This Diamond Education defines the most essential characteristics of a diamond along with tips for its care. By understanding these characteristics, you’ll be able to shop with confidence.
- What is Pure Gold?
- What is a karat?
- What is the difference between a karat and a carat?
- What is the difference between 14K & 18K gold?
- What is used to change the color of gold?
- What is the difference between Platinum and White Gold?
- What is Mokume-Gane?
- What is Shakudo?
- What is Sterling Silver?
- Bar Setting
- Bezel Set
- Brilliant Cut
- Certification/Cert (or Diamond Grading Reports)
- Channel Set
- Cushion Cut
- Cultured Pearl
- German Silver
- Gold Electroplate
- Gold Filled
- Gypsy Set
- Illusion Set
- Prong Set
- Tension Set
Diamonds & Gemstones
Diamond Cut is the most important property to increase its beauty because a well-cut diamond reflects light to maximize the stone”s brilliance. A diamond with perfect color and clarity could nevertheless have poor brilliance if it is not well cut.
After a proper cutting, size of the stone may reduce by half but its market value may increase more than four times for its brilliance and sparkle. Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently. This exceptional ability can be revealed and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy.
It is very essential to know Diamond Anatomy before understanding Cut.
- Diameter: Width of a diamond measured through the Girdle.
- Table: Largest facet of a gemstone.
- Crown: Top portion of a diamond extending from the Girdle to the Table.
- Girdle: Intersection of the Crown and Pavilion which defines the perimeter of the diamond.
- Pavilion: Bottom portion of a diamond, extending from the Girdle to the Culet.
- Culet: Facet at the tip of a gemstone. The preferred Culet is not visible with an unaided eye (graded “none” or “small”).
- Depth: Height of a gemstone measured from the Culet to the Table.
The cut of a diamond establishes how it reflects light, which is responsible for its sparkle or brilliance. Cut has following three components:
Diamond Cut by Shape
A Diamond Cut by Shape describes the outline of the stone and pattern of the facet arrangement. A stone can be cut in various Shapes like Round, Princess, Heart, Oval, Pear etc. We will understand various diamond shapes in Shape part.
Diamond Cut by Depth
A Diamond Cut by Depth is the ultimate feature for its brilliance and fire.
Shallow Cut: Shallow Cut will let light lost through a diamond”s bottom causing it to appear dull.
Deep Cut: Deep Cut will allow light to be lost through a diamond”s sides causing it to appear dark.
Ideal Cut: Ideal Cut is considered as the best cut and it will reflect most or all of the light that enters in the diamond back to the eyes.
Quality of a diamond”s cut can be determined on the basis of its power to reflect light. They can be broadly characterized as Ideal, excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor. Ideal or Excellent cuts release the inner brilliance of the stone and project maximum amount of fire and sparkle where as Very Good, Good and Fair cuts loose some light that enters the diamond. A poor cut looses most of its light from the diamond sides / bottom and it may even have some “dead” spots inside.
Diamond Polish and Symmetry
Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. The Diamond Polish expresses the smoothness of the diamond”s facets where as the Symmetry refers to alignment of the facets. A poor Diamond Polish, or rough facets, can diminish a diamond”s brilliance, as well as its value.
Diamonds are found in all colors of the rainbow, from colorless and transparent stones to ink black ones. Varying degrees of yellow or brown color is common in most of the diamonds and slight difference in color can make a substantial difference in value. A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare and considered the most valuable. It allows most light to pass through the stone and create the most brilliance.
During formation of Diamond from carbon, certain chemicals may have been drawn into the mix and results in added tinge of color in the transparent stone.
Most diamonds appear white to the naked eye, but they all include trace amounts of yellow or brown color. The color scale goes from D to Z (no diamond of color grade A, B or C has ever been found), with D being the most white and Z being the most yellow. The best way to see the true color of a diamond is by looking at it against a white surface.
Diamond Color Grade Table
|Color Grade||Description||On Unaided Eye Inspection|
|Colorless||Stone looks absolutely clear and transparent, with no hint of color.|
|Near Colorless||Stone looks clear and transparent. Color will be noticeable by experts only when compared to diamonds of better grades.|
|Faint yellow||Color slightly detectable and will be noticeable by experts only.|
|Very Light yellow||Stone shows an increasing yellow tint, even to an untrained eye.|
|Light yellow||Stone appears yellow, even to an untrained eye.|
|Fancy||Bright, remarkable color – usually blue, pink, yellow, Red etc.|
Fancy Colored Diamonds
Although majority of diamonds come in shades of white, there are also “Fancy” natural intensely colored diamonds available in colors like yellow, pink, greens, brown, red, orange, blue etc. These intensely colored diamonds are very rare, attractive and desirable. A deeply colored diamond can cost more than its colorless counterpart. These intensely colored diamonds are known as “Fancy” colored or “Fancies”. Fancy colored diamonds are graded in two ways. The first factor is the basic hue, such as pink, yellow, blue, green, etc. The second is the intensity. Both color characteristics form the basis for determining a fancy colored diamond”s worth. In fancy colored diamonds, Z+ grade is used for their color grading. Usually, the more intense the color, the rarer and more expensive the diamond will be. For example, a fancy light pink diamond costs less than a fancy vivid pink diamond of equal size, shape and clarity. Though fancy colored diamonds rarely occur in nature, laboratories can easily create them through irradiation and heating. This process can permanently turn a natural colorless diamond into a fancy colored diamond. Treatments have also been developed to make lower-color white diamonds whiter. Irradiated colored diamonds have a significantly lower value than natural fancy diamonds and can be detected in a gem laboratory.
