Here is advice from Rob Van Beurden, our Antwerp diamond expert and Antwerp Diamond Bourse member.
How can I buy a diamond from you?
Why should a purchase from you be better than from others in London or New York?
How much should I spend?
Why do diamonds cost so much?
What type of diamond is good for investment value?
When is a diamond in the hand worth two in the shops?
Is there anything else that is important when choosing a diamond?
What is more important Diamond Colour or Diamond Clarity?
How does the HRD certificate compare with the GIA certificate?
Is the IGI certificate as reliable as GIA and HRD certificates?
What about diamond fluorescence?
How do I know if I am getting a fair price?
How can I see if a diamond is genuine?
How can you tell the difference between natural and synthetic diamonds?
How does Platinum compare with 18ct White Gold?
How should I clean diamond jewellery?
Will you take a diamond in part exchange?
What romantic proposal ideas have worked for others?
How can I buy a diamond from you?
- Tell us what it is that you are looking for by giving us a budget or specifying your preferred Cut, Carat, Colour, and Clarity . Fill out "Request a Price" or contact Celine Gouwy on email@example.com
- We will reply to you with all-inclusive prices forwell-Cut, certified diamonds.
- You can meet with us in London or Antwerp to view and select from loose diamonds.
We have an office in London: 2 Royal Exchange (opposite exit 4 of of Bank tube station) where we meet clients by appointment only. Our main diamond office and showroom are in the diamond district of Antwerp where we have membership of the Diamond Bourse, our Antwerp address is: Diamond House, Vesting Straat 59, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium.
Orders usually take 1-6 weeks to fulfil and require a 10% deposit.
- For visitors to Antwerp, we offer a night's free accommodation at the Antwerp Hilton - with no obligation other than to meet with us. Day one will give you a guided tour on diamonds. We will then show you several diamonds and settings that match your criteria and/or budget.
- We get people travelling in from all over the world to see us as we provide the best cut quality diamonds in custom designs at the lowest prices and with more guarantees than anyone else.
Why should a diamond purchase from you be any better than from others in London or New York?
- We buy from the source in Antwerp and give you the best quality diamonds directly thereby cutting out the middlemen who supply from Antwerp to London and New York
- Antwerp is the very source of the diamond trade with as much as almost 70% market share, in other words: a London or New York diamond most of the times is bought in Antwerp before it was put up for sale
- Antwerp has always been the only diamond city in the world with three diamond-cutting schools where young people are molded into the worlds finest craftsmen in diamond polishing. The Antwerp-cut is therefore known for it's finest sparkle!
We buy directly from diamond cutters in Antwerp and hand-make to order so that we are able to offer:
Why do diamonds cost so much?
Diamonds prices are governed by international diamond trade prices (like international gold or coffee prices) based on demand and supply. Ultimately, the reason that diamonds are luxury goods and hence expensive is that their supply is limited to what is found in nature. Only 15% of all diamonds that are mined are suitable for use in jewellery, the rest are used in industry for cutting tools, for semiconductors,.. etc. On average 50% of the rough diamond is lost when cutting a polished gem hence, diamond prices increase rapidly with carat weight. In other words, one needs to have found a good quality 2 carat rough diamond in order to end up with a final 1 carat diamond.
Do you have any advice on how much to spend and on what kind of diamond?
- As a rule of thumb two months salary is standard, however more or less is also fine for an engagement ring diamond.
Ever since I started the business I had my own ideas on how a diamond should look, to qualify for jewellery:
Colour: a diamond should be more than just white but not necessarily D colour (the best blue white). Anything between the colours 'E' (Exceptional white) and to 'H' (white) is to be considered, E (Exceptional white) ,F (Very very white) ,G (rare white) ,H (white) and even I (slightly off-white) are all considered very white and once set in a ring, one is hard to tell from the other
Clarity: a diamond should be far better than just eye-clean but should not necessarily be Internally Flawless. In my view, it is more the nature of the inclusion, than the degree of inclusion that is important. I would for example prefer a white VS2 with an inclusion on the side of the stone, to a more expensive VS1, that has a black spot right in the centre, the very heart of the diamond.
Cut: a diamond should be cut in Antwerp where you can find the best craftsmanship on the market : It's the cut that makes a diamond sparkle!
The setting: the choice of platinum, white or yellow gold is yours and should be based on your personal preference as well as matching your other jewellery.
