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A Consumer Guide to Diamonds
Today the 3Pís are as important as the 4Cís.

Thatís just one form of popular cosmetic surgery. Other diamonds with noticeable fissures can be filled with chemical substances that conceal these cracks much like epoxies that hide dings and cracks in windshields. As a result, some diamonds look far spiffier than they otherwise would. Some consumers are happy to have the chance to buy diamonds that look better at a better price.

But such practices raise important product integrity issues. Is a diamond that owes its looks to laser drilling or clarity enhancement still all-natural? Or is it only partially so? Does such augmentation disqualify it for equality with stones that are untreated? What about diamonds that have been irradiated to improve color or subjected to high pressure-high temperature (HPHT) processes to improve color? And what should a consumer be told before buying?

Decisions regarding treatment nomenclature and disclosure are left up to gem labs or handled by trade organizations on a case by case basis. Retailers sell what they feel is best and tell their customers what they feel they need to know. This is why, especially if you donít know your jeweler, lab reports are essential. (see images 5 & 6)

Natural Versus MAN-MADE

The FTC requires point-of-sale admissions of any enhancement performed on a gem if it is not stable or if failure to disclose it constitutes withholding information that might have affected the purchase.

One protection against non-disclosure is a lab report on which sophisticated enhancements such as laser-drilling, fracture-filling, irradiation, or HPHT are noted. As important, lab reports are necessary for gemological peace of mind concerning the origin of a gem.

For the first time in recorded history, synthetic diamonds which are the chemical, physical, and optical clones of natural diamonds are widely available. Whatís more, they can be manufactured in a matter of days using equipment that is a fraction of the cost, size, and weight of the 400-ton press GE used to create its synthetic gem diamonds. One maker of these lab-grown replicas supposedly has 200 or so machines in a Florida warehouse churning out man-made diamonds. Another is rumored to be producing as many in a Boston factory.

Now maybe the idea of owning a factory-made diamond excites you. Since they take just days to grow, and are cheap to produce, they certainly will cost far less than their natural mined counterpart.

Diamond ring
Image 1 - Diamond ring from the ďRoseĒ 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.