Fluorescence is a form of illumination that is created when a diamond is exposed to low or high wave ultraviolet radiation. Fluorescence up to some extent is common in majority of diamonds. Faint or medium fluorescence will rarely affect a diamond”s appearance. Usually fluorescence remains unnoticed by human eyes in ordinary light.
Clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond. In other words, the clarity of a diamond refers to a diamond”s clearness or purity.
When these flaws / marks occur internally, they are called inclusions and the most common types of inclusions include Crystals, Tiny Bubbles representing small minerals that were absorbed into the diamond while it was growing, Internal Graining, Needles, Knots, Chips, Cavities, Cleavage, Feathers, and Clouds. On the contrary, when these flaws / marks occur on the surface, they are known as blemishes and the most common types of blemishes include Polish lines, Naturals, Scratches, Nicks, Pits, transparent stress lines that appear on a diamond”s surface, surface graining, and extra facets, that are usually cut to remove a near-surface inclusion to raise the clarity grade of a stone. Most diamonds have these imperfections in them. Although many of these flaws are not visible to the naked eye, but under magnification, tiny featherlike shapes, crystals, bubbles and dark flecks become noticeable. These slight flaws make every diamond quite unique but they also do affect the beauty and value of the diamond.
Diamond”s clarity is based on the number, size, nature, and location of imperfections on the finished stone. Diamond with higher clarity is more valuable in comparison to diamond that contains numerous inclusions because it is less brilliant due to inclusions interfering with light passing through it.
Diamond Clarity Grading Scale Table
|Image||Clarity Grade Scale||Description||On Inspection through 10x magnification|
|F||Flawless||Clear Stone, no inclusions or blemishes. Exceptional and beautiful diamonds.|
|IF||Internally Flawless||No inclusions and only insignificant surface blemishes. Rare and beautiful diamonds.|
|VVS1 – VVS2||Very, Very Slightly Included – 1 & 2||Tiny inclusions, which are extremely difficult to find, even under 10x magnifications. An excellent quality diamond.|
|VS1 – VS2||Very Slightly Included – 1 & 2||Minor inclusions, which are difficult to see under 10 x magnification. These stones are less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.|
|SI1 – SI2||Slightly Included – 1 & 2||Inclusions, which are easy to see under 10 x magnification. A good diamond value.|
|I1 – I2 – I3||Included – 1, 2 & 3||Inclusions, which are easy to see under 10 x magnification and sometimes, may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value. Generally I3 grade is not used for jewelry purposes and mostly used in industrial applications.|
The term “Carat” refers to the weight of a diamond. It is derived from the carob seeds, which are remarkably consistent in weight and shape and so were the favored scale balances in ancient times. This was standardized in 1907 and after that 1 carat became 0.2 grams or 1/142 of an ounce. Furthermore, each carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, ¼ carat diamond is considered as 25 points and ½ carat diamond is considered as 50 points and so on. This term ”Carat” is different from the term ”Karat” which is used to describe gold”s fineness or purity. When we consider all four Cs, that determine value of diamond, we can find Carat weight most accurately and easily by using a delicately balanced scale capable of weighing extremely small stones.
Diamond’s Carat Weight Scale
There is one significant fact about diamond’s weight and price. When diamonds are mined, large diamonds are discovered rarely in comparison of small ones, which make large diamonds much more valuable. For that reason, the price of a diamond rises exponentially with its size. So, a 2 carat diamond of a given quality is always worth much more than two 1 carat diamonds of the equal quality. Although larger stones are often more highly valued, but size should not be the only consideration. High brilliance, which varies according to clarity, cut, and color grade, is highly desirable in a diamond.
A Diamond Cut by Shape describes the outline of the stone and pattern of the facet arrangement. Although diamonds are available in various shapes like Round, Princess, Heart, Oval, Pear etc., but when most people think of diamonds, what comes to their mind is the modern round brilliant cut because in jewelry industry, this shape is sold more than 75% of all diamonds. All other non-round shapes are called fancy shapes and these different diamond shapes show individual”s style and personality.
The most popular and stylish shapes are defined as under:
Round Brilliant Cut
The Round Brilliant Cut diamond is the most traditional and popular of all the diamond shapes. Many experts consider this shape ideal for a diamond because it maximizes its sparkle. It has 58 facets which offer great brilliance and stability. This shape of diamond is most commonly used in solitaire diamond engagement rings.
