Knox Jewelers Minnesota – Understanding Diamond Fluorescence

Fluorescence or not to fluorescence? That is the question. Have you ever taken a look at a diamond grading report and wondered what does it mean when it says “Fluorescence?” Listed under the 4C’s you find Additional Grading Information and discover a section listed fluorescence. First, let’s take a look at what fluorescence is.

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GIA Additional Grading Info - Fluorescence

The formation of a diamond is how fluorescence exists in some stones. As a diamond grows in the earth, many defects occur during this formation. Nitrogen related defects are common during this process and if a growing diamond crystal captures surrounding nitrogen, the nitrogen resides within the crystal and it can result in fluorescence. There are various known colors of fluorescence, most commonly found is blue. Although many in the industry view fluorescence as a negative effect, research has proven otherwise.

Fluorescence in a diamond is an emission of light viewed under the concentration of long-wave ultraviolet radiation of a UV lamp. The appearance of fluorescence in a diamond continues as long as it’s exposed under radiation, and not under normal lighting conditions. The strength of fluorescence is graded on a range of none, faint, medium, strong and very strong.

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Diamond Fluorescence via GIA Study

Let’s see what are experts at GIA have to say regarding fluorescence. As the premier laboratory in diamond grading, GIA is widely respected world-wide and sets industry standards. They are highly recognized for strict diamond grading practices and continued research in gemology. As a leader in the industry, Knox Jewelers believes in this highly respected laboratory and primarily sells GIA diamonds.

Published in 1997 in GIA’s quarterly journal, Gem’s and Gemology, they offered insight on diamond fluorescence titled “A contribution to Understanding the Effect of Blue Fluorescence on the Appearance of a Diamond.” The relationship of detecting fluorescence in a diamond was observed in a series of experiments. The study consisted of trained graders, industry professionals, and general observers using very similar sets of four round brilliant diamonds. The diamonds ranged in color of near colorless to faint yellow and diamonds were selected with varying strengths of fluorescence in the diamond color they typically represent. The observers then viewed the stones in various positions and lighting environments.

The general observers in this experiment represented the average jewelry consumer. When they viewed the diamonds in standard light, the effect of fluorescence was not detected. Even experienced individuals within the jewelry industry did not consistently agreed upon the effects of fluorescence from one stone to another. At the end, the results proved that most observers saw no correlation between fluorescence and transparency.

This study revealed that strong blue fluorescent diamonds actually appeared better in color when viewed face-up, with no noticeable trend when the diamond was facing down. Other sources report that diamonds in lower color grades, I-N, with fluorescence tend to offset the body color of these stones. The fluorescence will actually mask the faint to light yellow color of a diamond.

However, not all diamonds will have this effect with fluorescence. Some will actually appear milky in transparency. This hazy appearance attributes to the negative perception of fluorescence. Diamonds graded with fluorescence can often reflect lower values than those of similar quality with no fluorescence.

At Knox, our recommend diamond range where quality meets value, does include fluorescence. If fluorescence is present in a diamond and does not hinder the overall beauty of a stone, it can sometimes be a better value. Diamonds with fluorescence may appear to the viewer better in color than the grade it was given and save money for our customers. A great value for your investment.

Knox Jewelers can guide you through GIA diamond reports, from the 4C’s to fluorescence or any questions you have. Visit one of our convenient metro locations, if you’re in Minneapolis check out our Uptown location. Living in St. Paul, our Woodbury gallery is located right off of I-94.

Finding the Perfect One – Diamonds in Minnesota

You know that unforgettable moment that happens in romantic comedies where everything finally comes together. The scene that takes your breath away as the couple stands under the moonlit sky and you hear the soft rhythmic pattern of the ocean waves crashing to the shore. Then “Charming” gets down on one knee and slowly slides the diamond engagement ring onto her left hand as she squeals in excitement. Just as he asks “will you marry me?” a shooting star appears in the night sky and she replies “yes, yes I’ll marry you!”

After watching this proposal, ever wonder how does one achieve such an epic proposal as this?

Your engagement can be just as picture perfect, and Knox is here to help. With our handcrafted rings made in our Minneapolis production studio you too can achieve that five star approval.

Imagine it’s 4th of July sitting on a blanket in Nicolette Island Park in Minneapolis while fireworks light up the night as you ask the one you love to marry you. You place the Knox ring onto her left hand and she is overcome with emotion. She has never seen a more beautiful ring in her life!

The search begins, after browsing through the Knox Jewelers website you have found the most unique engagement ring ever! It is an antique inspired design that has custom platinum filigree and wheat pattern hand engraving. Scrolling through the list of center stone options you do your best at interpreting diamond quality but the grading scale seems a bit foreign.

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To understand this diamond language, let us first explore the background on how diamond grading was established. GIA, known as the Gemological Institute of America, was first established in Los Angeles in 1931 as the first U.S. laboratory and school. GIA continued its advances in gemology with its contribution to the jeweler’s loupe, a small hand held magnified lens used to view diamonds and gems more closely. They also patented the first gemological microscope used in most jewelery stores today. In the 1950’s GIA created the diamond grading system that is know as the 4C’s. Broken down into 4 parts, a diamond is graded on its cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

Although most laboratories use the same 4C’s grading sale they do not always practice the same level of quality. GIA known for its high standards in stone grading and their continued contribution to gemology they became the “world’s foremost authority” in the jewelry industry. With this high regard in the industry, Knox strongly values the GIA standard and sell mostly GIA diamonds.

With this general knowledge on how the 4C’s were created you’re ready to venture into diamond shape. Commonly confused with cut, shape refers to the outline and contour of a stone. The modern round brilliant was first developed in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky. Other shapes were introduced over time and are categorized as fancy brilliants or step cuts. Fancy brilliant, a modified shape of the round brilliant, include princess, radiant, cushion, marquise, oval, pear and heart. Step cut refers to either emerald or asscher and these cuts have parallel concentric planes that resemble a stair-step pattern.