Regardless of your preference in colour, clarity, size, or budget: Cut comes first. It is the cut that brings a diamond to life, that gives it its sparkle, its brilliance, its fire. No concessions there. A diamond should be cut within certain proportions, angles and percentages, to obtain the highest grades on certificates.
What type of diamond is good for investment value?
Diamond prices are based on demand and supply and that varies with many factors. In the past, 1+ carat high quality diamonds were sold sooner than bigger stones, today any diamond that is 4 carat upwards with high quality is sold within a day.... so, the bigger the better. In general, I would recommend buying DEF/VVS in 2ct + for the longer term, and the same quality in 1.10+ for the 3-5 year term. All this is based on buying from us at direct from Antwerp prices rather than from designer shops were no matter what diamond you buy you will lose ca. 50-70% as soon as you walk out of the door due to the retail margins.
When is a diamond in the hand worth two in the shops?
Since diamonds were first mined in ancient India over 2800 years ago, they have been associated with power, love, wealth and prestige. Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of the diamond and how it could connect love with eternity. Their belief was founded upon Vena Amoris (the vein of love) finger leading back to the heart. By wearing a diamond ring on the Vena Amoris, the ancient Egyptians passionately believed that eternal love could be achieved.
Even today, throughout much of the world, a diamond ring worn on the third finger is viewed as a symbol of the commitment of love. So having found the ‘love of your life’ how do you find the special diamond that is going to symbolise everlasting love?
To start with there is an amazing range of prices to consider from modest sums to telephone number figures that most of us can only dream of. What is more, diamond selling price is NOT the same as diamond value – the difference is the profits and overheads added of the seller! It is therefore advisable before making any purchase to find out a little more about diamonds and their intrinsic value so that you can have that diamond of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Whilst many people may have heard that a diamond’s value depends critically in terms of the 4Cs: the Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Colour, few really understand how this works in practice. The carat is the weight of a diamond. One carat is 0.2 gram or 200 milligrams and hence is easy to measure objectively with the help of an accurate weighing scale. This is not the case with the other attributes. It is unfortunate that people are often misled into paying too much for an inferior diamond because they do not understand the other more subjective attributes.
The most important and often least understood “C” is “Cut”. To get from the raw diamond to the finished cut sparkling gemstone requires the skilled hand of a master cutter. A rough or uncut diamond is rather unimpressive compared to the sparkling gems resulting from cutting and polishing!
The better the CUT proportions, the better the diamond handles light to create sparkle. Therefore CUT is the single most important factor affecting a diamond's brilliance and visual fire. However, “Cut” is often confused with diamond Shape.
Diamonds can be cut into many different shapes: 80-85% of all diamonds are cut into the round brilliant diamond shape as this is the most popular. About 5-10% of all diamonds are cut into the princess shape (a square shape) and the remaining 5-10% are spread between all the other shapes e.g. emerald cut, pear shape, oval, cushion, asscher, radiant, marquise, heart, baguette…etc.
The sad fact is that 75-80% of diamonds sold anywhere are poorly proportioned to retain carat weight rather to maximise sparkle as the average person and the average vendor sells them by the carat!
A well-cut diamond reflects maximum light and so sparkles the best.
Shallow-cut and deep-cut diamonds let the light escape at the sides or bottom. Shallow Deep
Poorly cut diamonds are actually worth up to 50% less than many vendors sell them at but unless you buy with expert advise you often end up paying more for these inferior diamonds. Hence, a diamond in the hand bought with expertise at a direct from trade low price may literally have a net value that is more than the value of higher price diamonds being sold in the shops!
With fancy shapes like hearts, pears, marquise, there are visual clues that even a novice can use to spot diamonds that are too fat, too thin or too irregular. For example, only one of the five diamonds below is well-cut!
However, more expertise is required to judge the most popular shape, the round brilliant.
All round diamonds have the same visually round shape but will differ in their angles, proportions and depths that are not visually apparent especially when the diamond is already set in a piece of jewellery rather than being loose. For the round shape, the solution is to buy diamonds with the highest grades for Cut proportions on independent certificates from the three most reputable independent laboratories i.e. GIA, HRD and IGI. Many other certificates are not worth the paper they are written on as they are either not strict enough in their grading (e.g. EGL) or not fully independent.