The Princess Cut is most popular non-round diamond. Its beautiful brilliance and unique cut makes it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. The ideal princess cut will have length to width ratio is as close to 1.00:1.00 as possible, as princess cut diamonds can range from this perfect square through to almost rectangular.
The Emerald Cut diamond is a square or rectangular shaped stone with cut corners. This is also known as Step Cut because it has rows of facets, usually 48 to 50, that resemble a staircase. Due to its larger, more open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond but with fewer facets brings less brilliance than the other shapes.
The Oval Cut is also a beautiful shape and provides great brilliance and fire through its 56 facets. A well cut Oval shaped diamond can be almost as bright as a well cut Round Brilliant shaped diamond.
The Marquise Cut is a traditional shape having elongated ends at both edges. The pointed ends make this shape the most fragile and the most expensive of brilliant style cuts. It has a total of 56 facets, construction of which requires a lot of experience and the delicacy of its sharp points demands utmost precaution. Now-a-days this shape is very popular for engagement rings.
The Pear Cut diamond is often called a teardrop due to its single point and rounded end with 56 to 58 facets. This shape is popular for its uniqueness and brilliance. Pear Shape diamond is mostly used in pendants and also a good choice for a hand with smaller fingers.
The Asscher Cut is a modified version of the Emerald Cut. This shape is named after Joseph Asscher of Holland who was an eminent diamond cutter. In 1902, his company, Asscher Diamond Co., developed and patented the Asscher Cut, a squarer step cut with an almost octagonal outline. This new cut enhanced the fire and light of the stone; it had a small table, a high crown, wide step facets, a deep pavilion and square culet.
The Radiant Cut is a rectangular or square stone with cut corners. This shape comes with 62 to 70 facets and offers the elegance of the emerald shape with the brilliance of the princess shape. Trimmed corners are the signature of this shape, and they help to make the radiant cut a popular and versatile choice for jewelry. Diamonds with radiant shape look very good when adorned with baguettes or round side stones.
The human heart is the ultimate symbol of love and the Heart Cut is regarded as the most romantic of all the shapes. The Heart shaped diamond is essentially a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top and it typically contains 59 facets. Due to the complexity of the shape, skilled cutting is necessary to maintain the diamond’s brilliance. Generally people prefer a heart shape diamond for sentimental purposes. This shape is mostly used in pendants, but also suitable for most jewelry
Cushion Cut diamonds are also known as “pillow cut” diamonds. This shape ranging from square to rectangular and it has rounded corners and larger facets to increase its brilliance. These larger facets also highlight the diamond”s clarity.
The Baguette Cut diamonds are generally used to fill in channels or stable grooved tracks around a gemstone centerpiece. This shape is similar to emerald shape.
The Trilliant Cut is one of the unusual cuts and the diamond with this shape displays a very sharp brilliance or fire. This triangular shaped diamonds may either have pointed corners or more rounded corners.
Acquisition of a Diamond or Diamond Jewelry is an important expression of love or accomplishment but on the same time it also represents a major investment of money. It is essential for you to know the credentials of the diamond and obtain confidence in the integrity of what you have acquired.
A Diamond Certificate or Diamond Grading Report is a statement, issued by an independent Gemological Laboratory, that at the time of evaluation, the diamond in question has been examined, measured, and scrutinized by experienced Diamond Graders, using various gemological instruments, and determined to contain the characteristics as stated in the Certificate or Report.
In other words, a diamond certificate can be accurately described as the blueprint of a diamond. This Certificate or Report includes an analysis of the diamond”s characteristics in an easy to understand format. Generally a certificate or report covers following characteristics of a diamond along with the laboratory and certificate details:
- Name of the Laboratory
- Certificate Number
- Shape and Cutting Style
- Measurements of the Diamond’s diameter
- Carat Weight
- Color Grade
- Clarity Grade
- Cut Grade
- Finish, Polish & Symmetry
- Plotted diagram of the diamond for the imperfections.
- Key to Symbols that helps us to identify characteristics marked in the plot.
- Security Features for the Certificate
- Graphical image of Diamond Structure
- Information about Diamond”s Depth, Table, Girdles, Culet and Facets etc.
This certificate doesn”t state monetary value of a diamond.
There are many laboratories available through out the world for diamond certification but below mentioned laboratories are considered as most respected ones in the industry, for their consistency and unbiased diamond grading systems.
- The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)The Gemological Institute of America was established in 1931 in Los Angeles. The GIA created and introduced the international grading system. Headquarters are still located in Los Angeles.
- The Diamond High Council (HRD)The Diamond High Council is the officially recognized representative of the Belgium diamond trade and industry. HRD headquarters are located in Antwerp, World Diamond Center.
- The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL)The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL) was established in 1934 in Las Vegas, Nevada by Robert M. Shipley, who also established the GIA.
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)The International Gemological Institute was established in 1975 in Antwerp. This laboratory is also having labs in New York, Bangkok, Mumbai and Tokyo.Securing a certificate will provide you a much-needed peace of mind knowing that you are getting your money”s worth. Here are some reasons to buy a diamond along with its certificate:
- A diamond certificate gives you the exact details of the stone and on the basis of this information you will be able to do some comparison-shopping before doing the actual purchase.
