Park Place Plaza, 323 Page Bacon Rd No 9, Mary Esther, FL 32569
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 to 6:00
Saturday 10:00 to 3:00
Closed Sunday & Monday
Quality and value for the money are more important now than they have ever been when it comes to the important things we buy. A diamond is one of the largest purchases most people make, behind a home and automobile. Just as with any major purchase, you must understand exactly what you are purchasing, and what makes diamonds that may appear similar, have vastly different values.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a system for grading diamonds, commonly known as the four c's. This system, when used accurately and completely, is the best way to assure the quality and value of a diamond. It is worth noting that this system can only be accurately applied when the diamond is loose, thus the reason behind McGivern Diamonds policy of only selling loose diamonds.
It is possible to send a diamond in to the GIA, and they will grade the diamond. This is what is referred to as a GIA certified diamond. The simple fact is all jewelers cannot sell the same diamond for the best price, but they still must make it appear that way. Thus many other certificates exist that are far from accurate, and it appears you are getting the same grade diamond, for much less money. In the end, the real question is, just because some certificate states the diamond is a certain grade, will GIA agree? Most likely not, thus these other certificates can be discounted quite substantially, depending on how inaccurate they are. Wherever you end up buying, stick with a GIA certified stone, they are the industry standard.
There are many other grading systems that are used to represent diamond quality. However, it is the GIA system that is recognized in the diamond industry. The GIA is a non-profit organization that has no interest where you purchase your stone. Unfortunately, too many other so called "independent" labs are for profit, with the jeweler's best interests in mind, not the consumers.
Carat is actually a measurement of weight, NOT size. However, it should be relative to size. One carat is divided into 100 points. Two diamonds of equal quality can have vastly different values depending on their cut, color and clarity. This is illustrated in the two diamonds below.
Carat weight is the easiest of the four c's to determine, however the diamond MUST be loose. Too many jewelers approximate carat weight, for instance, when you buy a 1/2 carat diamond, which you assume to be 50 points, you may actually be getting less than that. Many store sell as low as 45 points, and represent is as "approximately" a 1/2 carat. There is nothing wrong with buying a "light" 1/2 carat, however the cost is significantly less. You should know that is what you are buying, and pay accordingly.
By cut, we are referring to two things, the first being the shape of the diamond. By this we mean round, marquise, pear, oval, princess, emerald, oval, heart or trillion. Many people think fancy shaped diamonds cost more. In most cases, it is exactly the opposite. Many fancy shape diamonds actually cost less than a round.
When a gemologist talks about cut, what is really being referred to is quality of proportions. The fact is many diamonds today are not cut as well as they could be. Many cutters choose to sacrifice some of the diamond's beauty to achieve a stone that is a larger carat weight. Cut, more than any other quality aspect, gives the diamond its sparkle. A diamond gets its brilliance and scintillation by cutting and polishing the diamond facets to allow the maximum amount of light that enters through its top to be reflected and dispersed back, also through its top.
As you can see below, when all the angles are correct, the light that enters is dispersed back through the diamonds top facets. When a stone is cut too shallow or too deep, that light that enters through the top is allowed to escape through the bottom and does not allow the maximum beauty of the diamond to be realized. The reason these poorly cut diamonds are sold in stores is cost. The wholesale cost of these diamonds are significantly cheaper than a well proportioned diamond. Remember, just because two diamonds have the same weight, does not mean they are the same size.
Diamonds come naturally in almost every color of the rainbow, however most people are concerned with diamonds in the white range. Along with cut, this "C" is also very important in determining the overall beauty of the diamond. Color starts with the letter D, being the whitest, or best, and goes down the letter Z, being more yellowish. It is the lack of color, or whiteness in a diamond that allows the light to pass effortlessly through the stone and disperse that beauty back to the observer. Color is not so much white versus yellow, as the chart tends to indicate, it is more light versus dark. A white diamond will look very clean, crisp, and brilliant, with a lot of pizazz. A yellow diamond will not really look yellow, as it will look darker and dirty, without nearly the same brilliance. These are differences that you can clearly see, as you do not need to be a gemologist to see these differences.
Clarity refers to how many flaws, or inclusions, are in the diamond. In most cases, clarity has very little to do with the beauty of the diamonds, rather it effects how the diamond looks under the microscope. To determine a diamonds clarity grade, it must be examined loose, under 10x magnification by a gemologist. Whatever minute inclusions there may be make every diamond unique. These are nature's fingerprints and in most cases do not mar the diamond's beauty nor endanger in durability. Without high magnification, these flaws are invisible. However, the fewer inclusions, the rarer your diamond will be.
Generally, if a diamond is SI-1 or above, it is flawless to the naked eye (VS-2 for emerald, princess and radiant cuts). If there is even a tiny inclusion visible to the unaided eye, the stone is usually graded an SI-2 or I-1. It is extremely important to view the diamond loose for clarity grading, as it is very easy to set an I-1 diamond, and by concealing flaws in setting, make the diamond appear to be much better. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as this is represented accurately and you pay according.