decorate a baby’s room (or their own)… maybe grab a couple for yourself while you’re at it!

Why: Not just for plants, these sculptural ornaments are inspired by traditional Finnish mobile decorations. Hemleva’s open, geometric air plant holders, wall sconces, and mobiles (limited edition or otherwise, both are equally stunning) are the perfect mix of form and function.

Hardmill's Grocery Tote in charcoal waxed cotton canvas, handmade in Seattle
Photo credit to Hardmill.

What: Hardmill’s Grocery Tote in charcoal waxed canvas

Where to Buy: On their website!

How Much: $110

For Whom: Everyone—honestly!

Why: This reusable tote is great for transporting groceries (and just about any else!) wherever you need to go. As a bonus, the waxed canvas bag is both heavy-duty and water-resistant, with an inner leather base, making it super useful on rainy Seattle days.


Aide-memoire Jewelry's Small Smooth Bead Set Pendant Necklace, in 14k yellow gold with a diamond, handmade in Seattle

More necklace styles available here.

What: Our Small Smooth Bead Set Pendant, pictured above in 14k yellow gold with a recycled diamond

Where to Buy: Right here!

How Much: $230-280 in the combination pictured above (but very customizable!).

For Whom: Your partner/girlfriend/wife/fiancee; your mother, grandmother daughter… The list goes on! PS—planning a wedding? This necklace makes an awesome gift for your maid-of-honor and bridesmaids!

Why: There’s nothing costume-y or flashy about this sweet, delicate necklace (one of our own!). In both the small and large sizes, this minimal, matte gold pendant looks great with both the coziest of sweaters and businesswear. Made in your choice of 14k yellow or white gold with a recycled diamond or fair trade black spinel center stone, this pendant offers a range of options for even your loved ones who don’t like wearing jewelry.

 

Tuesday Shop's raw silk blanket scarf in indigo, handmade in Seattle

Photo credit to Tuesday Shop.

What: Tuesday Shop’s raw silk blanket scarf in indigo

Where to Buy: Online, or in-person at their Seattle shop

How Much: $48

For Whom: Your mom; your sister; your friend/coworker/partner who is always cold; someone who loves a good bright color (this goldenrod scarf is also awesome)

Why: These colorful and cozy blanket scarves are dyed by hand, which gives each scarf a one of a kind uniqueness. Both functional (silk is a great insulator!) and beautiful (you can see these colors, right?), these scarves are perfectly suited for mountains and sidewalks alike.


Design by SML's Topographic Coat Hanger in maple, medium size - handmade in Seattle

Photo credit to Design by SML.

What: Design by SML’s Topographic Coat Hangers, pictured above in maple—although we’re also big fans of their wall-mounted bottle openers

Where to Buy: Online

How Much: $90 for the medium size coat hanger style with two coat hooks, $140 for the large size with three coat hooks

For Whom: Your parents; your friend who never has room in their coat closet for more coats when you visit...

Why: We love a gift that looks nice and serves a purpose! These coat racks are handmade in Seattle with upcycled scrap materials from SML’s larger design projects, and each one features a laser etched topography of Mount Rainier. Bonus: each coat rack comes with the hardware needed to install it!


Decicio Glass' hand-blown whiskey glasses in antique greyDecicio Glass' hand-blown whiskey glasses in antique grey
Photo credit to Decicio Glass

What: Decicio Glass’s hand blown whiskey glasses in antique grey

Where to Buy: Online

How Much: $48 for a set of two or $88 for a set of four

For Whom: Your friend whose taste in alcohol almost rivals their taste in friends

Why: These hand blown glasses have a nice, solid weight to them and a smoky color. Bonus: they’re dishwasher safe, and double as stemless wine glasses. Have a friend you meet at a bar for drinks on a regular basis? Start making it a comfort night in, with these unique glasses (not just for whiskey!). For the full effect, we’d recommend pairing this gift with a bottle of their favorite spirits for sharing purposes.


Aide-memoire Jewelry's Hexagon Stud Earrings, in 14k yellow gold with fair trade black spinel

More earring styles available here.

What: Our Hexagon Stud Earrings, pictured here in 14k yellow gold with a fair trade black spinel

Where to Buy: Right here!

How Much: Pricing ranges between $230-315 depending the combination you choose

For Whom: Your sister/friend/partner/mother; someone who wants to wear more jewelry, but doesn’t know where to start

Why: These tiny, geometric studs are just about as minimal as it gets! With a recycled diamond or fair trade black spinel center stone, you can feel good about what these earrings say and their impact on the environment. Handmade-to-order in Seattle, with a two week lead time.


Raw Parcel's Macro Tray, in red oak and peach - handmade in Seattle

Photo credit to Raw Parcel.

What: Raw Parcel’s Macro Tray in red oak/peach—but there are tons of other color combination options

Where to Buy: Online

How Much: $52

For Whom: Your friend who always has, at minimum, three different varieties of cheese in their fridge at any given moment (or maybe that’s you!); your sister, who could always use more help organizing their extensive jewelry collection

Why: Handmade to order (in Seattle!) and one of a kind, we think these trays would be equally suited for both food and jewelry displaying purposes. Don’t see a color combo you like? Not to worry—Chelsea can work with you to customize a tray exactly as you want it. If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d recommend pairing this gift with a variety of cheeses from Kurt Farm Shop in Capitol Hill! Prefer a non-dairy alternative? Try Fauxmage!

 

Minter Goods' cork business card cases, handmade in Seattle

Photo credit to Minter Goods.

What: Minter Goods’ cork business card cases, available in a wide range of colors

Where to Buy: From their Etsy shop!

How Much: $15

For Whom: Your friend who’s getting their own business started, or your friend who already owns a small business

Why: With its sleek, minimal shape, these business card holders are something you’d be excited to pull out at a networking event to share your cards. Made from a durable and eco-friendly cork fabric, this card holder is both easy to clean and a great vegan alternative to a fully leather product.


Improper Goods' Whiskey Ginger Smash Cocktail Kit, handmade in Seattle

Photo credit to Improper Goods LLC.

What: One of Improper Goods’ cocktail kits—we think that the Smokey Old Fashioned and Whiskey Ginger Smash Kits sounds stellar!

Where to Buy: Online

How Much: $25 for a kit, but all of the components are also available for purchase separately on their website

For Whom: Your friend who’s into mixology, who always ends up as the party’s informal bartender anyways; your cool neighbor friends who make a mean cocktail (or want to!); yourself, to bring along to a small holiday gathering

Why: Sometimes your go-to needs a little bit of updating for the season, and these cocktail kits are great for that! Each kit contains a 50ml bottle of bitters and 100ml bottle of syrup, perfect for a small party (or to keep to yourself—each kit makes 6-7 drinks!). Paired with Decicio Glass's whiskey glasses, we think this kit would pack the just the right punch for anyone on your list this year.


