AKARA brand Madagascar sapphires are unique in the world because they are mined, cut and polished in the source country under OECD Guidelines for Conflict Minerals. They also undergo verification of origin through documentation and/or forensic identification at the GCAL laboratory in New York.
While many sapphires use heat treatments to improve their colour and clarity, AKARA sapphires are naturally coloured and are accompanied by certificates that guarantee origin and natural colour.
We’re all about personalized service, knowledge, and education—every one of our clients has the opportunity to learn about metals, diamonds, gems and our sourcing protocols and certifications. You can have a no obligation chat with one of our goldsmiths. It’s kind of like a Reddit AMA just for you. You can ping us on FaceBook, WhatsApp or use the chat feature at the top of this screen.
Both our local clients and those in across North America, Europe, and Asia love the personalized service we offer.
And if you don’t need or want to talk to humans, we offer old school e-commerce as well. ;-)
We get asked this a lot. The answer is you should only spend what you can afford. Our rings start at CA$1495; for a locally made 18K ring, including a diamond, that's pretty much unheard of. But we made a conscious effort to offer something that's really well done and affordable, so people who want something nice can get it. At the same time, because we also offer larger, premium quality diamonds some rings can easily get into the tens of thousands. While our clients have different means, every one of them has a budget. And whatever that budget is, we stay within it. We spend a lot of time educating people about why they don't need to spend as much as they think to get what they want. In short, we provide the kind of experience we would want to have if we were the client.
We provide the kind of experience we would want to have if we were the client. We designed an experience that's really all about you. Most of our pieces are made to order using materials and components that you choose--in this way, the ring is a reflection of not just your style, but also your lifestyle and your values. Because we can make the same ring in Fairtrade/Fairmined or recycled gold; and we can use Canadian, lab-grown or vintage diamonds--or no diamond at all, maybe a coloured gem is the best thing for you?
So your experience is never about trying to sell you something we have in stock, it's actually about figuring out what's important to you and putting together some options. Out of that process you will receive an online estimate--we don't jot things on the back of business cards--we send you a detailed estimate which you can view online and, when you're ready to proceed, it can be converted to an invoice; you can even pay a deposit without having to come back in.
The people you interact with at our company are experts and makers. Our workshop is 20 feet away from our displays and we encourage clients to tour the back and see how your ring will be designed and made. Our clients are fortunate because when they talk about their rings, they can talk about how it was made and the materials they chose to for its making. That's a far cry from a ring that's taken out of drawer below the showcase where it sits with a hundred other ones just like it. Sure, you get a lovely blue box... but that's kind of an underwhelming experience, isn't it?
We believe that jewellery isn't about metal and stones--it's about narrative and stories. And there's nothing more beautiful than a piece that was lovingly crafted by local artisans using the best materials and where you had an input and understanding of the making.
Sure. Just drop by our studio and we'll be happy to show you. But for clients who are remote to us, we made this video which shows the process. Enjoy.
Nickel is a cheap, base metal that up to 20% of the population reacts to. It's cumulative allergy, so the more exposure you get, the more chance that you may start reacting to it. There have also been reports of women suddenly reacting to their nickel-based gold ring after they have had their first child. So you may not react now, but you could later. And nickel is in a lot things you don't realise--even the rivets of your jeans--so having it in something you rarely or never take off is not the best idea, in our considered opinion. You can read more via a simple Google search.
We don't use any nickel-based gold. Our white gold uses the European standard which has palladium where North American gold uses nickel. Palladium is in the platinum group of metals and, except for people with extreme metal allergies, it causes no reaction. It also has the benefit of not requiring rhodium plating which is another characteristic of nickel-based gold--everyone plates it to give it a bright white colour but this creates an unnecessary wear item.
Our Fairtrade gold is certified by Fairtrade International (the same body that certifies other commodities such as coffee, cocoa and bananas). Our Fairmined gold is certified by the Alliance for Responsible Mining which maintains the Fairmined standard.
These certification bodies ensure that the communities that mine that gold have proper working conditions, health, safety and environmental practices. Since these are communities (and not corporations) their social betterment comes from the premiums we pay over the market price for the gold.
When you choose Fairtrade or Fairmined gold, your ring is laser marked with either the Fairtrade certification stamps (shown one in from the right) or the Fairmined stamp which is shown at the end on the right side. Your ring will be made with either Fairtrade or Fairmined metal, depending upon the metal colour chosen and current stocks.
These two standards and the principals that underlie them are really central to who we are as company. Everything that we do is animated by clients and communities and if you watch this video, you'll see how those two things become one.
Our regular gold is recycled from old jewellery, electronics and other post-consumer gold which means it hasn't been mined and is a good environmental choice.
Platinum is more dense than white gold, so it feels heavier when you wear it. The colour is also different, with platinum being a cool white and our palladium based white gold, more of a warm white. But while it is stronger than gold (because of its density) it is, at the same time, softer than gold which means it will scuff more easily over time. So a platinum ring will develop a patina over time and many people find this charming. Platinum is also rare and difficult to work with and so it is also a more expensive option than gold for both these reasons.
18K gold has long been considered the optimum karat for gold because it affords durability while also not 'watering down' those characteristics that make gold a beautiful material to work in. 18K gold is 75% pure whereas 14K is only 58% pure and that greater purity means that the 18K will always take a polish better than 14K and is more easily worked than 14K. In short, you can create better designed and better-finished jewellery in 18K which is why it is the standard for fine jewellery. In addition, within the jewellery industry, 14K is considered mass-market; most 14K jewellery is generally designed to be manufactured in quantity and mass-finished by machines rather than finished by hand.
Some people argue that 14K is more durable than 18K but the reality is that your finger is a lot more delicate than either type of gold so we think that any differences between the two karats' durability is moot.
The Sirius Stars diamonds are like the fine wine of Canadian diamonds. They use a patented cut that maximizes the amount of light coming out of the diamond. Rare and beautiful, only a very few jewellers are good enough to work with them.
New this year are Sirius Stars that are cut from older vintage diamonds that date back a hundred years or more and thus precede 'conflict diamonds' by many years.
We visited Prince Albert Saskatchewan where these diamonds are cut, so that we could show you just how special these diamonds are. You can see the video here.
These are vintage diamonds that date from the late 19th or early 20th centuries. If you want a diamond that is truly rare--vintage diamonds are totally unique and something nobody else will have. Learn more about these incredible gems on our Vintage Diamonds page.
Lab created or grown diamonds are diamonds that have been created above ground as opposed to in the earth's crust. Most people think that they are not real diamonds--in fact, they are and they come with certificates and grades and everything is the same as it is with mined diamonds except for two important differences: because they were not mined, they are arguably a more environmental choice and 2. because it costs a lot to open and run a mine, they tend to be about 30% less than mined diamonds.
You may remember when you were in school and you grew salt or sugar crystals in science class? Well, this is the same principal--a lot of more high-tech--but basically the same. You create the right conditions, grow a diamond, sapphire or emerald crystal over a few months and then you cut it, as you would a mined gem. Easy peasy.
Recycled diamonds are diamonds that have been taken out of old jewellery before it gets melted down. These diamonds are cleaned, re-graded and set into new pieces. We like these because they are environmentally beneficial (no new mining) and affordable.