At Goldbox Jewels, we try to get each customer the diamond of their dreams, even if it takes us some time to find it.
We like to search for each stone like it is our own, so this section is designed to give you more info for your search. Buying diamonds is one of the most interesting and fascinating experiences any person will ever have. Not manufactured like most of the things available on the market, these natural wonders come out from the Earth, with all their story and splendor, and into your hands. Nothing coming from millions of years of formation can be perfect, so it is amazing on how little details affect pricing, and how things like inclusions can be either affecting on the product or showcasing it. Most people hear the word “diamond” and immediately go towards the four ¨Cs¨: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. Over the years, we have found that even though it’s hard to encompass all of diamond’s beautiful qualities in small casings, this guide is comprehensive and works as a whole in the marketplace.
Here at Goldbox Jewels, we strive to teach, so for us, going into detail is important. We encourage you to reach out to Regina to give you further information if something is not as clear. Having noted this, here is a quick guide to this mesmerizing world of shiny little things called diamonds.
Diamond Cut is THE most important characteristic when choosing your diamond.
People sometimes confuse this important C for diamond shape, which is another subject entirely. When it comes to grading, Round Brilliants are the only ones that can actually be graded or their cut. Their proportions and angles in each and every facet (the little cuts that make diamonds shine) implicate precise mathematical formulas to enhance the brightness, fire and scintillation of the stone. More on this later.
What every cutter hopes to achieve when finishing a stone is to be closer and closer to the prism effect, or the breakup of white light into the spectral colors. The better and more proportioned a stone is cut, the more beautifully it will reflect light back and the more character it has. Also, this helps in less weight retention, meaning the stone will have the correct proportions according to its weight.
When all the characteristics align, the stone is perfectly cut, thus gaining the Excellent grade. If we think of this grade alone, it fits into the very pointy end of a pyramid, so it is difficult for all angles and measurements to fit in it. When something in a stone’s cut does not enter all measurements, even one little detail, the stone cannot be Excellent and will get a Very Good grade. The grades GIA and EGL USA use are Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. At GoldBox Jewels, we encourage you to choose higher grades even if it means higher pricing. Your money will be well spent on a beautiful bright stone, compared to an opaque one due to bad cutting decisions or trying to retain weight to give it a more marketable number.
When you read a certification, we will always explain every part of it so you understand exactly what is going on in the stone in terms of cut. Remember cutters are people, and this is a very expensive product that needs not be wasted. So all kinds of decisions take place. For more information on certification, please ask us! We are here to explain every detail!
Other diamond shapes have proportions and measurements that are desirable or better than others, but they cannot be graded as excellent ideal, or only in a few cases, where all the requirements of the cut meet in perfect harmony.
Diamond color is one of the easiest characteristics for the first time buyer to comprehend.
Diamonds are formed within the Earth throughout millions of years, so it is obvious that sometimes some other elements seep through in the formation and cause desirable or undesirable coloration in the stone. The body color that a diamond can have ranges from tones of yellow (due to nitrogen, which is abundantly present as an element on Earth) or other more rare colors like blue (due to Boron, which is much less present). Some colors are so rare that only a few carats exist on earth, driving prices with these colors through the roof. Now a days, state of the art technology can also create these rarer colors to enhance the body color of some undesirable colored stones, but all these kind of treatments have to be disclosed to the public and not sold as natural. As we mentioned before, the most abundant color is yellow. Therefore, even though most stones look colorless, there is a hint of the color in the vast majority. GIA was the pioneer in designing the color scale for diamonds, and this is the one that is understood in the world of gemology. Starting with the letter D, when color is absent in totality the stone is rarer and more costly, and when there is a very slight hue, the stone is graded one letter down, E, and so on. This scale goes on until a Z, and when it surpasses this, they become fancy yellow diamonds, or canary diamonds. For common knowledge, we grade D, E and F colorless. The difference between D and F can only be seen with a trained eye, or if you put stones together in front of a master set. After that, G and H are nearly colorless, I, J, K and L are slightly colored and so on. Take a look at the scale and remember to contact us for detailed questions!
Clarity in diamonds is usually graded in a scale the same way color is.
These natural wonders that are formed throughout millions of years under Earth are nearly impossible to come out completely flawless and free of other minerals. Sometimes, we can identify these minerals, but sometimes, even under grading in a Gemological Microscope, these “inclusions”, as we call them in the world of gemology, are impossible to determine in origin and state. What matters in beauty is not what is in them or what they are made of, is how easily they are to see to the unaided eye and to identify with a glance. When a lot of impurities are present, even light coming through can be affected, therefore affecting the level of brightness that comes back from the stone. Sometimes one inclusion can affect the grading of the stone if it is incorrectly positioned, like on the very center under the table facet! For buying purposes, the scale works very well. We start with FL (flawless), which is nearly impossible, going down to IF (internally flawless, where something can be on the surface, like a feather or pit, but nothing on the inside), to VVS1 and VVS2 (where you will be looking for hours under a loupe) followed by VS1 and VS2 (easily found with a loupe), and finally to SI1 and SI2 (sometimes visible with the unaided eye). Remember each grade up means exponentially more in money, but it is well recommended that a center piece like an engagement ring have a nice clarity factor to not affect its light intake. And it will be money well spent when your fiancee does not get to see a dirty stone with her unaided eyes!
