What You Should Look for When Buying A Loose Heart Shape Diamond.

The heart-shaped diamond is the most romantic of diamond shapes. It is similar to the Pear shape, but has a cleft in the rounded end that forms the lobes of the heart. Important considerations when choosing a Heart shape diamond are its symmetry, shape definition and outline, and the roundness of the lobes which should be rounded and clearly defined. A moderate bow tie formation at the center of the diamond is beneficial as it improves contrast brilliance and face up beauty of the diamond. Heart-shaped diamonds should be mounted in special settings with five prongs: two at the lobes of the heart, two on the sides of the heart, and a V-shaped prong to protect the point of the heart.

Example Photo of Heart Shape Diamond.

Sterling Jewelers Sues Zales Over Diamond “Brilliance”.

Sterling, operator of Kay Jewelers and other stores nationwide, says in its lawsuit that Zale, based in Irving, Texas, is falsely claiming in advertisements that its Celebration Fire diamond is “the most brilliant diamond in the world.”

Sterling says Zale promotes the Fire diamond “as the most brilliant diamond in the world” on its website, its Facebook page, on Twitter and in stores. The company also says Zale makes a similar claim in its catalog. Sterling says in the lawsuit that the “independent laboratory testing,” cited by Zale in some promotional materials, falls short. It notes that the testing was limited, involving only diamonds from select leading national jewelry chains and could only be valid if the comparison was made against every diamond cut in the world.

Zales has not commented.

What Is A “Cultured” Diamond?

A. Rare.

B. Large

C. Very Large.

D. Expensive and only affordably worn by High Society.

E. None of the Above.

Answer: E

Under current FTC guidelines, “cultured” diamonds describes diamonds that are man-made in the laboratory and not mined from the Earth. Did you know that? If you said No, you can join the majority of diamond shopping consumers who are not clear what the term “cultured” diamond refers to.

A petition submitted to the FTC by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee on behalf of itself and ten major Diamond and Jewelry Trade Organizations recently requested that the FTC amend their regulations so that man-made diamonds also include the terms “laboratory created,” “laboratory grown”, “[manufacturers name] created” or “synthetic.” Using only the term “cultured” to describe man made/synthetic diamonds is misleading and deceptive to the consumer, claimed the JVC. The FTC declined to follow the request of the JVC and is maintaining that the term “cultured” is sufficient to apprise consumers of the difference between man-made synthetics versus mined diamonds.

What do you think?

More here: Is This a REAL Diamond?

Diamond Grading: What is “Graining” and What Does It Mean?

A consistent question we get and one of the most difficult concepts for consumers to understand and visualize when they read a Diamond Grading report is what does “Graining” mean?

GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the foremost diamond research lab in the world has just published an article on “Graining” in their flagship Gems & Gemology Journal.

Russell Shor, Senior Industry Analyst at GIA summarizes the results of this Study. Because of its importance to Consumers, we are reprinting his comments here:


“One of the most confusing and controversial aspects of diamond grading over the years has been the effect of internal whitish or reflective graining on clarity grades. It is confusing because graining is different from (and less quantifiable than) solid inclusions. It is controversial because of the impact such graining can have upon the clarity grades of large, high-color, high-clarity diamonds, where the difference in a single grade – especially Flawless or Internally Flawless to VVS1 – can mean a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in the price of a stone.

In the Winter 2006 issue of Gems & Gemology, leading GIA Laboratory researchers – John M. King, technical director; Thomas M. Moses, senior vice president; and Wuyi Wang, manager of research projects – offered the most comprehensive look to date at internal whitish and reflective graining and how it affects clarity in the GIA Lab diamond grading process.

Briefly, there are three main categories of such graining:

* Banded “whitish” graining that appears as straight or wave-like lines in an otherwise very high clarity diamond. Sometimes these lines are crossed and appear woven in a “tatami-mat” pattern.

* Hazy whitish graining that comes from collections of submicroscopic particles; these give an overall haziness to the diamond.

