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Diamond Advice

Author: Long Island Pulse | Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The moment of forever does not happen casually and neither should the selection of a diamond engagement ring, the ultimate symbol of love, commitment and everlastingness.

To help in deciphering some of the process, representatives from Long Island’s leading jewelers share some of their expertise in diamond purchasing. They are authorities in gemology and fine jewelry, collectively representing hundreds of years of knowledge and experience. Their advice is available here; the rings shown are available at their respective retail locations.

A diamond engagement ring is an heirloom for couples to share all their lives. The diamonds, accent stones, settings and wedding bands will come to symbolize a couple’s unique connection and their devotion to their future together. When you’re ready to find your perfect “forever,” these quality retailers will be there to help.

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CARAT & CLARITY
By Scott Udell

All diamonds are created under similar conditions however, not all diamonds are created equal. Like snowflakes, each stone’s growth, shape and clarity characteristics are formed uniquely.

Clarity is a term for the quality of a diamond based on the number and size of the inclusions (internal “birth marks”) and external blemishes that occur naturally as a diamond forms. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) clarity scale contains 11 grades, from flawless to Imperfect 3; the less visible the inclusions, the higher the grade. A stone can vary in value by as much as 50% based on its clarity grade and entire “finished product.”

When a diamond cutter buys a piece of rough he considers: How can I get the best proportions in the cut diamond, receive the best color and clarity grades, and achieve excellent finish grades in polish and symmetry, while retaining the most weight possible?  These factors determine the shape of the finished diamond. The better the cut or proportions of the stone, the more brilliant and sparkly it will be. Poorly cut stones can have a glassy look and show inclusions more easily.

Carat weight is the actual weight of the diamond on a scale based on 100 points, regardless of size and diameter. When choosing a stone, some buyers are concerned that the inclusions not be seen by the naked eye, others just want a “big look.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—the important thing is for the buyer to have full knowledge of the stone’s details and receive corresponding GIA reports. One tip: It is ideal to match the cut, clarity and color of side stones to the center stone of an engagement ring. This will give a beautifully uniform look to the finished piece.

London Jewelers features the finest quality bridal jewelry, fashion jewelry and timepieces. Charles London started the business repairing and winding clocks at some of the great estates of Long Island’s Gold Coast in the 1920s. Today, London Jewelers continues to set the standard for quality and services as it has throughout four generations, building consultative relationships with clients that last a lifetime. For more information please visit http://www.londonjewelers.com.


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COLOR
by Neda Benham

Many once considered a brilliant white diamond to be the only acceptable stone for engagement rings, but like all styles, this has evolved to include a wider range of hues, like natural yellows and pinks, which are the hottest right now. In fact, despite the myth that they are not as valuable as white diamonds, color diamonds are actually rarer and more unique.

The color of a diamond is nature’s work, and is affected by variations in the chemistry and structure of the crystal. Rich, intense depth of color generally enhances value, as does evenly spread color. However, when you’re dealing with natural roughs, each stone is judged by its natural inclusions and individual beauty.

Wearing natural rough and color diamond jewelry speaks to the wearer’s individuality and sense of style. Shapes vary based on personal preference, but some metals serve colored stones better than others. For instance, shades of yellow look best in yellow gold, while browns and greens look the most intense in rose or yellow gold. It’s also acceptable to mix colors to enhance the beauty of the center stone and overall design of a piece.

The truth is color is always in fashion, especially in larger diamonds, but because natural color diamonds are so rare, whether polished or rough, there are fewer on the market than white diamonds. The good news is we are able to bring this exciting fashion trend from the red carpet to our clients to offer them more choices.

Neda Behnam works with natural color rough diamonds to create jewelry as wearable works of art, most which are one-of-a-kind collectables. After 25 years in business, Neda Behnam founded Diamonds For A Cure® with the unique mission of donating 10% of proceeds to the cancer research organization, Stand Up To Cancer™. Visit them at http://www.diamondsforacure.com.


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CUT & SHAPE
by Kay Cameron

The cut of a diamond is the most important factor in its brilliance, it’s what creates a diamond’s light optics. The cut also maximizes a stone’s apparent size in relation to its weight. Thus, the impact of a diamond’s cut can mean as much as one third of the overall value.

Cut mainly refers to a diamond’s proportions, not it’s shape. A well-cut diamond allows maximum light return from the top of the stone, while one cut too deep or too shallow allows light to pass out the bottom, resulting in less sparkle.

