Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Diamond Tip: You're Buying Light Performance.

There is an incredible amount of information on "what diamond to buy." A universal truth needs to be kept in mind above all other ideas and statistics:

When buying a diamond, you are purchasing light performance. You want the diamond to be seen.

More than carat weight, color, or clarity, it is a diamond's cut that determines light performance. Never sacrifice cut when selecting your diamond.

Precious Metals: Gold Facts and Information

The most common precious metal used for diamond and jewelry settings is gold. It has been popular throughout history because it can be crafted into almost any shape. A gold setting can take many purities and can be alloyed with other metals such as copper, cobalt, nickel, silver, and zinc. Gold purity is measure on a 24 karat scale, where 24K (karat) gold is 100% pure gold, 18K gold is 75% pure gold, and 14K is 58.3% pure gold. The most common gold purity used for jewelry is 18K because it maintains the richness of pure 24K gold while addressing the durability required from a piece of jewelry.

Yellow Gold

18K yellow gold jewelry is a popular choice for jewelry settings because it does not tarnish and it will rarely cause difficulties for people with skin irritations. It is 75% gold alloyed with copper, silver, zinc, and sometimes cobalt. It is not plated and will only wear down after heavy wear or a long period of time.

White Gold

Gold can be lightened when alloyed with either of two near-white metals nickel and palladium and plated with rhodium, creating white gold. 18K nickel white gold is 75% gold alloyed with nickel, copper, zinc and/or palladium. 18K palladium white gold is 75% gold and 25% palladium. White gold’s desirable appearance and price point when compared to platinum make it a popular selection for jewelry settings.

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium is a member of the platinum metal group, therefore it has characteristics similar to platinum including high reflectance, strong durability, and extremely white color. When gold is plated with rhodium, it creates a skin around the gold setting that will wear through over time. The jewelry piece can be re-plated by a jeweler fairly quickly.

Nickel Allergy

Sensitized individuals can show an allergy to nickel on their skin, resulting in irritation and discoloration of the skin. Therefore it is important to know if the wearer has any problems with nickel prior to purchase. Palladium white gold is a very workable substitute to nickel white gold, although it is more expensive.

A good history of gold and gold-prospecting can be found here on Wikipedia.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Case Study: GIA 1.0-Carat, H-Color, VS2-Clarity, Very Good Cut

Stone shape: Round
Carat Weight: 1.0 carats
Cut: Very Good
Color: H
Clarity: VS2
Certificate type: GIA
Depth %: 63.6
Table %: 61.0
Symmetry: Very Good
Polish: Very Good
Girdle: Thick to Very Thick - Faceted
Culet: None
Fluorescence: None
Measurements: 6.25 x 6.21 x 3.96 millimeters
Length-to-width ratio: 1.01
Price: $5,609.00


This is not a great stone at all.
It's much too deep, the table is too large, and the thick girdle deceptively increases the carat weight without making the diamond look larger or more beautiful. For $5,500+ you can get much more diamond for your money. Here's an example from Whiteflash.com that goes a lot further for a very similar price.

How Big Is The Internet Diamond Going to Be In Real Life?

Amazon.com has a fantastic PDF chart (get Adobe Acrobat) that compares the approximate sizes of all major diamond shapes. Go ahead and download and print the chart for an excellent reference when doing your diamond research!

What Time Of Year To Buy Your Diamonds

Christmas and Valentine's Day are the obviously the biggest days for jewelry and diamond sales for the year. Because of this it is a common belief that during the slow-season, between late February and early November, diamond prices go down in accordance with the lower demand for them. This unfortunately is not the case.

While it is true that diamond sales are seasonal and most of the retail profits are made during the holiday seasons, other levels of the diamond industry including mining, cutting, and grading are far less seasonal creating less price fluctuation. Unlike many kinds of retail goods, diamonds do not change from year to year -- that is to say a good diamond this year will likely be just as good the year after. Rather than selling off merchandise that didn't sell at Christmas or Valentines day, it is more sensible for a retailer to maintain their stock and wait until next season.

The sales that are typically seen during the off-season are usually deceptive schemes such as prices that are "marked up to be marked down," when actually there is no savings to be had.

Diamond Definitions: Brilliance, Fire & Scintillation

Brilliance: The amount of white light that is returned from the diamond to a person's eye.

Fire: The amount of colored light that is returned from the diamond to a person's eye.

Scintillation: Diamond sparkle. When the diamond moves, the changing colors and radiance that result are known as scintillation.

Putting Pictures On Your Diamonds

There is some new technology coming to market that allows high-resolution photographs to be inscribed onto the girdle of loose diamonds. This survey has the first details from an unnamed company claiming the capability to inscribe "Over one thousand images can be inscribed on each diamond." Sounds impressive. However, will this "diamond-tattooing" product be well received by the market?

While this does provide a unique (and tacky) way to personalize your stone, the more probable use for this new tech is improved security and identification. The apparent benefit of this technology will allow consumers to further protect their diamond purchases and prevent laser-inscription identification number fraud.