Diamond 101– knowledge is powerful

Person to Person

Diamond Sales the old fashioned way


Years of face to face experience with people develops our ability to sense integrity in people. If it seems sketchy to make your diamond purchase without ever talking to a human.  If the dollars involved strongly suggests the wisdom being able to shake someones hand.    It only makes sense to bolster your crash course in diamonds by reaching out to find a person you feel good about working with to buy a diamond.  Please, consider working with me, Peruse my material.   It is my hope you will email me and we can arrange to meet in person.


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Proper proportions and angles are crucial to a diamonds brilliance and fire.

Diamond are crystals of mostly carbon first found in alluvial deposits which have been traced back to volcanic pipe like deposits. Diamonds are deemed to have grown in these pipes deep in the earth with all its extreme heat and pressure. The extreme brilliance, sparkle, fire and hardness of diamond likely led to it’s preeminence in the gem world.  Diamonds top the charts in optical density and hardness.  The value of diamonds seem embedded in today’s human  psyche despite an endless parade of news stories announcing monopoly and price manipulation.

Gemological Institute of America or GIA, the arbiter, holy grail of diamonds–from education to certification is the essential first stop and study for any kind serious diamond knowledge   Here are links to their definitive material.                                     4Cs Education           GIA: Guide to Understanding Diamond…

Subjective, objective, fact, fiction, opinion, true, false, is all information to the discerning.  Diamonds are hard currency contrary to popular opinion. The wholesale side of the business is highly competitive. Rough diamonds are well controlled making high volume sales critical to achieve profits for site holders,  cutters, and wholesalers. On the retail side, big boxes and internet sources have eroded margins in consumer sales. Retailers must compete fiercely. Diamonds over one half a carat are rapidly becoming more of  a commodity than a retail item. Big margins exist only in deception and myth. The endless parade of hawkers shout,  Hey you, I gotta a better diamond!

 The 5Cs according to 2cgreen:  

C1- Cut:  The technology of fashioning the world’s hardest material into miniature light return machines has developed over time to a very precise science of exacting angles, relationships, and proportions. Brilliance, or the intensity of light generated, is the primary goal these light return machines. Scintillation, or as it is referred to sparkle, is also of major importance, along with the dispersion of a portion of the  light returned into the diamonds  display of spectral colors, or as it is referred to, fire. A number of shapes have developed over the years , each with a separate recipe of angles, proportions, and relationships between the cullet, pavilion griddle, crown and table.  These recipes have been tweaked and then marketed in a never ending parade of fashion from the wide variety of early mine cuts to the highly defined modern round brilliant cut.  Each has claimed perfection.   Diamond cutting is art and science, resulting in an array of wonderful diamonds to suit peoples many tastes.

It is important to note that because the cutting of diamonds fosters so much value that precise  cutting is adheared to as much as possible given the constraints of the uncut diamond.  As a consequence, most diamonds of similar weight have a similar size, (hence the llanguage- one carat size)   A well cut one carat round brilliant cut diamond will have a diameter close to 6.3mm.

C2- Carat:  Over time, as diamond cutting became precise, the word carat has came to be used to describe the size of a diamond.  The fact is a carat is a measure of weight.  1 carat = 1/5 gram, 5 carats = 1 gram and a 5 carat diamonds weighs a gram.  Diamond jargon, in this regard, used fractions, decimals and percentage to name diamond size. Fractions are used for general sizes, (fifth carats, quarter carats, half carats, etc.) Decimals are use to be precise with size, (.50 carat, .25 carat, etc.)   Finally the term point from the world of percentages is used to name small sizes, (1 pointer, 5 pointer, 15 pointer, etc.)