Shape and cut go hand in hand. The shape (round, marquise, princess, etc.) that most people are choosing is round brilliant cut diamonds, but it’s a matter of personal taste. For example, the cushion-cut stone fits a more intricately designed vintage style ring verses a more contemporary, clean-cut style, which is better suited for a round or emerald cut. Contrary to popular belief, fancy-shaped diamonds (as all non-round diamonds are called) are often less expensive than rounds.

Just remember the center stone is always the main event of the ring—side stones should be accents, in good proportion to the center stone and in keeping with the style of the ring. Depending on cuts and the number of facets, stones on an engagement ring can be mixed, but carefully; rounds and princess cut stones work well, rounds beside an emerald cut don’t. Ultimately, the design is a matter of personal taste but quality should never be compromised.

Based in Sayville Village, Kay Cameron Jewelers is family owned and operated, with over 20 years in the jewelry retail and repair business. Their collection of fine jewelry from leading designers fits their “Anything but Ordinary” motto. Visit them at http://www.kaycameronjewelers.com or call (631) 567-1698.


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SETTINGS & WEDDING BANDS
By Jan Rose

The value of an engagement ring is primarily in the center diamond, however the setting can add much more depending on how many diamonds or other types of stones are in it, making it a decision as important as the stone itself.

Platinum and white gold have been the most popular metals for the last few years, however everything is available: Platinum, yellow gold or white gold (14 or 18kt), rose gold, tungsten and sterling silver. Platinum is the purest, hardest metal, therefore it will last the longest, but with proper care, any metal should last a very long time.

The same is true of the setting. Some people like a six-prong setting, but to my eye, all I see are prongs. I prefer a four-prong setting because it shows more diamond. Ultimately, the setting should be durable and reflect who you are.

The wedding band is a separate entity altogether. Color is purely subjective. Most people will choose to match their engagement ring, but not all do. The width of the band will be determined by the engagement ring for the woman and the man’s personal preference. Some ladies like the band to be the same width as the engagement ring, others like it to be smaller and some choose to wear it on the opposite hand so it doesn’t matter what width they choose.

The settings and bands are as much a part of the ring as the stones, but no matter what you choose, the good news is: You can always change your mind. Restyling is an easy option at any time.

For three generations, Rose Jewelers has been a leading destination for fine jewelry and watches. Currently under the steerage of Jan Rose, the locations in Southampton and Patchogue feature an extensive line of engagement and wedding jewelry, and they specialize in restyling settings on engagement rings, no matter how old the ring is. Visit them at http://www.rosejewelers.net or call (631) 475-1441.


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CUSTOM DESIGNS
By Ron Rizzo

There is nothing more intimate than a custom designed engagement ring. The process allows couples to create their own heirlooms featuring inherited or specially purchased stones. The finished piece is a work of art, based on their unique tastes while the expert hand craftsmanship and perfection of fit produce unparalleled quality. This all takes place at our studio located within the retail store where everything is hand-created.

When designing a custom piece, the individual’s unique taste and lifestyle are the most important things to consider—a delicate, intricately designed piece may not be the best for someone who works a lot with her hands. It’s also important to remember each diamond has unique dimensions, which calls for the setting to be specifically designed to protect and complement the natural beauty of the stone.

The process begins with clients reviewing our look books, and discussing their tastes and lifestyles with us. At this first meeting, I create hand sketches, which become digital 3D images for a virtual review of the ring. Once the client approves the file, an actual prototype is created to ensure fit and allow the client to see and feel every detail. Finally, a metal is selected for the band and the piece is finished to perfection. The process can take as short as two weeks and as long as eight weeks. An open dialogue is part of every step; it’s what gives us our 100% client satisfaction rating.

Designing specialty jewelry is a cherished, personal endeavor for our clients and it’s the thrill of our business. Our focus is finding the perfect match of a design esthetic to each client. Jewelry design is a passion for me. I want my clients to know that I marry every piece and that they can always return to the studio for any cleaning, repairing or any concern.

Ron Rizzo opened his eponymous boutique with the same standards of exquisite design work, uncompromising craftsmanship and personal service he learned as a nationally distributed designer filling commissions for Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave and Henri Bendels. Visit Ron Rizzo in East Hills or at http://www.ronrizzo.com Call .(516) 484-0030 for more.


Long Island Pulse
Author: Long Island Pulse

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Reader Comments | read reactions to this article

Seren wrote on January 27, 2011

Great article. As a lover of Fancy Color Diamonds I just want to emphasize the fact that a certificate MUST be received with the purchase of a natural fancy color diamond. Often people don’t even realize the difference between natural and synthetic and obviously the price is very different too.

Amanda wrote on February 22, 2010

Who doesn’t LOVE diamonds!? It’s always great to learn more about them..

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