Diamonds are remarkably durable, resist scratching (except by other diamonds) and maintain their brilliance over time. But diamonds aren’t indestructible. They can be chipped by a sharp blow, become loose or lost in a weakened setting, or be damaged by contact with other diamonds. Wear diamond jewelry with care. Store it in padded boxes or soft bags separate from other jewelry. Clean your jewelry by wiping it with a lint-free cloth or with warm water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush, or by dipping it briefly in a commercial cleaning solution. Have your diamond jewelry periodically cleaned and its setting examined by a professional jeweler to maintain its beauty and integrity over time.
This basic knowledge will not only unlock the mystery of a diamond’s quality, it will help you understand a diamond’s value and price.
Insuring high-value personal property is a good idea, and your jewelry is no exception. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies usually offer coverage for jewelry theft, but not necessarily damage or loss. Carefully review your policy. Depending on the value of your collection, you might consider insurance specifically for your jewelry. Ask whether this policy would cover unset gemstones and antique jewelry.
An appraisal is important for insurance purposes as well as for future upgrades or possible resale. While GIA can’t recommend an individual appraiser, there are several appraisal associations and networks that can help you locate one in your area. These are national associations that have members all over the country, and many require that their appraisers have a GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) diploma from GIA in addition to supplemental appraisal training.
Fluorescence is the visible light some diamonds emit when they are exposed to invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. On a GIA diamond grading report, fluorescence refers to the strength, or intensity, of the diamond’s reaction to long-wave UV, which is an essential component of daylight. The light emitted lasts as long as the diamond is exposed to the ultraviolet source.
Approximately 25% to 35% of the diamonds submitted to GIA over the past decade, exhibit some degree of fluorescence. However, only 10% of those show strengths of fluorescence that may impact appearance (i.e., strengths noted on laboratory reports as medium, strong or very strong). In more than 95% of the diamonds that exhibit fluorescence, the color seen is blue. In rare instances, the reaction is yellow, white or another color.
GIA studies show that, for the overwhelming majority of diamonds, the strength of fluorescence has no widely noticeable effect on appearance. In many instances, observers prefer the appearance of diamonds that have medium to strong fluorescence. In rare cases, some diamonds with extremely strong fluorescence may appear hazy or oily; fewer than 0.2% of the fluorescent diamonds submitted to GIA exhibit this effect.
No. A diamond that fluoresces has the same integrity as one with no reaction to UV. Submicroscopic substitutions and/or shifts in the diamond structure can cause fluorescence as well as prevent it. Nothing in either instance inherently weakens or is bad for the diamond.
Know what you want to spend. You will be confronted with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to engagement rings. Have a price range in mind. Going in with fairly specific parameters will help your jeweler find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.
What kind of jewelry does she already wear? Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? Does she wear more silver or gold? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Simple or ornate? Have these preferences in mind when you set out to shop. If you buy something similar to what she already likes, you can’t go wrong.
Know her ring size. If she wears rings, borrow one she already owns. Trace the inner circle on a piece of paper, or press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression. You can also slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops. A jeweler can use these measurements to identify her approximate ring size.
If she doesn’t wear rings, estimate in the following manner: The average ring size in the US is 6 (based on the ‘average’ US female being 5’4″ tall and weighing 140 lbs.) If she’s more slender, or fine boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range. It’s always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she’ll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size.
Are her preferences hard to pin down? Consider buying an unset diamond. If you choose the diamond first and have the setting made later, you can include her in selecting the style and final details of the ring (always a good idea) and avoid the awkwardness of choosing a ring that’s more to your taste than hers.
Know what diamond shape suits her. If she hasn’t made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else’s engagement ring), here are a few things to keep in mind when considering shape:
Given the rarity and value of diamonds, it’s not surprising that some would seek ways to replicate their beauty. In recent years, laboratory-grown or synthetic diamonds have become more common, more advanced, and harder to detect.
A laboratory-grown diamond is the result of a technological process, as opposed to the geological process that creates natural diamonds. Laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical, and physical properties of diamonds found in nature. Most laboratory-grown diamonds are categorized as either high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds, depending on the method of their production. Since HPHT and CVD diamonds are virtually identical to natural diamonds, differences only become clear when they are analyzed in a gem laboratory.
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