How much do you really know about the expensive jewellery you purchase? We hope you find the information here on the different aspects of jewellery and tips on how to take care of them insightful and useful.
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Gold is widely considered as aspicious metal. It’s warm yellowish tones, its elegance and its luxuriousness, make it the most sought-after precious metal today. Man has been using gold to fashion jewellery for thousands of years, mainly due to its versatility and striking appearance. In its pure form, gold is a Dense, Soft, Shiny, Malleable and Ductile to increase its sturdiness and strength. These metals can additionally enhance gold's color and sheen. The different metals mixed with gold determine its purity, or karat weight, and its diverse tones which can range from black, rose and purple to grey, yellow and white. Although the prices of some platinum group metals can be much higher, gold has long been considered the most desirable of precious metals, and its value has been used as the standard for many currencies. Gold has been used as a symbol for purity, value, royalty, and particularly roles that combine these properties. Gold is a sign of wealth and prestige.
View GRT Jewellers's beautiful collection of Gold Jewellery.
The purity of gold is typically expressed in karats (k or kt), not to be confused with diamond carats. Real gold ranges in purity from 10kt to 18 kt, 22kt, 24 kt being approximately 99% pure gold. Gold purity can also be expressed as "fineness" which measures the purity of gold in 1,000 parts. 990 gold fineness, for example, indicates 99% pure gold.
Naturally Gold has a warm Yellowish color Depending on the alloy mix and Gold polish, Gold may take on a variety of different colors. The two most popular colors of gold are yellow gold and white gold.
Yellow gold is the most common and familiar gold color on the market,18kt, 22kt and 24kt are the most common purity grades. While 18 karat gold is considered to be more warm and radian, 22kt is the Dominating purity to Buy.
White gold is perhaps the most popular color of gold today. White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese or palladium. Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in karats. White gold's properties vary depending on the metals and proportions used.
To keep your gold wedding rings or engagement rings looking like new, it is important to remove gold jewellery items when participating in any activity that could scratch, chip or damage them. Always store your gold jewellery in their original containers, soft pouches or cloth-lined jewellery boxes. To clean your jewellery, simply soak it in a mild solution of warm soapy water. If necessary, scrub with a soft-bristled brush such as a toothbrush. Then dry your gold jewellery with a clean, soft, dry cloth. Never use paper towel or rough, thready rags.
A concise glossary of the jewelry industry's most popular gemstone types. Click on the name of your preferered gemstone to read more about its origins and properties.
For a list of birthstones, anniversary stones or zodiac stones, visit our Gemstone Occasions page where you'll find a detailed Birthstone Table and Anniversary Stone chart.
A unique variety of the quartz family, agate is relatively common and affordable. It has an average hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale. Agate is known for the multicolored bands that might be likened to tiger stripes or tree rings. This beautiful feature is what makes agate such a popular gemstone. Some evidence shows that agate has been used by Human beings for up to 15,000 years. Today Agate is mined in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, India, Africa and a number of other countries.
A variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, top quality alexandrite is very rare and very valuable. At 8.5 on the Mohs scale, its hardness is considered to be relatively good. High quality alexandrite dramatically changes color from green in fluorescent light and daylight to purplish red in incandescent light. Discovered in Russia in 1830 and named after Czar Alexander II, it was soon adopted as the national stone of Russia. Its colors correspond to the Russian imperial colors. Other forms of alexandrite are mined in Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. Alexandrite is also an alternative June birthstone in the United States.
A variety of the quartz family, amethyst is considered to be common and affordable. This colored stone has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, and varies in color from light lilac to deep purple. Amethyst can be very sensitive to heat and sunlight. It may lose all of its color when exposed to strong UV rays for extended periods of time. Amethyst was believed by many cultures to possess various supernatural beneficial properties such as promoting piety and preventing alcohol intoxication. Mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia, small amounts are also found in the United States. It is the February birthstone in the US.
A variety of the beryl mineral, aquamarine is named for its sea-like color, which can range from pastel blue, to deep blue, to greenish or yellowish blue. Deep blue aquamarine stones are considered to be the most valuable of their kind. Aquamarine has a good hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. It is frequently used in modern designs and is believed to be a lucky stone in several cultures. It is mined mainly in Brazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Madagascar, and is the March birthstone in the United States.
A variety of the quartz family, black onyx is a popular, common and affordable gemstone. This beautiful black stone has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. Although black onyx is known for its deep black color, it may display bands of white. Sardonyx is a form of onyx which varies in color from white, to red or reddish brown. Black onyx can be found in the US, Brazil, India, Pakistan and Madagascar. It is the Zodiac stone for Capricorns.
A member of the quartz family, citrine is typically more affordable than amethyst. This bright gemstone has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. Its color ranges from bright yellow to honey and orange-brown. The name citrine comes from the French word for lemon, appropriately describing this colored stone's warm, inviting hue. It is mined in Brazil and Bolivia, where it is common and plentiful. Citrine is frequently exposed to heat enhancement in order to improve or modify its color. It is an alternative November birthstone in the United States.
Coral is an organic gemstone. Genuine, untreated coral is very rare and therefore very valuable. It is extremely delicate, its hardness measuring at approximately 3.5-4 on the Mohs scale. Coral is composed of calcium carbonate, which is secreted by small sea polyps in order to create their own natural protective habitat. Commercial coral is never harvested from protected reefs or banks, and harvesters have recently become more careful with their harvesting methods, dispatching professional divers to carefully collect coral branches so as to avoid damaging the sea organisms within. Most coral used in jewellery comes from Sicily or Sardinia. Coral ranges in color from reds and oranges to whites and even blues.
The emerald is a member of the beryl family. It is very rare and commands relatively high prices on the market. Because inclusion-free emeralds are extremely infrequent, the detection of inclusions minimally impacts the value of an emerald, if at all; only very severe and deep inclusions will reduce an emerald's value. The most highly-priced emeralds exhibit a bright grass-like green. Emeralds have a very good hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. They are known worldwide for their exquisite green hue and have been embraced by mankind for over 4,000 years. Mentions of emeralds appear in the myths, legends and rituals of the Incas, the Egyptians, the Indian Moguls and the Ancient Greeks. They are believed by many cultures to have positive supernatural powers. Their green color can range from a very light yellowish green to a deep, dark, sometimes bluish tint. Currently, most emeralds are mined in Columbia, Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Madagascar. The emerald is the May birthstone in the United States.
Garnet is the name of an entire family of stones that can be found in a wide spectrum of colors. The value of any garnet depends entirely on color, size and corresponding rarity. While deep red is the most common, affordable and traditional garnet color, garnets may range from green, orange, and yellow to earthier sepia hues; they come in almost every color, other than blue. Garnets have a good hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. These gemstones have been valued by mankind for thousands of years and are mentioned most famously in the story of Noah's Ark. Garnets in common colors hail from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Africa and the United States, while the more exotic garnet colors are mined in East Africa and Russia. The garnet is the January birthstone in the United States.
