Square Engagement Rings in Dupont

5 Tips on What To Look For When Buying Diamonds For Wedding Rings

A wedding, or an engagement in  Dupont, is one of the most important events in every couple’s life. One of the best ways of making the experience memorable is by choosing the right ring to symbolize the love you have for one another. While most couples would like to get the most beautiful ring they can lay their hands on, budgetary restrictions can be a challenge. However, it is possible to find an ideal ring based on your budget.

For anyone looking for precious diamonds for engagement rings and wedding rings in Dupont, they should consider going about the process carefully. There are various dealers in the market, some of who may sell you fake diamonds. Here are a few useful tips on what to look for when looking for precious diamonds for engagement or wedding rings.

Consider the Diamond Cut

1. Any expert will tell you that the cut is the most important thing to consider when buying diamonds in Dupont. The main reason behind this is that the cut usually influences the sparkle. A diamond may be clear and feature a high quality color grade, but if the cut is poor, it may still appear dull. The dealer you buy from should be able to cut your diamond in the proper proportions. If your budget can allow it, choose a diamond with the highest cut grade.

Diamond Color

2.  Contrary to common belief, lack of color in your diamonds denotes a higher color grade. Some people go for pale yellow diamond, without knowing that it is low quality. To avoid such an experience, ask the diamond dealer to give you grade H or higher. Near colorless diamond ranges from grade G to J, but it may be quite expensive.

Clarity Diamonds can also be chosen based on their clarity levels.

3. This is usually not a very important factor to consider, considering that the precious stones usually come with imperfections, known as inclusions. These tiny imperfections may not be easy to detect, and they may only be seen through a microscope. However, the fewer there are, the higher the clarity grade of your diamonds. If your budget can be stretched further, consider buying grade VS1 grade or higher.

Consider the Diamond’s Carat Weight

4.  Unlike common belief, carat does not mean the size of the diamond, but its actual weight. Carat and cut must be considered side by side, because no matter the size of the diamond, a poor cut grade can make your precious stones look smaller. Another important fact to keep in mind is that the more the weight of the diamond, the more you will pay for it. Therefore, you should consider going for a less heavy stone with a high grade cut.

Ask for Proof of Certification

5. There is nothing as unfortunate as buying diamonds for your special event only to realize that they are of poor quality, or that they were stolen. To avoid such an eventuality, always ask the dealer in Dupont to show you the copy of diamond certification.

With these tips, you should be able to make the right choice when buying precious diamonds in Dupont for you engagement or wedding.

3 stone diamond

Dupont How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Not all sellers offer diamond grading lab records (also known as diamond high quality reports) to their customers. So my general recommendations to you is to maintain your loan in your pocket when dealing with such jewelers.

Just buy a diamond involvement ring if it includes the original ruby top quality record.

A laboratory report is an independent analysis of the 4Cs of a loose ruby and consists of an outlined layout of the rock's quality qualities as well as a graphic depiction of the stone's proportions. Having such a report enables you to contrast diamonds of different high qualities as well as inevitably aids you make a more informed acquiring decision.

A seller could reduce edges as well as not give a lab report or a dishonest seller may offer a fake one due to the moment, difficulty and also cost he'll bear to obtaining a stone graded.

Yeah - there is a cost for rating a ruby (though that cost is at some point paid by the consumer), plus the delivery as well as insurance coverage charges for sending the diamond to the lab. And also let us not forget the opportunity price of a jeweler not having the diamond in his store available for sale for a few weeks while the grading occurs.

Nevertheless, a ruby rating report might likewise not be offered since the expenses to obtaining one might influence as well heavily on the final cost of the ring. For example, a 0.3 ct ruby ring costing $250 say, might set you back around $75 to be rated as well as have the record number engraved on the band on the diamond. As you look for that perfect diamond engagement ring for your sweetie, you'll locate that there is a hodgepodge of labs claiming to offer reliable ruby grading reports. However I would just put my loan on ...

