A diamond symbolises everlastingness – a diamond engagement ring is therefore a symbol of an everlasting unity between two individuals as a prelude to marriage. Aside from being symbols of everlastingness, diamonds make practical sense over other gemstones for engagement:
• Diamonds are the only gems that combine sparkle with hardness. Diamonds score the maximum 10 on the MoH scale of hardness whereas all other gems score lower and over a lifetime of daily wear: other gems that are not diamonds are subject to chipping and abrasion over time so that if worn daily in rings, they will periodically need re-polishing to remove minor chips and pits.
• From a colour point of view: white diamonds will match with anything clothing whereas coloured gems will clash with certain colours. For both these reasons – coloured precious gemstones are more popular as occasional jewellery such as dress rings that are worn occasionally or in pendants/earrings rather than as engagement rings.
• Diamonds retain and appreciate in value more than any other gemstone. In a classic diamond solitaire ring, the main value (>80%) is in the central diamond rather than the rest of the ring. The market for gems other than diamonds is a lot smaller and more volatile
- Tell us what it is that you are looking for by giving us a budget or specifying your preferred Cut, Carat, Colour, and Clarity. Fill out "Request a Price" or call Céline +44 777 038 1882. We will then get back to you with a detailed email including a selection of diamonds in synch with your parameters/budget.
- You can meet with us in London or Antwerp to view and select from loose diamonds.
- We have an office in London: first floor of 2 Royal Exchange, London, EC3V 3DG where we meet clients by appointment only. Our main diamond office and showroom are in the diamond district of Antwerp where we have membership of the Diamond Bourse, our Antwerp address is: Diamond House, Vestingstraat 59, 1st floor, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium.
- It is important to note that we are not a retail shop but a diamond office. Shops sell ready-made jewellery - we sell loose diamonds and custom-made jewellery though we do have a small selection of ready items.
- Orders from London usually take 1-4 weeks to fulfil and require a deposit.
- We get people travelling in from all over the world to see us as we provide the best cut quality diamonds in custom designs at the lowest prices and with more guarantees than most.
Solitaire diamond engagement rings (that is a ring with a single diamond) are the most classic and popular choice for an engagement – as an engagement ring is worn daily for life, the diamond engagement ring has to look good every day not just when you are in your 20s or 30s but also as you go forward through 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Other classic designs are solitaires with small diamonds on the shoulders. As we have an in-house design team – we can create any style and design of jewellery. The main value is in the diamond – if you not sure of design then you can propose with a loose diamond in a special presentation case and let your fiancée choose the ring design.
A round brilliant diamond is the most popular and the most sparkly shape: it looks good in any carat weight. – 80-90% of all diamonds are cut in the round shape in line with the demand/popularity of this shape. After round brilliant: princess cut diamond is the most popular fancy shape: it’s a more contemporary shape: 5-10% of all diamonds are cut in the princess cut shape.
Other fancy shapes are much rarer (ranging from 1 in 100 to 1 in 10,000 in line with their more limited demand and appeal) and look better in larger carat weights – its best to have your fiancée’s help or some prior knowledge of what she would like if you are choosing a fancy shape to know that it will appeal to her – will she be the 1 in 80-90% who likes a round brilliant or will she be the 1 in 100 that likes a pear shape or 1 in 8000 that likes a cushion cut diamond..?
1. Pear and oval shapes suit those with long fingers and are most popular in larger carat weights
2. Emerald cut and Asscher cut diamonds are favoured by those who like art-deco and prefer their diamonds under-stated as emerald cut diamonds have the least sparkle. Asscher cut diamonds are square emerald cut diamonds – though Asscher has more sparkle than emerald cut diamond they do not sparkle as much as princess cut or cushion cut diamonds. As emerald and Asscher cut diamonds are so see-through they require higher quality diamonds
3. Cushion cut diamonds are popular in vintage-style designs that help outline/emphasise their shape: each one is unique in shape from oblong through to squarish - cushion cut diamonds look smaller than the same carat round brilliant diamond as the cushions require more depth
4. Radiant cut diamonds have the same outline as emerald cut but have more sparkle – they are most popular in larger carat weights requiring larger budgets
5. Marquise and heart diamonds are the least popular shapes: marquise cut diamonds were at the height of their popularity in the 1980s.
The answer to this depends entirely on your budget: diamond trade prices increase exponentially with carat weight: a one carat diamond costs 4 times the price of half a carat, a 0.7 carat is around half the price of 1 carat, a 1.5 carat diamond costs double the price of 1 carat and a 2 carat diamond costs nearly 4 times the price of 1 carat. If budget allows then larger carat weights diamonds are more desired though we offer a lifetime free upgrade: you get 100% of your diamond’s purchase price (trade price is set in US dollars per carat), less applicable VAT and the cost of the jewellery setting, toward a more expensive diamond. The diamond and its grading report must be in their original undamaged condition. As we specialise in selling higher value diamonds, the majority of our clients buy over a carat or more and upgrades are usually only sought after several years marriage or after children if the starting diamond is less than a carat.
