The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 02, 1989, Page 3, Image 3

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By John Tavtln
Nebraska Diamond
For the average consumer buying a
diamond can be one of the most confus
ing and frustrating experiences imagin
able The consumer is often confronted
with a barrage of conflicting ciaims from
various jewelers intent on selling their
product. If the consumer is not armed
with adequate produci knowledge he
stands little chance for success in the
jewelry marketplace
Serious shopping for diamonds be
gins with an understanding of the Gemo
logical Institute of America (GIA) and its
diamond grading system The GIA is a
non profit organization dedicated primar
ily to the pursuit of gemological educa
tion It owns and operates the most pres
tigious trade laboratory for the identifica
tion and classification of gem stones in
this country. The GIA is considered by
the diamond industry to be the final and
most authoritative word on diamond
grading standards in the United States
and its diamond grading system is, by far,
the dominant grading system used by
diamond cutting firms and jewelry manu
facturers in this country today
Knowledge of the GIA diamond grad
ing system is a pre-requisite for informed
buying of diamonds, and knowledge of
that system without an actual "hands on"
demonstration is virtually impossible
The accompanying chart snows a total of
240 separate and distinct combinations
of Gl Agrades and there is a separate and
distinct price list for each grade within
each size category At Nebraska Dia
mond we give all customers a thorough
explanation and demonstration of the
GIA diamond grading system under labo
ratory conditions using actual examples,
so that the customer can see with his or
her own eyes the characteristics and
appearance of the various grades As a
result, Nebraska Diamond customers
can identify the various GIA grades by
themselves and do not need to helplessly
rely on the jeweler's representations
The two principal reasons why custom
ers need this special instruction and
knowledge to survive in the jewelry mar
ketplace are:
i. Many jewelers invent tneir own
personal grading system because by
doing so they make it difficult or irnpos
sible for the consumer to comparison
shop The GIA system is a uniform sys
tem of diamond grading and gives the
consumer a standard of comparison.
2 Jewelers who do represent dia
monds to customers in GIA terms often
take liberties with the GIA system and
just "puff the grade up to whatever level
is necessary to make the sale, believing
that the customer will not be able to iden
tify the deception A diamond which is as
signed a GIA grade by one of these jew
elers may actually be significantly inferior
to a diamond offered, with a seemingly
lower GIA grade, by a jeweler who ad
heres to the strict arading standards we
use at Nebraska Diamond Unless the
consumer has adequate product knowl
edge, he risks being duped into purchas
ing a low quality diamond In our opinion,
fraudulent misrepresentation of diamond
grades is one of the most serious and
widespread problems in the jewelry in
dustry today Your only real protection as
a consumer is to educate yourself about
the product At Nebraska Diamond we
provide our customers with an education
that makes them the best info 'ed dia
mond buyers in the market You do not
get the Nebraska Diamond consumer
education program at any other jewelry
Color, clarity, cut and carat weight all
have an important impact on the ultimate
value of your diamond In "The Complete
Guide to Buying Gems" (Copynght 1904,
Crown Publishers, Inc. New York), dia
mond authorities Antoinette Leonard
Madinsand Antonio C Bonanno, F G A .
P G. state, "If we were to identify the fac
tors that determine the value of a dia
mond in order of their importance, we
would list them as follows:
1. Body Color (color grade)
2. Degree of flawlessness (clarity
3 Cut and proportion (often referred
to as the make)
4. Carat weight"
Color refers to the hue present in the
body of the diamond Color is observed
by placing the diamond upside down in a
white color grading trough and viewing
through the side of the gem Among
color, clarity, cut and carat weight, color
is the characteristic most easily noticed
by the human eye and it has the most
impact on the appearance of the gem,
hence, color carries the most value
Clarity refers to a measurement of the
internal flaws and surface blemishes
present in or on a diamond. Sometimes
internal flaws and surface blemishes can
be seen only under magnification To
magnify a diamond a jeweler’s loupe or a
microscope is used The microscope is
often used more as a sales tool than as a
gem instrument because its "laboratory"
appearance can be impressive to consum
ers The microscope, however, is a cumber
some piece of equipment and is less flexible
than the loupe for examination of diamonds
For these reasons, among others, the loupe
is by far the dominant grading instrument
used by diamond dealers At Nebraska
Diamond you may view your diamond under
both a jeweler's loupe and under a micro
scope designed for professional diamond
examination. Among coior, clarity, cut and
carat weight, clarity is the second most
observable characteristic and has the sec
ond most impact on the appearance of the
gem, hence, clarity carries the second most
Cut refers to the proportions of the dia
mond . A diamond can be cut to any one of an
infinite number of proportions depending on
the angles of the facets These angles can
vary from diamond to diamond. As ex
plained below, proportion analysis is ex
tremely subjective and the effect of differing
proportions on the appearance and value of
the diamond is often a matter of opinion.
