The "I Dos" and "Don'ts" of Diamonds
Intense, fiery, brilliant, beautiful -- there is a lot to love about diamonds. That's probably why they're most commonly associated with celebrations of love. Borsheim's makes it easy to follow your heart - as well as your head - when selecting diamond jewelry.
Below we will explore the characteristics of quality, certification and care. Characteristics of Quality is a combination of Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat that determines the value of your diamond and the characteristics that make it most attractive to you. Certification is an objective, expert evaluation documenting the characteristics of your diamond. Care helps you learn to retain the brilliance and beauty of your diamonds for a lifetime, with routine care and attention.
Characteristics of Quality
A diamond's value is determined by four characteristics, known as the four Cs - Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat. Together, these qualities create the impact that captures your attention. They also determine the value of the diamond.
The color scale below reflects how closely a diamond approaches the colorless range. Although most people recognize diamond as colorless, true colorless diamonds are quite rare. The absolute finest white diamond carries a "D" color grade. These exceptionally white diamonds make up a small fraction of all mined diamonds; therefore most jewelry is made using diamonds in the near-colorless range. When comparing different color grades, most people will be unable to see a difference in color, although there can be a significant difference in price.
very light yellow
Surprising to learn, diamonds are also available in a variety of colors including red, purple, pink, green, orange, yellow, blue, brown and black. These extremely rare and unique diamonds are termed "Fancy Colors" and are graded based on the hue, tone and saturation of their color. The more intense the color, the higher the rarity factor. The most rare of the fancy colors is red.
Irradiation - In order to alter their original color, diamonds can be irradiated using a nuclear reactor and controlled heating known as "annealing". This improves the color of the diamond, to make it appear the same shade as natural fancy colored diamonds such as yellow, blue, green, brown, and pink diamonds. Sophisticated equipment, such as an infrared spectrometer, is needed to identify the origin of color. A jeweler's torch, at several hundred degrees centigrade, used for standard repairs may affect the color of an irradiated diamond. It is, therefore, important to inform your jeweler that your diamond has been irradiated before they work on your piece.
Color Enhancement - GE (General Electric) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America) have collaborated in a research and consumer protection effort regarding a newly developed process that restores certain rare diamonds to their intrinsic color without reducing their all -natural content. The process is permanent, undetectable and irreversible. It does not involve artificial treatments such as irradiation, laser drilling, surface coating or fracture filling, the resultant stones require no specific care or maintenance. The process utilizes high pressure and high temperature (HPHT), the same forces that in nature disguised the stones' original color. The brand name is Bellataire™. Each of these diamonds has laser-inscribed on its girdle either "GE POL" or "Bellataire", along with a unique stone registration number, allowing the consumer to detect these stones from non-Bellataire stones. A diamond grading report issued by GI stating that the diamond has been HPHT-processed accompanies every Bellataire diamond.
The clarity grade is the degree to which the diamond is free of inclusions and blemishes. Nature produces very few things that are absolutely perfect. Most diamonds have internal birthmarks, known as inclusions, and external characteristics called blemishes. These clarity characteristics are evaluated under 10X magnification, by trained diamond graders, based on the number, nature, size, location and color of each characteristic. Clarity characteristics are also used to distinguish one diamond from another. A diamond's inclusions are like a fingerprint, making each diamond one-of-a-kind. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and command the highest prices, but finding a diamond with minute inclusions can reduce the cost of the stone without detracting from its beauty or durability.
Also available are a small percentage of diamonds that have been clarity enhanced by chemical infusion and laser treatments. Clarity enhanced diamonds are typically offered at significant savings; therefore they are a great way to get a bigger look for your money.
Fracture Filling (Clarity enhanced by Chemical Infusion) - Fracture filling is a process for filling structural separations that occur naturally during the growth of a diamond, or during the cutting process. Its purpose is to reduce the visibility of surface reaching breaks or fractures in the diamond, which stand out in high relief compared to the rest of the diamond. The break is filled with non-permanent filler that has a refractive index close to diamond, making it less noticeable. A jeweler can identify the fracture filled diamond by looking for a flash of color, or "flash effect". Fracture filled diamonds may appear to be one to two clarity grades higher after enhancement, while color grades may decrease in some diamonds. To care properly for a fracture filled diamond, jewelers recommend against soaking the diamond in a heated, ultrasonic cleaning solution or using under a steamer. It is important to notify your jeweler that your diamond has been fractured filled before they begin any repair work on your piece to ensure they use the appropriate care.
Laser Drilling - Laser drilling is done to remove or minimize the visibility of dark inclusion in the diamond. A laser is used to create a microscopic tunnel from the diamond surface to the inclusion therefore allowing light to reach the inclusion. If further treatment is needed, an acid is injected through the drill hole to "bleach" the inclusion. The clarity grade of these diamonds is seldom changed after drilling, the original inclusions are still there and the laser hole itself is another inclusion. The positive benefit is that it does improve the appearance of the diamond. Laser drilling is not considered detrimental to the durability of the stone; therefore no special requirements are necessary in caring for these diamonds.
Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond's beauty; however, it is one of the most important. The term "cut" can mean many things. In the jewelry industry, it is used to describe the shape, cutting style, proportions and finish of a diamond. Diamonds can be cut into almost any shape. The most popular shapes are pictured below.
GIA's diamond cut grade predicts levels of brightness, fire, and scintillation, which indicate how well a diamond's proportions work together to return white and colored light to the observer. Face-up appearance, design and craftsmanship are critical to a diamond's overall cut quality. Weight ratio, durability, polish and symmetry are all included in GIA's Diamond Cut Grading System.
The different facets of a standard round brilliant cut diamond
How a diamond handles light
- When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed through the top of the stone.
- If the cut of the diamond is too deep, some light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion.
- If the cut is too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected, thus reducing brilliancy.
Diamonds are weighed on a scale of metric carats, abbreviated "ct." It is equal to approximately 1/5 of a gram. A carat is broken down into 100 points, just like a dollar is broken down into 100 pennies. When you see a diamond weight of 1.45ct, it means one carat and 45 points.
The larger a diamond is the more rare it is. Diamonds are bought and sold on a pricing concept known as "per carat." As diamonds get larger, the price per carat increases due to the rarity factor, so a diamond that weighs 2ct. will be worth more than twice as much as a 1ct. diamond.
Since a diamond takes thousands of years to create, it is worth it to invest a little time and attention in its care. Doing so will ensure its lasting beauty, brilliance and sparkle.
Routine Home Cleaning - gently scrub your jewelry with a soft brush, using an ammonia solution, warm water or a jewelry cleaner, to remove perspiration, household cleaners, chlorine, hair care products or even soap film. Borsheim's also offers small "ultrasonic" cleaners that clean your jewelry with high frequency sound.
Annual Professional Cleaning - diamond jewelry, especially pieces that are worn frequently, should have an biannual cleaning by Borsheim's. This not only helps to restore the diamond's brilliance, but also allows the security of the setting to be checked.
Protective Storage - when not worn, diamond jewelry should be stored individually to prevent scratching or dulling. Soft cloth pouches are ideal for this purpose.
Borsheims is proud to work with other members of the diamond industry, international governments, the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds. Through more than five years of work, it is now estimated that more than 99% of the world's diamonds are conflict free.
Borsheims supports the Kimberley Process and only buys its diamonds from legitimate, reputable manufacturers that adhere to the Voluntary System of Warranties. That guarantee is written on the back of every receipt from Borsheims. For additional information about the Kimberley Process and the work being done to eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds, please visit the diamond industry's website, www.diamondfacts.org.