Everyone talks about Carats when discussing gemstones, and most understand that it relates to the size of the gemstone. But there's more to "Carat" than size alone.
*According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and to put it simply, diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond, or any other gemstone for that matter, weighs. And while carat is specifically about weight, it logically follows that the more a diamond or gemstone weighs, the larger the gemstone. Here we'll discuss carat relative to diamonds.
A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carat as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’
All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Color, Clarity, and Cut.
While now you know what carat means, it’s also important to remember that a diamond’s value is determined using all of the 4Cs, and not just carat weight.
We mentioned that this discussion is about the carat weight of diamonds. While it's true that the carat is used to weigh other gemstones as well, it's important to understand that a 1-carat diamond may be larger or smaller than a 1-carat sapphire, emerald, or ruby because of the difference in chemical composition and density. Too, other colored gemstones have their "equivalent" of the 4Cs, those two of defined differently for different gemstones.
*Thanks to GIA for their definition of carat from their website.
A lot of great questions of late. The simplest answer is that an inclusion is "anything" visible on the interior or exterior of a Diamond (or other gemstone). In a "Perfect" Diamond there is no trace of color. It is, in fact, colorless. There are no blemishes of any kind whatsoever on the exterior of the diamond. Not even microscopically. The same for the interior of the Diamond. Flawless - not even a microscopic blip.
Unfortunately 99.99% of all diamonds have some flaw, some blemish, some spot. These are known, overall, as "Inclusions." Identification of the type of inclusion and its impact on the "Perfectness" of the gemstone is the basis for determining the Clarity of the gem. There are many, many types of inclusions. Below are the most common:
There are times that a small crystal can add character to a diamond. A diamond with a tiny garnet inside would be a conversation piece—and an excellent personal choice for someone whose birthstone is garnet.
Small cracks that are not visible when a diamond is viewed in a table-up (face up) position do not seriously affect clarity ratings.
Don't be intimidated by inclusions. Most buyers are looking for an eye-clean diamond that presents well in its chosen setting, and has minimal color tint. These are the types of Diamonds most commonly purchased, and those representing the best value to the buyer.
Most people have been browsing the newspaper, or see a commercial while watching television, where One-Carat Diamonds are advertised for $500.00. While that sounds great and many take advantage of these sales, all too many of those buyers eventually come to rue the day they made that fateful decision.
The bread-and-butter for large jewelry retailers is customer traffic. Get the customer in the store and you're likely to make a sale. At least statistics suggest as much. To attract the customers these large businesses advertise large Diamonds at very low prices. The only problem is - these are really, really, really, terrible Diamonds.
Promotional Diamonds are the bottom of the barrel. I3 or worse. They have but one purpose, get the customer into the store so that, hopefully, they will purchase a more expensive Diamond.
Aloha Estate Jewelry does not sell "Promotional" Diamonds. If by happenstance we acquire a single item, within a larger group of jewelry items, that has "Promotional" grade Diamond, that piece of jewelry usually goes to the "Scrap Bag" to eventually be sold for only its gold content.
Really a great question. But one with a complicated answer. The shortest answer is that while we are not Gemalogical Institute of America (GIA) certified appraisers, we do possess 30+ years of experience in fine jewelry. When evaluating Diamonds jewelry for acquisition we look for Diamonds in the color range of G - L, and the clarity ranges of SI or better. Accordingly, pricing of two Diamond solitaires of the same Carat weight may differ greatly because of better Color or better Clarity.
Now for the lengthier, more detailed answer. Many have heard of the "4-Cs" of Diamonds. The 4-Cs are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Of these, Color and Clarity speak to quality.
Diamonds are divided generally into two categories, Colorless Diamonds and Colored Diamonds. Among the most common colored Diamonds can be steel gray, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink to purple, brown, and black. Colorless Diamonds are often referred to as white Diamonds. The GIA scale for white or colorless Diamonds runs from D - "Colorless" to Z - "Light Yellow." D, E, and F colors are very rare, and typically increase the cost of a Diamond exponentially. The most common color grades of Diamonds purchased are G - L. In this color range is is very, very difficult for the untrained eye to discern a color difference. Grades M - Z show a distinct to dramatic shift to yellow. In terms of Clarity Diamonds are typically graded in a range from F - Flawless to Included - I3. Here are the clarity grading distinctions:
-Less than 1% of all Diamonds are graded Flawless.
-IF Diamonds have no inclusions within the stone, only surface characteristics
-VVS clarity is rare and results in an eye clean appearance
-If eye clean, SI Diamonds are often the best value
-SI2 inclusions may be detectable to a keen unaided eye, especially when viewed from the side
-SI range of clarity represents the most frequently/commonly purchased Diamond
-Aloha Estate Jewelry's policy is to avoid acquiring I-Clarity Diamonds whenever possible.
We want you to be absolutely thrilled with your selection from Aloha Estate Jewelry. So regardless of the selection, you have 2 weeks, 14-days, to seek a second opinion, or a separate appraisal, to appreciate the value of your purchase. And if not completely thrilled, we are happy for you to return the item to us for a full refund at anytime within the 2-weeks.
At Aloha Estate Jewelry we want our customers to be comfortable with their selections so we are pleased to provide these definitions to prevent any ambiguity of terms. When we describe jewelry items as Antique we are saying that our estimate of the item's age is approximately 75 years or more. Where we have a more accurate date, we will provide that date. When we describe an item as Vintage, we are saying that the item has an approximate age of 30 to 75 years. Again, if we have a more definitive date, we will provide that date. When we describe an item as Estate we are placing the item on a timeline of within approximately the last 30 years. If at any time you have a question about the dating of any piece of jewelry offered by Aloha Estate Jewelry, please do not hesitate to drop us a note.
