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

The upshot: Most jewelers won’t sell you a significant-occasion diamond today that hasn’t been cleared for commerce by a reputable gem lab. Believe it or not, your diamond is subjected to the gemological equivalent of a security clearance before it is graded for color, clarity, or cut. (see image 4)

Keeping Diamonds All-Natural

Diamond defense has long been of paramount importance to the jewelry industry, especially De Beers, the diamond mining and marketing company that controls around 60 percent of the world’s annual supply of gem diamonds. At a time when oil companies let pipelines corrode, De Beers practices a vigilant monitoring of the global diamond pipeline that other corporations should emulate.

It has no choice. Unlike oil, which is a necessity, the diamond is a luxury (although try telling that to a couple who feel diamond rings are a mandatory expression of love and commitment).

Driven by both principle and profit, De Beers has waged a full-time, full-scale campaign to protect the integrity of the diamond. It has even run ads to explain what it means by “product integrity” and to pledge itself to sales of diamonds that are 100 percent natural.

The trouble is, some of the industry has a slightly less hard-nosed view of the word “natural.” De Beers wants you to buy treatment-free diamonds.

Not everyone agrees. Some retailers, intent on offering handsome but affordable diamonds, tolerate some high-tech tampering to conceal small but visible flaws or tiny, yet blatant fissures in stones. They feel it helps them offer consumers affordable good-looking stones.

For example, many diamonds lend themselves to laser surgery to remove unsightly black spots. During crystallization billions of years ago, bits of other minerals got trapped inside stones. These particles and flecks can be dissolved or camouflaged by drilling microscopic cavities to their sites and injecting acid.

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.