The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 20, 2000, Page 3, Image 3

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    PAID ADVERTISEMENT
HOW TO BUY A DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING
WITH CONFIDENCE AND KNOWLEDGE
By John Tavlin, President
Nebraska Diamond
At Nebraska Diamond we have perfected the
Art of making the purchase of engagement and
wedding rings easy, comfortable and fun. Over
the years our most important business has been
producing tens of thousands of happy, satisfied
customers, one at a time. A major reason for out
success is the heavy emphasis we give to provid
ing consumers with the information they need to
buy a diamond engagement ring with confidence
and knowledge.
UNDERSTANDING CLARITY, COLOR
& CARAT WEIGHT
Serious shopping for diamonds begins with
an understanding of the Gemological Institute of
America (GIA) and its diamond grading termi
nology.. The GIA is a non-profit organization ded
icated primarily to the pursuit of gemological
education. The GIA is considered by the diamonc
industry to be the final and most authoritative
word on diamond grading standards and its dia
mond grading terminology is, by far, the domi
nant terminology used by diamond cutting firms
and jewelry manufacturers throughout the world
today.
GIA diamond grading terminology describes
the clarity and color of diamonds. The GIA clarity
terminology classifies diamonds based on the
number, size, location and description of mark
ings which may be present in or on the diamond.
These markings range in size from pinpoints so
tiny that they can barely be seen under magnifica
tion to markings which are large enough to be
seen with the naked eye. The GIA color terminolo
gy classifies diamonds based on the amount of
color saturation present in the body of the dia
mond.
The accompanying chart shows GIA dia
mond clarity and color grading terminology. A
diamond of a specific clarity can occur in any of
the colors. A diamond of a specific color can
occur in any of the clarities. Accordingly, the
chart shows 240 possible clarity/color combina
tions. Within any specific budget there is an
enormous range of choice in size, clarity and
color combinations.
“Flawless” clarity and “D” color are the onl\
grades which represent a singular, unwavering,
exact and objective standard. All of the other
clarity and color grades represent subjective clas
sifications of qualifying gemological characteris
tics. This subjective nature of diamond grading
results in the potential of somewhat differing
degrees of interpretation by two or more graders.
In other words, multiple graders can examine
the same diamond and disagree on the ciarity
and color grade of that diamond. As a result, a
diamond which is assigned a GIA grade by a jew'
eler who grades on the basis of lenient subjective
criteria may actually be significantly inferior to a
diamond, with a seemingly lower GIA grade,
which has been graded by a jeweler who adheres
to strict subjective criteria. This means that
although a diamond in one jewelry store may
“sound” like a better quality than a diamond in
a second jewelry store, the diamond in the sec
ond jewelry store may actually be better quality
and substantially more valuable.
Furthermore, except for “Flawless” clarity
and “D” color, all of the other clarity and color
grades represent ranges of qualifying gemologica
characteristics. This means that widiin all of the
other clarity and color grades, there are many
versions of each grade, each different from ail
others within the same grade, with some ver
sions being considered better, more desirable
and more valuable than other versions. For
example, if internal markings consistent with a
specific clarity grade are located on the edge of a
diamond where they can be covered by prongs
when the diamond Is set, this version of the clar
ity grade is considered better, more desirable ant
more valuable than a version with the same
internal markings located in the center of the
diamond where they cannot be covered by
prongs. Similarly, a version of a specific color
grade which is almost the next hitter Color
grade is considered better, more desirable and
more valuable than a version which is almost th<
next lower color grade. This means that although
two diamonds may each be within the same clar
ity and color grade and, thus, “sound” like equal
quality diamonds, one of the diamonds may, in
fact, be substantially more valuable than the
other.
Most consumers are aware of the fact that
“carat weight” is a standard of measurement in
the diamond industry. Few consumers are aware c
the fact that “carat weight” and “size” are not the
same thing. “Carat weight” denotes the weight of
the diamond as measured by a scale. One carat
equals 1/5 gram. “Size” denotes the millimeter
dimensions of a diamond as measured by a mil
limeter gauge.
