How to Buy a Diamond
The 4 C’s
When searching for your diamond, knowing about Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight will give you more confidence in making your selection. The 4C’s are an internationally-recognized grading criteria. Color, Clarity, and Cut refer to the gem’s visual qualities.
A diamond’s color grade actually refers to its lack of color.
Color in diamonds results from traces of other elements which mixed with carbon during the diamond’s formation. Generally gem-quality diamonds, when seen alone, appear to be colorless to the untrained eye.
Most diamonds actually contain a subtle hint of yellow, brown, or gray, but the colorless or near colorless are the most valuable.
To determine the color of an unmounted diamond, Stone Oak Jewelers compares the loose diamond to an American Gem Society (AGS) “Master Set” of diamonds whose color, clarity and proportion have been certified.
Your diamond’s clarity profile is determined by the unique characteristics found within it.
Since no two diamonds are alike, nature has identified each diamond by its inclusions, or its fingerprints.
Generally, these inclusions are minute imbedded crystals or other minerals trapped in the diamond during its formation.
Diamond clarity is judged by the lack of inclusions. A diamond is termed flawless only if it has no internal inclusions or external detriments visible under a standard ten-power jeweler’s loupe.
Flawless and internally flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare, and their worth is extraordinary.
Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond’s beauty. It is the most critical of the 4C’s because so much of a diamond’s value depends on
the diamond cutter achieving the ultimate brilliance.
A well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. Each facet or plane of the diamond’s surface when properly placed, allows light to interact within the diamond and return to the eye as fire or brilliance.
Exceptional Cut is a diamond of precise proportions with exceptional polish and symmetry. Although this usually results in the most weight loss from the rough material, it achieves the most brilliant, scintillating gem. Only 5% of all round, brilliant cut diamonds qualify in meeting the ultimate in light dispersion.
Deep Cut is a diamond that appears smaller than it weighs as most of the weight lies in the pavilion or the depth.
If the cut of the diamond is too deep, some light escapes through the sides causing the diamond to look dark.
Shallow Cut is a diamond that appears larger than it weighs as most of the weight is in the diameter. Light escapes out the bottom, and the diamond loses brilliance.
Of the 4C’s, Carat Weight is the easiest to determine since all precious gems are weighed in carats.
Diamonds are accurately weighed only when they are loose or free from any mounting. The universally recognized metric carat equals .2 grams or 1/142 of an ounce and is divided into 100 points.
Thus, a one-half carat diamond is 50 points or .50 carat. As diamonds increase in size, the price per carat increases exponentially.
Of the diamonds mined annually, at most only 10% are gem quality when cut and finished. Thus, a diamond that weighs 2.00 carats will be more than double the price of a 1.00 carat diamond of the same quality.
Shape is the one diamond factor that allows a diamond cutter to express creativity and imagination. Throughout history the shape of a finished diamond has taken many forms.
The term shape in reference to diamonds is often confused with the technical term cut. It is the precision of the cut that determines the diamond’s fire, brilliance, and ultimate beauty.
Stone Oak Jewelers is an American Gem Society member. Membership in this exclusive organization is limited to independent fine jewelers who subscribe to the society’s strict guidelines regarding truth in advertising, disclosure of gemstone enhancement, accuracy of gold karatage, and accuracy in diamond grading. Registered jeweler, Certified Gemologist and Certified Gemologist Appraiser are titles awarded to those few who successfully pass rigorous courses and testing in gemology. These titleholders are required to pass yearly re-examinations to insure these skills and knowledge are kept up to date.
Platinum | White Gold | Palladium
Platinum vs. White Gold.
The main distinguishing characteristic between Gold and Platinum is the color. If you want a yellow ring, then gold is the best option; however, if you want a white ring, Platinum or Palladium are the best options.
A White Gold ring is composed of gold and other alloys such as Nickel and Zinc. The piece of jewelry is then plated with a Platinum derivative called Rhodium. When Rhodium wears off, the gold returns to its natural state of yellowish.
