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JEWELRY OF THE WEEK
DIAMONDS

Most cuts for Diamonds
Emerald Cut Diamonds Marquise Cut Diamonds Oval Cut Diamonds Pear Cut Diamonds Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds
Princess Cut Diamonds Round Brilliant Diamonds Triangle Cut Diamonds
Heart Shaped Diamonds

Diamond Grading

The Four Cs of Faceted Diamonds
The four Cs provide a standard for evaluating Diamonds.

The first step in helping our customers choose diamonds is to clearly convey the meaning
and importance of the Four Cs; color, cut, clarity, carat weight.
Many customers are often not well informed. Here we offer this information to
help you understand the importance of the Four Cs.


Color:
Diamonds can cover the entire spectrum of colors. The majority range from a perceptible yellow or brownish tint up to the very rare diamonds described as colorless. Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). Off white diamonds absorb light, inhibiting brilliance. You can best observe diamond color by placing the stone table side up on a flat white surface or grading trough, and examining it from different angles. Next, place it table-side down with the culet facing you, and examine it through the pavilion facets.
Cut:
Cut has the greatest influence on the diamonds fire and brilliance. A round, brilliant-cut diamond has 28 facets. When well proportioned, this shape best shows the stones brilliance because it allows the most light to be refracted back to the eye of the observer. Stones that appear lifeless or stones that appear dark in the center are poorly cut. When the angle relationship between the crown and pavilion facets is correct, rays of light entering the diamond strike the rear facets at an angle greater than the critical angle. (24.5 degrees for diamond), and reflect back to the eye of the observer. If the stone is cut too deeply the light strikes the rear facets at an angle less than the critical angle and the light is lost through the sides of the diamond. If the diamond is cut too shallow, the light passes through the diamond without being reflected back. (no sparkle).
Clarity:
Most diamonds contain minute traces of non-crystallized carbon in internal stress factors. Called inclusions, most of these are not apparent to the naked eye but can be seen under magnification. Perfect clarity means that no inclusions are discernible when the diamond is examined under a 10x magnification lens. Inclusions greatly effect the beauty and value of a diamond because they absorb the light rather than allowing it to be reflected back through the front side of the stone. How much they reduce the value of a diamond depends on their size, number and position throughout the stone. An inclusion in the center of the diamond beneath the table is more visible than one near the edge. The inclusion may also be mirrored many times by adjoining facets.
Carat Weight:
The term "CARAT" comes from the ancient practice of weighing diamonds against the seeds of a carob tree. The system was eventually standardized, and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams. One carat is divided into 100 points, so a quarter-carat diamond is 25 points or 0.25 carat. Although carat is a unite of weight, not size, the carat weight of a diamond has come to refer to particular sizes. If properly cut, diamonds of the same weight should be about the same size. These sizes do not apply to other gems, however, because their specific gravity's differ from a diamond.

One must be very careful when buying diamonds, many diamond brokers have
no formal gemological training or the proper gem testing equipment to "Accurately"
evaluate diamonds. The job of diamond evaluation should only be performed
by a certified Graduate Gemologist who has many years experience in this field!

G.I.A COLOR SCALE



D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Colorless
Near Colorless
Faint Yellow
Very Light Yellow
Light Yellow
Fancy Yellow

G.I.A CLARITY SCALE



FL:
Flawless
No blemishes or inclusions when viewed under 10X magnification.
IF:
Internally Flawless
No inclusions and only insignificant surface blemishes under 10X magnification.
VVS1 and VVS2:
Very very slight inclusions
Minute inclusions that are difficult to see under 10X magnification.
VS1 and VS2:
Very slight inclusions
Minor inclusions ranging form difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10X magnification.
SI1 and SI2:
Slight inclusions
Noticeable inclusions that are easy to see under 10X magnification, although appear clean to the naked eye.
I1, I2 and I3:
Imperfect
Obvious inclusions that are usually visible to the naked eye while stone is viewed face up.

What is Diamond?
Diamond is Carbon
It may seem surprising that diamond is simply carbon, just like charcoal or graphite. In fact carbon has at least two other rare, and only recently discovered forms, or allotropes, known as fullerenes.

The difference is caused by the different types of bonding between adjacent atoms to form different types of crystalline structure.
In diamond, each carbon atom is bonded to four other carbon atoms in a tetrahedral structure, like a pyramid. Each link or bond is the same length, and the tetrahedral formation is therefore completely regular. It is the strength and regularity of this bonding which makes diamond very hard, non-volatile and resistant to chemical attack.

