DIAMOND & PRECIOUS METAL INFORMATION
Cut & Shape
Cut is often confused with shape. Shape refers to the overall outline of a diamond when viewed from the top. Examples include princess, emerald, marquise, oval, pear, heart and cushion. These are usually referred to as “fancy” shapes.
The overwhelming majority of diamonds, however, are round, and the most common cut is the round brilliant. A diamond’s cut grade refers to the placement and proportions of facets in a round-brilliant diamond, measuring the extent to which they maximize brilliance (light return), scintillation (sparkle) and fire (flashes of colour).
A diamond with the highest color grade is the diamond with the least amount of color. The highest grade is D, which indicates that a diamond is colorless, and therefore extremely rare and valuable. An E grade indicates minute traces of colour that can only be detected by an expert. An F grade indicates slight traces of color. A diamond in the G-H range is near-colorless, with traces of yellow generally visible only when compared with whiter diamonds. I-J diamonds are also near-colorless, with color slightly detectable to the unaided eye. K-M, diamonds begin to display noticeable color.
Color differences in diamonds are very subtle. They are therefore graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set of diamonds for accuracy.
The vast majority of diamonds contain some impurities, known as inclusions, which can detract from their beauty and impede light return. The size, number, type and location of these inclusions all factor into a diamond’s final clarity grade. The universal system for grading diamonds is the IF to I3 system.
Although it is important to consider clarity, color and cut when purchasing a diamond, carat weight is the “C” most likely to determine a diamond’s value. Fortunately, it is the easiest characteristic to measure. The term carat is derivative of the word carob. Carob seeds are similar in weight to each other, so diamonds were originally measured by comparison – one carob seed equaled one carat. A carat is divided into 100 points. So a half-carat diamond is 50 points, and is expressed as 0.50ct. A one-and-three-quarter carat diamond would be 1.75cts.
Although it is true that the larger the diamond, the higher the price, it is not true that a one-carat diamond is twice the price of a half-carat diamond. Larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, so a one-carat diamond actually costs much more than twice the price of a half-carat diamond of the same quality. Cut and mounting can also make a difference in the price. Remember that quality can be more important than size. A one-carat diamond with high color and clarity values might be more beautiful than a two-carat diamond with lower clarity and color values, despite a much higher cost. It is important to balance your priorities when shopping for a diamond. And remember, the smaller your finger, the larger the diamond will appear
F and IF
F means internally and externally flawless. IF means internally flawless, a scratch on the surface of the diamond may need to be removed. F and IF diamonds are very rare and expensive.
VVS1 and VVS2
VVS means very, very slightly included. This means it is very difficult to see the impurities, even using a 10-power loupe. The numbers represent levels within this grade – VVS1s are cleaner than VVS2s.
VS1 and VS2
These diamonds are very slightly included, with impurities that are not visible to the unaided eye. VVS and VS diamonds are known as “eye-clean,” which means either a microscope or a 10-power loupe is necessary to see them.
SI1 and SI2
These diamonds are slightly included, which means the inclusions are visible under 10-power magnification and might be visible to the unaided eye. Sometimes, a diamond is graded SI1 even though it has no more inclusions than an VS2, but because those inclusions occur in the centre of the diamond, they are more noticeable and more likely to block light. Some inclusions can be hidden by a mounting, thus having little effect on the beauty of a diamond.
Beautiful, durable gold is the world’s original artifact and the perfect heirloom. It has been revered in every human culture and has been associated with gods, immortality and the earliest notions of personal adornment. King Tutankhamen’s tomb contained the largest collection of gold in the world. Finally, because gold is portable, private and permanent, the world’s first currency, created in 700 B.C., was made of gold coins. This marked the beginning of a monetary standard that made the world’s economy possible.
Gold is an ideal metal for the fabrication of jewellery, not just because of its natural beauty and lustre, but because of its resistance to oxidation and corrosion. As the most maleable and ductile of the known metals, gold is easily worked, using techniques that range from simple hammering and carving to filigreeing, granulation and millgraining.
A gift of gold has become established as an important custom throughout the world, marking occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, Valentine’s day, Christmas and birthdays. And, of course, it is an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe.
Pure gold, known as 24 karat gold, has a bright yellow colour. It is 100% gold. But pure gold, while extremely malleable, is too soft to withstand everyday wear. In order to harden it, gold is mixed with other metals, called alloys, including silver, copper and zinc.
18 karat gold is 75% gold and 25% alloys.
14 karat gold is 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloys.
10 karat gold is 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloys.
9 karat gold is 37.5% gold and 62.5 alloys.
Alloys can also serve to alter the colour of gold. Gleaming white gold is a favourite for bridal jewellery, and is created by using whitening alloys such as nickel, silver or palladium. Because white gold retains a yellowish colour, it is usually coated with rhodium, which might wear off over time. Periodic re-plating will restore your jewellery’s whiteness.
Rose gold, traditionally used for special-edition watches and now an emerging trend in fine jewellery, is created by increasing the amount of copper. Depending on the amount used, rose gold can range from a light pink to a rich, reddish or even a brownish colour.
Platinum is the elite metal of the jewellery world. It has the highest resistance to corrosion and tarnish, and will never chip or splinter. Even when platinum scratches, the metal doesn’t wear away, but is simply displaced. Most of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the Hope, are set in platinum. From a presentation point of view, the pure, white sheen of platinum accentuates the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds. From a practical point of view, platinum’s density and weight make it more durable than other metals, so it holds precious gems firmly and securely.
Platinum is also remarkably pliable. Just one gram can be drawn to produce a fine wire of over one mile long. This makes it possible to create extremely intricate, yet durable designs, such as mesh pieces.Platinum is precious not only because of its beauty, durability, pliability and density, but because it of its rarity. Platinum is 30 times rarer than gold. There is very little platinum on this earth and it is found in very few places around the world.
Platinum, in jewellery, is usually 90%-95% pure, with 10%-5% usually consisting of one of the other platinum group metals – iridium, palladium or ruthenium. It is marked 900 Plat, 950 Plat, Plat or Pt.