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Gold jewelry is one of the most elegant, classic types of jewelry available. For many people, gold jewelry makes up both their finest pieces that they wear for special occasions as well as the daily jewelry they wear as part of their routine. However, when it comes to selecting gold jewelry there are many important things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best piece possible. Let’s take a look at a few of the top things to consider. How Pure Do You Want The Gold To Be? Many people may immediately assume that the best way to determine the answer to this question is based on budget alone. After all gold with a higher carat weight, and thus more pure, tends to be more expensive than lower carat weight, lower purity gold. Certainly the budget you are working within is indeed a very important factor. However, the purity of the gold will have an impact on its strength and durability, as well as its suitability for certain types of jewelry. Consider Strength The more pure gold jewelry is, the softer it is. This means that if you are buying the gold for daily wear, or if you have the type of lifestyle that would result in your gold coming into contact with many stressors, then you may be better off choosing a lower carat weight gold, even if you can afford the higher carat weight because the extra strength and hardness added by the alloy metals will make your gold jewelry more durable. Consider Purpose Another important consideration that affects the purity of the gold you choose is the type of jewelry itself. For example if your jewelry will have many gemstones set in it, then again you might be better off with a sturdier weight. On the other hand, if you jewelry will not have gemstones set in it, and might be a type of jewelry that would receive less wear and tear, such as a special occasion piece, then you might want to opt for the fancier, higher purity gold. Do You Want White Gold Or Traditional Yellow? Once again upon first glance it can seem like this will come down to a simple matter of personal preference. That is certainly a major factor, and indeed ultimately your selection does come down to your personal choice. However, there are other aspects to be aware of when choosing between white gold or traditional. Consider Allergies Some people have an allergy to gold, which is actually very often an allergy to nickel. Since nickel is a common alloy metal in white gold, that means that for many people traditional gold will cause less of a problem. Once again the issue of purity also arises. The more pure the gold, the less nickel it might contain, and therefore the less allergic you might be. Consider Style One important factor with how satisfied you are with your gold jewelry is likely to be often you get to wear it and how much you enjoy wearing it when you do. For this reason when choosing between white gold or traditional gold, you may want to consider how it will go with your other jewelry, clothes, and even your hair and skin tone. Other Factors As we briefly mentioned above there are other factors to consider as well such as: Personal Preferences Your Budget The Type of Jewelry You Want Indeed, these three additional factors are in many ways the most fundamental of all. However, chances are they are also the ones that you are already most aware of and have already considered. Keeping these factors and the other considerations listed above firmly in mind when you are shopping for jewelry will greatly help you in the process of selecting the right gold jewelry. Once you’ve made your choice, remember to cherish that new piece of jewelry and enjoy wearing it!
One of the most well known and frequently used criteria with which to evaluate and discuss diamonds is the method of using the ‘4 C’s.’ This stands for Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat Weight. However, even though they are so widely known, many people are unsure of exactly what they mean and how they affect a diamond’s value and appearance. Here at Mathews Jewelers we want to inform our customers, readers, and site visitors so that they can make educated decisions about their diamond jewelry. For that reason, this article will provide a brief guide to understanding the 4 C’s of diamond quality. Color First let’s take a look at Color. As the name logically implies, this simply refers to the color of the diamond. However, what often surprises many uninformed diamond shoppers is that diamonds naturally occur in a full range of colors. Frequently when someone visualizes a diamond they may imagine a colorless stone, however, truly colorless diamonds are quite rare, and also very valuable. Instead the diamond will often have a slight brown or yellow hue to it. This common coloring is due to trace amounts of nitrogen present within the stone which contaminate its color and purity. Very often, however, a diamond’s color may be used as part of the overall jewelry design and could even be a desirable aspect of it. For instance black diamonds, pink diamonds, canary yellow diamonds, and many more are often prized because of their unusual color. Nevertheless, truly colorless diamonds remain the standard by which a diamond’s color is evaluated and a