Theoretically a perfect diamond crystal could be composed of one giant molecule of carbon.

Carbon is a non-metallic element with the atomic number of 6, and an atomic Weight of 12. In combination with oxygen and hydrogen it is contained by all living objects. In the form of graphite it appears black or dark gray, opaque, and is very soft, whereas in the form of diamond is it clear, colourless, and extremely hard. In fact diamond is the hardest known naturally occuring substance.
Carbon has a density of about 2.3 and diamond about 3.5.

What Makes Diamond An Ideal Gemstone?

Diamond possesses many qualities which make it an ideal gemstone.

It is extremely hard, and also very tough and hard-wearing, and this also helps it to take a very high polish. Some hard articles are brittle which detracts from their durability. Only cubic boron nitride (borazon) is harder.
In its pure form it is colourless, has a high refractive index, so has a very high lustre.
It possesses high dispersion, meaning that different light wavelengths are diffracted differently, giving a strong scintillating play of prismatic colours.

Diamond Discoveries

Diamonds seem to have been known for about 3,000 years, being mentioned in Exodus chapter 28, however in early times, other hard minerals were often confused with diamond.
It is thought that the earliest diamonds were found in about the 12th century B.C., in India , which remained the most important, if not the sole, source until 1725, when diamonds were discovered in Brazil.
The Indian and Brazilian deposits had been almost exhausted when in 1866, the Eureka diamond was discovered in South Africa, followed by the Star of South Africa in 1869. Shortly afterwards, the great South African diamond rush had started, and South Africa remains one of the world's most important sources of diamonds today.
Diamonds have since been discovered in many other regions of the world, including Russia and Australia.
Until the South Africa finds, diamonds were so rare and valuable, that they were only owned by the very wealthy. They were not available in high street shops!

Why Are Diamonds So Popular?

Through the publicity and promotion given to diamonds largely by the De Beers Company, and through the Diamond Promotion Service, diamonds have become the most desired gemstone.
Thanks to large scale mining, and the development of efficient cutting methods and equipment, diamonds have now become a consumer luxury affordable to the masses.
Mass production jewellery manufacturing techniques have also helped to bring diamond rings and other diamond jewellery into very affordable, even commodity, price ranges.

Man Made

Another fact about diamond which surprises most people, is that more diamond is now manufactured than mined. Synthetically produced diamonds have been made since at least 1954, although the bulk of the synthetic production is used for industrial purposes as diamond grit.
Gem quality synthetic diamonds have also been produced, although it is still more expensive to manufacture them than to mine them.

Colour

Pure diamond, if such a thing exists, is colourless.

Most diamonds are slightly coloured, even if the colouring is almost imperceptable. The commonest colour is yellow which is caused by tiny amounts of nitrogen being present in the crystal structure, others are gray, light brown or greenish. Diamond can be almost any colour, although strongly coloured attractive specimens are very rare, and as such are not actively promoted by De Beers, probably in case consumers realise that blue, red, green and other colours are atrractive, and start buying sapphires, rubies, emeralds and other gemstones instead of diamonds!
As with many gemstones, colours can be artificially produced or modified. Some fancy coloured diamonds are produced by irradiation and subsequent heat treatment. Natural fancy coloured diamonds command very high prices, especially the more more popular colours. Fancy coloured diamonds where the colour has been artificially produced are no less beautiful, but sell for more normal prices.

Clarity

It is well known that most diamonds contain slight imperfections or flaws, indeed I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a perfect diamond. The higher the clarity grade of a diamond, the higher its desirability, and therefore its price.

Cut, Proportion, and Shape

Most jewellers will tell you that "cut" is an important factor in the price of a diamond. While this is true, most do not know clearly what they mean by the word "cut". It can have several different meanings.
Firstly, it can describe the shape and facetting pattern of the diamond, as in the modern round brilliant cut, the single or eight cut, pear shape, emerald cut, square, baguette, oval, heart, triangle, princess, marquise or fancy.
Secondly, it can mean the accuracy of the facetting, and the proportions of the stone.
Lastly, it can apply to the polish or surface finish of the stone.