- We buy from the source in Antwerp and give you the best quality diamonds directly thereby cutting out the middlemen who supply from Antwerp to London and New York.
- Antwerp is the very source of the diamond trade with as much as almost 70% market share, in other words: a London or New York diamond most of the times is bought in Antwerp before it was put up for sale.
- Antwerp has always been the only diamond city in the world with three diamond-cutting schools where young people are molded into the worlds finest craftsmen in diamond polishing. The Antwerp-cut is therefore known for it's finest sparkle!
- We buy directly from diamond cutters in Antwerp and hand-make to order so that we are able to offer:
- higher quality diamonds (including premier cut and ideal cut diamonds) that meet your Cut, Carat, Colour, and Clarity criteria.
- Individual handmade designs tailored to suit your particular tastes.
- Competitive prices, typically saving about 50% when compared many fine designer shops.
- The biggest selection of diamonds from the largest diamond marketplace:
- The best quality, premium cut diamonds at direct from Antwerp prices combined with individual, tailored designs.
- As we have a team of in-house designers and goldsmiths – we can design and create any style of jewellery that you like. Bespoke design and making is our standard and incurs no extra cost as we provide the jewelery-making at cost as an added-value service to our diamond clients.
- There are now many online diamond vendors selling certified diamonds and there are also fine designers who tailormake - we are the only ones to combine both services in one place so that you can get the best quality, premium cut diamonds in individual designs for a direct from Antwerp price with local accountability and convenience in the UK.
- The sad fact is, 75% of all round brilliant cut diamonds and 88% of all other fancy cut diamond shapes on the market are poorly proportioned to retain carat weight rather to maximise sparkle. In contrast, we handpick our diamonds to maximise cut. All our diamonds have the highest grades for Cut proportions on independent diamond grading certificates - so no concessions here.
- All our diamonds (from 0.40 carat upwards) are accompanied by a worldwide accepted diamond certificate (e.g. HRD, GIA or IGI) and are hand-picked to select only well-cut diamonds as it's the diamond Cut proportions which determine how well a diamond will sparkle.
- We specialise in classic and tailor-made designs that are not readily found in one place in the UK.
- Our clients are those who typically want quality, tailor-made pieces at competitive prices.
- For people who want all the quality and style of the prestigious designer shops and twice the diamond or half the price combined with personalised service where each piece is individually tailored.
- As a rule of thumb two months salary is standard, however more or less is also fine for an engagement ring diamond.
- Ever since I started the business I had my own ideas on how a diamond should look, to qualify for jewellery: Colour: a diamond should be more than just white but not necessarily D colour (the best blue white). Anything between the colours 'E' (Exceptional white) and to 'H' (white) is to be considered, E (Exceptional white), F (Very very white), G (rare white), H (white) and even I (slightly off-white) are all considered very white and once set in a ring, one is hard to tell from the other. Clarity: a diamond should be far better than just eye-clean but should not necessarily be Internally Flawless. In my view, it is more the nature of the inclusion, than the degree of inclusion that is important. I would for example prefer a white VS2 with an inclusion on the side of the stone, to a more expensive VS1, that has a black spot right in the centre, the very heart of the diamond. Cut: a diamond should be cut in Antwerp where you can find the best craftsmanship on the market: It's the cut that makes a diamond sparkle!
- The setting: the choice of platinum, white or yellow gold is yours and should be based on your personal preference as well as matching your other jewellery.
- Regardless of your preference in colour, clarity, size, or budget: Cut comes first. It is the cut that brings a diamond to life that gives it its sparkle, its brilliance, its fire. No concessions there. A diamond should be cut within certain proportions, angles and percentages, to obtain the highest grades on certificates.
Diamonds prices are governed by international diamond trade prices (like international gold or coffee prices) based on demand and supply. Ultimately, the reason that diamonds are luxury goods and hence expensive is that their supply is limited to what is found in nature. Only around 15% of all diamonds that are mined are suitable for use in jewellery, the rest are used in industry for cutting tools, for semiconductors, etc. On average 50% of the rough diamond is lost when cutting a polished gem hence, diamond prices increase rapidly with carat weight. In other words, one needs to have found a good quality 2 carat rough diamond in order to end up with a final 1 carat diamond.
Approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed in order to produce a single, one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond.
Millions of years in the making. What many people don’t know about diamonds is that they were formed under immense heat and pressure hundreds of miles below sea level. After 100 million years of formation, volcanic explosions forced them upward, exposing their natural beauty to the world. Diamonds were formed more than 70 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today. Rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are the hardest substances on earth, but their appeal goes far beyond durability.
By contrast, cubic zirconias are relatively inexpensive as they are man-made and you can have as many as you like i.e. their supply is not limited.