Another critical factor affecting diamond value is “Colour”. Most diamonds are referred to as “colourless” which in diamond terminology ranges from actually colourless to yellowish shades. The difference between various colour grades makes a critical difference to value though the differences in shade are very subtle requiring expertise to judge when the diamond is loose. Few people realise that it is impossible to accurately asses a diamond’s colour when the diamond is already set in jewellery.
The colour scale starts at D (the best blue white) and goes through to Z:
The difference between adjacent colours is very small in the top grades but has a big impact on price:
A very tiny percentage of diamonds have other distinct colours e.g. blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, or red. Such fancy coloured diamonds command telephone figure prices in line with their rarity. The picture below shows fancy colour diamonds, courtsey of the HRD:
Diamond Clarity is the remaining C and refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections in a diamond. Almost all diamonds have some imperfections as individual as the person who wears the diamond. These characteristics help to separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and give identity to individual stones. For the purposes of jewellery, diamonds are graded by the amount of imperfections that can be seen at x10 magnification with a jeweller’s magnifying glass. This is the easiest factor for most people to understand and appreciate especially when viewing a diamond close up under magnification.
Historically, the shops whether prestigious ones like Cartier and Tiffany to more modest independent retailers have been popular for their choice and convenience as well as their instant fulfilment. However, branded shops have higher margins, often charging as much as 2-3 times the diamond trade price, to cover their higher costs of advertising/branding and high stock levels. Even modest non-branded retailers often charge double the trade price to cover their stock and premises overheads.
Hence, many shrewd shoppers nowadays prefer to purchase from diamond brokers (e.g. www.bestdiamonds.co.uk or www.designsbyindigo.co.uk) who can sell with expertise from loose diamonds as well as provide non-retail trade prices. Such diamond brokers provide a more personalised service by cherry-picking diamonds to suit their clients budget and needs rather than just selling “stock”.
On the whole diamond brokers like these are still relatively few compared to the growth of online “diamond bucket shops” where one can simply click and order from a list of diamonds. Many mass-market shoppers are turning to these bucket shops for the convenience of buying via their computer screen from which they can look at pictures of thousands of items online and place their order without ever talking to a human.
Typically, such mass-market diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and let the shopper pick the diamond they want based on the specifications in the list. The shopper pays for the diamond in advance and then the wholesaler or the retailer ships the diamond to the consumer. Due to their low overhead costs, diamond bucket shops can provide lower prices than most branded or independent jewellery shops.
The disadvantage of this style of bucket retailer is that there are few safeguards in place to keep the consumer from making a mistake and paying a low price but one that may still be too much for an overall low value diamond! Picking the least expensive diamond from an online list of options often means there is something less desirable about the diamond. After all, the majority of diamonds produced and sold without expertise are the ones with less than ideal cut proportions for example!
To determine which company is going to be the best supplier for your diamonds, know what characteristics are most important to you. If you want a branded diamond and instant fulfilment and do not mind paying the higher overhead charge then the branded shops are the way to go. If you want to choose from loose diamonds with expert advice at trade prices then a diamond broker should be your route. If quality is not important then any other routes are your option.
Is there anything else that is important in choosing a diamond?
- Absolutely! First of all, a diamond should be accompanied by one of the world's three leading certificates: The HRD or IGI in Antwerp and the USA-based GIA.
- The most important thing about these laboratories is the fact they are impartial in their examination (yet, not all are impartial, unfortunately!). This ensures the stone will get the true grade if the grader sees fit to give it. Some other certifications may be less accurate.
- You should inform yourself about the priorities you set to your diamond's budget. Do you prefer colour to clarity? Do you prefer size to colour and clarity or will you go for the very top?
In any case, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the cut should be perfect to near perfect!
The reason is simple: cut is what you see!
I would even go as far as to state that it is sometimes better to buy a lower quality diamond with a perfect cut than to buy a quality gem with a poor cut.
- I recommend NOT to buy any carat weight that ends in .00 such as 1.00ct or 2.00ct. We, the diamond traders look at these stones with suspicion because most of the times the polisher has had instructions to do whatever necessary to keep the stone from becoming 0.99 or 1.99 ct.
I have seen many diamonds that still had a bit unpolished (rough) just to maintain the commercially interesting 1.00 carat or 2.00 carat weight!
