Fontana Jeweler: Doing Diamonds Better.
Diamonds commemorate some of the most important occasions in our lives. So it makes sense that shopping for that special diamond should be an enjoyable, informative experience. At Fontana Jeweler, our top priority is to listen carefully to your requests and provide all the information you need to make your best decision. Our diamond experts will never rush you through the diamond shopping experience. We take seemingly complicated aspects of diamond quality and explain them in easily understandable terms, helping you navigate beyond the famous “4 C’s of diamond quality” to several essential secondary factors that other jewelers might not disclose. It is very important to make significant purchases from someone you can trust to give you all the necessary information, both pros and cons, rather than a salesperson simply looking for a high commission.
As you compare diamonds from different sources on the web, you may notice that a single company may offer several diamonds with the same weight, color, clarity and cut grades. Although these diamonds all look the same on paper, some are being offered for a lower price than the others. What’s causing the difference? This is where the secondary factors come into play. There is always a reason for a diamond to be priced the way it is.
Many diamonds glow when exposed to ultraviolet light, a phenomenon known as fluorescence. Depending on the individual diamond, this fluorescence can be present in colors varying from white to yellow, blue, or even very rarely red, and ranging in strength from faint to extremely strong. Blue or white are more desirable than yellow. Faint to medium levels of blue & white fluorescence can sometimes actually enhance the apparent whiteness of the diamond. But in any color, if the fluorescence is strong enough it can create a hazy or smudged look in the diamond even in normal daylight. You may notice that it just doesn’t sparkle as much as you expected, no matter how much you clean it. The stronger the impact is on the diamond’s appearance, the more it lowers the value of the diamond. Sadly, we have seen customers who shopped with other stores unknowingly choose a strongly fluorescent, hazy diamond, thinking they’re getting the best value simply because it was priced lower than a non-fluorescent diamond with the identical “4 C’s” grades. The smarter choice would have been to spend a little more for the better value of the higher-quality diamond. Good quality lasts forever, but so does poor quality!
Clarity: Beyond the Basics
Virtually every diamond has some form of clarity characteristic if you look under high enough magnification. Clarity grades are set by what inclusions are visible at 10x magnification and how disruptive they are to the diamond’s appearance. But because every diamond is unique, even two diamonds within the same grade can look completely different.
For example: Diamond A and Diamond B are both graded SI(2) in clarity. Diamond A’s grade is based on small breaks, or feathers, toward the edges. There are several of them, but they aren’t easily visible without magnification and can be hidden under a prong. Diamond B only has one inclusion, but it’s a black crystal right in the center. On paper they would seem to be the same, but when you view them in person you can easily tell that Diamond A’s inclusions are less obtrusive and Diamond B ought to have the lower value of the two.
The Science of the Sparkle
The cut grade is the only one of the 4 C’s that can be controlled by humans. Why do some diamonds out-sparkle others that seem to be identical in every other respect? The answer is in each diamond’s individual cut. Every proportion & facet angle has an impact on the brilliance, and each cut grade represents a certain range of measurements for those proportions. An “ideal” or “excellent” cut diamond falls within very narrow tolerances to maximize its potential, and takes far more time and attention by a gem cutter than a “fair” or “poor” cut. Its greater beauty commands a higher value.
“Ideal cut” diamonds are fashioned with slightly steeper angles to emphasize the diamond’s fire, which is a high priority for many customers. Some Ideal cut diamonds are named “Hearts & Arrows” because of the pattern produced by the precise alignment of their facets. At Fontana Jeweler, we give you the opportunity to compare “Hearts & Arrows” and Ideal cut diamonds with other well-cut diamonds in person so you can decide what you like best.
The relationship between a diamond’s depth and its diameter (total depth percentage) is one of its most important proportions. We’ve seen occasions in which two women compare their rings and find that even though both diamonds weigh one carat, one looks noticeably smaller than the other. In the cutter’s effort to save more of the rough crystal, too much of the diamond’s weight is hidden underneath where it can’t be seen. The customer paid for a full one carat, but the diamond actually looks like only three-quarters of a carat. Not only that, but often diamonds cut too deep allow too much light to leak out the bottom, creating dark spots.
The total depth percentage can also work in your favor. If the diamond is too shallow, it loses brilliance. But if a diamond is carefully cut only slightly outside the best parameters with a wider diameter in proportion to its depth, it can look larger than it actually is and save you money. For instance, a 0.90-carat diamond might have the diameter of a full 1.00-carat, but is priced according to its true weight. The key is to get our expert guidance to make sure that the effect on the brilliance has been kept to a minimum.
Accuracy is Crucial
The type of certification can also have a significant impact on a diamond’s value. A diamond certificate is a document issued by an independent diamond grading laboratory, detailing the diamond’s precise weight, color, clarity, and cut grades, as well as any other identifying characteristics. However, it’s a common mistake for a consumer to put all their trust in the certificate without considering the diamond’s actual appearance. Keep in mind that even poor-quality diamonds are certified; possessing a certificate doesn’t automatically guarantee high quality.
The jewelry industry has many independent gemological laboratories. Some of the most well-known labs are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL), or American Gem Society (AGS). However, not all laboratories are created equal. To begin with, it is vital that the laboratory be independent, rather than being closely associated with any one store or chain of stores, to avoid conflict of interest in their grading. In addition, every certificate represents the educated opinion of the individual gemologist who examined the diamond. Different labs may have slightly different grading standards. For example, GIA and AGS both have reputations for being extremely strict, whereas other labs may give the same diamond the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, certificates from these stricter labs command a premium value compared to the others. Even within the same laboratory, some gemologists may be stricter than others.
“Padded” certificates assign unfairly high grades to a diamond just to make you feel good about the quality. At some stores, the diamond’s value may be overinflated based only on the inaccurate grades. This is a dishonest practice, and we refuse to offer such diamonds. It is very important to us that you should receive exactly what you pay for. For this reason, we at Fontana Jeweler have a multiple-step screening process for every diamond. When we contact our importers for information on a particular diamond, we ask them to personally view the diamond and tell us how its appearance compares to what is listed on its certificate. Only if we are confident that the diamond has been accurately graded do we bring it in to the store. Then when it arrives, we inspect it again before finally viewing it with you.
Here at Fontana Jeweler, we take the worry out of diamond shopping. Your experience is guaranteed to be fun and educational as we work with your goals to find the perfect diamond at the perfect value.