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All About Diamonds
Rules of Engagement
1. Finding the Right Woman to Marry : Tricky.
2. Finding the right diamond to give her: Much Easier
you’ve already done the hard part. Now the fun begins: planning the moment when her face lights up with joy. We're not just Diamond Expert. Our Staff Guide will take you through the whole process.
Like to do your research ???
Start your diamond education here — by reviewing the 4 Cs of diamonds: cut, color, clarity and carat weight.
Learn about the difference in color of diamonds, and how that affects price. You'll find out why some diamonds sparkle more than others — and how you can choose one that will dazzle in any size. We'll explain what makes our diamonds different and even help you choose which diamond engagement ring your soon-to-be fiancée will like best.
Or do you prefer a shortcut?
But since different people have different levels of knowledge, we've sprinkled suggestions and shortcuts throughout for those who already know the basics. Happy knowledge digging — and happy diamond hunting!
Diamonds are all about sparkle. And sparkle is all about cut.
When you look at a diamond, you can see a pattern of surfaces or facets. That’s what we call the diamond’s "cut." Keep in mind that a diamond’s cut is different from its shape. The cut affects how well a diamond returns light back to the viewer’s eye, resulting in what we call fire, sparkle or brilliance. A well cut diamond will appear brilliant and fiery, while a poorly cut diamond may appear dark or lifeless regardless of how good the color or clarity may be. Not only do well cut diamonds have the most sparkle they may also appear larger than a poorly cut diamond of the same carat weight.
When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light reflects from one facet to another, then reflects back through the top of the diamond. If the cut of a diamond is too deep, some light escapes through the side of the stone. If the cut is too shallow, light escapes through the bottom of the stone before it can be reflected, thus reducing its brilliance.
Whichever shape you choose, you want the cut to maximize the diamond’s brilliance. You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to be an expert to judge the quality of the cut. Hold two diamonds side by side under a bright light; in general, the one with the most fire has the better cut. At Karbon we have high standards for the way our diamonds are cut — we hand-inspect every diamond we sell.
So you can be confident you’re choosing a ring that has already been carefully screened by an expert.
Three ways to sparkle: Brilliance, Dispersion, Scintillation
When you look at a diamond that’s well proportioned three different sparkling qualities should be evident. The first one is brilliance, which is the flash of pure white light that reflects off the table — the first impressive property you’re likely to notice when you look at a diamond. Dispersion is something that occurs when the light that travels beyond the diamond’s surface divides into bursts of color. A diamond’s fire, or the separation of white light into colorful blazes, is caused by dispersion. Move a diamond side to side, and you’ll see the third quality — scintillation, flashes of light that are caused by motion.
Anatomy of Forever.
Nearly all diamond shapes have two main sections: The crown, or upper part, and the pavilion, or lower part. The area where these meet is called the girdle. The table, or surface you see overhead, is the largest and most prominent of the facets of the diamond. At the bottom of the pavilion is a small facet called the culet; it’s placed there to help protect the bottom of the diamond from chipping.
A typical round brilliant diamond has 58 facets, but each stone has its own unique set of proportions and properties. While brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation are qualities evident in the appearance of a diamond, it’s also important to look beyond appearance to a diamond’s craftsmanship.
Polish & Symmetry: the cornerstones of craftsmanship.
How highly a diamond’s polish is rated will help you understand the condition of the diamond’s surface after polishing. A stone may have surface blemishes (they do not penetrate the stone at 10x magnification) that occur after the cutting process. Polish is graded on a scale of excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.
Symmetry refers to the arrangement and placement of facets, as well as the exactness of the shape. Good symmetry achieves mirror-like balance when the diamond is eyed from different views, and requires tremendous attention to detail in the cutting.
She’s one-of-a-kind. And her diamond will be, too.
Diamonds are like snowflakes — each one is unique. That’s because during crystallization, minerals can get trapped in the diamond. These characteristics, sometimes called inclusions, or blemishes, give each diamond its individuality. Some people also call them "birthmarks." The number, color, size, and position of these all affect our assessment of clarity.
Size: How large the inclusion is.
Number: How many inclusions are present.
Position: Where the inclusion is located. For instance, it may be more hidden in the inside lower facets, or more obvious on the surface of the diamond.
Nature: Based on their size and location some inclusions may affect the durability of the diamond.
Relief: Based on color, some inclusions may be more apparent than others. For example black inclusions are much more visible than white or clear inclusions.
When it comes to color, less is more.
Color: This part’s pretty simple. When you’re shopping for a diamond, you’re usually looking for a diamond with very little overall color. How much is really a matter of individual taste.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has created a universal scale to measure and grade the color, or colorlessness, of a diamond (see below). Diamonds are graded for color under a lamp that simulates daylight, against a pure white background.
The lower on the scale you go the color of the diamond will become more intense. It’s actually possible for a diamond to go below a "Z" color, but at that point the diamond is re-categorized as a "Fancy Color Diamond." These diamonds exhibit intense colors such as blue, pink, yellow green or even red and have their own set of grading parameters. They are extremely rare — most of us will only ever see them in a museum!
Size or quality first? Let’s weigh the options.
Carat Weight - A diamond’s weight is the simplest of the 4 Cs to measure. A carat equals 0.2 grams. Carats are then divided into 100 points. So a quarter-carat has 25 points and is written as 0.25 carats, or ¼ carat. Because of its rarity, one larger diamond is more valuable than a combination of smaller diamonds.
Some women have their hearts set on a specific carat weight — and if that’s the case, half your research is done. But remember, if your bride-to-be has delicate fingers, a smaller diamond may look more balanced — and can still command a lot of attention in the right setting. And if she’s active or works with her hands, a large diamond could get in the way.
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