colorless diamond will usually be the most expensive and valuable. What Affects A Diamond’s Color? A diamond’s color can be affected by a range of other factors, some of them naturally occurring and others influenced by man. Some of these factors include: Carat Weight Cut Setting and Other Jewelry Fluorescence Let’s briefly take a look at each of these factors and how and why it affects a diamond’s color. Carat Weight Carat weight is actually another one of the 4 C’s; however, it affects the appearance of a diamond’s color as well. In simple terms, the bigger a diamond, the more its color is apparent. Cut Cut is another of the 4 C’s and like carat weight it also influences the appearance of a diamond’s color. Because of the way light moves through the diamonds and the way this is perceived, some cuts accentuate and emphasize colors more than others. Setting and Other Jewelry The setting that the diamond is in will also have a big impact on its apparent color. It is common practice to use a setting that minimizes the appearance of color and which adds to the perception that the diamond is colorless. Other surrounding jewelry and gemstones can also minimize or accentuate the appearance of the diamond’s color. Again this is simply due to the eye’s perception of the color in relation to its surroundings. For diamonds that are being marketed and sold due to a bright or unusual color, using surrounding gemstones to emphasize that color is very common. Fluorescence Fluorescence is a natural characteristic of diamonds which influences the way their color is seen. Fluorescence refers to UV rays exciting electrons within the diamond. When this occurs, depending on the natural color of the diamond, fluorescence may make a diamond’s color more or less noticeable. High Temperature and Pressure High temperature and pressure is a type of human intervention on a diamond in an effort to alter it color. When a diamond is exposed to very high temperatures and pressure, its color can be reduced or altered, possibly making it more desirable. There was much concern that such altered diamonds would be indistinguishable from natural, unaltered diamonds, but sophisticated equipment make it possible to detect when diamonds have undergone this process. Cut The next one of the 4 C’s that we’ll look at is cut. In simplest terms the cut of the diamond refers to shape and facets the diamond receives. There are many different cuts that are used on diamonds. Perhaps the most classic cut is the “Round Brilliant” cut in which the diamond is rounded on top and pointed at the bottom, with many different facets or sides. If another type of cut is used it is referred to as a “Fancy Cut” and will give the diamond a different shape. Some common fancy cuts include: Princess Cushion Heart Pear Marquise Radiant Asscher Emerald Oval The popularity of diamond cuts vary from the different types of diamond jewelry. The popularity of a cut is also likely to vary based on styles and trends. However, certain types of cuts are also more suitable for certain types of diamonds because they might positively alter or emphasize the perception of the diamond’s size, or other C’s such as color or clarity. Diamond Attributes Accentuated By Cut Understandably a diamond’s cut will be done in such a way as to accentuate the positive attributes of the diamond. Some of the most common attributes that the cut seeks to emphasize include the following: Brilliance Dispersion Scintillation Brilliance Brilliance refers to the amount of light the diamond reflects to the eye. This is determined both by how the light is reflected on the diamond’s surface, as well as its internal reflections. Shapes like the “Round Brilliant” are so popular and enduring because they are a great way to maximize the brilliance of a diamond in terms of how it reflects light. Dispersion The separation of white light into spectral colors is known as dispersion. Dispersion is a specific form of This is a form of refraction in which the wavelength of light is bent in different ways, thus reflecting various colors. Scintillation In basic terms scintillation refers to the sparkling effect of the diamond. Scintillation is the term used to describe the flashing of light that appears when a diamond, or a light source, is moved. Scintillation can be maximized the number and quality of facets present on the diamond as well as the polish of the diamond. How Is A Good Cut Determined? In addition to maximizing the above positive qualities that we discussed, the cut itself can also be evaluated based on a few factors. These factors will also affect the appearance of the diamond. Some common factors used to evaluate a cut are: Polish Symmetry Proportion Polish Polish refers to a diamond in the same way that it refers to the surface of other things. Basically the diamond’s polish describes how smooth facets and junctions are. Diamonds with a good polish reflect light better and appear more pleasing to the eye. Symmetry The symmetry of a diamond refers to the alignment of the various elements in the diamond’s cut. For a diamond to be considered symmetrical it’s table, girdle, crown, and pavilion should be aligned properly. Obviously the symmetry is heavily influenced by the quality of workmanship. Proportion