Cut is the only characteristic of a diamond directly influenced by man; the other three aspects; colour, clarity and carat weight, are dictated by nature. The cut refers to the shape, inner proportions and facets of the diamond. The traditional and most popular cut of diamond is the ‘Round Brilliant Cut’. A brilliant cut releases the best life, fire and sparkle because of the layout and proportions of the 58 facets cut into the stone. A well cut diamond will reflect the light entering it from one facet to another and exit through the top of the stone giving the diamond its brilliance and fire. Diamonds cut too deep or too shallow will lose light through the sides and bottom of the diamond, resulting in less of a sparkle.
Colour is regarded as the most important factor of the Four C’s. To the untrained eye most diamonds may appear white/colourless, however, most contain a trace of barely visible colour. The best way to assess the colour of a diamond is to hold it against a white surface in daylight. A colourless stone has a complete absence of body colour; the nearer a diamond is to being colourless, the rarer, and thus more valuable, it becomes. Diamonds come in a range of other colours, such as pink, blue, yellow, green and orange. These other colours are known as ‘fancy’ colour diamonds. A precise scale of colour grading was devised by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the grade given to a stone is represented by letters of the alphabet and starts at D (colourless).
Clarity refers to the natural inclusions within a diamond, which are rarely visible to the naked eye. When valuing a diamond, the type, colour, position and number of inclusions are taken into consideration. Almost all diamonds contain small inclusions but the fewer there are the more valuable a stone becomes. The scale for grading clarity can be seen below:
Flawless (FL)> – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2 – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
It is generally regarded that weight is the most obvious factor in valuing a Diamond. However, two stones of the same carat can have very different values due to differences in quality. When there is more than one diamond in a piece of jewellery, such as in a diamond cluster ring or a three stone pendant, the stones are weighed together rather than individually. The carat weight does not necessarily reflect the size of a diamond. Therefore certain may appear larger than they weigh, so it is worth taking your time to absorb its splendour.
Gemstone weight is measured in carats (ct.). A carat is divided into 100 points:
1 carat = 100 points = 1ct.
½ carat = 50 points = 0.50ct.
¼ carat = 25 point = 0.25ct.
Weight is the most obvious factor in valuing a gem, but two stones of the same weight can have different values, depending on their quality.
When there is more than one diamond in a piece of jewellery; a diamond cluster or a three stone pendant for example, the stones are weighed together rather than individually.
Care of Diamonds
Diamonds are remarkably durable and resistant to scratching. Whilst they do maintain their brilliance over time, they are not indestructible. Diamonds can be chipped by a sharp blow; become loose or lost in a weakened setting; or damaged by contact with other diamonds. Any fine jewellery should be worn with care and stored separately from other jewellery in padded boxes or soft bags. Jewellery can be cleaned with warm water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush, by briefly dipping it in a commercial cleaning solution, or by wiping with a lint-free cloth. Diamond jewellery should be cleaned and examined by a professional jeweller periodically, to maintain its beauty and integrity over time.
Care of Gemstones
The Mohs scale characterises the hardness of gemstones from 1-10. The lower the Mohs scale number, the more susceptible the stone is to scratching, chipping, and breaking. Diamonds and sapphires are at the top end of the scale with Mohs hardness’ of 10 and 9 respectively. These stones are durable and suitable for everyday pieces such as engagement rings.
This scale is important to consider when cleaning and storing fine jewellery. The build-up of hand cream, finger prints and dirt is common amongst jewellery and can easily be cleaned away. As a rule of thumb, gemstones of 7 or above on the Mohs scale can be cleaned with warm water, a touch of mild detergent and a soft brush. These include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts and aquamarines, amongst others. For gemstones less than 7 on the Mohs scale swap the soft brush for a soft cloth. These gems include opals, moonstone, pearls and lapis lazuli.
Many gemstones are susceptible to damage by chemicals, water and even sunlight, where prolonged exposure may cause them to become paler. Examples include amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, rose and smoky quartz. Gemstones with a porous nature, such as opal, pearl and turquoise should not be immersed in water for too long.
Particular care should be taken when cleaning emerald jewellery. Emeralds are often treated with a form of fine oil to disguise the frequent appearance of flaws. For this reason, emeralds should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaning device; such treatment will expose any flaws on the surface of the stone.
Care of Pearls
Pearls are classic and vintage. They have always stood for elegance and sophistication and are considered organic gemstones as they are produced by living creatures. The elegance and magnificence of pearls may be affected if not properly cared for. Pearls are softer than most gemstones so special care should be afforded to them. A list of do’s and don’ts about pearl care are specified below-
- One basic trick to restore the longevity of your pearl jewellery is to wear them as regularly as possible. Pearls tend to react well to the natural oils of human skin meaning constant use of pearl is regarded as the best way for keeping up its natural lustre.
- One should apply makeup and perfume prior to wearing pearl jewellery.
- Pearl jewellery should be removed before taking off your clothes.
- Wiping pearls with a soft cloth and mild liquid soap can be effective.
- Do not use harsh chemical based cleaners.
- Do not clean your pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner; the vibrations can shatter them, especially if the nacre (outer coating) is thin or cracked.
- Do not expose to excessive heat; because they contain organic material and water, pearls can crack if exposed to excessive dryness.
Care of Gold
Gold is a precious material that never really tarnishes. But since it is a comparatively soft material, one needs to keep an eye on its daily care regimen in order to prevent its the degradation of its appearance.
In the case of gold, the higher the carat weight, the more delicate the metal. Because of the alloys used in 9ct gold, it tends to be more resistant to scratching than 18ct or 24ct gold, hence, it is advisory for one to wear rings of similar carat together.
Gold is susceptible to damage from Chlorine, which has the potential to affect the glossy shine of gold jewellery. Therefore it is unadvisable to wear you gold jewellery whilst using harsh cleaning materials or whilst swimming.
We offer a cleaning service for gold, which will always get your jewellery looking back to its best.