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.

affordable engagement rings

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

To begin our attribute on different types of gems, we will certainly begin with the ideal and most well recognized gemstone of them all the diamond. The diamond is the utmost gemstone. It has few weak points and lots of strengths. It glows with its amazing worth as well as nostalgic value. It is used in wedding celebration rings to represent endless love or utilized as gifts/jewelry to be provided to loved ones. However the diamond is so a lot greater than its infinite appeal.

The ruby derives its name from the Greek job adamas implying irresistible. In hardness, there is no contrast. The ruby rates in the Mohs range a 10 which is the hardest material in the world. Its cutting resistance is 140 times that of the ruby as well as sapphire, the gems(Diamond) that are next in the Mohs scale in hardness. The ruby's optical properties such as gloss and inflexibility make it unique and also quickly differentiated from other imitations. Appreciate!

* History of Diamonds

The very first taped diamond go back around 800 B.C. in India. Some believe it even went back 6,000 years back. The diamonds were made use of as ornamental objectives as well as also as amulets to fend off bad as well as provide protection in fight. During the Dark Ages, rubies were even stated to be used as a clinical help. Religious doctors also informed clients that if they hold a ruby in a hand and also make the indicator of the cross would certainly, it would certainly cure and illness as well as heal injuries.

Diamonds ended up being extra prominent throughout the 19th century as a result of exploration of diamond deposits in South Africa. This exploration results in enhanced supply, boosted reducing as well as polishing techniques, as well as development in economic climate. In 1979, rock hounds found the Argyle pipeline in Australia which to this day is the richest diamond down payment worldwide. Argyle, considering that after that, alone is accountable for supplying over one third of the globe's diamonds every year.

* Diamonds: How are they created?

Rubies contains an allotrope of carbons that are formed in high-pressure, high-temperature conditions. Rubies are produced 90 miles under the Planet's surface area at temperature levels of concerning 2200 levels Fahrenheit. Rubies are created deep within the earth and ultimately, over exceptionally long durations of time, push their way to the planet's surface, generally with volcanic eruptions.

The age of these rubies from beneath the surface area of the planet are from 1 to 3.3 billion years of ages! When rubies are developed as well as start their climb to the earth's surface area, they undergo networks where the magma from the volcano increases to the surface, grabbing diamonds along the means as well as ultimately depositing them on the surface, where they are ultimately located and also extracted.

* The 4 C's of Diamonds

There are 4 distinct characteristics that identify the value and top quality of a ruby. These are the shade, cut, clearness and also carat weight. Or else referred to as the 4 C's of a diamond. In the adhering to, we will speak about these features in detail.

* Shade

In the last newsletter, we touch based on the color of gemstones as being one of the most vital function because of that shade is one of the most apparent function. The ideal ruby ought to appear clear and also anemic yet this is not the instance for all rubies. Diamonds can come in any shade of the rainbow most usual color is a shade of yellow or brownish. The Geological Institute of The U.S.A.(GIA) have actually created a guideline to grade diamond shade. This standard includes a lettering system that varies from the alphabet D - Z. Please see below:

D E F No Shade G H I J Nearly Anemic K L M Faintly colored, can't hardly be seen as well as usually yellow in shade N O P Q R Gently tinted, usually yellow. Could be seen with the nude eye S T U V W X Y Z Tinted, begins with yellow and advances to brown

* Quality

The cut a diamond is established by the diamond's percentage such as its form, size as well as deepness. The cut identifies just what is called the ruby's "brilliance". Also if the diamond itself has ideal shade and clearness, with a poor cut the diamond will certainly have a boring radiance. This is because the cut establishes how light travels within the ruby. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. has likewise created a quality grading system to rank diamond clearness. This grading system consists of Flawless (Fl), Internally Flawless (IF), Extremely Extremely Slightly Included (VV1 or VV2), Very Slightly Consisted Of(VS1 or VS2), Slightly Included(SI1 or SI2), and Included(I1, I2, as well as I3). Although this system had actually been added to the diamond market, it is not widely used. This results from that it took a great deal of technique as well as training to incorporate it.