Jade is an umbrella term for two stones: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite displays colors which include green, white, pink, red, black, brown, and violet. Nephrite typically displays mid to dark green or gray-green, but it can also be white, yellowish, or reddish. Only the finest jades have evenly distributed color. Jade has been valued by both Eastern and Western countries for over 7,000 years. It is considered an especially precious symbol of royalty, compassion, goodness, beauty, modesty and more. Jades have an average hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, but they are extremely tough. Because of this toughness, jades have been used by early civilizations to make knives, axes, tools and weaponry. They are well known for being an effective remedy for kidney ailments. The word jadeite originated from the Spanish 'piedra de ijada', and the word nephrite originated from the Latin' lapis nephriticus', both meaning 'loin stone.'
Lapis Lazuli has been used for over 6,000 years as an ornamental gemstone, and is known worldwide for its breathtakingly deep blue color. The name of the stone is a combination of Latin and Arabic words meaning 'blue stone.' Lapis Lazuli has a hardness of 5-6 on the Mohs scale; it is sensitive to extreme conditions, but can also be ground into a powder as a base for watercolors, oil-paints and tempera paints. This beautiful stone is believed to symbolize friendship and truth.
Moonstone is a member of the large feldspar family of minerals which includes about two-thirds of all stones on earth. It has a hardness of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale, and exhibits a wide range of colors from green, brown, yellow, gray pink, rainbow, and colorless to very rare blues. High quality moonstones display a bluish luster. Generally thought to resemble moonshine, the token characteristic of the moonstone is its white shimmery glow. History holds that the Romans and Hindus thought the stone was formed from actual pieces of moonlight, and many still believe that the future may be seen in its ethereal glimmer. The unique blue-glow of light that slides across the surface of the stone is caused by a type of light refraction called adularescence. Most moonstones come from Sri Lanka, but some are mined in India, Burma, Mexico and Madagascar. The moonstone is the June birthstone in Europe.
The word opal originates from the Greek 'opallos,' meaning ' color change,' referring to the color of the opal which seems to vary when tilted under light. This phenomenon occurs due to an internal diffraction of light which disperses a spectrum of iridescent colors. The opal family is well known for its special rainbow color play, and is available in an almost infinite array of hues including black, white, colorless, yellow, reddish, green, blue and multi-colored. The opal has an average hardness of 5.5-6 on the Mohs scale. A myriad of superstitious legends exist regarding the origin of opals and the supernatural powers that these stones may possess. The main origin of the opal is Australia, with Mexico and the US serving as its secondary sources. Opal is the October birthstone in the United States.
The most valuable of all organic gemstones, pearls are created when an oyster senses an irritant within its soft shelled mouth and then coats it with layers of nacre. Today, almost all pearls on the market are cultured by artificially introducing a small bead or shell into the mouth of an oyster. The majority of pearls are cultured in Japan, but many are harvested in China and the South Pacific. Pearls range in size, shape and color: some are large, round and white while others are small, amorphous, and black. Pearls have always been considered classic gemstones, symbolic of beauty and dignity. The pearl is the zodiac gemstone for Cancer. Learn more about pearl types and characteristics in our Pearl Education pages.
A member of the olivine family, peridot comes in a variety of shades of green. The signature lime-green peridot is a characteristic of the mineral itself, rather than that of a foreign element. Peridot is one of the sole gemstones that can be found in only one color. It has a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale. It is believed by some that peridot enhances the effectiveness of any medicine. According to others, peridot protects against nightmares. An indigenous Hawaiian myth suggests that a peridot stone is a tear of Pele, the Hawaiian fire and volcano goddess. Most peridot is mined in Arizona; other sources being China, Burma, and Pakistan. Peridot is the August birthstone in the United States.
Ruby is the red manifestation of corundum; all other colors of corundum are referred to as sapphire. Due to its durability, brilliance and bewitching red color, it has for thousands of years been considered to be one of the most valuable gemstones. Larger rubies, being rarer, command the highest prices. This precious gemstone has a very good hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Owing to its red color, the ruby is commonly associated with passion, love, power, warmth, blood, and fire. Rubies have been worn by warriors to give them courage, by kings to give them power, and have been gifted as an expression of undying love. The highest quality rubies exhibit a deep vivid red or purplish red. The ruby is the June birthstone in the United States.
Sapphire is a member of the corundum family. Sapphires most commonly occur in blue, and vivid, pure, deep blues are the most valuable. For thousands of years, sapphire has been associated solely with the color blue, its name originating from the Greek word 'sappheiros', meaning blue. However, sapphires can be found in every color besides red, as red sapphires are called rubies. Throughout the course of history, this gem has been worn as a protective amulet, as a symbol of harmony, loyalty and friendship, and as a romantic token. The stone has a very good hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Sri Lanka is the biggest producer of sapphires, but they are also mined in Kenya, Burma, Tanzania, Kashmir, Madagascar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Australia, and the United States. The sapphire is the September birthstone in the United States.
A member of the zoisite family of minerals, tanzanite is found only in shades of blue or purple, the most popular being a violet-blue. While tanzanite is typically heat treated to enhance its blue color, it is naturally trichroic, meaning that it displays three different colors (blue, purple and bronze) when viewed from different angles. Tanzanite exhibits a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale. It gets its name from the country of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it is found. Tanzanite was discovered as recently as 1967, and was christened by colored stone experts to be "the gemstone of the 20th century." Owing to its fast growing popularity, the American Gem Trade Association added it as an alternative December birthstone in the United States in 2002.
Topaz is one of the most common gemstones worldwide. It has a very good hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale. Topaz comes in a rainbow of colors, the most valuable of which are the red, pink and orange stones which are mined in Brazil, Pakistan and Russia. Colorless topaz is mined in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and China. Blue topaz is colorless in its rough form, and takes on its blue hue only after exposure to irradiation enhancement. It is quite sensitive to heat and sunlight, and may lose all of its color when exposed to strong UV rays for extended periods of time. Many cultures have claimed that topaz has mythical and magical strengthening powers. It is the traditional November birthstone and the alternative December birthstone in the United States.
The word tourmaline was derived from the Sinhalese words 'tura mali,' meaning 'mixed colored.' As its name indicates, tourmaline is found in a vast array of colors and color mixtures, more than any other gemstone in the world. For this reason, no two pieces of tourmaline are ever identical. Since many of its colors look similar to the colors of other gemstones, many tourmaline stones have been misidentified as rubies and sapphires. This colorful gem exhibits a good hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale. The rarest colors, which include copper and electric blue, are the most valuable. Many magical powers have been attributed to tourmaline over the ages, including the power to enhance artistic creativity. Although Brazil is the most common source of tourmaline, the stone is also mined in Tanzania, Madagascar, Australia, Sri Lanka, the United States, and Russia. It is an alternative October birthstone in the United States.
