Category Archives: Diamond Education

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Groom Wedding Bands

Guest Post Submitted By SimplyBridal

When your fiancé and you are standing before your wedding officiant and it’s time to exchange wedding bands, you definitely want to choose one that the man whom you adore will love wearing for the rest of his life.

So, as you’re contemplating what kind of wedding band to get your future groom, we wanted to make the process easier for you by providing you with a list of five things that you should consider during the band selection process:

Consider his lifestyle. If your soon-to-be-husband is an accountant, it’s not really going to matter what kind of wedding ring he wears; however, if he’s a musician or a contractor, it will matter because those kinds of professions can end up damaging their ring (or sometimes even their finger). So, as you’re looking at rings, speak with the customer sales associate about the size and metals that will best accommodate your fiancé’s daily lifestyle.

Consider if he’s allergic to certain metals. It would be tragic to purchase a beautiful titanium engraved wedding band, only to discover a blister develop around it days after your wedding day because he was allergic to the metal. That’s why you also need to know what types of metals he is allergic to before making a purchase.

Consider his personality. Something else that you need to take into consideration is your fiancé’s personality. For instance, while a plain gold band is a classic look, he might prefer a silver band instead. If he’s eco-friendly, there are wooden rings that are more appropriate. On the other hand, if he feels like diamonds are actually a girl’s and a guy’s best friend, he might want some gemstones on his ring. The point is, his personal tastes are also important in choosing a ring. Therefore, make sure to consider these contributing factors.

Consider if you want your bands to “match”. Do you want your bands to match? If so, then this is something else you need to take into consideration. Furthermore, don’t forget to factor in the kinds of metals, the width, the stones and the inscriptions that you both want on your rings. As a special note: Even if you don’t want your rings to be identical, keep in mind that it’s still a good idea for them to at least complement one another. It’s the details that make a nice touch.

Consider the fit. The final element to keep in mind when it comes to your groom’s wedding band is making sure that it’s just the right fit. If your fiancé is not going to go with you to select his ring, take one of the ones that he wears often along with you so that his wedding band can be properly sized. Choosing your groom’s wedding band can be a relatively simple task. It’s all about knowing his style and taking your time with the selection process.

Men's Wedding Ring

Find engagement rings, wedding bands, and more jewelry for men at A. Fishman & Son Diamonds.

After all, the bride has to be the spotlight of the wedding. Make sure you pick up some jewelry pieces that will complement you and your husband’s wedding bands. Whether you want to go for a silver earring to complete the look or a gold bracelet to add more edge, be sure to follow the same criteria you learned in this post when choosing jewelry.

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Two Identical Diamonds are not always Identical – Part 3

This week I have been explaining how two diamonds with the same certificate information can be priced differently [Click Here] and what some of the factors are that can explain this [Click Here]. Here is an example of a real case that I had not long ago.

I was recently working with a customer who was interested in a 0.81ct round diamond of ours, with a GIA certificate graded H color, VS2 clarity. At the same time, she was considering a 0.80ct GIA certificated H VS2 diamond from another source who had borrowed the diamond from its owner to try to sell it to her. She showed me a copy of the certificate of the diamond she was being offered and I told her that it looked like a very good diamond on paper but that I couldn’t be sure without seeing the diamond. After telling me that she wanted to purchase her diamond from us, she asked me if I could obtain the other diamond and compare the two diamonds. I was able to obtain the diamond from the owner.

The comparison was truly enlightening, but also frightening at the same time. The other diamond did have a great certificate and paper grade.  However, in looking at the diamond itself, I could clearly see that it was undesirable. It had a brown cast to it with a steely darkness. Compared to my H color, this other diamond was dark and lifeless. Holding the stones side by side, my customer was able to see the difference immediately. I told her, in no uncertain terms, “you don’t have to purchase my diamond, but you definitely shouldn’t purchase this other one.” I also told her than any seller who would sell her the other diamond was doing her a great disservice.  My diamond was desirable, the other was not. But you could only see that from the diamonds themselves, not from their certificates.

What is the lesson here? You have to purchase your diamond from a source that truly understands diamonds and invests his own money in his inventory. When one spends his own money on something that he has to sell, he’s careful to look beyond the paper and examine the goods. That is the only way that people in my business can give our customers true value for their money.

