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•Dimaond Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight
•Jewelry Care
Birthstone Lists and other Lists


 

Cut

Diamond Cut
Diamond Cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs, so it is important to understand how this quality affects the properties and values of a diamond.

A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.

As you can see in the image below, when a diamond is well-cut, light enters through the table and travels to the pavilion where it reflects from one side to the other before reflecting back out of the diamond through the table and to the observer's eye. This light is the brilliance we mentioned, and it's this flashing, fiery effect that makes

In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets and then 'leaks' out from the sides or bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye. Less light reflected back to the eye means less brilliance.

Don't confuse diamond cut with shape. Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the diamond, not it's reflective qualities.

Good Porportions are key
Most gemologists agree that the best cut diamonds are those that follow a set of formulae calculated to maximize brilliance. These formulae can be seen in a diamond's proportions, most importantly how the depth compares to the diameter, and how the diameter of the table compares to the diameter of the diamond.

One of the leading diamond grading bodies, the AGS, has developed a table which they believe offers the the "ideal" proportions of diamond. The image below details the various parts of the diamond, together with the recommended proportions of the AGS.

Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair.

meter: The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
Table: This is the large, flat top facet of a diamond.
Crown: The upper portion of a cut gemstone, above the girdle.
Girdle: The narrow rim of a diamond that separates the crown from the pavilion. It is the largest diameter to any part of the stone
Pavilion: The lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle. It is sometimes referred to as the base.
Culet: The tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the pavilion, which is the portion of a cut gem below the girdle.
Depth: The height of a gemstone, from the culet to the table.

Which Grade Should I buy?
Selecting the grade of cut is really a matter of preference. To make the best selection, you need to understand the various grades. Zain's Jewelers grades its diamonds as Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor.


Ideal:
Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Ideal have a make which is considered fine by anyone in the industry. This cut is intended to maximize brilliance, and the typically smaller table sizes of these diamonds have the added benefit of creating a great deal of dispersion or 'fire' as well. Ideal quality diamonds are truly for the person who enjoys knowing that he has one of the finest things that money can buy. This category applies only to round diamonds


Premium:

Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Premium have a make which is considered fine by anyone in the industry. In the case of round diamonds, many of these diamonds have cuts that are the equal of any Ideal Cut diamond, though they often can be purchased at slightly lower prices than AGS Ideal Cuts. They are intended to provide maximum brilliance and fire. They are truly for the person who enjoys knowing that he has one of the finest things that money can buy.


Very Good:

Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Very Good are of a excellent make. They reflect most of the light that enters them, creating a good deal of brilliance. With these diamonds, the cutters have chosen to stray slightly from the preferred diamond proportions in order to create a larger diamond. The result is that these diamonds fall slightly outside of some customers' preferences in terms of, for example, table size or girdle width, though, in many cases many of the parameters of diamonds in this range will overlap with certain parameters of diamonds in the Ideal or Premium ranges. Generally, the price of these diamonds in slightly below that of Premium cuts.

Good:
Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Good reflect much of the light that enters them. Their proportions fall outside of the preferred range because the cutter has chosen to create the largest possible diamond from the original rough crystal, rather than cutting extra weight off to create a smaller Premium quality diamond. Diamonds in this range offer an excellent cost-savings to customers who want to stay in a budget without sacrificing quality or beauty


Poor:

A diamond described by Zain's Jewelers as poor will reflect only a small proportion of the light that enters it. Typically these diamonds have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most other considerations. We do not recommend this type of cut and to ensure that our customers enjoy only fine, classic jewelry, Zain's Jewelers does not offer diamonds that have been graded fair to poor.
 

Clarity

Diamond Clarity
When we speak of a diamond's clarity, we are referring to the presence of identifying characteristics on and within the stone. While most of these characteristics are inherent qualities of the rough diamond and have been present since the earliest stages of the crystal's growth below ground, a few are actually a result of the harsh stress that a diamond undergoes during the cutting process itself.

If you think about the incredible amount of pressure it takes to create a diamond, it's no surprise that many diamonds have inclusions-scratches, blemishes, air bubbles or non-diamond mineral material-on their surface or inside. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than those with less clarity, not just because they are more pleasing to the eye, but also because they are rarer.

