Three Stone Round Diamond Ring Settings in Clearlake

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

A wedding, or an engagement in  Clearlake, 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 Clearlake, 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 Clearlake. 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 Clearlake 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 Clearlake for you engagement or wedding.

diamond rings

Clearlake 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.

wedding band sets

Ways To Acquire Diamonds When Purchasing Wholesale.

Clearlake

Not all sellers supply ruby grading laboratory reports (aka diamond quality records) to their consumers. So my basic recommendations to you is to maintain your money in your pocket when taking care of such jewelry experts.

Just buy a diamond engagement ring if it has the original diamond top quality report.

A laboratory report is an independent assessment of the 4Cs of a loose ruby and also consists of a plotted diagram of the stone's quality attributes and also a graphic depiction of the rock's percentages. Having such a record allows you to contrast rubies of various top qualities and also eventually aids you make a more educated getting choice.

A seller might cut edges as well as not supply a laboratory record or a deceitful seller could offer a fake one as a result of the moment, trouble and cost he'll birth to obtaining a rock graded.

Yeah - there is a rate for grading a diamond (though that expense is at some point paid by the customer), plus the delivery as well as insurance policy costs for sending out the ruby to the lab. And allow us not fail to remember the possibility cost of a jewelry expert not having the ruby in his store up for sale for a couple of weeks while the grading happens.

However, a diamond rating report might also not be available since the costs to obtaining one might influence as well heavily on the final rate of the ring. For example, a 0.3 ct ruby ring setting you back $250 claim, could cost around $75 to be graded as well as have the record number engraved on the girdle on the diamond. As you look for that ideal ruby interaction ring for your sweetie, you'll discover that there is a hodgepodge of labs asserting to provide reliable diamond rating reports. Yet I would only put my money on ...

The Premier Ruby Grading Lab News

Yes, all ruby top quality reports are not produced equal. Within the industry, it is a consensus that the two leading laboratories are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of America's Treasure Trade Laboratory) and the AGS (American Treasure Society Laboratories).

The GCAL (Gem Accreditation and Assurance Lab) also uses highly concerned reports or "diamond certificates" as they are described by GCAL. The GIA has the greatest international credibility for freedom and also uniformity. Because of their continuous color and clarity strictness standards, the globe's biggest and most expensive diamonds have actually been sent there for grading years. In 2006, GIA-GTL included a two-dimensional cut grading system for round fantastic rubies.

AGS makes use of the most strict cut standards in the sector. It utilizes a three-dimensional light efficiency metric that can grade several ruby forms. In truth, it is the only cut grading system that is acknowledged by the clinical neighborhood.

Exactly what is even more, its Diamond High quality Record utilizes a distinct and exclusive 0 to 10 grading system to examine the 4 Cs - a system which is easier to comprehend than GIA's grading system. In fact, AGS also goes the additional step by corresponding their 0-10 ranking scale to other kinds of score. As an example, the conventional VS1 ruby clarity rating is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Top Quality File.

Ruby Reporting - The Drawbacks

1. Ruby grading is not standard or regulated and also for this reason you may find rate 2 laboratories that employ looser guidelines to the rate 1 grading labs stated over. If you acquire a diamond that has been rated by a tier 2 laboratory, you might end up paying much more for a minimal quality diamond. So for instance, a diamond rated a "F" in color at a tier 2 lab might obtain a G, H, or lower shade ranking at a more credible laboratory. The industry also discounts diamonds rated by lower well-known laboratories by concerning 15-30% or even more. So either you just acquire a diamond rated by a tier 1 lab or you accept that you may be buying a lower high quality diamond than what is stated on the report if that diamond is rated by a lesser known laboratory.

2. Several huge store have significant contracts with minimal recognized labs with "softer" diamond grading guidelines. Some of these softer laboratories placed "recommended substitute values" on the lab records - worths which are greater than exactly what shops plans market the rubies for. So a salesperson in a chain shop could say to you, "Take a look at the large amount you are obtaining below. We are offering you this ruby engagement ring for $2500 but the record states that the recommended replacement value is $4000." Wow - exactly what a deal - NOT! This is why it is better that you rely on just independent rate 1 labs.

Additionally keep in mind that reputable diamond rating records are not appraisals and do not use assessment figures. Ruby assessments are typically blatantly filled with air as well as are not something you'll intend to count on.

3. Diamond reports are filled with disclaimers that specify that absolutely nothing is "licensed" or guaranteed and that the labs are not accountable for mistakes. In reality, the GIA offers a please note of kinds on their site concerning using the word "certify." The internet site says:

"It is wrong to state that pupils, graduates, their services, or specific gemstones are "licensed" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. does not license any person or anything. Neither a pupil nor a grad who has been granted a certificate or diploma, neither a gem which has actually been graded or determined by GIA has actually been accredited by GIA".

So it is possible that you the consumer is left holding the bag should an inaccuracy in a report is later on uncovered. Courts have actually often ruled that sellers, not laboratories, are accountable for such mistakes. Why? Due to the fact that the labs suggested ahead of time that their reports couldn't be held liable.

The good news is, there are a pair means to give yourself much more purchaser defense:

A. You might fly to India where jewelers use a lifetime buyback policy to their consumers. As well expensive to fly?

B. You could locate among the 20% people jewelry experts who market totally bonded diamonds. These are rubies that are sold with lifetime breakage, lifetime trade-in as well as lifetime buyback policies.

C. Not as great a solution as purchasing a completely bonded ruby however you could buy a diamond that includes an actual "certification" as well as not a report. "Certified diamonds do come with guaranties" albeit for shorter durations.

Accreditation Some sellers refer to a "diamond record" as a "licensed ruby" however practically this is not fix. From a lawful point ofview, a ruby record is a merely an expert point of view though in reality, facets of a ruby grading record are not just opinions.

