Buying Diamond Jewellery

318167 383617585069488 872610444 n1What is a Diamond?

A Diamond is a transparent gem made of carbon, one of the earth's most common elements. It is formed deep within the earth's crust and comes to the surface via volcanoes. The atomic structure of a Diamond gives it the property of being the hardest substance known to man.  However, because of this property, many people expect a Diamond to be unbreakable - this is not true.  A Diamond's crystal structure has "hard" and "soft" directions.  A blow of sufficient force, in a very exact direction, can crack, chip, split or even shatter a Diamond. It is important that you treat your Diamond jewellery with care.    

Keeping Diamonds conflict fee

A conflict Diamond (also called a blood Diamond) is a Diamond mined in a war zone and sold, usually clandestinely, to fund the unlawful and illegal operations of rebel, military and terrorist groups. Controls relating to conflict Diamonds need to be in place to ensure only legitimate Diamonds reach the market. A scheme, called the Kimberly Process, was approved by the United Nations in 2002, having the aim of stopping the Diamond industry fuelling bloodshed in wars.  Under the scheme, Diamonds are exported with a certificate saying they are conflict free.

What are the "4C's"?

Buying a Diamond should be based on the right knowledge as they come in many qualities.  The quality and value of Diamonds are measured worldwide by four characteristics known as the 4C's - cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.

Cut

Cut is the only characteristic directly influenced by man. It is the skill of the Diamond cutter that unlocks the brilliance for which Diamonds are renowned. Every Diamond regardless of its shape gets it brilliancy for the cutting and the polishing of the Diamond facets.  Some of the more popular cuts of Diamond include Round Brilliant, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Princess, Heart, Emerald and Asscher.

Colour

The best colour for a Diamond is colourless - a white Diamond.  A Diamond's colour is one of the most important factors in determining its value.  The nearer a white Diamond is to being colourless, the more rare and valuable it is.  The graduations in colour are so subtle, that intricate international grading scales have been devised and categories are defined by letters.  Some other rare Diamonds with a pure colour, such as pinks or yellows, are also valuable and are known as "natural fancies" but these are graded according to their intensity of colour, not lack of it.
 
Clarity

During the formation of a Diamond it is possible for minute particles of non-crystallised carbon to be caught within the Diamond.  These imperfections are called inclusions and provide each individual Diamond with unique characteristics. Inclusions may not always be visible to the naked eye.  Like colour, clarity is also categorised using international grading scales.  The categories of clarity are based upon the number, size and position of any inclusions within the Diamond.
 
Carat weight

The size of a Diamond is measured in carat weight.  Whilst carat weight is the most obvious factor when assessing the value of a Diamond, two Diamonds of equal size can have very different values, depending on their respective cut, clarity or colour.  To assess in accurately describing the weight of Diamonds each carat is divided into 100 points.  Diamonds of less than one carat in weight are known as "pointers".  For example, a 0.15 carat Diamond would be called a "15 pointer".  

What is a Certified Diamond?

There is no physical difference between a Diamond that is certified and one that is not.  A Certified Diamond comes with a Diamond Grading Certificate guaranteed by an accredited Diamond laboratory.  The certificate gives the customer tangible and legal assurances and therefore assures the customer that the Diamond is independently recognised as possessing all the qualities specified by that report.  Accuracy of the Certificate also depends on who is certifying or grading the Diamond.  In Europe, the Antwerp Diamond High Council (HRD) is the topmost authority in Diamond grading.

Is a Diamond a good investment?

This will depend on why you are buying the Diamond or piece of jewellery.  If it is because you will get pleasure from owning, wearing or giving it - in which case, the reward for investment will be the value of the pleasure you get.  If you are buying it purely as an investment, the pleasure could be of the thought of the profit you are accumulating while the item is stored away safely.  Purchased at the right price, they will most certainly retain their value and will increase in value over time.  

Who should I buy a Diamond from?

It is always advisable to buy your Diamonds or Diamond jewellery from a reputable and knowledgeable jeweller.  Look for those who are members of trade associations such as the BJA and NAG.  You should always aim to purchase a Certified Diamond, especially one certified by an accredited Diamond laboratory.

Diamond Ring settings

Whether you are choosing a Diamond solitaire or a ring with a number of Diamonds, the way the Diamonds are held in the setting in an integral part of its design.  Each setting technique creates a look that is part of the overall style of the ring.  Choosing the right ring setting is as important as choosing the right Diamond.  The setting must do two important things.  Firstly, it must hold the Diamond securely, and secondly it must allow enough light to pass through the Diamond.  The choice of setting is really a matter of taste, style and practicality. You may like one ring rather than another simply because of the setting technique used.  Some of the most popular setting styles include Claw, Bezel, Channel, Tension, Flush and Rubover.

Why choose platinum?

Platinum is naturally white and will never lose its brilliant lustre. Platinum jewellery is mostly 95% pure and is 30 times more rare than gold. Gold is naturally yellow and 75% pure.  White gold is yellow gold that has been mixed with other metals to whiten it and is often plated with rhodium, which in time wears off so regular re-plating is often required to maintain its whiteness.  Platinum is also more dense than gold and therefore is more durable.  It does not change shape or wear away so precious stones are held firmly and securely.
    
What is Hallmarking?

Hallmarking is an ancient method of safeguarding customers.  Hallmarking involves testing articles made of precious metal and marking them to indicate that they are of a minimum standard of purity.  Hallmarking is carried out by an Assay Office.  An assay is a test of the purity of the alloy (a combination of two or more metals).  For example, the hallmark for 18ct gold is "750" and this indicates 750 parts gold to 1,000 parts alloy.   In Jersey, it is not a legal requirement to hallmark items (as we are not in the EU), however, we ensure all jewellery stocked is hallmarked thus assuring the customer of the authenticity of the item they are purchasing.