KNOWLEDGE BASE

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DIAMOND GRADING

Carat: Is a measure of weight, which also indicates size
Clarity: The fewer natural inclusions in a diamond, the better.
Color: The closer a diamond to having no color, the more valuable it becomes
Cut: Proper cut proportions allows the greatest amount of light to be reflected for maximum brilliance

CLARITY GRADE
– Flawless (FL) is a diamond without external or internal flaws or blemishes;
– Internally Flawless (IF) is a diamond without internal imperfections or flaws, but with minor surface blemishes
-VVS1 and VVS2, is a diamond with minute surface or internal blemishes that are difficul to locate with a 10x loupe
-VS1 and VS2, is a diamond containing minor inclusions clearly visible under 10x magnification
-Si1, Si2 and Si3, is a diamond with inclusion which are fairly easy to see under 10x magnification, but not visible, through the crown, with the naked eye.
-I1, I2 and I3, is a diamond having inclusions which are quite obvious under 10x magnification and can be seen with the naked eye.

CUT
The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions. Of the 4C’s, the cut is the aspect most directly influenced by man. The other three are dictated by nature. Quite often the cut of a diamond is confused with its shape. Diamonds are cut into various shapes depending upon the original form of the uncut diamond, which is referred to as “rough.” Whatever the shape, a well-cut diamond is better able to reflect light.

COLOR
The best color is no color. Diamonds allow light to be reflected and dispersed as a rainbow of color. This light dispersion, or color flash, has no effect on the technical grading of color. The absolute finest colorless stone carries a D rating, descending through each letter of the alphabet to Z, designating a diamond of light yellow, brown, or gray. This body color may be caused by the presence of trace elements, such as nitrogen, within the atomic framework of the carbon crystal. These trace elements are so minute that they are scientifically measured in parts per million (ppm). As the body color becomes more intense, the grade for color descends the scale. These gradations are so minute and precise that discerning a single grade (even by an expert) under less than ideal laboratory conditions is extremely difficult.

CLARITY

Almost all diamonds contain very tiny natural birthmarks known as inclusions. To determine a diamond’s clarity, an expert views it under 10 power magnification. In addition to internal inclusions, surface irregularities are referred to as blemishes. These two categories of imperfections-inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external)-make up clarity.The fewer the imperfections, the rarer and more valuable the diamond. Many inclusions are not discernable to the naked eye and require magnification to become apparent.
Inclusions are shown in red (Clarity and inclusion sample)

TYPES OF SETTINGS

Selecting a setting is a matter of personal taste. Before you make your purchase, it is advisable to try on different settings to see which best accentuates the diamond and is most flattering to you.

Prong
The diamond is held in place by prongs surrounding the diamond. It is most commonly used in solitaire rings. Typically, a four-prong setting is used. Larger, more expensive stones are often set with six prongs. Prongs can be pointed, rounded, flat or V-shaped.

Channel
In this type of setting, diamonds of the same size are lined up next to each other and set in a groove between two strips of precious metal. There is no visible metal between the stones and

Bezel
The diamond in a bezel setting is placed in a continuous groove in the precious metal. The edges of the metal are then closed over the edge of the diamond to hold it into place. Normally, only the upper portion of the diamond — from the girdle up — is visible.

Tension
In a tension setting, the diamond is held in place by the tension created by the band. This setting requires a sophisticated technique and the use of special alloys to enable the metal to retain its shape.

Pave
This setting generally uses smaller diamonds that are set as closely together as possible to create a “paved” effect so there appears to be no metal between the diamonds.

Bar
Similar to a channel setting, here, each stone is held in place by a long thin bar that is placed between the two stones.

TYPES OF ANTIQUE CUTS

Antique diamonds have cuts that are fundamentally different from the cuts common in diamonds of more current times. These vintage stones have such a distinct appearance from what is generally seen today in diamond jewelry, which creates a very strong appeal for any consumer looking to stray from the mainstream.  

Asscher
Developed in the 1920s by Joseph Asscher, a diamond cutter in Holland, this cut features a square-like shape with distinctive corners that give it the appearance of an octagon. It has 72 facets.

Old Mine
The old mine is an early cut that followed the shape of the rough and was often uneven because of the technology available at the time. The crown is higher and the pavilion is deeper than in modern stones. While the table is very small, the culet is very large and can often be viewed from the top with the naked eye.

Old European
The Old European is usually round and is the precursor to the modern round brilliant. While the crown is higher than in modern cuts, it is lower than in the old mine. The pavilion is not as deep as in the old mine. It also has a visible culet, but it is smaller than that of the old mine.
The Old European Cut, which was the diamond cut for several design eras, was very common in the late 19th century. Old Euro Cut diamonds available today were mined almost 150 years ago, making them prime vintage luxury items.

