1. POLISHED DIAMOND GRADING STANDARDS
Even though the rules for polished diamond grading are very similar throughout the industry, the process towards their standardization is still continuing under the joint effort of the International Diamond Council (IDC) and the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO). The efforts to standardize the polished diamond grading are summarized in the latest issue of IDC Rule Book.
When dealing with an already grade diamond, there are many gemological institutes and certification authorities worldwide. The most professional and reputable polished diamond grading organizations in the world are currently the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD) Antwerp. When learning about diamond grading, the very essential, and frequently described, characteristics are the 4Cs, representing the Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight of a diamond. Below are some of the many useful links to the topic of 4Cs as issued by the above mentioned organizations.
2. THERE'S NO KARAT LIKE CARAT...
Difference between carat (ct) and karat (kt)
The same word, even though with a different spelling, is used to describe the weight of a diamond (carat, abbreviation ct) and the purity grading of gold alloys (karat, abbreviation kt).
The carat (ct)
The weight of gemstones (including diamonds) is expressed in carats (1 carat = 0.2 grams). One carat is divided into 100 points. In practice, the weight of a diamond is indicated to two decimal points, e.g. 1.35 ct (which represents an accuracy to 0.002 grams). The weight of a 1.35 ct diamond can be, therefore, expressed as "one carat thirty-five". A weight of 0.35 ct can be expressed as "thirty-five points".
The word "carat" comes from the Greek "kerátion" or from the Arabic "kharrūb", which are both names for the seed pods of the Carob tree. In the past, the gemstone traders noticed that the seeds of the Carob tree have an almost constant weight of 0.197 grams. They adopted this weight as the standard unit of a gemstone weight. In the year 1907, the metric carat, representing one fifth of a gram, was recognized as a standardized unit of weight of a gemstone.
The value of a diamond cannot be simply calculated as a multiple of the carat price and the carat weight. A 1.20 ct stone is much more rare than a 0.30 ct stone. Therefore, the price per carat of a 1.20 ct stone will be much higher than the price per carat of a 0.30 ct stone. In fact, there are several carat weight boundaries after which there is a sudden leap in the carat price of a diamond.
The karat (kt)
The word karat represents the ratio of pure gold / other metals in a gold alloy. It is expressed in karats (or thousands). Pure gold is 24 karat or 1000/1000, 18 karat gold is divided 750/1000 or 3/4 pure gold and 1/4 other metals.
|24 karat1000/1000||22 karat916/1000||20 karat833/1000||18 karat750/1000||14 karat585/1000||9 karat375/1000||8 karat333/1000|
3. PRECIOUS AND SEMI PRECIOUS STONES
What Is A Precious Stone?
What is the difference between precious stones and semi precious stones? These terms are based on old traditions from the west. These days, all gemstones are considered precious since they are all rare and there is a limited supply of them.
The traditional list of gemstones that are considered precious stones are Diamond, Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire. All other gemstones are considered as being semi precious stones. However, these are old terms and not necessarily true these days.
Possessing the highest shine of all transparent gemstones, diamond is the hardest material on earth that can only be scratched with another diamond. Its name comes from the ancient Greek adámas meaning “unbreakable”.
Most natural diamonds have ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years. Most were formed at depths of 150 to 250 kilometers (93 to 155 mi) in the Earth's mantle, although a few have come from as deep as 800 kilometers (500 mi).
Understanding the 4 C’s
In order to determine their quality, diamonds are graded using the 4 C’s system: color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
A variety of the corundum family, ruby is famous for its deep red hue and vibrant glow. Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, of which the sapphire is also a variety. Corundum is the mineral form of alumina which crystallizes in the hexagonal system. The red color of ruby results from a small admixture of chromic oxide. Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, all other colors being classified as sapphires. The most prized tint is blood red or crimson known in the trade as 'pigeon's blood' red.
Over the years, finest-quality rubies have broken auction price records, commanding the highest per-carat value of all colored gems.
!Watch for the Silk!
