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Which Diamond Do I Choose??

Written by Brian Wilson On July 2, 2019.

Enjoy this article, written and researched by Sonya Zelaya 

Here at Diadem Jewelers, we know the process of choosing an engagement ring is full of questions. What style of ring do I choose? Is platinum or yellow gold better? While there are so many options, we know that choosing a ring the bride will definitely not regret, requires choosing one that aligns with what she cares about the most. How do you choose the right diamond when you (or your bride-to-be) cares about the environment? Let’s help clear up some of the basics.

What’s the Difference Between Mined and Laboratory-Grown Diamonds?

Almost nothing. While most people are familiar with mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds that are “gem quality” (pretty enough to put into an engagement ring) are quite new to the jewelry scene. They are chemically and visually the same as the diamonds we have mined for centuries; The main difference is their origin. Mined diamonds are also called “natural” diamonds while lab-grown diamonds can go by other names like synthetic, lab-created, man-made, or cultured diamonds. Because they have all of the same chemical properties as the mined versions, a laboratory-grown diamond will last you just as long. 

What are the Pros and Cons of a Mined Diamond?

The most immediate con that comes to mind with natural diamonds is how mining disrupts the natural state of the earth. Be aware that diamond mining can be done in a variety of ways, each leaving a different mark on the local ecosystem based on different factors. To combat the negative effects of mining, large mining companies like De Beers budget millions of dollars for environmental reclamation. Environmental reclamation is the process of returning a landscape to its original condition. The dirt that has been excavated is returned, including precious topsoil that is laid back for local flowers and grass to be planted. The mining industry has also made efforts to convert to renewable energy to offset their carbon emissions. Regulation of the mining industry requires companies to produce sustainability reports, mostly available on their websites, to hold them accountable for their efforts to avoid disturbing the ecosystem they work in. Mining companies can also create a better economy by providing jobs and resources for their local area. In terms of ethically sourced mined diamonds, ask your jeweler if they source diamonds that are a part of the Kimberley Process, which was originally created to prevent “conflict” diamonds from being added to the main supply of diamonds worldwide (Also known as diamonds that are mined and then sold to finance wars and genocides).

What are the Pros and Cons of a Lab-Grown Diamond? 

They’re definitely conflict free! Created in a lab using one of two processes, HPHT or CVD, laboratory-grown diamonds are also anywhere from 20-40% less expensive than their mined counterparts. The issue that no one can predict is related to cost – will the prices of lab-grown diamonds go up, down, or stay the same? Kind of like the price of gas, no one can know ahead of time what the value of something will be in the future. Since lab-grown diamonds haven’t been on the jewelry market for very long, it’s even harder to predict than for mined diamonds. In terms of environmental accountability, the “newbie” status of lab-grown diamond companies means that they aren’t required to publish sustainability reports (yet). The question then becomes, what kind of energy is used to create lab-grown diamonds? Depending on the company, many try to use renewable energy and work to produce zero emissions.

With all of this information to sort through, why bother buying a diamond? Is there something more obviously environmentally friendly or ethical to buy?

At the end of the day, diamonds have proven to be the hardest gemstone on earth (a perfect 10 on Mohs Scale of Hardness). By investing into a stone that you can wear for the rest of your life, you prevent the demand for further mining in the future to replace the worn and scuffed stone in your engagement ring. It’s like buying a reusable glass container instead of constantly replacing your plastic Tupperware set. Making the effort to make the right decision now helps you stand by your decision in the long term. You want to feel good about your choice!

Oh no! What if I already bought a diamond and I’m not sure if it’s mined or laboratory-grown? 

Take a look at your receipt- Does it say if it’s a natural or lab-grown diamond? If not, the next option is to get a grading report. Since it’s impossible to tell with a basic microscope if a diamond is mined or lab-grown, most jewelers and jewelry appraisers don’t have the advanced equipment yet to make this call. Make sure they can definitely determine if it’s lab-grown or mined, not just if it is “potentially” lab-grown. Your best bet is to send it to the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America, two of the most trusted organizations in the jewelry world, for testing.

Think this is good information, but you’re still not sure which kind of diamond is right for you? Check out our venn diagram and the list of questions to ask yourself below.

Need to do some research? Check out these resources:

 

The largest diamond in North America.

Written by Erick Razo On January 9, 2019.

In case you have not watched the news in the last few weeks, there has been a historical happening in the geological and gemological worlds. Dominion Diamond Mines, has announced the recovery of the largest gem-quality diamond on record in North America. It weighs 552.74 carats and is of yellow color. The diamond was discovered in the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories in October.