Simulants

There have always been things which looked like diamonds, but were not diamond. I have already stated that in early times other stones were confused with diamond.
Any stone which looks like a diamond could be called a diamond simulant. Natural or synthetic white sapphire, glass, colourless quartz (rock crystal), rutile both natural and synthetic, yttrium aluminium garnet (YAG), strontium titanite, cubic zirconia, and now moissanite, all simulate diamond to a greater or lesser degree.
Do not confuse simulant with synthetic. A synthetic diamond is real diamond, but not natural diamond. A simulant can be natural or synthetic, but is not the same as the material it imitates.
The most abundant synthetic is cubic zirconia (CZ), which is a remarkably good simulant. If it is set in a high quality realistic mount, it is undetectable to the naked eye without instruments.
Moissanite is the latest synthetic simulant, and is very realistic looking, and quite difficult to differentiate from diamond.

Chemical Composition Cn

Chemical Name Carbon

Hardness 10

Refractive Index 2.42

Bi-refringence 0

Specific Gravity 3.52

Crystalline System Cubic

Moh's Scale Is Still Used in Mineralogy & Gemmology

In 1822, Friedrich Moh, a German mineralogist devised a crude but practical method of comparing hardness or scratch resistance of minerals. It has become universally known as Moh's scale.
It should more accurately be called a table, because it is not to scale, that is the numbers allocated to different minerals are not proportional to their actual scratch resistance, so that the scale is really an ordered list.
Moh took ten well known, easily available minerals, and arranged them in order of their "scratch hardness".
If a specimen to be tested can be scratched by a known mineral from the list, it is softer than that mineral. If it in turn will scratch another known mineral, it is harder than that mineral. This gives a very quick and easy field test for hardness. As such is it very useful for mineralogists. It is too destructive to be commonly used in gemmology, but is available, and can be valuable on rough gemstones.
A crude form gets used on shop windows by people testing out their diamond rings, in the mistaken belief that only diamond will scratch glass.
Moh Mineral Brinell

10 Diamond

9 Corundum 667

8 Topaz 304

7 Quartz 178

6 Feldspar 147

5 Apatite 137

4 Fluorspar 64

3 Calcite 53

2 Gypsum 12

1 Talc 3

There are many different aspects of materials which could be considered as a measure of hardness. Hardness can mean resistance to scratching, indentation, bending, breaking, abrasion, cleavage, or fracture. It is easy to confuse durability or toughness with hardness.
A very simple example is to consider a glass ball and a rubber ball. Glass is harder than rubber, but rubber is more durable. Try bouncing both on a hard floor, the glass ball will shatter, whereas the rubber ball will bounce.
The aspect of hardness which is measured by Moh's test is the scratchability of a mineral.

Other scales of hardness include Brinell's and Vicker's.
The hardness of each mineral relative to the others varies according to which test is performed, and also hardness can vary according to the grain direction, or crystallographic orientation, of the specimen. We have given typical Brinell hardness figures for each of the minerals in the table. Diamond's hardness cannot be measured on the Brinell scale, because a diamond indenter is used for the test itself, but it is many times harder than corundum.
Sapphire and ruby are the well known varieties of corundum.
Amethyst, citrine, rock crystal, and cairngorm are all varieties of quartz.

Generally, high scratch resistance is desirable for gemstones, and a Moh's hardness of 7 or higher is important. The principal reason is that a common cause of abrasion is sand, which is silica grit (quartz), and is commonly present in dust. Stones which are softer than quartz are not suitable for everyday use as facetted jewellery gemstones, particularly in rings, although many are beautiful and attractive.
Some gems, such as pearls, coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli, amber, and opal are quite soft, but are usually polished into cabochons or beads, rather than facetted, and therefore do not show scratches so easily. All these gemstones have been successfully used in jewellery for many centuries.

CARAT

Carat refers to the weight of your stone, which is often used to determine general size. Carat weight is determined by the following scale:


ABOUT THE CUT

IDEAL CUT
This determines the "sparkle" of your diamond by reflecting light through a complex prism of angular cuts. There is an industry standard "ideal cut," but simply looking over your stone should be enough: if it sparkles, it's a good cut. Dull diamonds are often cut too deep or too shallow.
 
 



CLARITY
Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions (imperfections) in the stone.


FL / IF Flawless or Internally Flawless.
VVS1 / VVS2 Very, Very Small Inclusions. Requires 70X magnification to clearly see inclusions.
VS1 / VS2 Very Small Inclusions. Requires 30X magnification to clearly see inclusions.
SI1 / SI2 / SI3 Small Inclusions. Requires 10X magnification to clearly see inclusions.
I1 / I2 / I3 Imperfect-Eye-Visible Inclusions

When you buy a diamond logically, you can avoid needless expense. The difference between finding an inclusion in a diamond at 70X magnification and one at 10X magnification is absolutely nothing to the naked eye. However, this difference is likely to double or perhaps triple the price of your stone. Since diamonds are marketed to be a direct reflection of your love ... young couples are often persuaded to purchase a stone that is beyond their means. Private Diamonds has the inventory to accomodate all clarity demands, but we will never push a VVS1 when an SI1 looks the same without the aid of a microscope.
 

