graduate gemologist

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Read Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?  and Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging Diamonds

Accidents happen. It’s hard not to get upset when your diamond gets chipped, but understand that it’s not uncommon. It is part of the risk you take when wearing jewelry; although diamonds sustain less damage in everyday wear and tear than other gemstones, they are not indestructible.

First of all, you need to evaluate the chip(s) in your diamond. How big is it relative to your diamond? Is it instantly noticeable? Is it something you can live with? Keep these questions in mind when you bring your diamond ring to a specialist for an in-depth appraisal. A Graduate Gemologist and/or certified Appraiser will be able to assess the chip(s) effect on the diamond’s structural integrity, value, and can suggest viable options based on their evaluation.

If the chip is small and lies on the girdle edge, you may be able to reset the diamond with metal covering the area of the chip. The purpose of this is two –fold: the metal will act as a barrier to protect the chip from further stress which can lead to more extensive damage, and it will also hide the chip from view. Styles such as Bezel, Half-Bezel, Bypass, or even the addition of new prongs can achieve this effect.

Another option may be to recut the diamond. This option should be considered if your stone is of high monetary or sentimental value, as the process is quite costly. Not all diamonds are good candidates for a recut however. If the stone has chips in multiple places and/or the chip is large, it may not even be considered for a recut. Similarly, a stone would not be recut if its internal inclusions pose a significant damage risk during the process. This is a very specialized area of jewelry repair that needs to be done by a diamond cutter with great care. Talk with your jeweler to see if this would be possible for your stone.

If all else fails, you may consider replacing the diamond. Depending on your insurance policy or jeweler trade-up policy, this can also be a cost-effective option.

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DiamondsBuying a diamond for the first time is a scary thought to most. A venture into a world that you are aware of, but been happily oblivious to – until of course, you decided you want to propose. Naturally, many turn to the internet for research on the 4 C’s, until your head is exploding with all the information on clarity, color, proportions and carat weight.

Here’s the thing though – none of that matters until you set a budget. Just like a wedding, there should be a planning process that goes into buying a diamond and steps taken before you set foot into a jewelry store.

How do you set a budget? The old adage claims that it should be 2 months salary, but in reality whatever you are comfortable spending is the right amount. Then, you can focus your time to finding the nicest diamond possible for your money. If you do not set a budget before going into a jewelry store, you are likely to end up frustrated or disappointed. The sales associate may show you a beautiful ring you love, but find out that it is much more than you want to spend – then you will be disappointed. If you tell them your budget right off the bat, then they will show the ones that you can afford and be able to compare rings within that range, instead of with the unattainable.

One situation that is common: you know that your girlfriend wants a certain shape that is at least X amount of carats. You set out to find such a stone for the least amount of money possible. The truth is, many people have no real concept of diamond size. Try managing your girlfriend’s expectations by browsing a jewelry store to see diamonds in person, of different carat weights to compare. Say for instance, she has expressed that she wants a 2 carat round diamond, and your budget is around $10,000. You have a choice to buy a low quality, dull diamond that is 2 carats or a very nice quality, white sparkling diamond of around 1 carat. The choice is ultimately up to you. Be realistic with what you can buy with your budget, bigger is not necessarily better.

A trusted jeweler with solid credentials is your best ally in finding the perfect engagement ring. Try to find a jeweler who has formal gemology training, the best would be a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) or Certified Gemologist from the GIA or AGS. They will have the knowledge base and tools to source suitable diamonds. The best ones will be able to work with your budget to find you the best stones.

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Pearl necklaceWhen you walk into a jewellery store, let’s be honest, at first glance we think all pearls look the same except they come in different colors, it’s kind of like diamonds, at first glance most diamonds look the same until you put two diamonds with different quality side by side then you can tell the difference. Well, it’s the same with pearls. All pearls sold on the retail market are “cultured pearls” unless otherwise labeled as natural pearls which are extremely rare nowadays. If you are in a rush (a lot of gentlemen are) and don’t have time to learn all about pearls, easiest way is to ask a jewellery professional what you can get for your budget, an educated jeweller or a graduate gemologists should be able to offer good advice on what type of pearls you should get. Below are the pearl types in the market today.

  • Freshwater pearls: Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mussels which live in ponds, lakes and rivers and are primarily produced by China. The typical size of freshwater pearls is 2mm – 16mm with 7mm – 8mm being the most common.
  • Akoya pearls: Akoya pearls are the classic white pearls and typically have the highest luster and greatest shine of all cultured pearls. Typical Akoya pearls range from 5 mm to 11 mm.
  • South Sea pearls: South Sea pearls are saltwater pearls cultivated from the oyster, found in the South Seas centering on Northern Australia and South-East Asia, including Myanmar and Indonesia. They produce 10-20 mm pearls of white, creamy, silver or gold color, the largest of any cultured pearl. South Sea pearls are also the most expensive pearl on the market due to their rarity and thick nacre.
  • Tahitian pearls: Tahitian Pearls come from the warm waters of the South Seas and are grown in a Black-Lipped oyster. They are the only pearl to achieve a black body color naturally and are typically very large, 9mm- 16mm. Tahitian pearls, although mostly dark, also come in a wide range of hues, including black, gray, silver, green, blue and purple.

You can get all technical and get into the surface, luster, nacre and all that before buying pearls but just by reading about it doesn’t make you a pearl buying expert when you shop in a store, best is to have a few to choose from in person and ask questions, after you understand the value of all different types you will be ready to make an informed purchase. You will see the why two pearl strands look similar from far have very different price tags. Don’t get hung up on brand names; Tiffany’s and Mikimoto both are known for high quality goods, but by no means do they have a monopoly on high quality pearls. You can buy high quality pearls in many Vancouver jewellery stores!

 

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FancyEvery other cut other than a round brilliant cut is called fancy shape and that   includes princess cut, radiant cut, emerald cut, heart shape, etc. Due to the symmetry of   round brilliant-cut diamonds, it is much easier to formulate proportion criteria. There is currently no cut grades assigned to any fancy shapes. With that said, here are some  general guidelines:

  • Diamonds with pointy ends, such as marquises, pears, and hearts,   should be thick enough at the points to stand up to normal wear and tear. If these diamonds are cut too shallow, a point may be vulnerable to chipping.
  • The symmetry of fancy-shaped diamonds. Compare how well the two halves of a diamond look when seen from the profile view and the top view. Diamonds with mismatched halves may have been cut that way to save weight.The two halves should display very little differences, and ideally be mirror images of one another.
  • “Bowtie” effect (an obvious diminished area of brilliance appearing like a bowtie) occurs in certain fancy-shaped diamonds when the proportions are off and it is common. Well-cut, fancy-shaped diamonds show only a minimal bowtie effect.
  • The degree of brilliance in a fancy shape can be one way to tell whether it is cut within acceptable proportions or not. It shouldn’t suffer from too much light leakage through the pavilion.

In general, it is ideal to purchase a fancy shape diamond from an educated jeweller or a graduate gemologist. Fancy shapes aren’t just about color and clarity just because there is no universal cut grade. Some princes cuts are very pretty and some are very dull, some emerald cut are beautiful to look at and some just look like a piece of glass, buying diamonds off certificates is not a good idea because general public aren’t trained to pay attention to what’s important when it comes to fancy shapes and it’s best to get a professional’s help. A good jeweller should always show you stones especially it’s a fancy shape before they ask you to commit!

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