1. Which of the 4 C’s are most important?
Cut is perhaps the most important of the 4Cs to consider. A well cut diamond – regardless of its shape, sparkles, has more fire and offers the greatest brilliance. If a stone is cut poorly, it will appear less valuable because it will lack fire, scintillation, brilliance and, therefore, beauty.
The art of diamond cutting has evolved thanks to state-of-the-art technology and innovation. A modern diamond cut, such as the patented Leo Diamond®, delivers measurably more brilliance than other diamonds of similar quality and grading. An estate diamond cut may have value because of its age and vintage design, but may not capture and reflect light as beautifully as a modern cut diamond.
2. What is a Carat?
The carat is actually the unit of mass used to express the weight of the diamond, just like pounds or kilos for the weight of other objects. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams. This unit of measure was established in the beginning of the 20thcentury and has been used ever since. The origin of the word â€oecaratâ€• actually comes from translations of the carob seed, which was used to weigh diamonds in ancient times.
Like the other Cs, the carat has a large impact on the final price of the diamond. Although all 4 Cs affect the price, the more carat weight a diamond has, the more it will tend to cost.
For example, if you had two diamonds with the same cut, clarity, and color, the larger of the two would cost more. This is simply because larger diamonds are so rare. A diamond's size is measured in carat weight (Big rock equals many carats). Each diamond carat is also equal to 100 points. For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can also be referred to as a 50-point diamond. But keep this in mind: bigger isn't necessarily better.
3. What is Clarity?
Clarity is also a pretty basic idea — it is the number and nature of the inclusions or flaws in the diamond as seen under 10x magnification. The lower the number of inclusions the easier it is for light to flow through and off a diamond, which creates a more lively appearance. Clarity is rated on a scale from flawless (F) to inclusions visible (I), with additional grades indicating very very slight (VVS), very slight (VS), or simply slight inclusions (SI).
The amount of flaws in and on a diamond, as well as the color and location of the flaws affect its clarity grade. Most flaws on the outside of a diamond are scratches or raised bits of mineral. In most cases, you may not even see these with magnification let alone with your naked eye. However, these problematic external flaws are what are known as blemishes.
Inclusions are the flaws found inside the diamond which may include trapped minerals from when the diamond formed or internal fractures due to the diamond's structure. No matter where the inclusion came from, they can prevent the free flow of light through the stone.
The fewer and smaller the flaws, the higher the diamond's clarity, for example an IF, or internally flawless, diamond has no inclusions visible under 10X magnification. It is a good idea to remember that in many cases, a single large flaw is worse than numerous small ones when it comes to clarity.
4. Are Cut and Shape the same things?
Many people think that the cut and the shape of a diamond are the same thing. Actually, this is not the case. It is important to understand the differences so when you to purchase the stone you will know what you are looking for. If you are not sure what to look for then you might select a poor quality diamond from the wrong place. When someone refers to the stone as an emerald cut diamond they are not really talking about the cut. They are actually talking about the shape of the stone. The shape refers to the geometrical shape or form the stone has after it is cut and polished by the artesian. There are many different shapes of stones you might absolutely love. You might select a specific shape because it goes well with the shape of your facial structure, a set of earrings, or something else. The different shapes also will determine a low price or a high price of diamonds. Many of the different shapes of diamonds include the pear, emerald, square, round and many more. The square shape is known as the princess cut and this is one of the more expensive diamonds. When someone says princess cut they are referring to the ―princess‖ shape, which is square. The most expensive shape of a diamond is the round. This is because it puts off the most light brilliantly.
Cut is actually a characteristic when talking about diamonds. The cut will actually determine the value of the diamond. If the stone is cut well the brilliance and beauty of the stone will be maximized. The cut usually depends on the skill of the artesian. Cutting a stone requires experience, precision, and artistry. This is because each individual facet on the stone must precisely be carved to create a symmetrical pattern. In doing this it will brilliantly reflect the light. The more light the diamond reflects, the better cut t has. The goal of every cut diamond is to shine the most light through every facet on the stone. This doesn’t always happen and with some shapes there are dark spots that are almost impossible to emit light.
When you are looking at a diamond in the store the way to recognize a well cut stone is by the way it shines; the fire and brilliance. If the stone does not shine as much as some of the others but the price seems to be fairly expensive then it probably is. The shine of the stone will tell you he value and the quality of the cut. When you see a jeweler look at a diamond with the little spy glass they are actually looking at every little facet to see how well the light is reflected. This is how they recognize if the stone is cut well or if there are any problems.
The cut and shape of a diamond is not the same thing. This is very important when you make a purchase of a stone. Be sure to remember the shape is what the name of the stone is being called and the cut is how brilliantly the stone shines and reflects the light. The more the stone shines the more value the stones will have. These things should help you pick out the right diamonds while you are shopping for yourself or a significant other. When you pick a shape it may reflect the price you are going to pay for the stone. Be sure you are happy with the stone you choose. Now you know how diamonds are determined to be brilliant or not.