Emerald Cut
This rectangular shape is a step cut. It has fewer facets than a brilliant cut and is most attractive in simple designs. Inclusions and inferior color may be more pronounced in this cut; higher grades of color and clarity are recommended.

Rose Cut
Developed in the sixteenth century, the rose cut was one of the first faceted diamonds. It features a flat base and facets radiating from the center in multiples of six. The rose cut appears in round, pear, oval and triangular shapes.

Cushion Cut
The cushion cut features rounded corners that soften its square outline. Also called “pillow-cut” or “candlelight” diamonds, these diamonds have larger facets.

Vintage/Antique Jewelry

Antique diamonds have character that simply does not come to contemporary cuts. Old Europeran Cut, or “Old Euro Cut” diamonds were mined and cut almost 150 years ago during the design eras of the late 1800’s. Theses truly antique diamonds radiate a romantic glow that has been compared to candlelight, creating jewelry with a very unique look. Old Euro Cuts have a much softer appearance than diamonds cut today, yet they maintain as unbelievable sparkle.

The modern Round Brilliant cut, the most common diamond cut today, was designed to maximize brilliance. There were several other round diamond cuts that paved the road for the development of the modern Round Brilliant cut. The antique Old European cut, the predecessor to today’s Round Brilliant, was the primary diamond cut during the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Nouveau eras of the late 1800’s.

The essence of Old European Cut diamonds is profoundly different from that of diamonds in jewelry produced today. Because of it’s immense appeal, Old European Cut diamond jewelry is the ideal romantic antique cut of these vintage diamonds gives them a soft, warm-colored glow, making Old European Cut diamond jewelry simply irresistible.

CARAT

Most people compare carat weight to size. The larger the diamond the more it weighs. The weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. The word carat originated from the carob tree or Ceratonia siliqua. The tiny seeds of this tree are well known for their uniformity and consistent weight. Traditionally diamonds and gemstones were weighed against these seeds until the system was standardized, and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams. One carat is divided into 100 points. A diamond weighing one quarter of a carat can also be described as weighing 25 points or 0.25 carats. Points are generally not used to describe weights over one carat. On the table below “Corresponding sizes in millimeters” are some examples of different weights for round diamonds and their corresponding sizes. These may not be actual size due to your monitor. The approximate girdle diameter is displayed in millimeters.
How Size Effects Rarity
The rarity of a diamond is greatly affected by its size. The rarity of a 1.00 carat diamond is much greater than twice that of a .50 carat. Although it only weighs twice as much, the 1.00 carat is statistically much more difficult (rare) to mine than the .50 carat.

Girdle
The girdle is the outer edge of a diamond. It usually has a frosted appearance. Many diamonds are also finished with a fully polished or even a faceted girdle. This characteristic does not affect the value of a diamond and is often more a reflection the diamond cutter’s preference. The girdle is rated in terms of thickness. Girdle size is generally defined as either Extremely Thin, Very Thin, Thin, Medium, Slightly Thick, Thick, Very Thick, or Extremely Thick. The girdle can also be described as a range of these terms such as Thin to Thick. Avoid the two Extremes. When purchasing a diamond, select one with a girdle that is neither Extremely Thin nor Extremely Thick.

Culet
The culet is the bottom point of the diamond. In many cases this point actually has a very small facet. The culet is referred to in terms that relate to the presence or size of this facet. The culet is generally graded as None or Pointed, Very Small, Small, Medium, Slightly Large, Large, Very Large, and Extremely Large. Smaller is more desirable.

Polish
This characteristic refers to the finishing or final polishing of the facets, or flat surfaces. Contrary to common belief, diamonds are ground and polished, not chipped away, until they reach their final form. Each facet should be carefully fashioned by the diamond cutter to shine and be free from polishing imperfections. The polish of a diamond is generally defined as either Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, or Excellent. When purchasing a diamond, select one with a polishing grade of Good or above.

Symmetry
This characteristic refers to the alignment and positioning of the facets, or flat surfaces. Each facet should be carefully positioned by the diamond cutter in proper proportion and relationship to the other facets. The alignment of each facet should be sharp and precise; improperly joined facet junctions can make a diamond appear uneven. The symmetry of a diamond is generally defined as either Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, or Excellent. When purchasing a diamond, select one with a symmetry grade of Good or above.