As an example, a ruby's carat (weight) can be accurately identified as well as its cut quality by measuring its optical effectiveness or by referring to a computer system model. A certification on the various other hand is a statement of reality - a file for which the issuer approves legal responsibility and will make restitution to the customer for mistakes.

Some leading diamond grading labs supply both records and also certificates. AGS supplies Ruby Top quality Files (non-certified reports) as well as also Ruby Top quality Certificates. Ruby High quality Certificates are ready solely for AGS retail jewelry experts and also provides guaranties from taking part American Treasure Culture participant shops.

GCAL licenses it's ruby grading also. Its 100% money-back warranty policy stands for a period of two years from the date on the relevant certificate. This policy ensures the accuracy of the cut, shade and also clarity grades and also the carat weight.

A record or certificate need to will have a number on it that may or might not be etched on a ruby. You will certainly be able to enter that number on the internet site of the accrediting laboratory to check a report's validity.

Components Of A Diamond Grading Report Ruby grading reports are always progressing however particular component must continue to be the exact same. For example, the:

The Report #. This number is offered as well as tape-recorded in a laboratory's record as well as might or may not be etched on a diamond's band. You could go into the record number on a grading lab's web site to examine the credibility of the ruby quality record or to obtain even more information concerning the ruby. Forming & Aspect Design: This is the summary and the cutting design used for the facet arrangement. There are 3 fundamental element designs - "dazzling cut, step cut as well as blended reducing design" as well as 12 standard shapes that include notables such as round dazzling as well as princess cut" rubies.

Dimensions: This refers to size (not weight) of a diamond. Dimension consists of measurements such as size, width, weight and size. A dimension is generally noted to the hundredth of a millimeter. Measurements play a significant duty in exactly how a ruby shines.

Carat weight Weight: The weight of a diamond is determined to the hundredth of a carat and some even offer such step to the thousandth of a carat (1.123 ct.). Carat is the most unbiased as well as the simplest to understand of the 4Cs because all one has to do is weight the stone. Shade Quality: This informs you the level of color absence in the ruby. The much less shade the greater the quality.

Diamonds are typically graded from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the diamond. You ought to never see diamond color range such as (G-H, I-J-K, and so forth) on a ruby report. You need to just see shade ranges on evaluations for stones that are installed.

Quality Grade: Virtually every ruby has interior flaws called incorporations as well as outside flaws called blemishes. A diamond is graded according to the dimension, kind, area as well as quantity of these flaws.

Clarity grades vary from Remarkable (FL) - Included. Labs utilize a couple specialists to quality the quality of a ruby in order to think of an extra exact reading.

Cut Quality: More current diamond reports consist of a cut quality for basic round dazzling diamonds. Cut takes into account the brilliance, fire and also scintillation of the diamond. Cut grade ranges from Superb - Poor.

Various other components you could find on a ruby record consist of the polish, symmetry, fluorescence and proportion. Equipped with this info, you are better able to make an evaluation of the high quality of ruby that is mounted in an interaction ring.

___________________________________________

Vintage Wedding Rings in Washington

Sapphire Rings in Clearlake

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

A wedding, or an engagement in  Clearlake, 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 Clearlake, 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 Clearlake. 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 Clearlake 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 Clearlake for you engagement or wedding.

wedding bands

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

For centuries, diamond has been used as an epitome of true love. It reflects love, affection, security, trust and a life long commitment. When you gift a diamond to a woman, let it be in the form of diamond engagement ring, you need not say the rest. It will make others understand that how much serious you are for her. It will portray your love in the best possible manner.

You can find a variety of diamond engagement rings at online jewelry stores. These diamond engagement rings come in many shapes and styles. It is apt to choose diamond as the stone for these engagement rings because diamond is considered beautiful and it is also the hardest of all substances present on the earth. This is primarily the reason why people consider it ominous and feel that wearing diamond can bring same kind of good luck in their lives. This has made diamond engagement ring, diamond solitaire ring, designer engagement ring, diamond engagement ring platinum, discount diamond engagement ring a pre determined gift for those involved in love.

Out of all rings, a ring with solitaire is considered the most appropriate symbol which can depict your love. The attraction with the solitaire is incomparable. Diamond solitaire rings are set in a prong setting with 4 to 8 claws. Prongs can mostly be seen in platinum, yet another very beautiful and attractive metal. In most of the cases platinum is considered, as it is generally thin, and makes the diamond more visible.

Then there is yet another form of diamond engagement rings, which is attractive as well as romantic. It is known as past, present future ring. These rings define love as eternal and something which was in the past will be in the present and will be there in the future. The ring actually consists of three stones of diamond. The design of the ring can be like a center piece of diamond with two pieces around, or the three pieces of diamond clustered together. Side stone diamond engagement rings are also one style of engagement rings, which is elegant. This type of engagement ring is basically attractive as well as elegant.

They go well for working women.

Then there are antique diamond rings. These are also called Victorian rings. The designs of these rings are just like what was prevalent in the past. These diamond rings also look well if they go with some other stones. And if you want to give something priceless and sentimental to your lover, then you can gift her ancestral ring. Ancestral ring is the ring of your family, coming down since past. This ring must have been worn by your mother and grandmother. These rings are high in sentimental value and thus are considered priceless. Bit if you do not have such a family ring, then there is nothing to be upset over. You can buy for your fiancé or your wife unique engagement rings; who knows, one day; this ring can becomes an ancestral ring for your family.

So, what are you waiting for? If you are planning to walk the aisle with hand in hand with your lover, then begin the process by gifting her a diamond engagement ring. After all, diamonds are a woman's best friend.

affordable engagement rings

What You Had to Know When Acquiring a Diamond Ring

Clearlake

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