Does the thought of purchasing a diamond ring overwhelm you? Don't think you know enough about certificates, inclusions, grading scales and colours? Or do you know the basics, but need a refresher course? A good understanding of diamonds is necessary before you begin shopping.
Various characteristics of diamonds are graded and categorized by the diamond industry. When learning about diamonds one must first examine the "four Cs" of diamonds, which are considered the most important grades and categories: Cut, Clarity, Colour & Carat.
These are the criteria jewellers use when grading Diamonds, and they're the ones you'll need to understand to buy the right diamond for you.
Here are some tips on choosing the perfect diamond from Diamond Expert, George Agopian.
The '4+' C's of Diamonds
Cut is probably the most important, and most challenging, of the four C's to understand and the one element that is directly affected by human skill and expertise. The brilliance of a diamond depends heavily on its cut. The cut describes the way in which a diamond has been shaped and polished from the rough stone to the final gem.
In order to capitalize on the fire and brilliance, the diamond cutter must position each of the stone's facets in precise geometric relation to one another. A classic round brilliant well cut diamond has fifty-seven or fifty-eight facets that are exactly aligned.
When a diamond is cut too deep or too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom or the side of the diamond instead of reflecting back to you. This explains why some diamonds are so much more brilliant than others.
Too Shallow: Light will be lost through the bottom of the stone, causing the diamond to lose its brilliance.
Too Deep: Light will escape out the side of the stone, causing the diamond to appear dark and lose its brilliance.
The cut also determines the shape of a diamond. The most common diamond shapes are the round brilliant, the princess, the marquise, the pear, the oval, and the emerald.
New technology allowed the industry to develop new, and in many cases, superior Diamond cuts.
The Canadian Love Diamond™ is the most brilliant ideal cut diamond in the market.
Less than 1% of the diamonds that are mined, cut and polished in Canada qualify for "The Canadian Love Diamond" status. Every single Canadian Love Diamond™ is precisely cut to expose a passionate sparkling work of art. When viewing a Canadian Love Diamond™ through a Hearts & Arrows loop, it will reveal a striking pattern of eight symmetrical Hearts and eight symmetrical Arrows, the dimension of excellence™.
Princess of Hearts™ is the most brilliant square cut diamond that exhibits the Hearts & Arrows pattern. Moreover, as the Princess of Hearts Diamond is cut to "ideal" proportions, it generates scintillation that is beyond any existing standard square cut diamond.
Most diamonds contain some inner flaws, or inclusions, that occur during the formation process.
The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine diamond’s clarity. Diamonds that are clear create more brilliance, and thus are more highly appreciated, and priced.
FL-IF - Flawless or Internally Flawless. This diamond has no internal inclusions. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 - Very Very Slightly included. Very difficult to detect under 10x magnification.
VS1-VS2 - Very Slightly included. Tiny inclusions are invisible to the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
SI1-SI2-SI3 - Slightly Included. Tiny inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification and in some cases, in SI3, inclusions are visible to the naked eye.
I1-I2-I3 – Included. Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification as well as to the human eye.
When jewellers speak of a diamond's colour, they are usually referring to the existence or absence of colour in white diamonds. Colour is a result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over time. Because a colourless diamond, like a clear glass, allows more light to pass through it than a coloured diamond, colourless diamonds produce more sparkle and fire. Thus, the whiter a diamond's colour, the greater is its value. Diamond graded D through F are absolutely colourless. Diamonds graded G through I show virtually no colour that is visible to the untrained eye.
A carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. Because large diamonds are found less commonly than small diamonds, the price of a diamond rises exponentially to its size.
'Fifth C': Canadian
The diamonds are mined from Diavik, Ekati, Snap Lake, and Victor Mines in the Northwest Territories and Ontario and cut and polished in around Canada. The designation of these Diamonds as a product of Canada conforms to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Industry, Government of Canada. A Maple Leaf has been laser inscribed on the diamonds to proudly identify it as Canadian. By registering a laser inscribed serial # of your Canadian diamond, you can view the “Birth Certificate” of your Diamond. You will learn details such as rough diamond weight and when it was mined!