Bean Box's Coffee Sampler Subscription Box, roasted in Seattle

Photo credit to Bean Box.

What: Bean Box’s subscription coffee box sampler

Where to Buy: Online!

How Much: $24 for one month, $68 for three months, $129 for six months, or $244 for twelve months

For Whom: That family member who’s very picky about their coffee preferences; an out-of-town friend/family member/in-law you need a little bit of java-related help to convince to come visit

Why: Bean Box’s coffee samplers feature four hand-picked roasts from independent Seattle roasters every month, delivered directly to your door! Each box ships with 48 hours of roasting (so fresh!) and includes a roaster profile, tasting notes, and a guide to brewing. Not seeing quite what you want? Check out the other coffee gifts on their website!


Capitol Hill Candle Company’s Vanilla Pine soy blend candle, hand-poured and -made in Seattle, WA

Photo credit to Capitol Hill Candle Company.

What: Capitol Hill Candle Company’s Vanilla Pine soy blend candle

Where to Buy: Online, or at one of their many Seattle area stockists

How Much: $20

For Whom: Your mother/sister/grandmother/partner who needs to take some time to relax; someone who’s feeling homesick for the smell of the Washington’s forests; anyone else on your list who’d appreciate something nice smelling

Why: These candles are hand-poured in Seattle, using only natural and local supplies. This candle smells like Mount Rainer National Forest! Not so much into a pine scent? Consider the Campfire Toddy soy candle! 10% of the proceeds from the sale of every candle go directly to the IslandWood organization, which improves access to nature-based learning experiences for children in the region.

 

What if someone on your list already has everything they need? Consider making a donation to the ACLU or All Hands Volunteers in their name! You can donate as much as you want—everything helps to make a difference.

Seattle Holiday Markets

Great news: you can find many of the vendors mentioned here selling their goods at a number of the Seattle-area holiday markets. We’ve listed some of the ones we'll be visiting below!

  • Seattle Made Market: on Saturday, November 25th, at the Broadway Market in Capitol Hill (401 Broadway E) from 10a-3p
  • The Seattle Collective Market: on Sunday, November 26th, at the Melrose Market Studios (1532 Minor Ave) from 11a-5p
  • Urban Craft Uprising: on Saturday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 3rd, at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall (301 Mercer St) from 10a-5p each day

Think of a market we missed? Let us know!


3 Conflict-free & Ethical Alternatives to Black and Salt & Pepper Diamonds October 17 2017

We love black diamonds, raw diamonds, and salt and pepper diamonds as much as the next person looking for a unique, alternative engagement ring. But unfortunately, the majority of those diamonds aren’t truly conflict-free (because at Aide-mémoire Jewelry, we know that relying on the Kimberly Process alone does not actually mean that a diamond is conflict-free)—so what’s a person to do? Well, we’ve tracked down a few great ethical, eco-friendly and conflict-free alternatives.

Black Spinel

.50ct Solitaire Octagon Engagement Ring with Black Diamond Alternative Ethical Black Spinel

Our 5mm Octagon Engagement Ring in matte 14k yellow gold, with a fair trade black spinel center stone.

We're excited to be able to offer black spinel as an ethical gemstone alternative to black diamonds! Black spinels look similar to a black diamonds, but are much less expensive. They are a deep, opaque black color, and are an 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. These black spinel are a fair trade level one, meaning that they can be traced back to the mine in Tasmania Australia, where our fair trade stone supplier have a significant impact on the mining itself. Black spinel is softer than a sapphire, but generally wears well and is more durable than topaz. 

Grey​ ​Moissanite

5mm Gray Salt & Pepper Moissanite Rustic Solitaire Engagement Ring in Rose Gold

Our 5mm Rustic Solitaire Engagement Ring, pictured in matte 14k rose gold with a grey moissanite.

Looking for an ethical and eco-friendly option for salt & pepper diamonds? Grey moissanite has a similar speckled appearance, making them a great (and ethical) alternative. Moissanite is about a 9.25 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which makes them well suited for daily wear. These grey moissanites were part of a limited edition run by Charles & Colvard. We have several in stock in a range of sizes/shapes/colors. However, because they were limited edition, once they're gone, they’re gone.

For more information on moissanite, check out our blog posts here and here.

Dark​ ​Blue​ ​Australian ​Sapphires

Blue Black Sapphire Crown Solitaire Engagement Ring in Palladium

Our classic 5mm Crown Solitaire in matte 950 palladium, with a deep blue Australian sapphire center stone.

These deep blue/black Australian sapphires are a unique alternative to black diamonds. They have a fascinating depth to them, appearing mostly black, but flash with subtle hints of blue under direct light. Sapphires are a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, so are suited for daily wear, and we have a limited number of these beautiful stones in stock in 5mm round.

Send us a message to get started customizing your engagement ring with one of these gorgeous stones!


Real Aide-memoire Weddings: Erica & Beks October 04 2017

We're so excited to share this next couple in our Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings blog series, Erica & Beks. We loved being a part of your engagement and wedding day! 

Erica & Beks' Aide-memoire Jewelry Rings, Real Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

Names: Erica & Beks

Location: Vashon Island, WA
Date: August 12, 2017

What was the most memorable and/or favorite part of your day?

We both really loved our ceremony! We hadn't planned it as far in advance as a lot of other elements of the wedding, like our photographer and the food, so we didn't have much time to think about what it would be like on the day. But it was so beautiful and felt so personal to our relationship. Beks' mom and aunt are pastors and officiated the ceremony, and Erica's mom lead a blessing of the rings.

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

Any advice for other couples who are currently planning their weddings?

Erica: There's a lot of advice online about how to decide what is most important to you at your wedding and how to prioritize that during planning but remember to keep in mind what the experience will be like for your guests. Think about things like parking, keeping everyone fed, music for all generations, etc. Also, remember to keep the kids happy! Happy kids are super cute and that will keep the adults entertained, too.

Beks: No matter how hard you try to be "chill," it's going to be stressful to plan a wedding and there will be some strain on your relationship. Try to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and expectations before you get upset with your fiance. I think you can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts if you realize that, even though you know the person you're marrying very well, you can't always predict the expectations they'll have or what will be really important to them and why.

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

If you could do it all again, would you change anything?

Erica: I would eat more. Haha, I'm still thinking about the appetizers I didn't try and how delicious the food I did eat was.

Beks: No, I loved it!

