Top Ten Diamond Don’ts
My name is Dan Moran and I’m a third generation diamond dealer, here to share my diamond expertise with you. From spotting a fake diamond to caring for your jewelry, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten things that you shouldn’t do when it comes to diamonds.
1. DIAMOND DON’T: The Fog Test
Some people seem to think that you can use a “fog test” to see if a diamond is real or not. The idea is that if you breathe on the stone and it’s a fake, it will fog up, but a diamond won’t, because the diamond won’t retain the heat to steam up and fog the stone. But this is FALSE. A diamond absolutely WILL fog up. In fact, dealers do this to temporarily obscure brilliance and scintillation so we can more precisely evaluate body color. The fog test should ONLY be used for color. Use another, more reliable means to determine whether or not the stone is real, such as an electronic tester.
2. DIAMOND DON’T: The Scratch Test
To the untrained eye, cubic zirconia can look like diamonds. Yes, it’s true, diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, and can only be scratched by other diamonds. But if you’re doing the scratch test where you rub it against another stone or with sandpaper and it’s not a diamond, you’re only going to ruin the stone you’re scratching! What if stone you’re looking at is white sapphire or topaz? Those stones aren’t as valuable as a diamond, but they’re still worth money. If you scratch either of these stones during the scratch test, well, you’d better be prepared to pay the jeweler the cost of the stone!
3. DIAMOND DON’T: The Hammer Test
This one should go without saying – DON’T hit your diamond with a hammer, or smash it with a rock, or otherwise strike it. Just don’t. Some people think that just because a diamond is hard, that makes it unbreakable. This is total nonsense. The stone will break. End of story. Yes, diamonds are the hardest substance currently known on earth, but that does NOT make them indestructible!
4. DIAMOND DON’T: Mixing your jewelry in the same bag
We’ve all seen the diamond heist movies where someone pours a whole mess of diamonds out of a velvet pouch onto a table. This makes me cringe each time I see it. Diamond dealers would NEVER store diamonds like this. They would scratch each other terribly! So, please wrap each piece you own separately, and keep them from damaging each other.
5. DIAMOND DON’T: Wear your ring to the gym
Along the same lines of mixing your jewelry in one bag and why you shouldn’t do it, don’t wear your ring to the gym. We’ve discussed that even though diamonds are the hardest surface known to man, they can be chipped. If you’re working out and you bang your ring on the weights you’re lifting or against the treadmill you’re running on, you risk chipping it. Opt for leaving your jewelry at home or buy a chain, put your ring on it, and wear it around your neck when you work out.
6. DIAMOND DON’T: Don’t compare loose stones to set stones
It’s just not fair to compare the look of a loose stone to a set stone. The reason we set stones is because it makes them look bigger, whiter and cleaner. You can’t look at a loose stone and fairly compare it to a stone that’s been set in a ring with accent diamonds. It’s equivalent to comparing yourself the minute you get out of bed versus in your best dress with perfectly applied makeup on!
7. DIAMOND DON’T: Don’t focus on clarity
We’ve all heard of the Four C’s when it comes to diamonds: cut, clarity, color and carat. Many people tend to focus on the clarity of the stone as the most important factor when deciding on a stone. But once you’re over a certain clarity level, the human eye cannot distinguish a somewhat clean stone from a really, really clean stone. But your wallet sure can. Why spend the money on something that neither you or anyone else will be able to see? Instead, I recommend focusing on the cut of the diamond first. The reason for this is because if it’s not cut right, it won’t look like a diamond. If you take an amazing stone out of the ground and cut it poorly, it will look dull, lifeless, and boring. But if you take a so-so stone out of the ground and cut it well, it will look like a million bucks. The other two C’s are important as well, but I feel that color versus size is more of a personal choice – I can’t tell you which you should value more. So focus on the cut of the diamond first, and then the other C’s.
8. DIAMOND DON’T: Don’t set your diamond in 24K gold
Remember in the old movies where the gold prospector bites into the piece of gold to see if it’s real or not? The reason he does this is because gold is a soft metal, and will actually deform under the pressure of a human bite. Pure 24K gold is so soft that if you have a pure 24K gold ring it will actually bend around your fingers as you wear it. If there were stones set in it, the prongs would now be out of place, and stones would fall out. This is why you don’t see 24K gold rings with stones set in them. Instead, a responsible jeweler will use platinum, 14k gold, or 18k gold.
9. DIAMOND DON’T: Don’t ship your jewelry to cash for gold guys
This one is a no brainer. Don’t fall victim to those guys you see on TV, asking you to put all your jewelry in a bag (again a big no-no) and ship it off to them and then they’ll send you a check for what they think your jewelry is worth. Don’t risk it. If you want to cash in on your old jewelry, take it to a trusted jeweler, or better yet, consider turning it into a new piece that you’ll love even more.
10. DIAMOND DON’T: Don’t spend “2 months’ salary” on an engagement ring
De Beers’ classic ad campaign recommends spending two months salary on an engagement ring, but this is an outdated and frankly ridiculous sentiment. The reason is this: buying an engagement ring should be a fun and enjoyable process. If spending two months’ salary is going to cause you discomfort and stress, then don’t do it. You want to feel happy about your purchase, not that it’s going to break the bank and force you to eat nothing but ramen noodles for the next few months. So, spend less if you feel better about it, or spend more if you really want to. It’s up to you! The bottom line is this: there is no “correct” amount to spend on a ring. Spend what you’re comfortable with and select a stone and a setting that you know your partner will love.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!