How To Care For Your Diamonds

Diamonds are durable and strong, but should be cared for as though they were fine breakable china or more fragile gems. They can chip or scratch if you’re not careful, and they can get quite dirty with oils from your skin and cosmetics, hair sprays or perfumes.

There are several ways to clean and store your diamonds. You can clean a diamond pretty quickly with a commercial jewelry cleaner that you either dip your jewelry in or soak them in a tub that gives it an ultrasound bath. Cold water and ammonia also work very well to dissolve oils that accumulate on your stones.

You can use a soft brush like an eyebrow brush to clean in between the prongs of the setting. Hold the diamonds by their settings and don’t touch the stones. If you’re cleaning them in the bathroom, be sure to close the stopper on the sink! You don’t want to go fishing in the plumbing for your valuable jewelry!

We’ve also used a mild toothpaste and soft toothbrush to clean gemstones. Rinse them under cold water, also using a soft brush to get any toothpaste particles from the gaps in between the stones and the setting. Some experts don’t recommend this and there is risk of scratching the stone, so if you choose this method, make sure it’s a low-abrasive. The best solution really is a commercial preparation or ammonia and water.

Rinse the jewelry in a tea infuser or under running water and dry it on a lint-free surface or towel. When you put your jewelry away, put it in a soft, velvet-lined box. Keep rings separate and don’t lump them in with all your other jewelry, to help protect the setting and the stones.

When you travel with your jewelry, make sure it’s in a soft, lined jewelry roll or a case specially designed for jewelry. Even if you wear your engagement and wedding rings all the time, take care of them. Don’t wear them if you’re using harsh cleaning chemicals or solutions or doing work that might cause them to knock against furniture or walls.

Diamond Shapes

The cut of a diamond refers to the way the stone is shaped and polished, how the facets are arranged and how deep or shallow it’s cut. There are various cuts of diamonds that refer to that, many of them patented. Both Asscher and Princess diamonds are square-shaped diamonds, but they are vastly different in how the facet are cut and arranged.

Cut also refers to the shape of the diamond. The shape is often determined by how the molecules of the crystal are arranged. If it’s an octahedron, it will be cut as a round brilliant, and often two round brilliants can be cut from the same original crystal. Other crystal configurations, such as macer, will be cut as marquise or oval diamonds.

The modern round cut brilliant stone has 58 facets, or 57 if the tiny bottom facet, the culet, is omitted. The Princess cut is unique in that it’s a square diamond with pointed corners. Many diamonds, even square and emerald cut diamonds will have rounded or cut-off corners, because contrary to popular opinion, a diamond can chip or scratch if it knocks against something at the wrong angle. It’s a bad idea to try to scratch a mirror with any diamond!

An emerald shaped diamond is a rectangle cut with longer, flat facets. It’s a good cut for a diamond that’s exceptionally clear. If it’s not, then an emerald cut diamond can appear cloudy.

The Asscher diamond is similar to an emerald shape, except it’s square. It’s cutting resembles a spider web when viewed from above.

Other diamond shapes are self-explanatory. A pear- or tear-shaped diamond is exactly that. It’s an oval that’s wider at one end and curves to a point at the other end. An oval is a perfect oval. The marquise-shaped diamond can maximize the carat weight of a stone because it’s a longer and flatter cut, yet highly faceted. The marquise comes in a variety of length-to-width ratios.

A Diamond’s Fire

The term fire is commonly used to describe a diamond, but what does it refer to? The ancient Greeks thought that fire in a diamond symbolized the eternal flame of love. Fire in a diamond is the dispersed light that appears as rainbow-like flashes of color. You can usually observe a diamond’s fire in places like restaurants or clubs where the light is lower. The amount of fire depends on how the stone is cut and faceted. Older cut diamonds appear as if they have more fire because they’re cut with steep crown angles and flatter tables of the facets.

Other characteristics that are used to evaluate a diamond include brilliance and scintillation. Brilliance requires both brightness and contrast in the diamond and refers to how light is reflected back to the viewer, or return-of-light in the diamond trade. To many jewelers, it’s the most important quality in a diamond, and is what people react to when they exclaim over a diamond.

Diamonds also have a quality called scintillation. Scintillation refers to how light disperses from the stone when it’s moved. While brilliance is the quality of dispersed light when the diamond is in a stationary position, scintillation is observed when the diamond moves in the light. They’re closely related qualities, while fire is a different attribute.

The way a diamond is cut will determine how much fire or brilliance it has, and often one may have to make a trade-off for one quality or another. Which way is the best way to go? For the most part, most diamonds are cut more for brilliance and scintillation rather than for fire. When shopping for a diamond remember that it’s in investment, yes. But what really matters is whether you love it. Qualities like brilliance vs. fire really do pale in comparison to that one critical element!

A Diamond’s Fluorescence And Why It’s Important

We’re all familiar with the 4Cs of diamonds – cut, color, clarity and carat weight. But diamonds also possess a quality called fluorescence that’s part of the evaluation and assessment of a diamond. It’s actually called photo-luminescence and it’s caused by small amounts of the chemical boron in the diamond. It’s activated by UV light.

It’s graded by how much blue there is in the diamond – None, Faint, Medium, Medium blue, Strong, Strong Blue and Intense Blue. At one time, this was a highly-prized quality in a diamond and the demand for a blue-white diamond was high. The blue indicated the fluorescence of the diamond, while white was a reference to the overall color of the body of the stone. This has decreased over time as consumer preference shifted towards the more colorless stones.

The tide of public preference may be shifting back to the blue-white diamond, but you want to be sure, when buying a diamond, that you examine it under a variety of conditions, such as sunlight and fluorescent light, as well as a jeweler’s black light. Some diamonds with a fluorescent quality can become hazy in daylight or even glow out on the dance floor!

Colorless diamonds have become increasingly rare and expensive. The color grades of D (flawless) to G are going to be hard to come by at a reasonable price. If you’re buying a diamond with a color grade of H or higher, some fluorescence may actually be a good attribute for it and increase your stone’s value and attractiveness, as the blue fluorescence can offset any other gradations in the stone, such as a yellowish tone.

Although some diamonds have a yellow or orange fluorescence, most reputable jewelers will recommend against a diamond with this quality, unless you’re buying a colored diamond in the same hue, as a similar fluorescence will enhance and intensify that color.