Pure rubies exhibit thin inclusions called needles. When they intersect in groups, they create a phenomenon called “silk” which softens the color causing the light to beautifully scatter across the stone’s facets.
Emerald is one of the most fascinating and beautiful gemstones. Emerald is a precious gemstone and a variety of the mineral beryl colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. The crystals are usually small with average length of 2 - 5 cm and width of 1 - 1.5 cm. Larger crystals are usually semitransparent to opaque.
The most desirable color is a slightly bluish green in a medium dark tone with strong to vivid saturation. Clarity is important, but inclusions are tolerated more in this variety than virtually any other gem. Top quality, unenhanced stones (with certification) can bring as much as 50% more in price than treated stones of the same size, color, and clarity.
The rich green stone has been a gem of fascination for royalty in the past centuries. Cleopatra, the famous Queen of Egypt, loved wearing them.
The Perfect Cut
The precious stone often has intricate inclusions called “jardin” (the French term for garden) which make cutting the gemstone more challenging. Gem cutters have hence developed a special cut called emerald cut which gives the stone a rectangular or square shape.
Pure sapphires are actually white, but in the presence of titanium and iron traces they acquire a velvety blue colour. Apart from this classic shade, there are the less available “fancy sapphires” that come in every colour from green to pink and even black, except for red sapphire which is the ruby.
Sapphire is the most precious blue gemstone. It is a most desirable gem due to its color, hardness, durability, and luster. Value of this gemstone depends on its size, color and transparency. Top-quality sapphires are extremely rare in all the gemstone mines of the world. Cutting of this gemstone requires great skills and experience and it is the job of the cutter to orientate the raw crystals in such a way that the color is brought out to its best improvement.
The world’s most famous sapphire engagement ring is the one previously owned by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and currently worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
See the GIA link on the description of gemstones at: https://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia
1. Jewelry design
Almost every jewelry production process starts with putting an idea on a clean sheet of paper. This is done mostly by the designer himself or during discussions between the designer and the customer. Every jewelry design reflects either specific jewelry fashion trend and/or the personality of the jewelry designer, jewelry user.
A skilled and experienced designer will help the client find his personal design taste. He will also help him to come to the desired jewelry design that, after the final production, will stand out amongst other jewelry pieces and will be practical to wear as well. As the design should not only be beautiful, but also practical.
There are no limits to a jewelry design. The only limitations of a jewelry design arise from the practical limitations of the jewelry production, however, even these limits can be surpassed, thanks to the latest evolution in the jewelry production techniques.
2. CAD design programming
The second step in the jewelry making process is the preparation of the jewelry model for casting.
Even though, we are using both hand crafting techniques to make a jewelry model for casting, it cannot be denied that the fast evolution of 3D CAD design software enables to create the most intriguing and advanced jewelry models. The current advances in the 3D modelling software enable us to imagine and complete the kind of designs that, just a few years back, could not even be imagined.
Even though the design is taking place on the computer, it also requires the highest artistic skills from the jewelry designer.
3. Jewelry fabrication
The result of handcrafting or 3D modelling is a 3D wax model of the jewelry piece, which is embedded in a plaster investment, which is subsequently placed in a furnace to incinerate the wax model and create a negative impression of the model.
The negative impression is then filled with molten gold or other metal in a centrifugal or vacuum casting process to create the actual jewelry piece that is subsequently cleaned, worked, brushed and polished to create the final piece of jewelry.
4. Setting the stones
Setting of the stone gives the final verdict on the initial jewelry design and represents the culmination of the whole jewelry production process.
After the polishing the jewelry piece goes for the stone setting. After the stone setting, the jewelry piece goes for the final round of fine clean and polish. This phase of jewelry production is usually the most critical as the position of the stone and the quality of the setting work not only decide about the total jewelry appearance, but in case of precious stone setting, include a significant amount of risk and potential cost if not done properly.
If all the stages of the jewelry production are done properly, the final setting of stones fits perfectly with their shapes, the stones are not set loose or do not experience any excess tensions and are perfectly aligned within the jewelry piece, giving it the exceptional appearance required by the top jewelry production houses.