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

What surprised you the most about your wedding day?

Erica: I was honestly surprised by how easy everything felt. Even the little things that ended up not going according to plan actually made the day better since we wanted a very relaxed feel to the day. You plan all these details for so long, it's nerve-wracking to finally see everything come together, but I loved every minute!

Beks: I knew that our family and friends would be helpful, but was surprised by just how incredibly happy and willing people were to do anything to make the wedding and reception go well. It made a huge difference and we got to enjoy the day so much more because people were taking care of the inevitable hiccups.

Why was choosing an eco-friendly jeweler important to you?

Erica: My engagement ring first caught my eye because I am a scientist and was looking for a ring that wouldn't poke through lab gloves or anything. When I learned the ring was made locally in Seattle, I was so excited! We'd been looking for ways to tie hometowns, Atlanta and Seattle, into the wedding. Supporting small businesses was important to us throughout the whole wedding and knowing that our rings were made individually and responsibly made them feel like the perfect fit!

Beks: Growing up there was a lot of emphasis on recycling, driving less, and using less electricity as a way to live an eco-friendly life. It's been eye opening to learn the high environmental costs of less obvious things, like clothing. We try to be thoughtful about where we buy clothes, increasing the lifespan of things we have, and reducing food waste. With something as meaningful as wedding rings, we wanted to pay close attention in making an ethical choice.

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

Erica & Beks' Real Aide-memoire Weddings - Photography by Lenaig Delisle

Photography by Lenaig Delisle, more photos here.

Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings: Bridget & Cornelius August 23 2017

We're happy to introduce another couple in our Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings blog series. Thank you, Bridget and Cornelius, for making us a part of your special day!

Names: Bridget & Cornelius
Location: American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN   
Date: March 26, 2017

What was the most memorable and/or favorite part of your day?

CorneliusI remember being alone and quiet for 5 minutes, away from all of the craziness, right before I went up to the ceremony. I got to reflect on everything. And a few minutes after that, I remember the moment Bridget turned the corner and I saw her walking towards me, about to become my wife. And maybe I teared up a little. Or a lot.

BridgetReading our vows. I was really nervous because, I don't know. I didn't want to be so mushy, pouring my heart out in front of everybody. But it was worth it. Even though I cried a whole bunch, I'm glad we wrote our own vows instead of reciting traditional ones.

Any advice for other couples who are currently planning their weddings?

CorneliusOn the day of, things will go wrong, not everything will unfold perfectly and according to plan. Don't worry about that. No matter what happens, no matter what little things go wrong, you're going to be married to the love of your life at the end of the day.

BridgetDon't be afraid to keep it small. I'm so glad that we just invited people close to us, because it made it special when each one of them was there, instead of inviting everyone only for the sake of having a huge fancy wedding.

Men's Classic Simple Wedding Band and Women's Princess Cut Engagement Ring in Yellow Gold by Aide-memoire Jewelry

The couple's rings: our 5mm Classic Simple Band1mm Smooth Square Band, and Square Solitaire Engagement Ring, all in 14k yellow gold with a matte finish.

Why was choosing an ethical and eco-friendly jeweler important to you?

We loved the idea that a single person, the same person, was carefully making our rings by hand. Everything matched perfectly: the colors, the shapes, the metals. We really liked the idea of supporting a small business instead of a giant brand.

If you could do it all again, would you change anything?

CorneliusI would've leaned even more on others to help out during the day itself. We had a tremendous amount of help from our family and friends - it literally wouldn't have happened without all of them - but I still found myself running around taking care of small things instead of just enjoying the night.

BridgetI wouldn't get a naked wedding cake. It was beautiful but the lack of anything (frosting, fondant, etc) on the outside of it made it really dry. Looked great in pictures, though.

What was your wedding song?

Our first dance was to "That's All" by Nat King Cole. It's such a sweet song.

What surprised you the most about your wedding day?

CorneliusThe sheer amount of love that we were surrounded by. Of course you know everyone's there to celebrate with you, but it's another thing experiencing it, being completely enveloped by love and good wishes and kindness from everyone, all at once.

BridgetI knew it was going to be a really emotional day, but I had no idea it would be that emotional. I basically started tearing up the moment I took my first step down the stairs towards the altar. And all of our friends and family were so happy and overjoyed and emotional, too. It was a big love fest.

Photography by Angela Doheny Photography


New Earring & Necklace Styles Now Available! June 14 2017

We're so excited to share our latest project—we now have a wider selection of earrings and necklaces available with only a four week lead time! All styles are available in matte 14k yellow gold, with conflict-free diamonds or fair trade black spinel.

3mm Diamond Ancient Earrings

Square Stud Earrings Hexagon Stud Earrings

Diamond Scatter Ancient Pendant

Large Padlock Earrings Small Padlock Necklace

Diamond Half Hoop Earrings

You can find the necklaces here and the earrings here.


How to Care For & Clean Your Jewelry May 01 2017

Some of the questions we're asked most frequently, both via email and during in-person consultations, are how to take care of your new jewelry, be it wedding bands or an engagement ring. There are two ways you can go about doing this. You can try to keep the ring as pristine as possible, taking care not to scratch it, and having it regularly re-finished—or you can wear your ring and consider the scratches and dings as evidence of your years of marriage. 

Bead Set Hand-carved Classic Wedding Band in Yellow Gold and Tiny Rustic Bead Set Band

Top and bottom: Nine Stone Rustic Stacking Ring and 3mm Bead-set Hand-carved Classic Band, both in 10k yellow gold with diamonds

Ring Finishes

Because finishes are just a surface treatment, they will change with continued wear. A matte finish becomes shinier as the metal is burnished, and a shiny finish becomes more matte as larger scratches begin to show up. This happens faster with precious metals than it does with industrial metals, but all finishes on rings will change over time.

 

From left to right: 8mm Hand-carved Classic Band in matte 10k Yellow Gold, 3mm Slim Classic Simple Band in shiny 14k Rose Gold

The matte finish on your ring can be touched up from time to time with the scrubby side of a (clean) sponge, or with a new, unused Scotch-Brite pad. Similarly, as a shiny finish becomes more matte with wear, it can be re-polished. However, this removes material from the surface of the ring and can make your ring thinner over time (becoming less durable), so we don't suggest doing so too often.

Many commercial white gold rings have been rhodium plated, or "dipped." Similar to the finish on your ring, plating is just a thin coating of another metal on the surface of the base metal, and it does wear away with time. If your ring has a rhodium plating, it will need to be re-plated once a year in order to maintain the look. Because rhodium plating is a very toxic process and bad for the environment, we do not plate any of our wedding bands. We also believe that white gold is a really lovely color that doesn't need to be covered up. 