The Premier Ruby Grading Laboratory Reports

Yes, all ruby top quality records are not produced equal. Within the market, it is an agreement that the 2 premier labs are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of The U.S.A.'s Treasure Trade Lab) and also the AGS (American Gem Culture Laboratories).

The GCAL (Gem Certification and also Guarantee Laboratory) additionally offers very regarded reports or "ruby certificates" as they are referred to by GCAL. The GIA has the toughest global reputation for freedom and consistency. Due to their constant color as well as clarity strictness standards, the world's biggest as well as most pricey diamonds have been sent out there for rating years. In 2006, GIA-GTL included a two-dimensional cut grading system for round dazzling rubies.

AGS makes use of the most strict cut criteria in the industry. It utilizes a three-dimensional light performance metric that can grade a number of ruby forms. In fact, it is the only cut grading system that is identified by the clinical area.

Exactly what is even more, its Diamond High quality Document uses an one-of-a-kind and also exclusive 0 to 10 grading system to evaluate the 4 Cs - a system which is much easier to understand than GIA's grading system. Actually, AGS even goes the extra action by corresponding their 0-10 ranking scale to other forms of rating. As an example, the traditional VS1 diamond quality ranking is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Quality File.

Diamond Coverage - The Drawbacks

1. Diamond grading is not standardized or regulated as well as for this reason you may find rate 2 labs that utilize looser guidelines to the rate 1 grading labs pointed out over. If you purchase a diamond that has actually been graded by a rate 2 lab, you might end up paying extra for a lesser high quality ruby. So as an example, a ruby ranked a "F" in shade at a rate 2 laboratory may get a G, H, or reduced color ranking at a much more reputable laboratory. The sector likewise discounts rubies graded by lower recognized labs by about 15-30% or more. So either you only buy a ruby rated by a rate 1 laboratory or you accept that you may be acquiring a minimal top quality diamond than exactly what is specified on the report if that ruby is rated by a lower known laboratory.

2. Numerous large chain stores have huge contracts with lesser well-known laboratories with "softer" ruby grading standards. Some of these softer labs placed "recommended replacement values" on the lab reports - worths which are more than just what stores plans offer the diamonds for. So a salesman in a store may claim to you, "Take a look at the lot you are obtaining here. We are selling you this ruby involvement ring for $2500 but the report says that the recommended substitute value is $4000." Wow - exactly what an offer - NOT! This is why it is much better that you trust just independent tier 1 laboratories.

Likewise bear in mind that trusted ruby grading records are not assessments as well as do not offer evaluation figures. Ruby evaluations are typically grossly inflated as well as are not something you'll wish to depend on.

3. Ruby reports are riddled with please notes that specify that absolutely nothing is "accredited" or guaranteed which the laboratories are not answerable for mistakes. As a matter of fact, the GIA supplies a please note of kinds on their web site relating to making use of the word "license." The website claims:

"It is inaccurate to state that trainees, grads, their services, or specific gems are "licensed" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. does not certify anyone or anything. Neither a pupil nor a graduate that has actually been awarded a certification or diploma, nor a treasure which has been rated or identified by GIA has actually been accredited by GIA".

So it is feasible that you the consumer is left holding the bag should an inaccuracy in a report is later found. Courts have often ruled that sellers, not laboratories, are responsible for such errors. Why? Since the laboratories showed in advance that their reports couldn't be held responsible.

The good news is, there are a pair methods to offer on your own extra purchaser protection:

A. You can fly to India where jewelry experts use a life time buyback plan to their clients. Also pricey to fly?

B. You can find one of the 20% people jewelers that sell fully bound diamonds. These are diamonds that are sold with life time damage, life time trade-in and lifetime buyback plans.

C. Not as good a solution as acquiring a totally bound ruby however you can acquire a diamond that features a real "certification" and also not a report. "Qualified diamonds do include guaranties" albeit for much shorter durations.

Qualification Some sellers refer to a "diamond report" as a "qualified diamond" however technically this is not correct. From a legal viewpoint, a diamond record is a simply an expert point of view though in reality, facets of a ruby rating record are not simply point of views.