TWo diamonds can have the exact same caral
weight yet have greatly differing millimeter dimen
sions. Whether two diamonds of the same carat
weight have the same millimeter dimensions
depends on how the weight of each diamond is
distributed. For example, if one round diamond
weighing 1 carat has a great proportion of its carat
weight distributed in its depth, it will appear to be
much smaller in “face-up" appearance than anoth
er round diamond, also weighing 1 carat, which
has a great proportion of its carat weight distributed
in its diameter. This difference can be very substan
tial: Some 1 carat diamonds face up smaller than
some 1/2 carat diamonds. So if two diamonds are
exactly the same carat weight, exactly the same clar
ity and exactly the same color, the two diamonds
“sound” the same, yet one can appear to be twice
the size of the other. So even though the two dia
monds are identical in carat weight, identical in
clarity and identical in color, the millimeter size dif
ference can make the larger appearing diamond
worth as much as 300% more than the smaller
- appearing diamond.
When consumers fail to understand that,
except for “Flawless” clarity and “D” color, clarity
and color grades are based on subjective, and not
objective, criteria, and constitute ranges of qualify
ing gemological characteristics, and when they fail
to understand that “carat weight” and “size” are
not the same thing, they make costly buying mis
takes. As a result of these failures, these unedu
cated consumers, in effect, make their buying
decisions with their ears, based only on what the
diamond “sounds” like. Educated consumers do
not purchase diamonds with their ears. Educated
consumers understand that although one dia
mond may “sound” equal to or better than anoth
er, the truth may be otherwise. Educated con
sumers buy diamonds with their eyes, on the
basis of a visual examination.
At Nebraska Diamond our staff of Certified
Diainontologists* will show you your diamond
under laboratory grading conditions so you can
see your diamond under the exact same condi
tions our Diamond Buyer used when he selected
it for our store. No other area store provides this
service. Accordingly, you do not have to take our
word for the fact that our diamonds are clearly
superior. You will see it for yourself. Our incredi
ble diamond inventory is one important reason
why Nebraska Diamond will sell more diamond
engagement rings than all of the other area jewel
ry stores combined.
UNDERSTANDING CUT
The “cut” of a diamond is divided into two
components: (1) “Shape” and (2) “Make”.
“Shape” is a two dimensional concept consisting
of length and width in which the outline of the
outer edge of the diamond in its “face-up” posi
tion is described, typical shapes include round,
oval, pear, marquise, heart, radiant, princess,
emerald and trillion. Each “Shape” is subdivided
into various versions of that “Shape”. For exam
ple, some marquise diamonds are long and nar
row, others are short and fat, and others are in
between. Some versions of “Shape” are consid
ered in the diamond industry to be considerably
better, more desirable and more valuable than
other versions.
“Make" is a much more complicated concept
than "Shape”. “Make” involves the entire geometry
and all of the cutting proportions of the diamond.
The “Make” of a diamond is defined in terms of
how the physical dimensions and angles of cutting
interrelate, and how each and all of these factors
affect the physical appearance and optical light
handling capabilities of the diamond.
The optical light handling capabilities of a
diamond produce two primary results: (1)
Brilliance and (2) Fire. Brilliance is “reflected”
light and fire is “refracted” light. In simple terms,
brilliance is “white” Fight and fire is light which
has been broken down into the primary and sec
ondary spectral colors (red, blue, yellow, and iheir
secondary combinations).
Ketlected light (brilliance) plus retracted light
(fire) equals 100% of the light you see. As an
increment of one type of light is increased, the
( increment of the other type of light must
decrease, because the total of the two cannot
exceed 100% of the light you see. These are the
laws of optics. Accordingly if the cutter fashions a
diamond to increase its brilliance, the co-result
has to be a reduction in fire. Conversely, if the cut
ter fashions a diamond to increase its fire, the co
result has to be a reduction in brilliance. This is
why there is no such thing as a diamond cut to
maximum brilliance and maximum fire simulta
neously. Accordingly, there is no such thing as a
single “best” cut. Any jeweler who tells you other
wise is giving you a sales pitch.