* Cut

The cut a ruby is figured out by the ruby's percentage such as its shape, size as well as deepness. The cut identifies just what is called the ruby's "brilliance". Even if the diamond itself has ideal shade as well as quality, with an inadequate cut the ruby will certainly have a boring luster. This is since the cut determines exactly how light journeys within the ruby.

There are 3 types of cuts that can identify the diamond's sparkle. These are a shallow cut, a cut that is also deep and also ideal cut. A superficial cut is a cut of a ruby that is too low, that light traveling through it is shed under of the rock and also does not return right into view. This cut makes a ruby appear lifeless and dull. A cut that is unfathomable is a cut that is too expensive, that light traveling with it escapes with the sides and also darkens the stone. A perfect cut is an ideal cut on a ruby that reflects light to the top of the stone, giving it best luster.

* Carat

As specified on the last newsletter, a single carat(ct) evaluates concerning 200 milligrams or.2 grams. For smaller sized carat weight diamonds that consider less compared to a carat, it is revealed as factors (pt). Factors are 1/100 of a carat. Carat weight of a diamond is vital due to the fact that larger diamonds are rarer compared to smaller sized ones, so essentially the bigger the ruby the much more pricey it is. There is no basic grading system or diagram that could show different carat weight. This is since there are many variants of rubies fit and also cut, which makes rocks of similar weight, look different.

* Replica Diamonds

Because diamonds are one of the most important and rarest of all the gemstones, efforts have been made to replicate and even enhance diamonds making use of more economical options. A whole lot of times, truthful mistakes have been made as well as these alternatives or other gemstones such as spinel were occasionally confused with actual rubies. Sometimes, some deceitful people attempt to market these choices to misfortunate buyers in order to revenue. Below we will certainly go over regarding these choices as well as methods to recognize them.

* Synthetic Diamonds

Synthetic diamonds are diamonds that are expanded produced in a lab. The first recognized situations of diamond synthesis were declared to be documented between 1879 - 1928, yet this was never ever verified. It had not been until the 1940's where research started in the United States, Sweden, Soviet Union began researching. Artificial rubies are otherwise called High Stress Heat (HPHT) diamonds or Chemical Vapor Deposit (CVD) rubies. The name of both these artificial diamonds stems from the procedures utilized to develop them. A few of these synthetic diamonds can either have better, lesser or similar qualities compared to that of a ruby. For that reason, these artificial rubies are used for abrasives, reducing and also brightening tools, and also switches over in power plant.

* Simulants

Simulants are non-diamond compounds that are made use of to duplicate the appearance and also the shape of a diamond. One of the most fundamental as well as popular simulant is cubic zirconia (CZ). CZ at ordinary view can glimmer greater than a diamond as well as it is less thick, implying that a 1 carat CZ will be a lot larger compared to a 1 carat diamond. Nowadays, a much more preferred simulant is moissanite, which has all the same features of a diamond. These qualities include hardness (Moissanite-9.25 and also diamond-10 in Mohs scale), refractive index(Moissanite -2.65 as well as ruby -2.42) as well as dispersion (Moissanite -.104 and also ruby -.044). This makes it difficult to set apart the 2 at ordinary view as well as would usually require testers to inform the distinction. In the next section we will discuss ways to identify moissanites and other imitations.

* Actual or Phony?

