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.

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

Just how are ruby cut grades designated?

This is where points begin to get made complex. The methods utilized to quantitatively evaluate the top quality of a cut differ. The way the GIA identifies what a ruby's cut quality must be, for instance, varies in really particular methods from the means other certifiers like the AGS do it. For the most parts, these companies don't divulge the specific information of the procedures they use.

The form of a diamond additionally makes a difference relative to just how its cut quality is determined. Although there are some fundamental requirements that stay the same for any type of ruby, the precise methods made use of to quality a round diamond's cut are various from those utilized to quality a heart-shaped ruby's cut.

The rest of this explanation will focus on rounded rubies, as this is without a doubt one of the most usual ruby form. Among the elements impacting the cut grade of a rounded diamond is the variety of aspects it has. Aspects are the level, defined locations on the surface of a ruby. The facets on round diamonds are normally triangular. Currently, it's believed that the optimal round diamond should have 33 aspects on the crown (the section of the ruby that rests above the band, which itself is the best point of the diamond) and 25 on the structure (the lower, longer section of the diamond). When there are blemishes externally of the diamond, cutters may add additional elements in order to obscure them. This causes a deterioration in the general top quality of the cut.

While the element matter is normally decideded upon as a good means of judging the quality of a ruby cut, there are various other points on which gemologists frequently disagree. Several of the other elements used by some authorities in order to help identify cut grades include the height of the diamond's crown, the deepness of the structure, the size of the table (the top of the crown), and also the angles of the crown as well as structure.

The American Standard criteria for round rubies requires a crown height of 16.2%, pavilion deepness of 43.1%, and also table diameter of 53% of the overall band diameter. The Ideal Brilliant benchmark, however, calls for 19.2% crown elevation, 40% pavilion depth, as well as 56.5% table size. While these distinctions might be challenging for beginners to discern, they are an excellent illustration of the difficulties connected with developing a straightforward evaluation of a ruby's cut.

Although there are some arguments as to the precise percentages that comprise the perfect diamond cut, for potential ruby customers, one of the most important point to understand is that ruby certifications supplied by companies like the AGS and also GIA are trustworthy and also purposeful. Credible ruby suppliers base the prices at which they get and also market rubies on the cut in addition to the remainder of the "4 Cs." When you acquire a ruby, you don't have to stress over the perception of what makes an excellent diamond cut altering so much that the value of your diamond will be significantly impacted.

Which diamond reduced grade stands for the most effective worth?

Which kind of diamond is best for you greatly relies on your budget. For purchasers who want to buy them, vendors generally recommend diamonds with the highest feasible cut qualities. Nonetheless, this may be due to some self-interest on their part.

The various other three Cs have an influence on ruby rates as well, so it could be difficult to gauge the precise difference in price between an Ideal or Superb cut ruby and a Great cut. For casual purchasers and budget-conscious investors alike, diamonds with an Excellent or Excellent cut grade can represent a superb worth. This is because, while they could be more affordable compared to or else equivalent Perfect or Outstanding cut rubies, the visible difference in top quality is very little.

At the same time, do not hesitate to use your discernment. If, for instance, you come throughout a ruby with an Ideal reduced score which has great scores in the other groups as well as is still within your budget, then you must certainly consider it, as long as you're handling a reputable vendor.

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The Big 4 Cs For Loose Diamonds

Clearlake

To start our attribute on various kinds of gems, we will begin with the very best as well as most popular gems of them all the ruby. The ruby is the ultimate gems. It has very few weaknesses as well as several toughness. It glows with its remarkable value and also nostalgic value. It is used in wedding event rings to stand for endless love or made use of as gifts/jewelry to be provided to liked ones. But the diamond is so much more than its eternal charm.

The ruby acquires its name from the Greek work adamas suggesting unbeatable. In solidity, there is no comparison. The ruby rates in the Mohs scale a 10 which is the hardest compound on Earth. Its cutting resistance is 140 times that of the ruby and also sapphire, the gems(Corundum) that are next in the Mohs scale in solidity. The diamond's optical homes such as luster as well as rigidity make it unique as well as easily differentiated from other imitations. Appreciate!