In the meantime, until next time, Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

http://www.afishman.com

josh@afishman.com

Two Identical Diamonds are not always Identical – Part 2

Last week I shared with you an interesting fact that two diamonds that appear to be the same on paper can be different in reality. You were probably left wondering how that can be. Here’s the answer:

  1. Not all gemological laboratories grade diamonds with the same strictness. They may be using the same methods and they may, theoretically, be using the same criteria, but their application of those criteria and their discretionary judgments are different. The GIA is reputed to be the strictest grading laboratory, but even its graders don’t always get it right.
  2. Even within the same laboratory, two gemologists may make different judgments about the same diamond. As a result, two diamonds of different qualities can get the same grade. If a weaker diamond gets the same grade as the stronger diamond, and if the seller prices the diamond based on what it really is rather than just the written grade, the weaker diamond will cost less (as it should), but will appear to be a great deal compared to the more expensive diamond. Of course, in reality, they are not the same quality, and each may be properly priced, in comparison to the other. But you won’t realize that unless you are guided properly.
  3. The gemologist may have simply made a mistake in grading a diamond. A seller of a diamond with an inflated grade is not going to ask the laboratory to correct it. He may sell it for a relatively lower price (giving the impression of a great deal), but in reality, the diamond is less desirable (and less valuable) than a properly graded diamond of the same grade.
  4. Finally, and perhaps most important, gemological graders do not understand that when you purchase a diamond, you want one that is pretty and desirable. This is more than just a matter of grade; it is a question of value. It is a question of understanding what makes a diamond desirable. Gemological laboratories and their gemologists do not purchase diamonds. They don’t put their money on the line. They don’t evaluate more than the strict “Four Cs” of a diamond. Accordingly, their certificates do not tell you whether the subject diamond is one you should purchase or stay away from.

We, who put our money on the line and buy diamonds, have to understand what makes a diamond desirable to the end user and why, between two diamonds of the same grade, one may be worth purchasing and the other not.  We have to decide for ourselves whether the certificate reflects the true color of the diamond or whether it is it influenced by other factors. We need to determine whether the clarity grade is accurate and whether the inclusion is desirable or not.

Tomorrow I will share an experience I had that will exemplify the paper versus reality issue.

In the meantime, until next time, Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

http://www.afishman.com

josh@afishman.com

Two Identical Diamonds are not always Identical – Part 1

Over the course of my thirty years in the diamond business I’ve been asked countless times, “Aren’t diamonds just a commodity? How could two diamonds with the same shape, size, cut, color, and clarity not cost the same? Shouldn’t I just buy the less expensive diamond, since it’s a better deal?”

These are fair questions, and the less expensive diamond could be a great decision, but it could also be a very big mistake. It could be that both diamonds are truly identical, on paper and in reality. In this case, of course, the less expensive diamond is the better choice. But keep in mind that two diamonds may be identical on paper but still have very different characteristics and desirability. Unless you and your jeweler know how to spot the differences between two diamonds that appear to be the same on paper, you could be led into a costly mistake. That is where the expertise and honesty of your jeweler come into play.

In tomorrow’s post, I will explain how what’s on paper isn’t always the same as what you see in reality.

In the meantime, until next time, don’t forget to Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

http://www.afishman.com

josh@afishman.com

Ideal Cut Diamonds – What is it all about?

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“The notion that there’s something special about one set of proportions which is not produced by another set, just doesn’t hold up.” Dr. Mary Johnson, Manager of GIA Research and Development in Carlsbad, CA.

Hi again,

The issue of “Ideal Cut” diamonds is a complicated one and one which the average consumer can focus on to the exclusion of other factors in a diamond which are really much more important.  To put it simply, the phrase “ideal cut” refers to a set of statistics to which a diamond is cut and implies that this set of statistics produces the best looking diamond. As you read on, you will begin to understand why, instead of focusing on the term “ideal,” you should be letting your EYES speak to you. You should be looking at the diamond itself and not just its statistics. At A. Fishman & Son, we focus on offering our customers “well cut” diamonds that are pretty and reflect full brilliance and fire.