5. What’s the difference between Certification and Appraisal?
It is important to realize that a certificate and an appraisal are two very distinct and separate documents. A certificate is a diamond grading report or diamond dossier which is created by a gemologist, who has analyzed the diamond to ascertain its quality, dimensions, clarity, cut, color, inclusions and other characteristics. It provides every specific detail about the diamond. The certificate acts as a guarantee of the quality and value of the diamond. A certificate is not synonymous with an appraisal. A certificate describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not place a monetary value on the diamond. Diamonds are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) one of the most respected laboratories in the diamond industry. GIA is known for having the most consistent and accurate system for grading diamonds. Thus a diamond with a GIA certificate is highly regarded. The quality of their work is guaranteed. Most jewelers also sell diamonds certified by the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) another well-known gemologist company. Thus a certificate is not created by the company that is selling the diamond to you, and is only a legitimate certificate if it was created by a gemologist. Certified diamonds are usually dearer than uncertified diamonds as the difference in price compensates for the actual analysis of the diamond and the creation of the certificate. An appraisal is created by the diamond seller. The appraisal, like the certificate, states the characteristics of the diamond however it also provides the market value of the diamond. Therefore the appraisal is used for insurance purposes. At GoldeNet Australia, the appraisals we provide are created by our parent company H&T Goldman. Every item of diamond jewelry you buy will probably be accompanied by an appraisal. Therefore if you purchase a certified diamond, you will receive the diamond certificate and an appraisal.
6. Which is better, EGL Certified or GIA Certified?
There is no question that every jeweler in the US agrees that GIA certificates are better than EGL certificates. The question is, how much better? While GIA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Carlsbad, California providing grading services only at two locations, EGLs are scattered all over the world. There are currently 9 different EGL companies (New York, Los Angeles, Belgium, South Africa, France, Israel, Great Britain, South Korea, and Canada), each owned and operated independently of each other. In other words, there are 9 different companies, competing against each other trying to generate profit to survive.
It is widely understood that some EGL certificates are far inferior in grading than the other EGL certificates. Most jewelers in the US agree that EGL certificates from New York and Los Angeles are better than other EGL's in the world. So what is the bottom line? Many jewelers say, why bother to rate different EGLs, when GIA certified diamonds are readily available and undeniably better than the best of the EGLs? Can they prove this? The prices do. Prices of EGL certified diamonds are lower than GIA certified diamonds of equal quality. Also, most diamonds of very high quality (VVS-IF clarities and DEF colors of 1.00 carats and larger) are only available in GIAs, not EGLs. So what would the profit motivated jeweler do? Offer EGLs and other certificates, because those diamonds cost them less than those with GIA certificates of the same quality. What should you do as a buyer? You bet: insist on a GIA certified diamond.
7. Is a diamond really worth what it's appraised for?
Here it is, short and to the point! You cannot sell your diamond or jewelry for the face value of an appraisal done for insurance purposes - ever.
When you are looking to sell your house or condo, you have an appraisal done by a qualified home appraiser. The value they come up with will be very close to the selling price you should expect to sell your home for. Nothing could be further from the truth in the jewelry industry. Most appraisals in the jewelry industry are 'insurance appraisals', which are normally given values of approximately 100% above retail. These appraisals are inflated, and do not represent the actual value of the jewelry.
Jewelry stores will often provide you with appraisals at double the sale price. They supply an appraisal for $10,000 when they are selling the jewelry for only $5,000.
Buying at half of the appraised value, what a great value! You must be making a profit of $5,000!
Of course not, if the value really is double why are they selling it for half price?
Who wins by issuing appraisals high values?
> The insurance companies win; they get to charge high insurance premiums, on an item that actually has much lower replacement value.
> Some jewelry stores win, as they use these inflated insurance appraisals as a sale aid. In reality they are giving the buyer a false sense of value
8. Is it better to buy a diamond at a Jewelry store or on the Internet?
Every Day someone makes their very first purchase online and every Day a sucker is born. So the big question is: Should you buy a loose Diamond on the web or will you be ripped off?
People are nervous about buying online and with good reason too. You're making a purchase sight unseen.
And when we're talking about Diamonds, we're talking about a big purchase, not a little rinky-dink nickel-and-dime sale. Loose Diamonds are a big chunk of change, normally in the 3-6 Thousand Dollar range for a 1 Carat (1.00 CT) Diamond.
So how do you make decisions like this without viewing the product first? Common sense! Well, common sense and a little faith. You hunt around for weeks looking at all the flashy jeweler's websites. There are literally thousands to choose from. After a while, they all start to look alike. Prices vary, quality varies, and you get confused and sucked into the crazy game of nit-picking a Diamond to death. Every single Diamond detail... things like: I Clarity, Good Inclusions, Color, Diamond Girdle Thickness, Fluorescence, Angles, Shallowness, Diamond Chips and Cracks, Graphs, Charts, Certificates... AHHHHH! All this and you still can't decide. Why? Because when it comes down to it, you're buying from someone you don't know. You're handing a stranger cash and hoping that you get the Diamond they promised. That is why it is important to TRUST who you are buying your diamond from. Although the internet can be a great way to purchase items, I prefer to deal with a local jeweler who has been in business for awhile and one that I can build a relationship with to come back and see purchase after purchase.