How are Diamonds Created for Clarity
Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification. Grades range from Internally Flawless, diamonds which are completely free of blemishes and inclusions even under 10x magnification, to Imperfect 3, diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. F-IF-Flawless or Internally Flawless. This diamond has no internal inclusions. Very rare.

Illustrations are representative only; most inclusions are not visible to naked eye.

VVS1-VVS2 - Very Very Slighty included. Very difficult to detect under 10x magnification.

VS1-VS2 - Very Slighty included (two grades). Minute inclusions invisible to the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.

SI1-SI2 - Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions Can be seen under 10x magnification and in some cases, in SI2, inclusions are visible to the naked eye.

I1-I2-I3 - Included (three grades). Inclusions visible under 10x magnification as well as to the human eye.

While the presence of these clarity characteristics do lower the clarity grade, and therefore the value, of a diamond they can also be viewed as proof of a diamond's identity. GIA certificates include what is known as a "plot" of a diamond's inclusions. Since no two diamonds are exactly the same, comparing the uniqueness of your diamond's clarity characteristics with the plot provided on the diamond certificate offers assurance that the diamond you pay for is the same diamond you receive.

Which Clarity Should I Choose?
While Flawless diamonds are the rarest, and arguably the most beautiful diamonds, a diamond does not have to be completely clean to be extremely attractive. Those diamonds with VVS and VS grades can be excellent choices as well. More affordable are those diamonds which gemologists call "eye-clean" - diamonds with no inclusions visible to the naked eye. These diamonds as SI or SI2.
 

Color

Diamond Color
When jewelers speak of a diamond's color they are usually referring to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds. Color is a result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over time.

Because a colorless diamond, like a clear window, allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, colorless diamonds emit more sparkle and fire. The formation process of a diamond ensures that only a few, rare diamonds are truly colorless. Thus the whiter a diamond's color, the greater its value. (Note that fancy color diamonds do not follow this rule. These diamonds, which are very rare and very expensive, can be any color from blue to green to bright yellow. They are actually more valuable for their color.)

To grade 'whiteness' or colorlessness, most jewelers refer to GIA's professional color scale that begins with the highest rating of D for colorless, and travels down the alphabet to grade stones with traces of very faint or light yellowish or brownish color. The color scale continues all the way to Z.

What Color Grade Should I Choose?
Diamonds graded D through F are naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity. Such diamonds are a treat for the eyes of anyone. But you can still obtain very attractive diamonds that are graded slightly less than colorless. And diamonds graded G through I show virtually no color that is visible to the untrained eye.

And while a very, very faint hint of yellow will be apparent in diamonds graded J through M, this color can often be minimized by carefully selecting the right jewelry in which to mount your diamond. Keep in mind that, while most people strive to buy the most colorless diamond they can afford, there are many people who actually prefer the warmer glow of lower-color diamonds.

To ensure that our customers enjoy only fine, classic jewelry, Zain's Jewelers does not offer diamonds that have been graded below M.
 

Carat Weight

Carat Weight
A carat is a unit of measurement, it's the unit used to weigh a diamond. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams.

The word carat is taken from the carob seeds that people once used in ancient times to balance scales. So uniform in shape and weight are these little seeds that even today's sophisticated instruments cannot detect more than three one-thousandths of a difference between them.

Don't confuse it with 'karat', the method of determining the purity of gold.

The process that forms a diamond happens only in very rare circumstances, and typically the natural materials required are found only in small amounts. That means that larger diamonds are uncovered less often than smaller ones. Thus, large diamonds are rare and have a greater value per carat. For that reason, the price of a diamond rises exponentionaly to its size.

How important size is to you is probably contingent on how important it is to the person you're giving it to. A few tips to keep in mind will help guide you to the right decision.

  • The general rule of thumb when buying a diamond is "two months salary". This is just a guideline, it's not carved in stone, but it's useful in establishing a budget for how much you can comfortably invest in her diamond

  • Deciding on carat size is really about striking a balance between size and quality. If she prefers larger jewelry items, and you are working within a budget, you can still find a larger diamond of excellent quality gem by selecting one which is graded slightly lower in terms of color and clarity.