A member of the copper family, turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones known to man, having been treasured by countless ancient civilizations across the globe. It is thought to have originated in Iran, where many Persians wore turquoise on their turbans to protect against the evil eye. Native Americans, Egyptians, Chinese and Tibetans also believe turquoise holds spiritual and protective powers. Turquoise is known for its light blue color, which can range from greenish-blue to sky blue, and at times exhibits yellow, black, gray, or even brown veining. This renowned gemstone exhibits an average hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale. As Iranian sources of turquoise have been nearly depleted over the centuries, the stone is now mined mainly in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Afghanistan, Israel and China. Turquoise is the December birthstone in the United States.
The 4 Cs
The 4 Cs (Cut ,Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight) are the main factors by which the diamond industry evaluates a diamond's physical attributes.It's very important to understand this basic terminology, as it is the mode by which diamond dealers rate diamonds comparatively, and the way in which diamonds are evaluated by laboratories which issue Diamond Grading Reports. Understanding the 4 Cs will enable you to grasp the details that are listed in your diamond's Grading Report, and give you the 4 most important words in the vocabulary of the diamond industry.
Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, finish, and polish of a diamond. These are factors that influence the brilliance and reflective qualities of the diamond. A poor cut generally refers to a cut which has offensive ridges that may interfere with the finished appearance of the diamond. A poor cut will muffle the brilliance, or sparkle, or a diamond, by preventing light from being dispersed evenly. The cut is the only one of the 4 Cs that is determined by artistry and not by nature.
To learn more about Diamond Cut, check our Diamond Cut Guide tab
Color refers to the color scale of white diamonds, or the color or colors of fancy diamonds. White diamonds can be completely colorless, or have a yellowish tone, but even the most yellow of white diamonds is far less colorful than a fancy yellow diamond. The less color a white diamond contains, the more valuable it is, and the more highly rated it will be on the color scale. Fancy diamond colors include red, blue, pink, green, orange, yellow, black and brown, and one diamond may include more than one color. Fancy diamonds, being rarer than white diamonds, may be more valuable, depending on their level of purity and size.
To Learn more about Diamond Color, check our Diamond Color Guide tab
Clarity in diamonds refers to their clearness and purity, how many impurities or blemishes occur both on the inside and on the surface of a diamond, and where they are positioned. A perfectly clear diamond is the most desirable, and will have the highest clarity rating. Every imperfection or color flaw inside or outside the diamond will diminish its level of clarity, and therefore its value. Even fancy colored diamonds have clarity ratings, and have a heightened value based on how perfect and even they are, and how many or few blemishes they include.
To Learn more about Diamond Clarity, check our Diamond Clarity Guide tab.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. The term itself is derived from the Carob fruit, whose evenly weighted seeds were used long ago as a comparative measurement for the weighing of diamonds and other small, but valuable, items. Contrary to popular belief, carat weight is not directly correlated to the size or a diamond. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams, and is subdivided into 100 points. Larger diamonds are rarer than small diamonds, which means that each subsequent carat of weight makes a diamond successively more expensive with the value per carat increasing with the size of the diamond. An obvious example for this is that 0.50 carat diamonds are worth less than a single 1 carat diamond due to the natural rarity of larger rough diamonds.
To Learn more about Diamond Carat Weight, Check our Diamond Carat Guide tab.
The 5th C
The most important C in the choice of a diamond is 'Diamond Certification' and all diamonds used to create your Diamond Rings & Diamond items are accompanied by their original and unique diamond certificate. Certification for items in our 'Diamond Jewellery Collection' depends on the size and quantity of the diamonds contained in the item. We do, of course, assure that all our diamonds are real, natural and "conflict-free".
Diamond cut refers to the proportions, polish, and symmetry of a stone: the three main factors involved in creating a diamond with optimal light reflection. Good light performance, the term used to describe light refraction and light return through the top of the diamond, is what many refer to as the "brilliance" of a diamond.
An excellent diamond cut produces a diamond with a high light return, dazzling brilliance, fire and scintillation. A poor cut, on the other hand, can cause light to seep out of the sides and bottom of the diamond or it can limit the amount of light that enters a diamond. Poor cuts can therefore cause the diamond to appear dark, dull and lifeless, despite its color and clarity grades. This fact makes a diamond's cut the most significant factor to influence appearance. For this reason, GRT Jewellers suggests that you choose the diamond with the highest cut grade that falls within your budget.
The cut of a diamond influences three main qualities:
Brilliance is the total amount of light reflected by a diamond. When light hits the diamond's surface, some light enters and some is reflected back. The most immediate light reflected back is returned by the crown's angles.
Scintillation refers to the flashes of light, or sparkles, which are produced when a diamond is tilted from side to side. The light that isn't immediately reflected back enters the diamond and reflects from the inside walls toward the center of the diamond. This light, which bounces off the internal walls of the diamond, is the quality described as scintillation.
A diamond's fire refers to the dispersion of light into different colored light. Once the light is bounced off the inside walls towards the center of the diamond, it then shoots back through the top of the diamond. Because the light is slightly bent by the diamond, a color spectrum is visible when light exits the top of the diamond.
Understanding Diamond Anatomy
To properly understand a diamond's cut, it is important to understand the terminology of basic diamond structure as it relates to proportion, symmetry and polish.
Diameter: The diameter is the width of a polished diamond from one side of the girdle to another
Table: The table is the largest polished facet of the diamond on the top face of the stone
Crown: The crown is the top part of the diamond that is measured from the surface of the table to the girdle
Girdle: The girdle is the widest edge of the diamond where the crown ends and meets the pavilion
Pavilion: The pavilion is the bottom part of the diamond that begins at the girdle and extends downward to the point of the culet
Culet: The culet is the tiny flat facet at the bottom tip of the diamond
Depth: The depth of a diamond refers to the total length of a diamond, measured from the culet to the table
Proportion, Symmetry and Polish
To optimally capture light and reflect it back, a diamond's pavilion must have accurate angles and depth. If the angle of the pavilion is too shallow or too deep, light will escape or leak out, creating dark and dull "stains." The crown angle is also extremely important since this affects the way that light enters and exits the diamond.
Not only are the angles important, but depth percentage and table percentage are also key factors that contribute to the quality of a diamond's cut. Depth percentage refers to the depth of the diamond divided by its diameter. Shallower diamonds have low depth percentages whereas deeper diamonds have higher depth percentages. A good target depth percentage for a round diamond is considered to fall between 59 and 62.5%. Table percentage refers to the width of the table divided by the diameter. Again, diamonds with a higher table percentage have larger tables, and diamonds with a smaller table percentage have smaller tables. A good target depth percentage for a round diamond is considered to fall between 53 and 59%.
A diamond's facets must be symmetrical in order to maximize the amount of light that enters and exits the stone. Diamonds with poor symmetry look slightly distorted, unbalanced and improperly shaped. Moreover, they will affect brilliance, scintillation and fire. Many asymmetrical round stones are not completely round, or have misshapen facets or off-center culets. GRT Jewellers recommends that you consider round brilliant diamonds with a symmetry grade no lower than Very Good, and fancy cut diamonds with a symmetry grade no lower than Good.
