Monday 1 February 2016

A Guy's Guide on How to Buy an Engagement Ring: Part 2

When you want to wow your fiancĂ©-to-be with just the perfect ring, it is best to understand diamonds beyond the 4Cs. If you need a refresher on the 4 C’s, check Part 1 of the guide before reading this.

Lab Report (Sometimes called Certification)

Always buy diamonds that have been graded by gemological labs like the AGS or the GIA. How do you know whether the diamonds have a grading report? Just ask, “Is this diamond graded by GIA or AGS?” The diamonds should always be accompanied by the grading report. If you're doing your engagement ring shopping online, many retailers upload the report online. Simply put –you know what you're buying when you choose lab-graded diamonds. These labs are independent institutions that grade diamonds without any bias. So, the rating is impartial.

 It is easy to read these reports. They state the cut grade, color grade and clarity grade of your diamond along with the carat weight. The GIA also has the grading scale on the report so it's easy to refer to it. The report will also include grades for other factors like polish and symmetry. These terms relate to the way facets are cut on a diamond. Besides these factors, the report also has the proportions of your diamond. This brings us to the next point – The Proportions.

The Proportions: Anatomy of a Diamond

The sparkle or the 'light performance' of the diamond is based on the way it is cut. If you read Part 1 then you know just how important this is!  You many notice that all diamonds sparkle beautifully in a store. The bright store lights are designed in such a way to enhance the brilliance of all diamonds. So, how do you know if your diamond will still have that 'bling' when you bring it home?

This image shows the anatomy of a round brilliant cut diamond. The table ratio, the depth and the angles of the crown and pavilion all go together into determining how the diamond will sparkle. These details are mentioned on the grading report. 

Insider Tip: So, what do you do with these numbers? You will find a tool online called the Holloway Cut Advisor. It is a free online cut grading tool that is patented. Input the numbers from the grading report to find the score. Diamonds within the 0 to 2 range are considered as excellent. The wonderful thing about using this tool is that it is scientific, no artificial lights or pushy sales agents. 

ASET Images

What is a diamond ASET image? The Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool® (ASET) was developed by the American Gem Society. It looks a bit like a jeweler's loupe and can bought online. When a diamond is viewed through this tool, the resulting image shows how the diamond returns light using a color dispersion technique. 

An ASET image has red, green, blue and white in it. Red shows areas in a diamond where the light is reflected from angles which favor intensity and brilliance, green represents areas from angles which will return light with less intensity. The blue (sometimes black) areas are a reflection of the dark camera lens. What you should do not want to see are large black areas that are not part of the arrow pattern, or white areas which show light ‘leaking’ from the diamond, meaning it will fail to sparkle. So, in simple terms, the ASET image of your diamond should show plenty of red.

Insider Tip: So, how does this help you? The cut, color and clarity grades stated on grading reports help you narrow down your diamond search. Use the HCA tool and ASET images to buy the perfect diamond from your list.

Think of choosing the diamond as a series of tests that get progressively harder to pass. First, you have the cut, color and clarity grade. By browsing diamonds with excellent cut grade, clarity range of FL to VS2 and a color grade range of D to H, you narrow down the search considerably. Further, the HCA tool helps you narrow down the list of eligible diamonds. And finally, the ASET images can help you choose the perfect diamond as it shows the light performance or the brilliance.   

Let's take a look at two diamonds graded by the GIA. Both the diamonds are graded as GIA excellent cut but the ASET shows the difference between light performance or the sparkle. 

Here you see green in various places throughout the diamond – areas of less intensity
Here there is some white that shows up where you would like to see only solid red – this indicates “leakage”

Here you see green at facet junction’s and in the center of the table – perfectly normal 
The only white that shows up is at facet junctions – also normal
The Red throughout this ASET means a great performing diamond.

Insider Tip:  ASET images are either ‘backlit’ meaning the image shows the leakage as white – this is most telling environment in which to view ASET images, or the images are not-backlit where the leakage shows up as black.  Both methods show the same information, but it is sometimes easier to conceal flaws in the non-backlit pictures.

Before knowing this, all diamonds in engagement rings may have looked the same to you – shiny. Now, we are sure you will be able to find a 'top-performing' diamond for your engagement ring with these insider tips.Impress your partner with your newfound knowledge and buy her a diamond she will always treasure.  

Insider Tip: Many online jewelers take the guess work out this by offering “Branded” diamonds.  At B2CJewels this is the “Perfection cut for Performance” line of diamonds. Each individual diamond in this line has been evaluated as a GIA XXX or AGS Ideal cut diamond, the HCA and proportions examined, and the ASET picture verified. This can save you, the consumer, a tremendous amount of time and energy as you know, when selecting one of these diamonds, that it is a top-performer.


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