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

Talk to people who earned their gemologist titles in the 1960s and 1970s and they’ll describe a stable, worry-free time when gemological threats were few in number and brief in duration.

True, in 1954, General Electric succeeded in producing itsy-bitsy gem quality synthetic diamonds. But in 1970, it created true women-friendly rocks up to 2 carats. But these were more theoretical than commercial feats. No one braced for onslaught of man-made fine diamonds.

Also true, increasingly sophisticated gemstone trickery such as irradiation allowed unscrupulous dealers to turn diamonds from a sickly chicken skin yellow to a bright canary color. But gemologists quickly learned how to sift bogus from bona fide colors.

And, granted, new imitation diamonds such as cubic zirconia fooled large numbers of untrained jewelers. But jewelers quickly became versed in finding these fakes.

All in all, gemological training of the mid and late 20th century created a high, thick wall of defense around the jewelry industry that was hard to scale. Once a threat was discovered, it could be contained quickly with newly developed gem identification tests and techniques. The Gemological Institute of America, the world’s leading training school for gemologists, became a hotbed of what was called “forensic gemology”—constantly called upon to keep, or restore, the peace when the trade was riled by a new fake, treatment or manmade.

In the late 1980s, the diamond industry began to face gemological threats that transcended all available know-how. What’s more, lax enforcement of Federal Trade Commission jewelry industry guides bred a culture of tolerance for diamond enhancements, as well as for deceptive advertising.

The consumer was under attack and didn’t even know it. But jewelers did and they were doing everything in their power to shield the public from gemological shocks to the diamond world.

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.