It’s Okay to Get an “F” in Diamond Color

By John Carter, CGA, CEO & President of Jack Lewis Jewelers

Choosing the diamond that is right for you means that you need to become a Jedi Master with the answers to these two questions:

  1. What area(s) should I spend money on?
  2. And more importantly: In what area(s) should I save money without it being obvious that I did so?

Ok. So, there you go. I’ve summed up this whole frustrating process with two questions. Now, go out there and make the right choice!

Not really that simple, I know. If it was, I wouldn’t have a job. Understanding those questions is one thing. Now you need to see practical examples of what this means in person.

Let’s single out color as our starting point. A good thing to remember when we discuss color in a diamond is that we are generally speaking about the absence or presence of yellow. Not to be confused with the occasional yellow flash you may see when you turn a diamond because that is something else. We are talking about the overall body color of that diamond.

Think in terms of shades of yellow like various glasses of lemonade. Some batches will just look more yellow than others. Same here, only remember that in diamond terms, the less color a diamond has, the more expensive it will be.

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That brings us to two terms you should know: colorless and near colorless. The most colorless of all diamonds is D (don’t ask me why they don’t start at A…seems like that would be easier…but I digress) and then the color scale goes down through the letter Z. When we use the term colorless, we mean diamonds that would receive the grade of D-F. Near colorless means the diamond would fall into the color range of G-J.

So the question to ask yourself about colorless and near colorless would be, “How do they determine this? I mean, if F truly has no visible body color, then it should be a D…right?” Well, yes but the real buying tip is found in the determination of the grade. It’s all in how we actually grade the diamonds.

In order to see subtle differences in color from one diamond to another, we actually need to flip the diamond upside down and view it next to other diamonds we know are specific colors. We call these rather important comparison diamonds Master Diamonds or Master Stones.

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The term colorless is used because it means that in the face up position (or when you are looking down at the diamond from the top of it) no color differences can be seen even by a trained grader. Even by a trained grader! It is only from the side that one can see the difference between a D, E, and F.

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So I ask you, why would you spend your money on a D or an E when clearly an F looks awfully similar? Now I’ve sold (and currently own) plenty of D and E color diamonds, but I generally only buy them when the price makes sense in another area like clarity….which is what we’ll discuss in a future blog.

This takes us to the near colorless range…so called because in that same face-up position, there will be subtle differences in color from one diamond to the next.  In other words, to the naked eye, these will still appear to be mostly lacking in color but it starts to become noticeable, even if just a little.

The exercise I like to do with clients in person is to show them one color and how it compares to the others. You do not need to be an expert to see why a D is a D when you compare it to an I color, and by looking at them this way it allows you to ask yourself the very valuable question: Is it worth the extra money?

And that is always the million dollar question and why it is essential to find someone you can trust to show you the differences.  At the very least, know that you cannot be an expert in diamonds just by doing some research online.

Identifying what separates one diamond from another takes real world experience of viewing them in person, and the right jeweler will introduce you to that world and try to explain to you why they know what they do.  Understanding color is as simple as D-Z, and being a savvy consumer is just knowing that sometimes color can be a great place to save a little money.

Your sneak peek into Jewelry Week!

By Amanda L Colborn

May 26 – June 1 is known as “Jewelry Week” this year in Las Vegas, NV. With major trade show events hosted at both Mandalay Bay and the Wynn, you could say that the jewelry industry has taken over the Las Vegas strip.  Many of the exhibitors that have flown to Vegas to showcase their jewelry pieces are none other than American Gem Society members, of course!

We are very excited to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into some of the amazing pieces these designers have brought with them!

SimonGThis first image showcases three stunning pieces from Simon G. Jewelry. Note the incredible sparkle on this bracelet which comes from the well-cut diamonds.

 

HOF_newLoreleiDropEarringsNext we have the NEW Lorelei drop earrings from Hearts On Fire. The design is unique and something new and uncommon to the standard diamond drop earring.

 

KaraRossNYKara Ross posted this image to her Instagram feed earlier this week. The lovely model is showcasing some designs from the new Kara Ross NY collection.

 

EricaCourtneyIf you like diamonds that sparkle, than you’ll love these rings from Erica Courtney Jewelry. WOW!

