Diamond Education

Before you begin a Diamond Appraisal in Houston:

Diamonds are known not only for beauty and rarity but also hardness. A quick jewelry appraisal reveals that diamonds are the hardest stone known to man, according to the Mohs scale. The only thing that can scratch another diamond is another diamond itself. Besides gemstone use, the majority of diamonds mined are actually for industrial use, especially used for drilling equipment.
Diamonds are durable because of their geological structure and formation. Formed out of carbon in the earth’s mantle, heat and pressure crush the carbon and form crystals, or diamonds. But the diamonds don’t stay in the mantle, several miles below the surface. They migrate closer to the earth’s surface making them easy to mine for through the earth’s natural processes. Gas forces molten rock to move toward the surface of the earth, catching diamonds along the way, before the molten erupts. During the cooling process, and over the years, the molten rock erodes, exposing the diamonds inside.

The 4 C’s:

Diamond Cut
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) was the institute which introduced the 4 C’s which are recognized by many jewelers in Houston. One part of what the cut of the diamond refers to is the shape it is cut into (Heart, Round, Princess, Cushion, Radiant, Emerald, Ascher, etc.)

Another part of what “cut” or “make” refers to is how proportionate was the diamond cut, which is determined by the diamond cutters. GIA grades the cut of the grade and this cut can range from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. This cut grade was recently introduced by GIA in 2006. The cut grade determines the brightness, fire, and dispersion of the light that reflects off the diamond. The better cut diamond you may have the more fire, and dispersion of light it will reflect. Keep in mind buying an “excellent” cut grade diamond will most likely come with a premium price, both in the wholesale and retail markets, as these are some of the most sought after stones today.

Cut can easily be one of the most important out of the 4 c’s but also the most difficult to detect out right. It takes a well trained eye to determine the quality of the cut or make of the stone within a short amount of time. Of course we at Sehgal Diamonds can definitely guide you to detect the different standards of cut in any stone. A stone that is too shallow, which means the table of the diamond is too wide, can have light leak through different parts of the stone rather than the bottom of the stone. In every stone if it is a perfectly cut diamond the light will come through the top of the diamond and leak from the bottom. However if the stone is too “shallow” or too “deep” or has a “heavy” make this is not true, and your stone will not have the brilliance and beauty it should! To really learn about cut , one should learn about the diamond anatomy and terms as shown below. So when you are the market for diamonds you are fully aware of how a diamond is made and will be more than capable to “dissect” the diamond yourself!

Here are some diamond vocabulary which help explain the diagram better:

Table: The top and flat part of a stone. It’s largest facet of the diamond. Generally if the table is to wide, the diamond will usually turn out to be shallow. If the table is too small the diamond will be deep. A good table measurement is usually around 53% – 62%

Depth: The depth is the measurement from the table of the diamond to the culet (which is the bottom most part of the diamond). Generally if the table is too large the stone does not come out as deep or maybe shallow. If the table is too small generally the diamond is to deep. The depth of the stone is a large factor in determining the quality of the cut of your diamond. I would say a good depth would typically be around 59% – 62.5%

Culet: The culet typically refers to the bottom most part of the diamond. A culet is a small facet on the bottom of the diamond and typically was used to protect the diamond from chipping. Most modern cut diamonds have no culet or a very small culet. They are rarely used today.

Crown: The crown or crown angle are the facets that slope right beneath the table and connect to the girdle of the diamond. An excellent or ideal cut diamond would have a crown angle typically from 33 – 35%

Girdle: The outer edge or the widest part of the diamond. The girdle forms a band around the stone. The girdle will vary from very thick to very thin and all in between. The girdle part of the diamond is typically where the diamond is held in a jewelry setting.

Pavilion: The pavilion refers to the bottom half of the diamond, below the girdle.

Polish: The polish grade applies to the final finish to the diamond. Sometimes the diamond was not polished well and can leave streaks or small blemishes on the outside of the diamond. The polish is graded from Excellent to Poor.