- Fluorescence. Diamonds can glow in ultraviolet light - have fluorescence - and even though I prefer 'none' to 'slight', this is not an obstacle for me when I purchase my diamonds.
"Medium" to "Strong" fluorescence will make your diamond appear "overblue" - such diamonds used to be prized in the past as the best diamond colour D is a "Blue white". You should be careful to inspect the diamond first as sometimes "Strong" fluorescence can cause the diamond to appear milky white/hazy in daylight. However, medium fluorescence diamonds may be a good purchase if you like your diamonds to be overblue as this will make any diamond face-up whiter. This is a particular advantage for diamond of colour I (slightly offwhite) and below. Here is a summary from GIA study on this subject :
"Some gem diamonds fluoresce, most commonly blue, to the concentrated long-wave ultraviolet radiation of a UV lamp. There is a perception in
the trade that this fluorescence has a negative effect on the overall appearance of such a diamond. Visual observation experiments were conducted to study this relationship. Four sets of very similar round brilliant diamonds, covering the color range from colorless to faint yellow,
were selected for the different commonly encountered strengths of blue fluorescence they represented. These diamonds were then observed
by trained graders, trade professionals, and average observers in various stone positions and lighting environments. For the average observer,
meant to represent the jewelry buying public, no systematic effects of fluorescence were detected. Even the experienced observers did not consistently agree on the effects of fluorescence from one stone to the next. In general, the results revealed that strongly blue fluorescent diamonds were perceived to have a better color appearance when viewed table-up, with no discernible trend table-down. Most observers saw no relationship between fluorescence and transparency." For more information see http://www.gia.edu/pdfs/W97_fluoresce.pdf which is the results of GIA research on this subject.
What is more important Colour or Clarity?
The colour scale goes from D to Z where D is the whitest of the white and hence most expensive. However, colours between E to H are regarded as very white and its hard to tell the difference in colour between these when a diamond is set. Many ordinary people can observe colour with the naked eye more easily than diamond clarity. For example, if you take diamond with I or J colours set in white gold or platinum, most people can tell that the diamond looks a little "off-white" especially if you see the diamond next to others that are whiter. If I and J colour stones are set in yellow gold then its harder to tell that they are not pure white. However, diamond colour becomes more noticable as the size of the stone increases.
If a diamond has a slight blue fluorescence, it could make your H color (or I or J for that matter) look more white, so this is something to take into consideration. Also, if the stone is very well cut, it will make both the clarity as well as the colour look better.
A well-cut stone in a true SI1 will look no different to the naked eye than a VS2. However, once you have identified an inclusion in an SI2 quality diamond with a loupe (magnifying lens), you may be able to home in on that inclusion without the loupe if you know where it is and therefore you know where to look. However, people who do not have a loupe will not be able to see any visible flaw.
Re. clarity, this is not a factor you can readily judge without looking at the diamond under magnification so it is really up to you if you want to pay the difference for higher than eyeclean (SI1) stones.
For some people just knowing that their diamond is a very high clarity (e.g. VVS1 clarity) or a very white colour (e.g. F colour) is important even if the differences cannot be seen with the naked eye. Only you can decide for yourself if knowing something on paper that cannot be seen to the naked eye is worth spending the extra money. If going lower in grading, even if it can't be seen to the naked eye, is going to bother you it is probably a wise idea to go ahead and spend the extra money to have the better specifications on paper because, and I say this from experience, it will always bother you and you will ultimately spend the money to upgrade the stone at a a later date which will ultimately cost you more than the initial purchase of the better stone. Just something to consider.
How does Platinum compare with White Gold?
What about weight/feel?
Inch for inch heavier and denser metal so it feels heavier than gold
Inch for inch lighter
What about scratching?
Scratches more easily if set in a design where there are lots high polish areas. Before platinum made its comeback in the early 90's most platinum rings were finely hand engraved and/or set with pave diamonds. So there were very little high polish areas. With this type of design platinum rings need little maintenance to keep their beautiful look as the pave diamonds continue to sparkle over time and even the inner portions of the engraved areas are beneath the surface and also maintain their polish. On the other hand rings with large areas of high polish are going to need constant refinishing to maintain their original highly polished look.