Generally, however, except for the propor
tion called the "heavy make" discussed
below, cut is a less observable characteris
tic than color or clarity from a quantitative
standpoint and, hence, cut generally carries
less value.
Carat weight refers to the weight of the
diamond and not to its size This is an impor
tant distinction because two diamonds
which weigh the same can appear drasti
cally different in size and this may result in
drastically different values even if color and
clarity are the same in both gems Some
times customers forget that size is a dimen
sional linear measurement expressed in
millimeters The term "Carat" is only a
weight measurement One carat is equal to
1/5 gram. If a diamond is cut with its weight
concentrated in its depth, a proportion called
the "heavy make", it will appear much
smaller than a diamond of the exact same
carat weight cut with its weight concentrated
in its width The difference in value between
these two diamonds can be substantial, of
ten exceeding 40%. At Nebraska Diamond
we avoid the "heavy make", but we have
observed that the "heavy make” is very
prevalent in today 's diamond market. There
fore, it is extremely important that the con
sumer know how to recognize the "heavy
make". As discussed below, however, con
sumers who do not have the consumer
education we provide at Nebraska Diamond
are at a tremendous disadvantage when it
comes to recognizing the "heavy make" and
they risk buying it unknowingly.
Among the 4 “C's" (Color, Clarity, Cut
and Carat Weight) the subject ot diamond
proportioning (Cut) is easily the most misun
derstood The GIA has subdivided propor
tion analysis into four Classes based on
table diameter, crown angle, pavilion depth,
girdle thickness, finish and symmetry Each
Class oontains wide parameters for proper
proportioning and, therefore, provides an
infinite variety of differing cutting proportions
all of which are considered equally appropri
ate within each Class The GIA proportion
analysis format, thus, illustrates what every
diamond expert in this business knows: that
there ara literally hundreds of different dia
mond proportions available which create
beautiful and highly desirable gems
Because there are so many accepted
types of proportioning in diamond cut, there
is no agreement in the diamond industry on
what constitutes the "best" cut This is be
cause the main factors affected by cut (dis
persion, scintillation and brilliance) cannot
all be maximized in the same gem.
"Dispersion" is sometimes referred to as
"Fire". Dispersion means the ability of the
diamond to break down light into the spectral
colors (blues, reds, yellows, etc )
"Scintillation" is sometimes referred to
as "Sparkle". Scintillation refers to the play
of light between and as reflected oft the dia
mond facets
"Brilliance" refers to the ability of the dia
mond to return colorless light to the viewer.
There is no such thing as a diamond cut
to maximum dispersion and maximum scin
tillation and maximum brilliance all at the
same time By cutting to maximize one of
these factors the other two are compro
mised, and since all three are of equal impor
tance it is impossible to authoritatively clas
sify one type of cut as the "best".
In buying a diamond it has been our ex
perience that the consumer desires the
most beautiful gem his or her budget can
afford. Precisely how dispersion, scintilla
tion and brilliance translate into beauty,
however, is a matter of personal opinion In
their chapter on "The Importance of Cut and
Proportion" the authors of "The Complete
Guide to Buying Gems" state, with refer
ence to the percentage measurements of
various diamond cutting proportions, "No
one has come to an agreement, however, on
what the percentages should be, since
some people prefer fire to brilliance and vice
versa This is why there are several ac
cepted types of proportiohing found in dia
mond cut, and "best" is a matter of personal
preference " In actuality, the difference in
dispersion, scintillation and brilliance be
tween some differing diamond proportions is
«n slight that it is measurable only with
sensitive laboratory instruments and is im
possible to see with the naked eye.
* As discussed above, one area in which
cut makes a big difference in the valuo of a
• _ Nebraska Diamond ]
Shapes GIA GIA Carat
Color Clarity Weight
Brilliant Heart Shape ftT f
COLORLESS < e FLAWLESS F 1 Ct. — 90 to 110 pts.
, jf_ _ 7/8 ct. = 80 to 89 pts.
NEAR H VERY wsi-1 3/4 ct. = 70 to 79 pts.
COLORLESS JL VERY 5/8 ct — 55 to 69 pts.
j-x FAINT i IMPERFECTION WSI'2 J^ Ct. = 45 to 55 pts
Oval vfi 1 nw'1 r- 7/16 ct. = 40 to 44 pts.