Diamond prices are based on demand and supply and that varies with many factors. In the past, 1+ carat high quality diamonds were sold sooner than bigger stones, today any diamond that is 4 carat upwards with high quality is getting rarer.... so, the bigger the better. In general, I would recommend buying DEF/VVS in 2ct + for the longer term, and the same quality in 1.10+ for the 3-5 year term. All this is based on buying from us at direct from Antwerp prices rather than from designer shops were no matter what diamond you buy you will lose ca. 50-70% as soon as you walk out of the door due to the retail margins.
Since diamonds were first mined in ancient India over 2800 years ago, they have been associated with power, love, wealth and prestige. Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of the diamond and how it could connect love with eternity. Their belief was founded upon Vena Amoris (the vein of love) finger leading back to the heart. By wearing a diamond ring on the Vena Amoris, the ancient Egyptians passionately believed that eternal love could be achieved.
Even today, throughout much of the world, a diamond ring worn on the third finger is viewed as a symbol of the commitment of love. So having found the ‘love of your life’ how do you find the special diamond that is going to symbolise everlasting love?
To start with there is an amazing range of prices to consider from modest sums to telephone number figures that most of us can only dream of. What is more, diamond selling price is NOT the same as diamond value – the difference is the profits and overheads added of the seller! It is therefore advisable before making any purchase to find out a little more about diamonds and their intrinsic value so that you can have that diamond of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Whilst many people may have heard that a diamond’s value depends critically in terms of the 4Cs: the Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Colour, few really understand how this works in practice. The carat is the weight of a diamond. One carat is 0.2 gram or 200 milligrams and hence is easy to measure objectively with the help of an accurate weighing scale. This is not the case with the other attributes. It is unfortunate that people are often misled into paying too much for an inferior diamond because they do not understand the other more subjective attributes.
The most important and often least understood “C” is “Cut”. To get from the raw diamond to the finished cut sparkling gemstone requires the skilled hand of a master cutter. A rough or uncut diamond is rather unimpressive compared to the sparkling gems resulting from cutting and polishing!
The better the CUT proportions, the better the diamond handles light to create sparkle. Therefore CUT is the single most important factor affecting a diamond's brilliance and visual fire. However, “Cut” is often confused with diamond Shape.
Diamonds can be cut into many different shapes: 80-85% of all diamonds are cut into the round brilliant diamond shape as this is the most popular. About 5-10% of all diamonds are cut into the princess shape (a square shape) and the remaining 5-10% are spread between all the other shapes e.g. emerald cut, pear shape, oval, cushion, asscher, radiant, marquise, heart, baguette…etc.
The sad fact is that 75-80% of diamonds sold anywhere are poorly proportioned to retain carat weight rather to maximise sparkle as the average person and the average vendor sells them by the carat!
A well-cut diamond reflects maximum light and so sparkles the best.
Poorly cut diamonds are actually worth up to 50% less than many vendors sell them at but unless you buy with expert advise you often end up paying more for these inferior diamonds. Hence, a diamond in the hand bought with expertise at a direct from trade low price may literally have a net value that is more than the value of higher price diamonds being sold in the shops!
With fancy shapes like hearts, pears, marquise, there are visual clues that even a novice can use to spot diamonds that are too fat, too thin or too irregular. For example, only one of the five diamonds below is well-cut!
However, more expertise is required to judge the most popular shape, the round brilliant.
All round diamonds have the same visually round shape but will differ in their angles, proportions and depths that are not visually apparent especially when the diamond is already set in a piece of jewellery rather than being loose. For the round shape, the solution is to buy diamonds with the highest grades for Cut proportions on independent certificates from the most reputable independent laboratories e.g. GIA, HRD, AGS and IGI. Many other certificates are not worth the paper they are written on as they are either not strict enough in their grading (e.g. EGL) or not fully independent.
Another critical factor affecting diamond value is “Colour”. Most diamonds are referred to as “colourless” which in diamond terminology ranges from actually colourless to yellowish shades. The difference between various colour grades makes a critical difference to value though the differences in shade are very subtle requiring expertise to judge when the diamond is loose. Few people realise that it is impossible to accurately asses a diamond’s colour when the diamond is already set in jewellery.
The colour scale starts at D (the best blue white) and goes through to Z.
The difference between adjacent colours is very small in the top grades but has a big impact on price:
A very tiny percentage of diamonds have other distinct colours e.g. blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, or red. Such fancy coloured diamonds command telephone figure prices in line with their rarity. The picture below shows fancy coloured diamonds, courtsey of the HRD:
Diamond Clarity is the remaining C and refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections in a diamond. Almost all diamonds have some imperfections as individual as the person who wears the diamond. These characteristics help to separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and give identity to individual stones. For the purposes of jewellery, diamonds are graded by the amount of imperfections that can be seen at x10 magnification with a jeweller’s magnifying glass. This is the easiest factor for most people to understand and appreciate especially when viewing a diamond close up under magnification.