 

GumuchianGumuchian is proudly displaying pieces from their NEW Stitch collection! This gold pendant is perfect going from day-to-night.

 

sunabrosEverything is coming up roses for Suna Bros. They’re showcasing these stunning rings in addition to many more beautiful pieces!

 

SupremeJewelry_openspacedringsIf you’re feeling fun, you’ll likely love these free-form, open-space rings from Supreme Jewelry just as much as we do.

 

AGGemsAG Gems always has fantastic colored jewelry pieces for any taste or style. They definitely did not disappoint!

 

YaelDesignsYael Designs brought a variety of different pieces to showcase this year. The gorgeous rings were a big fan-favorite!

 

Mastoloni_FlexCuffsLast and certainly not least, the NEW Flex bracelets from the pearl masters, Mastoloni.

And there you have it! Your inside look into 2015 Jewelry Week here in the sunny Las Vegas! We made sure to link all our AGS members featured in this blog to their respective Facebook pages. Please like them on Facebook and follow their new designs. Please also like the American Gem Society on Facebook and continue following our blog for more behind-the-scenes looks into the world of the AGS and the fine jewelry industry!

 

 

6 Tips for Traveling with Jewelry

By Kelsey McElrath, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

No one wants to worry about having precious jewelry stolen, damaged, lost or go mysteriously missing while traveling. Nothing could ruin a vacation more – especially if the jewelry is unable to be replaced. We want you to enjoy your getaway, worry-free! Read on and get ready to travel with these tips from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

Travel to see, not be seen. 

If you’re wearing a valuable ring with a large gemstone or diamond, consider turning it over so it looks like a wedding band drawing less attention to you. Or wear your ring on a necklace chain and tuck under your shirt.

A stunning engagement ring from Hufford's Jewelry.

A stunning engagement ring from Hufford’s Jewelry.

 Carry it on.

Consider using protective casing during transport and never place jewelry in checked luggage. Always wear it or place it in your carry-on.

Insure your jewelry.

Before jetting out, insure your fine jewelry with Jewelers Mutual’s worldwide, repair and replacement coverage. A policy from Jewelers Mutual provides protection against loss, theft, damage and mysterious disappearance (or unexplained loss).*

Keep it separated.

Store jewelry in separate compartments to prevent scratches to precious metals and gemstones or tangling of necklace chains.

Luxury Brand Group prepares for travel by individually packing items in their own bag.

Luxury Brand Group prepares for travel by individually packing items in their own bag.

Use the hotel safe.

Never keep jewelry out in the open on a night stand or bathroom counter in your hotel room when you’re not there. Use the safe when not wearing it. No good place to lock the jewelry away? Keep it on you, either wearing it or in the purse you plan to carry.

What if you find a beautiful piece of jewelry while traveling?

Members with existing policies from Jewelers Mutual® enjoy up to 30 days of automatic coverage (subject to a limit of $10,000) on any newly acquired jewelry.

Happy travels to all! Where is your favorite summer getaway?

* Coverage and pricing are subject to underwriting review and approval, and to policy terms and conditions.

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Spring Cleaning Your Jewelry

By Kelsey McElrath, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Does spring give you a sudden urge to clean everything – including your jewelry? Before you reach for the toothpaste or chemical-laden jewelry cleaner, check out Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company’s do’s and don’ts to make sure your DIY cleaning isn’t causing potential risk to your treasured jewelry pieces.

  • DO read the labels on jewelry cleaning supplies. Some chemicals can be damaging to certain metals and gemstones.
  • DO use warm water, mild dish soap and a soft bristle toothbrush to get in hard-to-reach areas.
  • DO visit your jeweler at least once a year for a professional cleaning and inspection to restore the brilliance to your jewelry and ensure that it’s in good condition.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry with toothpaste. The abrasives in toothpaste can scratch your stones and bands.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry over the sink or anywhere there is an open drain.

 

A sparkling, clean ring from Steve Padis Jewelry!

A sparkling, clean ring from Steve Padis Jewelry!

 

The only thing better than knowing your jewelry sparkles is to know it’s protected!
Keep your jewelry safe no matter the season by protecting it with Jewelers Mutual’s jewelry insurance. Have peace of mind in knowing that your jewelry is covered against loss, theft, damaged and mysterious disappearance (or unexplained loss) wherever you go, worldwide.*

*Coverage is subject to underwriting review and approval, and to policy terms and conditions.

