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Buying a diamond is a very personal experience. Diamonds can be bought to signify love, significant accomplishments, milestones in your life or that of a gift's recipient. Unlike when you buy clothing, electronics, or cars, the features of a diamond may not seem quite so obvious to you. We would like to change that. The more you know about your diamond jewelry, the more confident you will feel when making your diamond jewelry choices. Take a moment to learn more about the 4Cs and find out how they play an important role in making your diamond jewelry unique.
The shape of the diamond is often confused with the cut. Choose the shape that you like based on your style and you cannot go wrong.
The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance or sparkle. Each shape will be cut differently. Before a diamond is cut, the location of inclusions and flaws, the natural coloration, and the original shape of the rough stone are studied extensively. The stone facets are then mapped out and cut in a way that maximizes size, shape, and clarity. For optimal light performance, you will want a diamond that is cut neither too shallow nor too deep.
Diamonds are graded based on the amount of color they do or do not possess. The scale runs from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). An absolutely colorless diamond is rare and therefore very valuable.
A diamond is distinguished by its natural characteristics, just as a person would be noted for her blue eyes or his brown hair. Notated as a diamond's clarity, these characteristics can be present on the surface (blemishes) or within the stone (inclusions). The clarity is judged by the number and types of these characteristics and is designated using a scale that runs from Fl, defined as flawless, to I3, defined as inclusions visible with the naked eye. A flawless diamond is truly rare.
FL DiamondsFlawless: No internal or external flaws.
IF DiamondsInternally Flawless: No internal flaws.
VVS1, VVS2 DiamondsVery, Very Slightly included: Very difficult to see inclusions with 10x magnification.
VS1, VS2 DiamondsVery Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification to a skilled grader.
SI1, SI2 DiamondsSlightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye.
I1, I2, I3 DiamondsIncluded: Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye.
The unit of measure used for the weight of a diamond is the carat. As a matter of reference, a carat is equivalent to .2 grams or .007 of an ounce. Carat weight can also be divided further by using points. There are 100 points in one carat. So a 1/4 (.25) carat stone can also be expressed as 25 points and mean exactly the same thing. When comparing two diamonds, please note that just because one is twice the carat weight of the other does not mean that it will appear to be twice the size.
You may have seen lab grown diamonds in the press. And, it’s important to understand the differences between purchasing a diamond created in a lab versus a natural diamond produced by Mother Nature. Here are a few questions and answers that may provide you the information you need.
Q. Are lab created diamonds real diamonds?
A. Lab created diamonds share the same or similar chemical and physical properties of a natural diamond, so from that standpoint, they are a diamond. However, they do display several different features which distinguish them from natural diamonds. And, those differences will be noted in a valid gemology report.
Q. What are the big differences?
A. The biggest difference has to do with value and price. Although many lab grown diamonds tend to cost less money than a natural diamond, lab grown diamonds have virtually no resale value. Natural diamonds will retain value and can be sold years later, if you so desire. The grading system is also different for lab grown diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the leading authority on diamond grading, issues a Synthetic Diamond Grading Report for lab grown diamonds.
Q. How long does it take to “grow” a diamond?
A. A lab grown diamond takes approximately 6 – 10 weeks to develop in a laboratory. A natural diamond, on the other hand, was formed by nature between 1 billion to 3.3 billion years ago and reached the earth’s surface where it could be mined today. This, in large part, is a reason why they are so valuable. In addition, there is no endless supply, and very few diamonds that actually make it to the earth’s surface are considered high enough quality to be polished and cut for fine jewelry.
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