Diamond & Jewellery FAQ

Here is some good advice from Rob van Beurden, our Antwerp diamond expert and Antwerp Diamond Bourse member

My name is Rob van Beurden, and I have been a diamond dealer for my entire professional life. After thirty-four years of experience, I have mastered a dynamic industry that unfortunately sometimes excels in its lack of transparency. I believe that this lack of transparency sometimes is the very basis of a pricing policy. So please ask me any questions that will make my industry easier to understand.

How can I buy a diamond from you?

Why should a purchase from you be better than from others in London or New York?

How much should I spend?

Why do diamonds cost so much?

Diamond prices are governed by international diamond trade prices (like international gold or coffee prices) based on demand and supply. Ultimately, the reason that diamonds are luxury goods and hence expensive is that their supply is limited to what is found in nature. Only around 15% of all diamonds that are mined are suitable for use in jewellery, the rest are used in industry for cutting tools, for semiconductors, etc. On average 50-60% of the rough diamond is lost when cutting a polished gem hence, diamond prices increase rapidly with carat weight. In other words, one needs to have found a good quality 2 carat rough diamond in order to end up with a possible 1 carat polished diamond.
Approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed in order to produce a single, one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond.
Millions of years in the making. What many people don’t know about diamonds is that they were formed under immense heat and pressure hundreds of miles below sea level. After 200 million years of formation, volcanic explosions forced them upward, exposing their natural beauty to the world. Diamonds were formed between 3 billion and 250 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today. Rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are the hardest substances on earth, but their appeal goes far beyond durability.
By contrast, cubic zirconias are relatively inexpensive as they are man-made and you can have as many as you like i.e. their supply is not limited.

What type of diamond is good for investment value?

Diamond prices are based on demand and supply and that varies with many factors. In the past, 1+ carat high quality diamonds were sold sooner than bigger stones, today any diamond that is (rough) 4 carat upwards with high quality is getting rarer & rarer.... so, the bigger the better. In general, I would recommend buying F-G-H color and VS-Si1 clarity in 2ct + for the longer term, and the same quality in 1.10+ for the 3-5 year term. All this is based on buying from us at direct from Antwerp prices rather than from designer shops were no matter what diamond you buy you will lose ca. 50-70% as soon as you walk out of the door.

When is a diamond in the hand worth two in the shops?

