Shaftel Diamond Co.’s Expert Diamond Buyers Guide
SUPPLYING CERTIFIED DIAMONDS & PRECIOUS COLORED STONES AT THE BEST POSSIBLE PRICES
Our thirty six years as suppliers to the diamond and jewelry trade – our solid relationships with cutters around the world – and our memberships in The New York Diamond Dealers Club and the American Gem Trade Association (see Affiliations below) allow us to be your very best source for loose stones.
At Shaftel Diamonds, we offer the finest in certified diamonds and are experts in matching your requirements and budget to just the right combination of size and quality, set in the fine quality mounting of your choice. We do not offer color or clarity enhanced or treated diamonds, synthetic diamonds or diamond stimulants.
Most of our lab-certified diamonds are laser-inscribed with their certificate number, and, at your request, can even be inscribed with the personal message of your choice.
DIAMOND BASICS – A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO BUYING DIAMONDS
Nothing takes the fear out of buying like reliable information and then making your final selection with a reputable dealer with consistently excellent reviews and a flawless reputation. If you are fortunate enough to have found such a jeweler or diamond dealer nearby, you will be way ahead of the game.
FLUORESCENCE IN DIAMONDS
Fluorescence, is a property in some diamonds that makes them glow a certain color (usually blue) when placed in an ultraviolet rich environment. Strong, very strong and sometimes medium blue fluorescence will tend to neutralize any yellowish tint in diamonds H in color or below (I,J,K etc) giving them a whiter appearance. Such fluorescence in some of the ‘lower’ color grades may even enhance the value of these stones. Strong blue fluorescence in diamonds will generally not improve the look of a stone with fine color, and may even detract a few percent from the value of those diamonds. On rare occasions, some diamonds with very strong blue fluorescence can have a hazy or ‘milky’ appearance that significantly reduces their value. We avoid offering such stones for sale; you should avoid them as well.
COLOR IMPACT ON BEAUTY AND PRICE OF JEWELRY
- Impact on Beauty: Diamond color grades D through J are considered colorless or nearly colorless, and as such will make exquisite jewelry. D, E, and F colors, however are the most highly prized as they are considered “colorless.” Please keep in mind that earrings and pendants do not generally receive the same scrutiny as the feature diamond in a ring. For that reason, you might consider sacrificing a little in color in exchange for greater size.
- Impact on Price: Subtle differences in color may account for dramatic differences in price. When you are certain of the color grade of the diamond (per its certificate and/or its actual appearance), selecting a diamond that is a grade or two lower than another will reduce the cost per carat and may allow for the selection of a larger diamond – often with little if any visible difference when the stone is mounted.
SHAPES AND STYLES OF DIAMONDS
Today we can choose from many different stone shapes (also referred to as “cuts”) ranging from the classics to newer silhouettes that appear as diamond cutters endeavor to create new looks. Listed below are the eight most popular and traditional cuts.
- Round Brilliant – the most classic cut
- Marquise – an elongated brilliant-cut stone with a point on each end
- Cushion – defined by its rounded corners and sides, and may vary from squarish to oblong
- Princess – typically a four-sided square to slightly rectangular brilliant cut
- Radiant – a rectangular to squarish octagonal diamond
- Emerald – a traditional octagonal cut usually rectangular
- Asscher – basically a square emerald with some subtle differences in the facet pattern
- Pear – combines the brilliance and form of a round stone with the elongated elegance of a marquise
- Oval – reminiscent of the round brilliant cut, both in sparkle and shape
- Heart – more fanciful cut, shaped just as it sounds
CHOOSING THE IDEAL DIAMOND SETTING
A diamond’s setting will enhance the stone’s appearance and delight the wearer. It will also ensure that it is mounted safely and securely.
Choosing the ideal setting will depend on the piece of jewelry, the diamond you’ve selected, and of course, your personal tastes and budget. Usually, there are two main decisions regardless of the type of jewelry you are creating – what type metal to choose and how the stone is to be secured in the mounting. This is another area where a very competent, well recommended (not just well advertised) jeweler can be of huge importance.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – DIAMOND STONES, SETTING AND BUDGET
Now, it is time to put it all together to balance and prioritize which diamond qualities matter the most to your individual purchase.
First you should set your budget. We have all heard the “two to three months’ salary” guideline for an engagement ring, however only you can fairly assess your comfort level. With a more limited budget, we recommend investing as much of that budget as possible into the feature diamond in your jewelry. A better quality, larger diamond that could be reset in future years will continue to be a classic symbol of your love forever.
Decide the relative importance to you of size versus quality. Do you have a minimum specific size in mind? Do you want the largest stone or the best quality stone for your budget or somewhere in between? These decisions are far less daunting when you are sitting in front of your jeweler who can show you (and not just talk about) all your options.
Today, most fine diamonds weighing one carat or more are carefully evaluated prior to being set, by a respected, independent gemological laboratory such as the ones mentioned below. The diamond grading report, or “certificate” both certifies the diamond as genuine and describes it in detail, providing such important information as color grade, clarity grade, carat weight, cutting and proportioning, etc. If you are considering the purchase of a fine diamond weighing one carat or more and it is not accompanied by such a report, we strongly recommend that you have the stone evaluated by a respected laboratory prior to purchase. You should do so even if it means having a stone that is already set removed from the setting and reset. Given the significant difference in cost that can result from a grading error in the rarer grades, this procedure may well be worth the inconvenience and expense.
All loose diamonds should be accompanied by a grading certificate or report from a leading independent gemological lab such as:
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Gem Trade Laboratory
- American Gem Society (AGS)
- EGL USA (European based EGL labs are generally considered far less reliable)
Each of these labs conducts an independent examination of the diamond and issues a certificate or report that details their findings. You will receive the original certificate or report with your diamond order.
A good jewelry appraisal should be completed by an Independent Appraiser (one who does not buy or sell diamonds or jewelry) and should provide all of the following:
- An accurate and complete description of each article of jewelry being appraised
- The clarity, color and carat weight of the diamonds or gemstones
- Description of the cut of the diamond.
- The shape of the diamond or gemstone (pear, round, princess, emerald, etc.)
- Type of precious metal setting (platinum, gold, etc.)
- A reference to the laboratory certification (GIA, EGL, AGS, HRD, IGI), if applicable
- Approximate current retail replacement value
CARING FOR A DIAMOND
Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man, but they too can be damaged by a sharp blow or dulled if not kept clean. For this reason, it’s important to learn about the care and cleaning of a diamond to ensure its brilliance.
Visiting your jeweler a minimum of once a year is highly recommended. Professional cleaning and even an occasional polishing is the best option and it’s important to have your jewelry checked to make sure prongs haven’t bent or weakened.
Other than professional care: Diamond jewelry should not be jumbled together or with other pieces because diamonds can scratch other jewelry and each other.
Keep your diamond jewelry in a fabric-lined jewel case or in a box with compartments or dividers or in small zip-lock bags.
Clean your diamonds regularly using either commercial jewelry cleaner or a mix of dish washing liquid and hot water. Soak the jewelry into the solution for a few minutes and use a soft brush to dislodge dirt and oils from under the setting. Be careful not to go from a very hot soaking to a cold rinsing without waiting 15 seconds or so.