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.

princess cut engagement rings

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.

wedding bands

What Are Shade Improved Diamonds as well as Are They For You?

Clearlake

Not all vendors provide ruby grading laboratory reports (also known as diamond quality records) to their consumers. So my general recommendations to you is to maintain your cash in your pocket when taking care of such jewelry experts.

Only purchase a ruby engagement ring if it features the initial ruby top quality record.

A laboratory report is an independent assessment of the 4Cs of a loose ruby as well as includes an outlined representation of the stone's quality features as well as a graphic representation of the stone's percentages. Having such a report enables you to contrast diamonds of different qualities and also inevitably helps you make an even more educated purchasing choice.

A merchant could cut corners as well as not provide a lab record or an unethical vendor might supply a fake one due to the fact that of the moment, trouble and also cost he'll bear to obtaining a rock rated.

Yeah - there is a cost for rating a diamond (though that cost is eventually paid by the consumer), plus the shipping and also insurance fees for sending the ruby to the laboratory. As well as let us not forget the chance price of a jeweler not having the diamond in his shop available for sale for a couple of weeks while the grading occurs.

Nevertheless, a diamond rating report could additionally not be offered since the costs to obtaining one might affect also greatly on the last cost of the ring. For example, a 0.3 ct ruby ring setting you back $250 say, might set you back around $75 to be rated and also have the record number inscribed on the girdle on the diamond. As you look for that optimal diamond engagement ring for your sweetheart, you'll discover that there is a hodgepodge of laboratories asserting to offer respectable ruby grading reports. However I would just put my cash on ...

The Premier Diamond Grading Laboratory News

Yes, all ruby high quality reports are not developed equivalent. Within the market, it is a consensus that both premier labs are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of America's Treasure Profession Lab) as well as the AGS (American Gem Society Laboratories).

The GCAL (Treasure Qualification and Guarantee Laboratory) additionally uses very regarded records or "ruby certifications" as they are referred to by GCAL. The GIA has the greatest international online reputation for freedom as well as uniformity. Because of their consistent color and clarity strictness guidelines, the globe's biggest and most costly rubies have actually been sent out there for rating years. In 2006, GIA-GTL added a two-dimensional cut grading system for rounded fantastic diamonds.

AGS makes use of the most strict cut requirements in the sector. It makes use of a three-dimensional light performance metric that can quality numerous ruby forms. In truth, it is the only cut grading system that is acknowledged by the scientific area.

Exactly what is even more, its Ruby High quality Paper makes use of a distinct and also proprietary 0 to 10 grading system to review the 4 Cs - a system which is less complicated to comprehend than GIA's grading system. As a matter of fact, AGS even goes the added action by relating their 0-10 ranking range to other kinds of rating. For instance, the conventional VS1 ruby quality score is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Top Quality Paper.

Ruby Coverage - The Drawbacks

1. Diamond grading is not standardized or regulated and thus you might come throughout tier 2 laboratories that utilize looser standards to the rate 1 grading labs pointed out over. If you purchase a ruby that has been rated by a rate 2 laboratory, you could wind up paying a lot more for a lesser top quality ruby. So for instance, a ruby ranked a "F" in color at a rate 2 lab could obtain a G, H, or lower shade score at a much more reliable laboratory. The sector likewise discounts rubies graded by lower recognized labs by concerning 15-30% or more. So either you only buy a diamond rated by a rate 1 laboratory or you approve that you could be buying a lower top quality ruby compared to what is mentioned on the record if that ruby is rated by a lesser well-known laboratory.

2. Several huge store have massive contracts with minimal recognized labs with "softer" diamond grading guidelines. Some of these softer labs placed "suggested replacement worths" on the laboratory records - worths which are greater than just what stores plans offer the rubies for. So a sales representative in a store could claim to you, "Check out the good deal you are getting right here. We are marketing you this ruby engagement ring for $2500 however the report states that the recommended substitute value is $4000." Wow - just what a bargain - NOT! This is why it is much better that you trust just independent tier 1 labs.

Also bear in mind that reputable ruby rating records are not evaluations and also don't use evaluation numbers. Ruby assessments are frequently blatantly inflated and also are not something you'll wish to count on.