For additional information on ring finishes, check out this blog post.

Cleaning Your Ring

Wedding Bands

To clean your wedding band, simply soaking your ring in a solution of warm water and mild soap (a shallow bowl or glass works best), rinsing it and drying off with a soft cotton cloth is often enough to remove and oil and dirt that may have built up on the surface. If your band has a deeper texture with hard to reach areas, it may also benefit from a gentle cleaning with a new toothbrush.

From left to right: 4mm Hand-carved Classic Band in matte 950 Palladium, 2mm Hand-carved Classic Band in matte 950 Palladium

Because toothpaste (and its residue) is fairly abrasive and can scratch both the surface of your ring and any stones, the toothbrush you use should be new and used solely for the purpose of cleaning your jewelry.

Engagement Rings

As you wear your engagement ring, you might notice the stone(s) becoming less sparklywhat gives? Through your daily activities, things like lotion, oil, and dirt become trapped on the underside of the stone and inside the stone setting, which can dull the appearance of the stone as they build up. The longer the build up remains on there the harder it is to remove, so regular cleaning is important. 

  

From left to right: 6mm Stone Texture Hand-carved Classic Band in matte 950 Palladium with a flush set Australian sapphire, 5mm Classic Engagement Ring in shiny 14k White Gold with an Australian champagne diamond, 5mm Crown Solitaire in matte 950 Palladium with a Montana sapphire

The easiest way to remove the build up at home is by using a brand-new, clean toothbrush with mild dish soap (Dawn is great for this). Very gently clean the underside of the setting, rinse with water and use a soft cotton cloth to dry the ring. If the stone setting has prongs, be careful that none of the bristles become stuck. Always close the drain in your sink when rinsing your ring, as metal can become slippery when wet.

While doing so can often feel tedious, keeping your rings clean also ensures that you're aware if something is wrong.

Ring Care

While it's common to want to wear your new ring 24/7 after receiving it, we recommend taking it off while you sleep, as it allows your skin to breathe. Not doing so traps moisture underneath the ring (similar to wearing a band-aid) which can eventually lead to skin irritation. This is different than an allergic reaction to the metal, but can look similar.

Another reason to take your ring off every night is so that it doesn't become stuck on your finger. Because your fingers tend to swell quite a bit while you sleep, wearing a ring while you sleep can cut off circulation. Additionally, if you take your ring off every night, you will notice if your finger size is increasing. That way you can get your ring re-sized before it gets too tight.

When you do remove your ring, take care to store it somewhere that it won't bump into or be jostled by other jewelry items, as they can scratch and dent one another. 

 

Ring storage idea: try one of our walnut ring boxes--they’re handmade from sustainable wood!

While there’s no need to remove your ring when you wash your hands, we do strongly suggest removing your ring before working with bleach-based cleaners and chemicals, or before swimming in chlorinated water (swimming pools, hot tubs, etc) or in the ocean. Both chlorine and salt water can damage gold jewelry and cause it to become brittle, which can lead to discoloration, cracking, and lost stones. Hot tubs are even worse, as the increased chlorine concentrations and the heat speed up the chemical reactions that damage your jewelry.

Additionally, never wear your ring during high-impact activities like rock-climbing, weight lifting, and moving furniture, as they pose a risk for damaging (denting, scratching, etc) your ring. In some cases, you also run the risk of seriously injuring your finger if your ring gets caught on something. The easiest way to prevent this is to use your best judgement, take your ring off, and keep it somewhere safe so that you don’t lose it while you're doing these things--the pouch or ring box you receive your ring in are both great options.

  

Last year, a customer reached out to us to let us know that his ring had gotten caught on a piece of equipment while at work and had been damaged. While he was fortunate that his hand hadn't been injured and that the damage to the ring was reparable, the outcome could have very easily been different. The takeaway: remove your ring before high impact activities.

With silver, palladium, platinum, and gold bands, it is important to remember that it is fine jewelry. If you do not want your ring to bend, scratch, or gouge, it should be treated with care for it to last. Anything (metal, stone, etc.) harder than your ring can leave its mark.

Oftentimes, what people think are scratches on the surface of their new ring are actually scuff marks, similar to how a pair of shoes will show scuff marks when worn. Unlike scratches, scuff marks can be seen but not felt and they can be made by hard leather, wood, and plastic (such as purses, briefcases, dishes, steering wheels, etc), and are part of the burnishing process. This will be less evident with more textured bands, as the marks can "blend in" to the texture and make them less obvious.

 

From left to right: 7x1.5mm Flat Band in matte 10k Yellow Gold, 7mm Wood Texture Flat Band in matte 10k Yellow Gold

That said, visible wear on your wedding band is inevitable. Some metals, regardless of how diligent your care for them, are softer and will begin to show wear more quickly than other, more durable metal alloysWide, flat, smooth surfaces will show wear more quickly than textured and curved surfaces.

Looking for more information on metal durability? Check out this blog post!

Still have questions? Send us a message!

 

 


Fair Trade Montana and Australian Sapphires April 19 2017

While diamonds and moissanite remain popular choices for a more traditional engagement ring, a lot of customers are interested in the array of fair trade sapphires we have to offer. From light sky blues to deep blue greens (and just about everything in between—honestly!), we have the have the perfect stone with which to customize your engagement ring.

Sapphires are considered one of the most durable colored gemstones and are great for everyday wear, making them well-suited for engagement rings. Our fair trade sapphires are closely tracked from mine to market following strict protocols—including environmental protection, fair labor practices, and health and safety standards—which makes them the perfect choice for an ethical engagement ring. 

5mm Teal Blue Montana Sapphire

Above: 5mm Teal Blue Montana Sapphire

5mm Rustic Classic Engagement Ring, 14k White, Teal Blue Sapphire Square Solitaire crown solitaire

Left to right: 5mm Classic Engagement Ring with Rustic Texture, 14k White Gold, Teal Blue Montana SapphireSquare Solitaire Engagement Ring, 950 Palladium, Denim Blue Australian Sapphire5mm Crown Solitaire with diamond side stones, 14k White Gold, Light Denim Blue Montana Sapphire

3mm Australian Sapphire, Princess Cut 

Left to right: 3mm Princess Cut Denim Blue Australian Sapphire; 3mm Princess Cut Green Australian Sapphires

5mm Crown Solitaire, 950 Palladium, Light Denim Blue Montana Sapphire

Above: 5mm Crown Solitaire, 950 Palladium, Light Denim Blue Montana Sapphire

 

Left to right: 5mm Light Olive Green Montana Sapphire, 5mm Green Montana Sapphire

4mm Rustic Solitaire, 14k White Gold, Light Green Sapphire 6mm Stone Texture Hand-carved Classic Band, 950 Palladium, Flush Set Australian Sapphire Three Stone Ring, 14k White Gold, Australian Sapphires

Left to right: 4mm Rustic Solitaire Engagement Ring, 14k White Gold, Pale Green Australian Sapphire; 6mm Stone Texture Hand-carved Classic Band, 950 Palladium, Australian Blue SapphireThree Stone Engagement Ring, 14k White Gold, Australian Sapphires

Above: 6mm Teal Blue Montana Sapphire

Not sure if our fair trade sapphires are right for you? Still interested in our customized rings? Have a look at some more of our customized items or check out our blog post on Chatham Padparadscha Sapphires and Grey Moissanite! 

