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A Consumer Guide to Diamonds
Today the 3P’s are as important as the 4C’s.

No wonder the jewelry industry—in close cooperation with human rights groups, NGOs, the United Nations, and the U.S. Congress—has spent most of this decade bringing the problem of “conflict diamonds” under control. Jewelers like Stern no longer have to call their suppliers for geopolitical assurances about their diamonds. They are receiving such assurances on invoices and even on diamond certificates.

Many diamonds today also have been tested with advanced technology to make sure that they are natural and have completely natural color.

Today, for the first time in history, manufacture of high-grade man-made gem diamonds is a global reality. These synthetics are clones of nature grown in labs and detection of them requires expensive technology. What’s more, natural diamonds are being subjected to very sophisticated color and clarity improvements that challenge their identity as natural wonders. Such doctoring takes very advanced technological sleuthing to uncover. Few labs have the equipment to ferret manufactured from mined diamonds. Proof of natural origin and unenhanced color now requires a report from a major laboratory.

The need for technology doesn’t end with gem identification. In the past decade, cutting has become the most important attribute of diamond value because it has the greatest bearing on beauty. Beauty is now defined as a trinity of light-performance factors: brilliance, fire, and sparkle.

And judgment of performance is no longer as subjective as it used to be. Various instruments measure diamond proportions to predict light behavior while others analyze and grade actual light output. In addition, special viewers map the diamond’s light handling capability. Top jewelers are using these instruments to demonstrate the beauty and quality of craftsmanship of the diamonds they sell. And savvy consumers are using these tools to choose a diamond that is high in performance.

Modern Jeweler presents the first-ever consumer diamond buying guide to take into account the new norms of consumer confidence. (see image 3)

Product Integrity

Years before it first proclaimed a “Diamond is Forever” in 1948, De Beers was promoting the 4C’s—color, clarity, cut, and carat weight—as the basic criteria of diamond beauty and value. Indeed, for 60 years, the 4C’s were the underpinning of diamond education and marketing.

Diamond ring
Image 1 - Diamond ring from the “Rose” collection by Dalumi.
Image 2 - Ring featuring a Crisscut center diamond by Christopher Designs.
diamond ring bridal set
Image 3 - Bridal set featuring marquise-like shaped Calla cut diamonds from Nelson Jewellery.
diamond circle necklace
Image 4 - Diamond circle necklace featuring a Lady Heart three-stone diamond pendant from David Arabov & Sons.
diamond engagement ring
Image 5 - Princess cut diamond engagement ring by Amy Levine.
diamond earrings and pendant
Image 6 - Earrings and pendant with Rand ideal cut diamonds from Rand Diamond.
swirl diamond pendants
Image 7 - Stylish swirl diamond pendants from Stuller.
cut diamond
Image 8 - Under very favorable, high contrast white illumination, the ideal cut diamond is capable of emitting fire from every facet of its crown. Photo by Michael Cowing, ACA Gemological Laboratory.
diamond engagement ring and wedding band
Image 9 - Diamond engagement ring and wedding band from Uneek.
diamond engagement rings
Image 10 - Engagement rings featuring invisible set diamond side accents from Jewelex.
diamond brilliance
Image 11 - The Isee2 light measurement system from Overseas Diamonds gives diamond brilliance, fire, and sparkle ratings.
14k white gold engagement ring with baguette diamonds
Image 12 - Semi-mount 14k white gold engagement ring with baguette diamond sides from Dora Wedding Bands & Rings.
rose and white gold diamond ring
Image 13 - Rose and white gold diamond ring by Doron Isaak.
heart shaped diamond pendant
Image 14 - Heart shaped diamond pendant by Uneek.