GEM TALK ON DIAMONDS - BIRTHSTONE FOR APRIL
When shopping for diamonds, it is all about the 4C's:
- COLOR – when we talk of colour we are not talking of how colourful the diamond is, rather about the absence of colour. The less the colour the more valuable the diamond. All diamonds are white but they have a varying degree of colour, which is graded from D to Z with D being the best as it is colourless and Z being the lowest with highest degree of colour. Usually D,E,F are considered colourless, the colour can only be detected thru a loupe by a gemologist. G,H are the next in grading as they are almost colourless and offer the best value for stones above 1ct. A buying tip is its best to set colourless diamonds in white gold or platinum. Fancy coloured diamonds (pink, yellow, and blues) are graded on a separate colour scale.
- CLARITY – refers to how clean the diamond is from their unique birthmarks. Diamonds are formed under tremendous heat & pressure therefore it is rare to find them without any inclusions.Diamond clarity are graded from Internally Flawless (IF) to Included (I1-I3). IF or FL is the highest clarity grade which means the gemologist could not find any inclusions in the diamond even using a 10X magnifying glass or lens. VVSI are diamonds with minute inclusions, they are a very good buy as inclusions are extremely difficult to find even using a 10X magnifying glass yet you get them at a fraction of an IF diamond. VSI which have minor inclusions that are not visible easily to the naked eye & difficult to be seen under the 10X loupe. SI diamonds have noticeable inclusions that can be easily seen under a 10X loupe. For smaller diamonds, SI quality is quite good as it’s hard to see the inclusions.
- CUT – It is the most important factor relating to the beauty & personality of the diamond. The cut refers to how precisely the diamond is cut to bring out its maximum brilliance & fire in the stone, which means the proportion, symmetry & polish – so the girdle size which is the line that connects the top (table) & bottom (pavilion) of the stone, the cuelet size which is the tip of the pavilion, symmetry of the facets, polishing to ensure smoothness & the hearts and arrows is the light pattern that the diamond reflects. A well-cut diamond has each facet properly placed & angled so that maximum amount of light reflects back out of the diamond. Always remember go in for a well cut diamond, you can choose a lower colour & clarity grade, but with a good cut the diamond will stand out. A round diamond has 58facets which makes it a full cut diamond.
- CARAT – refers to the weight of the diamond. The higher the carat weight, the more expensive – you pay not only more for the diamond but you may higher for the price/carat. For example a 1ct diamond is $6000, a 2ct diamond could fetch $12000/ct = $24,000 – the reason being that larger stones are rare to find especially with a good cut, colour and clarity. A buying tip is look for diamonds that fall under the popular weights or go for odd sized – the price would work out better without much difference in size.
Diamonds are the hardest substance, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale.
- Store your diamond jewelry separately in a soft cloth & away from other jewellery. Although being the hardest gem they can get chipped
- As with most jewelry avoid spraying hair spray or lotions on your diamonds especially if they are set with pearls
- They are best cleaned with lukewarm water with mild soap or detergent. Just light brush it with a soft toothbrush, rinse and wipe. I recommend doing this at the table as your jewelry can slip from your hands over the sink. For a more robust clean you can use a 50-50 solution of vodka & water, soak your diamonds for a couple of minutes & rinse.
- Remember to get your diamond prongs/settings checked regularly, preferable annually. This way you will get more mileage out of your jewels as well as avoid any accidents of stones falling out.