Jewelry refers to ornamental devices worn by persons, typically made with gems and precious metals. Costume jewelry is made from less valuable materials. However, jewelry can and has been made out of almost every kind of material. Examples include bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings, as well as items like hair ornaments or body piercing jewelry.
Jewelry, particularly when made with precious materials, is generally considered valuable and desirable. Some cultures have a practice of keeping large amounts of wealth stored in the form of jewelry. Jewelry can also be symbolic, as in the case of Christians wearing a crucifix in the form of jewelry, or, as is the case in many Western cultures, married people wearing a wedding ring. And what can symbolize love and, of course, the wedding ceremony more than a diamond?
Diamonds are graded by four characteristics: cut, carat (weight), clarity, and color. All four of these properties determine how much a diamond is worth.
Cut – What is the proportion of the diamond? Round brilliant diamonds are commonly cut with 58 facets. The better proportioned these facets are on the diamond, the more light will be reflected back to the viewer’s eye. This is extremely important. When cut properly, the diamond will sparkle more. Diamond cuts are measured by the table percentage, so always ask for it. Cut also refers to the shape such as: round, pear, and oval.
Carat – How big is the diamond? Larger diamonds often cost more per carat due to their size. There are 100 points to a carat. Hence a 50 point diamond is 1/2 a carat. (There are 5 carats to a gram.)
Clarity – How clear is the stone? Clarity ranges from flawless (perfect) to I (included). Here is a summary:
Color: Diamond colors generally range from D – X for white and yellow diamonds. D is the whitest. Around S they become “Fancy” yellow Diamonds. One can also find green, pink, red, blue and brown diamonds – though these are usually irradiated.
Diamonds are often treated. If you are concerned about getting true value for your money, know what you are getting. Be sure to read the fine print.
Diamonds with inclusions are sometimes filled with glass to make them appear clearer. An inclusion is an imperfection internal to the diamond. Filler can be damaged by heat, ultrasonic cleaning, and by re-tipping. The filling does not repair the inclusion, it just makes it less visible. They can be painted to offset a yellow tinge. The paint wears off rather quickly.
Finally, now that you have that precious stone, here are some tips as to how to take care of it. Diamonds are often thought to be unshatterable. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Diamonds are brittle: If you hit a diamond hard, they WILL crack or chip if mishandled. Don’t wear your diamond when doing rough work.
Storage: Store diamonds separately. When stored with other jewelry, diamonds may scratch other jewelry (or each other).
Cleaning: The best method for cleaning is a jeweler’s polishing cloth. Many jewelers will clean your diamond ring for free if you are making another purchase in the store.