4 Cs FOR DIAMONDS
The Diamond is the birthstone of April and the anniversary gemstone for the 10th and 60th years of marriage. Diamonds were discovered in India in 500 B.C., and the name "diamond" comes from the Greek word "Adamas" which means unconquerable - suggesting the eternity of love. Since ancient Greece, diamonds and diamond jewelry have been the traditional symbol of love, and the ancients believed they were hardened dew drops, splinters from the stars or crystallized lightning. A diamond is the hardest substance known to humankind, and is made of a crystallized carbon that has unique powers of light reflection. Since diamonds are composed of a single element, they are the purest of all gemstones.
The Structure of a Diamond
Proportion refers to the angles and relative measurements of a polished diamond. More than any other feature, proportions determine a diamond's optical properties. Studies have shown that table size, crown angle, and pavilion depth have a dramatic effect on a diamond's appearance.
Symmetry is a grading term for the exactness of shape and placement of facets. Variations in symmetry include off-center culets and tables, poor facet alignment, misshapen facets, out-of-round girdles, and wavy girdles.
A) When a ray of light touches the surface of a diamond, part of the light is reflected back, this is external reflection.
B) The rest of the ray penetrates the stone and is then reflected toward the center of the diamond. This is known as refraction.
C) The ray of light is reflected to the surface, where it is seen as the colors of the spectrum. This is known as dispersion.
The Value of a Diamond: The Four C's
The Cut is the factor that determines the brilliance of a diamond. A classic round brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets : 33 on the top, 24 on the bottom, and the culet (1 point at the bottom). Each of the diamond's facets must be placed in exact geometric relation to one another when the stone is being cut. Quality diamonds must be properly cut and not "spread", which means that the proper proportions are compromised to make the diamond weigh more.
The Clarity of a diamond is based on the number, location, size, and type of inclusions found in the stone. An inclusion is an imperfection or trace mineral in the stone that is visible under the magnification of a jeweler's loupe. The fewer inclusions the diamond has; the clearer, more brilliant and more expensive the diamond will be. A "Flawless" diamond is one that has no inclusions and is extremely rare and valuable.
Colorless and near-colorless diamonds are the most valuable. Though most diamonds may appear colorless to the naked eye, the majority of diamonds contain slight traces of yellow or light brown when viewed under a jeweler's loupe. Depending on the stone's size, a single increase in color grade can boost the value of a diamond by thousands of dollars per carat. A traditional engagement diamond is usually colorless or near-colorless.
In nature, diamonds can also occur in shades of red, pink, blue, green and deep yellow - These are called "Fancy diamonds". In the United States and around the world colorless diamonds are graded on an alphabetical scale, introduced by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). "Colorless" or "rare white" diamonds are of color grades D, E and F. Diamonds of color grade D are very rare, and extremely valuable.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. But, the carat weight alone is almost meaningless unless you also consider the cut, clarity and color of the diamond. A large diamond is not very valuable if it lacks brilliance, purity and high-grade color. However, since larger stones are rarer than smaller ones, diamond value rises exponentially with carat weight. Therefore, a diamond weighing 3.0 carats, will always be worth more than three 1.0 carat stones of the same quality. No two diamonds are exactly alike, and you must weigh all of the factors - color, cut, clarity and carat weight - when making your buying decision. Our jewelry consultants will gladly give you expert advice to help you find that perfect diamond.
HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD DIAMOND
HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD DIAMOND
As a precious metal Platinum was first introduced after close to the end of the 19th century. The main characteristics of platinum are its deep luster and a vivid white color. Platinum is much more valuable than pure gold or palladium. Platinum is often used to produce the finest jewelry and for setting expensive gemstones. Platinum is one of the most popular metals of choice for ring settings, because the strength and color of platinum magnifies the brilliance and depth of diamonds and most precious gems.
Because of its density and weight, you can feel the difference between platinum and other precious metals when comparing different types of jewelry. Platinum is usually marked with the following symbols: PL, PT, PLAT, 950 or PT950. Since platinum is the purest metal, it rarely causes an allergic reaction. In the US and abroad, there is an increased interest in platinum jewelry, with wedding and engagement rings being the strongest selling category. The platinum group of metals (PGM), is comprised of six closely related metals: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium and Osmium.
The Platinum Group Metals (PGM) commonly occur together in nature and are among the scarcest of the metallic elements.