The most important characteristic in light
handling capability that is affected by “Make” is
the improvement of the efficiency with which the
j. diamond handles light. When light enters a dia
mond three things happen: (1) Some of the light
is reflected back out from the diamond as bril
liance, (2) some of the light is refracted back out
from the diamond as fire, and (3) the remainder
of the light leaks through the diamond and is lost.
The more efficient a diamond, the less light it
leaks. The less light a diamond leaks, the brighter
its overall appearance.
A superior “Make” increases the efficiency
with which the diamond handles light because a
diamond of superior “Make” suffers a comparative
ly small amount of light leakage/loss. An inferior
^NEBRASKA DIAMOND'
GIA Color GIA Clarity Carat Weight
rl . Flawless p *1 ct. = 90 to 110 pts.
Colorless J—-7/8 ct. = 80 to 89 pts.
IIT Very Very WSI-1 3/4 ct. = 70 to 79 pts.
Near h_ Slight 5/8 ct. = 56 to 69 pts.
Colorless J_ Imperfection VVSI-2 1/2 ct. = 45 to 55 pts.
jT^ Very Slight VSI-1 ^/i6 ct. = 40 to 44 pts.
Faint Yellow JL_ Imperfection 3/8 ct. = 36 to 39 pts.
-_VSI~2 1/3 ct. = 29 to 35 pts.
Very Light H Slight SI-1 J/4 ct. = 23 to 28 pts.
Yellow Imperfection 1/A> ct — 18 to 22 pts.
-g— SI-2 1/6 ct. = 15 to 17 pts.
II Imperfect Ti V8 ct. = 12 to 14 pts.
JL_ ^ 1/10 ct. = 9 to 11 pts.
JL_ ,2
Light Yellow _v_ z
jr i-3
Y - -
_ Z
Fancy Yellow *1 Exact Carat = 100 Points
GIA Diamond Color and Clarity Terminology )
“Make" decreases the efficiency with which the
diamond handles light because a diamond of infe
rior “Make" suffers a comparatively large amount
of light leakage/loss. Accordingly, since a superior
“Make” returns to the viewer a larger total volume
of light, it appears brighter and shows correspond
ingly larger volumes of reflected (brilliance) and
refracted (fire) light.
As noted above, in addition to affecting the
optical light handling capabilities of a diamond
the “Make” also affects the physical appearance
of the diamond. Diamonds of superior “Make”
face up the size expected for their carat weight
and show exceptional brilliance and fire.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN RARITY AND BEAUTY
As you move up the clarity scale toward
“Flawless" you move into clarity qualities that
are increasingly rare. As you move up the color
scale toward “D” you move into color qualities
that are increasingly rare. It is important to
understand that an increase in rarity does not
inherently or automatically translate into an
increase in beauty.
To the naked eye, there is no difference in
beauty between a diamond graded “Flawless”
and the same diamond if it was graded “SI-2”,
because neither “Flawless” nor “SI-2” diamonds
are considered to show markings visible to the
naked eye. “Flawless” clarity and “SI-2” clarity
are different versions of beauty. The diamond
will cost more if it is “Flawless” clarity than it
will if it is “SI-2” clarity, but that higher cost is
primarily a function of rarity, not beauty.
Similarly, one color is not inherently and
automatically more beautiful than another. “D”
color is icy in appearance compared to “M”
color. “M” color is warm in appearance com
pared to “D” color. “D” color and “M” color are
different versions of beauty. The diamond will
cost more if it is “D” color than it will if it is “M”
color, but that higher cost is primarily a function
of rarity, not beauty.
Rarity is a fact of nature. Beauty is in the
eye of the beholder. When consumers assume
that higher clarity diamonds are automatically
more beautiful than lower clarity diamonds, or
assume that higher color diamonds are auto
matically more beautiful than lower color dia
monds, they make costly buying mistakes.