In order for a diamond to be well-proportioned it should fully realize its potential in terms of its brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation as described above. A well-proportioned diamonds should also balance these elements properly. In order for this to be accomplished the diamond’s table size, crown height and angle, pavilion depth and angle, girdle thickness, and culet size must all be in the correct proportion. Clarity The third C that we’ll look at is clarity. Clarity is determined based on the presence of imperfections, either within the diamond, called “inclusions” or on the surface of the diamond, called “blemishes.” The fewer imperfections the diamond has, the better its clarity. Types Of Blemishes A blemish, which is an imperfection present on the diamond’s surface, will generally be classified as one of the: Polish Lines Grain Boundaries Naturals Scratches Nicks Chips Pits Breaks Types Of Inclusions An inclusion, which is an imperfection present within the diamond will generally include the following: Feathers Bearding Included Crystals Clouds Twinning Wisps Internal Graining Cavities Indented Naturals Laser Drill Holes Needles Pinpoints How Are Blemishes and Inclusions Measured to Determine Clarity? Blemishes and inclusions are measured along five points to determine how the imperfection impacts the diamond’s clarity rating. The blemishes and inclusions themselves are typically viewed with a microscope at 10X magnification to make them easier to see. The five points used to measure the imperfections are: size, number, position, nature, and color or relief. Size Naturally the size of the blemish or inclusion will play a large role in determining its overall effect on the diamond’s clarity rating since bigger imperfections are easier to see and more visible than smaller ones. Number It also stands to reason of course that the more imperfections there are the lower the diamond’s clarity rating. Position The position of a blemish or inclusion plays a large role in the diamond’s clarity rating because some positions are much more noticeable than others. For instance imperfections which occur along the girdle of the stone aren’t typically as noticeable as ones that occur directly under the table of the diamond. If an imperfection occurs under the table then very often the pavilion facet will reflect the imperfection in multiple places throughout the stone. If this happens it is termed a ‘reflector’ and it may seriously lower the diamond’s clarity rating. Nature The nature of the imperfection is also important since it will help determine whether or not the diamond is in danger of breaking or becoming further damaged. By the same token one clarity rating is dubbed “Internally Flawless” and of course is the diamond has an internal flaw, then that would preclude it from receiving this rating. Color or Relief The color or relief will determine how visible the imperfection is. If the imperfection has contrast with the diamond than it is said to be in ‘relief’ with the diamond. Whereas the ‘color’ merely refers to whether or not the imperfection has a color. Typically colored imperfections will be more visible, and therefore more detrimental, than colorless ones. Carat The final C that we will look at is carat or carat weight as it is often known. This is actually perhaps the easiest one of all to understand. It is also typically the most salient characteristic of the diamond and the one which even inexperienced diamond shoppers would probably naturally consider. The carat weight of a diamond refers to the diamond’s weight or mass. While this is not exactly interchangeable with size since the diamond could be cut more or less shallowly to influence its surface size, the carat weight is still more or less in correlation with the size of the diamond since bigger diamonds weight more. Attempts make a diamond looking bigger than its carat weight would imply usually fail, because if the diamond is not well cut it will very negatively impact the diamond’s appearance. For instance if the diamond is cut too shallowly it may appear glassy. A diamond that is cut too deeply may appear dull. Carats are further subdivided into points to make them easier to discuss and describe. 1 carat is equal to 100 points. Thus if a diamond is described as a 50 point stone, that means that it is a half carat. The term ‘carat’ is also applied to measure the mass of other jewelry and gemstones. It is intuitive of course that a diamond with a larger carat weight will be bigger and thus also more valuable. For this reason many people place an extra emphasis on the carat weight and seek to maximize the carat weight that they can get for their money. However, in order to get a truly attractive, quality diamond, it is very important to consider the other three C’s as well. This concludes our article on understanding the 4 C’s of diamond quality. If you have any doubt or confusion about a diamond that you are considering buying, make sure to consult your jeweler. Remember that for this reason it is important to shop at a reputable jewelry shop where you know that you will receive honest, accurate information. Understand the 4 C’s and use them to purchase a beautiful, high quality diamond!