Along with gold and silver, they are known as precious or noble metals. They occur as native alloys in placer deposits or, more commonly, in lode deposits associated with nickel and copper. Nearly all of the world's supply of these metals are extracted from lode deposits in four countries--the Republic of South Africa, the U.S.S.R., Canada, and the United States. The Republic of South Africa is the only country that produces all six PGM in substantial quantities.
The Platinum group metals (PGM) comprise six closely related metals:
Palladium (symbol Pd), relatively rare, silvery white and relatively soft metal. Was discovered in 1804 by the British chemist William Hyde. Palladium is often alloyed with gold, to produce white gold.
Rhodium, brilliant silvery white metal (symbol Rh) derives its name from Greek rhodon -rose ,was discovered in 1803 by the British chemist William Hyde Wollaston. Pure rhodium is used as a plating finish for jewelry and silverware.
Ruthenium (symbol R.u), chemically unreactive, grayish-white metal. Was discovered in 1844 by the Russian chemist Karl Klaus
Ruthenium and platinum alloys have a high resistance to wear and are used in the manufacture of jewelry, porcelain, etc.
Iridium (symbol Ir), white, brittle and extremely hard metal. The alloy, which contains about 10 percent iridium and 90% platinum, is much harder than pure platinum. Alloys containing larger percentages of iridium are used in making precision and standard instruments, surgical tools, pen points.
Osmium (symbol Os) bluish-white, brittle metal. Along with iridium, osmium is generally considered the most dense element. Was discovered in 1803 by the British chemist Smithson Tennant. Osmium and platinum alloys are used for standard weights and measures.
Throughout history gold was used in decorating tombs and houses of worship on all continents. However, the first objects made of gold, dated 5 millenniums ago were discovered in Egypt.
British explorers Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1923 found the tomb of Tutankhamun filled with state of the art gold articles.
In 1876 a notorious German treasure hunter discovered a huge number of different works of art made of pure gold in the ancient citadel of Mycenie located in the mid-eastern Peloponnese of Greece.
These beautiful objects of art were crafted by local artists in the middle of the 4th century B.C. Gold has always occurred in its pure form, not mixed with other metals. Because of it's color and durability, gold remains the favorite material for creating the most admirable objects of art and jewelry.
Pure (100%) gold is too soft, and is usually mixed with other metal alloys (silver, copper, nickel and zinc) to make it stronger and more durable for jewelry.
What is a karat?
The karat indicates the amount of pure gold in the metal. The higher the karat, the higher the percentage of pure gold in the metal.
Percentage of Pure Gold by Karatage
Why is 18k gold more valuable than 14k gold?
18k gold contains a higher (75%) percentage of pure gold than 14k gold (58.3%).
What kind of markings can be found on gold jewelry?
You should see a marking such as '14k' or '18k' to indicate the karat, and you may sometimes also see the manufacturers registered trademark or the country of origin.
What is the difference between yellow, white, & rose gold?
Pure gold (which is always yellow) is too soft for making jewelry. The metal alloys that are mixed with pure gold for strength can also modify the resulting color to produce different shades of yellow, white, and pink gold. White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum, and usually contains 25% nickel and zinc.
What other factors determine the value of a gold jewelry piece?
There are many other factors that determine the value of a gold jewelry piece:
Weight - gold is sold by weight - grams(gr) or pennyweights(pwt), the heavier the piece, the higher the gold content, therefore it is more expensive.
Design - designer jewelry is more expensive, especially if it is a one of a kind piece.
Finish - special finishes to the metal such as matte, or sand-blasted finish add to the cost of the gold jewelry piece.
You could take good care of your jewelry by following a few simple steps:
- Avoid contact with soap, perfume, cosmetics and hairspray.
- Take chains and bracelets off at night, and store them flat to prevent them from breaking.
- Use a gentle soft cloth to polish gold jewelry after wearing.
Silver has been known and used for thousands of years and was believed to have magical properties which could promote healing and bring good luck. In ancient times, silver was used for jewelry, ornaments, utensils, and as a substance that could be bartered for other goods and services. This belief that silver had an underlying "value" led eventually to its use as the basis for monetary systems such as that of the Roman Empire and as a means of paying for international trade.
Silver is the most reflective and affordable of the precious metals. Its lower price permits bold, innovative looks. Sterling silver jewelry is often fashioned by top designers and can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Sterling silver is the standard of quality for jewelry containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
General - Sterling Silver
American - 925
European - 935
French - 800
Russian - 88 or 84