As an example, a ruby's carat (weight) can be precisely identified along with its cut grade by gauging its optical effectiveness or by referring to a computer system version. A certification on the various other hand is a statement of truth - a record for which the provider accepts lawful duty and will make restitution to the customer for blunders.

Some leading ruby grading labs offer both reports as well as certifications. AGS supplies Diamond High quality Papers (non-certified reports) and Ruby High quality Certificates. Ruby Top quality Certificates are prepared solely for AGS retail jewelry experts as well as offers guaranties from participating American Gem Culture participant shops.

GCAL licenses it's ruby grading also. Its 100% money-back warranty plan stands for a duration of 2 years from the date on the applicable certificate. This plan makes sure the precision of the cut, color as well as clearness qualities and the carat weight.

A report or certificate should will certainly have a number on it that may or could not be inscribed on a diamond. You will have the ability to get in that number on the internet site of the certifying laboratory to check a record's validity.

Components Of A Ruby Grading Record Diamond rating records are always advancing yet specific component ought to stay the exact same. As an example, the:

The Report #. This number is offered as well as tape-recorded in a lab's record and also could or might not be etched on a ruby's band. You could go into the report number on a grading lab's site to check the authenticity of the ruby top quality report or to obtain more details about the diamond. Forming & Aspect Style: This is the overview as well as the reducing design utilized for the facet setup. There are 3 standard facet styles - "dazzling cut, action cut and also mixed reducing design" as well as 12 fundamental forms that include notables such as rounded dazzling and princess cut" rubies.

Dimensions: This describes dimension (not weight) of a diamond. Dimension includes dimensions such as size, size, weight as well as diameter. A measurement is commonly listed to the hundredth of a millimeter. Measurements play a big duty in how a diamond sparkles.

Carat weight Weight: The weight of a diamond is determined to the hundredth of a carat and some also provide such step to the thousandth of a carat weight (1.123 ct.). Carat weight is the most objective and the easiest to comprehend of the 4Cs since all one has to do is weight the stone. Color Grade: This tells you the degree of shade lack in the diamond. The less color the greater the grade.

Diamonds are usually graded from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the diamond. You must never ever see diamond color array such as (G-H, I-J-K, and so forth) on a diamond record. You should just see color varieties on appraisals for stones that are installed.

Quality Quality: Essentially every ruby has actually interior flaws called inclusions and exterior blemishes called imperfections. A ruby is rated according to the dimension, type, area and quantity of these problems.

Clearness qualities vary from Flawless (FL) - Consisted Of. Labs use a pair specialists to quality the quality of a ruby in order to generate an extra accurate reading.

Cut Grade: Extra current diamond records include a cut grade for common round dazzling diamonds. Cut takes into consideration the radiance, fire and scintillation of the ruby. Cut grade ranges from Excellent - Poor.

Various other aspects you could stumble upon on a ruby record consist of the polish, symmetry, fluorescence and also percentage. Equipped with this details, you are much better able making an evaluation of the quality of ruby that is placed in an interaction ring.

princess cut wedding rings

How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Dupont

Exactly how are diamond cut qualities assigned?

This is where things begin to get complicated. The techniques used to quantitatively evaluate the top quality of a cut vary. The method the GIA identifies what a diamond's cut quality must be, for instance, differs in really details means from the way other certifiers like the AGS do it. In many cases, these companies do not divulge the specific information of the procedures they use.

The form of a diamond additionally makes a difference with respect to how its cut grade is figured out. Although there are some standard requirements that remain the same for any type of diamond, the specific methods used to quality a round ruby's cut are various from those utilized to quality a heart-shaped diamond's cut.

The remainder of this description will focus on rounded rubies, as this is by far one of the most common ruby form. One of the variables impacting the cut grade of a rounded diamond is the number of elements it has. Aspects are the flat, defined locations on the surface of a diamond. The facets on round diamonds are normally triangular. Currently, it's believed that the suitable round diamond must have 33 elements on the crown (the section of the ruby that sits over the band, which itself is the best point of the ruby) as well as 25 on the pavilion (the reduced, much longer section of the ruby). When there are imperfections on the surface area of the ruby, cutters could include additional aspects in order to obscure them. This results in a deterioration in the general high quality of the cut.