3. Ruby reports are riddled with please notes that specify that absolutely nothing is "accredited" or ensured which the labs are not responsible for errors. Actually, the GIA uses a disclaimer of kinds on their web site pertaining to using words "certify." The internet site claims:

"It is incorrect to state that trainees, graduates, their services, or particular gemstones are "accredited" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. does not license any individual or anything. Neither a student nor a graduate that has been awarded a certification or diploma, nor a gem which has actually been graded or identified by GIA has actually been certified by GIA".

So it is feasible that you the consumer is left holding the bag needs to an inaccuracy in a record is later on discovered. Courts have actually frequently ruled that sellers, not laboratories, are liable for such errors. Why? Due to the fact that the laboratories showed ahead of time that their records couldn't be held liable.

Thankfully, there are a pair ways to provide yourself more buyer defense:

A. You could fly to India where jewelers offer a life time buyback policy to their customers. Also costly to fly?

B. You might find among the 20% people jewelry experts that sell completely adhered rubies. These are diamonds that are marketed with life time damage, lifetime trade-in as well as life time buyback policies.

C. Not as good a solution as buying a totally adhered ruby yet you might acquire a ruby that has an actual "certification" and also not a report. "Licensed rubies do have guaranties" albeit for much shorter periods.

Qualification Some vendors describe a "diamond report" as a "licensed diamond" yet technically this is not deal with. From a lawful perspective, a diamond report is a merely an expert opinion though in truth, facets of a diamond rating record are not simply opinions.

For example, a ruby's carat weight (weight) could be properly figured out in addition to its cut grade by measuring its optical effectiveness or by referring to a computer model. A certification on the other hand is a statement of truth - a paper for which the provider approves lawful duty and also will make restitution to the customer for blunders.

Some leading ruby grading labs offer both reports as well as certifications. AGS supplies Ruby Quality Documents (non-certified records) and Ruby Top quality Certificates. Diamond Quality Certificates are prepared exclusively for AGS retail jewelers as well as supplies guaranties from taking part American Treasure Culture participant stores.

GCAL accredits it's ruby grading likewise. Its 100% money-back guarantee plan stands for a period of two years from the date on the applicable certificate. This plan guarantees the precision of the cut, shade and also quality grades and the carat weight.

A report or certificate must will certainly have a number on it that could or may not be inscribed on a ruby. You will certainly have the ability to go into that number on the internet site of the licensing laboratory to check a report's credibility.

Components Of A Diamond Grading Record Diamond grading reports are always evolving yet certain element must stay the very same. For example, the:

The Report #. This number is offered as well as tape-recorded in a laboratory's record and may or might not be engraved on a ruby's girdle. You can enter the record number on a rating lab's internet site to inspect the credibility of the diamond high quality report or to obtain even more details about the ruby. Forming & Facet Style: This is the rundown as well as the reducing style used for the facet plan. There are 3 standard element designs - "dazzling cut, action cut and blended cutting design" and 12 standard shapes which consist of notables such as round brilliant as well as princess cut" diamonds.

Measurements: This refers to dimension (not weight) of a diamond. Size consists of measurements such as size, width, weight as well as diameter. A measurement is usually listed to the hundredth of a millimeter. Dimensions play a substantial role in just how a diamond sparkles.

Carat weight Weight: The weight of a ruby is gauged to the hundredth of a carat as well as some also give such measure to the thousandth of a carat (1.123 ct.). Carat weight is the most objective and also the most convenient to comprehend of the 4Cs because all one needs to do is weight the stone. Color Grade: This informs you the degree of shade lack in the diamond. The much less color the higher the grade.

Rubies are typically graded from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the ruby. You need to never ever see diamond shade variety such as (G-H, I-J-K, and more) on a diamond record. You must just see color arrays on appraisals for rocks that are placed.

Clearness Grade: Essentially every ruby has actually interior blemishes called additions as well as external imperfections called acnes. A ruby is graded inning accordance with the dimension, type, location and also quantity of these problems.

Clearness qualities range from Flawless (FL) - Consisted Of. Labs make use of a couple specialists to quality the clearness of a ruby in order to develop an extra precise analysis.

Cut Quality: A lot more recent ruby records consist of a cut quality for basic round great diamonds. Cut takes right into consideration the radiance, fire as well as scintillation of the ruby. Cut quality ranges from Superb - Poor.