* Reflective graining, which results when reflective lines appear as the stone is tilted in a certain direction. This and banded graining are caused by distortions in the diamond’s crystal structure that occurred during its formation and transport to the earth’s surface.

For the past 50 years, the GIA Laboratory’s approach to graining and its impact on clarity grading has evolved as researchers and laboratory staff examined more and more stones. Through the 1960s, when demand for grading reports was low, lab staff did not report the presence of graining on GIA diamond grading reports. It was not until about 1970 that the first mention appeared as a comment on a report. The stone in question was a 13+ carat D color that was “Near transparent due to unusual internal texture.”

Because lab staff saw so few diamonds with these characteristics, reporting remained very general through most of the 1970s – diamonds that showed graining but had no inclusions were graded Fl or IF, with a note about reduced transparency. Toward the end of the decade, as lab staff and researchers saw more diamonds with whitish graining, GIA began considering it a clarity characteristic. For a time in the 1980s, they actually assessed the extent to which it was present, on a scale from nil to significant. Today, when such graining is severe enough to affect the clarity grade, a report comment notes that “The clarity grade is based on internal graining that is not shown [on the report diagram.]” And significant graining, even when it doesn’t affect the clarity grade, is recorded in a report comment. All other graining observed is noted on internal GIA records for identification purposes.

So, how does GIA decide when graining affects a diamond’s clarity grade? These procedures and standards were devised and refined as the result of examining many thousands of diamonds.

Graining Courtesy of GIA.

First, unlike most clarity characteristics, visibility at 10× magnification is not the sole determining factor. Briefly, if a diamond does show whitish or reflective graining, then other factors, such as whether the graining can be seen from the crown or pavilion and its ease of visibility, come into play.

Obviously, lighting plays a key role in the examination, even to the point that GIA graders work in a room with subdued fluorescent ceiling lights that bring out natural dark/light contrasts within the diamond while keeping surface glare to a minimum and eliminating other extraneous light.

Graders locate the graining with a darkfield gemological microscope and then examine the diamond with a 10× loupe and the microscope’s overhead light.


Anatomy of A Round Brilliant Diamond. Diamond Graders Rotate the stone to determine the effects of Graining on clarity and their subsequent clarity grading.

The tricky part here is what’s called “viewing geometry.” Both whitish and reflective graining can be very subtle and elusive – like a hologram: Tilted one way the graining is quite visible; go to another angle and it disappears. To create a repeatable standard, graders hold the diamond a set distance from the lights and then angle it through a slight range of motion. If the graining is obvious in a single position but disappears with only a little movement, it probably will not affect the grade. Also, graining visible at an extreme angle is much less likely to affect a clarity grade than one visible straight through the crown or table.

As with any clarity characteristic, the effect such graining has on the overall grade rests with five standard factors: Size, nature, number, relief, and location.

If graining is visible within a small area inside a single facet, it is less likely to affect the clarity grade; a diamond could still receive a grade of Fl or IF. However, if it is readily seen through the pavilion, an otherwise Fl or IF stone could receive a VVS1 grade.

The nature of the graining – how it affects transparency or how distinctly reflective it is – will also affect the grade. Whitish graining that is not well-defined and does not alter transparency probably would not cause an otherwise Fl or IF diamond to be downgraded. Nor would isolated bright internal grain lines. In rare cases where a whitish haze is visible through the crown, an otherwise Fl or IF diamond could ultimately receive a VVS, VS, or even – if the graining is extreme – an SI clarity grade.

The location of grain lines is also key. A diamond can have numerous reflective lines and still receive a VVS1 grade if they are only visible through the pavilion. However, the greater the number of lines visible through the crown, the more likely it is that the clarity grade will be lowered.

Relief refers to how readily the grain lines or haze stand out from the surrounding diamond. Here, the impact is based not just upon the graining’s visibility at 10× but also on the form and texture it takes. For example, a small “sheen” area that does not appear as bands may not affect the grade. However, if it takes the form of contrasting dark bands, the clarity grade may decline. And, again, if such characteristics are visible through the crown, the grade may be lowered further.