The average life span of a Gold ring is 25 years before major maintenance where Platinum is 100 years.
Palladium is a naturally precious white metal that is a member of the Platinum family.
Palladium has been used in several industries. It was used rarely in jewelry prior to 2001. This was due to the technical obstacles of casting. Technology has now allowed Stone Oak Jewelers to cast. Stone Oak Jewelers has been on the forefront of inventing new methods to cast Palladium
Stone Oak Jewelers currently has patents pending on 2 new Palladium mixtures. These formulas allow the Palladium to be stronger and whiter.
Palladium vs. Platinum and White Gold
Palladium is a naturally white metal such as Platinum. Platinum is more dense and heavier than Palladium. The life span of a Palladium ring is 75 years before major maintenance versus Platinum at 100 years. Platinum is more costly. Palladium is truly a white metal versus White Gold. Palladium and White Gold are of similar cost for a piece of jewelry.
Palladium has always been one of the four precious metals. Designers have been working with Palladium since 1939. The four precious metals are Platinum, Palladium, Gold, and Silver.
“Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique.”
– Jaclyn Smith
What is a conflict diamond?
Conflict Diamonds are un-cut or rough diamonds that have been used by rebel movements or their allies to finance “conflict” aimed at undermining legitimate governments. The proportion of conflict diamond has always been very small and has been shrinking dramatically in recent years because of a variety of factors —including cease-fires in the Sierra Leone and Angola regions as well as reforms and new practices adopted by the diamond industry.
Customers can be confident that comprehensive measures have been taken to assure that the diamonds that we sell are “conflict” free. Since 2000, Ben Bridge has required vendors to sign an agreement pledging that they will not knowingly buy or sell “conflict” diamonds. Beginning in 2003, we took that requirement a step farther as supporters of the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties, an industry program of self-regulation.
The Kimberley Process
Today, 80 governments have adopted a system to control the export and import of rough diamonds mined from 2003 onward. Known as the Kimberley Process, it requires that each shipment of rough diamonds –before cutting and polishing – be placed in a tamper-resistant container and accompanied by a government-validated certificate. Each certificate is uniquely numbered and contains data describing the shipment’s contents.
Participating countries have pledged to impound shipments of rough diamonds from any nation that fails to subscribe to the standard. Shipments lacking proper certification will be treated in a similar way. The U.S. Customs is responsible for enforcement at American ports of entry.
Stone Oak Jewelers
All suppliers of merchandise and materials to Stone Oak Jewelers must agree to a Code of Conduct agreement, confirming their participation in the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties.
You have the assurance and commitment of Stone Oak Jewelers in providing the very best in fine jewelry values with a caring concern for people – in our communities and in the world where we live and work.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
– ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
Insuring your Jewelry
Birthstones by Month
Traditionally, a birthstone is associated with each month of the year. For example, the birthstone for January is a garnet, while lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone.
The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then – the tanzanite was added to December.
There are numerous legends and myths about birthstone healing powers and their therapeutic influence. According to these legends, wearing a gemstone during its assigned month heightened its healing powers. For the full effect, individuals needed to own all twelve and alternate them monthly.
Contact an AGS-certified jeweler near you with any birthstone questions you have.
“Lovely family owned business, absolute perfection with quality & customer service, I highly recommend them!”
– Stephanie H.
|1st Anniversary||Gold Jewelry|
|3rd Anniversary||Cultured or Natural Pearls|
|4th Anniversary||Blue Topaz|
|9th Anniversary||Lapis Lazuli|
|10th Anniversary||Diamond Jewelry|
|18th Anniversary||Cat’s Eye|
|23rd Anniversary||Imperial Topaz|
|25th Anniversary||Silver Jubilee|
|30th Anniversary||Cultured/Natural Pearl Jubilee|
|50th Anniversary||Golden Jubilee|