**Please note that stone coloring may vary depending on lighting conditions, your own monitor screen, and stone settings. If you'd like to see additional images of any particular stone, please send us a message


Compare + Contrast: Hand-carved Classic Band & Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band April 17 2017

Let's be honest—even with great photography, it can be difficult to tell differences between things online, let alone being able to see the minor differences between something as small as a wedding band. One of the most common questions we get, both online and in-person, is about the differences between our Hand-carved Classic Bands and our Comfort Fit Classic Simple Bands.

 

From above: 6mm Hand-carved Classic Band (left) in 14k Yellow Gold, 6mm Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band (right) in 14k White Gold

Both bands have a rounded, comfort fit interior and a "classic" rounded exterior band shape. On hand, they appear very similar, although they feel very different (which is due, in great part, to the thickness of either band). The Hand-carved Classic Band is approximately 1.6mm thick, whereas the Simple Band style is a little bit thicker (approximately 2mm thick) and, thus, feels a little bit heavier/heftier because there's slightly more material between your fingers.


In both images: Hand-carved Classic (left) and Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band (right) 

Our Hand-carved Classic Band styles are made, as the name suggests, by hand with an initial wax model. This process translates to the finished product yielding a softer, more organically shaped ring with more of a handmade look and feel, whereas the Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band is made on a computer-operated lathe. This gives the band a much more perfect, uniform look and feel. 

4mm Hand-carved Classic (left), 5mm Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band (right)

While both bands have a similarly shallow exterior curve, the edges of each band differ. The Hand-carved Classic Band's edges taper to a more gradual, rounded shape, while the Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band has a more distinct walled edge on either side.

The last difference is each band's lead time, which is the amount of time that it takes after an order is placed for us to be able to make and ship an order. While both rings are made-to-order with recycled metals in your choice of metal/width/ring size, the Simple Band styles on our website are made for us by another company. This gives them a slightly shorter lead time of about four weeks, versus six weeks for the Hand-carved Classic Bands.

4mm Hand-carved Classic (left), 5mm Comfort Fit Classic Simple Band (right)

Like this post? Have an unanswered question? Send us a message!


Handmade & Sustainable Walnut Ring Boxes: Now Available! December 20 2016

Looking to make your ring gift extra special? We're very excited to offer these new handmade walnut ring boxes! These boxes are handmade in small batches in New Zealand with wood sourced from sustainable, managed forests, and they make a beautiful keepsake for both weddings and proposals.

Available for purchase here.

Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring BoxHandmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box
Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box

Customize Your Ring with Colored Gemstones July 29 2016

You know you want a unique ring and you're pretty sure that you're interested in a colored gemstone--but where do you go from there? What are your ethical options?

We have a wide range of ethical gemstones to select from, with two newly available options!

Chatham Padaradscha Sapphires

Pink stones have been increasing in popularity in recent years, but many available options aren't hard enough to hold up to daily or near daily wear in a ring setting. We have a wide range of Padparadscha sapphires available to us, ranging from light pinks and peachs to more vivid pinks and fiery orange reds, in a wide range of cuts and sizes to fit our Engagement Ring settings.

4mm Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire Crown Solitaire Engagement Ring

Peach Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire Cushion

5mm Rustic Cushion Engagement Ring, 14k Rose, Light Peach Padparadscha Sapphire

padparadscha sapphires

5mm Rustic Cushion Engagement Ring, 14k White, Light Pink Padparadscha Sapphire

chatham padparadscha and chatham morganite

Can you tell the difference?

We get a lot questions asking about creating custom engagement rings with morganite, which has a tendency to chip over the course of its lifetime, making less than ideal for setting in a ring. That's why we had Chatham color match a Padparadscha sapphire for us! The stone on the right is Chatham Morganite and the left is our color-matched Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire! It has the same color and look as the Morganite option, but with a resistance to chip and scratching, so there's no need to worry about damaging your ring!

Don't see the color you're looking for? Our Chatham Sapphires are also available in a wide range of colors, shades, and cuts--send us a message or check out more of our available options here! Looking for a natural, ethical sapphire? Take a look at our Montana and Australia round cut options!

Grey Moissanite

These limited edition stones have a very unique look and color! Because of the way that moissanite is grown, its inclusions present as needle-like, which give the grey moissanite a cloudiness similar to black and raw diamonds, making them a great (and ethical) alternative.

As these are a limited edition product, our supply is also limited. Please contact us for availability or for an estimate.

grey moissanite cushions, 5mm

grey moissanite, 5mm round

Not quite sure what you're looking for, but interested in doing some more research? Read about 4 Ways to Choose an Ethical Diamond and Lab-Grown Gemstones!


Rustic French and Fern Wedding March 15 2016

Looking for some wedding inspiration? Take a look at this beautiful styled shoot by B. Jones Photography, inspired by the lush foliage and fern found along a springtime French countryside path and romantic French lace. Thank you B. Jones Photography for including us in this beautiful photo shoot!

Women's Rustic Textured Round Ring, Five Stone Ring,
5mm Crown Solitaire, Narrow Classic Contour Shadow Band

Venue: Dairyland http://www.woodlandmeadowfarms.com/
Photography: B. Jones www.bjonesphotos.com
Gown: MeaMarie Bridal Atelier www.meamarie.com
Florals & Design: Gather www.gatherwestcoast.com/
Baked Goods: Flour Dusted Countertops https://www.facebook.com/Flourdustedcountertops/
Decor & Rentals: Snohomish Rental Co. www.snohomishrentalco.com
Jewelry: Aide-mémoire Jewelry http://aidememoirejewelry.com
Cake: Delicately Sweet Confections http://delicatelysweetconfections.blogspot.com
Makeup: KaylaKollection Artistry www.KaylaKollection.com
Hair: Saige Jacobs https://www.facebook.com/Hair-design-by-Saige-Jacobs
Etched Wood Decor: Lasered Design www.lasereddesign.com
Bridal Stylist: Rachelle's Bridal Blog. http://www.rachellesbridalblog.com/
Models: Miriah Howard & Sage Chiniquy


Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings: Ashley and Pat February 04 2016

Desirée Gardner, a photographer in Florida, recently wrote a blog post about the beautiful destination wedding she photographed for Ashley and Pat. Thank you Desirée for mentioning us in the blog post and for whisking us away to Cape San Blas through your gorgeous photos. Here some highlights from the blog post.