As with other GIA grading processes, years of research with a vast pool of stones has allowed the Laboratory staff to develop a consistent, repeatable standard for a characteristic that previously was not well-understood. Only after examining many hundreds of thousands of diamonds was the Lab able to assess the impact of whitish or reflective graining on the clarity grade of a colorless to near-colorless diamond.”

Should I Buy This Diamond?

Is a question we are frequently asked.

Here are the specs the consumer provided us based on the presentation of his Jeweler who recommended its purchase, calling it an “Ideal” Cut.

Round Brilliant Shape. GIA Grading Reprort
Measurements 6.37 – 6.41 x 3.96mm
Weight 1.00 carat
Price = $11,000.00

Depth 62%
Table 56%
Girdle Medium to Thick, Faceted
Culet None

Polish Very Good
Symmetry Very Good

Clarity VVS1
Color Grade E
Fluorescence None

Even though this diamond has a grading report from the GIA, the foremost diamond grading lab in the world which is definitely a big plus, we recommended that he pass on this diamond.


Look closely. The correct and proper spread for a 1 carat round diamond should be in the range
of 6.44-6.55 millimeters and show a total depth percentage in the range of 60.7-61.7 percent with a girdle thickness that ranges from thin to medium. This leads to proper balance and enhanced light refraction.

This diamond with a spread of 6.37, depth of 62%, and a girdle thickness of Medium to Thick properly measures for a .96 carat diamond, not a 1 carat stone. Why did the diamond cutter do this?


The price differential between a .99 carat to a 1 carat diamond in this color/clarity combination is in the range of an extra 10-15%. Thus, the cutter “squeezed” the diamond proportions so as to attain the 1 carat size.

Do your homework and work with a reputable diamond vendor.

Grading The Diamond Grading Labs: Who Can You Trust?

For most of us, buying a diamond engagement ring is nerve racking as heck. We know less than nothing and break out in a cold sweat walking into a jewelry store hoping we don’t get ripped off.

Some of us flee to the supposed “safety” of our friend’s Uncle’s Brother-in-Law who has a “connection” to someone who once tried (unsuccessfully) diamond prospecting in the Congo and can therefore offer us a “Deal”.
Flying through the Bermda Triangle actually looks like a pleasant alternative.

Advice and Step #1: NEVER buy a diamond without a Diamond Grading Report.
The two most accurate, consistent, and stringent Diamond Grading labs are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America, GIA) and the AGS (American Gem Society, AGS). For those of us in the Trade, we recognize these Labs as being the best and submit our Diamond Inventory to them for grading.

There are a host of other Diamond Grading Labs with alphabet soup initials, i.e.; EGL, HRD, IGI, NGL that have been found to inflate their color and clarity ratings by 1-2 grades. What this means is that you’re paying MORE MONEY for LESS DIAMOND.

Timely and informative discussion going on right now on Diamondtalk.com

Diamond Grading Labs

Round Brilliant Diamond Shape: Some Notes.

GIA updated the wording and the placement of “brillianteering” comments on its Diamond Grading Report and Diamond Dossier® for standard round brilliant diamonds as of July 1, 2006.

GIA’s new Diamond Grading Report and Diamond Dossier®, in January 2006, indicated when a diamond’s cut grade was affected by painting or digging out by putting a notation within the report’s comments section that read: Cut grade is based on brillianteering of the half-facets.

As of July 1, this statement will be located under the proportion diagram –-not in the comments section-– that reads: Cut grade affected by brillianteering.

Brillianteering refers to the last steps of the polishing process when the star facets along with the upper and lower half facets (also known as upper and lower girdle facets) are polished on the diamond. When a diamond is painted or dug out, these facets are polished in a manner that can affect the face-up appearance of the diamond and therefore may affect the final cut grade.

New Area For GIA Brillanteer Comments.jpg
New location for comments on Girdle thickness.

Here is an illustration of an even and correctly proportioned girdle.