Historically, the shops whether prestigious ones like Cartier and Tiffany to more modest independent retailers have been popular for their choice and convenience as well as their instant fulfilment. However, branded shops have higher margins, often charging as much as 2-3 times the diamond trade price, to cover their higher costs of advertising/branding and high stock levels. Even modest non-branded retailers often charge double the trade price to cover their stock and premises overheads.
Hence, many shrewd shoppers nowadays prefer to purchase from diamond brokers (e.g. www.bestdiamonds.co.uk or www.designsbyindigo.co.uk) who can sell with expertise from loose diamonds as well as provide non-retail trade prices. Such diamond brokers provide a more personalised service by cherry-picking diamonds to suit their client’s budget and needs rather than just selling “stock”.
On the whole diamond brokers like these are still relatively few compared to the growth of online “diamond bucket shops” where one can simply click and order from a list of diamonds. Many mass-market shoppers are turning to these bucket shops for the convenience of buying via their computer screen from which they can look at pictures of thousands of items online and place their order without ever talking to a human.
Typically, such mass-market diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and let the shopper pick the diamond they want based on the specifications in the list. The shopper pays for the diamond in advance and then the wholesaler or the retailer ships the diamond to the consumer. Due to their low overhead costs, diamond bucket shops can provide lower prices than most branded or independent jewellery shops.
The disadvantage of this style of bucket retailer is that there are few safeguards in place to keep the consumer from making a mistake and paying a low price but one that may still be too much for an overall low value diamond! Picking the least expensive diamond from an online list of options often means there is something less desirable about the diamond. After all, the majority of diamonds produced and sold without expertise are the ones with less than ideal cut proportions for example!
To determine which company is going to be the best supplier for your diamonds, know what characteristics are most important to you. If you want a branded diamond and instant fulfilment and do not mind paying the higher overhead charge then the branded shops are the way to go. If you want to choose from loose diamonds with expert advice at trade prices then a diamond broker should be your route. If quality is not important then any other route is your option.
- Absolutely! First of all, a diamond should be accompanied by one of the world's leading grading reports: e.g. The HRD or IGI in Antwerp and the USA-based GIA or AGS.
- Diamond grading reports are granted for a fee by independent gemology institutes (e.g. GIA, HRD, IGI, AGS). The most important thing about these laboratories is the fact they are impartial in their examination (yet, not all are impartial, unfortunately!). This ensures the stone will get the true grade if the grader sees fit to give it. Some other grading reports (e.g. EGL) may be less accurate.
- You should inform yourself about the priorities you set to your diamond's budget. Do you prefer colour to clarity? Do you prefer size to colour and clarity or will you go for the very top?
- In any case, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the cut should be perfect to near perfect!
- The reason is simple: cut is what you see in the sparkle!
- I would even go as far as to state that it is sometimes better to buy a lower quality colour or clarity diamond with a perfect cut than to buy a higher quality colour or clarity gem with a poor cut.
- I strongly recommend NOT to buy any carat weight that ends in .00 such as 1.00ct or 2.00ct.
- We, the diamond traders look at these stones with suspicion because most of the times the polisher has had instructions to do whatever necessary to keep the stone from becoming 0.99 or 1.99 ct.
- I have seen many diamonds that still had a bit unpolished (rough) just to maintain the commercially interesting 1.00 carat or 2.00 carat weight!
- Diamonds can glow in ultraviolet light - have fluorescence - and even though I prefer 'none' to 'slight', this is not an obstacle for me when I purchase my diamonds. "Medium" to "Strong" fluorescence will make your diamond appear "overblue" - such diamonds used to be prized in the past as the best diamond colour D is a "Blue white". You should be careful to inspect the diamond first as sometimes "Strong" fluorescence can cause the diamond to appear milky white/hazy in daylight. However, medium fluorescence diamonds may be a good purchase if you like your diamonds to be overblue as this will make any diamond face-up whiter. This is a particular advantage for diamond of colour I (slightly off-white) and below. Some gem diamonds fluoresce, most commonly blue, to the concentrated long-wave ultraviolet radiation of a UV lamp. There is a perception in the trade that this fluorescence has a negative effect on the overall appearance of such a diamond. Visual observation experiments were conducted to study this relationship. Four sets of very similar round brilliant diamonds, covering the color range from colorless to faint yellow, were selected for the different commonly encountered strengths of blue fluorescence they represented. These diamonds were then observed by trained graders, trade professionals, and average observers in various stone positions and lighting environments. For the average observer, meant to represent the jewelry buying public, no systematic effects of fluorescence were detected. Even the experienced observers did not consistently agree on the effects of fluorescence from one stone to the next. In general, the results revealed that strongly blue fluorescent diamonds were perceived to have a better color appearance when viewed table-up, with no discernible trend table-down. Most observers saw no relationship between fluorescence and transparency."