Before answering, a word of caution. Collectors of Estate Jewelry very often want the piece left "as-found" with tarnish and all. Often the tarnish, or patina, lends an effect to a piece of jewelry that is desirable and represents, in part, the character of the item after years and years of wear and ownership. So before committing to cleaning away the tarnish or patina, ask if that's really what you want to do. Also, if purchasing an item from us with patina, and that you choose to remove, then the item is considered altered and, therefore, not returnable.
That said, where we find a tarnished piece of jewelry and it is clear to us that removing the tarnish will enhance, not detract from, the beauty of the item, we use a jewelry cleaning cloth. These cloths are embedded with a cleaning solution that gently removes the tarnish with no or minimal abrasion. Our choice are the Sunshine Jewelry Polishing Cloths for Sterling, Gold, Brass, Copper, and etc. These can be inexpensively purchased at Amazon.com.
A pin is a device used to fasten materials together. For example, Victorian Bar Pins were used to help hold a lady's collar together and worn at the top of the neck. A brooch is a decorative jewelry item. A brooch usually has a connotation of being a larger vintage estate piece. A brooch sometimes can be used as a pendant or to hold a scarf or piece of clothing.
We have many, many satisfied clients who are most ardent collectors of fine estate jewelry. Over and again we hear that they are moved to estate jewelry for the classic styling, design, and expert craftsmanship that is, frankly, no longer found in a mass-production jewelry marketplace. And yes, estate jewelry is most appropriate for gifting. Nothing can express your sentiment more than the care and thoughtfulness of searching for and finding a perfect and timeless keepsake celebrating and commemorating life events, special occasions, or holidays.
First some definitions
Natural gemstones are minerals that have been mined from the ground and cut into gemstones. They can be treated with different techniques to improve the color and clarity such as heating, but the main mineral must come from nature. Natural gemstones can take millions of years to create and people have been mesmerized by their beauty since the beginning of time.
Synthetic (opposed to Imitation or Simulant) gemstones are those which exactly mimic and are chemically identical to natural gemstones but are man made in a laboratory. Gems grown in a lab are identical to naturally occurring stones in every sense: chemically, physically, and optically. Costly and rare natural jewels, such as sapphire, emerald, and ruby, are favorite lab-created stones.
Whatever your consideration when buying jewelry, lab-created gems are always an excellent option.
Imitation or Simulant Gemstones
Imitation or simulants are gemstones that attempt to look like the real thing. The most common simulant or imitation gemstone found on the market are those that try to replicate a Diamond. Simulants such as synthetic Rutile or Strontium Titanate have been used for decades to try and replicate the sparkle of Diamond. Even though these gemstones are man made they do not have a natural counterpart and this is why they are not classified as high quality synthetics. Glass and plastic are other common imitations that can be found. Blue glass is often offered as blue Sapphire to unsuspecting buyers while plastic beads can be sold as natural pearls.
Aloha Estate Jewelry Policy
At Aloha Estate Jewelry where diamond is the principal gem, or the jewelry item advertised to be diamond, the piece will include only genuine, natural, earth mined, diamonds. Never synthetic, simulant, or imitation diamonds.
Where small "accent" stones, typically 1 millimeter in diameter or less, were used to highlight a colored gem (e.g., Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz) and found to be synthetic or simulant we will fully disclose this in the item description.
Our 14 day no-questions-asked return policy assures your complete satisfaction with every selection and acquisition of fine estate jewelry.
You may come across a piece of jewelry marked 14KP. At first blush many think this is 14 karat plated. But this is not the case.
The KP stands for "Karat Plumb." Obviously the Karat refers to the purity of the gold, while the plumb can be considered to mean 'exact', in the same way that a 'plumb' wall is exactly vertical or a 'plum' surface is exactly horizontal.
In gold bullion terms it means that the gold stamped with the KP is guaranteed to have a gold purity not less than indicated but could possibly be slightly more pure. So, for example, a bracelet stamped 14KP is guaranteed to contain 58.5% gold or more. Another bracelet stamped 585KP is also guaranteed to contain 58.5% pure gold or more. The KP stamp is designed to eliminate the non standard caratage tolerances that some markets allow for. In the USA, for example, gold can be sold at up to 0.5 carat more than it's actual gold content. So, a ring marked 14K can contain just 13.5 carats of gold. Furthermore, even though the USA only allows jewellery to be sold as gold with a minimum of 10 carats purity, the 0.5 carat leeway still applies and 9.5 carat is the actual minimum. So, as a consumer you'd be better off purchasing a ring stamped 10KP than a ring stamped 10K.
The majority of gold items will be marked with a gold purity stamp. Typically these will be 10k, 14k, and 18k. But what do these marks really mean? Pure gold is 24k. So if an item is 10k, 14k, or 18k the maker is saying that the gold content is 10/24ths, 14/24ths, or 18/24ths gold, the remaining portion being allow metals. As fractions 10k gold is .417 or 41.7%; 14k is .585 or 58.5%; 18k is .750 or 75%. It is also not uncommon, particularly for european made jewelry items, to see the mark represented as 417, 585, or 750.
From time to time we will post information about the genre of Estate Jewelry under topics such as gold purity, vintage gemstones, vintage jewelry making techniques, and more. If there's a topic you would like us to address, please reach out via our 'Contact' page.
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