Paying extra for rarity does not guarantee you a
more beautiful diamond. It bears repeating that
educated consumers buy with their eyes, on the
basis of a visual examination. Uneducated con
sumers buy with their ears, on the basis of what
the diamond “sounds” like.
UNDERSTANDING THE TRICKS OF THE
TRADE
Consumers should be aware of various
trade practices in the jewelry industry which are
used to unduly influence buying decisions. The
three most prominent “tricks of the trade” are
(1) Deceptive showroom lighting conditions, (2)
fake sales, and (3) misdirection.
Promoting diamond jewelry by showing it
under special showroom display lighting is con
sidered normal practice in the jewelry industry.
This lighting is recognizable by its “hot”, “bright”
or “intense” appearance, and includes spot lights,
flood lamps, reflector lamps, tubular display case
bulbs, chandeliers and similar light sources. This
type of display lighting is unfair to consumers
because it artificially enhances the appearance of
diamond brilliance and fire and, in addition, such
lighting makes it impossible to reliably determine
diamond clarity and color grades. The effect is so
extreme tliat even very poor quality diamonds
shown under such lighting will sparkle like they
belong in the Crown Jewels of England.
Professional diamond buyers never pur
chase diamonds under such lights. Professional
diamond buyers purchase diamonds only under
laboratory grading lights. Laboratory grading
lights are “Tubular fluorescent color corrected
daylight bulbs rated at 5000 Kelvin”. Laboratory
grading lights neutralize brilliance and fire and
render colors accurately. Only under laboratory
grading lights do you see exactly what you are
buying, with no surprises later.
At Nebraska Diamond our Diamond Buyer
insists on laboratory grading lights and our cus
tomers deserve nothing less. We use laboratory
grading lights in every overhead fluorescent fix
ture in our store. Our customers purchase their
diamonds under the exact same lighting used by
our own Diamond Buyer. No other area jewelry
store provides its customers with the strict 100%
laboratory lighting conditions we have at
Nebraska Diamond.
Fake sales have reached epidemic propor
tions in the jewelry industry. In the fake sale
scheme the store places a fictitious and exorbi
tant “regular” price on the merchandise and
then advertises it at some seemingly giant “dis
count". In reality the store has never sold the
item at the “regular” price and has simply
marked it up to mark it back down to give the
consumer the illusion of a “bargain”.
At Nebraska Diamond our pricing policy fol
lows the no nonsense philosophy of “lowest
price every day". This means that you never
have to wait for a “sale” at Nebraska Diamond.
We are very serious about fulfilling our commit
ment to offer our merchandise at the lowest
prices in the market every day. That commit
ment is an important reason why Nebraska
Diamond has grown to completely dominate
Lincoln’s diamond jewelry market.
“Misdirection" is the Art of getting the con
sumer to make a buying decision on the basis of
something other than the product itself. In the
jewelry industry “misdirection” takes two prima
ry forms: (1) Using a “gizmo” to “prove” that
the diamond meets a superior standard, and (2)
using third party “authentication” to “prove”
one diamond is better than another.
Analyzing brilliance and fire in a diamond
is such a complicated subject that to properly
study diamond light handling characteristics the
GIA has utilized computer technology to create a
computerized “virtual diamond” with 20,122
different proportion combinations. The GIA
studied the way light travels through these
20,122 combinations and measured the bril
liance of each through a numerical evaluation
the GIA calls “Weighted Light Return” (WLR).
Because thousands of these proportion combi
nations produce beautiful diamonds, the GIA
has never been able to develop a scientifically
proven cut grade rating'-system and, in that
regard, GIA research is still in progress..
In spite of the foregoing, some jewelers show
consumers a gizmo, place a diamond inside and,
by virtue of some otherwise invisible pattern in
the diamond revealed by the gizmo, announce
that the diamond cut is perfect and superior in
every way. In fact, the gizmo used to reveal the
otherwise invisible pattern does not measure
beauty or brilliance. The gizmo is a misdirection
tool. Diamonds which are pushed on consumers
by misdirection tricks are called “Gimmick
Diamonds” by people in the diamond industry.