What do we mean by “well-cut” and how do we distinguish our cut from “ideal” cut (or “ultra ideal”) diamonds?  While we own and offer many diamonds which have proportions which would be considered “ideal” cut, they are all very fine cut diamonds.  However, unlike our diamonds which fall within the “ideal cut” proportions, there are many diamonds which fall within those “numbers” but whose cut is in fact poor and those diamonds are not pretty diamonds.  Like the Gemological Institute of America (“GIA”) (see below), we do not feel it is appropriate to use the term “ideal,” as it reflects the concept of “perfect.”  And we do not believe that all diamonds which fall within the “ideal” cut proportions deserve the connotation that the term implies.

Ideal Cut

An “ideal” cut diamond refers to a round diamond cut to a specific set of cutting guidelines that delineate the proportions that are assumed to give a round diamond the greatest amount of fire and brilliance.  There is a tremendous amount of information, some good and some very misleading, regarding what an “ideal” cut diamond should look like and what proportions it should be cut to.

One of my biggest issues with the concept of “ideal” cuts is this. If an “ideal” cut diamond reflects a single set of cutting proportions which are “perfect,” how is it that the depth and table percentages can have such a wide range?  The traditional proportions often quoted for ideal cut – and “established” by the American Gem Society (“AGS“) is a table percentage of 52.4-57.5% and a depth percentage of 58.4-62.9%.  This set of proportions assumes that any two diamonds whose proportions are cut within these ranges is equally pretty and look alike.  Is this really possible?  Is it possible that two diamonds which fall within this range, but at the extremes, really look the same?  In our opinion, and the opinion of the GIA, this is patently false.  A diamond of 60% depth and 57% table may be a pretty diamond, but, in our opinion, a diamond of 62.9 depth and 53 table is not.  And it is obvious to any one who thinks through the issue that these two diamond will not look the same to the eye.

GIA Research and Conclusions

Recently, the GIA has undertaken research to determine whether the noted cutting proportions of “ideal” cut stones actually produce the maximum fire and brilliance in a round diamond compared to other cutting proportions.

In the Fall 1998 Issue of the GIA’s Gems and Gemology, the GIA published the first of its articles regarding cut in its landmark The synopsis of this article states in relevant part:

“The results of this study suggest that there are many combinations of proportions with equal or higher WLR (weighted light return) than the traditional ‘Ideal’ cuts. In addition, they do not support analyzing cut by examining each proportion parameter independently.”

In fact, the research in this case showed that round diamonds with larger tables (64-66%) and with shallower crown and pavilion angles (not the 35.8 degrees on the crown and the 43 degrees on the pavilion often mentioned), delivered MORE light return than traditional “ideal” cut proportions.

In an editorial in the same issue (see Demystifying Diamond Cut) the President of the GIA, William E. Boyajian, made a very important statement regarding the use of the term “ideal cut.”  He stated:

“We also know that there are many combinations of proportions that yield equally attractive round-brilliant-cut diamonds. In fact, we know that diamonds can be cut in a fairly wide range of proportions to yield the same high light return, which can lead to better utilization of the rough and a better fit with the myriad tastes that exist in the global marketplace.

Finally, we know from our extensive historical research on cut that there have been numerous claims to a single set of ‘Ideal’ proportions in round-brilliant-cut diamonds. The derivation and use of the term ‘Ideal’ is thus confusing at best, but not unlike that of ‘blue-white’ and ‘perfect’ decades ago. Although it is not GIA’s role to discredit the concept of an ‘Ideal’ cut, on the basis of our research to date we cannot recommend its use in modern times.” (emphasis added)

In the Fall 2001 Issue of the GIA’s Gems and Gemology, the GIA published its second article regarding cut in its article Modeling the Appearance of the Round Brilliant Cut Diamond: An Analysis of Fire, and More About Brilliance. As Mr. Boyajian states in his editorial summarizing this article:
“The authors conclude that there is no easy way to characterize the “best” cut in round brilliants for either brilliance or fire. Rather, it is the complex interaction of multiple proportions, involving all of a diamond’s facets, that must be considered in the assessment of these key appearance aspects. Furthermore, there is now even more evidence to support the conclusion that there is no one “best” cut for a round brilliant diamond.” (emphasis added)

In the Spring 2002 issue of the GIA’s The Loupe, the GIA published an article entitled The Science of Cut. This article, following up on the two previously mentioned articles, confirms that there really is no single best cutting proportions for a round diamond.  This article states in relevant part:

“All of a diamond’s quality factors play a part in a polished round brilliant’s overall appearance, but the role proportions play in the quality of diamond cut has historically been the least understood….