C3- Clarity:  As diamond crystals grow particles of various sizes in various materials, including grains of carbon, are caught up in the diamonds crystal growth.  Voids in the crystal lattice also form as the crystal grows creating feather like features of all sizes and forms.   Fields of tiny particles appear as clouds.  When inclusions block light to a greater  or lessor extent, they  undermine the display of light produced by these light return machines. The Clarity grading scale, I3 to flawless, was developed to describe the extent a diamonds display is degraded by it’s inclusions.  Inclusion’s impact on diamonds, and why the clarity issue has become a major determinant in a diamonds value, is not clearly comprehended- even within the trade. I believe clarity grading and its impact on value, tells more about the human obsessive compulsive disorder, than the value of diamonds. It seems a single near invisible speck, in a otherwise flawess diamond, has becomes a pea 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds down. Attracted to Brilliance, Sparkle and Fire  or a Questing for perfection?  Pros & Cons–   1- Diamond  cutting developed to enhance diamond’s brilliance, sparkle and fire. The grading scale to elevate perfection.  2- Perfection is an illusion,  humans are neatniks.  3- Inclusions are a blessing to emerald identification, why not diamonds. Inclusions are distracting irritants. 4- Our eye is drawn to the light show, we don’t ask to look at certifications or to examine each others diamonds under the microscope to admire them. We want to.  6- No harm no foul. Inclusions are distracting irritants. 7- I’ll take advantage of the opportunity to save some money on clarity and buy a bigger diamond. I want the best grade diamond I can, size is not as important. Clearly the are at least 2 ways to look at things? Clarity grade review based on impact on display: I3-I2 clarity diamond’s inclusions significantly blot out light return, I1 clarity diamond’s inclusions blot out little light return.  SI and SI2 clarity diamond’s inclusions are to a large extent not visible to the eye and blot out insignificant light return. VS2- flawless clarity diamond’s inclusions are nearly non existent and have very little or no effect on the brilliance of a diamond. Clarity grade review based on inclusion OCD: Clarity  I3 clarity diamond inclusions are front and center. I2 clarity diamonds inclusions are obvious with a good look. I1 clarity diamond inclusions are visible to the eye but require a careful look to find. SI2 clarity diamond inclusions, while visible to some eyes especially from not face up directions, generally require 10 power magnification to be seen.  Under 10 power the inclusions are visible with a good look.  SI1 clarity diamond inclusions generally require 10x magnification to see at all and often require a careful look to find. Note:  I have come across a couple of GIA graded diamonds with SI1 graded diamonds with inclusions that a client has been able to see face up. VS2 clarity diamond inclusions require a professional a  careful 10x examination to find, and are difficult for an amateur to discern. VS1 clarity diamond inclusions require a professional a very careful 10x examination to find  and are very difficult for an amateur to discern.   VVS2 clarity diamond inclusions require a professional a extremely careful 10x examination to find, and are near impossible task for an amateur to discern on his own.  VVS1 clarity diamond inclusions can require a professional a length10x examination to find, and are to all intense and purpose flawless for an amateur. Internally flawless diamond are without inclusions internally under 10x examination. Surface issue do exist. Flawless diamonds are flawless inside and out at 10x.  It is important to note that under higher magnification there are inclusions aplenty in likely all diamonds.

C5- Color: The word color confuses   Think tint not color-  like the tint in sunglass lenses not like car colors.    Trace element are deemed to give gems various tints and colors.  Nitrogen lends yellow tints to diamonds.  The GIA grading system starts by calling a diamond graded in north daylight to be colorless a D. The grades move down the alphabet as the tint increases.  (See GIA material for further description.)  Perspective:  The difference between two color grades is very slight. Diamond grading is done face up in north daylight using a master set of color graded diamonds.  To give you an idea of just how subtle the shading is,  GIA suggests assigning a 3 letter grade range when appraising mounted diamonds. Important brake points in the grade scale: Diamonds given DEFG color grades are extremely white, Diamonds given HI color grades are white.  Some people start seeing color in diamonds with a J color grade. J graded diamonds in the face up position look white. At K, color begins to show in that position.  The tint gradually increases and at MNOP tint is obvious. At the end of the alphabet however we have not reached diamonds that would be called by the color, for example, a yellow diamond is far more yellow looking than Z grade diamond with a yellow tint.   (face up refers to the view looking straight on at the diamonds table, not at all from the side.)

C6- Clean:  A dirty diamond losses at least 20% of its brilliance and takes on the color of the dirt.  Not visiting your jeweler for a check up and a diamond cleaning is like buying a poorly cut I clarity off color dark diamond, not to mention risking loosing the diamond due to a bad prong.

The Secondary Diamond Market refers to sales of  diamonds by consumers outside the diamond or jewelry business.  For complicated reasons, not the least of which is down side risk, most sale prices are at a discount from the market price. Trades are most often between the general public– Jewelers and the Auction Houses.  Diamond buying events are cropping up.  This dark market requires expertise to navigate.

Don’t be fooled by false claims, most bargains are bad ones.   A timely example-  see my post  The “Internet Diamond”


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