The diamond colour scale goes from D to Z where D is the whitest of the white and hence most expensive. Diamond colour grading is done with the diamond face down whereas diamonds are worn face-up. Generally, the top 5-7 colours (Colourless D-F and Near colourless diamonds G-J) are regarded as shades of white in a brilliant cut diamond and its hard to tell the difference in colour between adjacent colours when a diamond is set. Many ordinary people can observe colour with the naked eye more easily than diamond clarity. For example, if you take diamond with I or J colours set in white gold or platinum, many people can tell that the diamond looks a little "off-white" especially if you see the diamond next to D, E or F colour diamonds that are whiter. If I, J, K+ colour stones are set in yellow gold then its harder to tell that they are not pure white. However, diamond colour becomes more noticable as the size of the stone increases or in shapes other than round brilliant e.g. emerald and asscher cut diamonds are more see-through with larger facets so they require higher quality (both colour and clarity) than other shapes.
The first eyeclean clarity grade is SI2. However in the majority of SI2 diamonds - you are likely to be able to see the inclusion with the naked eye on close scrutiny if you know where to look. Hence, SI1 diamonds are a better bet for eyeclean diamonds though it takes careful selection to find good SI1 diamonds where the inclusion is not an unsightly black mark right in the centre. A well-cut round brilliant diamond in a true SI1 will look no different to the naked eye than a VS2 or an Internally Flawless diamond!
The inclusions in diamonds that are VS2 and above to VVS1 are too small to visibly impair the sparkle of the diamond. The difference between IF, VVS1...to VS2 can only be discerned by a trained/expert eye at x10 magnification. Most people cannot distiguish IF from VVS1, VVS2 at x10 magnification. Many ordinary people find it hard to see inclusions in VS2 and above even when viewing with x10 magnifying lens.
Step cut diamond shapes like emerald and asscher cut diamonds require a higher quality of colour and clarity as they have large see-through facets which make it easy to see any imperfections.
In general in my opinion - colour is something that can be discerned with the naked eye with practice (e.g. when looking at an engagement ring on a daily basis) whereas no-one ever has or develops "X-ray" vision. Hence, I would recommend buying as white a diamond as you can afford in your carat range in a eyeclean or better clarity.
For some people just knowing that their diamond is a very high clarity (e.g. Internally Flawless or VVS1 clarity) or a very white colour (e.g. D colour) is important even if the differences cannot be seen with the naked eye. Only you can decide for yourself if knowing something on paper that cannot be seen to the naked eye is worth spending the extra money. If going lower in grading, even if it can't be seen to the naked eye, is going to bother you it is probably a good idea to go ahead and spend the extra money to have the better specification because it will always bother you.
GIA is the oldest lab and so has become the most well-recognised and reputed, especially in the U.S. On the other hand, HRD whilst well-regarded by the diamond community in Europe, is a rather unknown report in the U.S. Whilst HRD and GIA differ ever so slightly in systems of grading both strive to conform to their own system and overall, they both do good and comparable jobs. You should to be able to buy a diamond with a high degree of confidence with either lab's report.
Here are some of the differences that have been observed by a fellow diamond professional in Antwerp when working with both GIA and HRD certificates for the same diamond:
"Colour-grading: Experience with both labs teaches me, that in the very high colours (D-E-F), HRD is generally more strict than GIA. In Antwerp, I try to buy specific HRD higher range E-colours, and very often, I get a GIA D-grade for them. The other differences between the two labs are minimal.
Clarity-grading: GIA is generally slightly stricter in clarity-grading than HRD. For borderline-impurities, GIA will give one clarity lower than HRD.
Proportion-grading for round brilliant diamonds. GIA did not use to give a grade on proportions but introduced a new cut grading system from January 2006, whereas HRD has been operating a cut grading system for many years where prior to 2009, the highest grade for cut proportions for round brilliant diamonds was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry which are the same factors as GIA grades. The polish describes the finish of the facets, while the proportions determine the brilliancy and the fire of the diamond. The symmetry describes the variations of the different parameters that define the proportions. For diamond professionals, the range of grades (Excellent and Very Good are the top two grades in both GIA and HRD certificates) from both these labs is too broad to be really useful however, some information on this is better than no information at all.
Symmetry- and Polish-grading. GIA gives separate gradings for Symmetry and Polish, with the highest possible being 'Excellent', while before January 2009, HRD used to combine Symmetry and Polish into a Finish-grade where the highest possible grade was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry separately which are the same factors as GIA grades separately.
Detailed information. GIA gives you table size, total depth, while HRD gives you table size, crown height and pavillion depth, while you can calculate total depth yourself from the measurements. When giving girdle size, HRD uses another notation than GIA, and because of that the girdle will appear about 1.7% thicker on a HRD-report than on a GIA-report.