Once a diamond is cut, each facet of the diamond is polished. If the polishing is done improperly, it can leave scratches and streaks that are similar to the marks left behind after a car waxing. An Excellent diamond polish is a diamond which has very few or no scratches.GRT Jewellers recommends that you consider diamonds with a polish grade no lower than Good.
Ideal/ Excellent – Excellent light performance. Reflects almost all of the light that enters. Rare and extremely beautiful cuts.
Very Good – Very good light performance. Reflects almost all of the light that enters. Very Good diamond cuts are considered to be an outstanding value.
Good – Good light performance. Reflects most of the light that enters. Good diamond cuts are far less pricey than Very Good cuts.
Fair – Not as brilliant as a Good cuts or above, Fair diamond cuts are still considered good quality diamonds.
Poor – Poor cut diamonds are typically cut too shallow or too deep causing much of the light to leak out of the diamond's sides and base. Most high end diamond retailers do not carry Poor cut diamonds.
When our industry experts describe about diamond's color, they are referring to a diamond's transparency or colorless. Diamonds composed of 100% pure carbon without any impurities render completely colorless diamonds. However, almost all diamonds contain some degree of color impurity caused by lingering traces of nitrogen, boron, hydrogen or other elements. Most diamonds are affected solely by nitrogen traces, which create pale yellowish or brownish tints.
When shopping for a diamond, be aware that the most valuable diamonds have the least amount of color, no diamond color. However, it is important to note that there is a class of diamonds known as fancy diamonds which are actual colored diamonds, including blue diamonds, pink diamonds and even yellow diamonds, if in fact you are looking for colored diamonds.
What Color Grade Should I Choose?
GRT Jewellers suggests that you do some window shopping for certified diamonds, take a look at diamonds of all color grades and compare and contrast. The difference in appearance between colorless diamonds and near colorless diamonds may not be detectable, but the price difference can be quite considerable. If you find that you are sensitive to low color grades, then we suggest you choose a diamond with the color grade that satisfies you. However, if you have difficulty differentiating between different color grades, then you may want to consider a nearly colorless diamond.
Assuming that you are looking for a round brilliant diamond, you have a bit more flexibility in your color grade, because the brilliance makes it more difficult to detect color. In this instance, anything over I color is usually more than adequate, and will appear completely colorless to the untrained eye unless held up against a diamond that is at least 3 color grades above it, such as an F or E colored diamond. Therefore, you may want to consider the hundreds to thousands of dollars that you can save by going lower on the color scale. For example, you can use the difference towards the carat weight and get a larger diamond, or consider a diamond with a better cut, thus providing you with a more sparkling and dazzling stone.
There are also many gemologists and diamond experts who claim that a completely colorless diamond provides light refraction that is too harsh and is unpleasant to the eye. Imagine if you are looking into a very bright spotlight- other than the glare, you can’t really see anything. However, when the light is slightly dimmed you can actually see more detail and the viewing experience is more comfortable. These experts suggest getting a diamond that has a small amount of color, which will soften the light and make it easier to view the entire spectrum of color that is given off when the diamond scintillates. If your setting is in yellow gold, you have even more flexibility in the color. Since the color of the diamond is usually noticed when comparing it to an item that is white or colorless, if held up against a yellow gold background, there will be far less contrast, and the color will be even less noticeable. In this instance, you can even get a diamond with a J color, and it will still appear to be colorless to the untrained eye.
There are exceptions to the rule however. For example, diamonds with pointed ends, specifically marquis, radiant’s, trillion, pear and sometimes even princess shaped diamonds tend to focus the color on these points. In this case, it is usually best to stay with a color grade of H and higher. However, if you have a pronged setting, the prongs will usually hide this color concentration In addition, when you are perhaps looking for a loose center diamond for a 3 stone ring, it is important to make sure that the color ranges are at least within 1 grade of each other.
Color Grading: How it Works
When grading a diamond's color, the stone is examined face-down under carefully controlled light. The diamond's color is then compared to a "master stone" which has a predetermined diamond color.
The Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) color grading system is the diamond industry's standard for diamond color grading. The GIA's color grading system begins with D, being the whitest, and continues through the alphabet to Z, for stones that are yellowish or brownish. Before the GIA developed their universal diamond color grading standard several other diamond color scales were being used by the international diamond community. The GIA's intention was to completely differentiate their new system from the others. As such, they chose letters D-Z, letters that had never been used for diamond grading before.
D 100% Colorless. The highest color grade a diamond can receive. D graded diamonds are extremely rare and very highly priced.
E,F Colorless. Exceptionally transparent. Extremely difficult to detect the traces of color in an E or F graded diamond. These diamonds are rare and highly priced.
G,H Nearly Colorless. Unless these diamonds are compared next to a master stone of higher color grade, color is nearly indiscernible. When face up these diamond appear nearly colorless. These diamonds are still rare, but slightly less expensive and are considered a good value.
I,J Nearly Colorless. Color in these diamonds is slightly detectable. The slight amount of color is imperceptible by the unaided eye once the diamond has been mounted. These diamonds are of superior value, and therefore compose the majority of diamonds that are used for engagement rings, earrings and pendants.
K-M Faint Yellow. Noticeable color, although some diamonds in this range can still be fiery and beautiful.
N-Z Very Light or Light Yellow. Noticeable color. These diamonds are not fit to be sold as gemstones, unless you specifically would like to have a diamond with an amber color.
What is Fluorescence?
Many diamonds, when placed under UV light, emit a light glow in the same way that a white T-shirt does. Because there are a small amount of UV rays in regular daylight, some diamonds also exhibit fluorescence in natural light. On more recent GIADiamond Grading Reports, the fluorescence of a diamond appears as a graded characteristic. Fluorescence can be graded as Inert, Faint, Medium, or Strong. To this day there is still no consensus among industry experts regarding the general impact of fluorescence on a diamond. This is because strong fluorescence in a diamond with a high color grade (D-H) can cause the diamond to appear milky or cloudy, while strong fluorescence in a diamond with a low color grade can make the diamond appear whiter. Most of the time, fluorescence has no impact on a diamond's appearance under regular lighting conditions.
Of all of the Four Cs or Diamonds, Clarity is the easiest to evaluate and considered the most straightforward for the average diamond consumer to understand.
While diamonds are being formed deep within the Earth's surface, the extreme heat and pressure that help shape them can also create cracks, flaws or inclusions. These internal and external imperfections or blemishes are considered to be the natural birthmark of every diamond. Technically, a diamond's interior irregularities are referred to as inclusions and a diamond's exterior irregularities are referred to as blemishes. Frequently, these marks are detectable only under a powerful microscope or jeweler's loupe, and therefore do not visibly affect the appearance or beauty of a diamond.
When a professional gemologist evaluates or grades a diamond's clarity, typically these inclusions and blemishes are mapped to create a "fingerprint" of the diamond. This "fingerprint" is what distinguishes the diamond as unique.