Maintains it’s sheen longer than platinum
Which one is more durable? Both are durable but platinum is more so than gold
More durable than gold – lasts over many generations
Gold will last a lifetime though it wears thin over time and the shank may have to eventually be replaced
What about colour? Some people like platinum whilst others feel that it can appear dull grey compared to the sheen of white gold
Maintains the same colour forever. White is the natural colour of platinum
May eventually tinge to a very light yellow though white gold is easily re-plated with rhodium
White colour is induced by alloying yellow gold with a white metal. We use palladium in our white gold. Palladium is in the same group of elements as platinum and is ounce for ounce more expensive than platinum. Other jewellers may use other metals in the alloying.
What about cost? Platinum is more expensive though when considering the total cost of an engagement ring, the extra cost for platinum is considered by many as insignificant in relation to the whole cost.
Price is more than gold as platinum is rarer. Platinum is rarer. To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tonnes of ore must be mined. In comparison, only 3 tonnes of gold are required to produce one ounce of gold.
Price is less expensive compared to platinum.
What about maintenance? Neither metal will always look new. Both need eventual maintenance one way or another.
Over time, long-term maintenance on platinum involves visits for re-polishing.
Over time, maintenance on white gold rings can include re-polishing, re-plating (rhodium finish), and/or eventual replacement of shank.
How should I clean diamond jewellery?
Here are some general guidelines for the care and cleaning of your diamonds:
- Avoid wearing your diamonds while doing housework, gardening or any other kind of rough work. Even though a diamond is extremely durable, a hard blow could chip it.
- Do not place your fingers directly on top of the diamond as oils in your skin will dull the shine (a little like leaving fingermarks on photos)
- Take off your diamond jewellery when putting on any hand creams as the oils in the creams will again make your diamond dull.
Unless you regularly clean your diamond jewellery even the best cut and colour diamond will look dull and dark. Easy ways to clean your diamonds are listed below. These methods should NOT be used for any other kind of gems as no other gem is as durable as a diamond:
- With an electric toothbrush (any tiny remnant of toothpaste is fine) under a running water, using the toothbrush to get to the hard to reach places behind the diamond. Avoid using the toothbrush on highly polished areas of the jewellery (as it could cause scratches on the metal parts) focussing as much as possible on the diamond areas
- Or in a pan of water with a bit of any mild washing up liquid, pop the diamond item into the pan of water and bring to the boil for 1-2 minutes. Take out the diamond jewellery and allow to come to room temperature. Then, brush the item with a soft brush especially at the back of the diamond, then transfer them to a wire or tea strainer and rinse with warm water. Pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
- Or using an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner (the boiling water method mimics the cleaning action of an ultrasonic cleaner). How can I see if a diamond is genuine?
Approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed in order to produce a single, one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond.
Millions of years in the making. What many people don’t know about diamonds is that they were formed under immense heat and pressure hundreds of miles below sea level. After 100 million years of formation, volcanic explosions forced them upward, exposing their natural beauty to the world. Diamonds were formed more than 70 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today. Rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are the hardest substances on earth, but their appeal goes far beyond durability.
By contrast, cubic zirconia are relatively inexpensive as they are man-made and you can have as many as you like i.e. their supply is not limited.
- higher quality diamonds (including premier cut and ideal cut diamonds) that meet your Cut, Carat, Colour, and Clarity criteria
- individual handmade designs tailored to suit your particular tastes
- competitive prices, typically saving about 50% when compared many fine designer shops
- the biggest selection of diamonds from the largest diamond marketplace:
- the best quality, premium cut diamonds at direct from Antwerp prices combined with individual, tailored designs.
All our diamonds (from 0.5 carat upwards) are accompanied by a worldwide accepted diamond certificate (e.g. HRD, GIA or IGI) and are hand-picked to select only well-cut diamonds as it's the diamond Cut proportions which determine how well a diamond will sparkle.
We specialise in classic and tailor-made designs that are not readily found in one place in the UK.
Our clients are those who typically want quality, tailor-made pieces at competitive prices.
For people who want all the quality and style of the prestigious designer shops and twice the diamond or half the price combined with personalised service where each piece is individually tailored.
We also offer more independent guarantees for diamonds than anyone else in the UK. See what our clients say about us.
As we have a team of in-house designers and goldsmiths – we can design and create any style of jewellery that you like. Bespoke design and making is our standard and incurs no extra cost as we provide the jewelery-making at cost as an added-value service to our diamond clients.