These are the main differences. Now to politics. Working in Antwerp, and having thousands of HRD-reports available here, I do not understand why HRD does not do a better job of promoting its report in the U.S. I fear that politics is the reason behind this. A few years ago, GIA was apparently preparing to set up a lab in Antwerp. Somehow, this lab has never started, and HRD is now heavily promoting its report in Canada, Dubai, the Far East, but not in the U.S. Could there be some kind of gentleman's agreement between the two labs? "
The International Federation of Diamond Bourses in their 1978 report accepts IGI as an equal to the longer existing GIA or HRD. Being a newcomer in those days, IGI was being looked at with suspicion, and that is why - even nowadays - some people still refer to IGI as a lab too young to be good.
According to some diamond websites, the impression is given that GIA is the 'only' consistent grader: however, GIA's main share holder is Mr Robert Mouawad who is involved in many a diamond company. This has given some people in the diamond community more than once the feeling that a conflict of interest could arise from this potental mix of diamond selling with diamond grading. The recent GIA scandal in 2005 of diamond misgradings for some very large diamonds will do nothing to quell such concerns.
Neither HRD, nor IGI houses share-holders that operate in commercial diamond activities. This emphasizes their status of independence.
As for consistency of IGI grading:
August 26, 2003 IGI Becomes First International Gemological Lab to Become ISO 9001:2000 Certified
IGI Awarded Certification in Both the United States and Canada
NEW YORK – The International Gemological Institute (IGI) today announced its Los Angeles and Toronto labs were granted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 certification for operating a quality management system in the scope of independent third party analysis of diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry articles.
ISO is a network of national standards institutes from more than 140 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives to more directly link business objectives with business effectiveness.
ISO 9000 is a generic name given to a family of standards developed to provide a framework around which a quality management system can effectively be based. The ISO 9000 family of standards was revised in December 2000.
According to IGI North America President, Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A., "This is a milestone for IGI. The ISO 9001 certification emphasizes the Institute’s continued commitment to provide clients with the highest quality of services available. It demonstrates that IGI is dedicated to excellence in every phase of its business operations."
To be certified to the standard, companies must implement a quality management system that accounts for a range of company activities, including staff training, meeting customer requirements and delivering services. This is done using Plan-Do-Check-Act principles and Process Management, which outlines the steps taken to provide customers the services pledged by the company.
As part of the ISO process, a third party auditor performed on-site assessments in both the Toronto and Los Angeles labs’ documented procedures, and audited its overall operations. To ensure continued compliance with ISO 9001:2000 and to provide feedback internally on process effectiveness, IGI business operations will be independently assessed by periodic routine surveillance audits.
The International Gemological Institute, the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and valuating gemstones and fine jewelry, was established in 1975 and is located in New York City, Antwerp, Toronto, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Mumbai (Bombay), Dubai and Tokyo. IGI can be reached at www.igiworldwide.com.
What is it?
Florescence results from the interaction between a light's energy and the atoms in a diamond and makes diamonds glow in UltraViolet light (which is found in sunlight) . The most common colour for fluorescence is blue. It is not so much whether there is flourescence but the degree of fluorescence that matters. MEDIUM and STRONG fluorescence can make 'off white' diamonds appear whiter and can make white diamonds look bluer. As the best diamond colour – D is actually a “Blue white”…some decades ago, fluorescent diamonds used to be prized but since then the trend has reversed.
How does it happen?
Diamond is crystallized carbon. If there were traces of other minerals present e.g. nitrogen, boron (these are common element) present in the earth when the this crystallization process occurred, the diamond will fluoresce. Blue is the most common colour for the fluorescence.
Do all diamonds have fluorescence?
About 50-66% of the diamond have some fluorescence that can be observed under special conditions such as short wave ultra violet light. FAINT, SLIGHT or MEDIUM fluorescence has no visible impact on the diamond. 10% of the diamonds on the market have florescence that is STRONG – it is SOME of these diamonds (according to GIA, only ca. 3%) that are too be avoided as they make the diamond look milky/hazy.
How does fluorescence affect the value/quality of diamonds?
The first level of fluorescence (Faint or Slight) has ZERO impact on the value of the diamond at any colour/clarity combination as it has NEGLIGIBLE visual or other impact on the diamond.
Higher levels of Fluorescence can affect value negatively or positively depending on the quality you are looking at. For diamonds with good colours i.e. D to H: Medium and higher levels of fluorescence commands discounts on the diamond price [because you cannot be sure if the good white colour grade awarded to a diamond is because of the fluorescence. Medium to Strong fluorescence makes any diamond face up whiter/bluer in sunlight (which contains uv). For diamonds with colours I and below: fluorescence actually fetches a better price! This is because it makes slightly tinted white diamonds look whiter.