Diavik is approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle, making it one of the most difficult mines to work on during the winter season. The average amount of snow during the winter season is 47.31 inches in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Making the terrain difficult to navigate and very hazardous.

This mine also yielded the previous record holding stone for largest discovered on the continent, the 187.7 carat Foxfire diamond, discovered in 2015. Polished, the Foxfire yielded a 37.87 carat and 36.80 carat brilliant-cut pear shape diamond that went for $1.3 million at auction.

The CanadaMark yellow measures 33.74 millimeters by 54.56 millimeters. Marked heavily with abrasions, Dominion said that it won’t sell the stone in its rough form but will partner with a master cutter to cut and polish it.  The color and texture of the diamond are a unique example of the journey that natural diamonds take from their formation until they are found. The Diavik mine has produced some of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, and this one certainly tops the list.

Man or God,.. well both…

Written by Sterling VanDerwerker">Sterling VanDerwerker On September 12, 2018.

This year the jewelry industry is rocked with the advent of “man-made” (actually man-rearranged) Diamonds.  What should I think about this?

the jewelry industry this year was rocked by the advent of affordable diamonds.  Well what does that mean,..? Carbon crystallized  into the cubic system then faceted to break light up into a pleasant mix of white and prismatic (spectral colors…) light. Commonly known to fine jewelers as simply a DIAMOND. So, does it make a difference in the beauty of a diamond. Well,.. its just another subjective choice that the consumer makes. You see, a diamond is a diamond, it just depends upon how it is, or was, crystallized. Did God make in in history or some geek with lots of high pressure really expensive equipment?  A diamond is a diamond. The most important thing is for the consumer to know what they are purchasing.  It takes a professional jeweler to inform the customer as to the nature, value and beauty of the diamond. You see,.. the internet can only go so far: it cant determine the customer’s needs and then apply product to satisfy the customer’s needs. It takes a professional jeweler to do so.

Determining needs is the skill of a real professional. Not self or profit interested, a real Jeweler can not only determine needs, but can TRUTHFULLY apply the product that meets the customer needs. 

We are in the process of manufacturing several sets of two IDENTICAL contoured wedding bands to demonstrate the same technical characteristics of round brilliant ideal cut diamonds…. one crystallized by man and the other by GOD.   

In todays’s market the consumer chooses their value unless they are willingly uninformed. Yes,.. the consumer needs a PRO. An educated and customer focused jeweler can really make a difference. Why? They can use customer focused skills to determine needs and THEN APPLY THE MERCHANDISE THAT MEETS THE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS!


Gemstone cutting : Facet machine components

Written by Erick Razo On April 2, 2018.

Now that we have learned how to pick out a rough diamond and what makes a standard round brilliant shape, the fun begins! In this blog we will begin to explain the process on how to polish and give shape to a rough stone. However, none of this can happen without the proper tools. Before we begin doing that, it is highly recommended to take facetting classes. Equipment can be expensive and it is a good idea to find some of this classes to help you try different materials and techniques used to facet a gemstone. This blog post is to help us understand the equipment used to perform the gem faceting.

 

Facet Machine-A device that allows the user to place and polish facets onto a mineral specimen. There are two major components of a faceting machine: The mast/head assembly, and the grinding wheel, or lap. A rough piece of mineral is attached to the head, and through angle, rotation, and height adjustments of the head, the mineral is lowered into contact with the grinding wheel until a facet has been ground. The mast assembly is the heart of the faceting machine. The rest of the machine is simple in construction, including the arbor for the grinding wheel, the motor that runs the arbor, a drip tank, and the controlling switches. These are described below:

machine

Arbor: Similar to the prong in the middle of a record player that you put a vinyl on, the lap (or grinding wheel) is placed onto it, and the arbor is machined to run perfectly flat when turning.

 arbor

Arbor Nut: The screw that fits through the top of the lap and secures it to the arbor.

 arbor nut

Motor: Typically the motor is housed beneath the machine and is attached by one of several means to the arbor. Motors are always velocity-variable and some can be reversed, i.e. they can turn clockwise as well as counterclockwise.

 engine

Drip Tank: The drip tank serves two purposes. 1) The friction produced from contact between the rough and the lap creates heat, which can damage the lap and create stress fractures in the stone. The drip tank allows the user to choose a drip rate via spigot and position the spigot over the lap, nearer or farther from the arbor. 2) The dust produced from grinding minerals can cause pulmonary disease if inhaled. The flow of water from the trip tank captures the particles in a slurry, which drains into a rubber container around and below the lap. This container has an exit tube that drains into a second receptacle.