* History of Diamonds

The first recorded ruby dates back around 800 B.C. in India. Some believe it even dated back 6,000 years back. The diamonds were made use of as decorative purposes and as talismans to prevent evil and provide defense in battle. During the Dark Ages, rubies were also stated to be utilized as a medical help. Spiritual doctors even told people that if they hold a diamond in a hand as well as make the sign of the cross would, it would treat and health problem as well as heal wounds.

Diamonds ended up being a lot more popular throughout the 19th century as a result of discovery of ruby down payments in South Africa. This discovery causes enhanced supply, enhanced reducing as well as brightening strategies, and also development in economy. In 1979, rock hounds discovered the Argyle pipe in Australia which to this day is the wealthiest ruby down payment in the globe. Argyle, ever since, alone is in charge of providing over one third of the globe's rubies each year.

* Diamonds: How are they developed?

Rubies consists of an allotrope of carbons that are created in high-pressure, high-temperature conditions. Rubies are created 90 miles under the Planet's surface area at temperatures of about 2200 levels Fahrenheit. Diamonds are developed deep within the earth and also ultimately, over exceptionally extended periods of time, push their means to the planet's surface, normally via volcanic eruptions.

The age of these diamonds from below the surface area of the planet are from 1 to 3.3 billion years old! When diamonds are created as well as begin their climb to the planet's surface area, they go with channels where the lava from the volcano increases to the surface area, grabbing diamonds along the way as well as at some point transferring them externally, where they are at some point found and also mined.

* The 4 C's of Diamonds

There are four distinctive characteristics that identify the worth as well as quality of a ruby. These are the color, cut, clearness and carat. Or else referred to as the 4 C's of a ruby. In the adhering to, we will certainly speak about these features in detail.

* Color

In the last e-newsletter, we touch based on the color of gems as being one of the most vital function because of that shade is the most obvious function. The perfect ruby needs to show up clear and also anemic yet this is not the case for all rubies. Diamonds could come in any color of the rainbow most common shade is a shade of yellow or brownish. The Geological Institute of The U.S.A.(GIA) have actually devised a standard to grade diamond color. This standard contains a text system that ranges from the alphabet D - Z. Please see listed below:

D E F No Shade G H I J Virtually Colorless K L M Faintly colored, cannot hardly be seen and also typically yellow in shade N O P Q R Gently tinted, normally yellow. Can be seen with the naked eye S T U V W X Y Z Tinted, begins with yellow as well as progresses to brownish

* Clearness

The cut a ruby is established by the diamond's proportion such as its shape, size and also deepness. The cut establishes what is called the ruby's "radiance". Even if the ruby itself has perfect shade and quality, with a poor cut the diamond will certainly have a plain brilliance. This is because the cut establishes how light trips within the diamond. The Gemological Institute of America has likewise developed a clearness grading system to rank ruby clearness. This grading system consists of Perfect (Fl), Inside Remarkable (IF), Extremely Very Somewhat Consisted Of (VV1 or VV2), Extremely Somewhat Included(VS1 or VS2), A Little Included(SI1 or SI2), as well as Consisted Of(I1, I2, and I3). Although this system had been contributed to the ruby market, it is not widely made use of. This results from that it took a great deal of technique and training to integrate it.

* Cut

The cut a diamond is identified by the diamond's proportion such as its shape, width and depth. The cut determines exactly what is called the diamond's "sparkle". Even if the ruby itself has excellent color as well as clearness, with a bad cut the diamond will certainly have a boring radiance. This is since the cut establishes exactly how light journeys within the ruby.

There are 3 kinds of cuts that can establish the diamond's sparkle. These are a superficial cut, a cut that is unfathomable and perfect cut. A shallow cut is a cut of a diamond that is also reduced, that light traveling via it is shed on the base of the stone and also does not come back right into sight. This cut makes a ruby show up lifeless and boring. A cut that is too deep is a cut that is expensive, that light taking a trip through it escapes via the sides and darkens the stone. An excellent cut is an excellent cut on a ruby that reflects light to the top of the stone, giving it excellent sparkle.