Here is a summary from GIA study on this subject:
"Some gem diamonds fluoresce, most commonly blue, to the concentrated long-wave ultraviolet radiation of a UV lamp. There is a perception in the trade that this fluorescence has a negative effect on the overall appearance of such a diamond. Visual observation experiments were conducted to study this relationship. Four sets of very similar round brilliant diamonds, covering the color range from colorless to faint yellow,
were selected for the different commonly encountered strengths of blue fluorescence they represented. These diamonds were then observed by trained graders, trade professionals, and average observers in various stone positions and lighting environments. For the average observer, meant to represent the jewelry buying public, no systematic effects of fluorescence were detected. Even the experienced observers did not consistently agree on the effects of fluorescence from one stone to the next. In general, the results revealed that strongly blue fluorescent diamonds were perceived to have a better color appearance when viewed table-up, with no discernible trend table-down. Most observers saw no relationship between fluorescence and transparency."
I will tell you more: even to 90% of all jewellers this diamond market is not transparent at all!
It therefore takes a good deal of informing yourself about where to pay attention to, as I stated in the previous answers.
Always bear in mind that when you think you can do the diamond deal of your life, you always get what you pay for!
Fair prices exist like on this site, bargains do not, despite many others may try to convince you otherwise.
My honest answer: You can NOT! You need to be an expert and use specialized equipment to make sure a diamond is real. Do not trust ideas like scratching a beer bottle (it may damage the diamond too), thermal conductivity ( conducts equally well), looking through, comparing weight, etc.
If the diamond is accompanied by a certificate you will know it is real and if it is treated artificially or not.
Tip: If you can not easily find inclusions under a 10 times magnification you should become suspicious, most likely it is not a real diamond. But be aware of the fact that some gas bubbles in cubic zirconium may appear like inclusions if you do not look carefully.
A reliable grading report (e.g. from GIA, HRD, AGS, or IGI) will confirm that your diamond is natural.
From Hedda T. Schupak, JCK Editor-in-Chief in JCK-Jewelers Circular Keystone
"Detection of synthetic diamonds is no longer a concern for the jewelry industry. That was a key good-news message presented by Dr. James Shigley, director of research for the Gemological Institute of America, during GIA's GemFest Basel, part of the BaselWorld 2005 trade fair.
Synthetic diamonds first became a concern in 1970, when General Electric launched its first attempt at them, but the issue has come to the fore again in the past few years with the advent of several new producers and an article touted synthetics on the cover of Wired magazine.
But there is no known commercial production of colorless synthetics, said Shigley. Furthermore, synthetic diamonds have a unique crystal morphology due to how they're grown in a laboratory. Their growth process produces a distinct color zoning feature that gives the stones identifying characteristic. They also have a distinct graining pattern and sometimes have metallic inclusions left from the flux used in the growing process.
In addition, diamonds produced by carbon vapor deposition don't pose a threat to the market, he said. To date, all specimens GIA has seen from CVD producer Apollo were under a carat, and the process produces light brown stones, requiring further (HPHT) treatment to lighten them.
There may in the future be a joining of the two methods, whereby a CVD diamond is grown on a synthetic diamond substrate, but these stones would also be detectable, Shigley said."
What about weight/feel?
PT: Inch for inch heavier and denser metal so it feels heavier than gold
18k WG: Inch for inch lighter
What about scratching?
PT: Scratches more easily if set in a design where there are lots high polish areas. Before platinum made its comeback in the early 90's most platinum rings were finely hand engraved and/or set with pave diamonds. So there were very little high polish areas. With this type of design platinum rings need little maintenance to keep their beautiful look as the pave diamonds continue to sparkle over time and even the inner portions of the engraved areas are beneath the surface and also maintain their polish. On the other hand rings with large areas of high polish are going to need constant refinishing to maintain their original highly polished look.
18k WG: Maintains its sheen longer than platinum
Which one is more durable?
Both are durable as well as both are subject to wear and tear…
What about colour?
Some people like platinum whilst others feel that it can appear dull grey compared to the sheen of white gold
PT: Maintains the same colour forever. White is the natural colour of platinum
18k WG: May eventually tinge to a very light yellow though white gold is easily re-plated with rhodium
White colour is induced by alloying yellow gold with a white metal. We use palladium in our white gold. Palladium is in the same group of elements as platinum and is similarly valuable. Other jewellers may use other base metals in the alloying such as nickel which can cause allergies.
What about cost?
Platinum is more expensive though when considering the total cost of an engagement ring, the extra cost for platinum is considered by many as insignificant in relation to the whole cost.
Platinum is rarer. To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tonnes of ore must be mined. In comparison, only 3 tonnes of gold are required to produce one ounce of gold.
What about maintenance?
Neither metal will always look new. Both need eventual maintenance one way or another.
PT: Over time, long-term maintenance on platinum involves visits for re-polishing.