The diamond certificate, which is sometimes called a grading report, is a complete evaluation of your diamond that has been performed by a qualified professional with the help of special gemological instruments. Each stone bears its own recognizable, individual characteristics, which is listed on the certificate.
There are three major international laboratories in North America that grade, certify and most of them estimate market value of diamonds.
IGI - International Gemological Institute www.igi-usa.com
GIA - Gemological Institute of America www.gia.edu
AGS – American Gem Society www.ags.org
Engagement Ring Buying Guide
Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring is part of a much larger decision that goes far beyond jewellery, tradition, or money. The very fact that you're even considering such a commitment indicates that you've already made quite a journey. Let Lugaro Jewellers help you finish with this quick guide to finding your Engagement Ring.
STEP 1. Establish Your Budget
According to the generally accepted convention, a man should spend roughly two months' salary on a Diamond Engagement Ring. While this guideline is certainly not a law, polls show that many men agree with this spending recommendation, and in the minds of many women it has become an accepted standard. We recommend that you don't commit yourself to a dollar amount right away-familiarize yourself with the various options available before you decide how much to spend.
STEP 2. Learn About Diamonds
To begin shopping for a Diamond, you need to understand the 4 C's of Diamond evaluation: Carat, Colour, Clarity, and Cut. By understanding these qualities you can determine which traits are most important to you, and you can find a balance between them that best suits your needs. To learn more about the four C’s of Diamonds, visit our Diamond Learning Centre or your Lugaro Jewellers store and receive invaluable information that will guide you to make the right choice and find the perfect Diamond.
STEP 3. Create Your Ring
After you find the perfect Diamond, you can then pair it with a perfect ring setting by browsing through a variety of different styles that will fit your Diamond. Lugaro Jewellers' pieces are timeless - meaning they are classically styled to stay in fashion for generations. As an engagement is an intensely personal experience, Lugaro has designed over 1000 styles, a variety that will allow you to find your own personalized, engagement ring, with a Diamond and a setting exactly suited to match your tastes and style.
In just a few simple steps, you can select a diamond that matches your budget using the four Cs. By choosing a Diamond, that meets the high standards, Lugaro makes the selection process easier while ensuring that your jewellry is truly timeless and exceptional.
What Size Diamond Should I Buy?
First, determine your budget. One general rule of thumb when buying a diamond engagement ring is "two months salary." This is just a guideline, it's not carved in stone and your first consideration should be what you can comfortably afford.
Deciding on carat size is really about striking a balance between size and quality. If she prefers larger jewellry items, and you are working within a budget, you can still find a larger diamond of excellent quality gem by selecting one which is graded slightly lower in terms of colour and clarity.
Think about what style of setting will properly hold the diamond. You'll have to be sure that the setting you choose is made to fit the carat weight of your diamond. As a timeless and beautiful gift to yourself or as an emblem of your commitment to another, a diamond is an excellent investment. Ultimately, whether you choose to consider it an investment, a symbol or a unique work of art, you have to be certain that by buying your diamond you buy a piece of mind with it. Don't forget to ask your jeweller about Diamond Guarantee and Upgrade Policy.
Caring for Jewellery
Gold is durable, sturdy, dependable, and makes an ideal setting for your precious diamond jewellery. However, to get a lifetime of enjoyment from your jewellery, be sure to keep it clean and safe.
Do not wear jewellery during rough work or when handling harsh chemicals. Store it in a fabric-lined box away from other pieces to preserve it from getting scratched. Finally, check the diamond settings periodically for any damage to the gold prongs or bezels. If you see a loose prong, or if the setting looks out of line, bring it to a professional jewellery for repair as soon as possible.
A diamond will last forever. However, to ensure that your diamond maintains its brilliance it is important to learn how to care about your diamond.
Diamonds can get smudged or dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even the natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds and cut down their brilliance.