- A diamond certificate allows you to pay money on the basis of stone”s characteristics. Your jeweler wont be able to charge you more and there are very good chances to get the best deals.
- On re-sale of diamond along with its certificate, you will get better price for the diamond.
- To get insurance for your diamond, you also need to produce diamond certificate.
It is a standard practice in the Diamond Industry, to ask for a Diamond”s Certificate or Grading Report from the jeweler before the purchase of it.
Diamonds are forever as they are the hardest known substances on earth. But due to our day-to-day activities, it is inevitable that our precious diamond pieces get dirty and soiled. Even they can be scratched, chipped or dulled if not handled correctly. With proper care, they can last a lifetime and can even be handed down as heirlooms to future generations without losing their shining and sparkle. So here are some tips that will help you to preserve the life and beauty of your diamond:
Cleaning of Diamond Jewelry
Regular cleaning of Diamond Jewelry is essential to maintain shine and brilliance of diamonds. On wearing them, they get dirty as you use various skin and body care regimen such as soaps, lotions and even our skin”s natural oils. Even when you are not wearing them, they collect dust. If you are cleaning your diamond jewelry by your own then it will take few minutes but before cleaning, you should be aware about the cleaning at home and cleaning by a professional jeweler:
- You can use a small soft brush such as an eyebrow or lip stick brush, soap and water to clean your diamond jewelry. Simply make a bowl of warm sudsy water with a mild detergent and gently place your jewelry pieces in the mixture. Then brush the diamonds with the soft bristles of the brush while they are in the suds. You will need to make certain that you rinse them clear of the suds after cleaning them. After this process, use a soft cloth or a jewelry polish cloth to pat them dry.
- If you feel that your diamond jewelry is in need of a stronger cleansing then you can use a solution of one part ammonia and six parts water for cleaning the diamonds. Once they are soaked for 30 minutes, remove them and gently brush the mountings with a small soft brush. Then use the mixture of soap and water to wash them and after that use a soft cloth to pat them dry.
- But if you find yourself too busy to be mixing soaps and ammonias, you can use liquid jewelry cleaners which are sold by many departmental stores. You can find these liquid jewelry cleaners in kit form. You just need to follow all the written precautions and instructions of cleaning.
- In cleaning process, treat metal settings gently as gold can scratch.
- It is also a good idea to have them cleaned once a year by a professional jeweler, where he will check security of the settings. He will also give advice for repair of loose or bent prongs which hold your diamond in place. This will prevent your diamond from falling out of its setting and becoming lost.
Storing of Diamond Jewelry
Storing of diamond jewelry is also important as a diamond can scratch another diamond, as well as other jewelry pieces. Storage of diamond jewelry needs following precautions:
- Diamond jewelry should be stored individually in a soft cloth pouch to ensure that a diamond should not scratch other diamonds or other jewelry.
- Diamond jewelry pieces are best stored in a fabric-lined jewel case or in a box with compartments or dividers.
Wearing Precautions for Diamond Jewelry
- You should not wear diamond jewelry while doing heavy work. Even though a diamond is extremely durable, it can be chipped by a hard blow, and even everyday activity can loosen jewelry setting.
- You should avoid the situation where your diamonds come in contact with chlorine bleach, hair spray or other chemicals because they can pit or discolor the mounting.
If you will follow the above mentioned caring tips then your diamond jewelry will always shine and sparkle likes a new one.
4th Fruit & Flowers
7th Copper & Wool
8th Bronze, Pottery
9th Pottery, Willow
12th Silk, Linen
4th Blue Topaz
(Fine gold) is softer than pure silver but harder than tin. Its beauty and luster are unmatched by any alloyed gold. The extreme malleability, ductility, and softness of pure gold make it practically useless for jewelry applications. The addition of alloying elements (other metals) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal. While almost any metal can be alloyed (melted) with gold, only a select group of metals will not dramatically change the color or make the metal brittle. For example, we never mix indium with gold because it turns gold purple and gives gold the workability of glass.
Over time, certain percentages of gold have become legally recognized “karats.” The karat indicates the amount of gold as a percentage of the total, i.e. 24 karat is 100 percent gold. In karated gold, there is a balance of metals in the non-gold percentage called alloys. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated gold. 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys such as copper, nickel, silver or zinc. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy. Gold standards vary around the world. In the United States, 18, 14, and 10 karat gold are the only karats allowed to be sold as karated gold.
18 karat gold means that the metal is 18 parts out of 24 pure gold, or in other words, 75% pure gold. 18 karat gold is the standard for European jewelry. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold, or 58.5% pure gold. It is the standard for American jewelry.
The addition of alloying elements (other metals) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal, as well as change the color. Adjusting the proportions of coloring agents provides the array of colors on the market. Additional metals enhance properties such as castability, grain size, hardness, corrosion resistance, color, workability, ultimate strength, and others. These additions can dramatically change the properties of the karated metal for better or worse. For example: 18 karat rose gold is 75%, or 18 parts fine gold and 25%, or 6 parts copper. It is the rich red copper combined with the pure yellow gold that creates a warm rosy tone. 14 karat white gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts white metal, either nickel or palladium. These white metals dominate the color, creating a warm gray tone.