Since diamonds were first mined in ancient India over 2800 years ago, they have been associated with power, love, wealth and prestige. Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of the diamond and how it could connect love with eternity.  Their belief was founded upon Vena Amoris (the vein of love) finger leading back to the heart.  By wearing a diamond ring on the Vena Amoris, the ancient Egyptians passionately believed that eternal love could be achieved.
Even today, throughout much of the world, a diamond ring worn on the third finger is viewed as a symbol of the commitment of love.  So having found the ‘love of your life’ how do you find the special diamond that is going to symbolise everlasting love? 
To start with there is an amazing range of prices to consider from modest sums to telephone number figures that most of us can only dream of.  What is more, diamond selling price is NOT the same as diamond value – the difference is the profits and overheads added by the seller! It is therefore advisable before making any purchase to find out a little more about diamonds and their intrinsic value so that you can have that diamond of your dreams without breaking the bank. 
Whilst many people may have heard that a diamond’s value depends critically in terms of the 4Cs: the Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Colour, few really understand how this works in practice.  The carat is the weight of a diamond. One carat is 0.2 gram or 200 milligrams and hence is easy to measure objectively with the help of an accurate weighing scale. This is not the case with the other attributes. It is unfortunate that people are often misled into paying too much for an inferior diamond because they do not understand the other more subjective attributes.
The most important and often least understood “C” is “Cut”. To get from the raw diamond to the finished cut sparkling gemstone requires the skilled hand of a master cutter. A rough or uncut diamond is rather unimpressive compared to the sparkling gems resulting from cutting and polishing!
The better the CUT proportions, the better the diamond handles light to create sparkle. Therefore CUT is the single most important factor affecting a diamond's brilliance and visual fire. However, “Cut” is often confused with diamond Shape.
Diamonds can be cut into many different shapes: 80-85% of all diamonds are cut into the round brilliant diamond shape as this is the most popular. About 5% of all diamonds are cut into the princess shape (a square shape) and the remaining 10-15% are spread between all the other shapes e.g. emerald cut, pear shape, oval, cushion, asscher, radiant, marquise, heart, baguette…etc.
The sad fact is that 75-80% of diamonds sold anywhere are poorly proportioned to retain carat weight rather to maximise sparkle as the average person and the average vendor sells them by the carat!
A well-cut diamond reflects maximum light and so sparkles the best.
Poorly cut diamonds are actually worth up to 50% less than many vendors sell them at but unless you buy with expert advise you often end up paying more for these inferior diamonds. Hence, a diamond in the hand bought with expertise at a direct from trade low price may literally have a net value that is more than the value of higher price diamonds being sold in the shops!
With fancy shapes like hearts, pears, marquise, there are visual clues that even a novice can use to spot diamonds that are too fat, too thin or too irregular.
However, more expertise is required to judge the most popular shape, the round brilliant.
All round diamonds have the same visually round shape but will differ in their angles, proportions and depths that are not visually apparent especially when the diamond is already set in a piece of jewellery rather than being loose. For the round shape, the solution is to buy diamonds with the highest grades for Cut proportions on independent certificates from the most reputable independent laboratories e.g. GIA, HRD, AGS and IGI. Many other certificates are not worth the paper they are written on as they are either not strict enough in their grading (e.g. EGL) or not fully independent.
Another critical factor affecting diamond value is “Colour”. Most diamonds are referred to as “colourless” which in diamond terminology ranges from actually colourless to yellowish shades. The difference between various colour grades makes a critical difference to value though the differences in shade are very subtle requiring expertise to judge when the diamond is loose. Few people realise that it is impossible to accurately asses a diamond’s colour when the diamond is already set in jewellery.
The colour scale starts at D (the best blue white) and goes through to Z.
The difference between adjacent colours is very small in the top grades but has a big impact on price:
A very tiny percentage of diamonds have other distinct colours e.g. blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, or red. Such fancy coloured diamonds command telephone figure prices in line with their rarity.

Diamond Clarity is the remaining C and refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections in a diamond. Almost all diamonds have some imperfections as individual as the person who wears the diamond. These characteristics help to separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and give identity to individual stones. For the purposes of jewellery, diamonds are graded by the amount of imperfections that can be seen at x10 magnification with a jeweller’s magnifying glass. This is the easiest factor for most people to understand and appreciate especially when viewing a diamond close up under magnification.
Historically, the shops whether prestigious ones like Cartier and Tiffany to more modest independent retailers have been popular for their choice and convenience as well as their instant fulfilment.  However, branded shops have higher margins, often charging as much as 2-3 times the diamond trade price, to cover their higher costs of advertising/branding and high stock levels. Even modest non-branded retailers often charge double the trade price to cover their stock and premises overheads.
Hence, many shrewd shoppers nowadays prefer to purchase from diamond brokers (e.g. www.diamondhouse.be or www.diamondhousejewellery.com) who can sell with expertise from loose diamonds as well as provide non-retail trade prices. Such diamond brokers provide a more personalised service by cherry-picking diamonds to suit their client’s budget and needs rather than just selling “stock”.
On the whole diamond brokers like these are still relatively few compared to the growth of online “diamond bucket shops” where one can simply click and order from a list of diamonds. Many mass-market shoppers are turning to these bucket shops for the convenience of buying via their computer screen from which they can look at pictures of thousands of items online and place their order without ever talking to a human.
Typically, such mass-market diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and let the shopper pick the diamond they want based on the specifications in the list. The shopper pays for the diamond in advance and then the wholesaler or the retailer ships the diamond to the consumer. Due to their low overhead costs, diamond bucket shops can provide lower prices than most branded or independent jewellery shops.
The disadvantage of this style of bucket retailer is that there are few safeguards in place to keep the consumer from making a mistake and paying a low price but one that may still be too much for an overall low value diamond! Picking the least expensive diamond from an online list of options often means there is something less desirable about the diamond. After all, the majority of diamonds produced and sold without expertise are the ones with less than ideal cut proportions for example!
To determine which company is going to be the best supplier for your diamonds, know what characteristics are most important to you. If you want a branded diamond and instant fulfilment and do not mind paying the higher overhead charge then the branded shops are the way to go. If you want to choose from loose diamonds with expert advice at trade prices then a diamond broker should be your route. If quality is not important then any other route is your option.

