Home: Timeless Elegance

Diamonds have outshined the category of a product and have become a symbol. Their physical qualities – extreme durability and relative rareness – convey a message of commitment, class, uniqueness and strong feelings. Diamonds are perceived as an essential part of proclaiming a message of love.

The fact that they appeal to the heart explains why a slogan invented by the famous diamond company De Beers was so successful. In 1947, a copywriter came up with the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever,” which proved to be so effective that Advertising Age magazine named it the best advertising slogan of the 20th century. Since the purchase of diamonds is so special, it is important to understand what diamond quality truly means. “It is amazing to get this somewhat ugly rock out of the ground and make it beautiful,” says Dennis Barrett, owner of
Barrett Jewelers.

The metamorphosis is a complex process and the value of the final product is determined by four characteristics, or the four Cs: carat, color, clarity and cut. It is the most common system for grading diamonds around the world and was created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Carat is the diamond’s weight. One carat equals about 0.2 grams, almost the same weight as a small paper clip. However, size doesn’t always mean quality. Diamonds with the same weight can have different value based on the other three factors. “People sometimes go for a larger stone that is not as nice, but they are sorry for that later,” says Jackie Griffin, co-owner of Parsons Jewelry. “They would have appreciated the sparkle of the smaller, better diamond.”

Diamonds occur naturally deep within the earth and often have “birthmarks,” light or dark spots within their structure or surface. “They are little specs of carbon that never got crystallized,” Barrett explains.
Birthmarks make each diamond unique. The fewer birthmarks a diamond has the better clarity it has and therefore bigger value. A flawless diamond has perfect clarity and many jewelers have never seen one.

The color of a diamond is the actual hue of the stone, meaning the less color, the higher the value. The GIA system uses letters in alphabetical order from D for a near- colorless diamond to Z as the color hint increases to light yellow or brown.

The exception to the rule is the so-called “fancy-color diamonds,” whose color is naturally very intense and lies outside of the D-Z range. Colored in deep blue, orange, green or pink, these diamonds are rare and valuable. According to GIA statistics, for every natural fancy-color diamond there are 10,000 colorless ones.

Color can also be artificially intensified. “Usually they take something brownish or yellow, not a clear diamond, and they heat it up through radiation,” explains Paul Brockhaus, co-owner of Simpson Brockhaus. “It’s just a chemical process inside the diamond – everything is already there. What’s really cool is that you never know what color it will be when it comes out.”

The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and sparkle. The surface is usually cut with extreme precision into 58 facets that reflect the light. The facets can be as small as two millimeters in diameter. Just like a prism, the facets refract the white light into the colors of the visible spectrum.

The resulting colors are bounced back to the eye. The effect of dispersion is known as the “fire” of a diamond. Brockhaus remembers one of the most beautiful diamonds he sold to a customer. “It was four carats G color, which is near the top of the colorless chart, and at 20 feet away, it looked like a small beacon of light,” he says. “It was flashing brilliantly with all the colors that you can see in the rainbow.”

Jewelry maintenance is very important. “We have so many people that come in who have lost diamonds, and they are just devastated,” Griffin says. She advises that many undesired situations can be avoided by regularly bringing jewelry to a shop for a professional check. She said insuring jewelry is also a good idea. When it comes to engagement rings, many jewelers agree the two months, salary rule shouldn’t be a trend. “It’s whatever you are comfortable with, not how much you make,” Griffin says.

Popular diamond shapes at the moment are princess, cushion and the classic round, but Griffin says trends change all the time, just as fashion does. “When I got married 47 years ago, white gold was popular, and I got that ring. I am now on my fifth wedding ring, but the same husband,” she jokes.

One thing to avoid, however, is shopping online, jewelers say. “You have to be careful. Go to a jewelry store, so that you can actually see what you buy,” Barrett says. “You don’t have to wait for the mail and hope for the best.”

Regardless of the size, shape or color, diamonds have been captivating eyes and hearts for years, and most likely will for generations to come. “There’s really not a right or wrong choice, it’s whatever you love. That’s the important part,” Griffin says. “If you really love your ring, you’ll wear it every day and enjoy it.”

For more information or to discover the perfect diamond, call Barrett Jewelers at (405) 340-1519, Parsons Jewelry at (405) 341-1280 or Simpson Brockhaus Fine Jewelry at (405) 359-7700.

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