Normal and Even Girdle

Here is an illustration of a “dug out” girdle. Note the uneven and very thin areas. This is usually done in situations where there may be large naturals, indented naturals, large imperfections,or other problems such as difficult cutting grains that the manufacturer needs to better control in order to save weight and/or make the diamond more saleable This may at times come at the expense of Symmetry in that facets are mis-aligned. This can also have a significant negative effect on light performance.
Dug out girdle

Here is an illustration of a “painted girdle”. Note the extra thickness at the meet points of the upper to lower half facets These facets are cut shallow with a minimum of definition and resolution, hence “painted” onto the diamond so that the cutter can retain maximum carat weight.

May or may not have a negative impact on light performance and physical evaluation or additional information such as a Gemex Brilliancescope Light Analysis Report and Imagescope can be very helpful.
Painted Girdle

And just to review for newcomers to our DiamondVues Blog, the illustration below shows the various facets that comprise the round brilliant diamond shape. In all, there are 58 facets for the round diamond.
diamond anatomy.gif

Will You Consider an “I-1″ Clarity Graded Diamond?

Many consumers will shy away from considering an I-1 clarity grade diamond either because of what they have seen, heard, or read. In most cases, I -1 denotes inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. Valid when it involves a mediocre cut diamond as light return to your eye is minimal due to facet mis-alignment.

On the other hand, in a finely cut diamond, light refraction through the Table and Crown facets to your eyes is significantly increased and serves to “mask” your ability to see these inclusions in the face-up position from the normal viewing distance of 8-14 inches and will be “eye-clean” and look like a VS clarity.

As a consequence an I-1 / I-2 clarity grade in a finely cut diamond can represent excellent value and allow a consumer to go up in carat weight as well as Color.

An example of an eye-clean I-1 is attached below.

81 F I-1 BR.jpg

Buying Your Diamond Engagement Ring On The Internet: Why You Can’t Rely On Just The “Numbers”.

We have long advocated and blogged that buying a diamond on-line from an Internet vendor that does not actually have the diamond in-house can be dangerous to your psyche and pocketbook. The link is here: Buying Your Diamond On The Internet
This fact was once again driven home to us and one of our clients who requested information on two Pear shape diamonds listed on our Exceldiamonds.com website Exceldiamonds.com.

Both diamonds weighed .81 carats, were VS-1 Clarity, were graded by GIA, and had different Millimeter Measurements . One was a “D” color, the other a “G” color. How do you make a decision? Tough way to spend thosands of dollars, isn’t it?

We called in both diamonds from the manufacturer and did these photographs for our client. We want you to see the dramatic visual differences between these two diamonds. Both diamonds are beautiful but uniquely different in shape and light refraction. The .81 D color has a crushed ice look with good scintillation, and is a classic “Tear-Drop” pear shape; whereas the .81 G color is much more dispersive and has what Bill Goldberg would refer to as a “sexy shape”. Both diamonds are very appealing and will make for a beautiful diamond engagement ring.

There is no “right” or ‘wrong” answer or decision on these two diamonds, it’s entirely subjective. You won’t get this information from a drop-shipper who never sees the diamonds he sells and doesn’t have a clue. Might work if you’re buying a cuisinart from Walmart or a book from Amazon but not diamonds which are visual.

Which Pear Shape would you buy?



Chameleon Diamond: What Is It?

In Nature, Chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae) are large lizards that belong to one of the best known lizard families. They are famous for their ability to change their colour, and also because of their elongated tongue and their eyes which can be moved independently of each other. Their eyes are the most unique among the reptiles. Among other things they can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously.

Some Chameleon species are able to change their body colour, which has made them one of the most famous lizard families. Contrary to popular belief, this change of colour is not only an adaptation to the surroundings but also an expression of the physical and physiological condition of the lizard. The skin colour is changed under influence of mood, light and temperature. The skin colour also plays an important part in communication and rivalry fights.

There is also such a phenomenon as a Chameleon Diamond. Certain natural green diamonds react to heat or dark storage by temporarily changing color, often becoming bright yellow. This color change is short-lived as the diamond soon reverts to its stable color. Most specimens observed in gem laboratories show even color distribution, aiding in the dramatic transformation, and both color changes are documented on laboratory reports. Faceted chameleon diamonds of 2 carats or more occasionally appear on the market; the more sizable stones offer the maximum opportunity to see color change.