Is there anything else that is important when choosing a diamond?

What is more important Diamond Colour or Diamond Clarity?

The diamond colour scale goes from D to Z where D is the whitest of the white and hence most expensive. Diamond colour grading is done with the diamond face down whereas diamonds are worn face-up. Generally, the top 5-7 colours (Colourless D-F and Near colourless diamonds G-J) are regarded as shades of white in a brilliant cut diamond and its hard to tell the difference in colour between adjacent colours when a diamond is set. Many ordinary people can observe colour with the naked eye more easily than diamond clarity. For example, if you take diamond with J-M colours set in white gold or platinum, many people can tell that the diamond looks a little "off-white" especially if you see the diamond next to D, E or F colour diamonds that are whiter. If I, J, K+ colour stones are set in yellow gold then its harder to tell that they are not pure white. However, diamond colour becomes more noticable as the size of the stone increases or in shapes other than round brilliant e.g. emerald and asscher cut diamonds are more see-through with larger facets so they require higher quality (both colour and clarity) than other shapes.
The first eyeclean clarity grade is SI2. However in the majority of SI2 diamonds - you are likely to be able to see the inclusion with the naked eye on close scrutiny if you know where to look. Hence, SI1 diamonds are a better bet for eyeclean diamonds though it takes careful selection to find good SI1 diamonds where the inclusion is not an unsightly black mark right in the centre. A well-cut round brilliant diamond in a true SI1 will look no different to the naked eye than a VS2 or an Internally Flawless diamond!
The inclusions in diamonds that are VS2 and above to VVS1 are too small to visibly impair the sparkle of the diamond. The difference between IF, VVS1...to VS2 can only be discerned by a trained/expert eye at x10 magnification. Most people cannot distiguish IF from VVS1, VVS2 at x10 magnification. Many ordinary people find it hard to see inclusions in VS2 and above even when viewing with x10 magnifying lens.
Step cut diamond shapes like emerald and asscher cut diamonds require a higher quality of colour and clarity as they have large see-through facets which make it easy to see any imperfections.
In general in my opinion - colour is something that can be discerned with the naked eye with practice (e.g. when looking at an engagement ring on a daily basis) whereas no-one ever has or develops "X-ray" vision. Hence, I would recommend buying as white a diamond as you can afford in your carat range in a eyeclean or better clarity.
For some people just knowing that their diamond is a very high clarity (e.g. Internally Flawless or VVS1 clarity) or a very white colour (e.g.  D colour) is important even if the differences cannot be seen with the naked eye. Only you can decide for yourself if knowing something on paper that cannot be seen to the naked eye is worth spending the extra money. If going lower in grading, even if it can't be seen to the naked eye, is going to bother you it is probably a good idea to go ahead and spend the extra money to have the better specification because it will always bother you.

How does the HRD certificate compare with the GIA certificate?