* Carat

As stated on the last newsletter, a single carat weight(ct) considers concerning 200 milligrams or.2 grams. For smaller sized carat weight diamonds that evaluate less than a carat weight, it is revealed as points (pt). Points are 1/100 of a carat weight. Carat weight of a ruby is very important as a result of the truth that bigger rubies are rarer than smaller sized ones, so essentially the bigger the ruby the much more pricey it is. There is no typical grading system or representation that could show different carat weight. This is since there are a lot of variants of rubies in shape and cut, which makes rocks of comparable weight, look different.

* Replica Diamonds

Considering that diamonds are the most important and also rarest of all the gemstones, efforts have actually been made to replicate or perhaps enhance rubies making use of less costly choices. A whole lot of times, honest mistakes have been made and also these alternatives or other gemstones such as spinel were occasionally perplexed with genuine diamonds. In many cases, some dishonest individuals aim to market these options to misfortunate buyers in order to revenue. Below we will certainly review about these alternatives as well as methods to determine them.

* Artificial Diamonds

Artificial rubies are diamonds that are expanded manufactured in a research laboratory. The initial known cases of diamond synthesis were asserted to be recorded in between 1879 - 1928, but this was never ever confirmed. It had not been until the 1940's where study began in the United States, Sweden, Soviet Union started researching. Synthetic rubies are otherwise understood as High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) rubies or Chemical Vapor Deposit (CVD) diamonds. The name of both these artificial rubies stems from the procedures made use of to develop them. Several of these synthetic rubies could either have higher, lower or comparable features compared to that of a ruby. Therefore, these synthetic diamonds are used for abrasives, reducing as well as brightening tools, and also switches over in power plant.

* Simulants

Simulants are non-diamond materials that are used to replicate the look as well as the shape of a ruby. The most basic as well as popular simulant is cubic zirconia (CZ). CZ at ordinary sight can shimmer greater than a ruby as well as it is less thick, suggesting that a 1 carat CZ will be much larger than a 1 carat diamond. Nowadays, an extra popular simulant is moissanite, which has all the same qualities of a ruby. These qualities consist of solidity (Moissanite-9.25 as well as diamond-10 in Mohs scale), refractive index(Moissanite -2.65 as well as ruby -2.42) and dispersion (Moissanite -.104 and diamond -.044). This makes it tough to differentiate both at ordinary view and would certainly usually require testers to inform the difference. In the following area we will discuss just how to recognize moissanites and various other replicas.

* Actual or Phony?

An old approach of identifying diamonds is to do a scratch test. This needs scraping a diamond with one more ruby which is devastating and also is rarely made use of nowadays. The best and also most dependable method to evaluate for rubies is to make use of testers that make use of thermal conductivity. These testers include battery powered thermistors mounted with a retractable copper pointer. This tester functions by infusing the warm onto the evaluated rock and then the gadget gauges the quantity of warm that it conducts. Nevertheless thermal conductivity testers functions best to identify rubies and its various other simulants, it will not assist differentiate lab developed or artificial stones. To be able to identify these, certain optical strategies are needed. Laboratories utilize strategies such as spectroscopy, microscopy as well as luminescence in order to establish a specific rocks origin. The average individual can make use of loupes and microscopic lens to distinguish synthetic rocks. All-natural rubies typically have small imperfections as well as flaws such as inclusions or some kind of international material, which will not be located in synthetics.

___________________________________________

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.

three diamond ring

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

Not all sellers supply ruby grading laboratory records (aka ruby top quality records) to their customers. So my general recommendations to you is to maintain your cash in your pocket when taking care of such jewelry experts.

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

A lab report is an independent analysis of the 4Cs of a loose diamond and includes an outlined layout of the stone's clarity features and also a visuals depiction of the rock's proportions. Having such a report permits you to contrast diamonds of various top qualities and inevitably aids you make an even more notified getting decision.