Groom’s ring – Aide-mémorie Jewelry
Bride’s ring – designed by groom at Pav & Broome Diamond Jewelers

Photos by Desirée Gardner Photography
View Desirée's full blog post here

 


Bohemiah Frost January 28 2016

We had the pleasure to have some of our rings featured in the styled photo shoot by juliet + lou event planning and design, and photographer Dorothy Huyhn. Here are some of the highlights from the styled shoot, inspired by a bohemian winter. Thank you juliet + lou and Dorothy Huyhn for including us in these beautiful photos!


Oblique Square Solitaire Engagement Ring,
Chevron Contour Band, 7mm Faceted Wedding Band

 

 

 

 

 

Photography: Dorothy Huyhn Photography // @_dorothyhuynh // www.dorothyhuynh.com
Planning and Design: juliet + lou // @julietandlou // www.julietandlou.com
Dress: La Belle Reve Bridal // @labellerevebridal // www.labellereve.com
Makeup: Nick Eberle // @nickeberle88
Cake: Hillcrest Bakery // www.hillcrestbakery.com
Lettering: Elizabeth Rolf // @elizabethrolfshop // www.elizabethrolf.com

Exciting news! November 24 2015

Exciting news here at Aide-mémoire Jewelry! We now have a limited selection of earrings available with only a 3 week lead time! These earrings come in 14k Yellow Gold or 14k White Gold settings, and Moissanites or Diamonds. You can find the earrings here.

 


Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings: Catherine & Christian October 08 2015

We are so excited to introduce another couple in our Real Aide-Mémoire Weddings blog series. Thank you, Catherine and Christian, for sharing your special day with us!

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

 

Names: Catherine and Christian
Location: Josephine Butler Parks Center, Washington, DC    
Date: August 15, 2015    

What was the most memorable and/or favorite part of your day?
The most memorable/favorite part of the day was our exchange of vows. We have been in a long distance relationship for almost two years, and one major way that we have stayed connected during that time is by writing letters and emails to each other. Our vows were a culmination of those letters. They were the most important letters that we could write to each other. We hadn't shared them with each other prior to the wedding, so when we read them aloud for the first time at the ceremony, it felt very special, exciting, and intimate. Even though we were in a room full of family and friends, it felt like we were the only two people in the world. We will never forget that feeling.  

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

Any advice for other couples who are currently planning their weddings?
A very dear and wise friend gave us the following five pieces of advice, which we found super useful:

  1. Whenever you get flustered or caught up in the minutiae, call your partner and remind yourselves of your joint priorities and then toss anything on your list of stressors that doesn't directly speak to the priorities. Basically, don't be afraid to step back and refocus.
  2. After the ceremony, go sit with one another for 15 minutes. Drink a glass of something, have a small snack, and take in each other's company.
  3. During the reception hold each other's hands. It's really easy to be separated for the whole thing. If you don't want to be, holding hands reminds you (and the family and friends pulling you in different directions) that you are allowed to hang as a couple.
  4. Try to not set expectations of friends or relatives because a small handful will do crazy, selfish, or thoughtless things that will stick in your craw. If you are unsurprised by it, you won't let it drive you nuts or detract from what is most important.
  5. On the day before the wedding festivities, anything that isn't finished can get tossed out. It's not important. No one will miss it but you. And you won't care about it after you are married. 

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

If you could do it all again, would you change anything?
Catherine completely forgot to hug her Dad after he walked her down the aisle. (Sorry, Dad!) If she could do it again, she would give him a big hug!

What was your wedding song?
"Tonight You Belong to Me" by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

What surprised you the most about your wedding day?
The number of unexpected issues that popped up. Despite all our planning, there were a lot of unplanned events in the hours before the wedding — Catherine's sash got stained, our table numbers were attracting ants, we were about a half hour behind schedule, etc. Just goes to show that no matter how much planning you do, there will be surprises, and the best thing to do is roll with it, be present, and enjoy the day!

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

Why was choosing an ethical and eco-friendly jeweler important to you?
We wanted our rings to symbolize our love for and commitment to each other but also to represent our values. We love that Aide-mémoire’s jewelry is made from all recycled materials and that it donates money to causes that we support. And, of course, we love the simplicity and elegance of your designs.

Catherine & Christian Wedding - Photos By One Summer Day

Photos courtesy One Summer Day


Human Rights Campaign National Dinner Auction September 04 2015

These beautiful Silver and Alexandrite engagement rings will be included in the silent auction at the nineteenth annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, DC. These rings are our interpretation of the rainbow, as the alexandrite changes colors from bluish-green in daylight to purplish-red in artificial light.

 "The Human Rights Campaign is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. It is organized and will be operated for the promotion of the social welfare of the LGBT community. By inspiring and engaging individuals and communities, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all."


The Difference Between 14k White Gold and Palladium August 11 2015

So you know that you want a white metal band. But what metal alloy should you use? What is the difference between palladium and white gold, and which one is more durable? 

 
Men's Hammer Texture Wedding Band in 14k White Gold

14k white gold and 14k palladium white gold both contain 58.5% pure gold, but are alloyed with other metals to make them more white in color. 14k white gold contains gold, nickel, copper, and zinc. Whereas 14k palladium white gold contains gold, copper, silver, and palladium. 14k palladium white gold does not contain nickel, which is a metal allergen for a lot of people.


Men's Hammer Textured Band in 14k Palladium White Gold

950 palladium (also referred to just as palladium) is 95% pure palladium, and is a “white metal” that is slightly more gray than platinum or sterling silver. Palladium is in the platinum family, and shares many characteristics with platinum – durability, tarnish resistance, and is hypo-allergenic. It is about 1/3 the weight of platinum (it is comparable to the weight of 14k white gold), and about 1/3 the price of platinum. It is a precious metal, and in addition to being used in jewelry, has often been used in catalytic converters. Its use in jewelry is a newer application for this metal, so not all jewelers and jewelry repair shops feel confident working with it yet, but that is quickly changing. 

