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Gemstone Selection Guide

Round and Princess Cut Diamonds and Gemstones

Show your love, or just your own sense of personal style, by choosing a gemstone for your Mokume Gane or Damascus Steel wedding or anniversary band, commitment ring, or engagement ring.

Andrew Nyce Designs is committed to helping you select the right gemstone by providing useful information that will guide you through this often confusing process.

Contact us directly if you have any additional questions or concerns about choosing the right gemstone for you.

Diamonds
Cut
Color
Clarity
Carat Weight
Conflict Diamonds
Diamond Pricing
Other Gemstones
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Diamonds

While a diamond has always been an enduring symbol of love, it can also express your own individuality and taste.

Use this guide to help you select the diamond that is right for you and also fits within your budget.

There are precise standards used to evaluate diamonds; these are commonly referred to as the Four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. The Four Cs help determine the quality of a diamond. Each of these four characteristics, taken together, determines the rarity and value of the diamond you choose.

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Diamond Shapes

Cut

Cut has two meanings in relation to diamonds. The first is the shape. The second relates to the specific quality of cut within the shape. The quality and price of the diamond will vary very greatly based on the quality of the cut.

Diamonds are cut into many different shapes, reflecting not only popular taste but also the proportions and quality of the rough diamond. Andrew Nyce Designs offers the following shapes: Round, Oval, Emerald, Princess, and Marquise. Other shapes are available upon request.

Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently which can be achieved only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy.

A diamond cut is a symmetrical arrangement of reflective surfaces, or facets, that together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal. The most popular cut is the modern round brilliant. Many other popular shapes have been derived from the round brilliant.

The quality of the cut has the greatest effect on a diamond's beauty. Cut and proportioning affect how the diamond captures light and reflects it back to the eye for maximum fire and brilliance. Thus, the precision with which the facets are arranged is of prime importance. Well cut diamonds sell at a premium.

Fire is the flashes of colored light reflected back from within a diamond, e.g., like a prism.
Brilliance is the amount of light reflected and refracted to the eye.
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Color

The majority of diamonds range from pale yellow to brown in color; this is the normal color range. Diamonds that are of the very highest purity are totally colorless, and appear a bright white; these are the most rare.

Fancy color diamonds are formed when trace amounts of other minerals are present. Colors range from blue to brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Fancy colored diamonds are quite rare, highly desirable and, thus, more valuable.

Diamonds in the normal color range are graded on various scales developed by internationally recognized laboratories and societies, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS). The GIA scale ranges from D which is totally colorless to Z which is a pale yellow or brown color. The AGS scale ranges from 0 to 10. Diamonds with more depth of color than Z color fall into the fancy color diamond range. The scale and description for the normal color range follows:

GIA AGS Description
D,E,F 0,0.5,1 Colorless
G,H,I,J 1.5,2,2.5,3 Near Colorless
K,L,M 3.5,4,4.5 Faint Yellow
N,O,P,Q,R 5,5.5,6,6.5,7 Very Light Yellow
S,T,U,V,W,X-Z 7.5,8,8.5,9,9.5,10 Light Yellow
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Clarity

A diamond's clarity is measured by the existence, or absence, of visible flaws, both internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes). The relative clarity of a diamond affects its brilliance, which, in turn, impacts its value. The fewer inclusions or blemishes in a diamond, the more desirable it is.

Inclusions are found inside the diamond. Inclusions include minerals trapped inside the diamond, called crystals, as well as structural imperfections such as tiny cracks that can cloud the appearance.
Blemishes tend to be very small and are only on the surface of diamonds.

A clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the diamond under 10x magnification. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamond grading scale is divided into six categories and eleven grades. The American Gem Society (AGS) grades clarity on a number scale between 0 and 10. The diamond clarity grades and categories are as follows:

GIA AGS Category
FL 0  Flawless - Free from all inclusions or blemishes
IF 0  Internally Flawless - No inclusions visible at 10x magnification
VVS1 - VVS2 1 - 2  Very Very Slightly Included - Inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x
VS1 - VS2 3 - 4  Very Slightly Included - Minor inclusions that are difficult to locate at 10x
SI1 - SI2 5 - 6  Slightly Included - Noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x
I1 - I2 - I3 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  Included - Obvious inclusions that are easy to locate with the unaided eye

Approximately 20 percent of all diamonds that are mined have a clarity rating high enough for the diamond to be appropriate for use as a gemstone; the other 80 percent are deemed industrial grade. Of the gem-quality diamonds, a significant amount contains inclusions or blemishes that are visible to the naked eye upon close inspection. Diamonds with higher clarity grades (i.e., the fewest inclusions/blemishes) have the highest value.

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Carat Weight

The traditional unit of measure for diamonds is the carat. One carat is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. The weight of a diamond also may be referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size, depending on their depth and proportions.

A diamond’s cost per carat increases with respect to carat size because larger, rough diamonds are more rare. Thus, a two-carat diamond will cost more than twice as much as two one-carat diamonds of the same quality.

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Conflict-Free Diamonds

Conflict-free diamonds are diamonds whose profits are not used to fund wars and are produced and mined under ethical conditions. Only diamonds that are certified and can be traced from the mine to the consumer are conflict-free diamonds. According to the World Diamond Council, less than 1% of diamonds on the market are considered to be from areas of conflict. The United Nations approved the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to certify that rough diamonds are coming from conflict-free sources.

The diamonds sold by Andrew Nyce Designs are sourced from Stuller. All rough and polished diamonds sold by Stuller comply with the Kimberley Process.

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Diamond Pricing

With Andrew Nyce Designs, you will have access to a wide variety of diamonds. Allow us help you find a diamond that suits your needs and your budget. Our prices are very competitive. All large Stuller diamonds come with a certification and a one-year insurance policy.

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Other Gemstones

In addition to high-quality diamonds, Andrew Nyce Designs offers precious gemstones, including sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. We also offer Moissanite, birthstones and other semi-precious gemstones. Allow us help you find a gemstone that suits your needs and your budget.

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