Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Diamonds


The four Cs of a diamond are used by gemologists to identify the value of a diamond. They are:

Colour
Diamond colour can range from the ideal blue-white to coloured diamonds of pink, green and yellow shades (known as fancy-coloured diamonds). Colour is graded from D-F (colourless) through G-J (near colourless),
K-M (faint yellow), N-R (very light yellow) down to S-Z (light yellow). In the K-R range you sometimes get a very light brown called "champagne" and a darker brown called "cognac", both very attractive. Even when a stone has a visible tint, such as an M colour, it can be beautiful if it has good clarity and cut.

Carat
This refers to the actual weight of the stone in points or carats. A carat is 100 points.

Cut
Before a stone is cut, it is carefully studied to determine which shape will retain most of the original size. A brilliant cut is the most common for a diamond - other cuts such as baguette, emerald, marquis, oval and pear are also popular shapes. If cut properly a diamond reflects light back up through the centre of the stone giving out its characteristic sparkle. A poorly cut stone looks flat like a piece of glass. The quality of the cut is called the "make."

Clarity
Clarity defines the extent to which a stone is flawed. Naturally, the fewer the number of flaws, the greater the value of the stone. The term "flawless" refers to a stone that shows no flaws through a standard 10 power jeweller's loupe. A diamond's clarity ranking ranges from FL (flawless) through VVS (very, very slight imperfection), VS (very slight imperfection), SI (slight imperfection), I1 (imperfect, can be seen with the naked eye) to I3 (commercial or industrial grade).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Selecting gems and jewelry

Buying jewellery can be an enjoyable but daunting task. Identifying, let alone valuing precious material, is no easy task even for the expert - and the best way for you to be happy with your purchase is to be informed before you buy.

Read on to learn some useful tips before making your jewellery purchase -

Useful Info On Selecting Gems & Jewelery

Buy from a trusted jeweller or one who has been recommended
Ask around and get recommendations, ask friends for an introduction to a jeweller that they are satisfied with. If this is not possible, check on the jeweler through a government certifying body or some other authorizing body who has certified the jeweler.

A good jeweller will be clear and transparent in his explanation of the piece and will guarantee that the product is what he/she says it is. Also, the right jeweler will be there when the piece needs to be cleaned, restrung or remounted.

Find out if the jeweler provides other services (such as assaying and hallmarking) and check how their return or trade-up policy works. Finally, ask if the jeweler is affiliated with one of the jewelery trade organizations and also, if that association requires a code of conduct for its members.

Value for money
Ask around and window shop before you buy - do not be misled by huge discounts, which may be a gimmick to attract people into the shop. Compare jewellery prices before you buy. The lowest price is not an indication of the best value; diamonds and colored stones vary greatly in quality and price. Although the price of diamonds is relatively standardized to size and quality, colored gemstones are not and if you are making a major purchase, finding out the correct value of the piece is important.

The most accurate method of establishing value is through an appraisal from an independent gemologist preferably certified by an authorized body. Prices can vary greatly on similar items from vendor to vendor. So, lacking an independent appraisal, you should at least shop around and compare prices on items of similar quality.

Gemstone and diamond quality is a major factor in calculating the accurate value of a piece of jewellery. Get a detailed receipt giving materials, weights and number of stones, sizes and quality. Also get a money back guarantee if returned within a reasonable period so that you can have the jewelery evaluated by an independent appraiser.

Look for the registered trademark and quality mark
Whenever possible, look for quality marks such as hallmarks (which state the karatage of gold in the piece) as well as certification for the stones. There are also quality marks for silver and platinum - make sure your jeweller either stamps his jewelery with a quality mark or has it assayed and hallmarked by a central authority.

Get it in writing
When buying fine jewelery, ask the jeweller to write a complete description on your receipt. For gold jewellery, ask for the karatage; for diamonds, the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight (the weight of the center stone and total carat weight if there are side stones); for colored stones, ask for a description of overall color and carat weight and if the stone is of natural origin or has been treated in any way. All this information should be included on the bill of sale.

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