The two most notorious Gimmick Diamonds
are the “Hearts and Arrows” diamond and the
American “Ideal Cut” diamond, which are mar
keted at premium prices under a variety of fancy
sounding brand names. The “Hearts and Arrows”
diamond and the American “Ideal Cut” diamond
are touted by their dealers as “the most brilliant”
diamonds. The claim is pure hype. The American
Gem Society (AGS) “0” cut grade is the basis of
the “Hearts and Arrows” diamond. When the GIA
examined the range of proportions of the AGS
“0” cut grade, examples generated a “Weighted
Light Return” (WLR) value in the “typical" cate
gory for brilliance, an unimpressive rating which
is well below GIAs highest WLR brilliance catego
ry. In the same GIA tests the American “Ideal
Cut” proportions generated WLR values in the
“moderately low” category for brilliance.
Similarly, some jewelers present “certifi
cates” containing third party descriptions of the
diamond to “prove” that their diamond is better
than the diamond at the other store. The objec
tive is to get the consumer to choose a diamond
on the basis of what a piece of paper says about
it, and not on the basis of actually visually exam
ining the diamond. After all, if these “certifi
cates” are prepared by independent third parties
they must be unbiased and correct, right? Not
quite. What the consumer is not told is that all
these certificates contain accuracy disclaimers
and, further, that some third party providers
grade diamonds using lenient subjective grading
standards so that their “certificates” read better
and the diamonds described in them “sound”
better than if they used strict subjective grading
standards. No “certificate”, regardless of its
detail, tells you whether the diamond is beautiful
or brilliant. “Certificates” are misdirection tools.
IN SEARCH OF BEAUTY, STYLE AND VALUE
Every year at Nebraska Diamond we make
thousands of engaged couples happy they came
to see us. The couples who have the easiest,
most comfortable and most fun time purchasing
their engagement ring all share the same three
objectives: (1) They want a diamond they feel is
beautiful, (2) they want a ring style they both
love and (3) they want the diamond and ring to
be within their budget.
The most beautiful diamond to one person
may not be the most beautiful diamond to
another. At Nebraska Diamond our Certified
Diamontologists* are educated and trained to
listen to you so that they can show you a selec
tion of diamonds having the characteristics you
find the most beautiful. Our tremendous dia
mond inventory guarantees that we always have
the correct diamond on hand to satisfy all of
your requirements for beauty.
When it comes to ring style selection,
Nebraska Diamond is Nebraska’s only
Engagement & Wedding Ring Superstore. All the
other area jewelry stores combined cannot show
you the ring style selection you will see simply by
coming to Nebraska Diamond. We guarantee
that no matter where you have been or what you
have seen you will be absolutely astonished by
the selection at Nebraska Diamond.
You, and only you, know what budget is
comfortable for you. Our advice to you regarding
the topic of budget is very simple: (1) Set a bud
get. (2) Stay within that budget. At Nebraska
Diamond we show respect for our customers by
honoring the budget limitations they set. One of
the advantages of being the Engagement &
Wedding Ring Superstore is that we have beauti
ful engagement and wedding rings to fit every
budget.
Any jewelry store can claim to be the
“best”, but the proof is in the performance. Any
jewelry store can claim to have the “biggest and
best selection”, but the proof is in the perfor
mance. Any jewelry store can claim to have the
“most beautiful and brilliant diamonds”, but the
proof is in the performance. Any jewelry store
can claim to have the “lowest prices”, but the
proof is in the performance.
Our performance record speaks for itself:
Nebraska Diamond will sell more engagement
and wedding rings than all of the other area jew
elry stores combined.
We look forward to serving you.
♦The distinction of Certified Diamontologist is
awarded by the Diamond Council of America, a
non-profit educational organization, only after a
comprehensive course of study and proven profi
ciency by testing.
Copyright© 2000 Nebraska Diamond Sales
Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
NEBRASKA
DIAMOND
8th Floor, NBC Center
13th & 0 Streets
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
(402) 474-6400
USA 1-800-334-GEMS
The Engagement & Wedding
Ring Superstore5