Other components you may find on a diamond report include the polish, balance, fluorescence as well as percentage. Equipped with this info, you are better able to make an assessment of the top quality of ruby that is mounted in an engagement 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.

heart shaped wedding sets

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

Not all sellers supply diamond grading lab reports (also known as ruby top quality reports) to their consumers. So my general guidance to you is to keep your money in your pocket when managing such jewelers.

Just purchase a diamond engagement ring if it has the original diamond high quality record.

A lab report is an independent examination of the 4Cs of a loosened diamond and includes a plotted layout of the stone's clarity attributes and a visuals depiction of the rock's percentages. Having such a report permits you to compare diamonds of different high qualities and ultimately helps you make a more educated purchasing decision.

A retailer could reduce corners and not offer a laboratory record or an unethical vendor could supply a fake one because of the time, difficulty and also expenditure he'll birth to getting a stone graded.

Yeah - there is a price for rating a ruby (though that price is eventually paid by the customer), plus the delivery and also insurance coverage charges for sending out the ruby to the lab. And allow us not fail to remember the possibility expense of a jewelry expert not having the ruby in his store offer for sale for a few weeks while the grading takes area.

Nonetheless, a ruby rating report could also not be available since the expenses to obtaining one might affect as well greatly on the final price of the ring. For instance, a 0.3 ct ruby ring setting you back $250 say, might cost around $75 to be graded and have the report number etched on the girdle on the ruby. As you look for that perfect ruby involvement ring for your sweetie, you'll discover that there is an alphabet soup of labs asserting to provide trusted ruby rating reports. But I would just place my cash on ...

The Premier Ruby Grading Laboratory News

Yes, all diamond top quality reports are not produced equivalent. Within the market, it is an agreement that both top labs are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of The U.S.A.'s Gem Trade Laboratory) as well as the AGS (American Treasure Society Laboratories).

The GCAL (Treasure Certification as well as Assurance Lab) likewise uses very regarded records or "diamond certificates" as they are described by GCAL. The GIA has the greatest international reputation for self-reliance and uniformity. Due to their consistent shade and clarity strictness standards, the globe's largest as well as most expensive diamonds have been sent out there for rating decades. In 2006, GIA-GTL included a two-dimensional cut grading system for round dazzling rubies.

AGS utilizes the most strict cut criteria in the sector. It uses a three-dimensional light performance metric that could grade numerous diamond shapes. In truth, it is the only cut grading system that is recognized by the scientific community.

What is more, its Ruby Top quality Record uses a special and also proprietary 0 to 10 grading system to examine the 4 Cs - a system which is easier to understand compared to GIA's grading system. Actually, AGS even goes the additional step by relating their 0-10 ranking scale to various other types of rating. As an example, the standard VS1 diamond clarity rating is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Top Quality Paper.

Diamond Coverage - The Drawbacks

1. Ruby grading is not standard or controlled as well as therefore you may discover tier 2 laboratories that utilize looser guidelines to the rate 1 grading laboratories mentioned above. If you acquire a diamond that has actually been graded by a rate 2 laboratory, you may wind up paying extra for a lesser quality ruby. So for instance, a ruby rated a "F" in shade at a tier 2 laboratory might obtain a G, H, or lower color ranking at a much more credible lab. The industry additionally marks down diamonds graded by lesser known labs by concerning 15-30% or more. So either you just buy a diamond graded by a tier 1 laboratory or you approve that you may be getting a minimal high quality diamond compared to exactly what is stated on the report if that ruby is graded by a lower recognized laboratory.

2. Numerous huge chain shops have substantial contracts with minimal well-known labs with "softer" diamond grading guidelines. Several of these softer laboratories put "recommended replacement worths" on the lab reports - values which are greater than just what shops plans market the rubies for. So a salesperson in a store might state to you, "Consider the lot you are getting below. We are selling you this ruby engagement ring for $2500 yet the record claims that the suggested replacement value is $4000." Wow - exactly what a bargain - NOT! This is why it is much better that you trust just independent rate 1 labs.

Also keep in mind that respectable diamond grading records are not assessments and do not supply evaluation numbers. Diamond evaluations are typically grossly filled with air as well as are not something you'll intend to rely upon.