Symmetry: The symmetry of the diamond applies to the overall proportion of the cut. It is a good indicator of the overall CUT grade. Sometimes not all facets point correctly towards to girdle or other misalignments of the facets of a diamond could affect the grade for symmetry. The symmetry of the diamond is also graded from Excellent to Poor.

Diamond Clarity
The way diamonds are formed give reason to why diamonds have clarity characteristics, commonly known as inclusions. The concept of inclusions can be compared with fingerprints. Diamond’s inclusions are like it’s fingerprints and it is what makes diamonds so unique. No diamond can be exactly the same as another diamond, due to this fact. Diamonds are formed under high pressure, and high temperature conditions. It is formed deep in the earth’s mantle, at about 120 miles down. The formation of a diamond is a very rare process that is done by earth, it takes 1 – 3 billion years for a diamond to form! Almost every diamond has inclusions, some have very few to very much. Inclusions in a diamond can add or subtract from the stones value. So it is important to always take a close look and inspect any diamond you buy , preferably with a Houston jeweler’s loupe 10 – 20 x magnification. The clarity grades by GIA are below:

·Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

·Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

·Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

·Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor

·Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification

·Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Diamond Color
After clarity comes color. Diamond colors range from white to yellowish or brownish. In a new tab, you can follow along with our Houston diamonds for examples. The exception to this, are of course colored diamonds which falls outside the color spectrum. GIA laid down the standardized colored grading for the trade and consumers to use. The scale starts off at D and goes to Z. D being colorless to Z having a strong yellowish or brownish tint. The ideal diamond of course is colorless with exception of fancy colored diamonds. The higher the color the more value it adds on to the diamond. Color can be very important when choosing the right diamond. You have to determine if the color of the diamond is your main priority. Of course the whiter and brighter the diamond is, the better it will look.

Last but not least, the 4th C includes the carat. Carats are the unit of measurement to weigh a diamond or gemstone, 1 carat is equal to about 0.2 grams. The more the diamond weighs in carats will of course add value to the diamond. Our jewelry stores in Houston carry a range of carat weights to satisfy every occasion. There could be tremendous difference in value when purchasing a diamond. For example, there is a huge market for 2 carat diamonds, but if you choose a diamond that weighs 1.98 carats it can make a big difference in price.

Since 1931, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has been the leading knowledge source on high-quality diamonds and other stones. Reputable Houston diamond appraisals follow the benchmarks set by the GIA. What began as the first geological lab in the U.S. that offer home-study courses on gem certification, the organization became the scientific leader in geology, patented the jeweler’s loupe (the lens still used today to assess stones) and other tools, and established the standard for grading gems, which is still used today. As the go-to authority on grading in the industry, you can trust that a highly trained eye has assessed and measured the stone for cut, clarity, color, symmetry and polish. GIA has a proven reputation for consistently grading diamonds in an unbiased way. In fact, among industry insiders, GIA-certified stones are coveted.

Consumers can purchase a GIA-certified diamond and get peace of mind that they’re investing in a stone of value. That’s because the laboratory is well known for its conservative, accurate, consistent grading standards. A diamond with a GIA certificate is a stone that’s proven its worth and value. The certificate, or grading report, will reflect the stone’s true value in terms of its characteristics and quality.

Which factors are important to the value of the stone?
As a consumer, you have the facts in front of you. However, it still may be a hard decision to pick the right stone, and to know which factors of a diamond to value more. Our family always tells the customer that it is their opinion. Some people would rather have a bigger stone and sacrifice the color and clarity of the diamond versus people who are particular about the clarity of the diamond and would rather spend money on a smaller diamond. If you have a certain budget and want the best stone possible you may have to sacrifice on one factor to have the best of another factor of a diamond. Whatever you decide, our team will cheerfully assist with engagement rings, wedding rings, custom jewelry in Houston and more.

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