GIA is the oldest lab and so has become the most well-recognised and reputed, especially in the U.S. On the other hand, HRD whilst well-regarded by the diamond community in Europe, is a rather unknown report in the U.S. Whilst HRD and GIA differ ever so slightly in systems of grading both strive to conform to their own system and overall, they both do good and comparable jobs. You should be able to buy a diamond with a high degree of confidence with either lab's report.
Here are some of the differences that have been observed by a fellow diamond professional in Antwerp when working with both GIA and HRD certificates for the same diamond:

"Colour-grading: Experience with both labs teaches me, that in the very high colours (D-E-F), HRD is generally more strict than GIA. In Antwerp, I try to buy specific HRD higher range E-colours, and very often, I get a GIA D-grade for them. The other differences between the two labs are minimal.

Clarity-grading: GIA is generally slightly stricter in clarity-grading than HRD. For borderline-impurities, GIA will give one clarity lower than HRD.

Proportion-grading for round brilliant diamonds. GIA did not use to give a grade on proportions but introduced a new cut grading system from January 2006, whereas HRD has been operating a cut grading system for many years where prior to 2009, the highest grade for cut proportions for round brilliant diamonds was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry which are the same factors as GIA grades. The polish describes the finish of the facets, while the proportions determine the brilliancy and the fire of the diamond. The symmetry describes the variations of the different parameters that define the proportions. For diamond professionals, the range of grades (Excellent and Very Good are the top two grades in both GIA and HRD certificates) from both these labs is too broad to be really useful however, some information on this is better than no information at all.

Symmetry- and Polish-grading. GIA gives separate gradings for Symmetry and Polish, with the highest possible being 'Excellent', while before January 2009, HRD used to combine Symmetry and Polish into a Finish-grade where the highest possible grade was 'Very Good'. Since January 2009, HRD Antwerp has refined its cut grade, and now grades the diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry separately which are the same factors as GIA grades separately.

Detailed information. GIA gives you table size, total depth, while HRD gives you table size, crown height and pavillion depth, while you can calculate total depth yourself from the measurements. When giving girdle size, HRD uses another notation than GIA, and because of that the girdle will appear about 1.7% thicker on a HRD-report than on a GIA-report.

These are the main differences. Now to politics. Working in Antwerp, and having thousands of HRD-reports available here, I do not understand why HRD does not do a better job of promoting its report in the U.S. I fear that politics is the reason behind this. A few years ago, GIA was apparently preparing to set up a lab in Antwerp. Somehow, this lab has never started being operational, and HRD is now heavily promoting its report in Canada, Dubai, the Far East, but not in the U.S. Could there be some kind of gentleman's agreement between the two labs? "


Is the IGI certificate as reliable as GIA and HRD certificates?

The International Federation of Diamond Bourses in their 1978 report accepts IGI as an equal to the longer existing GIA or HRD. Being a newcomer in those days, IGI was being looked at with suspicion, and that is why - even nowadays - some people still refer to IGI as a lab too young to be good.
As for consistency of IGI grading:
August 26, 2003  IGI Becomes First International Gemological Lab to Become ISO 9001:2000 Certified
IGI Awarded Certification in both the United States and Canada
NEW YORK – The International Gemological Institute (IGI) today announced its Los Angeles and Toronto labs were granted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 certification for operating a quality management system in the scope of independent third party analysis of diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry articles.
ISO is a network of national standards institutes from more than 140 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives to more directly link business objectives with business effectiveness.
ISO 9000 is a generic name given to a family of standards developed to provide a framework around which a quality management system can effectively be based. The ISO 9000 family of standards was revised in December 2000.
According to IGI North America President, Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A., "This is a milestone for IGI. The ISO 9001 certification emphasizes the Institute’s continued commitment to provide clients with the highest quality of services available. It demonstrates that IGI is dedicated to excellence in every phase of its business operations."
To be certified to the standard, companies must implement a quality management system that accounts for a range of company activities, including staff training, meeting customer requirements and delivering services. This is done using Plan-Do-Check-Act principles and Process Management, which outlines the steps taken to provide customers the services pledged by the company.
As part of the ISO process, a third party auditor performed on-site assessments in both the Toronto and Los Angeles labs’ documented procedures, and audited its overall operations. To ensure continued compliance with ISO 9001:2000 and to provide feedback internally on process effectiveness, IGI business operations will be independently assessed by periodic routine surveillance audits.
The International Gemological Institute, the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and valuating gemstones and fine jewelry, was established in 1975 and is located in New York City, Antwerp, Toronto, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Mumbai (Bombay), Dubai and Tokyo. IGI can be reached at www.igiworldwide.com.