Fluorescence
This characteristic refers to the diamond’s ability to fluoresce under ultraviolet light. When exposed to UV light, many diamonds will give off a distinctive glowing blue coloration. Although fluorescence may be displayed in various shades, blue is the most common in diamonds. The fluorescence of a diamond is defined by its intensity as either None, Faint, Medium, Strong, or Very Strong. Most of the time fluorescence isn’t an issue unless the intensity is Strong or Very Strong. In the very high colors D, E, and F, Strong fluorescence is considered less desirable. Ironically, in slightly lower colors of J and below, Strong fluorescence is desirable.

Dispersion
A diamond’s brilliance and luster are two of its most valued characteristics and the brilliance of a diamond results from its properties of refraction, reflection, and dispersion. Dispersion is the power of breaking up white light into its constituent colors and the way light travels through the facets of a diamond.

COLORED DIAMONDS

Rare and very expensive, natural colored or “fancy” colored diamonds reflect the colors of the rainbow.
Yellow is the most common colored diamond, while pink, red, blue and green diamonds are extremely rare. Fancy color diamonds are cut to maximize color, not clarity. Of the 4Cs, color is the most important criterion for these stones. Generally, the higher the saturation of color, the more valuable the stone.
The appearance of color is created from the combined effect of:

  • hue – the predominant color
  • tone – the darkness of the color
  • saturation – the intensity of the color Diamonds get their color from trace elements or internal structural anomalies in the diamond. For example,
  • Brown is caused by a distortion of the atomic structure of the stone. Brown diamonds vary in shades from Champagne to Cognac.
  • Yellow gets its color from the presence of nitrogen.
  • Blue diamonds are created from trace elements of boron.
  • Pink diamonds owe their coloring to a phenomenon in the crystal lattice structure of the diamond.
  • Green diamonds were exposed to natural radiation as they were forming billions of years ago.

Specific grades to identify the ranges of color:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Dark
  • Fancy Deep

BIRTHSTONES
January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl and Alexandrite
July: Ruby
August: Peridot
September: Sapphire
October: Opal and Rose Zircon
November: Yellow Topaz
December: Tanzanite and Blue Zircon

 

GOLD

24kt: Pure Gold
18kt: Contains 75% of gold content
14kt: Contains 57% of gold content
10kt: Contains 41.7% of gold content

The color of gold can be changed by alloying it with a different color metal.

TUNGSTEN CARBIDE

Rings are virtually indestructible and scratch proof.  Tungsten rings are the most wear resistant available on the planet.  Tungsten is about 10 times harder than 18kt gold, 5 times harder than tool steel and 4 times harder than Titanium.  Tungsten measures between 8 and 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. (Diamonds are a 10 – the highest).  Due to their extreme hardness, Tungsten rings will hold their shape and shine longer than any ring on the market.  Tungsten rings will NOT bend, however, in the event of an emergency, a ring can be removed by a medical professional.  Tungsten, though very hard, is not indestructible.  The rings will break or shatter if they encounter a significant impact with a hard object.

CERAMIC

Is a high performance, heat and scratch resistant (not scratch proof), hypoallergenic and lightweight material.  Ceramic rings are slightly lighter in weight compared to Titanium and they are just as scratch resistant as Tungsten.  According to the Mohs scale, which rates the hardness of materials on a scale of one to ten with 10 as the hardest material, ceramic materials rates as a 9.  This means Ceramic rings are not likely to break and they are resistant to abrasions and marks that often cause rings to become imperfect over time. Having said that, ceramic is very brittle and may shatter, damage or break on impact andy hard surface or if it is dropped.  They have a glossy finish and their rich color does not fade over time.

COBALT CHROME

Is a hard, lustrous grey metal.  Pure cobalt is not found in nature, but compounds of cobalt are common.  Cobalt has a hardness of 5.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, is the whitest contemporary material offered today.  It is natural and is less dense that other materials, allowing for greater height and shape to be yielded into designs.  Cobalt is hard. Platinum is approximately 140 vickers as compared to Cobalt which is 450 vickers.  Cobalt is not only hypoallergenic; it is bio-compatible to the body. Cobalt is soft and susceptible to scratching and wear, but could be polished and resized up by up to 1/2 size, not full.

TITANIUM

Is the only element possessing the strength of steel, yet with a weight comparable to aluminum.  It offers the unique combination of beauty, strength, light weight and bio-compatibility like Tungsten Carbide, Titanium also has a dark metallic color.  It is extremely bio-compatible because of its tissue compatibility, elastic attributes and is hypoallergenic.  Titanium, like Tungsten Carbide, will NOT bend, however in the event of an emergency; a ring can be removed by a medical professional.  Although it possesses a great tensile strength, Titanium is susceptible to scratching and showing wear.

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