Typical alloying elements and their color effect :
Copper – Reddening
Silver – Greening
Zinc – Bleaching
Nickel – Whitening
Palladium – Whitening
Examples of the compositions of different colors are:
Yellow Gold: copper, silver, zinc
White Gold: nickel, manganese, palladium, zinc, copper
Red (Rose) Gold: copper
Green Gold: silver
A carat is a unit of weight for gemstones, where one carat equals 1/5 of a gram, or 200 milligrams. 142 carats equals one ounce. Carats are divided into 100 units, called points . For example, a half-carat gemstone would weigh .50 carats or 50 points. The important thing to note is that carat is a unit of weight, not a unit of size. A one carat stone that is dense will be smaller than a one carat stone that is less dense. For example, sapphires are denser than diamonds, so a one carat sapphire will be smaller than a one carat diamond.
A karat is not a unit of weight. The word karat refers to the amount of gold in a particular item. Karats are measured in units of 24, where 24 karat gold is pure gold. 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys such as copper, nickel, silver or zinc. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy.
Platinum is considered to be the “most precious” of the precious metals. Platinum is your metal of choice, when only the best will do. Rarer than gold, stronger and more enduring – platinum is also the choice of jewelry designers for fine heirloom quality jewelry.
Platinum History: Platinum evokes the future through the cool gray color and technological uses, but it also recalls the past. In the 1890’s the world renowned Louis Cartier introduced the metal as a setting, and made it part of his most exquisite creations for kings and millionaires. During the first 40 years of the twentieth century, platinum was the preferred metal for wedding and engagement rings and was almost always used to enhance the beauty of diamonds and other gemstones. However, for the duration of World War II, platinum was declared a strategic material and its use in most non-military applications was prohibited.
1. Due to the unusual characteristics of this metal, a platinum smith must have a different set of tools than a goldsmith. For instance, platinum melts at 3225 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to fine gold which melts at 1945. 2. Platinum is more scarce than gold – The annual supply of platinum is only about 130 tons – which is only 6% (by weight) of the total Western World’s annual mine production of gold.
3. Approximately 10 tons of ore must be mined to produce one pure ounce of platinum. Furthermore, the total extraction process takes six long months.
4. All the platinum ever mined throughout history would fill a room of less than 25 cubic feet.
5. Platinum is even heavier than gold because it is about 11% more dense. One cubic foot weighs around 1,330 pounds.
6. Platinum has many more industrial uses than either silver or gold. In fact more than 50% of the yearly production is consumed (read destroyed) by industrial uses.
7. Also unlike gold, there are no large inventories of above-ground platinum. Therefore, any breakdown in the two major supply sources would catapult the price into orbit.
Platinum is a precious metal that costs more than gold. It usually is mixed with other similar metals, known as the platinum group metals: iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium and osmium. Platinum is extremely dense, and is much heavier than gold or silver. Platinum has a remarkably high level of durability so it does not wear or tarnish like other metals. White gold is rhodium plated to give it the same white look as platinum, but eventually the rhodium wears off and the white gold takes on a yellow cast. White gold jewelry should be rhodium plated every few years to maintain its whiteness. Platinum does not yellow or tarnish and maintains its white appearance with little maintenance and can develope a hazy patina over time.
Platinum is not susceptible to problems like stress cracking or corrosion as can be the case with white gold. Though platinum can scratch, it is more durable than white gold and does not wear down or abrade like gold. Scratches can easily be removed by buffing, and all that is required to maintain platinum is to soak it in a mild solution of soap and warm water followed by a gently rubbing with a soft bristled brush.
Palladium is one of six metals in the platinum family. It has similar characteristics of platinum, such as high melting temperature, cool gray color, durability and rarity, however, it is much less dense (lower specific gravity). Palladium is a soft silver-white metal that resembles platinum. It is the least dense and has the lowest melting point of the platinum group metals. Palladium is the metal of choice to mix with pure gold to create the finest white gold. Like platinum, it will develop a hazy patina over time.
Mokume-gane is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. Literally translating as “wood eye metal”, the name was borrowed from one type of pattern created in the forging of swords and other edged weapons. Two or more metals are stacked in alternating sheets and fused together. The billet is then forged and formed and filed to reveal an interesting pattern of the layers of sheet.
Shakudo is a Japanese alloy made of 96% copper and 4% fine gold. It has a natural dark patina and, if worn away by sand or chemicals, it will naturally re-darken through contact with water, air, the skin, and chemicals such as ammonia.
Sterling Silver is the whitest of all the metals. Fine silver is generally too soft for most jewelry applications. Sterling Silver is a mix of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper. Silver products sometimes may be marked 925 , which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver. 99.9% silver is called “Fine silver.” Sterling components and jewelry made in the USA are often stamped “Sterling.” Goods made for international trade are often marked “925” indicating the 92.5% fineness. “Coin” silver is used in some countries and could be marked “900” or “800” depending on fineness.