A color-change diamond is such a rare and curious gem that very little has been written on the subject. The first documented report on chameleon diamonds appeared in 1943, according to the GIA Diamond Dictionary. Peter Kaplan, of the Peter K. Kaplan Inc., was astonished to witness a diamond change color on the very hot polishing wheel. The peculiar diamond was later graded light yellow green. It sold, but the baffled customer promptly returned it for a refund when the yellow-green diamond changed to dark green after storage in a jewel box.

Phenomenon Not Well Understood.

An article in GIA’s Award Winning Journal, Gems & Gemology, Spring 2005, acknowledged that “…the mechanism behind chameleon coloration is not yet well understood. Nevertheless, chameleons are among the few green diamonds that can be conclusively identified as natural color, since their behavior cannot be created or enhanced in a laboratory.”

Fine-quality phenomenal diamonds often carry certificates verifying their natural characteristics. One such report by Gübelin Gem Lab, Lucerne, Switzerland, added, “Chameleon diamonds are one of the great mysteries of the diamond world. It is still not known why these diamonds change from deep green to yellow when heated or left in darkness . . . these qualities make ‘chameleons’ among the most fascinating of colored diamonds.”

A rare subset of natural fancy color diamonds, chameleons are so named for their repeatable color-change property. Prolonged dark storage, or photochroism, changes a “Classic” chameleon from its typically stable color of grayish-yellow-green to a temporary or unstable color of greenish-orangish-yellow. A few hours of dark storage might be all that is needed to bring on a color change. Also, heating a Classic chameleon, termed thermochromism, likewise results in a prominent temporary color change. At about 150º C, the induced color should be evident within a few seconds. The term “Reverse” chameleon refers to phenomenal diamonds that change from yellow in stable conditions to green after subjection to dark storage. Heating does not produce a color change in Reverse chameleons. With both groups, the change is infinitely repeatable.

Rarer still are some “maverick” color-change diamonds that have been found in Australia that exhibit this phenomenon with their own unique pair of colors. Australia’s Argyle diamond mine, famous for its fancy color diamonds, occasionally produces hydrogen-rich diamonds that also exhibit a “chameleonlike” color-change behavior. The stones are distinguished by either a blue-violet-gray color or a gray-olive color. They are thought to owe their phenomenon to high hydrogen content, but this has yet to be proven.

Identification of Chameleon Diamonds is by heating and observation. Be careful with this because heating an enhanced diamond, however, might lead to an unwanted permanent modification of color. If you suspect that the green diamond might just be an enhanced stone, the recommended course of action would be to send it to a laboratory for testing. In a laboratory, the spectroscope reading, coupled with an ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaction, will positively separate a chameleon from another type of green diamond.


Because of their rarity Chamelon Diamonds are not well understood by the Public or by Jewelers. Chrisities, or example, auctions a color-change diamonds in Hong Kong, because, according to Daphne Lingon, senior vice president, jewelry department, the Asian market is well-informed about phenomenal gems,which are avidly collected. During Christie’s Magnificent Jewellery & Jadeite Jewellery Hong Kong auction in May 2001, a platinum ring featuring a 4.41-carat “superb fancy dark-gray-yellowish-green chameleon diamond” went on sale and brought a sale price of $240,000.

Online jeweler Ariel Friedman of IceStore Inc., Beverly Hills, California, speculates that a combination of phosphorescence and fluorescent properties contribute to the chameleon effect in these special diamonds. Friedman estimates that he sells between five and ten chameleons a year, attributing that success to his customers, who only buy high-end goods. Recently, one of his best phenomenal diamonds went to a well-known actor who desired a one-of-a-kind gem. Friedman’s clientele understands fancy color diamonds and that “with chameleons, they own something clearly unique among the fancy colors.” A 2.95-carat, round brilliant chameleon is offered on his website for $63,720.