An old method of identifying diamonds is to do a scrape examination. This requires scraping a ruby with one more ruby which is harmful as well as is rarely utilized nowadays. The very best and most trusted way to evaluate for diamonds is to make use of testers that utilize thermal conductivity. These testers include battery powered thermistors mounted with a retracting copper tip. This tester functions by infusing the warm onto the examined rock and afterwards the device gauges the quantity of warm that it carries out. However thermal conductivity testers functions best to distinguish diamonds and also its various other simulants, it will certainly not aid identify lab produced or artificial stones. To be able to determine these, certain optical techniques are required. Laboratories make use of strategies such as spectroscopy, microscopy and luminescence in order to establish a particular stones origin. The average individual could utilize loupes and also microscopic lens to differentiate synthetic stones. Natural diamonds usually have small imperfections and defects such as inclusions or some sort of foreign material, which will not be located in synthetics.

princess cut diamond

Ways To Get Diamonds When Acquiring Wholesale.

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.

___________________________________________

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.

3 stone diamond

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

How are ruby cut qualities appointed?

This is where things begin to obtain made complex. The methods used to quantitatively analyze the top quality of a cut differ. The way the GIA establishes exactly what a diamond's cut grade must be, as an example, varies in extremely details ways from the means various other certifiers like the AGS do it. In many cases, these organizations don't divulge the precise details of the procedures they utilize.

The shape of a diamond also makes a distinction with regard to how its cut quality is established. Although there are some basic standards that stay the exact same for any sort of ruby, the precise approaches made use of to grade a round diamond's cut are various from those made use of to quality a heart-shaped ruby's cut.

The remainder of this description will concentrate on round rubies, as this is without a doubt the most common diamond shape. One of the factors affecting the cut grade of a rounded ruby is the variety of facets it has. Aspects are the level, defined areas on the surface of a diamond. The facets on round rubies are typically triangular. Currently, it's thought that the optimal round diamond ought to have 33 elements on the crown (the area of the diamond that sits over the girdle, which itself is the widest point of the diamond) as well as 25 on the pavilion (the reduced, much longer section of the diamond). When there are blemishes on the surface of the ruby, cutters might add additional elements in order to obscure them. This results in a deterioration in the overall quality of the cut.

While the facet matter is usually decideded upon as a great means of evaluating the high quality of a ruby cut, there are other factors on which gemologists often differ. A few of the other factors utilized by some authorities to assist determine cut grades consist of the elevation of the ruby's crown, the depth of the pavilion, the diameter of the table (the top of the crown), and also the angles of the crown and also structure.

The American Criterion standard for round rubies asks for a crown elevation of 16.2%, structure depth of 43.1%, and table size of 53% of the total band size. The Ideal Brilliant standard, nevertheless, asks for 19.2% crown height, 40% structure depth, and also 56.5% table diameter. While these differences could be challenging for novices to discern, they are a good image of the problems linked with developing a simple evaluation of a diamond's cut.

Although there are some differences as to the exact proportions that make up the best diamond cut, for potential ruby buyers, the most vital point to understand is that diamond accreditations supplied by organizations like the AGS as well as GIA are trustworthy and purposeful. Trustworthy diamond vendors base the costs at which they get as well as sell rubies on the cut as well as the rest of the "4 Cs." When you purchase a diamond, you do not need to fret about the assumption of exactly what makes a great diamond cut altering so much that the worth of your ruby will be considerably affected.

Which diamond cut quality represents the very best worth?

Which type of ruby is best for you greatly depends upon your budget plan. For buyers who are prepared to acquire them, suppliers normally recommend rubies with the greatest possible cut grades. Nevertheless, this might result from some self-involvement on their component.

The other 3 Cs have an effect on diamond rates also, so it can be hard to evaluate the exact difference in price in between a Perfect or Exceptional cut diamond and also a Great cut. For informal buyers and also budget-conscious capitalists alike, rubies with an Excellent or Good cut quality could represent an outstanding worth. This is because, while they can be more affordable compared to or else equal Perfect or Outstanding cut diamonds, the visible difference in quality is minimal.

At the exact same time, don't hesitate to use your discretion. If, as an example, you find a diamond with an Ideal cut score which has excellent rankings in the other categories and is still within your budget plan, after that you ought to definitely consider it, as long as you're managing a trustworthy supplier.

round engagement rings

What You Should Know When Getting 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