18k WG: Over time, maintenance on white gold rings can include re-polishing, re-plating (rhodium finish).
Yes. If it is a certified diamond - please send us a copy of the certificate for us to give you a price quote for exchange or sale. Otherwise, if the diamond has no certificate, we will need to evaluate your existing diamond first. The only way we can do that is to study your stone with our specialist equipment in our Antwerp workshop. You are welcome to meet with us in London and we will give you a FREE evaluation after we have examined the diamond in Antwerp - we will return it to you in London. Alternatively, you can come and visit us directly in Antwerp where we will be able to give you a same day evaluation.
This is a decision that only you can make – about 80% of our clients are men who choose to surprise her with an engagement ring, 15% are couples who come and select together or he comes but comes pre-armed with knowing what shape and style of ring she would like and about 5% are women who come and choose their own ring.
Keeping your diamond ring clean is essential if you want it to sparkle to its fullest. Film from lotions, powders, and your own skin oils will dull stones and reduce their brilliance. As we said earlier, you will be amazed at how much a slight film can affect the sparkle of the stone, and it can also affect its color, making it look dingy.
It’s easy to keep your rings clean. To clean your rings, wash with warm, sudsy water. This is perhaps the simplest and easiest way to clean any kind of jewelry. Prepare a small bowl of warm, sudsy water, using any kind of mild liquid detergent (avoid harsh detergents). Soak your ring for a few minutes and then brush gently with an eyebrow brush or soft toothbrush, keeping the piece submerged in the sudsy water. Rinse thoroughly under running water (make sure the drain is closed -some prefer to place jewelry in a wire strainer before placing under the running water) and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel.
Note that it is also important to not leave it unchecked
Even if you don't wear your ring while exercising, normal daily activity — fabric snags, say — can loosen prongs, putting your stone in danger of falling out.
We recommend regular checks to make sure the settings are secure.
We would therefore like you to come back at least once every 12-18 months for us to service the ring and restore it like new – we will check that the diamonds are still secure, clean and re-polish the ring to restore it like new as all metals wear with use – platinum gets scratched and develops a dullish grey patina so the yearly maintenance restores the finish like new. There is no charge for this – the only downside is that you would be without the ring for ca. a week
At the same, we will also make sure that your valuation report is still up to date. If needed, we will be happy to issue a new one.
Your engagement ring isn't just a symbol of your union. It is also a precious piece of jewellery that can be passed down through generations — if you take proper care of it.
Of course, you know never to open boxes or try to pop bottle tops with your ring (trust us, people do try!), but there are a few unexpected everyday activities that can put your ring in harm's way.
We would therefore like to share our best advice on what to do, and what to avoid, to keep your ring lovely for a lifetime!
Newsflash(!): Your ring is fragile. It's important to remember that if you are careless with it, you can severely damage your ring by chipping the band or setting the stones loose. In other words:
Don't wear it during vigorous sports
Any activity that involves impact to your hands (from volleyball to boxing to weightlifting, rock climbing…) can bend or break the prongs that hold your stone in place, causing it to fall out of its setting.
Don’t swim with your jewellery
Similarly, they warn against wearing it during water activities such as swimming, water skiing, or boating, as it's far easier for your ring to slip off when your hands are wet. We’ve heard so many stories about rings getting lost in lakes and oceans during honey moons!
Don't wear it while cleaning
Household cleaners such as bleach and common chemicals, such as acetone nail polish remover and chlorine from pools and hot tubs can also erode alloys in precious metals.
Don’t wear it while cooking
Think about all of the grossness that can get stuck in your ring when you're making meatballs, rolling cookie dough, or marinating meat with your hands. That should be reason enough for you to want to take your ring off when cooking those foods.
Don’t wear it while gardening
Even diamonds can be chipped or broken by a hard blow in certain directions.
Don’t wear it while slathering on with lotion and creams
Thick lotions and creams can leave residue on your ring, making it feel and look dirty.
Don’t carelessly toss jewellery in a case
Diamonds can scratch other gemstones very easily, and can also scratch each other. To prevent scratching, diamond jewellery should be placed in a case with dividers or separate compartments, or each piece placed in a soft pouch or individually wrapped in tissues or a soft cloth.
Try not to touch the stones in your rings
When putting them on or taking them off. Instead, take rings on and off by grasping the metal portion that encircles the finger (the ring shank). Slipping rings on and off by grasping the metal shank rather than the stone will prevent a greasy buildup on the stone’s surface, which greatly reduces the brilliance and sparkle of a stone.
Don’t sleep with your jewellery
Remove it before going to bed and avoid scratching you or your bed partner’s face in the night.
Buy some ring holders and keep one in the kitchen, in your bathroom and next to your bed
Don’t take off rings and lay them on the side of the sink unless you’re sure the drain is closed. Also, never remove your rings to wash your hands when away from home (too many have been forgotten … and lost).