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14 posts from March 2006

Be Careful When Traveling With Jewelry

If you have travel plans in your future, think carefully if you really need to take all your expensive jewelry.  The risk of theft, loss and damage increases as soon as you start your trip because you are in new surroundings, doing new activities and often in tourist areas that are the target of pickpockets, thieves and con artists.

If you are traveling out of the country, check to be sure your jewelry insurance covers your property when you are traveling outside the United States.  Because the risk of theft is so much higher in foreign countries, some insurance companies only provide domestic coverage.

It is never wise to put jewelry items in luggage, especially with security personnel going through your belongings.  The percentage of bags lost by airlines continues to increase and their liability for your lost luggage is very limited.  Hotel rooms are open to cleaning personnel several times a day and safes in hotel rooms are not particularly secure.

If you do not put your jewelry in your luggage or leave it in your hotel room, that means you are carrying it with you but that can be a problem at the security checks at airports or when carrying something all day as you travel or are sightseeing.

SausalitowaterfrontThis situation occurred several days ago when a man found a Louis Vuitton bag on a park bench while he was hiking in a Sausalito, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Inside the bag was a 12-carat diamond ring, pearl and emerald jewelry, a Cartier watch and roughly $500 in cash.  The contents were worth about $1 million.

While many would have been tempted to head for a pawnshop and cash in their discovery, John Suhrhoff returned the bag to Sausalito police who found the owners, the Ghannadian family of Toronto, who were in Northern California for a daughter’s wedding.  The Ghannadian family had an extra day before their flight back to Toronto so had decided to visit Sausalito, a popular tourist are with waterfront views of San Francisco.  They had left the bag on a park bench near a tour bus depot and did not realize it until they returned to their San Francisco hotel.

Not all lost bag stories have this type of happy ending, so think twice before loading your purse with all your jewels and heading on vacation.

Diamond Mining Vacation

Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas is in the news again as a Kansas women and her 12 year old son found a 2.12 carat light yellow rough diamond while on vacation this past weekend.

Craterdiamonds2_1The park’s 37.5 acre diamond search area is the world’s only diamond producing site open to searching by the public.  The area is plowed up on a regular basis and “miners” go through the dirt and rocks looking for diamonds they can take home with them.

About 60,000 people come to Crater of Diamonds State Park each year to search for these precious gems.  Geologists believe these diamonds were formed millions of years ago and shot to the earth's surface during a violent volcanic eruption. The portion of the crater that is known to be diamond bearing is the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic pipe.

Rough diamonds do not look like the polished gems you buy in a jewelry store. A diamond weighing several carats may be no larger than a marble so it takes good eyes to spot the crystals. Diamonds have an oily, slick outer surface that dirt will not adhere to so Crater of Diamonds miners look for clean crystals. Most diamonds found at the crater are yellow, clear white or brown.

If you are on vacation in the area of Crater of Diamonds State Park, you might want to take a few hours to do some diamond mining.

3.25 Carat Round Diamond in Custom Pave Setting


Itemsold_8 Diamond Source of Virginia has this 3.25 carat round diamond in a gorgeous designer ring available for sale. Like most diamond ring photos, the actual ring is much nicer than the photos. The workmanship on this ring is exceptional since it was done by one of the top pave setters in the country.

Rb_325_ambar_2 This ring an exceptional value for such a beautiful designer ring and priced at a fraction of what you would find it in a jewelry store. We also provide a free insurance appraisal.

Rb_325_ambar_7 The diamond is set in a Bez Ambar designer platinum mounting with 0.16 total carat weight of baguette diamonds on the side and 1.38 total carat weight of pave set round diamonds that surround the diamond with a knife edge style and on the shank.

Rb_325_ambar_8 Here are the specifications for the diamond and ring.

RD, 3.25 carat, GIA cert, I color, SI1 clarity, depth 60.2%, table 61%, measurements 9.57 x 9.65 x 5.79 mm, G G F

Click here to check out all the Special Diamond Offers

Round 1.01 G SI1 Diamond Ring

Round_101_g_si1_ring1 Itemsold_9 Diamond Source of Virginia has this beautiful 1.01 carat Round Brilliant diamond ring for sale. The center diamond has G color and SI1 clarity with a EGL certification (see bottom of page) and is set in an 18 karat white gold six prong solitaire style head.