What about diamond fluorescence?

What is it?
Fluorescence results from the interaction between a light's energy and the atoms in a diamond and makes diamonds glow in UltraViolet light (which is found in sunlight) . The most common colour for fluorescence is blue. It is not so much whether there is flourescence but the degree of fluorescence that matters. MEDIUM and STRONG fluorescence can make 'off white' diamonds appear whiter and can make white diamonds look bluer. As the best diamond colour – D is actually a “Blue white”…some decades ago, fluorescent diamonds used to be prized but since then the trend has reversed.

How does it happen?
Diamond is crystallized carbon.  If there were traces of other minerals present e.g. nitrogen, boron (these are common element) present in the earth when the this crystallization process occurred, the diamond will fluoresce. Blue is the most common colour for the fluorescence.
Do all diamonds have fluorescence?
About 60% of all diamonds have some fluorescence that can be observed under special conditions such as short wave ultra violet light. FAINT, SLIGHT or MEDIUM fluorescence have no visible impact on the diamond. 10% of the diamonds on the market have florescence that is STRONG – it is SOME of these diamonds (according to GIA, only ca. 3%) that are to be avoided as they make the diamond look milky/hazy.
How does fluorescence affect the value/quality of diamonds?
The first level of fluorescence (Faint or Slight) has ZERO impact on the value of the diamond at any colour/clarity combination (except for D-E-F colour combined with I.F. clarity) as it has NEGLIGIBLE visual or other impact on the diamond.
Higher levels of Fluorescence can affect value negatively or positively depending on the quality you are looking at. For diamonds with good colours i.e. D to H: Medium and higher levels of fluorescence commands discounts on the diamond price [because you cannot be sure if the good white colour grade awarded to a diamond is because of the fluorescence. Medium to Strong fluorescence makes any diamond face up whiter/bluer in sunlight (which contains UV). For diamonds with colours I and below: fluorescence actually fetches a better price! This is because it makes slightly tinted white diamonds look whiter.
Here is a summary from GIA study on this subject:
"Some gem diamonds fluoresce, most commonly blue, to the concentrated long-wave ultraviolet radiation of a UV lamp. There is a perception in the trade that this fluorescence has a negative effect on the overall appearance of such a diamond. Visual observation experiments were conducted to study this relationship. Four sets of very similar round brilliant diamonds, covering the color range from colorless to faint yellow,
were selected for the different commonly encountered strengths of blue fluorescence they represented. These diamonds were then observed by trained graders, trade professionals, and average observers in various stone positions and lighting environments. For the average observer, meant to represent the jewelry buying public, no systematic effects of fluorescence were detected. Even the experienced observers did not consistently agree on the effects of fluorescence from one stone to the next. In general, the results revealed that strongly blue fluorescent diamonds were perceived to have a better color appearance when viewed table-up, with no discernible trend table-down. Most observers saw no relationship between fluorescence and transparency."



How do I know if I am getting a fair price?

I will tell you more: even to 90% of all jewellers this diamond market is not transparent at all!
It therefore takes a good deal of informing yourself about where to pay attention to, as I stated in the previous answers.
Always bear in mind that when you think you can do the diamond deal of your life, you always get what you pay for!
Fair prices exist (like on this site), bargains do nót, despite many others may try to convince you otherwise.

Not a week goes by without a client mailing us to say that they are offered the same diamond (that we suggested) elsewhere at large discounts. By 'same diamond', the client refers to the size, the colour and the clarity.

Correct so far.