A seller might cut corners and not provide a lab record or an unethical vendor might provide a fake one due to the time, problem and also cost he'll bear to obtaining a stone rated.

Yeah - there is a rate for grading a diamond (though that expense is eventually paid by the consumer), plus the delivery and also insurance coverage fees for sending out the ruby to the laboratory. As well as allow us not fail to remember the opportunity expense of a jewelry expert not having the diamond in his shop to buy for a couple of weeks while the grading happens.

However, a diamond rating report might also not be available due to the fact that the prices to obtaining one might affect also greatly on the final price of the ring. For instance, a 0.3 ct diamond ring setting you back $250 state, could cost around $75 to be graded and have the report number inscribed on the band on the ruby. As you browse for that perfect diamond involvement ring for your sweetheart, you'll discover that there is an alphabet soup of labs asserting to supply reliable ruby grading records. Yet I would just put my cash on ...

The Premier Ruby Grading Lab Information

Yes, all diamond quality records are not developed equal. Within the industry, it is an agreement that the 2 top labs are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of The U.S.A.'s Gem Trade Lab) as well as the AGS (American Gem Society Laboratories).

The GCAL (Gem Qualification and also Guarantee Lab) additionally provides extremely concerned records or "ruby certifications" as they are referred to by GCAL. The GIA has the strongest international online reputation for self-reliance and also consistency. Because of their continuous shade and clearness strictness standards, the globe's largest and most expensive diamonds have been sent there for grading years. In 2006, GIA-GTL included a two-dimensional cut grading system for rounded dazzling diamonds.

AGS utilizes the strictest cut criteria in the industry. It utilizes a three-dimensional light efficiency metric that could grade several ruby shapes. Actually, it is the only cut grading system that is identified by the clinical area.

Exactly what is more, its Ruby High quality Document utilizes a special and proprietary 0 to 10 grading system to examine the 4 Cs - a system which is much easier to understand than GIA's grading system. Actually, AGS even goes the added step by relating their 0-10 rating scale to various other types of rating. For example, the standard VS1 diamond clarity score is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Quality Record.

Diamond Reporting - The Drawbacks

1. Ruby grading is not standardized or regulated and also for this reason you could encounter tier 2 labs that utilize looser guidelines to the rate 1 grading labs discussed over. If you purchase a ruby that has been rated by a tier 2 lab, you might wind up paying more for a minimal high quality ruby. So as an example, a diamond ranked a "F" in shade at a rate 2 lab may get a G, H, or lower color ranking at a more respectable lab. The sector also discounts rubies rated by lower known labs by concerning 15-30% or even more. So either you just acquire a ruby rated by a rate 1 laboratory or you accept that you may be purchasing a lower quality ruby than exactly what is specified on the record if that ruby is graded by a minimal well-known lab.

2. Many large store have substantial agreements with lesser known laboratories with "softer" diamond grading standards. Several of these softer laboratories placed "recommended substitute values" on the laboratory records - worths which are higher compared to just what shops plans offer the rubies for. So a salesperson in a chain shop may say to you, "Consider the good deal you are getting here. We are selling you this diamond involvement ring for $2500 yet the record states that the suggested substitute worth is $4000." Wow - exactly what an offer - NOT! This is why it is much better that you rely on only independent rate 1 labs.

Additionally remember that reliable diamond rating records are not appraisals and also do not offer assessment numbers. Diamond appraisals are commonly blatantly filled with air as well as are not something you'll wish to count on.

3. Diamond records are filled with please notes that specify that nothing is "certified" or guaranteed and that the labs are not accountable for errors. Actually, the GIA supplies a disclaimer of sorts on their web site relating to making use of the word "license." The site claims:

"It is wrong to state that students, grads, their services, or particular gemstones are "licensed" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. does not license anybody or anything. Neither a trainee neither a graduate who has actually been awarded a certificate or diploma, neither a treasure which has actually been rated or identified by GIA has actually been licensed by GIA".