What Are Inclusions?
The internal irregularities in a diamond are the diamonds' inclusions. Inclusions typically consist of crystals, clouds and feathers. Crystals are tiny minerals that become trapped inside a diamond during its formation. Clouds are foggy spots in the diamond which are created by crystals that are so small that they can only be seen under a 10x magnifying microscope. Feathers are fractures in a stone that, when relatively small, are inconsequential to the strength of a diamond. Large feathers, however, can weaken a diamond's structure, and will decrease the value and quality of your diamond.
What Are Blemishes?
Blemishes are external impurities or marks on the surface of a diamond, and typically appear as a scratch imperceptible to the naked eye. Blemishes typically have less impact on a diamond's value, beauty and grade since they rarely affect the strength and structure of the diamond.
FL/IF | VVS1 | VVS2 | VS1 | VS2 | SI1 | SI2 | I1 | I2-3
The Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) International Diamond Grading System™ is the globally recognized standard for diamond clarity assessment. With 11 grades, the system classifies a diamond's clarity based on the nature, position and size of its inclusions and exclusions. The list below summarizes the GIA's International Diamond Grading System.
Diamonds with the least amount of flaws hold the highest clarity grading. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare, considered to be the most beautiful of all diamond grades. Because they are so scarce diamond experts consider Internally Flawless diamonds (IF) to be the most valuable examples of near-perfection in the international diamond market.
Trained gemologists grade the clarity of a diamond by examining it top-down with the use of a 10x magnifying microscope and looking at the diamond from the top down. The position, size and type of inclusions and blemishes are all crucial factors in evaluating the clarity of a diamond. Imperfections located on or beneath the table of the diamond are easier to detect and affect clarity grade more than those located around the sides of the diamond. Larger marks, darker marks, and deep marks will also significantly affect the clarity of the diamond.
FL, IF Flawless/Internally Flawless: Flawless diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes detectable under 10x magnification, and are extremely rare. Internally flawless diamonds have no detectable inclusions under 10x magnification, are rare and very valuable.
VVS1/VVS2 Very Very Slightly Included: Inclusions and blemishes are extremely difficult for a skilled grader to detect under 10 x magnification.
VS1/VS2 Very Slightly Included: Inclusions and blemishes are detectable under 10x magnification, however they are minor flaws that do not impact the diamond's beauty and are frequently invisible to the naked eye.
SI1/SI2 Slightly Included: Inclusions and blemishes are easily noticeable under 10x magnification and may also be visible to the naked eye.
I1, I2, I3 Included: Inclusions and blemishes are obvious under 10x magnification and typically visible to the naked eye. These flaws may negatively impact the transparency and or brilliance of the diamond.
What Clarity Grade Should I Choose?
GRT Jewellers recommends that you work within your budget to select a diamond with the least amount of inclusions and blemishes, qualities which will negatively impact the value and durability of your diamond. Many diamond purists insist on FL or IF diamonds, believing that these diamonds are 100% flawless; however, it is important to note that this is not the case. Almost all diamonds have some flaws. FL and IF diamonds simply have no flaws detectable under 10x magnification. SI and VS diamonds are typically considered clarity grades of fantastic value since their inclusions are minor and invisible to the unaided eye.
When looking at diamonds with many facets and a highly brilliant cut, such as round brilliants, it is typically impossible to differentiate between SI1 clarity and VS clarity or greater. For this reason, SI1 or VS2 will give you a beautiful diamond at a much lower price tag. However, before purchasing your diamond, please consult with one of our Diamond customer care Representatives to ensure that your diamond does not have any "eye-visible" inclusions and Dhosham free.
When looking at fancy shaped diamonds that have fewer facets and larger tables, such as Emerald or Asscher diamonds, inclusions are easier to detect with the naked eye. Therefore, we recommend choosing a fancy shaped diamond with a clarity grade no lower than VS2.
What is a Carat?
A carat is the unit of weight used to measure diamonds and other precious gemstones, also known as the carat size or the diamond carat size. The term carat is derived from the Greek word keration, meaning carob beans. In the Mediterranean, carob beans were used for centuries to measure the weight of various goods. This is because carob seeds were thought to be uniform in size and weight. In contrast, Asian markets used grains of rice to measure their goods and you may still hear some jewelers refer to a single carat diamond as a "four grainer" since one carat was once considered to be equal to the weight of four grains of rice. By the early 1900s, the carat size was standardized against the metric system and adopted internationally: 1 carat (1ct) is equal to .2 grams or .007 ounces. Smaller diamonds can also be measured in carat weight points. One carat is equal to 100 points; therefore a 0.25 carat diamond can also be referred to as a 25 point diamond.
Does Carat Weight Determine Size?
Contrary to popular belief, carat weight is not an accurate reflection of a diamond's size, the carat size. A diamond increases in weight much faster than it increases in diameter. While small round diamonds that have the same carat weight are almost indistinguishable in size, the heavier a diamond gets, the less predictable its size is.
In order to determine a diamond's size, the carat weight of the stone should be weighed in conjunction with the diamond's diameter in millimeters and the diamond's cut grade. The diamond's diameter measured in millimeters reflects the appearance of the diamond as seen from above once the stone is mounted. It is measured across the girdle of the stone, and does not incorporate the height of the pavilion.
Some low carat diamonds with high grade cuts look larger than high carat diamonds with low grade cuts. Diamonds with higher cut grades reflect the maximum amount of light and generate the greatest fire and brilliance. This bright sparkle and intense luminescence can frequently cause the diamond to appear larger than it is, to create the impression of a large diamond carat size. Moreover, diamonds with lower cut grades can have long and deep pavilions that cause light to "leak out", dulling and muting the stone's radiance. These long pavilions may add weight to a diamond, but this weight is covered beneath the setting once the stone is mounted, making the diamond carat size appear much smaller. Viewers of diamonds such as these may be surprised by how small the stones appear in comparison to their carat weight.
Carat Weight and Price
Diamond prices rise drastically with increase in carat weight. This is because only one in approximately one million diamonds mined produces a full cut and polished one carat diamond. During the cutting process, a great deal of rough diamond material is lost; up to 40-60 percent of rough diamond is shed. The larger diamond, the rarer the diamond, the more expensive.
What Carat Weight Should I Choose?
Every diamond wearer has different criteria regarding their diamond, popular carat sizes vary greatly. Some value diamond carat size over clarity, others value color over carat weight. At Zoara we believe that the most important things to consider are personal taste, budget, and for a diamond ring, the setting and size of the finger or hand of the wearer.
Personal Taste: Decide which of the Four Cs is the most important to you. Some are sensitive to brilliance and sparkle more than size. Others prefer large vintage-style diamonds which are typically less radiant, but greater in carat size.