3. Diamond reports are filled with disclaimers that specify that nothing is "accredited" or assured and also that the labs are not answerable for mistakes. In truth, the GIA offers a please note of types on their web site relating to the usage of words "license." The website states:

"It is inaccurate to state that pupils, graduates, their companies, or particular gems are "certified" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of America does not accredit any individual or anything. Neither a trainee neither a graduate who has actually been granted a certificate or diploma, nor a treasure which has actually been rated or identified by GIA has actually been accredited by GIA".

So it is possible that you the consumer is left holding the bag needs to an error in a record is later discovered. Courts have actually often ruled that sellers, not laboratories, are accountable for such errors. Why? Due to the fact that the laboratories showed beforehand that their reports couldn't be held responsible.

The good news is, there are a couple ways to offer yourself more purchaser defense:

A. You could fly to India where jewelry experts offer a lifetime buyback plan to their consumers. As well pricey to fly?

B. You might discover one of the 20% of US jewelry experts who sell fully adhered diamonds. These are diamonds that are offered with lifetime damage, life time trade-in and also lifetime buyback plans.

C. Not as great a remedy as buying a completely bound diamond yet you might buy a diamond that includes an actual "certification" and not a report. "Licensed rubies do include warranties" albeit for much shorter periods.

Accreditation Some sellers describe a "ruby report" as a "certified diamond" yet practically this is not remedy. From a lawful viewpoint, a ruby record is a simply an experienced point of view though in reality, facets of a diamond rating report are not just viewpoints.

For instance, a diamond's carat weight (weight) can be accurately identified along with its cut grade by gauging its optical effectiveness or by describing a computer model. A certification on the other hand is a statement of fact - a record for which the provider approves legal responsibility and will make restitution to the customer for errors.

Some top ruby grading labs provide both records and certifications. AGS uses Diamond Top quality Papers (non-certified records) and Ruby Quality Certificates. Diamond High quality Certificates are ready specifically for AGS retail jewelry experts as well as uses guaranties from getting involved American Gem Culture member shops.

GCAL licenses it's diamond grading also. Its 100% money-back warranty plan is legitimate for a period of two years from the day on the relevant certification. This policy makes sure the precision of the cut, shade and also quality qualities and the carat weight.

A record or certification should will have a number on it that could or might not be inscribed on a diamond. You will certainly have the ability to go into that number on the internet site of the accrediting lab to examine a report's validity.

Components Of A Ruby Grading Report Ruby grading reports are constantly developing but certain component must stay the same. As an example, the:

The Report #. This number is given and also taped in a lab's document as well as could or might not be etched on a diamond's girdle. You could get in the report number on a rating laboratory's site to inspect the credibility of the ruby high quality report or to obtain even more info concerning the diamond. Forming & Aspect Style: This is the rundown and the cutting style used for the aspect setup. There are 3 basic element styles - "fantastic cut, action cut as well as blended cutting design" and also 12 basic forms that include notables such as rounded brilliant as well as princess cut" rubies.

Measurements: This describes dimension (not weight) of a ruby. Size consists of measurements such as length, size, weight and also diameter. A measurement is typically noted to the hundredth of a millimeter. Dimensions play a significant function in just how a ruby shines.

Carat Weight: The weight of a diamond is measured to the hundredth of a carat as well as some also supply such procedure to the thousandth of a carat (1.123 ct.). Carat is the most objective and also the easiest to understand of the 4Cs since all one has to do is weight the rock. Shade Quality: This tells you the degree of shade lack in the ruby. The much less shade the higher the quality.

Rubies are commonly graded from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the ruby. You must never ever see diamond shade range such as (G-H, I-J-K, and more) on a diamond record. You should only see color ranges on appraisals for stones that are placed.

Clearness Quality: Virtually every diamond has actually interior blemishes called additions as well as external imperfections called acnes. A ruby is graded inning accordance with the size, type, place and amount of these flaws.

Quality grades range from Perfect (FL) - Consisted Of. Labs utilize a pair professionals to grade the clarity of a ruby in order to think of an extra precise reading.

Cut Quality: Much more recent diamond records include a cut quality for conventional round dazzling rubies. Cut considers the brilliance, fire and also scintillation of the ruby. Cut quality varies from Excellent - Poor.

Other aspects you could discover on a diamond report include the polish, symmetry, fluorescence and also proportion. Equipped with this information, you are much better able to earn an evaluation of the quality of diamond that is mounted in an involvement ring.

3 stone sapphire ring

Fake Or Genuine Diamond And Also Is This Right For You

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