While the element count is normally decideded upon as an excellent way of evaluating the quality of a diamond cut, there are various other points on which jewelers often differ. Several of the other variables utilized by some authorities in order to help identify cut qualities include the elevation of the diamond's crown, the depth of the structure, the diameter of the table (the top of the crown), and also the angles of the crown and also pavilion.

The American Criterion benchmark for rounded rubies calls for a crown elevation of 16.2%, pavilion deepness of 43.1%, and also table size of 53% of the overall band diameter. The Suitable Brilliant standard, nevertheless, requires 19.2% crown elevation, 40% pavilion deepness, and also 56.5% table diameter. While these differences could be tough for beginners to discern, they are an excellent illustration of the difficulties associated with developing a simple assessment of a diamond's cut.

Although there are some differences as to the exact proportions that make up the excellent diamond cut, for possible ruby purchasers, one of the most important thing to recognize is that ruby qualifications offered by companies like the AGS and GIA are trustworthy and significant. Trustworthy diamond vendors base the costs at which they deal diamonds on the cut along with the remainder of the "4 Cs." When you buy a ruby, you don't have to worry concerning the assumption of just what makes a good diamond cut changing a lot that the value of your diamond will be substantially impacted.

Which diamond cut quality stands for the best value?

Which sort of diamond is best for you greatly depends upon your budget plan. For buyers who are prepared to acquire them, vendors generally recommend diamonds with the highest possible cut grades. Nevertheless, this could be due to some self-interest on their component.

The various other 3 Cs have an influence on ruby rates also, so it can be challenging to evaluate the exact distinction in cost between an Ideal or Excellent cut diamond as well as an Excellent cut. For casual buyers and budget-conscious investors alike, diamonds with a Very Good or Great cut grade can represent a superb value. This is because, while they can be much more economical compared to otherwise equivalent Suitable or Exceptional cut rubies, the noticeable distinction in high quality is marginal.

At the exact same time, feel free to use your discernment. If, for instance, you stumble upon a ruby with a Suitable reduced score which has good ratings in the various other categories and also is still within your spending plan, after that you ought to absolutely consider it, as long as you're managing a trustworthy vendor.

___________________________________________

Vintage Wedding Rings in Washington

White Diamond Earrings in Dupont

5 Tips on What To Look For When Buying Diamonds For Wedding Rings

A wedding, or an engagement in  Dupont, is one of the most important events in every couple’s life. One of the best ways of making the experience memorable is by choosing the right ring to symbolize the love you have for one another. While most couples would like to get the most beautiful ring they can lay their hands on, budgetary restrictions can be a challenge. However, it is possible to find an ideal ring based on your budget.

For anyone looking for precious diamonds for engagement rings and wedding rings in Dupont, they should consider going about the process carefully. There are various dealers in the market, some of who may sell you fake diamonds. Here are a few useful tips on what to look for when looking for precious diamonds for engagement or wedding rings.

Consider the Diamond Cut

1. Any expert will tell you that the cut is the most important thing to consider when buying diamonds in Dupont. The main reason behind this is that the cut usually influences the sparkle. A diamond may be clear and feature a high quality color grade, but if the cut is poor, it may still appear dull. The dealer you buy from should be able to cut your diamond in the proper proportions. If your budget can allow it, choose a diamond with the highest cut grade.

Diamond Color

2.  Contrary to common belief, lack of color in your diamonds denotes a higher color grade. Some people go for pale yellow diamond, without knowing that it is low quality. To avoid such an experience, ask the diamond dealer to give you grade H or higher. Near colorless diamond ranges from grade G to J, but it may be quite expensive.

Clarity Diamonds can also be chosen based on their clarity levels.

3. This is usually not a very important factor to consider, considering that the precious stones usually come with imperfections, known as inclusions. These tiny imperfections may not be easy to detect, and they may only be seen through a microscope. However, the fewer there are, the higher the clarity grade of your diamonds. If your budget can be stretched further, consider buying grade VS1 grade or higher.

