Diamond Education Part 2
A Little About Fluoresce
One of the fascinating conversations I have with many consumers is about a diamonds fluorescence (or lack of). This is a natural phenomenon found in approximately 35 percent of diamonds on the market today. Under long wave UV light the diamond may fluoresce a color; blue, yellow, orange, green, and many other subtle hues. It is in your best interest to stay away from any diamond that fluoresces any color other than blue. Why would you buy a colorless diamond to have it fluoresce yellow? Even some diamonds exhibiting strong blue fluorescence can have a poor effect if it becomes too strong. Should the florescence becomes to intense it can make your diamond look milky or dull in bright sun light. Diamonds exhibiting this intensity would be termed overblue (trade term). This is a very rare diamond indeed, but to make sure you’re not buying an overblue diamond it would be a wise choice to purchase diamonds with no more than medium fluorescence unless your jeweler can confirm that it isn't an overblue.
What can a little fluorescence do for your diamond? Many believe that an H or I color diamond can actually appear whiter (more colorless) than it is because of this effect. Many years ago jewelers would refer to colorless diamond that had blue fluorescence as a blue-white diamond.
This is a photo of two diamonds that fluoresce to different degrees. This photo was taken under a long wave UV light source and both of these diamonds have blue fluorescence.
For the consumer trying to use this list sounds simple, but in reality it’s not.
A given diamond with the same color, clarity, and carat can vary by as much as 300 percent! With the new dimension of branding and who’s grading report comes with the diamond (if any at all) the printed Rap Price can swing from 60 percent below Rap to 20 percent above the Rap Price. This fluctuation is from no more than the cut of the diamond, branding effects, and which lab reports may come with a given diamond.
To lay this out in more simple terms, a given diamond that reflects a Rap price of $10,000.00 may actually cost the jeweler from $4,000.00 to as much as $12,000.00 Wow, what a price range with color, clarity, and carat being the same. This report is not easy to use and you must know the diamond market inside and out for this report to have any value. A consumer would find no honest benefit trying to use this report and could actually harm their thoughts of what a fair deal really is.
Watch out for the diamond vendor trying to sell you a diamond using Rap!
I have seen a couple cases where a jeweler uses the Rap list to demonstrate what a deal he has for you. This is very simple if you know what is actually going on.
Here is the sales pitch.
They show you the Rap list and explain this is a wholesale list (which is true). They even let you handle it and read through it if you like. The more you believe in the Rap list the better. They then sell you diamonds at cost (the Rap price) because they are wholesale prices (yea right). In some cases they say we only add a 10 percent profit so the Rap price is now multiplied by 1.1 (you have to love this). Now, what you have bought is a diamond that was bought as much as 60 percent below Rap, and you paid Rap price (maybe 10% over). What kind of deal is it to pay say $1,100 for a diamond that cost $400? Not very smart, but a very misleading sales tactic and many believe they got the deal of a lifetime. Consumers need not pay attention to the Rapaport price list, instead have a great relationship with us, a trusted independent jeweler since 1969.
About Diamond Shapes
Do not confuse the diamond's shape with its cut quality. The quality of cutting has a direct effect on how beautifully the diamond transmits the light entering it. This is discussed in more detail on page one of our diamond education.
Shape, this is the general outline of the diamond, it is a completely personal preference. Within the diamond industry there's certain shapes that their length to width ratios demand a premium over other diamonds of the same shape. The final judge should be you and your eyes and what is pleasing to you.
Here are some line drawings of the more popular shapes.
Know Your Diamond's Pedigree
Today many of the diamonds sold are accompanied with a "lab report" or a "certificate". First you must realize that none of these reports are a guarantee, warranty, and they do not certify anything. These reports are an independent opinion of the diamonds grade. Opinions vary, and some labs are deemed to be more strict than others.
There are many different labs producing many different kinds of reports. The four most commonly encountered are from GIA, AGS, EGL USA, and EGL International. Within the diamond industry opinions have formed on the quality of these different grading reports. The opinions are expressed in what price dealers are willing to pay for a diamond with a given grading report. The labs are listed in the normally seen order of price for a given grade diamond, it also represents the typical price difference you may see when shopping for diamonds and comparing diamonds with different grading reports.
AGS (American Gem Society since 1934) Although newer to offering diamond grading documents the AGS is strict in their grading and many of the finest cut diamonds in the world are offered with these documents. Their finest cut grade is often referred to as "Triple Zero (Triple 000)".
GIA (Gemological Institute of America since 1931) Many if not most believe GIA is the world's foremost authority in diamond grading. Because of the strict GIA standards diamonds that are accompanied with these reports will generally command a higher price.
EGL USA (European Gemological Laboratory main office established in NY 1977) Typically our experience has shown this lab is not a strict as the above two labs, their grading seems to be close, in many cases they could be the same or a grade off from the most strict standards.
EGL International (European Gemological Laboratory founded in Belgium 1974, now has many locations around the globe) Our experience has shown that these labs are typically the most lenient of the four labs. Thus the price paid for a diamond accompanied with this grading report is typically much less. This is not to say that these diamonds should not be considered. There are many beautiful diamonds accompanied with these reports, be a little more diligent when shopping diamonds that are accompanied with this lab report.
Remember: Diamond grading is an opinion, you may be best served by comparing actual diamonds and the different grading reports side by side. Don't buy paper, let your eyes decide which diamond is for you.