CLARITY GRADING SCALES COMPARISON

COLOR
Color defines brilliance or purity of the stone's hue. An absence of color is considered the purest, and most expensive.

Color is often seen differently depending on other factors. For instance: by using a platinum setting , your diamond will look more pure by a factor of 2 or 3 shades. Before you buy the purest stone, consider where it will end up - you probably won't need the most expensive color to get the best look.
 

COLOR GRADING SCALES COMPARISON

DESCRIPTION
EGL
GIA
ARGYLE
COLORLESS
0+
D
D
0 E
E

1+
F
F
NEAR COLORLESS
1
G
G
2 H
H
3 I
I

4
J
J
FAINT YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAINT BROWN
5
K
K
6 L
L

7
M
M

VERY LIGHT YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VERY LIGHT BROWN
8
N Light Champange
C1

9
O

10
P

11
Q

LIGHT YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LIGHT BROWN
12
R Light Champange
C2

13
S

14
T

15
U

16
V

17
W Medium Champange C3

18
X

19
Y C4

20
Z

YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BROWN
FANCY YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FANCY BROWN Dark Champange
C5

C6

CANARY
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COFFEE
FANCY INTENSE YELLOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FANCY INTENSE BROWN Fancy Cognac C7
 
 

Frequently Used Terms

Abrasion
Bruise or scratch

Alluvial
All deposites laid down on land by the process of erosion

American cut
Same as Ideal cut

Appraisal
A monetary evaluation usually for insurance or estate purposes. An insurance appraisal is based on an estimate of the retail replacement value. An estate appraisal is an estimated realization from a quick sale.

Baguette
A style of step cutting for a small rectangular stone. May also be tapered at one end.

Bearded girdle
If, during the cutting process, the girdle is rounded up too quickly, tiny, numerous, hairlike fractures extending into the stone will result. The surface of the girdle will lack the waxy luster and smoothness of a finely rounded diamond. It will appear fuzzy.

Bezel
The small part of the top sloping surface just above the girdle.

Bezel facets
The eight large facets on the crown whose upper points join the table and lower points the girdle

Blemish
Surface imperfection. e.g. nick, knot, scratch, minor cavity or poor polish. An extra facet or a natural on the girdle are also considered blemishes.

Body color
The color of the diamond observed under diffused light against a colorless background.

Bort
Industrial quality diamonds

Brilliant cut (round)
The most common cut of diamond consisting of 58 facets.

Canary diamond
A fancy yellow, greenish-yellow or orangy stone.

Carbon spots
A term used in the trade to refer to any black appearing imperfection in a diamond. May be graphite or other dark mineral or even dark reflections from cleavages or included transparent crystals.

Chip
Term used for a small single cut diamond.
A curved break on a diamond's surface.

Cleavage crack
Generally the most damaging type of imperfection affecting durability as well as beauty. It is a break that usually extends to the surface although sometimes they will extand a short distance from an inclusion.

Cloud
A group of tiny white inclusions that together give a cottony or cloudy appearance.

Colorless
Devoid of body color.

Crown
the part of the diamond above the girdle.

Culet
The tiny facet at the lower tip of a diamond.

Cushion cut
A square cut with rounded corners. An older form of the brilliant cut.

Dispersion
The property of diamonds to seperate white light into spectral colors.

Emerald cut
A form of step cut. usually rectangular but may be square. the number of steps can vary. Will emphasize color.

Facet
The plane, polished surface placed on a diamond.

Feather
A cleavage or fracture resembeling the shape of a feather.

Fire
Flashes of the spectral colors as a result of dispersion.

Fisheye
A diamond whose pavilion is very shallow, producing a glassey stone with poor brilliance.

Flaw
A general term used to refer to any imperfection in a diamond.

Fluorescence
The property of changing one type of radiation to another. For example: UV rays from natural light excite the atoms in certian diamonds causing them to emit visible light (be lumimescent) .

Fluorochromatic
When fluorescence causes a diamond to change color when exposed to two different kinds of light. A yellow stone (under incandescent light) may appear bluish under daylight.