9. How can two diamonds have the same carat weight but be different size?
The weight of small diamonds is frequently expressed in points, with one point equaling 0.01 carats. For example, five points is a short way of saying 5/100 of a carat and fifty points equates to a half carat. Sometimes in the jewelry trade, the term size is used as a synonym for carat weight. This is because small round diamonds having the same weight also look the same size and similar diameters. As diamonds increase in weight, their size becomes less predictable. Diamonds with a shallow cut can have a greater diameter than a deeper cut diamond with the same weight. However, you don't want the diamond to be too shallow or it will not reflect the light properly and will have less brilliance.
It is similar to asking how tall a 200 pound man is. You have no way of knowing because you don't know how the man is proportioned. The same holds true for diamonds. So if size is important to you, focus on diamond measurements as opposed to carat weight. You don't need to carry a millimeter gauge when you go shopping. Just start asking what the different millimeter measurements are and note how they look. Diamonds that look big for their weight may have reduced brilliance and fire so always insist on great cut.
Note that an increase in carat weight does not produce the same increase in millimeter diameter. For example, there is a 25% increase in carat weight from 1.00 carats to 1.25 carats but less than 8% increase in diameter (6.5 to 7.0 mm). This concept, along with the increased price per carat, explains why prices increase dramatically in order to get noticeably bigger millimeter size. The weight of a diamond has a large impact on price. All other factors being equal, the heavier the diamond, the greater its cost will be.
10. What is the biggest mistake people make when buying diamonds?
ASSUMING ALL DIAMONDS OF THE SAME COLOR, CLARITY, AND CUT GRADE ARE THE SAME. Although GIA has made great strides forward with their new cut grading system (for round diamonds only), the system is nevertheless one of laboratory measurements. As a result, there is a wide variation in how beautiful a diamond appears if ranked by the gemologist at the high end of any cut grade from one ranked low in the same cut grade. (For round diamonds, there is about a 30% price differential from the top to the bottom of the same cut grade). No two diamonds, even with the same numbers, handle light or "perform" the same.
11. What are "clarity enhanced"diamonds?
Clarity enhanced diamonds have been around for two decades or so. There are a variety of procedures that are used to enhance clarity. Keep in mind that not every diamond can undergo a clarity enhancement process as only certain flaws can be repaired. One such method is by using a laser beam to wipe out flaws. An advantage of the laser method is that its results are permanent and do not weaken the diamond. Another method of clarity enhancement involves inserting a clear substance into the surface imperfections of a diamond, to minimize their appearance. The process, which is referred to as fracture filling, typically improves the clarity grade of a diamond by approximately two grades. However, you should know that fracture filling is not a permanent treatment. Cleaning, repairs, and sun-damage can eradicate the filling. Also, fracture filling material has a lower tolerance of high temperatures, and has the potential to crack or melt if repairs are made on the diamond.
Clarity enhancing treatments are somewhat controversial in the diamond industry. This may be due to industry insiders feeling as though since diamonds are the most revered of all gemstones, they should not be tampered with or the reputation of the industry may be tarnished.
It is not necessarily common to see a high quality diamond undergo clarity enhancing treatment. Diamonds that are treated are usually those where inclusions or blemishes are noticeable to the naked eye. With these diamonds, the loss in value attributed to a clarity enhancing treatment is overcome by the value added by reducing obvious flaws.
So what exactly is diamond clarity?
Out of all the C's, it's been said that the C for clarity is typically considered as least important by consumers. The level of diamond clarity is determined by the amount of blemishes or inclusions present. Blemishes are imperfections on a diamond's surface while inclusions are imperfections inside of a diamond. While many diamonds have flaws, often times they can only been seen through a jeweler's microscope. Clarity of VS1 or VS2 will not show flaws to the naked eye.
If a diamond has been clarity enhanced, it should be indicated on its certificate if it comes from a reputable laboratory. Also, reputable jewelers should disclose these both verbally and in writing, as well. Knowing this, be forewarned however, that many jewelers will not offer up this information openly, so if you are uncertain, be sure to ask.
12. What is the best shape diamond to buy?
Often people are told, by presumably well intentioned sales people, that they should buy a round or a brilliant cut diamond because it holds its value better or that it is a superior investment. I must respectfully disagree with this point of view. It is true that the round cut diamond reflects the light more brilliantly than most other shapes – the princess cut being the exception. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pricing. The stone may have flaws, blemishes, grading has to be taken into consideration – as well as the size of the diamond – but as a general guide:
> Round diamonds are the most expensive
> Princess cut diamonds second
> Pears and marquises third
> Emerald cut forth
> Oval diamonds fifth
> Trillions Sixth
There are some specialty cut stones that maybe copyrighted – most of this is for marketing purposes – with a heavy dollar premium.