YELLOW H VERY VSI-1 3/g ct = 36 to 39 pts.
VERY 0 .MPFRFFSr!?ON vs. 2 */3 ct. = 29 to 35 pts.
YELLOW O - J/J ct - 23 to 28 pts.
r , 1/5 ct. = 18 to 22 pts.
S SLIGHT s,-t „ .. .
T IMPERFECTION Ct‘ “ 15 to 17 pts.
u _SF2 1/8 ct. = 12 to 14 pts.
v IMPERFECT M j Exact Carat = 100 points
diamond concerns the "heavy make". The
term "heavy make" refers to a diamond that
has a disproportionate share of its total carat
weight concentrated in the depth of the
stone Visually, this means that a "heavy
make" diamond actually weighing 1 carat
may only face up with the appearance and
diameter of a 3/4 carat d iamond cut to proper
proportions Because they face up so much
smaller than they should, "heavy makes"
are worth substantially less than properly
proportioned diamonds Because the
“heavy make" is worth less, it costs the jew
eler less, so he can sell it for less. When the
jeweler tails to tell his customer that he is
showing a "heavy make" and fails to explain
that the "heavy make" is priced lower be
cause it is worth less, the effect is to trick the
consumer into thinking that he has pur
chased a full size diamond at a bargain
price Tnis illusion is further enhanced when
the jeweler shows only "heavy make” dia
monds and does not show the consumer a
full size diamond to enable the consumer to
compare In fact, the problem of the “heavy
make" is virtually never explained to the
consumer, so the consumer simply as
sumes that any diamond shown of a certain
carat weight faces up the size that it should,
and he purchases the "heavy make" un
knowingly. We feel that this failure to inform
the consumer is grossly unfair and that it
constitutes deception by omission.
Seldom is the subject of cut properly and
fairly explained to the consumer At Ne
braska Diamond our customers receive all
of the facts and an explanation of every
Consumers should be aware of various
trade practices which are common in the
jewelry industry but Which we feel are de
ceptive, unfair and, in many cases, illegal.
Deceptive trade practices cost consumers
incalculable sums of money annually.
Awareness of these trade practices will
assist the consumer in spotting them and
avoiding them when shopping for fine jew
Deceptive trade practices in the jewelry
industry tend to fall generally into two broad
1 Practices which lead the consumer to
believe that he is receiving a bargain pur
chase when, in fact, he is not (fake "sales"),
2 Practices which lead the consumer to
believe the quality, quantity or description of
the article being purchased is more or better
than that which is actually delivered (active
or constructive misrepresentation of the
product either by act or omission).
The concept of the fake "sale" is an old
one Basically, it plays on the desire of the
consumer to obtain a bargain purchase
Fake "sales” can be advertised or unadver
tised Here's how the scheme works: In the
advertised fake "sale" scheme the jeweler
places an exorbitant and purely fictitious
"regular prioe" or "appraised value" or "ref
erence price" on an article of jewelry. He
then advertises "special sale prices" or
"drastic reductions" or "storewide 50% off
clearance sale" or "certified savings" or
something similar to drum up excitement,
and then he offers the article to the con
sumer for less than the fictitious “marked"
price. The consumer buys the article believ
mg he has received a bargain. In fact,
though, under the scheme, the jeweler has
sold the article for the price he always in
tended to sell it for There is no bargain
because the article really wasn't marked
down at all, so the consumer actually paid
full price. The fake "sale" scheme is also
employed in unadvertised "sales". In the
unadvertised fake "sale" the consumer
walks into the store and observes a fictitious
"marked" price on the article and the sales
person simply tells the consumer that the
article is on "sale" even though the "sale" is
not being publicly advertised, and then of
fers the article to the consumer for a "re
duced" price Both advertised and unadver
tised fake "sales" are high pressure sales
techniques used to influence the customer
to buy now before the “sale" ends. In fact,
under either scheme, there is no "sale" and
the customer is deceived The fake "sale"
scheme has reached epidemic proportions
In our opinion, the fake “sale" is the predomi
nant tool used in advertised and unadver
tised "price reduction" promotions in the
jewelry industry today Jewelers who con
duct fake "sales" are simply betting that their
customers are too stupid to figure out what is
going on. We think that is a poor bet Our
experience with consumers convinces us
that they are intelligent people who are en
titled to be treated with honesty and respect
Anytime you encounter a jewelry "sale"
employing any of the above characteristics,
we suggest that you exercise extreme cau
tion Bring a copy of the “sale" advertise
ment or the unadvertised "sale" informabon
to Nebraska Diamond Compare their so
called "sale" prices to our regular everyday
prices and see for yourself why Nebraska
Diamond totally dominates Lincoln's en
gagement ring and tine jewelry market.