So it is possible that you the customer is left holding the bag must an inaccuracy in a record is later on found. Courts have often ruled that sellers, not laboratories, are liable for such mistakes. Why? Since the labs indicated beforehand that their reports couldn't be held accountable.

Thankfully, there are a couple ways to offer yourself a lot more customer protection:

A. You can fly to India where jewelry experts provide a life time buyback policy to their clients. Also costly to fly?

B. You could discover among the 20% of United States jewelers who sell completely bound diamonds. These are diamonds that are sold with lifetime damage, life time trade-in and also life time buyback policies.

C. Not as great a solution as purchasing a fully adhered ruby however you could buy a diamond that has a real "certification" and not a record. "Licensed rubies do feature guaranties" albeit for much shorter periods.

Qualification Some sellers describe a "diamond report" as a "certified ruby" but practically this is not fix. From a lawful perspective, a diamond record is a just a professional opinion though in reality, facets of a ruby rating record are not just viewpoints.

For instance, a diamond's carat weight (weight) can be properly established in addition to its cut quality by determining its optical effectiveness or by referring to a computer system version. A certificate on the other hand is a statement of truth - a record for which the issuer accepts legal obligation as well as will certainly make restitution to the customer for blunders.

Some leading diamond grading laboratories offer both reports and certificates. AGS supplies Diamond High quality Documents (non-certified records) as well as Diamond Top quality Certificates. Ruby Top quality Certificates are ready exclusively for AGS retail jewelry experts as well as offers guaranties from getting involved American Gem Culture participant shops.

GCAL licenses it's diamond grading likewise. Its 100% money-back assurance plan is valid for a duration of 2 years from the date on the applicable certificate. This policy guarantees the precision of the cut, color and also clarity qualities and the carat weight.

A record or certification ought to will have a number on it that might or might not be inscribed on a diamond. You will certainly be able to enter that number on the site of the licensing laboratory to check a record's legitimacy.

Aspects Of A Diamond Grading Report Diamond grading reports are constantly evolving but certain element ought to remain the exact same. As an example, the:

The Report #. This number is given as well as videotaped in a lab's document as well as could or could not be inscribed on a diamond's girdle. You can enter the record number on a grading laboratory's website to inspect the authenticity of the diamond top quality report or to obtain more info regarding the diamond. Forming & Facet Design: This is the synopsis as well as the cutting design made use of for the facet setup. There are 3 fundamental element designs - "great cut, action cut and mixed cutting design" as well as 12 basic forms which consist of notables such as round dazzling as well as princess cut" diamonds.

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

Carat weight Weight: The weight of a diamond is gauged to the hundredth of a carat weight and some also provide such step to the thousandth of a carat (1.123 ct.). Carat is the most objective and also the easiest to understand of the 4Cs due to the fact that all one needs to do is weight the stone. Shade Quality: This informs you the degree of color lack in the diamond. The much less shade the greater the grade.

Diamonds are commonly rated from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the ruby. You should never see diamond shade range such as (G-H, I-J-K, and so forth) on a diamond record. You need to only see shade arrays on assessments for rocks that are mounted.

Quality Quality: Virtually every diamond has internal flaws called inclusions and outside flaws called blemishes. A diamond is graded inning accordance with the size, kind, place as well as quantity of these problems.

Clarity grades range from Perfect (FL) - Included. Labs use a pair professionals to quality the clarity of a diamond in order to create a more exact reading.

Cut Grade: Extra recent diamond records include a cut grade for standard round dazzling diamonds. Cut takes right into factor to consider the radiance, fire and also scintillation of the ruby. Cut quality varies from Outstanding - Poor.

Various other components you might find on a diamond record consist of the polish, proportion, fluorescence and also percentage. Armed with this information, you are much better able to earn an assessment of the top quality of ruby that is mounted in an involvement ring.

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Clearness Boosted Diamonds - Some Points You Had To Know!

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