Finding Your Ring Size
Here are some tips to make your ring size measurement more accurate:
– Confirm the printed paper size with a ruler.
– Pull tightly. The sizer must fit snugly to produce an accurate size.
– Don’t measure cold fingers. This is when fingers are their smallest.
– For the most accurate reading, measure your finger at the end of the day when it is largest.
– Ask your partner’s mother or one of her friends if they know her finger size.
– Borrow one of your partner’s rings (from the correct finger) and use the Ring Sizer PDF to determine its size.
Terms to Know
– The bezel is simply a band of metal which is shaped into the size and shape of the gem and then soldered into place on the metal of the jewelry. This setting can be ideal for those with an active lifestyle or those who do not like prong settings.
– Brilliant cuts are scientifically found to reflect the most light from within the stone, and often are considered to have the most brilliance of all cuts. A round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets. Other brilliant cuts include the heart, oval, marquise and pear shaped.
– Natural pearls are those pearls which are formed in nature, more or less by chance. Cultured pearls, by contrast, are those in which humans take a helping hand by actually inserting a foreign object into the tissue of an oyster or mollusk, pearl farmers can induce the creation of a pearl. The same natural process of pearl creation takes place.Cultured pearls (nucleated and non-nucleated or tissue nucleated cultured pearls) and imitation pearls can be distinguished from natural pearls by X-ray examination. Once the pre-formed beads are inserted into the oyster, it secretes a few layers of nacre around the outside surface of the implant before it is removed after six months or more. When a nucleated cultured pearl is X-rayed, it reveals a different structure to that of a natural pearl. A cultured pearl shows a solid center with no concentric growth rings, whereas a natural pearl shows a series of concentric growth ring
– When exposed to ultraviolet light, a diamond (and some gemstones) may exhibit a more whitish, yellowish or bluish tint, which may imply that the diamond has a property called fluorescence. The untrained eye can rarely see the effects of fluorescence. Diamond grading reports often state whether a diamond has fluorescent properties. Fluorescence is not considered a grading factor or an influence on a diamonds price, only a characteristic of that particular diamond.
– Gold filled jewelry is made from joining or bonding a top layer of gold alloy to a base metal and then rolling it to the thickness required. It resembles an “oreo” cookie, a thin layer of gold (usually 12K or 14K) with the base metal in the center.
– also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks as an inner shell layer. It is made of platelets of calcium carbonate crystals that are secreted in response to an irritation in the mollusk.
– The metal tip or bead that actually touches the stone and holds it into place. This setting usually consists of four or six claws that cradle the stone. Because this setting allows the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles, it sometimes can make a diamond appear larger and more brilliant than its actual weight. This setting can also hold larger diamonds more securely.
Freshwater Pearls – Although historically originating in Japan, China is now a major producer of freshwater pearls. In this case it is the humble clam, not its cousin the oyster, that is equally capable of producing high-quality pearls. Traditionally, most freshwater pearls grow in irregular shapes but they now are producing round pearls up to 12mm that can compete with Akoya for size and appeal.
South Sea Pearls – Highly coveted, South Sea pearls come from Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Cultured in varieties of pinctada maxima, this large, warm-water loving, gold and silver-lipped oyster produces pearls of fabulous colors. Most South Sea Pearls are 14-17 mm but can have larger examples that are 16-20mm!
Akoya – Akoya pearls are considered the classic and best known variety of all cultured pearls. The cold water Akoya-producing mollusk produces pearls between 2 and 10mm in size and each shell can produce 4-5 pearls at a time. The color can be white, cream, gold, pink, green, silver or golden.
Mabe – Often referred to as cultured half pearls or blister pearls, mabe pearls form on the inside of the oyster shell rather than in the soft tissue of the mollusk.
Tahitian – Often called “Black Pearls”, Tahitian pearls are found in French Polynesia, Northern Australia, and the Marshall, Cook and Solomon Islands by the Black-Lipped oyster (which can grow to be 30 years old, 100 lbs. and over 12inches in diameter!). The usual size for the Tahitian pearl ranges from 8 to 13mm though larger sizes do occur and are highly prized. The color can be black with tones of peacock blue, green, purple.
Collar – A collar necklace consists of a strand (or strands) of pearls that lay close to the neck.
Choker – A choker is 14 inches to 16 inches long and sits on the base of the neck.
Princess Necklace – A princess necklace is 18 inches to 20 inches long. It is between choker and matinee length.
Matinee Necklace – A matinee necklace is 22 inches to 24 inches long and sits at the top of cleavage.
Opera Necklace – An opera necklace is 30 inches to 35 inches long and sits at the breastbone.
Rope Necklace or Sautoir – A necklace that is longer than opera length. A sautoir often has a pendant or tassel.
Bib Necklace – A bib necklace is multiple strands of stepped pearls.
Graduated Necklace – A graduated necklace consists of a single strand of pearls that has a large pearl in the middle, with the pearls gradually becoming smaller toward the clasp.
