Diamonds are a girl's best friend for their eternal sparkle lends sophisticated glamour to the simplest jewellery and understated elegance to a minimalist's wardrobe. However, as precious and glamorous as they are, they come at a very high price point. Everyone who has once lost an earring might want to opt for another, equally sparkly but less expensive option for their everyday touch of jewel luxury.
Synthetic, lab grown or cultured diamonds are man-made stones that are chemically identical and almost indistinguishable from diamonds. They have the same degree of hardness, dispersion, gravity, and refraction than mined diamonds at their highest quality. Due to the fact that they can only be differentiated from natural diamonds by the use of spectroscopy or infrared, ultraviolet, or X-ray wavelengths, synthetic diamonds, too, come at a very high price point. A simple, but high quality pair of 0.5 ct. brilliant cut synthetic diamond stud earrings, for example, may exceed the ten thousand US dollar mark by far.
Fortunately, there are other options to add a little bling to your jewellery box without emptying your savings account. Loved by red carpet starlets, Royals and fashion conscious working women alike, high quality diamond simulants offer carefree glamour imbedded in precious metals such as rhodium plated white or yellow gold.
Diamond simulants have a different chemical composition than natural or cultured diamonds. There are mainly three types: Cubic zirconia, highly leaded glass - such as Swarovski crystals - and moissanite.
Made from zirconium dioxide, high quality cubic zirconia (CZ) comes closer than any other simulant to the characteristics of a real diamond. CZ is not as hard as a diamond and it sparkles slightly less. However, it displays more prismatic fire. It is a pure, clear gem. A diamond with the same purity and clarity is very rare and extremely pricey.
Moissanite is a rare natural occuring silicon carbide, though moissanite gems used in jewellery are artificially made. Its hardness comes close to the hardness of diamonds. It is however slightly lighter in weight and has noticeably more sparkle and prismatic fire than a diamond. Like diamonds, moissanite can have inclusions. Moissanite created by Charles & Colvard is marketed as the "World's most Brilliant Gem" and is considered the top of the notch of affordable luxury stones.
Last, but not least, there are the well known Swarovski crystals. Worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, these stones have gained a lot of popularity. Technically, Swarovski crystals aren't crystals at all. They are a type of glass melted at high temperatures together with lead in a process patented by Swarovski. The lead contents increase the stones' refraction. Swarovski crystals are precision cut and polished and often further enhanced by an Aurora Borealis coating that gives the stones' surface a rainbow like effect, simulating a diamond's dispersion.
There's nothing quite like a diamond. However, sellers of the highest quality of diamond simulant jewellery are building a bridge between affordable fashion pieces and fine jewellery. In our next post we'll tell you where to find the most stunning, red-carpet worthy stones that are pretty much as diamond-like as possible.
What a minimalist wants are multi-purpose products, as they usually save money, time and cupboard space. On The Muted Glamourist, we tell you which products are ideal for a minimalist approach to beauty.
This post is not sponsored! All our opinions are our own.
Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base could be considered a must-have for a minimalist's cosmetic case by design only: It comes in a plain, no-nonsense milky glass bottle, conveying both functionality and understated luxury typical for Chanel cosmetics. A single pump delivers enough of this luxurious, silky-white base for the face and décolleté together.
Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base contains silica and mica powders, as well as liquorice extract that allow for an extraordinarily smooth application and a stunningly even, radiant, mattified complexion. Witch hazel helps to minimize pores.
Its oil-free, yet hydrating composition makes it an equally great make-up base for dry, normal and oily skin. Your foundation will glide on to your skin and stay fresh longer.
Use this illuminating base all over your face as a foundation primer or alone, for a radiant and even-toned complexion at the pool or gym. You can use it as a highlighter under your foundation or dab it onto your make-up. Apply under your eyes and on your cheek-bones to freshen up after a long, tiring flight or to (re)create the healthy glow of rested skin for your after-work party. Mix it with your foundation for a lighter, radiant coverage.
We found that Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base is a truly unique, multi-tasking product. It does what it says it does in a revolutionary way.
Tell us what you think!
When leaving for my year abroad at another university, I couldn't pack a lot of things. Not only would it have been unpractical to carry so much stuff, I also knew that I wouldn't have the closet space in my new temporary home to accommodate more than 3-4 pair of shoes including trainers, a handful of dresses, skirts, tops and jeans, one set of sport clothes and a few accessories plus an evening bag and my cosmetics (which I love and can't live without). The hardest part was to pack both for summer time and the English winter months, both for days at the lab and trips to other cities and the country side plus evenings out at the theatre, student parties and bars. So, I had a hard look at the contents of my wardrobe. What I needed to pack was essentially multi-purpose clothes that could easily be combined with one and another. I needed to be able to create different looks with only a few changes in accessories and such. Mind you, I did not have a minimalist wardrobe. Quite to the contrary, I was lucky enough to have a wardrobe big enough to find a few items that I could mix and match, besides all the other beautiful but not very practical pieces. Unfortunately, that meant that I could not just bring my favourite clothes. I had to compromise. What I learned from that experience, however, is that I had not been a very wise shopper. Furthermore, once in England, I realised how much easier it was for me to get dressed in the mornings. Of course, I completed my now somewhat minimalist wardrobe with a few pieces I had missed (practical ones such as a very warm hoodie and more decorative ones such as a printed midi skirt), but generally I had to make ends meet with what I got. So, here are my top 5 reasons for creating a minimalist wardrobe.
1.) Getting dressed faster
If you don't have that many clothes to choose from and if everything more or less goes together in your wardrobe, it's much easier to get dressed in the mornings. It won't take you long to know exactly what to combine with what from your minimalist wardrobe in order to be appropriately dressed for a day at the office followed by an after-work with friends or a romantic date-night dinner with your sweetheart.
2.) Quality for Quantity
Buying less pieces will allow you to invest in quality instead. Quality is important when creating a well put-together look with a few pieces, since it's the details that make all the difference, not the quantity of your accessories. Spending money on quality also means only buying what really fits. Upper scale high-street and high-end designer brands usually offer an excellent service in finding what suits you best. Some will also provide an in-house tailor for minor alterations.
3.) Save money in the long run
Quality items may be more expensive, but in the long run, you'll spend less money, as they will last longer. Besides, the aim for investing in a minimalist wardrobe is to have less pieces. That doesn't mean you can't update your wardrobe with a few new items every now and then, but if you have a well put together wardrobe, you won't need to run out in order to shop "basics" that you are missing, since you've added them from the start.
4.) Save time shopping
Since you have (almost) everything you need, you won't need to spend much time on shopping. If you go shopping, you'll know what to look for in order for the item to be easily incorporated in your wardrobe. Over time, this will become even easier as you'll learn what works and doesn't work for you and your closet and how to make out the difference between an overpriced piece of clothing and a real quality one.
5.) Increased over-all contentment
Creating more with less, but with high-quality classic items caters for a more sophisticated, put-together look. You can be sure to look your best at all times and in every situation. You'll have more time and energy to spend on other things, be it work, yoga, family or whatever. Your life will seem more clutter-free, more organised. And so will your closet space. Furthermore, shopping at quality houses (see number 2 above) often provides for a more relaxed shopping experience: Bigger changing rooms with better and warmer lighting, comfy chairs, water and sometimes even coffee (or champagne?!). Everything that makes a happy customer. ;)
Under-statement is a chic denied to over-
Jen is a life artist, writer and biochemistry engineer on a cabin crew adventure. She loves mixing cocktails and being an advocate for timeless, personal style, striving for a simpler, more intentional life without compromising quality and glamour.
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Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann,