Choosing a Diamond
Choosing a diamond you'll both
love is not so difficult - when you understand the characteristics that
distinguish one gem from another. Any explanation of a diamond's beauty and
value centers on three key quality factors: cut, color and clarity, and one unit
of measure: carat weight. Collectively these are known as the four Cs. Learn
what to look for. Decide your priorities. Then make the choice that's right for
you and your budget.
What you "C" is what
you get. The diamond is a true marvel of nature. No two are exactly alike.
diamond that is masterfully cut displays maximum brilliance and fire. Cut and
proportion are extremely important because they have the greatest influence on
the sparkle and value of a stone. A diamond that is well cut reflects light from
one facet to another and
back through the top of the stone.
COLOR....A diamond's body color can range from totally colorless to light
yellow. The whiter or more colorless the stone is, the more costly, because the
absence of color is more rare. Also, the less color in the stone, the easier it
is for light to pass through and be dispersed back into the spectrum of colors,
like a rainbow.
is rarely perfect. So it is very rare to find a diamond that is completely pure
or free of inclusions - minerals or crystals trapped within the stone at the
time it was formed. Without ten-power magnification, you may never see these
tiny inclusions. But they are the fingerprints that make each diamond unique.
CARAT WEIGHT....The size of a diamond is defined by its weight, which is
expressed in carats. One carat weighs one-fifth of a gram, and is divided into
100 points - like pennies to a dollar. The larger the diamond the more rare and
costly it is. However, depending on their color, clarity and cut, two diamonds
of the same carat weight can vary widely in their value.
Caring for Your Jewelry
· Avoid wearing jewelry while in contact with household chemicals, such as
chlorine bleach. They can discolor or damage your jewelry mountings.
· Take off your jewelry before doing rough manual work or playing sports.
Stones could be jarred loose or chipped by a hard blow.
· When you're not wearing your jewelry, be careful that pieces do not tumble
against each other to avoid scratching or dulling. Ideally, store each piece in
its own soft cloth pouch.
· At least once a year, have a jeweler professionally clean and inspect your
· Clean your diamond jewelry regularly at home in an ultrasonic cleaner or by
hand. To make your own jewelry cleaning solution, mix one part ammonia to six
· Gently scrub the diamond piece with a small soft toothbrush to loosen dirt
and restore the diamond's brilliance. Be careful not to scratch the metal
setting. Always rinse after cleaning.
Rubies, Sapphires and Garnets
To clean this gemstone jewelry at home, use a lukewarm solution of water and
mild dishwashing soap, or one part ammonia to six parts water. Keep your gems
brilliant by gently brushing them with a small bristle brush, especially
underneath where dirt collects. Rinse and dry.
· Because emeralds have delicate structures, never place emerald jewelry in an
ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Heat and chemicals adversely affect emeralds. They
are best cleaned professionally by a jeweler. However, you may wipe your emerald
pieces with a soft cloth and clean them gently with a soft toothbrush and mild
· The best way to help your pearls maintain their luster is to wear them
regularly. Your body's natural oils aid in keeping the pearls' beauty.
· When necessary, wipe your pearls with a damp, soft cloth. Do not use oils or
· Never clean your pearls with jewelry cleaner or in an ultrasonic
jewelry-cleaning machine! A harsh cleanser can wear away the nacre.
· Have your pearls restrung every two to five years if worn regularly, or when
the silk becomes dirty. Take your pearls to a professional jeweler for cleaning
prior to restringing, which will add to the beauty and long life of your pearls.
· Keep your pearls away from hairspray, lotion and perfume. Chemicals in these
products can damage the pearls.
· Make your pearls the last item you put on when getting dressed and the first
item you take off.
· Pearls should be worn alone. If worn with other jewelry, such as a gold chain
or other necklace, they may be scratched or damaged.
· Store your pearls separately so they won't be damaged by other jewelry.
Choosing a Diamond and Caring for