Uniform Necklace – A uniform necklace consists of pearls that appear to be all the same size, although normally there is a slight difference towards the ends so they appear to be in proportion.
The most important thing to remember when selecting a pearl is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as most elements used to assess a pearl will depend on individual taste. Therefore, the most important test is subjective.
Luster describes the beauty you see as light travels through the nacre of the pearl. Luster is not to be confused with surface shine. Luster is the brilliance that comes from deep within the nacre layers.
Pearls may have surface characteristics which may or may not detract from the pearls beauty depending on the quality, depth, or visibility of the blemishes. These imperfections can be caused by particles finding their way into the mollusk and coming in contact with the pearl. Pearls are graded into 4 complexion categories: Statement, Fine, Fashion, and Foundation.
Generally, the size of the pearl affects the price. Large pearls are more difficult to cultivate because of the large size of the implanted nucleus may be rejected by the mollusk. Pearls are measured in diameter increments of millimeters (mm). The longer the pearl is in the mollusk, the thicker the nacre, the richer the glow and the more valuable the pearl.
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is certainly the case when it comes to pearl shapes. Some shapes are: round/near round, oval, button, baroque, circle, and drop. The shape of a pearl does not affect its quality.
There is a wide spectrum of colors that can be found in pearls. Basic colors include cream, gray, green, blue and pink. The most popular colors are white and pink rose because these shades flatter the widest range of skin tones. Color is based on preference, but it is always important to find a color that is rich and evenly distributed on the pearl. Pearls can also be bleached for whiteness or dyed for a wider range of colors.
Like any precious heirloom, pearl jewelry will require some care to preserve its freshness and beauty.
Occasionally clean the pearls gently with a cloth dampened in warm water or water with a very mild, diluted soap. Then rinse the cloth in fresh water and wipe the pearls clean. Dry them with a soft cloth. Never soak or hang your strand as this can weaken the silk thread used. And do not store your pearls in direct sunlight or on a direct source of heat (such as a fireplace mantle, T.V. or stove) or store them in very dry places, such as safety deposit boxes, for long periods of time as this can dehydrate the pearls. Never store your pearls in any type of plastic bag. Plastic can emit a chemical that will cause the pearl’s surface to deteriorate.
The following hints will help you keep your pearls looking their lustrous best.
•Wait until after applying makeup, perfume, and hairspray to put on jewelry. Some chemicals, such as those in lotions and items mentioned above, may harm pearl jewelry.
•Don’t allow pearls to rub against harder gems or other jewelry.
•Before putting pieces away, wipe the pearl jewelry softly with a clean cloth.
•For storage, keep the pearl jewelry wrapped alone in a soft cloth and protected from abrasive objects.
Strands will need restringing from time to time depending on how often they are worn. A knot in between each pearl in a strand is recommended to keep the pearls from rubbing against one another and to keep loss of pearls to a minimum should the strand break.
Agate is a variety of chalcedony formed from layers of quartz which usually show varicolored
Alexandrite’s color change is dependent on pure light sources (pure candescent light to pure incandescent light, for example sunlight to candlelight).
Amber’s use in adornment is probably as old as mankind itself, in recent times it has had a limited market. Of course, that was before millions of people saw dinosaur DNA extracted from a mosquito trapped in amber in the film Jurassic Park. Millions of people learned from the film that amber, which is fossilized pine tree resin, is ancient and valuable, like an antique from history.
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz used in jewelry. The name comes from the ancient Greek a- (“not”) and methustos (“intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkeness.
Ametrine is one of the world’s most unusual gemstones in that it is actually two gems in one. Bi-color ametrine blends the golden sunburst of citrine with the violet of amethyst. A fine split in the colors and color intensity are the most important aspects to consider when evaluating ametrine.
Aquamarine (“water of the sea”) is a gemstone-quality transparent variety of beryl, having a delicate blue or turquoise color, suggestive of the tint of the sea. It is closely related to the emerald.
Blue Zircon is a pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue color. Zircon is also available in green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange. Natural zircon today suffers on account of the similarity of its name to cubic zirconia, the laboratory-grown diamond imitation. Many people are unaware that there is a beautiful natural gemstone called zircon.
Citrine, a form of quartz, derives its name from the French word for lemon, “citron”. It is available in a range of golden hues from lemon to straw to sun yellow to gold, as well as oranges, browns, and deep madiera red.
Diamond is among the most prized substances on earth. Diamonds are available in almost every color. Their incomparable brilliance, elegance, durability and mystery have captivated our imagination for thousands of years.
Emerald has been prized for thousands of years for its lush green hues and rare beauty. Throughout the ancient world, emerald symbolized eternal hope, rebirth and the arrival of spring.
Fire Opal is remarkable in that unlike many other opals its play of color is minimal. Also known as Mexican opal or Mexican fire opal, its legendary popularity instead comes from its breathtaking brilliance, opalescence, extraordinary fiery hues and stunning clarity.