But what can devalue a diamond with as much as 50% is:

- The lab that issued the diamond (is it a 'soft' or 'strict' lab)

- The level of Fluorescense

- The Cut, Polish or Symmetry grade.

- When VS2-Si1 & Si2: how is the nature and the position of the inclusion? In other words; is it black and central, or is it white and on the side...(prices may differ up to 15%, even when GIA). One will be 'eye-clean', whereas the other will show visual flaws (naked eye).

- Is the weight 1.00ct-2.00ct, etc (these sell at large discounts)

- When Fancy shape, and let me give you an example here related to f.e. pear-shape: Is the shape oblong or 'fat'? Is there too much carat weight in the depth? In this case you will f.e. pay for a 2ct diamond, but see only the surface of a 1.50ct, as too much carat weight is in the diamond's depth and not in it's spread.

This goes for all fancy shaped diamonds. My wife Céline (the in-house gemologist) and I only select 3 out of 10 diamonds as nicely-shaped.


How can I see if a diamond is genuine?

My honest answer: You can NOT! You need to be an expert and use specialized equipment to make sure a diamond is real. Do not trust ideas like scratching a beer bottle (it may damage the diamond too), thermal conductivity ( conducts equally well), looking through, comparing weight, etc.
If the diamond is accompanied by a certificate you will know it is real and if it is treated artificially or not. We recommend to buy only diamonds that are laser-inscribed with the report's number. This will add another guarentee to your peace of mind.
Tip: If you can not easily find inclusions under a 10 times magnification you should become suspicious, most likely it is not a real diamond. But be aware of the fact that some gas bubbles in cubic zirconium may appear like inclusions if you do not look carefully.

How can you tell the difference between natural and synthetic diamonds?

A reliable grading report (e.g. from GIA, HRD, AGS, or IGI) will confirm that your diamond is natural.
From Hedda T. Schupak, JCK Editor-in-Chief in JCK-Jewelers Circular Keystone
"Detection of synthetic diamonds is no longer a concern for the jewelry industry. That was a key good-news message presented by Dr. James Shigley, director of research for the Gemological Institute of America, during GIA's GemFest Basel, part of the BaselWorld 2005 trade fair.
Some facts:

- Today, synthetic diamonds are produced mainly in China and in Russia.

- All synthetic diamonds are type IIa. In nature, Type IIa diamonds represent say 4% of all diamonds found. So the moment a parcel of diamonds contains more than say 10% Type IIa diamonds, something dodgy has occured....

- The inclusions in a synthetic diamond show an unusual shape (most cylindric) and can therefore be reckognized as synthetic.

- The business model of the producers is to offer synthetic diamonds at half the price of 'mined' diamonds. Too much offer would have effect on the price of mined diamonds, hence they would shooot themselves in the foot by again lowering prices, for their production-costs are quite high.

We believe that synthetic diamonds may one day take up to 3% of the market for the simple reason that a survey recently showed that the multitude of women (and men presenting them) still prefer the 'real' thing.


How does Platinum compare to 18kt White Gold?

What about weight/feel?
950PT: Inch for inch heavier and denser metal so it feels heavier than gold
18k White Gold: Lighter than Platinum

What about scratching?
PT: Scratches more easily if set in a design where there are lots high polish areas. Before platinum made its comeback in the early 90's most platinum rings were finely hand engraved and/or set with pave diamonds. So there were very little high polish areas. With this type of design, platinum rings need little maintenance to keep their beautiful look as the pave diamonds continue to sparkle over time and even the inner portions of the engraved areas are beneath the surface and also maintain their polish. On the other hand rings with large areas of high polish are going to need constant refinishing to maintain their original highly polished look.
18k WG: Maintains its sheen longer than platinum

Which one is more durable?
Whilst it may be true that platinum is harder than gold in its purest form, 18kt white gold is mixed with other metals, most commonly palladium, silver and copper to make it harder. This results in 18kt white gold being harder than platinum alloys, which are most commonly 95% platinum.