Budget: If you are looking for a larger stone but you’re on a budget, you can try to maximize the appearance of the stone by investing in the stone's cut and choosing a brilliant shape. You may instead prefer to invest in a stone of high carat weight but with lower clarity, color and cut grades. Choosing a large diamond carat size over a large carat weight
Setting: Diamonds that are longer in shape such as a marquis, pear, or rectangular emerald, can create the illusion of a larger diamond. Also, if a diamond is mounted into a high-pronged setting such as the tiffany setting or the tall prong setting, it can make a stone look larger. Finally, adding side accent stones of low carat and lower quality can be an affordable way to enlarge the ring and total carat weight.
Finger Size: Small diamonds appear larger on small hands and vice-versa. Large diamonds can look clumsy on small or slender fingers. For a woman with small and thin fingers, you may want to consider a diamond of lower carat weight and a lower carat size.
What is Total Carat Weight?
Total carat weight (ctw) refers to the total weight of all diamonds set in the jewelry item. For example, in order to calculate the TCW of a three stone ring, one would take into consideration the center diamond as well as the two side stones.
Did you know that the 10 universally recognized diamond shapes that we know today are in fact relatively recent innovations, created and given a theoretic, public platform beginning only in the early 20th century? The 14th century marked the start of European diamond cutting novelties that yielded shapes which, while being the predecessors of today's cuts, are unknown to the modern day diamond consumer: The Point Cut, Old Eight Cut, Pendeloque, Briolette, Rosette, Mazarin and Peruzzi. These advances were in fact the stepping stones to today's 10 contemporary diamond cuts, the global diamond industry's accepted standards.
As part of GRT Jewellers's unfailing commitment to thoroughly educating our customers before, during and after your diamond purchase, we are delighted to present the following diamond shape guide within the scope of our Diamond Learning Guide. Each diamond shape has specific and unique characteristics that influence the quality of the diamond. To help you decide what shape best suits your personal taste, take a look below at the different qualities of each distinct diamond shape.
We invite you to look, learn, and marvel. And if you have any questions about diamond shapes, GRT Jewellers welcomes you to Contact our Diamond Experts.
The round brilliant diamond is the most popular and perhaps the most technically advanced of all of the diamond shapes. Only after the development of new diamond cutting technology and a breakthrough in research regarding proportion and symmetry, was the round brilliant born. The round brilliant that we know today was invented by Marcel Tolkowsky, a Belgian mathematician born to a family of diamond cutters who, in 1919, wrote his doctoral thesis on diamond proportion and symmetry, and "invented" the round brilliant. According to his research, the round brilliant, with its 58 facets, has the perfect proportions and symmetry to maximize a diamond's brilliance and fire. This superior quality, therefore, allows for those interested in the round brilliant to be quite flexible regarding the other qualities of their diamond: color, cut and clarity.
The princess diamond is the most popular shape after the round brilliant and is typically square in shape, although it can also be rectangular. The princess shape was created in the 1980s and displays the same high degree of brilliance as the round brilliant. It is a unique and distinctive alternative to the popular round brilliant. It's important to note that when weighing color grades and prices, sometimes a lower color grade diamond in a princess shape will manifest as visible color in the corners of the stone.
What is the ideal cut for a princess diamond?
Princess cut diamonds are the second most popular diamond for engagement rings after round brilliant diamonds, and are valued because of their terrific value and appearance. However, unlike round diamonds, the princess diamond lacks a standardized cut grading, so therefore the GIA or other diamond grading agencies will not grade the cut on a princess diamond.
So, how does one determine the ideal cut proportions for a princess diamond? Like with round brilliant diamonds, the ideal cut for a princess diamond is determined by many factors, most importantly depth and table proportions as well as crown and pavilion angles. The cut is also determined by the symmetrical arrangement of the facets on the diamond, which is simply put, how well all of the facets align with each other in a way that maximizes brilliance and fire.
So what are the ideal proportions of a princess cut diamond? It is GRT Jewellers’ recommendation that for a princess diamond to have ideal proportions, its table must be within 62-68%, the depth must be 64-75% and the crown height should be 10-15%. The symmetry should also be very good to excellent.
Also, another important thing when determining the ideal cut for a princess diamond, it is crucial to take the width to length ratio into account, because this will decide how rectangular or square the diamond is. The ratio is calculated by dividing the length against the width. A perfect square princess diamond will have a ratio of 1, while a more rectangular one will be over 1.05.
When searching for the perfect princess cut diamond, it is always recommended to check with one of GRT Jewellers’s certified gemologists who will be happy to suggest some excellent options for ideal princess diamonds.
The emerald cut is not a brilliant cut, but rather features a large open table with step cuts. The emerald cut is traditionally rectangular and most closely resembles the natural diamond shape. Although the emerald diamond is not as brilliant as the round shape or princess shape, it is considered to be an elegant cut, vintage in style, and less "flashy" than other shapes.
Note that due to the large table of the emerald shape, inclusions and color can be easier to detect. It is recommended that you choose a diamond with a higher clarity and color grade than you would if choosing a brilliant diamond.
The Asscher diamond is almost indistinguishable from the emerald cut aside from its larger step facets, dramatically cut corners and square shape. Also, because of its proportions, it typically has more light reflection and fire than an emerald shaped diamond. As with the emerald diamond, the Asscher diamond also has a certain antique, elegant air about it. The Asscher diamond, similar to the princess diamond, can sometimes show color impurities in its corners. Therefore, although the price for an Asscher diamond with lower color grade can be enticing, we recommend choosing one with an H color grade or higher.
The oval diamond is a modified round brilliant shape. While this means that it has a high level of brilliance, if the stone is not a premium cut, there is a greater likelihood of the bowtie effect, or a dark strip that appears in the center of the stone in the shape of a bowtie. GRT Jewellers carries only quality cut oval diamonds with optimally cut angles.
The shape of the marquise diamond was allegedly inspired by the mouth of the beautiful Marquise de Pompadour. It has a football-like shape that comes to a point on either end, which is said to maximize the illusion of increased diamond weight, giving the appearance of a much larger-looking diamond. A modification of the round brilliant, the marquise shape also offers a high level or brilliance and light reflection, and due to its long, lean frame, marquise diamonds are frequently set with side stones.
The radiant shape was the first diamond of rectangular shape to have a brilliant facet pattern used both for the crown and pavilion, offering a brighter and more brilliant stone than the emerald shape. The radiant shape was born over decades ago and is considered to be the father of 'fancy cut' diamonds. The proportioning, facet arrangement and shape of the radiant diamond is considered a good shape for colored diamonds since it is widely held that these factors intensify color.
The heart shaped diamond is a modified brilliant diamond shape and can vary greatly in length and width. The heart shape, with its classic connotation of romance and love, is a popular choice for anniversary rings and Mother's Day necklaces. GRT Jewellers recommends that when shopping for a heart shaped diamond you should look for a stone that is perfectly symmetrical: Where the top arches of the heart are even in height and width so that its overall shape is aesthetically pleasing. The cleft in any well-cut heart shaped diamond should be sharp and definite. Also, the heart shaped diamond, similar to the princess shape, can sometimes show color impurities at its corners. Therefore, although the price for a heart shaped diamond with lower color grade can seem inviting, we recommend choosing a heart shaped diamond with an H color grade or higher.