Consider the Diamond’s Carat Weight

4.  Unlike common belief, carat does not mean the size of the diamond, but its actual weight. Carat and cut must be considered side by side, because no matter the size of the diamond, a poor cut grade can make your precious stones look smaller. Another important fact to keep in mind is that the more the weight of the diamond, the more you will pay for it. Therefore, you should consider going for a less heavy stone with a high grade cut.

Ask for Proof of Certification

5. There is nothing as unfortunate as buying diamonds for your special event only to realize that they are of poor quality, or that they were stolen. To avoid such an eventuality, always ask the dealer in Dupont to show you the copy of diamond certification.

With these tips, you should be able to make the right choice when buying precious diamonds in Dupont for you engagement or wedding.

3 stone sapphire ring

Dupont How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

In an ideal world with unlimited budgets and an infinite supply of diamonds, everyone would have beautifully cut "D Flawless" diamonds. In the real world every diamond is unique. There are plenty of gorgeous diamonds to go around - you just need to know how to find one. Choosing a diamond is about balancing several factors to make the most of your budget. Each factor contributes to the beauty and prestige of your diamond. I will explain these factors so you will be prepared to make an informed decision about your diamond purchase.

FACTOR 1: CARAT WEIGHT

People often use the word Carat when discussing how big a diamond is, however "Carat" actually refers to the weight of a diamond. There is no rule as to what carat weight you should buy, but you'll doubtless have heard that "bigger is better." If you ask me, I think bigger is great but you shouldn't forget about the other aspects of a diamond's quality.

A useful tip: if you're looking at Certified Diamonds, you may find it valuable to compare the diameters of different diamonds. Since every diamond is individually cut, some may appear larger than others of the same weight.

FACTOR 2: SHAPE

Approximately 75% of diamonds sold worldwide are Round Brilliants. Rounds diamonds are the most popular, most brilliant, and most expensive. If you are purchasing a diamond as a surprise, Round Brilliant is generally your safest bet.

There is no real hierarchy of shapes being better or worse - it is truly a matter of personal preference. Princess Cuts are the second most popular, and a classic alternative to round diamonds. Cushion Cuts are trendy and have a beautiful vintage look. If you want something different but not too crazy, try an Oval Cut, Asscher Cut, or Radiant Cut diamond.

While no shape is better, there are some significant differences between shapes. Take for example, the radiant cut vs the emerald cut. Though they are a similar shape, the extra facets of the radiant cut give it additional fire and sparkle. If you prefer the emerald cut's understated elegance, consider that it's easier to spot any imperfections and select a higher clarity grade.

Another tip: Diamonds (even round diamonds) may not be perfectly symmetrical. It's nothing to worry about if your diamond's width does not precisely match its height, but if your diamond is much longer than it is wide it may not be what you're expecting. This is especially the case in shapes like Cushion and Oval, where a more asymmetrical diamond might look "skinny", with much of the fire and brilliance concentrated at the ends.

FACTOR 3: CUT

"Cut" refers to a diamond's finish and proportions, and is critical in determining its beauty. Getting the angles right ensures a beautiful diamond that's full of life. In many cases it can be more difficult to spot flaws in a fiery, brilliant diamond. Cut is generally graded in five categories: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Excellent is the highest graded awarded by GIA (whereas other labs may use terms like "ideal" or numbers like "0"). If you want to play safe, stick to "Very Good" and "Excellent" cuts when you choose your diamond.

FACTOR 4: CLARITY

Almost all diamonds have naturally¬ occurring features called "inclusions." Inclusions form as the diamond crystallizes deep underground, and they are unique to each diamond. They take many different forms, and can help you identify a diamond as your own. However, large and prominent inclusions can detract from the beauty of a diamond.

