CARLSBAD, Calif., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Diamonds are the ultimate symbol
of love and romance. If you're thinking of buying one for that special
someone, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recommends following three
basic steps to make the process worry free.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041021/NYFNSF03 )
Select a qualified jeweler, learn the Four Cs (Color, Clarity, Cut and
Carat weight) and ask for an independent diamond grading report. See
www.gia.edu for a free online tutorial.
Step 1: Choose a qualified jeweler -- Choose your jeweler as you would
choose your doctor, lawyer or any professional. Be sure to
check a jeweler's education and credentials. Ideally your
jeweler will be a GIA Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) or a GIA
Accredited Jewelry Professional (A.J.P.). In addition, look for
affiliations with jewelry industry groups and professional
associations. A knowledgeable jeweler will clearly explain the
"Four Cs" of diamond quality and encourage you to compare
diamonds to suit your price range.
Step 2: Learn the "Four Cs" -- The key to a diamond's value is its
rarity, and no two diamonds are alike. Rarity is determined by
a diamond's unique characteristics as measured by GIA's
international diamond grading system, using the Four Cs: Color,
Clarity, Cut and Carat weight.
"To the untrained eye, many diamonds look alike. But in fact, every
polished diamond has its own unique set of characteristics that distinguishes
it from other diamonds in the marketplace," says Thomas C. Yonelunas, CEO of
the GIA Gem Laboratory, where many of the world's diamonds are graded.
Here is a brief overview:
Color: Colorless diamonds are extremely rare and highly valued. Most
are nearly colorless with yellow or brown tints. The
internationally recognized GIA Diamond Grading System uses
letters to represent colors, beginning with D (colorless) and
ending at Z (light yellow or brown).
Clarity: Created by nature, most diamonds contain unique birthmarks
called "inclusions" (internal) and blemishes (external).
Diamonds with few birthmarks are rare-and rarity affects market
value. Using the GIA Diamond Grading System, diamonds are given
a clarity grade that ranges from flawless, to various levels of
Cut: While diamonds come in many different shapes, from round
brilliants to hearts, pears and marquise. It also can refer to
the proportions of a diamond. The well-cut diamond uses light
to create brilliance, sparkle and flashes of fire.
Carat: Diamonds are weighed using metric carats. A carat weighs about
the same as a small paper clip. Just as a dollar is divided
into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 "points." This
means that a diamond of 50 point weighs 0.50 carats. But two
diamonds of equal weight can have very different values
depending on their color, clarity and cut.
Step 3: Ask for an independent diamond grading report -- The most widely
used and respected grading reports are those issued by the
independent GIA Gem Laboratory.
"The GIA Diamond Grading Report contains a complete quality analysis of
each diamond, including the Four Cs," reminds Yonelunas. "Understanding these
features is a consumer's best bet when it comes to making an educated diamond
SOURCE Gemological Institute of America