Early on, researchers at GIA expected their results to corroborate one or more of the existing cut grading systems, but their work to-date indicates the underlying approaches of most existing systems are not substantiated by the data.

The industry has for decades embraced the concept that an extremely limited set of round brilliant diamond proportions produce maximum brilliance and fire so, in terms of an evaluation of cut, any deviation from this set of proportions would impact the appearance materially.  It believed that the further the proportions deviated from this limited set of proportions, the greater the impact was on the appearance of the diamond.

Preliminary findings of the GIA’s diamond cut research indicate otherwise...They discovered that there are many proportion combinations that can yield equally strong-performing diamonds…The notion that there’s something special about one set of proportions which is not produced by another set, just doesn’t hold up.” (emphasis added)

Finally, in the Fall 2004 Issue of the GIA’s Gems and Gemology, the GIA published its third article regarding cut in its article A Foundation for Grading the Overall Cut Quality of Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds. In this article, the author ties the various elements of the GIA’s studies together.  Some of the main findings from the GIA’s research discussed in the new article, as summarized in the GIA’s editorial, Unlocking the Secrets of the Fourth C are:

  • Proportions need to be considered in an interrelated manner.  The combination of proportions is more important than any individual proportion value.  Individual proportions must not be assessed on their own. It is the complex interrelationship of individual proportions that matters most in the face-up cut appearance and overall cut quality of a diamond.
  • There is no one set of proportions that yields the most beautiful diamond. Similarly, the long-held view that expanding deviations from a fixed, arbitrary set of proportion values produces diamonds with increasingly poorer appearances is simply not valid.
  • Attractive diamonds can be manufactured in wider range of proportions than would be suggested by historical practice or traditional trade perception.
  • Viewing environment plays an important role in diamond appearance — to be attractive, a diamond should look good in realistic environments.
  • Personal and international market preferences should be accounted for.  Diamonds with different appearances can be found within each cut grade, so individuals need to look at the diamond itself, not just the grade — to choose the one they like best.

What does all of this mean to you, the consumer?  It means that you need to rely on the expertise of a diamond source that understands what diamonds are all about, that can evaluate the merits of a diamond beyond the mere statistics that appear on a certificate, and that can guide you to the right diamond for you.  That diamond source has to have the experience which only time and generations of buying diamonds can give you.  After all, if you never have to put your own money down (like the hundreds of internet sites who simply collect nationally available diamond lists), how can one really understand which diamond is desirable and which one is not!Whew, that was a long discussion but very important.

So, in the meantime, until next time, Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

josh@afishman.com

www.afishman.com

Conflict Diamonds (“Blood Diamonds”)

diamond-education-titlesmall

Hi again,

We know you are very sensitive to the issue of Conflict Diamonds, otherwise know as “Blood Diamonds.” This issue was highlighted in the movie of that name. Fortunately, by the time the movie came out this issue was well on its way to resolution.

There has been a major breakthrough in the campaign to eliminate the traffic in “conflict diamonds.” All of the nations with significant involvement in the diamond trade have agreed on a global certification system aimed at preventing criminals from insinuating contraband diamonds mined in African combat zones into the legitimate supply chain.

To supplement this government effort, industry leaders have created a voluntary self-regulation program.  We at A. Fishman & Son welcome this important development and are very actively supporting the new system designed to safeguard our products’ integrity.

The core of that program is a chain of warranties that will follow rough diamonds, polished diamonds, and jewelry containing diamonds through the supply chain. For any product fabricated from rough diamonds imported or purchase by us from January 1, 2003 onward, our memoranda and invoices will state the following:

“The diamonds herein invoiced/memoed have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. We hereby guarantee that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.”

