Diamonds Are Forever
By Sam Serio
Diamond jewelry: diamond rings, diamond earrings, diamond pendants and
diamond bracelets are some of the most sought after gemstone creations. Your eyes tell you
how beautiful a piece of diamond jewelry is, but how do you know you are getting your
A little knowledge can go a long way to help you purchase a beautiful
piece of diamond jewelry at a fair price.
Diamond Jewelry 101
A diamond's value is based on four criteria: color, cut, clarity, and
carat. The clarity and color of a diamond usually are graded. However, scales are not
uniform: a clarity grade of "slightly included" may represent a different grade
on one grading system versus another, depending on the terms used in the scale. Make sure
you know how a particular scale and grade represent the color or clarity of the diamond
you're considering. A diamond can be described as "flawless" only if it has no
visible surface or internal imperfections when viewed under 10-power magnification by a
skilled diamond grader.
As with other gems, diamond weight usually is stated in carats. Diamond
weight may be described in decimal or fractional parts of a carat. If the weight is given
in decimal parts of a carat, the figure should be accurate to the last decimal place. For
example, ".30 carat" could represent a diamond that weighs between .295 .304
carat. Some retailers describe diamond weight in fractions and use the fraction to
represent a range of weights. For example, a diamond described as 1/2 carat could weigh
between .47 .54 carat. If diamond weight is stated as fractional parts of a carat, the
retailer should disclose two things: that the weight is not exact, and the reasonable
range of weight for each fraction or the weight tolerance being used.
Some diamonds may be treated to improve their appearance in similar
ways as other gemstones. Since these treatments improve the clarity of the diamond, some
jewelers refer to them as clarity enhancement. One type of treatment fracture filling
conceals cracks in diamonds by filling them with a foreign substance. This filling may not
be permanent and jewelers should tell you if the diamond you're considering has been
Another treatment lasering involves the use of a laser beam to
improve the appearance of diamonds that have black inclusions or spots. A laser beam is
aimed at the inclusion. Acid is then forced through a tiny tunnel made by the laser beam
to remove the inclusion. Lasering is permanent and a laser-drilled stone does not require
While a laser-drilled diamond may appear as beautiful as a comparable
untreated stone, it may not be as valuable. That's because an untreated stone of the same
quality is rarer and therefore more valuable. Jewelers should tell you whether the diamond
you're considering has been laser-drilled.
Imitation diamonds, such as cubic zirconia, resemble diamonds in
appearance but are much less costly. Certain laboratory-created gemstones, such as
lab-created moissanite, also resemble diamonds and may not be adequately detected by the
instruments originally used to identify cubic zirconia. Ask your jeweler if he has the
current testing equipment to distinguish between diamonds and other lab-created stones.
When shopping for diamond jewelry online, apply these tips.
Shop with companies you know or do some homework before buying to
make sure a company is legitimate before doing business with it.
Take advantage of information and referrals from an internet company
you have come to trust.
Get the details about the product, as well as the merchant's refund
and return policies, before you buy.
Look for an address to write to or a phone number to call if you have
a question, a problem or need help.