Round_101_g_si1_ring2 The 18 karat white gold mounting has a double row of princess cut diamonds (eight on each side of center diamond) on the shank and five pave set round diamonds in a V shape on both sides of the center diamond. The princess and pave set round diamonds are graded G-H color and SI clarity with 0.71 total carat weight.Round_101_g_si1_ring3

Diamond specifications, ring description and price are available at the following link:

Click here to check out all our Special Diamond Offers

Round 1.70 H SI2 Diamond Wedding Set

Rb_170_h_si2_ring2 Diamond Source of Virginia has this beautiful 1.70 carat Round Brilliant diamond wedding set for sale. The center diamond has H color and SI2 clarity with a GIA certification and is set in a 14 karat white gold six prong Solitaire style head. The 14 karat white gold mounting has six princess cut diamonds (three on each side) graded H color, VS clarity and 0.41 total carat weight.

Rb_170_h_si2_set2 The wedding set includes a matching 14 karat white gold wedding band that has nine princess cut diamonds graded H color, VS2 clarity and 0.58 total carat weight. This beautiful diamond wedding set with 2.69 total carat weight of diamonds is priced at a fraction of what you would find in a jewelry store.

Diamond specifications, ring description and price are available at the following link:

Click here to check out all our Special Diamond Offers

Magnificent Jewels at Christie's

Some of the most beautiful jewels in the world are sold at Christie’s New York and April 11 will be no exception.  Advertised as the Magnificent Jewels sale, this even will include the collection owned by Joan Kroc, the wife of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc.

Here are some of the fantastic gems and jewelry that will be auctioned in April.

Christiespear_1 Probably the most valuable item will be a magnificent loose pear-shaped diamond weighing 50.67 carats and graded D color and VVS2 clarity.  Estimated value is $2.25 to $2.50 million.

Christiesbluepear A truly unique colored diamond ring features a 14.43 carat pear-shaped fancy dark blue-gray diamond surrounded by pave set pink diamonds set in a platinum and 18 karat rose gold mounting.  Estimated value is $1.2 to $1.5 million.

Christiesnecklacepear One of the Joan Kroc items is a colored diamond necklace by Harry Winston that features a 42.13 carat pear shaped fancy intense yellow color diamond hanging from two row round diamond necklace.  Estimated value is $1.0 to $1.5 million.

Christiespearpave Pear shaped diamonds are the showcased shape and the sale includes a 12.02 carat pear shaped diamond with D color and Internally Flawless clarity set in a pave set diamond split shank platinum ring.  Estimated value is $600,000 to $800,000.

Christiesbluesapphirering An impressive cushion cut blue sapphire weighing 80.86 carats is set in a platinum mounting with bullet cut diamond side stones.  Estimated value is $350,000 to $500,000.

Christiesrectangularsapphire It is hard to find sapphires that have not been heat treated but the sale includes a 24.21 carat rectangular cut blue sapphire in a platinum mounting with pave set diamonds on the shank and prongs.  Estimated value is $350,000 to $500,000.

Christiesbutterfly A colored diamond and steel butterfly brooch, designed by Cartier, is sure to catch attention at the auction.  The wings have pave set fancy yellow diamonds enhanced with pear shaped white diamonds and oxidized steal veining.  The body is set with a carat pear shaped diamond, two cushion cut diamonds (2.68 and 6.33 carats) and pear shaped diamonds on the antennae.  Estimated value is $400,000 to $600,000.

Christiespinksquare A beautiful 5.25 carat modified square cut fancy pink diamond is set in a platinum and rose gold mounting flanked by trapeze cut white diamonds.  The center diamond is a natural fancy pink color with VVS2 clarity.  Estimated value is $400,000 to $600,000.

Christiesfeather_1 One of the more unique jewelry shapes at the sale will be a sapphire and diamond feather brooch designed by Flato.  The flexible, articulated feather has calibre cut sapphires extending from the stem with white pave set diamonds.  Estimated value is $30,000 to $40,000.

Discover more of the world’s most beautiful items at

Diamond for St. Patrick's Day

The shamrock, a three-leafed clover, has long been symbolic of Irish culture.  According to legend, the shamrock was called the “seamroy” by Celts, was a sacred plant to the Druids of ancient Ireland symbolizing the rebirth of Spring.  Legend also has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock in the 5th century to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as he promoted Christianity in Ireland.

In the 19th century the shamrock became a symbol of rebellion with the risk of death by hanging for anyone found wearing it.  This let to the now popular phrase “the wearin’ of the green.”  With its deep Irish history, the shamrock is now the most recognized symbol of the Irish.  This is especially true on St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is Irish for a day.

While the classic shamrock has three leaves, occasionally a fourth leaf will appear, making a “four-leaf clover,” believed by many to bring good luck to the person who discovers it.

Lily_271_pendant1_1The four leafed flower shape is also very special when it is cut from a diamond.  The Lily cut has 65 facets compared to the 43 facets of the princess cut and is cut exclusively by Lili Diamonds located in the center of the Israeli Diamond Exchange in Ramat-Gan, Israel. They still hold the worldwide patent for the Lily Cut that was granted in 1996. This diamond features 4 lobes which resemble a shamrock, clover, or flower and has beautiful sparkle, brilliant and a truly unique diamond shape.