Product fabricated from diamonds acquired prior to January 1, 2003 is not covered by the industry warranty program. Such product is subject to the “best efforts” assurance that has been in general use since August 2000 concerning the avoidance of conflict diamonds.  With regards to diamonds acquired by us prior to January 1, 2003, A. Fishman & Son can assure you that we will not knowingly sell conflict diamonds and that, to the best of our ability, we will undertake reasonable measures to help prevent the sale of conflict diamonds in this country.

In the meantime, until next time, Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

josh@afishman.com

www.afishman.com

Clarity Enhancement of Diamonds – Part 2 – Fracture Filling

diamond-education-titlesmall

Hi again,

In my previous post about Clarity Enhancement of Diamonds, I discussed the process of Laser Drilling. This time, I am going to cover the much more controversial process know as Clarity Enhanced Diamonds, but more accurately described as Fracture Filling of Diamonds.

Fracture Filling

The fracture-filling of a diamond is a very controversial treatment within the industry — and increasingly among the public as well — due to its radical and impermanent nature. The process involves filling open fractures in a diamond (e.g., large and multiple feathers) with a glass-like substance which will camouflage the visibility of these large feathers. This results in the diamond having an “apparent” clarity grade which is better than it would actually merit without the treatment. In fact, most diamonds which are suitable for the fracture filling process are so imperfect that they run the danger of breaking under stress due to the significant fractures present in the diamond.

Because the filling glass melts at such a low temperature, it easily “sweats” out of a diamond under the heat of a jeweler’s torch; thus routine jewelry repair can lead to a complete degradation of clarity or in some cases shattering, especially if the jeweler is not aware of the treatment. Similarly, a fracture-filled diamond placed in an ultrasonic cleaner may not survive intact. The glass present in fracture-filled diamonds can usually be detected by a trained gemologist under the microscope: the most obvious signs are air bubbles and flow lines within the glass, which are features never seen in untreated diamond.

More dramatic is the so-called “flash effect”, which refers to the bright flashes of color seen when a fracture-filled diamond is rotated; the color of these flashes ranges from an electric blue or purple to an orange or yellow, depending on lighting conditions. One last but important feature of fracture-filled diamonds is the color of the glass itself: it is often a yellowish to brownish, and along with being highly visible in transmitted light, it can significantly impact the overall color of the diamond. Indeed, it is not unusual for a diamond to fall an entire color grade after fracture-filling. For this reason fracture-filling is normally only applied to stones whose size is large enough to justify the treatment: however, stones as small as 0.02 carats have been fracture-filled. This is an important factor in the very low price of some diamond jewelry products too, for example, tennis bracelets.

It is notable that most major gemological laboratories, including that of the influential GIA Diamond Trading Lab, refuse to issue certificates for fracture-filled diamonds. However, there are other Labs that do certify these diamonds so it is important to know what Lab is issuing the certificate on a particular diamond.

Fracture-filled diamonds with a specific “apparent” clarity grade sell at a very significant discount compared to what I like to describe as a “real” diamond of the same clarity grade will sell at. For a buyer who is uninformed, it may appear to be a bargain. It is not!

At A. Fishman & Son, we do not sell or otherwise deal in fracture-filled diamonds. We do not consider it worthy of any investment of our money and we recommend that our customers do the same.

What Should You Do?

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses and government agencies such as the United States Federal Trade Commission explicitly require the disclosure of most diamond treatments at the time of sale. Some treatments, particularly those applied to clarity, remain highly controversial within the industry — this arises from the traditional notion that diamond holds a unique or “sacred” place among the gemstones, and should not be treated too radically.

While, as noted in my post on laser-drilled diamonds, there is a distinct difference between laser-drilled diamonds and fracture-filled diamonds, our recommendation is to stay away from diamonds with either type of treatment. I say this with regard to laser-drilled diamonds not because I place them in the same category as fracture-filled diamonds. I don’t. But because in today’s market a laser-drilled diamond is a very difficult diamond to sell or trade-up for a better diamond and you are better off buying a better quality, smaller diamond, than a larger one which has been laser-drilled. In no uncertain terms should you ever purchase a fracture-filled diamond!

In the meantime, until next time, Mind Your Diamonds!

Josh Fishman

josh@afishman.com

www.afishman.com