There are many different types of inclusions, and not all are created equal. If your diamond certificate has an "inclusion map," check where the inclusions are. Try to find a diamond with inclusions near the edge where they will be masked by sparkle or hidden by the setting of your diamond. If your budget is limited, I recommend buying "SI" clarity or better. "SI" stands for "Slightly Included." With close inspection you can usually spot the inclusions in an SI¬ graded diamond, but these inclusions will most likely not be visible once your diamond is set in jewellery. If you want to be sure your diamond will look "eye clean", even up close, I recommend selecting a VS2 clarity diamond or better. "VS" stands for "Very Slight Inclusion," and imperfections in VS clarity stones are rarely seen by the naked eye.

FACTOR 5: COLOUR

The term "colour" usually refers to how much warm tint is in a diamond. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (very strongly tinted yellow or brown). Pure white diamonds are considered more desirable, and are more expensive. Warmer¬-hued diamonds (such as K, L, and M) are not necessarily less attractive, but they are significantly less valuable.

Conventional wisdom is to select J colour or better. Personally, I love G and H colour diamonds ¬- they hit the "sweet spot" where most people will not notice colour in the diamond unless they're doing a direct comparison. However, an I or J colour diamond that is well cut and has a lot of life can give you a beautiful diamond at a bargain price.

Depending on how they are cut, different diamonds will display colour differently. This is why colour grades are assigned by looking at a diamond upside¬down. Generally, more¬ brilliant diamonds show their colour less than less brilliant diamonds.

FACTOR 6: FLUORESCENCE

Fluorescence has a bad rep, and most of it is unfair. Diamond Fluorescence refers to how a diamond responds when subjected to ultra¬violet light. Fluorescent diamonds can glow any one of several colours, but the most common is blue. In rare cases fluorescence can cause your diamond to have a milky appearance when viewed in direct daylight. This is most often the case with strong or very strong fluorescence and D/E/F colour diamonds.

However, there are many, many more cases where blue fluorescence is a positive thing. Imagine you were shining a blue light on a yellow diamond... the blue tint can make your diamond look whiter. If your diamond falls in the "near colourless," "lightly tinted," or "tinted" range I recommend looking for medium blue or faint blue fluorescence.

Warning: Green, red, and yellow fluorescence are rare, and they will not have the same benefit. If you are interested in a diamond that has strong blue, very strong blue, green, red, or yellow fluorescence, I recommend asking your salesperson to show you your diamond outside in natural daylight. If you're buying online, contact the seller prior to making your purchase so they can examine the diamond first in natural daylight.

FACTOR 7: GRADER

This should always be your first question: Says who? Every diamond grading laboratory has different standards, so comparing diamonds graded by different sources is extremely unreliable. One grader might grade a diamond K SI2, and another might call that same diamond F VS2. I know that sounds crazy, but I see it happen all the time.

The most reputable and consistent grading laboratories are GIA, AGS, IGI, and HRD. GIA is considered the global standard worldwide. AGS is a popular alternative in the U.S.A. while IGI and HRD are more common in Europe.

EGL is tricky because there are EGL labs all over the world, and some of them do a great job while others can be less reliable. We strongly recommend caution when buying an EGL certified diamond unless it's from EGL-¬USA.

Many diamonds are assigned grades by valuation companies and in-¬house graders. If your diamond does not come with a report from a major laboratory, you should always ask where the grader trained. He or she should be certified by a major grading laboratory: GIA, AGS, IGI, or HRD. Be smart and be cautious about reports done by uncertified shop owners, salespeople, or valuation companies.

SELECTING YOUR DIAMOND

You can choose to purchase your diamond online, or from a retail store. If you prefer to purchase your diamond in a retail store, avoid the big chains and shop with smaller independent jewellers. Many independent jewellers are actually significantly less expensive than their large competitors. (You don't have to take my word for it - shop around and you'll quickly learn that this is true). This way you'll buy a better quality diamond and - if you wish - you'll have the opportunity to design your own hand-made engagement ring setting.