Grading Laboratory Question

Here is a question I received from a client today and my response follows.

My fiancée and I recently had a custom engagement ring made for that has two cushion cut diamonds on it.  We specifically requested that the jeweler bring in a few selections of cushion-cut diamonds for us to look at and we purchased the following:

Diamond #1 is 0.50ct, 4.5mm x 5.04mm, symmetry- excellent, polish- very good, clarity- SI2, color- E, fluorescence- none (per diamond certificate issued by Independent Grading Laboratory.  The certificate has other specs on it but I just wanted to give you the main details)

Diamond #2 is 0.47ct, clarity- SI, color- E (no paperwork with this stone)

Pre-tax price on the diamonds alone totaled $1,735 per my receipt.  I paid for the setting as a separate purchase.

Would there be a significant difference in price for radiant-cut stones that had similar specs to the stones I bought?

We are pleased with the appearance of the ring, it looks great.  However, I took a closer look at the receipts, diamond certification, and appraisal given to me by the jeweler as I filed them for long-term storage today and noticed that the diamond certification says the cut on the stone is “radiant,” not “cushion-cut” which is listed on my receipt and appraisal.  The jeweler said he did not have a certification for the 0.47ct cushion-cut stone because stones less than 0.50ct don’t typically come with them.

I’ve tried to look-up “Independent Grading Laboratory” on the internet because the certification document I got does not list any type of address or contact information… It looks professional, but I’m starting to think it is fake or maybe it came from his local supplier.  Have you heard of “Independent Grading Laboratory?”

We studied the stones for a long time before we picked the two that we wanted.  I don’t have a trained eye.  Under a loop they don’t look perfect (some inclusions) so we figured they were real.  Regardless, we think they look good on the ring.

Maybe the jeweler made a mistake and thought he sold us cushion-cuts.  Would that have much impact on the appraisal?

Your experience is all too common.  Most jewelry stores don't usually carry cushion or radiant cut diamonds so often do not know much about them. 

Here are some observations based on your comments:

1) The document you called a diamond certificate from the Independent Grading Laboratory is probably not a true diamond grading report.  I am not familiar with IGL and we only recommend the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for cushion or radiant cut diamonds.  The EGL tends to be off in color grading and the documents from other companies tend to be off even more.  My guess is that the IGL is a made up document if it does not have an address or phone number on the document. A quick search on Google will produce lots of results for any legitimate grading laboratory.

2) You can expect an SI2 clarity from an "off brand" laboratory and a SI1 with no paperwork to be SI2 at best which means they will have inclusions visible to the eye.

3) Cushion and radiant cut diamonds should have close to the same price.  If you use the price calculator on our website you can see that we show a GIA certified 0.50 carat cushion with E color and SI2 clarity to be about $1000 and the same price with radiant cut.

Cushion_modified122_ratio 4) On a GIA Diamond Grading Report, a radiant cut is listed as a Cut Cornered Rectangular Modified Brilliant and the term "radiant" is not used.  It is very easy to see the difference between cushion and radiant cuts because the radiant has straight sides, ends and corners while the cushion has curved sides, ends and corners.Ra_316_w_121_ratio1_1

5) When matching up cushion cut diamonds, it is important to have millimeter measurements close, color within one color grade and the table percentage close to each other so the facet patterns look the same.

6) It is very difficult to find cushion diamonds that match for side stones, especially with diamond grading reports.  We get most matched pairs of stones under 0.50 carats in weight from a great supplier who provides diamonds with great cut, accurate grading and wonderful match.  Cushion cuts are typically not certified when under 0.50 carats.

7) Your appraised value is only important for insurance purposes.  Anyone can make up an appraisal and they can put any value they want on the item.  The most important aspects of an insurance appraisal is that the document should have detail specifications of the diamonds and jewelry item, grading report number should be referenced if they have one and the replacement value should be enough to protect you for appreciation but not too high to cause you unnecessarily insurance premiums.

4.21 Carat Arkansas Diamond

OkiedokiediamondThe Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department recently announced that a 4.21 carat yellow diamond was discovered at Crater of Diamonds State Park, the world’s only diamond mine open to searching by the public. 

The lucky “miner” was Martin Culver, an Oklahoma state trooper who was making his first visit to the park.  Culver and his family were visiting the park after watching a History Channel feature on the park.  His is going to name the diamond the Okie Dokie Diamond after his home state, Oklahoma.

Check out my other discussions on Crater of Diamonds State Park