Jewelry Information: Diamond Jewelry, Diamond Sources, Clarity & Color
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Diamond Jewelry: 

Over the years, the diamond industry has introduced marketing and design concepts to stimulate public interest in diamond jewelry.  In the 1960's, the famous phrase "a diamond is forever" was coined (and trademarked) by the Diamond Trading Company, and even became the title of a classic James Bond movie. 

Diamond Specifications: The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and other organizations, grade stones by at least four categories:  Clarity, Color, Cut and Weight (carats).  These are the famous "Four C's" that most people have heard about:

Diamond Sources:  In many African countries where diamonds are mined, slave labor and torture have been used to coerce African diamond miners, and the revenues from the mined diamonds (so-called "conflict diamonds" or "blood diamonds") then used to finance insurgent or raiding armies.  In November, 2002, the UN approved the Kimberley Process, which created a certification and tracking process to ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter the mainstream rough diamond market.  The Kimberley Process was adopted in the US by presidential order in July of 2003 through the Clean Diamond Trade Act.  Diamond jewelry sold by Viridian Gold is sourced from suppliers who conform to the Kimberley Process; thus, we do not sell jewelry containing conflict diamonds.

Diamond Clarity:  All natural stones possess imperfections in the form of inclusions.  Inclusions may take the form of dark specks, light-colored planes called "feathers", voids, general cloudiness, and other types of imperfections.  Diamonds, in particular, are graded by clarity to designate higher value for those stones with higher clarity.  Stones are graded under 10X magnification (the common "jeweler's loupe" magnification) so that flaws which may be invisible to the naked eye may be seen.  The following table will explain the clarity grades used by the GIA.  Also included is an example of approximate loose-diamond pricing based on an H-color, 1-carat diamond which illustrates the extremes in value simply based on clarity.

Clarity Explanation Example
FL, IF Flawless, internally flawless.  No visible flaws--a very rare, and consequently valuable, condition. $6,900
VVS1, VVS2 Very, very slightly included--difficult to see imperfections even under 10X magnification. $6,000
VS1, VS2 Very slightly included--imperfections still not visible to the naked eye. $5,500
SI1, SI2 Slightly included, imperfections are easily seen with 10X magnification, but are not noticeable without this aid.  Also called "eye-clean". $4,800
I1, I2, I3 Inclusions visible to the naked eye, with I3 much worse than I1.  Sometimes referred to as C quality, "value" or "promo" quality. Or, for I3, simply a dirty diamond! $2,900 (I1)

Lower clarity is usually tolerated in small diamonds because they are used as accents and are often pavé set so that imperfections are less noticeable.  Center and top stones should be of higher quality because of their prominence.

Diamond Color:  The highest color grade of diamond is completely clear--that is, colorless, or white.  At the other extreme, a diamond can be totally black and opaque.  In between these extremes, the color brown/yellow increases in intensity from a totally clear D to the beginnings of a faint yellow/brown beginning with J-K grade.  The yellowish tint is less noticeable in a yellow gold setting, so one might see a slightly lower quality color diamond set in yellow gold. The table below illustrates the color grading system--also included is an example of approximate loose-diamond pricing based on a one-carat SI1 quality diamond, VG cut.  From these examples, it is obvious why one sees such large price variations in diamond jewelry of the same carat weight.

Color Explanation Example
D Colorless grade.  Expert graders can detect slight color in E and F. $7,500
E $7,000
F $6,500
G Near-colorless grade--to detect, usually requires comparison to another stone of better color. $6,000
H $5,500
I $4,500
J $3,500
K-L-M Faint yellow--best for yellow gold. $2-3,000
N--R Very light yellow--low quality $1-2,000
S--X Light yellow--low quality >$1,000

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