The jewelry industry customarily em
ploys several subtle techniques in an at
tempt to convince the consumer that the
quality, quantity or description ot the article
being purchased is‘more or better than that
which is actually delivered We think that
these techniques are deceptive and im
proper and that consumers should be
warned about them First and foremost
among these techniques is the implementa
tion of specialized lighting conditions de
signed to enhance the true appearance of
any gem stone or article of jeweiry. This
usually takes the form of chandeliers, spot
lights, flood lamps, and reflector lamps, both
incandescent and fluorescent, plus tubular
incandescent display case bulbs and other
similar type light sources These light
sources are instantly recognizable by their
"hot" "bright" or "intense" appearance
Such lights artificially enhance the appear
ance, dispersion, scintillation and brilliance
in diamonds and, further, they make it im
possible to accurately determine the GIA
color and clarity grade In other words, these
lights make the diamond appear better than
it is While others may argue that the use of
specialized lighting is merely a merchandis
ing and display technique, we prefer to think
that consumers are entitled to see exactly
what they are getting As a practical matter,
the only jewelry store lighting condition
which is non-deceptive, that is, which pres
ents the true appearance of gem stones and
articles of jewelry, is color corrected tubular
fluorescent lighting Even this light, in order
to be non-deceptive, must be presented at a
low height in a dosed and carefully con
trolled environment, undiluted and uncon
taminated by other light sources These are
the lighting conditions which are used for
laboratory grading of diamonds, and these
are the lighting conditions you will find at
Nebraska Diamond At Nebraska Diamond
we sell quality jewelry, and we adhere to the
philosophy that when you sell quality jewelry
you don't need deceptive lighting conditions
The ultimate purpose for the consumer
to acquire product knowledge is to enable
him or her to separate ‘1301" .from “sales
pitch" Your right as a consumer to know the
facts is unequivocal, and should include
nothing less than the following:
1. You have the right to demand that the
jeweler accurately grade your diamond in
conformity with the GIA diamond grading
system, that he fully disclose that grade to
you and that he show you how the grade was
determined. Never purchase a diamond
without such a disclosure.
2. You have the right to examine your
diamond loose before making your pur
chase. You cannot accurately observe the
color or clarity of a diamond or authenticate
its carat weight or determine that it is not
chipped if it is already set into a ring Never
purchase a diamond that you have not ex
amined loose.
3. ,You have the right to examine your
diamond under the lighting conditions used
for laboratory grading of diamonds, that is,
under color corrected tubular fluorescent
lighting, presented at a low height in a closed
and carefully controlled environment un
diluted and uncontaminated by other light
sources Never purchase a diamond that
you have not examined under such light
ing conditions.
4 You have the right to examine the
color of your diamond in a white color
grading trough and to examine the clarity
of your diamond under a loupe or micro
scope, and you have the right to expect
the jeweler to point out exactly what you
should see Never purchase a diamond
that you have not examined in this man
5 You have the right to have your dia
mond weighed in your presence on an
electronic diamond scale to verify its
claimed carat weight Never buy a dia
mond that you have not observed in this
6. You have the right to ask any ques
tions pertinent to your purchase and you
have the right to expect a courteous,
informed, accurate and complete an
swer Never purchase anything from a
jeweler who shows disrespect tor your ■
right as a consumer to know
At Nebraska Diamond wf've built our
reputation on superb quality, unsur
passed personal service, tremendous
selection and unbeatable prices That's
why Nebraska Diamond totally domi
nates Lincoln's engagement ring and fine
jewelry market With each engagement
ring or wedding band we also include our
free Wedding Savings Package™ which
entitles Nebraska Diamond customers to
huge discounts at 22 other area
merchants on everything needed for a
perfect wedding At Nebraska Diamond
we believe that earning your trust is the
most important thing we do, and that trust
is earned with quality, value, service and
honesty Our track record speaks for it
self Our unmatched reputation is our
most valuable asset and our uncompro j
mising commitment to our customers has
made us THE PLACE for engagement
rings and fine |ewelry We look forward to
serving you
©Copyright 1989 Nebraska Diamond
Sales Company, Inc
All Rights Reserved
865 NBC Center 13th &O
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
(402) 474-6400
USA 1-800-334-GEMS
Engagement Rings
and Fine Jewelry