The Do’s and Don’ts of cleaning your jewelry

We asked our friends at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company to guest blog for us this week on a topic many of us need right about now, especially with summer approaching: cleaning our jewelry. After all, we want our jewels to sparkle in the sun, right? Here are some tips from Jewelers Mutual.

  • DO read the labels on jewelry cleaning supplies. Some chemicals can be damaging to certain metals and gemstones.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry with toothpaste. The abrasives in toothpaste can scratch your stones and bands.
  • DON’T clean your jewelry over the sink or anywhere there is an open drain.
  • DO use warm water, mild dish soap and a soft bristle toothbrush to get in hard to reach areas.
  • DO visit your jeweler at least once a year for a professional cleaning and inspection to restore the brilliance of your jewelry and ensure that it’s in good condition.

The only thing better than knowing your jewelry sparkles is to know it’s protected!
Make sure your jewelry is safe no matter the season by protecting it with Jewelers Mutual’s Perfect Circle® Jewelry Insurance coverage. Have peace of mind in knowing that your jewelry is covered against loss, theft, damaged and mysterious disappearance (or unexplained loss) wherever you go, worldwide.

For more information on insurance for your jewelry, to get a free quote or apply, visit PerfectCircleInsurance.com or call a licensed agent at 888-884-2424.

What Causes Diamonds to Break

Marc Nanasi with NEI Group is today’s guest blogger.

Could My Diamond ‘Break’?

It’s easy to think that diamonds are invincible, after all, they rank as the hardest substance known to man on the Moh’s scale.  Unfortunately, diamonds are not without their vulnerabilities.

When it comes to diamonds breaking, there is good news and there is bad news.  The bad news is that no diamond is impervious to breaking, but the good news is that it is an extremely rare occurrence.

Three stone diamond ring by NEI Group

Image provided by NEI Group

The most important step comes when selecting your diamond.  Diamonds are formed within the earth and usually have identifying characteristics within them.  These characteristics (otherwise known as inclusions) act as a fingerprint foryour diamond, butcertain types of inclusions could compromise your diamond’s structural integrity.

The most important things to watch out for are the placement and size of two particular types of inclusions: feathers and cleavages (most AGS reports describe the nature of the diamond’s inclusions, and plot them in a diagram).Both of these inclusions are preexisting natural breaks in the diamond crystal. The difference between the two is that a feather breaks against the grain of the diamonds atomic structure, and a cleavage breaks along the grain.  This does not mean that you should pass on every stone displaying these types of inclusions, you should, however, take note and decide whether a piece of the diamond looks like it could snap off.  Usually, the risk of breaking a diamond is greater when these types of inclusions are near an edge or point of the diamond, or when they extend to the surface of the diamond.

Diamonds break when they are subjected to impact, and sometimes, when there is a buildup of pressure inside the stone (called strain), a slight tap in just the right place (or just the wrong place) will result in the stone breaking so the pressure can escape.  To make matters more interesting, most of the time there is virtually no way to tell if a diamond has internal strain.  It is very rare for a diamond to break like this, but it is still important to be careful when wearing diamond jewelry.  Take care to avoid wearing your jewelry if you plan to be particularly active with your hands (i.e. rock climbing, boxing, gardening).  Have a safe place to keep your ring while you do the dirty work!

Diamonds are formed through intense heat and pressure, and should be durable and last more than a lifetime, but it is important to care properly for your diamond.  Selecting the right diamond and caring for it, will allow you to enjoy it for generations to come.

Let’s Talk Jewelry

Welcome to our new blog! We are  here to talk about jewelry with you. Whether it’s tips on buying jewelry, the latest trends, historic or celebrity jewelry or even proper care for your gems, we have information to share. Our blog is written by experts in the industry–usually people who work in jewelry stores or are designers. We all share a passion for fine, quality jewelry, and want to share our expertise with you, so that your experience with jewelry, from buying it to wearing it, is a great one.

Want to tell us about your most treasured necklace? Have a question about buying an engagement ring? Leave a comment or ask a question; let’s get the conversation going!