If you choose to shop online, I would recommend comparing prices and service across several websites. Be sure that the company ships from your country - otherwise you'll be hit with expensive duty and GST. Always make sure you call or e-mail customer service and have them hand-inspect your diamond before you complete your purchase. Sometimes a diamond may seem like a great deal, but it could have an unfortunate inclusion, asymmetrical cut, or be negatively impacted by fluoresence. And above all, make sure you have an easy and affordable way to return the diamond if it doesn't turn out as you'd hoped. Online shopping is the best way to get a great deal on a diamond for your engagement ring, diamond studs, or pendant - just review this article, be reasonably cautious, and have fun.

18k diamond tennis bracelet

Clearness Boosted Diamonds - Some Things You Should Know!

Dupont

In an ideal world with unlimited budgets and an infinite supply of diamonds, everyone would have beautifully cut "D Flawless" diamonds. In the real world every diamond is unique. There are plenty of gorgeous diamonds to go around - you just need to know how to find one. Choosing a diamond is about balancing several factors to make the most of your budget. Each factor contributes to the beauty and prestige of your diamond. I will explain these factors so you will be prepared to make an informed decision about your diamond purchase.

FACTOR 1: CARAT WEIGHT

People often use the word Carat when discussing how big a diamond is, however "Carat" actually refers to the weight of a diamond. There is no rule as to what carat weight you should buy, but you'll doubtless have heard that "bigger is better." If you ask me, I think bigger is great but you shouldn't forget about the other aspects of a diamond's quality.

A useful tip: if you're looking at Certified Diamonds, you may find it valuable to compare the diameters of different diamonds. Since every diamond is individually cut, some may appear larger than others of the same weight.

FACTOR 2: SHAPE

Approximately 75% of diamonds sold worldwide are Round Brilliants. Rounds diamonds are the most popular, most brilliant, and most expensive. If you are purchasing a diamond as a surprise, Round Brilliant is generally your safest bet.

There is no real hierarchy of shapes being better or worse - it is truly a matter of personal preference. Princess Cuts are the second most popular, and a classic alternative to round diamonds. Cushion Cuts are trendy and have a beautiful vintage look. If you want something different but not too crazy, try an Oval Cut, Asscher Cut, or Radiant Cut diamond.

While no shape is better, there are some significant differences between shapes. Take for example, the radiant cut vs the emerald cut. Though they are a similar shape, the extra facets of the radiant cut give it additional fire and sparkle. If you prefer the emerald cut's understated elegance, consider that it's easier to spot any imperfections and select a higher clarity grade.

Another tip: Diamonds (even round diamonds) may not be perfectly symmetrical. It's nothing to worry about if your diamond's width does not precisely match its height, but if your diamond is much longer than it is wide it may not be what you're expecting. This is especially the case in shapes like Cushion and Oval, where a more asymmetrical diamond might look "skinny", with much of the fire and brilliance concentrated at the ends.

FACTOR 3: CUT

"Cut" refers to a diamond's finish and proportions, and is critical in determining its beauty. Getting the angles right ensures a beautiful diamond that's full of life. In many cases it can be more difficult to spot flaws in a fiery, brilliant diamond. Cut is generally graded in five categories: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Excellent is the highest graded awarded by GIA (whereas other labs may use terms like "ideal" or numbers like "0"). If you want to play safe, stick to "Very Good" and "Excellent" cuts when you choose your diamond.

FACTOR 4: CLARITY

Almost all diamonds have naturally¬ occurring features called "inclusions." Inclusions form as the diamond crystallizes deep underground, and they are unique to each diamond. They take many different forms, and can help you identify a diamond as your own. However, large and prominent inclusions can detract from the beauty of a diamond.

There are many different types of inclusions, and not all are created equal. If your diamond certificate has an "inclusion map," check where the inclusions are. Try to find a diamond with inclusions near the edge where they will be masked by sparkle or hidden by the setting of your diamond. If your budget is limited, I recommend buying "SI" clarity or better. "SI" stands for "Slightly Included." With close inspection you can usually spot the inclusions in an SI¬ graded diamond, but these inclusions will most likely not be visible once your diamond is set in jewellery. If you want to be sure your diamond will look "eye clean", even up close, I recommend selecting a VS2 clarity diamond or better. "VS" stands for "Very Slight Inclusion," and imperfections in VS clarity stones are rarely seen by the naked eye.