The pear shaped diamond is also a modified brilliant shape, a combination of the round and marquis shapes. It is also known as a teardrop shape for its round bottom and sides which taper to one common point. Some of the world's most famous and most highly graded diamonds have been cut into the pear shape. An elongated pear shape is also considered a specifically flattering shape when worn mounted on a ring with the point facing upwards towards the nail, thus creating an apparent slimming effect of the finger.
The cushion shaped diam ond is technically known as the Old Mine Cut, a shape born before the 1900s. It developed its name due to its similarity to the shape of a pillow and is therefore also known as the "pillow cut". The cushion shaped diamond was one of the most popular diamond shapes before the invention of the round brilliant. Once the round brilliant was developed, the brilliant angles and proportions were incorporated into the cushion shape. The cushion shape has rounded corners and now features larger facets, which increase the brilliance of the stone. It should also be noted that the cushion shape is a popular choice for fancy colored diamonds since the color is displayed evenly throughout cushion shaped diamonds. It should be noted that the large facets of a cushion diamond can make it easier to detect inclusions in the stone. It is therefore recommended that those in the market for a cushion diamond choose a color grade of I or greater and a clarity grade of S1 or higher.
Like all precious objects, diamonds require proper care and protection. Although diamonds are considered to be the strongest natural matter on earth, they are still susceptible to cracking, dulling and even breaking. Dirt, dust, grease, and soap scum can leave a grimy film coating, and any forceful impact could potentially shatter the stone. In order to keep your diamond shining like new, it's important to protect it and clean it periodically.
Protect Your Diamond
GRT Jewellers recommends that you remove your diamond jewellery when engaging in any type of activity that might dirty or endanger the stone. These activities might include washing dishes, gardening, playing sports, or going to the beach. When you remove your jewellery, be sure to store it in a soft individual pouch, felt or leather-lined box. This will both help protect your diamond jewellery as well as help you to avoid misplacing your valuable investment.
We also recommend that you bring your diamond jewellery to a local jeweler once or twice a year to check the mountings, settings, and stones, and to have your diamond professionally cleaned.
While GRT Jewellers's Quality Control Team inspects every diamond setting that leaves our hands, choosing strong sturdy settings such as bezel settings, can also help protect the diamond from damage. We invite you to Contact Us if you have any questions or concerns about the various diamond settings available at GRT Jewellers.
Clean Your Diamond Jewellery
Cleaning your diamond jewellery is a simple and straightforward task which you can do at home using regular, safe, household products.
Create a warm, mild, soapy solution by mixing liquid soap, dish-washing liquid, or detergent with warm water. Do not use chlorine detergent.
Soak your diamond in the solution.
If necessary, use a soft brush to clean small crevices. Do not use rough or metal bristles. Toothbrushes work the best.
Rinse the diamond jewellery in warm water. You may place the ring in a strainer so as not to drop it.
Use a clean, dry, lint-free cloth to dry your diamond jewellery.
There are also a number of jewellery cleaning kits and cleaning solutions on the market. If you choose to buy a kit or solution, be sure that it is the correct solution for the jewellery you wish to clean. Read the directions carefully and follow the listed instructions.
Another important way to protect your diamond against damage, theft or loss is to insure your diamond. We invite you to visit our Insurance information page for more details.
View GRT Jewellers's radiant collection of Loose Diamonds and Diamond Jewellery.
Precious platinum is the perfect choice for the woman of today – it is beautiful, versatile and elegant, yet it has hidden strength and resilience. Choosing precious platinum is the perfect way to express your own individuality, strength and style.
Platinum is eternal, with everlasting radiance and durability.
Platinum is pure, naturally white and is kind to the skin.
Platinum is rare, a treasure coveted by influential individuals for centuries.
Platinum & Diamonds
With a white luster that never diminishes, platinum enhances a diamond’s sparkle. Platinum’s superior durability means that it is the most secure setting for precious stones.
Each piece of platinum jewellery from GRT Jewellers comes with a Quality Assurance Card and bears the purity hallmark of “Pt 950” stamped inside the piece.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between platinum and white gold?
Platinum is a naturally white metal that will never lose its brilliant lustre. White gold is an alloy created using yellow gold. White gold looks similar to platinum, but it usually needs to be re-plated over time to maintain its white colour, adding additional expense.
How do I know that a piece of jewellery is made of platinum?
All platinum jewellery from GRT Jewellers is hallmarked Pt 950 assuring that the platinum jewellery is 95% pure. Below is the mark to look for on your platinum jewellery:
Why is platinum more expensive than gold?
Platinum’s rarity means that its price is invariably higher than that of gold.
The process of making a piece of platinum jewellery also requires a higher level of craftsmanship.
How do I care for platinum jewellery?
Clean platinum in the same way you clean other fine jewellery to maintain its fine appearance and ensure that it lasts. Either use a mild solution of soap and warm water, and gently rub it with a soft cloth, or buy a jewellery cleaning solution.
Will platinum jewellery scratch?
All precious metals scratch, and platinum is no exception. It is unique in that the metal is only displaced, not lost. Have your platinum jewellery polished if you are interested in maintaining a high shine.
Silver has been one of the most popular precious metals to be used in fashion jewellery throughout history. Its relative affordability has made it a desirable alternative for designer jewellers and consumers alike.
Due to its luster, malleability and affordability, silver is the most common jewellery metal. Like gold and platinum, silver must be alloyed with other metals to reinforce its strength and durability. In its pure form, silver is too malleable and easily damaged to be used in jewellery. Sterling silver is the highest quality and most popular silver alloy, typically composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper, and can also be referred to as .925 fine silver. Sometimes the copper is mixed with a small amount of zinc or nickel as well. Frequently, sterling silver is coated with a thin finish of either silver or rhodium to help improve durability.
The standardized quality of silver jewellery must be marked on all pieces of silver jewellery according to US law. These "fineness" marks are stamped into the metal and indicate the ratio of pure silver to added alloys, and can appear marked as sterling, sterling silver, 925, 92.5 or .925. A maker's mark or trademark must accompany the quality stamp. Always look for both brandings to guarantee the quality of your silver jewellery.
Silver is the most common of all precious metals which makes it more affordable than either gold or platinum. It is also one of the easiest metals to extract which keeps production prices low. The price of silver jewellery is dependent on the fineness, or quality, of the silver and on the amount of labor, intricacy of design, and level of craftsmanship required to fashion the piece.
As with all fine jewellery, it is important to treat your silver wedding rings and engagement rings with care. Remove your silver jewellery when engaging in any activity that may cause scratching or chipping, such as gardening, painting or outdoor sports. It is also recommended that you remove your silver jewellery when swimming or working with household chemicals such as ammonia or bleach as these chemicals can cause permanent damage. Silver jewellery should always be stored in soft, dry, individual pouches to keep it from scratching against other items.