  • Remember that slender fingers make small diamonds look bigger. If she has small fingers, a 1-carat diamond will look proportionately large--and an even larger stone may appear stunningly big!

  • Think about what sort of setting will hold the diamond. You'll have to be sure that the setting you choose is made to fit the carat weight of your diamond. Mondera's "Create Your Ring" tool has been designed to ensure that both diamond and setting are perfectly matched in terms of size.


Jewelry Care
 

To properly maintain your jewelry, we recommend that you bring your jewelry to the store for inspection and polishing. It only takes a few minutes, and it's free of charge. Let us show you the difference between the way other jewelry stores just dip your jewelry to clean it and how we have modern machinery to refinish it to make it look as it did when it was new. Our jewelers will inspect your prongs, loops, and tighten all your locks. This way you won't end up loosing a valuable diamond due to a $10 prong that has worn away or broken off, or loose your favorite necklace due to a $7 loop that is wearing thin and needs reinforcement. We can also teach you how to keep an eye on your jewelry, such as making sure your locks snap properly and your loops don't get too thin. We take the responsibility of letting you know exactly what, if anything, needs to be done.

If you cannot make it in to our store, we have provided the following guidelines on how to clean your jewelry and care for it at home. This will not prevent the need for inspection and maintenance that only a jeweler can perform, but will keep your jewelry in its best possible condition in the meantime.

Although fine jewelry is made from some of the world's most durable substances, gemstones and precious metals, it does need some care. Following a few easy guidelines will make sure that your jewelry pieces last for generations still looking like the day you bought them.

First of all keep them clean!
Lotions, powders, soaps, and natural skin oils can build up on jewelry, cutting down on the brilliance of the gems. Rings in particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the stone, particularly if you wear them all the time. To clean transparent crystalline gemstones, simply soak them in water with a touch of gentle soap or ammonia. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone. After brushing, simply rinse with lukewarm water and allow them to dry. Grease can be removed from plain karat gold jewelry by dipping it into ordinary rubbing alcohol. Rubbing with a soft chamois cloth is an effective way to keep gold jewelry shining.

Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place
A fabric-lined jewelry case or box with compartments and dividers is ideal. If you prefer to use an ordinary box, wrap each piece individually in soft tissue paper. Don't jumble your jewelry pieces in a drawer or jewelry case. Store each piece of gemstone jewelry separately so that harder stones don't scratch softer ones. Almost every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw your jewelry in a heap in a drawer or jewelry box.

Avoid immersing your jewelry in chemicals like chlorine.
It's a good idea to remove jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool or hot tub or putting your hands into water with bleach. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or discolor your gold jewelry.

There are many types of small machines on the market that will clean jewelry in a matter of minutes using high-frequency sound. These ultrasonic cleaners can be a convenient way to quickly clean your jewelry at home. However, ultrasonic cleaners can damage some jewelry, particularly pieces set with pearls or colored gemstones.

Even the hardest gemstones can be vulnerable to breakage if they have inclusions that weaken the crystal structure. Exercise common sense: remove your jewelry during strenuous work or exercise. Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth but they can shatter in two with a single well-placed blow. Rubies and sapphires are the toughest gems but even they can chip if hit sharply. Take particular care if you have a ring set with a gem variety with a hardness less than 7 or an included stone. Treat each piece of fine jewelry you own with respect and you will enjoy it forever.

Apply cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on any pearl jewelry. When you remove the pearl jewelry, wipe it carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of these substances. You can also wash your pearl jewelry with mild soap and water. Do not clean cultured pearls with any chemicals, abrasives or solvents. These substances can damage your pearls. Do not toss your cultured pearl jewelry carelessly into a purse, bag or jewel box. A pearl's surface is soft and can be scratched by hard metal edges or by the harder gemstones of other jewelry pieces. Place cultured pearls in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when putting them away.

Clean your sterling silver jewelry with a mild soap and water solution, allowing the water to bead up, and then patting dry with a soft cloth.
For more stubborn dirt, use a jewelry cleaner designed for silver use. (If you do use silver cleaner, make sure you keep it away from any gems set in the silver.) Store silver in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tarnish-preventive bag or wrapped in a soft piece of felt or cloth. Store pieces individually so that they don't knock together and scratch. Do not rub silver with anything other than a polishing cloth or a fine piece of felt. Tissue paper or paper towels can cause scratches because of the fibers in these products. Make sure your silver is not exposed to air and light during storage: this can cause silver to tarnish. And don't wear sterling silver in chlorinated water or when working with household chemicals.