Both are durable as well as both are subject to wear and tear…
What about colour?
Some people like platinum whilst others feel that it can appear dull grey compared to the sheen of white gold
PT: Maintains the same colour forever. White is the natural colour of platinum
18k WG: May eventually tinge to a very light yellow though white gold is easily re-plated with rhodium
White colour is induced by alloying yellow gold with a white metal. We use palladium in our white gold. Palladium is in the same group of elements as platinum and is similarly valuable. Other jewellers may use other base metals in the alloying such as nickel which can cause allergies.

What about cost?
With the spot price of platinum and gold being very much the same nowadays, many people ask us why platinum is still more expensive that white gold. There are four main reasons for this:

•             Platinum is denser, and thus more material weight is needed to produce the same ring than from white gold.

•             Platinum alloys used in jewellery are purer. Since most platinum alloys are 95% platinum and 18kt white gold is 75% gold, less gold is require to produce an 18kt white gold ring.

•             Platinum is more difficult to work with, and often needs a jeweller with experience to produce a good job. Therefore, the labour cost is roughly 20% more than with white gold.

•             Platinum cannot be re-used and re-melted like white gold. Therefore, any scraps and filings must be sent to a refiner which is very expensive.
What about maintenance?
Neither metal will always look new.  Both need eventual maintenance one way or another.
PT: Over time, long-term maintenance on platinum involves visits for re-polishing.
18k WG: Over time, maintenance on white gold rings can include re-polishing, re-plating (rhodium finish).

What about weight/feel?
950PT: Inch for inch heavier and denser metal so it feels heavier than gold
18k White Gold: Lighter than Platinum

What about scratching?
PT: Scratches more easily if set in a design where there are lots high polish areas. Before platinum made its comeback in the early 90's most platinum rings were finely hand engraved and/or set with pave diamonds. So there were very little high polish areas. With this type of design, platinum rings need little maintenance to keep their beautiful look as the pave diamonds continue to sparkle over time and even the inner portions of the engraved areas are beneath the surface and also maintain their polish. On the other hand rings with large areas of high polish are going to need constant refinishing to maintain their original highly polished look.
18k WG: Maintains its sheen longer than platinum

Which one is more durable?
Both are durable as well as both are subject to wear and tear…
What about colour?
Some people like platinum whilst others feel that it can appear dull grey compared to the sheen of white gold
PT: Maintains the same colour forever. White is the natural colour of platinum
18k WG: May eventually tinge to a very light yellow though white gold is easily re-plated with rhodium
White colour is induced by alloying yellow gold with a white metal. We use palladium in our white gold. Palladium is in the same group of elements as platinum and is similarly valuable.

What about cost?
Platinum is more expensive though when considering the total cost of an engagement ring, the extra cost for platinum is considered by many as insignificant in relation to the whole cost.
Platinum is rarer. To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tonnes of ore must be mined. In comparison, only 3 tonnes of gold are required to produce one ounce of gold.
What about maintenance?
Neither metal will always look new.  Both need eventual maintenance one way or another.
PT: Over time, long-term maintenance on platinum involves visits for re-polishing.
18k WG: Over time, maintenance on white gold rings can include re-polishing, re-plating (rhodium finish).

Will you take a diamond in part exchange?

Yes. If it is a certified diamond - please send us a copy of the certificate for us to give you a price quote for exchange or sale. Otherwise, if the diamond has no certificate, we will need to evaluate your existing diamond first. The only way we can do that is to study your stone with our specialist equipment in our Antwerp workshop. You are welcome to meet with us in London and we will give you a FREE evaluation after we have examined the diamond in Antwerp - we will return it to you in London. Alternatively, you can come and visit us directly in Antwerp where we will be able to give you a same day on-the-spot evaluation.

How should I clean diamond jewellery?