FACTOR 5: COLOUR

The term "colour" usually refers to how much warm tint is in a diamond. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (very strongly tinted yellow or brown). Pure white diamonds are considered more desirable, and are more expensive. Warmer¬-hued diamonds (such as K, L, and M) are not necessarily less attractive, but they are significantly less valuable.

Conventional wisdom is to select J colour or better. Personally, I love G and H colour diamonds ¬- they hit the "sweet spot" where most people will not notice colour in the diamond unless they're doing a direct comparison. However, an I or J colour diamond that is well cut and has a lot of life can give you a beautiful diamond at a bargain price.

Depending on how they are cut, different diamonds will display colour differently. This is why colour grades are assigned by looking at a diamond upside¬down. Generally, more¬ brilliant diamonds show their colour less than less brilliant diamonds.

FACTOR 6: FLUORESCENCE

Fluorescence has a bad rep, and most of it is unfair. Diamond Fluorescence refers to how a diamond responds when subjected to ultra¬violet light. Fluorescent diamonds can glow any one of several colours, but the most common is blue. In rare cases fluorescence can cause your diamond to have a milky appearance when viewed in direct daylight. This is most often the case with strong or very strong fluorescence and D/E/F colour diamonds.

However, there are many, many more cases where blue fluorescence is a positive thing. Imagine you were shining a blue light on a yellow diamond... the blue tint can make your diamond look whiter. If your diamond falls in the "near colourless," "lightly tinted," or "tinted" range I recommend looking for medium blue or faint blue fluorescence.

Warning: Green, red, and yellow fluorescence are rare, and they will not have the same benefit. If you are interested in a diamond that has strong blue, very strong blue, green, red, or yellow fluorescence, I recommend asking your salesperson to show you your diamond outside in natural daylight. If you're buying online, contact the seller prior to making your purchase so they can examine the diamond first in natural daylight.

FACTOR 7: GRADER

This should always be your first question: Says who? Every diamond grading laboratory has different standards, so comparing diamonds graded by different sources is extremely unreliable. One grader might grade a diamond K SI2, and another might call that same diamond F VS2. I know that sounds crazy, but I see it happen all the time.

The most reputable and consistent grading laboratories are GIA, AGS, IGI, and HRD. GIA is considered the global standard worldwide. AGS is a popular alternative in the U.S.A. while IGI and HRD are more common in Europe.

EGL is tricky because there are EGL labs all over the world, and some of them do a great job while others can be less reliable. We strongly recommend caution when buying an EGL certified diamond unless it's from EGL-¬USA.

Many diamonds are assigned grades by valuation companies and in-¬house graders. If your diamond does not come with a report from a major laboratory, you should always ask where the grader trained. He or she should be certified by a major grading laboratory: GIA, AGS, IGI, or HRD. Be smart and be cautious about reports done by uncertified shop owners, salespeople, or valuation companies.

SELECTING YOUR DIAMOND

You can choose to purchase your diamond online, or from a retail store. If you prefer to purchase your diamond in a retail store, avoid the big chains and shop with smaller independent jewellers. Many independent jewellers are actually significantly less expensive than their large competitors. (You don't have to take my word for it - shop around and you'll quickly learn that this is true). This way you'll buy a better quality diamond and - if you wish - you'll have the opportunity to design your own hand-made engagement ring setting.

If you choose to shop online, I would recommend comparing prices and service across several websites. Be sure that the company ships from your country - otherwise you'll be hit with expensive duty and GST. Always make sure you call or e-mail customer service and have them hand-inspect your diamond before you complete your purchase. Sometimes a diamond may seem like a great deal, but it could have an unfortunate inclusion, asymmetrical cut, or be negatively impacted by fluoresence. And above all, make sure you have an easy and affordable way to return the diamond if it doesn't turn out as you'd hoped. Online shopping is the best way to get a great deal on a diamond for your engagement ring, diamond studs, or pendant - just review this article, be reasonably cautious, and have fun.

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Vintage Wedding Rings in Washington