Diamonds...April's Birthstone & Girls Best Friend!
The beautiful, indestructible diamond... the hardest known mineral on earth with dazzling sparkle and color play, April's Birthstone, and a Girls Best Friend. Full disclosure, I am an April baby, so I might be a little biased to diamonds since it is my birthstone, but that also means Scotch Street Vintage has an extensive Diamond Collection! Here are my three favorite pieces of diamond jewelry right now; click on the pictures if you would like to see more information on each piece.
Below you will find my opinions and detailed information on the 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight); it is a lot of information, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. What you really should know when buying vintage diamonds (in order of importance)...
Of all the things I will explain in this article THE MOST IMPORTANT is to buy with your eyes. Whether you are looking for the perfect engagement ring or just a unique piece of diamond jewelry, don't get so caught up in the color, clarity, and carats that you exclude items you might love! I can't tell you how many emails I get where a customer asks me to send them a breakdown of all my diamond rings that are 1+ carats or "G" color or better, and I always reply, you know what, let's buy with our eyes. Then I send them a visual of several different ring styles and cuts and ask them to pick three of their favorites. From what they choose, I can send them more suggestions that match what they are drawn to. Below are three very different ring styles; what are you drawn to?
I am a big believer that the most important aspect of any piece of jewelry is that when the owner puts it on, it makes them smile, and that smile doesn't come from knowing it is 1+ carat or F color. It is from seeing a beautiful piece. So start by looking at styles, and then you will be able to adjust to the size or color range that you are interested in.
There are so many cuts, and I often find that this is what a customer falls in love with. Diamonds have very high adamantine and dispersion, which is how a diamond reacts to light, such as the SPARKLE and THE FIRE. While all diamonds naturally have sparkle and fire, the cut of the diamond can enhance its appearance.
Today there are many more cuts available than in vintage jewelry. While there are also artisan cuts found in vintage jewelry, the following are some of the most popular vintage cuts, but the cuts you will find the most often are Round, Mine, or Rose. Also, in accent stones, baguette cuts were a big vintage trend.
Diamond clarity is important but only to the eye (remember, buy with your eyes). All of the technical definitions are below, but what is essential to understand is that to the eye, there is NO visible difference between Flawless (FL) and Very Slightly Included Diamonds (VS1 and VS2); by definition, all of the classifications between FL and VS2 are eye clean, but the price difference in this range is HUGE. So unless you are walking around with a loop for people to look at your diamond, this is the first place you can lower your standards and save money without getting anything less beautiful. Even SI1 diamonds can look flawless to the naked eye, making them the best value if you find them in the right cut.
- Flawless (FL) - Flawless diamonds have no visible inclusions or flaws internally or on the surface, even under magnification. These diamonds are extremely rare and extremely expensive.
- Internally Flawless (IF) - similar to the above, these diamonds have no internal flaws even under magnification, but they may have surface flaws. These diamonds are also extremely expensive and, in my opinion, not worth the prices they usually sell for.
- Very Very Slightly Included 1 (VVS1) - These diamonds are eye-clean but show minimal inclusions under magnification. (see note in VVS2)
- Very Very Slightly Included 2 (VVS2) - These diamonds are eye-clean but show minimal inclusions under magnification. The difference between VVS1 and VVS2 is the number of flaws based on the carat size. For instance, a 1 carat diamond with 1-2 visible spots under magnification would be VS1, while the same size with 3-4 flaws would be VVS2 but change the carat size, and the ratio would also change.
- Very Slightly Included 1 (VS1) - These diamonds are still eyed clean but show minimal inclusions under magnification. (see note in VS2)
- Very Slightly Included 2 (VS2) - These diamonds are still eyed clean but show minimal inclusions under magnification. The difference between VS1 and VS2 is the number of flaws based on the carat size. For instance, a 1 carat diamond with 4-6 visible spots under magnification would be VS1, while the same size with 6+ flaws would be VS2 but change the carat size, and the ratio would also change.
- Slightly Included 1 (SI1) - These diamonds sometimes have visible inclusions to the eye, but they may not be visible from the top of the ring, which is essential.
- Slightly Included 2 (SI2) - These diamonds will have slight visible inclusions, but these inclusions could be masked depending on the cut.
- Included Diamonds (I1) - These diamonds will have visible inclusions that affect the appearance of larger diamonds, but in smaller accent stones (1/8 carat or less), they will not be noticed.
- Heavily Included Diamonds (I2-I3) - These diamonds are very visibly included. Often these diamonds appear dirty looking to the naked eye because of all the inclusions. We do not carry these diamonds.
So color grading for colorless diamonds, in my opinion, is one of the more overrated gradings of diamonds. D is the "best" color grade the scale then grades down to Z. The grading is how much yellow is in the diamond (this is different from an actual yellow diamond is more of a cream). Any grade from a "D" to a "J" is colorless, and no one will ever know the difference, but there is a vast difference in the price range, so again here is an excellent place to lower your standards without lowering the beauty of what you get.
So carat is the size of the diamond or, more precisely, the weight, but depending on the cut of a diamond, it can appear much larger than a diamond of a different cut in the same carat weight. Again, when you buy with your eyes, decide on a cut and style first instead of only being interested in a particular carat weight. You may be surprised at the size you fall in love with if you don't know the size ahead of time.
Looking for a guide for a different gemstone? Go to Scotch Street Vintage Gemstone Guides. Researching diamonds because you are thinking of getting engaged and looking for "The Ring"? We have guides to help with that, too just head to Everything Engagement All In One Place.