Visiting your jeweller every six months is highly recommended as professionals provide your diamonds with added care. Your jeweller can check to make sure that the setting holding your precious gem has not been compromised during wear. At Lugaro Jewellers, you’ll get a professional cleaning free of charge.
The fire and brilliance of your diamond will truly shine by a minimal amount of effort.
Jewellery pieces should not be stored together since they can scratch each other.
Diamond jewellery should never be worn while doing rough work. A diamond can be chipped by a hard hit.
Between visits to your jeweller using a mild brand name liquid detergent works well to maintain your diamonds brilliance. Simply fill a bowl of warm like water and gently brush your diamond jewellery with a soft toothbrush while in the suds. Rinse thoroughly under warm water and pat dry.
The delicate nature of pearls makes them particularly susceptible to damage. Apply cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on any pearl jewellery. When removing your pearl jewellery, wipe it carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of these substances.
Keep your pearl jewellery separate, as its surface is soft and can easily be scratched by hard metal edges or gemstone pieces.
Bring your pearls into your jeweler to have them restrung once a year.
Nothing shines like gold, platinum, and polished tungsten. Learn more about these most precious of metals.
Gold's purity is measured in karats, 24 karat being considered pure gold. Different alloys are used in jewellery for greater strength, durability and colour range.
The "K" or karat of the jewellery will tell you what percentage of gold it contains: 24kt is 100%, 19kt is 79.17%, 18kt is 75%, 14kt is 58.33% and 10kt is 41.66% of gold. When comparing gold jewellery, the higher the number of karats, the greater the value. However the higher the number of karat, or in other words, the higher the purity, the softer and less durable the jewellery item becomes.
When buying gold jewellery, always look for the karat mark. All other factors considered equal, the higher the karat, the more expensive the piece. Nothing less than 10 karat can legally be marked or sold as gold jewellery in North America.
In addition to the karat mark, every piece of gold jewellery should be stamped with a hallmark or trademark of its maker, and sometimes its country of origin. These designations assure you that you are buying genuine karat gold jewellery.
Yellow gold is alloyed with silver and copper. It is the most commonly used type of gold there is. Malleable, ductile, and generally non-corrosive, it has a high melting point and is not susceptible to compression.
White gold is alloyed with a large percentage of silver, or a selection of other white metals such as nickel. The percentage of gold naturally varies, according to the amount of other metal used. White gold is highly reflective and not subject to loose its lustre to tarnish. The ancient term for white gold was Electrum. Its use predates that of Palladium and Platinum. Customers frequently question what causes a yellow tint in white gold and if the tint is normal, and whether they should switch to palladium white gold or some other metal for their jewellery.
#1 – Most white gold alloys do have a yellow tint, some more than others based on the percentage of nickel they contain. Nickel is a metal which is mixed or alloyed with gold in order to change its colour from yellow to white – the more nickel, the more white the end result is in a white gold. Today, nickel content in white gold alloys range from 7% to 11%. In previous times, white gold alloys may have contained higher percentage of nickel and would also have been whiter.
So why has it changed, and why everyone is making yellow white gold today? Surprisingly, the answer to these questions can be found on the shelves of supermarket in the dozens of cleaners and disinfectants containing corrosive chemicals like chlorine and bromine. White gold exposed to these chemicals can quickly fail due to stress corrosion, leading to prong failure and stone loss. The higher the nickel percentage is, the greater the risk of stress corrosion.
In recent years, most manufacturers have lowered nickel content in order to improve durability and stone security. In the past, this was unnecessary as there were not as many of these corrosive products available to the consumers. So how can a manufacturer/jeweller achieve a truly white appearance, one free from a yellow tint? In two words, “Rhodium Plating”.
Rose gold is alloyed with a higher percentage of copper, and perhaps silver. The proportions are about one part of copper to three parts of 24-karat gold.
Gold pricing is based on a number of factors, including karat, gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The karat and gram weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but don't rely on these alone to determine price. Remember, a price based solely on gram weight does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece.
Other important factors to consider are the jewellery's construction and design. A well-made piece will give you years of wear and enjoyment and, if cared for properly, will last a lifetime. Unique design, intricate details, gemstones or a special clasp may add to the price.