Diamond Carat Weight
One carat equals .002 of a gram. Due to the rarity of diamonds, every little hundredth counts in price. And it is never proportional, always exponential. This material is not meant to be wasted, so when cutters decide how to shape the rough, weight retention will always be of most importance. The magic numbers in the industry, like 1.00 carats, will always be more marketable than 0.99, so sometimes to get to that, the cut will not always be as perfect. Refer to our Cut section for more info. When looking for perfect size, nothing is right nor wrong. A person has to set a budget according to whatever he/she thinks is right and try to get the perfect diamond for it. When combining the four Cs, size has to be an integral part of the search. Am I looking to give her two carats but I can’t afford high clarity or color? Should I lower my standards to get a quality stone and drop down on size? This decision is personal.
Fluorescence in diamonds is one of the most intriguing diamond characteristics. Sometimes during formation, trace elements within a Diamond glow when exposed to a UV light. This is much more common than you think. The vast majority of diamonds have blue fluorescence, in various strengths. Certifications often classify fluorescence as faint or very light, medium, strong and very strong. When there is no fluorescence, “None” is written on the cert. Many jewelers view this trait as a negative factor, when in reality we at GoldBox Jewels don’t think so. The reaction under UV light usually means that under the sun, the Diamond will have a glow to it, since it is the source for UV. And very often, it happens that way. Fluorescence makes the diamond look “whiter”, thus enhancing its body color. This means that warmer colors, such as a G or an H, might appear like an E. Reputable labs do not give the diamond the grade with its fluorescence, so choosing a diamond with it is not something that you should not consider. Every now and then, diamonds with fluorescence, especially medium to strong ones, appear to have a “milky” look. This is easily seen with the unaided eye, somewhat like a cloudy sky where the sun is not shining through in totality. This is the only thing to watch out for. Since fluorescence is generally seen as a negative trait in the industry, you can get small discounts for buying diamonds with it.
This is one of the few characteristics in diamond controlled by man. When polishing, the wheel sometimes has tiny crystals that are left behind, and damage the facets in form of polish lines. Depending on how bad the damage is, sometimes the correct amount of light cannot get through. So in the grading report, if everything is good, it is rated excellent, then very good, good, fair and poor. Only in the fair and poor ranges you might see something with the unaided eye.
Also graded in the excellent, very good, good, fair and poor categories, symmetry is all about the perfection in the shape of a diamond. If all the facets are present and well-proportioned, then the highest grade will be earned. If a facet is missing (probably due to the cutter wanting to skip and inclusion) or the diamond is not perfectly rounded or the culet (bottom tip of the diamond) does not match the center top of the table, probably due to the initial shape of the rough, then the diamond cannot be perfect and therefore does not earn the grade. It is wiser to stick to the top two grades when purchasing a stone, but sometimes the overall beauty of the stone is worth considering a missing facet!
Because of its luster and versatility, gold is he preferred metal for jewelry making. One very important reason is that it does not react with air, causing it to never rust. It is highly moldable, and durable, thus making it excellent to work into any shape. Depending on its amount of gold, starting from 24k (which equals 100% gold) is normally too soft for finished pieces, so when melted, the metal is mixed with different alloys and metals like silver, nickel and zinc to make it stronger.
So 14k and 18k golds, which we use, are 53.8 and 75 % gold respectively. 14k is usually a bit stronger, while 18k is more pure. We give you the opportunity to choose which is best for you.
Now, since gold tends to go back to its natural color, which is golden, we always cover it with platinum or rhodium to make it shine more. This layer wears off in 6-12 months, so it is important to take your piece to your local jeweler if you don’t want to ship it back to us to plate it again. This is not costly and helps give the proper maintenance on your pieces, giving the chance for your jeweler to adjust diamonds if any become loose.
Platinum is much rarer than gold. This metal is not very widely found, so usually it is more expensive to make jewelry with it. It has many uses in the medical and industrial fields as well because it is not reactive and it is malleable. Also, its pure grayish silver, makes it very desirable in the jewelry industry. It is also much heavier than gold and lots harder, making it wearable and durable. A lot of important pieces in the world are made with this beautiful and pure metal (compared to gold, platinum is usually 95% pure), because it stands the test of time.
This makes it an excellent choice for bridal pieces and important colored gemstones. The downside is that platinum is often harder to fashion, so when there is a mistake in size it is harder to adjust a piece, and also, it scratches more easily than gold, so it loses a bit of its luster. Nothing that a good polish with your jeweler or GoldBox can’t fix though!
The fascinating world of gemstones is too vast to summarize. From the beauty of the Big Three (Sapphires, Emeralds and Rubies), to highly available quartz or garnets in their various forms, to rarer stones like Alexandrite, Morganite and everything in between, in faceted form, tablets, cabochons and in all their transparencies and colors, it would take months to go through all of them. But nothing is out of reach for GoldBox Jewels, just inquire and Regina and Gaby are ready to teach and explore all your options with you.
Just know that when choosing a colored stone for that dream piece, a lot of the factors applying to diamonds apply to colored gemstones, but in different standards and a little less rules. For quick reference, this might help you know what you want to buy.