DripTank

Controls: The controls are generally simple and control the rotational velocity of the lap—the key control—and sometimes the direction of spin.

controls

As stated above, the mast assembly is what makes a faceting machine a faceting machine. Its components are as follows:

Mast: A vertical pole mounted into the base of the machine on which the assembly is positioned. The pole must be machined with extreme care to ensure its perpendicularity to the lap. This is so that, when the angles for facets are chosen, they are placed at the correct angle. Facets at incorrect angles can mean a gemstone that is lifeless or transparent rather than sparkly.

mast

Dop: The piece of rough gemstone is glued or attached with hot wax to the end of a brass or steel rod, known as a “dop” or “dop stick.” The other end of the dop is placed into the quill of the faceting head. The exposed piece of rough usually becomes the bottom of the stone, known as the pavilion. Once the pavilion is faceted and polished, a jig is used to attach the pavilion to another dop, and the rough side of the stone is freed from its dop. This rough side will now become the top of the stone, or the crown.

 dop

Quill: The dop is inserted into the quill, which is lowered toward the lap to place a facet. The quill is the part of the machine that is held in the hand during faceting. The other end of the quill is attached to the main head of the assembly.

 quill

Index Wheel: If you view a gemstone from the top, you will see it has some type of symmetry. Most most round brilliant stones will have eightfold symmetry; emerald cuts have two or fourfold. In order to cut facets around a stone, the quill must be rotated around its long axis. The index wheel is what allows this to be done in a repeatable, accurate manner. For example, the index wheel may have 64 teeth. If a round stone with eightfold symmetry is being cut, the index will be set at 0, 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48 and 56 for each of the main facets around the stone. If a square stone is being cut, only 0, 16, 32 and 48 would be used.

 IndexWheel

Angle Adjustment: Faceting machines differ greatly in the mechanism for setting the angle of the facet. Essentially, the angle is set and the quill will then lower to exactly that angle before physically being stopped or otherwise indicating arrival at the desired angle.

 AngleSet

Height Adjustment: The depth of a facet is determined by how high or low the head assembly is, relative to the lap. The way this is determined is by choosing an angle, lowering the quill (with dop inserted) to that angle, and then observing whether and how deeply the piece of rough is contacting the lap. Generally the first adjustment will set the rough just touching the lap, so that a very shallow facet will be placed. The head can then be lowered by a micro-adjustment and the facet can be cut and re-cut until it is of a desired depth. Many machines allow the head to be untightened from the mast and slid up and down for gross adjustments, and then have a separate mechanism for making fine adjustments up and down.

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 finalized set up

 

In the next installment of this blog series, we will begin to explain and look at the cutting process.

 

Gemstone Cutting : Terminology

Written by Erick Razo On February 28, 2018.

Which shape is the best? The age old debate in the jewelry industry continues every year as shapes go in and out of style. However, there is one shape that continues to be the most highly sought after and timeless shape of all…the round brilliant cut!

Now, you may be asking “What is involved in a standard brilliant cut?” In this blog we will talk about the history and terminology of the standard round brilliant and how each part is cut to precise measurements that allows the gemstone to perform at its maximum capabilities.

The first faceted stones appeared in the late 14th century. Many lapidaries passed down the knowledge of gem faceting as family secrets. During the 19th century, the art of faceting gemstones became available to amateurs and hobbyists. Fast forward to today and you can find all kinds of literature and videos on how to perform this art. The standard round brilliant begins with the craftsman rounding out the rough stone, then a combination of facets in geometrical patterns are cut around the stone. This maximizes the optical properties of the gem and will generate brilliance that is pleasing to any beholder. There is a total of 57 facets in a standard brilliant, however, this can vary depending on the stone.

dia-anatomy

The Crown

The crown is the top section of the gemstone. It is approximately ⅓ of the height of the finished gem. A total of 33 facets make up the crown. The facets are divided into 8 main facets, 16 girdle facets, 8 star facets and 1 table facet.

s

The Pavilion

This is the bottom section of the gemstone. It is approximately ⅔ of the height of the finished gem. A total of 24 facets make up the pavilion. The facets are divided into 8 main facets, 16 girdle facets.

updated_pavilion

The Girdle

This is the section of the gemstone that connects the crown and the pavilion. The maximum height of a girdle in a standard brilliant, must not exceed 5% of the finished gem’s height.

printimages

The Culet

This is the very bottom point of a gemstone. It can be cut as a small, flat facet to prevent the gem from fracturing. This is a common practice to help the durability of stone.

Culet

There you have it; this is the parts of a standard round brilliant. Not all gemstones are cut into this shape, many times the shape is dependant on what type of stone is being cut, and how included the rough is. The decision of what shape to cut the stone into is essential as it will affect all the steps that we will learn about in the next blog post.

 


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