To remove Tarnish, look for specially made Silver polishing products which are safe, simple and inexpensive. GRT Jewellers recommends that you clean your Silver jewelry regularly in order to prevent tarnish build up and to keep your jewelry looking like new.
Pearls are considered to be the most beautiful of all organic gems. Quality pearls can be quite durable, but are far more delicate than any other gemstone or metal: they are softer and more vulnerable to cracking, scratching and dulling. Oils, lotions, powders, dust and sweat can dim the shine of a lustrous pearl. To ensure that your pearls endure and remain glowingly beautiful, it's important to treat them with care.
Tips: How To Care For Your Pearl Jewellery
Avoid exposing your pearls to materials or substances that may damage them, including vinegar, chlorine, ammonia, hairspray, or cosmetics. Apply all cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewellery. After wearing your pearl jewellery, wipe it with a warm, soft, damp cloth to remove any oils or dirt before putting it away.
Pearl jewellery should also be washed periodically with a mild solution of soap and warm water. Always use a soft, clean, damp cloth to wash and dry your pearls. You may wipe your pearls with acetone polish remover if they are particularly dirty, but remember never expose pearls to ammonia, vinegar or detergent!
To keep a pearl necklace strong, re-string your pearls periodically. If you wear your pearls often, restring them annually. Bring your pearls to a professional jeweler and ask to have the strand knotted between each pearl. This will prevent them from rubbing against one another or slipping. With especially small pearls this may not be possible, but always consult with your jeweler.
Be sure to store your pearls safely. To avoid scratches or further damage, wrap your pearls in a soft cloth before placing them in your jewellery box. Otherwise, store them in an individual, soft-lined pouch, box or protective container.
Pearls are naturally occurring gemstones formed within the soft tissue of certain living shelled mollusks, otherwise known as oysters. Non-cultured pearls created without human aid are extremely rare, especially when found in a well-shaped spherical form. For this reason, most pearls on the market are cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are formed when one places an irritant, such as a grain of sand, a small organism or a tiny particle inside the mouth of a mollusk. The mollusk, detecting this irritant, then deposits layers of calcium carbonate to coat it, thereby neutralizing the intruder and creating a pearl.
Pearls vary in size, color and shape according to their place of origin. Different mollusks, native to specific waters, create different pearls. There are four main types of cultured pearls on the market today, each exquisitely unique in character: Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea and Freshwater.
Akoya pearls are the most popular and classic of white pearls. They are the also most lustrous of all cultured pearls and boast the greatest shine. Akoya pearls are cultured from saltwater mollusks in Japan and China called Pinctada Fucata. They can range from 2mm to 11 mm in diameter, though the average size is 6-7mm. An Akoya pearl larger than 7mm is considered extremely rare and jumps significantly in price. Akoya pearls can display a rose, gold or bluish hue, but are typically white with a rose overtone. Overall, Akoya cultured pearls are the most even in size, color and shape, which is why they are such popular fine jewellery adornments.
Tahitian pearls are known for their unique dark color and large size. They are typically cultured in either the French Polynesian lagoons or the Cook Islands. Tahitian pearls are produced by the large black-lipped variety of the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster. Although they are frequently referred to as black pearls, Tahitian pearls come in a wide array of dark purple, green, gray, silver and bluish hues. Ranging in size from 8-16mm in diameter, the average size of a Tahitian pearl is 9-10mm, making it a bit smaller than the South Sea pearl, but larger than the Akoya.
South Sea pearls are cultured in the northern waters of Australia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. These pearls are produced by the silver-lipped or gold-lipped variety of the Pinctada Maxima oyster. South Sea pearls have the largest range of color, with the silver-lipped oysters producing pearls with overtones of silvery white or bluish white and gold-lipped oysters producing pearls with overtones of gold, cream or silver. They are also the largest variety of cultured pearls, ranging from 9-20mm in diameter, with an average size of 11-13mm. In addition to their size, they are also notable for their smooth, round form. Due to their remarkable size and shape, their beautiful satin finish, the rarity of the Pinctada Maxima oyster, and the sensitivity of these oysters during harvest, the South Sea pearls are the most expensive cultured pearls on the market.
While most pearls are cultured in oysters that live in salty sea water, freshwater pearls are cultivated in mussels that live in the freshwater lakes, ponds and streams of China. Freshwater pearls are typically not as round, lustrous or shiny as other cultured pearls, however, they are considerably more durable. Using a special harvesting process, a number of pearls can be produced by a single mussel. Depending on the mussel, what the mussel is fed, and the minerals in the local water, freshwater pearls can vary in color from white, purple, lavender and pink, to peach, plum and tangerine. Ranging in size from 2-16mm in diameter, their average size is 7-8mm. Due to the irregularity in their color, shape and size, freshwater pearls are the least expensive of all cultured pearls and quite popular for the very same reason. For excellent value, look for well-formed freshwater pearls.
Although there is no universally recognized grading system for pearls, six main factors typically determine the value, quality and beauty of a pearl: Color, Shape, Nacre, Luster, Surface and Size.
View GRT Jeweller's lustrous Pearl Jewelry collection.
Pearl color can range across the entire spectrum of the rainbow. When dealing with pearl quality and value, color typically refers to the combination of two specific factors: body color and overtone. The body color of a pearl is its main, base color. It can be categorized either as a warm-hue (purplish red to greenish-yellow) or cool-hue (reddish-purple to yellowish-green). Overtone is the overlying color that appears to coat the surface of the pearl and can be seen within certain angles of light. A good quality pearl shows a deep and evenly spread overtone.
Despite general belief, not all pearls are round. Pearls can form in a variety of different shapes, including round, semi-round, drop, oval, half-rounded, semi-baroque and baroque shapes. Baroque shaped pearls are entirely symmetrical and irregularly shaped. Typically, rounder pearls are considered to be of higher quality and greater value.
Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is the iridescent material secreted by a mollusk to protect it from irritants, eventually creating a pearl. It also lines the inside surface of an oyster shell. It is made mostly of calcium carbonate and conchiolin. Generally speaking, pearls with thicker nacre are considered to be of higher quality.
Pearl luster refers to its light-reflecting ability, typically described as brilliance or glow. Good quality pearls shine brightly, and sharply reflect light. If you were to look at a high quality pearl, you would be able to see your own reflection. The cloudier, chalkier or duller the pearl, the poorer is the luster, and the lower the quality of the pearl.
It is widely accepted that no pearl will ever be completely "flawless," but the highest quality pearls have nearly perfect, clean, blemish-free surfaces. When examining a pearl, check for spots, dents, cracks, discolorations, or any other imperfections. The surface of a pearl impacts its reflective power and therefore any bumps or flaws will typically lower its value.
To determine the size of a pearl, its diameter is measured in millimeters. If the pearl is not a perfect sphere, it is measured by the shortest diameter. It is important to remember that size alone can never determine the value of a pearl.