There are now many online diamond vendors selling certified diamonds and there are also fine designers who tailormake - we are the only ones to combine both services in one place so that you can get the best quality, premium cut diamonds in individual designs for a direct from Antwerp price with local accountability and convenience in the UK.
The sad fact is, 75% of all round brilliant cut diamonds and 88% of all other fancy cut diamond shapes on the market are poorly proportioned to retain carat weight rather to maximise sparkle. In contrast, we handpick our diamonds to maximise cut. All our diamonds have the highest grades for Cut proportions on independent diamond grading certificates - so no concessions here.
My honest answer: You can NOT! You need to be an expert and use specialized equipment to make sure a diamond is real. Do not trust ideas like scratching a beer bottle (it may damage the diamond too), thermal conductivity ( conducts equally well), looking through, comparing weight, etc.
If the diamond is accompanied by a certificate you will know it is real and if it is treated artificially or not.
Tip:If you can not easily find inclusions under a 10 times magnification you should become suspicious, most likely it is not a real diamond. But be aware of the fact that some gas bubbles in cubic zirconium may appear like inclusions if you do not look carefully.
How does the HRD certificate compare to GIA certificate?
- GIA is the oldest lab and so has become the most well-recognised and reputed, especially in the U.S. On the other hand, HRD whilst well-regarded by the diamond community in Europe, is a rather unknown report in the U.S. Whilst HRD and GIA differ ever so slightly in systems of grading both strive to conform to their own system and overall, they both do good and comparable jobs. You should to be able to buy a diamond with a high degree of confidence with either lab's report.
- Here are some of the differences that have been observed by a fellow diamond professional in Antwerp when working with both GIA and HRD certificates for the same diamond:
"Colour-grading: Experience with both labs teaches me, that in the very high colours (D-E-F), HRD is generally more strict than GIA. In Antwerp, I try to buy specific HRD higher range E-colours, and very often, I get a GIA D-grade for them. The other differences between the two labs are minimal.
Clarity-grading: GIA is generally slightly stricter in clarity-grading than HRD. For borderline-impurities, GIA will give one clarity lower than HRD.
Proportion-grading for round brilliant diamonds. GIA did not use to give a grade on proportions but introduced a new cut grading system from January 2006, whereas HRD has been operating a cut grading system for many years where prior to 2009, the highest grade for cut proportions for round brilliant diamonds was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry which are the same factors as GIA grades. The polish describes the finish of the facets, while the proportions determine the brilliancy and the fire of the diamond. The symmetry describes the variations of the different parameters that define the proportions. For diamond professionals, the range of grades (Excellent and Very Good are the top two grades in both GIA and HRD certificates) from both these labs is too broad to be really useful however, some information on this is better than no information at all.
Symmetry- and Polish-grading. GIA gives separate gradings for Symmetry and Polish, with the highest possible being 'Excellent', while before January 2009, HRD used to combine Symmetry and Polish into a Finish-grade where the highest possible grade was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry separately which are the same factors as GIA grades separately.
Detailed information. GIA gives you table size, total depth, while HRD gives you table size, crown height and pavillion depth, while you can calculate total depth yourself from the measurements. When giving girdle size, HRD uses another notation than GIA, and because of that the girdle will appear about 1.7% thicker on a HRD-report than on a GIA-report.
These are the main differences. Now to politics. Working in Antwerp, and having thousands of HRD-reports available here, I do not understand why HRD does not do a better job of promoting its report in the U.S. I fear that politics is the reason behind this. A few years ago, GIA was apparently preparing to set up a lab in Antwerp. Somehow, this lab has never started, and HRD is now heavily promoting its report in Canada, Dubai, the Far East, but not in the U.S. Could there be some kind of gentleman's agreement between the two labs? "
Is the IGI certificate as reliable as GIA or HRD certificate?
The International Federation of Diamond Bourses in their 1978 report accepts IGI as an equal to the longer existing GIA or HRD. Being a newcomer in those days, IGI was being looked at with suspicion, and that is why - even nowadays - some people still refer to IGI as a lab too young to be good. Ironically, IGI today faces more discussions with dis-satisfied diamond dealers than HRD or GIA does, for it is their feeling that IGI's grading system has become too severe, both for colour as for clarity.