 
Men's Hammer Textured Band in 950 Palladium

14k white gold is a hard and rigid metal that is more resistant to scratching than palladium or platinum. Even though palladium and platinum may show scratches and dings earlier than in gold, with palladium no metal is removed when scratched, just displaced. Whereas a gold band will become thinner over time because the metal is slowly rubbed away over time. By comparison, we would say that in the first year, a palladium band will show more signs of wear, due to the evidence of scratches and dings. But, in 20-30 years, the 14k gold band will be thinner than it was originally, whereas a palladium or platinum band would retain its original weight.


Customize Your Ring with Fair Trade Sapphires June 30 2015

We just got in a great selection of fair trade Australian and Montana round sapphires. These sapphires come in a beautiful range of blues, greens, teal, and aqua. They can be used in most of our current ring styles, and are a great custom option for your ring!

Fair trade stones are closely tracked from mine to market following strict protocols – including environmental protection, fair labor practices, and health and safety standards. 

You can view some more of the available stones here, or contact us about customizing one of our engagement rings with one of these ethical and eco-friendly sapphire. 

 


New Work Studio & Parlor, Now Accepting Appointments June 18 2015

Aide-Mémoire Jewelry has recently moved studio locations, and we are delighted to present our new work studio and parlor in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. The parlor is now open to clients who are interested in a unique and charming experience while shopping for the perfect piece of sustainable, eco-friendly jewelry.

Our quiet space is perfect to sit and view samples, discuss options and work on finding the perfect piece for you--whether it be a wedding band, an engagement ring or the perfect stone. The parlor space has a timeless feel, filled with interesting antiques and vintage decor, plus a window where you can peek into the workshop! A nod to Seattle, a simple red "A" from the old Paramount Theater marquee hangs on a robin's egg blue wall.

If you are in the Seattle area and would like to look at rings in person you can now make an appointment online to visit our Wallingford parlor! Book a free half-hour consultation appointment here or at http://www.bookeo.com/aidememoire

View a few photos of our new space below:

Not near Seattle? Don't fret! You can book a Skype session to discuss options at http://www.bookeo.com/aidememoire. We also have a library of brass samples for many of our rings, which can be shipped to you with a deposit and shipping fee. Contact us for details if you are interested in borrowing some of our brass sample rings.

 


Wedding Ring Profiles / Cross Section April 06 2015

What is a ring profile anyways? A ring profile is also known as a cross section. Here's one way to think about it – imagine that you put a ring on a cutting board, chopped it in half, then looked at the exposed edge. That would be the profile. To make it easier to visualize, we've made these drawings of some common ring profiles. 

The comfort fit classic band has a rounded exterior, with a rounded inner edge for a comfort fit. A classic band has a rounded exterior and a flat interior. Classic bands are also sometimes referred to as half-round and low-dome. A comfort fit flat band has a flat exterior and a rounded inner edge. The flat band is flat on the interior and exterior. Flat bands are also sometimes referred to as pipe cut. 

Some profiles that Aran uses in her designs that are not as common. Here are some examples of those. 

The trapezoid band is the profile used in our 5mm and 6mm cushion cut engagement rings. The low-dome band is used in the Three Stone Engagement Ring and the Octagon Engagement Ring, and is available as a plain band. The exterior of our low-dome band is not as curved as the classic band, and has straight sides. The Edgeless Band has a comfort fit interior and rounded outer edges. The Concrete Bands and the Hand-carved Classic Bands have a similar profile. They have a low-dome exterior and a comfort fit interior, but with a rounded outer edge, so that they have no hard edges. 

 

And here is an illustration explaining the dimensions of a band.

 


4 Ways to Choose an Ethical Diamond January 12 2015

You know that you want an ethically and environmentally conscious diamond. That’s great! But if you are like many people out there, knowing precisely what that means is an entirely different story. What exactly is a conflict-free diamond? How is a diamond gemstone related to environmental risk? Here is a guide designed to explain the separate characteristics and benefits of the four types of diamonds that we offer. We’ve very carefully chosen these diamonds to work with because they have minimal environmental impact and high labor standards – we only select sources where workers are treated well and paid fairly.

Octagon Ring with Recycled DiamondsOctagon Ring with Recycled Diamonds

Recycled Diamonds

A “recycled” or second-hand diamond is our standard conflict-free diamond option. It is one that has already been previously mined. These classic beauties are meticulously graded, re-polished and buffed to their original sheen and luster to be placed in new settings. A recycled diamond is, on average, significantly less expensive than a new one. By choosing a recycled diamond, you are not contributing to the more than 150 million carats of new diamonds that are mined from the earth each year. Unlike lab-grown diamonds, second-hand diamonds also have greater availability. But, perhaps one of the best features of recycled diamonds is the allure of time; these gemstones have the aura of having seen different decades and periods in history. It is rare, but some recycled gemstones are so old that they were cut by hand directly at a mine more than a hundred years ago!

Classic Band with Lab-grown Flush-set DiamondClassic Band with Lab-grown Flush-set Diamond

Lab-grown diamonds have several great features that make them another ideal choice for socially and environmentally conscious brides and grooms to be. They are typically twenty to thirty percent less expensive than newly mined diamonds, have extensive options for customization in size, cut, clarity, and color, while still maintaining the exact same chemical composition of a natural diamond. New diamonds from heavily sourced, conflict-zone locations further pollute the surrounding environment and often place mineworkers in danger for shockingly low wages. In contrast, the lab-grown diamonds we work with are created in the Netherlands. No water or air pollution result from their production and only a modest amount of energy is consumed. For this process, they primarily use renewable resources.

Three Stone Ring with Champagne DiamondsThree Stone Ring with Austrlian Champagne Diamonds

If a newly-mined natural diamond is your choice, then choosing a mine that ethically sources diamonds is key. We only work with two diamond dealers for newly-mined diamonds who have proven that they adhere to the highest labor and environmental standards with mine to market traceability. They go far beyond the requirements of the Kimberly Process, which aims to prevent any “conflict” diamonds from entering the marketplace, but relying on the Kimberly Process alone is not enough to insure that a diamond is conflict-free. 

Newly-Mined Canadian Diamonds

Newly-mined diamonds from the Canadian Arctic must adhere to strict standards outlined by the Canadian Code of Conduct and other government authorities. They are all certified as conflict-free and must be cut and polished responsibly. Employees in the industry are paid fair wages, and efforts are made to reduce negative environmental impact as much as possible.

Newly-Mined Australian Diamonds

Similar to Canadian-mined diamonds, newly-mined Australian diamonds are also subject to closely monitored standards that value socially ethical and environmentally responsible practices. One of the more unique aspects of Australian-mined diamonds is the array of natural colors available. They range from translucent yellows, soft chocolate browns, and other earth-tone varieties.