Platinum, like gold, has a long and distinguished history. Its popularity flourished over the last 200 years. Platinum was held in high esteem during early Egyptian times. Native people in South and Central America worked it as early as 100 B.C.
For centuries, the only large amounts of platinum outside of South America were found in Russian mines. Nowadays, platinum is far more precious than gold. Platinum's primary uses were probably limited by its hardness and its very high melting point. The early forging and casting techniques made it quite a difficult metal to work with.
The demand of platinum is in its appearance. Its white lustre is exclusive. It is also the strongest precious metal used in jewellery, and is almost twice as heavy as 14-karat gold. This weight is one of platinum's strongest selling points.
In recent years platinum’s popularity has grown. It is now an alternate choice for diamond engagement rings because its lustre brings out the brilliance of diamonds along with the traditional white gold.
Despite its growing popularity, platinum remains one of the world's rare metals. It can be found in just a few of regions of the world. The mining and refining processes are both tough and time-consuming. For example, in order to extract a single ounce of platinum, about 10 tons of ore need to be mined. After that, the refining process takes a full five months.
Platinum in jewellery is actually an alloyed group of six heavy metals, including platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. These other metals are so similar to platinum in weight and chemistry that most were not even distinguished from each other until early in the nineteenth century.
Tungsten Carbide is the only rare and exotic metal that can promise permanence in polish and finish that will endure until the end of time.
The original pattern and design in many gold rings will all but disappear after several years. Tungsten Carbide rings will maintain an everlasting beautiful and shiny finish. The heavy weight and the enduring finish of a tungsten carbide ring, speak of commitment, security and an everlasting bond.
Tungsten Rings are the most wear-resistant rings available on the planet.
Tungsten is about ten times harder than 18K Gold, five times harder than tool steel, and four times harder than titanium. Tungsten measures between 8 and 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. (Diamonds are a 10 - the highest.) Due to their extreme hardness, Tungsten Rings will hold their shape and shine longer than any ring on the market.
Tungsten rings have been referred to as "Permanently Polished Rings."
Tungsten rings will NOT bend.
In the event of an emergency, a ring can be removed by a medical professional.
Each Tungsten ring is individually hand-crafted using assorted diamond abrasives and polycrystalline diamond tooling. Tungsten with carbon and other elements are ground into a powder and then compressed with high heat and pressure dies to form a ring blank.
The blank is then fired in an oxygen-free furnace at an astounding 6,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This process called sintering creates the hardest metal alloy used in making jewelry. The ring is then cut and shaped using diamond tools with up to 40 total separate steps required for completion. The cutting and shaping of a tungsten ring is similar in many ways to the cutting and polishing of a rough diamond.
Precious metal inlay rings such as gold, silver or platinum are created by grinding a channel in the center of the ring and precisely "wedging" the metal into the channel under extreme pressure. The ring is then skillfully polished with diamond polishing tools and wheels creating a permanent luster and polish not possible with other metals.
A Tungsten Carbide ring will remain polished forever, and is virtually impossible to scratch. It is a unique metal that epitomizes today's technologically advanced man more than any other.
The word Tungsten in Swedish and Danish means "heavy stone." The current name for the element is Wolfram and was founded by Peter Woulfe in 1779 who examined wolframite.
Gold, silver and platinum like Tungsten, is element #74, are heavy elements. It is naturally occurring and is an important element responsible for the development of human civilization. Without tungsten we would not have the filament inside the incandescent light bulb. Tungsten gives the filament the toughness and resilience exceeding any other metal. In 1922 the Germans developed Tungsten Carbide as the material used in making better cutting tool bits for precision milling and cutting of steel.
Tungsten has the highest melting point of all the elements at 6,700 degrees F (3,420 degrees C). Its permanent attributes deem it to be the hardest metal on the planet.
Today tungsten carbide is used throughout the world. Although its primary application is in the mechanical industry, it is quickly gaining popularity as a durable, long lasting, material used in jewelry.