Full cut
A term for a diamond having 58 facets, consisting of 32 and a table above the girdle and 24 and a culet below.

Girdle
The outer edge of a diamond usually grasped by the mounting.

Girdle facets
The 32 facets immediately above and below the girdle.

Inclusion
Any visible internal foreign object, or any crystal or grain of the same material as diamond or any break in a diamond.

Irradiated diamond
A diamond that has been exposed to radiation. Irradiation causes the color of a stone to change. Usually to greenish. May be from a natural or man provided source.

Kimberlite
The host rock in all primary diamond deposites.

Knot
A diamond crystal embeded in the surface of a host diamond that has been polished or cut.

Loupe
Small magnifying glass

Lumpy girdle
Unnecessarily thick girdle.

Macle
Flat, triangular, rough diamond which is a twinned crystal.

Melee
Diamonds under .20 carat.

Old English Cut
Single cut

Old European Cut
Early round cut characterized by a very small table, heavy crown and great overall depth.

Old Mine Cut
An old cut that is square with rounded corners

Phosphorescence
Property of some diamonds to continue to emit visible light (be lumimescent) in darkness after exposure to UV rays. To glow in the dark. This is a rare property.

Point
100th of a carat.

Polished girdle
As implies, a polished surface of the girdle as opposed to a waxy one. It may also be faceted.

Scintillation
Alternating display of reflections from the polished facets of a diamond as seen by an observer as the stone, light source or the observer is in motion.

Spread stone
A stone that has been cut with a large table and a thin crown.

Step cut
All facets in a step cut stone are four sided and in steps, or rows both above and below the girdle. All facets are parallel to the girdle and except for those on the corners are long and narrow.

DIAMONDS CUTS

Cut is one of the most important factors in a diamond's brilliance. Since it's all about light optics and the ideal angles to produce the maximum effect the cut is critical to a the beauty of the diamond. The closer a diamond is cut to ideal proportions, the greater brilliance the diamond will exhibit.

Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. The shape you select is a matter of individual taste, and today your choice is only limited by the skill and imagination of the craftsman. It is their effort during every stage of the fashioning process that reflects the maximum amount of light back to the eye.

Most round, brilliant-cut or fancy-shaped diamonds possess 58 carefully angled flat surfaces, called facets, whose placement will affect the fire, brilliance and ultimate beauty of your diamond.

The cut of a diamond is in direct conjunction to the proportion of a diamond.

With proper cutting the light passes through the top, reflects off the sides, and then travels back out through the top, giving the diamond optimum brilliance. If the diamond is cut too shallow, light passes through the bottom of the diamond.

If the diamond is cut too deep, light passes through the side of the diamond, in both cases inhibiting maximum brilliance.

Take a few moments to read through this page to become familiar with the various popular cuts of diamonds used in today's finest jewelry.
The most common, and the most "brilliant", diamond cut is the Brilliant Cut, a.k.a. Round Cut, American Ideal Cut, or American Standard Cut.
This design is optically the most efficient, but larger stones (3+ Carats) sometimes look "too big" to some tastes and another cut is preferred.

The Marquise looks something like a football when viewed straight down from the top. It is important to note that with the Marquise and other "fancy" cut stones, you'll want to keep the color quality higher as poor color quality will show much faster than in round cut stones.

The Oval cut diamond has an elliptical shape when viewed from above. A well cut oval can be nearly as bright as a well cut round brilliant shape. Trust your eye to judge the cut of an oval in natural light. It if looks lifeless in the natural light it is a poorly cut stone. (Do not be fooled by the dozens of recessed halogen lights in the retail stores.)
Looks like a rectangle from the top, with truncated corners. Color plays a very big role in an emerald cut stone so stay above a 'G' color rating when looking at stones with this cut.
The pear is a popular cut that looks like a tear drop. It is often the preferred cut for pendants and earrings.
Colors tend to play dramatically with the pear cut, as they do in most fancy cut stones, so stay with the higher color quality when selecting a pear cut diamond.
The Trillion Cut is a three sided cut (looking very much like a triangle) but with slightly bowed sides. Many of these types of cuts are trademarked cuts. The fire and beauty of the Trillion cuts make this a spectacular cut of diamond.
There are many variations to the cuts listed above, some are subtle variations and others are extreme. Small rectangular cut diamonds, which look like small rectangular tapered boxes are called baguettes. These have much the same facets of an emerald cut stone but in a much more modern look.