Where can I go to try on emerald and sapphire rings in Los Angeles?
August 23, 2014 10:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to suss out my own taste for engagement ring purposes and would like to try on emerald and/or blue sapphire rings to see if I like them as much in practice as I do in theory. Where can I do this in the greater L.A. area? I would prefer not to go to the downtown jewelry district (again), but if someone can recommend a shop there with emerald and sapphire rings IN STOCK to TRY ON and not just loose gems or settings separately, I'm open to the idea.

It almost seems like this is an impossible question, because while other cities seem to have awesome mom-and-pop jewelry designers with storefronts, my L.A. searches have turned up nothing but separate gem or setting booths at the downtown jewelry mart or stores that exclusively sell flashy diamond rings (I am not interested in diamonds or a ton of bling). I am looking for something classic/minimalist/Art Deco, like one main emerald-cut emerald stone with baguette-cut blue sapphire accents on a wider band. Prefer to go with antique or lab-grown.

Here are some examples of ring styles I like from Green Lake Jewelry (though they're illustrated with diamonds):

It's very possible that I will end up buying online, but I want to try on some rings with these gems to see what they actually look like on my finger. If you have suggestions for online shops that will mail rings to potential customers to try on, that would work, too!
posted by tyrantkitty to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total)
If you want good quality emeralds and sapphires, you need to buy from a reputable merchant. These stones are very rare and most of what's available on-line and in typical mall jewelry stores are 'lab-created'. Basically green and blue cubic zirconia. (I say this as a proud owner of a CZ engagement ring.)

That said, head over to Rodeo Drive and see the real deal at Van Cleef and Arpel, Tiffany and Cartier.

If you're serious about buying an important piece, and if you're talking about real emeralds and sapphires, you are, go get educated. High end stores are often very happy to discuss the merits of stones, explain what to look for and let you speak to a gemologist about the provenance of the stones.

You're not going to find a fine stone already made up into a ring. That's not how it works and that's why you're having trouble finding what you like.

Here's a tourmaline ring that's pretty close to what you want at Tiffany.

Now, for some fun. Check out Ross Simons. My ring came from them (I had it re-designed later, but I really like them!)

Here's a Sapphire ring.

Here's a page of them. Some real and some estate. Go figure.

Here's a page of "emerald" rings.

I'd say it's worth it to buy one of each and wear them around to see how you like them. You may find that the $56 "sapphire" is actually fulfilling what you like.

I'll say it again, the real deal....VERY expensive.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on August 24, 2014

You'll probably have better luck searching for vintage and/or estate jewelers. They are also more likely to have Art Deco settings.

Keep in mind that natural emeralds are weaker than sapphires and often have flaws, which makes them impractical to wear every day (and they are often pricier). They are often oiled (on purpose, to improve their appearance), so you have to be very careful cleaning them (or have them re-oiled after a few years).

Sapphires come in a wide variety of colors, from the well-known deep blue, to lighter blue, peach, yellow, pink, etc. You can see the range in some pics here (scroll down to the bottom).

Lab created emeralds and sapphires are chemically the same as their natural counterparts.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:41 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Altobelli in Burbank has handled my family's jewelry needs.
posted by brujita at 6:44 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd actually start with mall shops, just to try things on and get a sense of the shapes, colors, etc you like. You could even try on costume jewelry to get ideas of how things look on you. You may need to try on diamond rings to get a sense of shape and then try on sapphire/emerald rings in the wrong shapes to get a sense of color.

You didn't ask, but if you decide to get your ring custom-made, I recommend David Klass in the downtown jewelry district - he made my (blue sapphire) engagement ring. I would not go there just to try things on though - he doesn't have that much pre-made.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:08 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love, love Conroy and Wilcox rings in general and nearly got one of their sapphire rings as my engagement ring. You can check out the website and see if they're to your taste, and if so they are carried by a boutique called OK in LA. I'd maybe call first to see if they have an assortment of non-diamond rings in stock. The boutiques that carry them tend to be able to special order rings from their NYC store to try on too. OK may have other unusual stone rings too. Good luck! :)
posted by amileighs at 8:31 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love etsy for this, fwiw.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:40 AM on August 24, 2014

Lab-grown sapphire is chemically identical to mined sapphire -- it is not cubic zirconium. (Emerald, I can't speak to.) This is why you can label a lab sapphire as "genuine sapphire." You can't, however, sell it as "natural sapphire." If the lab vs. mined distinction doesn't matter to you, you can get impressively beautiful lab sapphires for not an enormous amount of money, so do consider it.
posted by KathrynT at 2:13 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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