Keeping your diamond ring clean is essential if you want it to sparkle to its fullest. Film from lotions, powders, and your own skin oils will dull stones and reduce their brilliance. As we said earlier, you will be amazed at how much a slight film can affect the sparkle of the stone, and it can also affect its color, making it look dingy.
It’s easy to keep your rings clean. To clean your rings, wash with warm, sudsy water. This is perhaps the simplest and easiest way to clean any kind of jewelry. Prepare a small bowl of warm, sudsy water, using any kind of mild liquid detergent (avoid harsh detergents). Soak your ring for a few minutes and then brush gently with an eyebrow brush or soft toothbrush, keeping the piece submerged in the sudsy water. Rinse thoroughly under running water (make sure the drain is closed -some prefer to place jewelry in a wire strainer before placing under the running water) and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel.

Note that it is also important to not leave it unchecked
Even if you don't wear your ring while exercising, normal daily activity — fabric snags, say — can loosen prongs, putting your stone in danger of falling out.
We recommend regular checks to make sure the settings are secure.
We would therefore like you to come back at least once every 12-18 months for us to service the ring and restore it like new – we will check that the diamonds are still secure, clean and re-polish the ring to restore it like new as all metals wear with use – platinum gets scratched and develops a dullish grey patina so the yearly maintenance restores the finish like new. There is no charge for this – the only downside is that you will be without the ring for ca. a week
At the same, we will also make sure that your valuation report is still up to date. If needed, we will be happy to issue a new one.

Can I wear my precious jewellery all the time?


Your engagement ring isn't just a symbol of your union. It is also a precious piece of jewellery that can be passed down through generations — if you take proper care of it.
Of course, you know never to open boxes or try to pop bottle tops with your ring (trust us, people do try!), but there are a few unexpected everyday activities that can put your ring in harm's way.
We would therefore like to share our best advice on what to do, and what to avoid, to keep your ring lovely for a lifetime!

Newsflash(!): Your ring is fragile. It's important to remember that if you are careless with it, you can severely damage your ring by chipping the band or setting the stones loose. In other words:

Don't wear it during vigorous sports
Any activity that involves impact to your hands (from volleyball to boxing to weightlifting, rock climbing…) can bend or break the prongs that hold your stone in place, causing it to fall out of its setting.

Don’t swim with your jewellery
Similarly, they warn against wearing it during water activities such as swimming, water skiing, or boating, as it's far easier for your ring to slip off when your hands are wet. We’ve heard so many stories about rings getting lost in lakes and oceans during honeymoons!

Don't wear it while cleaning
Household cleaners such as bleach and common chemicals, such as acetone nail polish remover and chlorine from pools and hot tubs can also erode alloys in precious metals.

Don’t wear it while cooking
Think about all of the grossness that can get stuck in your ring when you're making meatballs, rolling cookie dough, or marinating meat with your hands. That should be reason enough for you to want to take your ring off when cooking those foods.

Don’t wear it while gardening
Even diamonds can be chipped or broken by a hard blow in certain directions. Or you could lose it as a Canadian woman did in 2004!

Don’t wear it while slathering on with lotion and creams
Thick lotions and creams can leave residue on your ring, making it feel and look dirty.

Don’t carelessly toss jewellery in a case
Diamonds can scratch other gemstones very easily, and can also scratch each other. To prevent scratching, diamond jewellery should be placed in a case with dividers or separate compartments, or each piece placed in a soft pouch or individually wrapped in tissues or a soft cloth.

Try not to touch the stones in your rings
When putting them on or taking them off. Instead, take rings on and off by grasping the metal portion that encircles the finger (the ring shank). Slipping rings on and off by grasping the metal shank rather than the stone will prevent a greasy buildup on the stone’s surface, which greatly reduces the brilliance and sparkle of a stone.

Don’t sleep with your jewellery
Remove it before going to bed and avoid scratching you or your bed partner’s face in the night.

Buy some ring holders and keep one in the kitchen, one in your bathroom and one next to your bed
Don’t take off rings and lay them on the side of the sink unless you’re sure the drain is closed. Also, never remove your rings to wash your hands when away from home (too many have been forgotten … and lost).

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