Opals require special care.
Never use an ultrasonic cleaner, never use ammonia, and avoid heat and strong light, which can dry out the water in opals. Opal rings should not be worn during strenuous work or exercise: they will chip if hit with a sharp blow. Organic gems like coral and amber should only be wiped clean with a moist cloth. Due to their organic nature, these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume: they can, over time, damage organic gems. Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, and malachite, require special care. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner and never use ammonia or any chemical solution. These gem materials should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, and they may build up inside the stone and discolor it. The reason why these materials need more care than transparent gemstones is that these materials are essentially rocks, not crystals of a single mineral. Think about it: when you put a rock in water, it absorbs the water and is moist all the way through. A single crystal gem like sapphire will not absorb water: all the molecules are lined up so tightly in the crystal that there is no room for water to enter.



 

Birthstone Lists and other Lists

Gems have long played a rich role in many cultures, religions, and mythologies. Most are probably familiar with the "official" US birthstone list, compiled by jewelers in 1912, but this is just the latest of ways that gems have been associated with lists.

Centuries before jewelers were thinking about gems commercially, astrologers were ascribing heavenly associations to them, Hindus were connecting them to the energy centers of the body. The origin of the birthstone--denoting a specific gem to each month of the year--dates back to at least the first century. There is speculation that the twelve stones in the breastplate of the Jewish high priest may have had some bearing on the concept. Interpreters of the Bible's Book of Revelations, during the eighth and ninth centuries, began to ascribe to each of those gems attributes of the 12 apostles. Over the years, there have been many variations to this list.

Use this information to help make jewelry and gift choices for all occasions. Whichever system you choose to follow, knowing a little lore can add a lot to the experience of buying or receiving a special gem.

US Jewelers Birthstone List

January--Garnet, Rhodolite
February--Amethyst
March--Aquamarine, Bloodstone
April--Diamond
May--Emerald
June--Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone
July--Ruby, Carnelian
August--Peridot
September--Sapphire
October--Opal, Tourmaline
November--Topaz, Citrine
December--Blue Zircon, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli



Anniversary Gift List

1st--Gold Jewelry
2nd--Garnet (all colors)
3rd--Pearls
4th--Blue Topaz
5th--Sapphire (all colors)
6th--Amethyst
7th--Onyx
8th--Tourmaline (all colors)
9th--Lapis Lazuli
10th--Diamond Jewelry
11th--Turquoise
12th--Jade or Agate
13th--Citrine or Moonstone
14th--Opal or Moss Agate
15th--Ruby
16th--Peridot or Topaz (all colors)
17th--Amethyst
18th--Garnet
19th--Aquamarine
20th--Emerald
21st--Iolite
22nd--Spinel (all colors)
23rd--Sapphire
24th--Tanzanite
25th--Silver Jubilee
26th--Star Sapphire 30th--Pearl Jubilee
35th--Emerald or Coral
39th--Cat's Eye
40th--Ruby
45th--Sapphire or Alexandrite
50th--Golden Jubilee
52nd--Star Ruby
55th--Alexandrite or Emerald
60th--Diamond Jubilee
65th--Star Sapphire
75th--Diamond



Gems Associated With The Signs Of The Zodiac

Sign--Color, Gem, Metal
Aries--Bright Red, Ruby, Iron
Taurus--Bright Green, Emerald, Copper
Gemini--Orange, Opal, Mercury
Cancer--Silver, Moonstone, Silver
Leo--Yellow, Precious Topaz, Gold
Virgo--Beige, Agate, Nickel
Libra--Blue-Green, Jade, Bronze
Scorpio--Dark Red, Red Garnet, Steel
Sagittarius--Deep Blue, Blue Sapphire, Tin
Capricorn--Gray, Black Diamond, Lead
Aquarius--Purple, Amethyst, Aluminum
Pisces--Iridescent Violet, Aquamarine Platinum

 


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