A good jeweler is the first step to a smart purchase. To find a jeweler you can trust, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Your jeweler should be knowledgeable about diamonds and help you feel comfortable making this important purchase. Steven Cash "Diamonds By Design" suggests that the 5th "C" should be Confidence in your jeweler. We offer the following information to help you decide on the right diamond for you and to provide you with the information you need to make an educated choice. See our glossary of diamond terms.
Diamond Buying Guide
The first thing you need to know when buying a diamond is the 4Cs: carat, clarity, color and cut. The 4Cs are used to classify the rarity and determine the price of diamonds.
While you may have certain preferences when it comes to diamonds, all 4Cs should be taken into account before you make your purchase. In the end, if you want a larger diamond, you may prefer a diamond of higher carat weight but lower on the color scale. If beauty is more important, you may want a smaller, colorless stone for the same price.
Whether large or small, cut is critical since releasing a diamond's maximum potential for beauty and brilliance is an art accomplished only by superior diamond artisans. So which of the characteristics of diamonds is most important? The choice is yours, but make it an educated one.
Diamond Care Guide
Like all precious objects, diamonds require proper care and protection. Although diamonds are considered to be the strongest natural matter on earth, they are still susceptible to cracking, dulling and even breaking. Dirt, dust, grease, and soap scum can leave a grimy film coating, and any forceful impact could potentially shatter the stone. In order to keep your diamond shining like new, it's important to protect it and clean it periodically.
ProtectingYour Diamond Jewelry
Steven Cash "Diamonds By Design" recommends that you remove your diamond jewelry when engaging in any type of activity that might dirty or endanger the stone. These activities might include washing dishes, gardening, playing sports, or going to the beach. When you remove your jewelry, be sure to store it in a soft individual pouch, felt or leather-lined box. This will both help protect your diamond jewelry as well as help you to avoid misplacing your valuable investment.
We also recommend that you bring your diamond jewelry to a local jeweler once or twice a year to check the mountings, settings, and stones, and to have your diamond professionally cleaned.
Cleaning Your Diamond Jewelry
Cleaning your diamond jewelry is a simple and straightforward task which you can do at home using regular, safe, household products.
- Create a warm, mild, soapy solution by mixing liquid soap, dish-washing liquid, or detergent with warm water. Do not use chlorine detergent.
- Soak your diamond in the solution.
- If necessary, use a soft brush to clean small crevices. Do not use rough or metal bristles. Toothbrushes work the best.
- Rinse the diamond jewelry in warm water. You may place the ring in a strainer so as not to drop it.
- Use a clean, dry, lint-free cloth to dry your diamond jewelry.
There are also a number of jewelry cleaning kits and cleaning solutions on the market. If you choose to buy a kit or solution, be sure that it is the correct solution for the jewelry you wish to clean. Read the directions carefully and follow the listed instructions.
Diamond Shape Guide
Did you know that the 10 universally recognized diamond shapes that we know today are in fact relatively recent innovations, created and given a theoretic, public platform beginning only in the early 20th century? The 14th century marked the start of European diamond cutting novelties that yielded shapes which, while being the predecessors of today's cuts, are unknown to the modern day diamond consumer: The Point Cut, Old Eight Cut, Pendeloque, Briolette, Rosette, Mazarin and Peruzzi. These advances were in fact the stepping stones to today's 10 contemporary diamond cuts, the global diamond industry's accepted standards.
Each diamond shape has specific and unique characteristics that influence the quality of the diamond. To help you decide what shape best suits your personal taste, take a look below at the different qualities of each distinct diamond shape.
The 4 C's
Clarity indicates the presence (or lack of) inclusions inside the diamond, as well as external marks or blemishes. Most diamonds contain minute inner flaws or inclusions, often referred to as "birthmarks", as they occurred during the long formation process of the diamond, over millions or billions of years under extreme heat and pressure deep within the earth’s core. Clarity is graded according to the visibility of inclusions or blemishes under tenfold magnification. The top grade, reserved for the rarest and most highly prized diamonds, is flawless (FL), showing no inclusions or blemishes. This ranges downwards through IF, internally flawless, meaning only blemishes and no inclusions; VVSI, meaning very, very slight inclusions, difficult to see under magnification even for an experienced grader; VS, or very slight; SI, slight; down to I, obvious inclusions which ultimately affect brilliance.
"Carat" refers to the weight of a diamond. Each carat is divided into one hundred points and is equivalent to 0.2 grams, a measurement adopted in the United States in 1913 and now universal. The name comes from the carob seed, used by early traders as near-uniform counterweights to balance their scales.
In terms of color, the finest white diamonds (as opposed to fancy colored diamonds) should be as close to colorless as possible. Color grading as defined by the GIA is classified by letters of the alphabet, the best being D, colorless, and continuing through G to J, near colorless, right down to Z. Color gradations for each letter are subtle but clearly defined to the professional eye. The letter D was chosen to represent the top white diamond color, as other pre-existing, imprecise and confusing classifications had used letters A, B and C among other labels.
Cut is the most crucial of the 4 Cs, as it not only governs shape but affects and influences the Fire, Life and Brilliance of a diamond. Brilliance refers to the overall light reflected from a diamond; Fire is the dispersion of light into the rainbow colors of the spectrum; and Life is the movement of light within a diamond, or scintillation. Aside from the shape of the diamond, from the classic round brilliant to fancy cuts, a cut is evaluated on the precision of its critical angles, its symmetry, proportions and polish. Proportions concern the relationships between the different parts of the diamond: the table (top flat facet), the crown (visible top of the diamond), the girdle (the line or edge around the middle of the diamond) and the pavilion (the underside). These relationships can affect the way the diamond interacts with light.
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