Square Solitaire Engagement Ring with Recycled DiamondSquare Solitaire Engagement Ring with Recycled Diamond

Availability

In our efforts to provide the very best ethically and environmentally conscious diamond options to our customers, we adhere to the strictest standards of traceability that sometimes limit the availability of certain gemstone cuts. Raw diamonds and black diamonds are typically hard to secure as they very often can be traced back to conflict-zones. However, we are more than happy to work with you in your search for the perfect diamond regardless of your varied needs.

3mm Classic Engagement Ring with Recycled Diamond3mm Classic Engagement Ring with Recycled Diamond

Grading

Diamonds larger than .23 carats, which is approximately 4mm in diameter, typically come with a certificate outlining the stone’s grading for cut, color, clarity, carat weight, and origin. Diamonds smaller than this carat weight are considered “melee” and are traditionally loosely graded and will not be paired with an accompanying certificate.

If you would like a diamond other than our standard recycled diamond option, or have any questions regarding specific aspects concerning carat weight and other factors, please feel free to contact us! We will work one-on-one with you to determine your best available options. We can either work with information you supply us, or we can do all the hard “sleuthing” and come up with an ethically and socially responsible diamond we know you will love forever.


Inspiring Friends at Penland School of Crafts November 12 2014

If you didn't know, Aran has spent the past few months away from Aide-Mémoire Jewelry as a visiting instructor at Penland School of Crafts, in Penland, North Carolina, teaching a Fall concentration in Metal Work. If you aren't familiar with Penland, take a seat right next to us, because if you're interested in fine art, craft or intricate handiwork--this is the place for you. Aran loves to refer to Penland as "Craft Camp for Adults" which is the perfect name for such a special space.

Photo by Mark File

Penland says of its programs: "Penland School of Crafts is an International Center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Penland offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood. The school also offers artists' residencies, community collaboration programs, and a gallery and information center."

Penland boasts an intensive workshop curriculum with long-term workshops that last all day for months, to hone and perfect your artistry, and is a tight-knit community of artists, makers and crafters. In this community, we've developed relationships with some amazing artisans who inspire us through their work and friendship. We'd love to introduce you to a few of them today:

Mercedes Jelinek | Photographer
An amazing photographer whose "Neighborhood Photo Project" is well worth your time. Mercedes says, "My tools of choice consist of multiple film based cameras, a homemade photo booth, and a sign that reads 'Free Photographs for Neighborhood Picture Project,' announcing the project to everyone who passes by." View the project here.

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Photos of Neighborhood Photo Project and of Aran by Mercedes Jelinek
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Amanda Lee creates beautiful work at Alloro Linens: "Alloro Linens are towels and napkins, made by hand silkscreening natural dyes and pigments onto linen and antique cotton. I'm a printmaker and a professor. I've taught for Indiana University, University of Iowa and The University of Georgia's study abroad program in Cortona, Italy. I'm an avid teacher and I'm currently working on a long-term project documenting domestic violence shelters in Italy and the United States. I source my natural dyes and pigments from France and the antique cotton and contemporary linen come from my travels in Italy. Currently, I design, print and sew all of my linens in my studio here in Italy. Soon I'll be teaching in North Carolina for six months and so will be transferring my making back to the US."
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From his portfolio: "Jason Bige Burnett graduated from Western Kentucky University with a BFA in ceramics and BA’s in both printmaking and graphic design. He continued his education as a core fellowship student at Penland School of Crafts in western North Carolina. Since then he has exhibited nationally, been featured in Ceramics Monthly, American Craft Magazine, and regional magazines Carolina Home + Garden and WNC Magazine."
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"Quill & Arrow Press makes letterpress prints and hand bound books in a little studio in Asheville, North Carolina. We hand render unique calligraphy and print custom invitations, cards, posters, and whatever else you might dream up. Send a message for a custom quote, pricing guide, or with any questions you might have."
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As Aran's studio assistant, Paige Munroe, creates beautiful metal work designs. From her bio: "Paige Munroe is a metalsmith originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her BFA in Metals from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2014. Early in her career Paige was a recipient of the Emerging Artist Saul-Bell Design Award presented by RioGrande, which gained her recognition as a dedicated craftsperson in the field. She was nominated to represent SUNY New Paltz for the Windgate Fellowship Award in 2014, and is currently an apprentice goldsmith at Laurie Donovan Designs in Lenox, Massachusetts."
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Weddings Around the World: Canada, Eh! October 30 2014

We're back for another round of Weddings Around the World! We're excited to be chatting about our close neighbor to the North, Canada! You may be thinking to yourself--Canadian weddings can't be that different from American weddings. And you would be correct. However, there are a few traditional wedding quirks we just love and wanted to share with you all. Félicitations, Canada!

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On differences in the ceremony: One difference between traditional American weddings and Canadian weddings is that the couple typically signs their marriage license (or registry) during the ceremony. Usually, a table and chairs specifically designed for this purpose will be placed in the church or ceremony venue and the signing is viewed as a sacred portion of the day.
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Maple Leaf Boutineer! Photo by Erin Johnson Photography
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Variations on the Money Dance: Whether you're a fan of it or not, Americans are beginning to incorporate "money dances" into their receptions left and right--a dance during which guests pin cash to the bride's dress. In the French territories of Canada, however, unmarried siblings will sometimes wear funny socks and do a silly dance, prompting money tosses from the crowd. The bride and groom collect the loot afterward.
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A glorious Canadian donut-hole cake. Photo via The Wedding Line
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On the reception: Canadian receptions tend to be lengthier (but just as lavish) as American receptions. It is not unusual for guests to stay into the wee hours of the morning, dancing and eating at a more relaxed event. As cash bars are being slowly considered "taboo" in America, cash bars or drink ticket bars are the absolute norm in Canada.
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On marriage equality: Gay marriage is legal nationwide in Canada. They became the fourth country in the world to pass pro-marriage equality laws in 2005, as a result of the Civil Marriage Act. Many provinces in Canada had previously deemed anti-gay marriage laws unconstitutional pre-2005, including Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia. 
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On fun traditions: A sweet tradition in French-Canadian provinces includes a twist on the "first look." Grooms meet the bride and her family at her house, then proceed to make a noisy arrival at the ceremony site in a train of cars. Honking, music and general merriment set the tone for the upcoming event.
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The Trousseau Tea: This traditional tea party is held by the bride’s mother before the wedding and is a chance to celebrate the wedding with neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances that are not invited to the wedding itself. (hitched.ca)
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Tea time! Via Ruffled, Photo by Jamie Delaine