Iolite cut in a cube will look more or less violet blue, almost like sapphire from one side, clear as water from the other and a honey yellow from on top. Due to this pleochroism (when a mineral looks like one color viewed one way and another color when viewed from another angle), the Viking mariners used thin pieces of it as the world’s first polarizing filter.
Garnet is one of the most versatile stones on the market. It comes in a rainbow of colors, from deep red to tangerine orange to lime green to pale pink, as well as purple, gold and brown.
Jade was known in China as the ‘royal gem’ for thousands of years. Symbolic energy and beauty, an enchanting range of colors and fine luster, the traditional and the modern are combined in jade in a particularly harmonious way.
Lapis lazuli is a gemstone of the kind that might have come straight out of the Arabian Nights: a deep blue with golden inclusions of pyrites which shimmer like little stars. It is a versatile and popular gemstone and has fascinated both men and women for thousands of years with its fabulous color and those golden points of light formed by pyrites.
Marcasite is a mineral with a metallic luster that was made popular in Victorian jewelry and remains popular today adding an old world quality to modern jewelry.
Moonstone appears in a variety of colors such as white, pink, blue, and yellow while some appear clear with no color. Moonstone has a very shimmering appearance with a reflective soft glow that seems to come from the inner portions of the stone. Moonstone is often found in the form of a cabochon which is polished to allow the true glow and light of the stone to shine.
Morganite, alongside emerald and aquamarine, is certainly a beautiful gemstone from the colorful group of the beryls. Women the world over love morganite for its fine pink tones which radiate charm and tenderness. There are morganites in many fine pink hues. Some are decidedly pink while others tend more to lilac or light violet or there may be a hint of orange.
Onyx is a very fine textured quartz stone that is most commonly black in color although it can be found in shades of white, reddish-brown (sardonyx), green and banded colors.
Opal was worshipped by the Romans as a symbol of hope, fidelity, purity and good luck. Opal is sometimes called the “queen of gems” because the stone can flash patterns of color representing every hue of the rainbow. This play of color is one of opal’s signature characteristics. The gem is found in a range of hues, including white opal (the most common); black opal; “boulder” opal; crystal or water opal, which is transparent; and fire opal, which has a yellow to orange to red color.
Paua shell is the most colorful of all abalone shells. It’s irridescence is similar to mother of pearl but is by far more colorful and that is what makes Paua such an amazing gem to be used in jewelry.
Pearl is among the most timeless, classic and treasured of all organic gems. Although early pearl gathering depended on divers braving the oceans’ depths to retrieve these treasures, the vast majority of pearls today are grown (cultured) on pearl farms by surgically inserting a small shell bead (nucleus) into the mantle of an oyster.
Peridot, found in various shades of green, is most prized in lime hues. The Romans called peridot “evening emerald” because its green color was said to glow at night.
Ruby – Perhaps no gemstone has been as prized throughout history and has adorned emperors and kings and inspired countless legends and myths with their rich, fiery hues as the ruby. As the ultimate red gemstone, rubies have symbolized passion and romance for centuries.
Sapphire has been sought after for thousands of years as the ultimate blue gemstone. Both sapphire and its sister stone, ruby, are part of the corundum family, one of the strongest minerals on earth.
Smoky Quartz is an earth toned transparent quartz that comes in a variety of shades. Several varieties of quartz have been used as gemstones for thousands of years. Also in the quartz family is Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine, and Tiger’s Eye.
Spinel was once mistaken for ruby and sapphire, but it’s no impostor, rather a master of disguise. One of the gem kingdom’s best kept secrets, spinel is treasured for its eternal brilliance and spectacular colors including red, blue, pink, orange and others.
Tanzanite occurs in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors. Rarely pure blue, the gem almost always displays signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes it tends toward lighter tones, with lavender the being most common. In larger sizes, the gem typically displays deeper, richer blues and purples. It is this mesmerizing saturation of color that has made tanzanite so sought after.
Topaz is most often associated with its golden yellow hues, it also occurs colorless, as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown, light green, blue and pink. Imperial shades are the rarest and therefore, the most valuable. The name topaz is thought to come from the Greek word “topazos” meaning “to shine” which also implies “fire.”
Tourmaline is a gem with an incredible variety of colors from green, blue, teal, pink to green and pink combined. The reason, according to an old Egyptian legend, is that the tourmaline, on its long journey up from the center of the Earth, passed over a rainbow. In doing so it assumed all the colors of the rainbow.
Tsavorite garnet, East Africa’s beautiful green gemstone, is rightful heir to the title the king of garnets. Comparable in scarcity to demantoid garnet, it is extremely rare. Like all garnets, tsavorite possesses few inclusions and its high refractive index results in a superb brilliance.
Turquoise is ancient, yet again and again it finds itself back in fashion. Its shining sky blue is one of the most popular trend colors in the world of jewelry and fashion. The best quality turquoises are of a pure, radiant sky blue, a color which is highly esteemed with or without its fine, regular matrix. The color of the turquoise makes us feel happy and cheerful, for in it the light blue of the sky and the stimulating green of the sea are combined.