According to some diamond websites, the impression is given that GIA is the 'only' consistent grader: however, GIA's main share holder is Mr Robert Mouawad who is involved in many a diamond company. This has given some people in the diamond community more than once the feeling that a conflict of interest could arise from this potental mix of diamond selling with diamond grading. The recent GIA scandal in 2005 of diamond misgradings for some very large diamonds will do nothing to quell such concerns.
Neither HRD, nor IGI houses shareholders that operate in commercial diamond activities. This emphasizes their status of independence.
As for consistency of IGI grading:
August 26, 2003 IGI Becomes First International Gemological Lab to Become ISO 9001:2000 Certified
IGI Awarded Certification in Both the United States and Canada
NEW YORK – The International Gemological Institute (IGI) today announced its Los Angeles and Toronto labs were granted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 certification for operating a quality management system in the scope of independent third party analysis of diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry articles.
ISO is a network of national standards institutes from more than 140 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives to more directly link business objectives with business effectiveness.
ISO 9000 is a generic name given to a family of standards developed to provide a framework around which a quality management system can effectively be based. The ISO 9000 family of standards was revised in December 2000.
According to IGI North America President, Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A., "This is a milestone for IGI. The ISO 9001 certification emphasizes the Institute’s continued commitment to provide clients with the highest quality of services available. It demonstrates that IGI is dedicated to excellence in every phase of its business operations."
To be certified to the standard, companies must implement a quality management system that accounts for a range of company activities, including staff training, meeting customer requirements and delivering services. This is done using Plan-Do-Check-Act principles and Process Management, which outlines the steps taken to provide customers the services pledged by the company.
As part of the ISO process, a third party auditor performed on-site assessments in both the Toronto and Los Angeles labs’ documented procedures, and audited its overall operations. To ensure continued compliance with ISO 9001:2000 and to provide feedback internally on process effectiveness, IGI business operations will be independently assessed by periodic routine surveillance audits.
The International Gemological Institute, the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and valuating gemstones and fine jewelry, was established in 1975 and is located in New York City, Antwerp, Toronto, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Mumbai (Bombay), Dubai and Tokyo. IGI can be reached at www.igiworldwide.com.
How can you tell the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds?
A GIA, HRD or IGI certificate will confirm that your diamond is natural.
"Detection of synthetic diamonds is no longer a concern for the jewelry industry. That was a key good-news message presented by Dr. James Shigley, director of research for the Gemological Institute of America, during GIA's GemFest Basel, part of the BaselWorld 2005 trade fair.
Synthetic diamonds first became a concern in 1970, when General Electric launched its first attempt at them, but the issue has come to the fore again in the past few years with the advent of several new producers and an article touted synthetics on the cover of Wired magazine.
But there is no known commercial production of colorless synthetics, said Shigley. Furthermore, synthetic diamonds have a unique crystal morphology due to how they're grown in a laboratory. Their growth process produces a distinct color zoning feature that gives the stones identifying characteristic. They also have a distinct graining pattern and sometimes have metallic inclusions left from the flux used in the growing process.
In addition, diamonds produced by carbon vapor deposition don't pose a threat to the market, he said. To date, all specimens GIA has seen from CVD producer Apollo were under a carat, and the process produces light brown stones, requiring further (HPHT) treatment to lighten them.
There may in the future be a joining of the two methods, whereby a CVD diamond is grown on a synthetic diamond substrate, but these stones would also be detectable, Shigley said."
Synthetic diamonds made by Gemesis are bright colours like yellow and spartan green.
Will you take a diamond in part exchange?
Yes. We will need to evaluate your existing diamond first. The only way we can do that is to study your stone with our specialist equipment in our Antwerp workshop. You are welcome to meet with us in London and we will give you a FREE evaluation after we have examined the diamond in Antwerp - we will return it to you in London. Alternatively, you can come and visit us directly in Antwerp where we will be able to give you a same day evaluation.
The diamond market does not seem transparent to me. How do I know that I am getting a fair deal?
I will tell you more: even to 90% of all jewellers this diamond market is not transparent at all!
It therefore takes a good deal of informing yourself about where to pay attention to, as I stated in the previous answer.
Always bear in mind that when you think you can do the diamond deal of your life, you always get what you pay for!
Fair prices exist like on this site, bargains do not, despite many others who may try to convince you otherwise.
For further information see Diamonds Glossary.