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Created elusively for the modern round brilliant, the cut grade focuses on how light strikes a diamond. This relationship of light return is based on specific angles and percentages to maximize the beauty of a stone. The white light that reflects internally and externally in a diamond is brilliance. Fire is the prism of colors you see when light hits the diamond and scintillation is the flash of light that emits from movement. A well cut diamond will attribute to these three desired qualities in its overall appeal of the stone. While other diamond shapes do not have a cut grade they are valued on the bases of polish and symmetry. Cut grade is evaluated as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. Knox believes in the importance of the cut grade standard and here are the recommended ranges:

  • Round Brilliant: Excellent or Very Good
  • Fancy Brilliants (Polish and Symmetry): Good or better
  • Step Cuts (Polish and Symmetry): Good or better

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The color scale was developed on the sequence of the alphabet, however it begins at D and then extends to Z. This scale is rated on the absence or presence of color in a diamond, typically tints of yellow or brown. From colorless, D-F, to near colorless G-J, and the rest falling into faint, very light, or light. When selecting color a round brilliant will hide a diamond’s body color better than a fancy brilliant or step cut. At Knox our recommended ranges where quality meets value is as follows:

  • Round Brilliant: F through I
  • Fancy Brilliants: F through H
  • Step Cuts: F through H

Clarity is essentially the fingerprint of a diamond; it looks at the internal and external areas of the stone and the characteristics it contains. These clarity characteristics are features that result during the formation of a diamond. A diamond grows under extreme heat and pressure and as it develops it can trap small crystals or its atomic structure creates a variety of irregularities within the diamond. GIA evaluates clarity from the top of the scale of flawless all the way down to included. When selecting a clarity grade, brilliant cuts will hide clarity features better than step cuts. Our recommended value range where clarity does not distract from the beauty, is as follows:

  • Round Brilliants: VS1 through SI1
  • Fancy Brilliants: VS1 through SI1
  • Step Cuts: VVS1 through VS1

The last “C” is carat weight; this measurement is based on the mass of the diamond. A one carat diamond is equal to 200 milligrams in weight. Carats are divided into points; one carat equals 100 points. Similar to 50 points for 0.50 carat and 25 points for a 0.25 carat diamond. The term “magic size” is referred to diamond sizes that are intervals of 0.25, such as 0.25 carat, 0.50 carat, 0.75 carat and 1.0 carat. To the naked eye a 0.99 carat to a 1.0 carat might not be noticeable but the differences in price can be quite significant. At Knox we recommend looking for diamonds based on the millimeter dimensions as apposed to the carat weight. Finding a diamond under that magic size but measures the same can mean big savings for you.

With a basic understanding of the 4C’s, the journey continues! After thorough investigation on our website you’ve narrowed it down to two stones. Viewing these two diamonds in the new Knox Woodbury location you’ve selected a favorite. The crafting of your ring has started and you wait in anticipation as each photo is sent to you via our new “Creation of an Heirloom” photo system. This program captures each pivotal moment as your ring comes to life. You watch the unique perspective of your ring being created, a true Minnesota made work of art!

With the ring tucked securely in your pocket the day begins to unfold. Hand in hand you walk the shores of Stillwater and come across a message in a bottle. As your true love unfolds the rolled up note and reads the message “Will You Marry Me?” you slowly get down on one knee and present her with your Knox ring. She gasps in amazement, her eyes flood with tears, and she exclaims “Yes, I’ll marry you!”

Congratulations, you’ve just achieved an epic proposal! Okay, so the Knox ring part was true, but your story was a little different. If so, tell us how it really played out in the comments below. At Knox we love the happily ever after stories!

Conflict Diamonds, another part of the story.

  1. An estimated 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally thanks to revenues from diamonds.
  2. Conflict diamonds have been reduced from approximately 4% to considerably less than 1% since the implementation of the Kimberley Process in 2003.
  3. An estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry
  4. The diamond mining industry generates over 40% of Namibia’s annual export earnings
  5. Diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13.
  6. In July 2000, the global diamond industry announced its zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds and continues to drive this policy.
  7. Sierra Leone is now at peace and exported approximately $142 million diamonds in 2005
  8. Approximately one million people are employed by the diamond industry in India.
  9. Approximately $8.4 billion worth of diamonds a year come from African countries.
  10. More than 99% of diamonds are now from conflict free sources and traded under the UN-mandated Kimberley Process.
  11. The Diamond Development Initiative was established to improve the working conditions of artisanal miners.
  12. The revenue from diamonds is instrumental in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
  13. Under the Kimberley Process, rough diamonds can only be exported and imported when accompanied by a certificate from the exporting country.
  14. The charity Jewelers for Children funds a community based care program for orphaned children in South Africa.
  15. An estimated 65% of the world’s diamonds come from African countries.
  16. Today, 71 governments and the legitimate diamond industry are all committed and legally bound to eradicating conflict diamonds.
  17. The diamond industry has introduced a system to help give greater assurances to retailers and to provide consumers with the reassurance that their diamond is from a conflict free source.
  18. Diamonds account for 33% of the GDP (approximately $3 billion) of Botswana. Since diamonds were discovered in Botswana, GDP annual growth rate has averaged 7%.
  19. Major world leaders – including Nelson Mandela – have cited the importance of diamonds to the lives of African people.
  20. It is estimated that one million people work in the informal (astisanal) alluvial diamond digging sector.
  21. Some diamond producing countries are not Kimberley Process compliant.
  22. In November, 2006, 71 Governments, leading NGOs, and the World Diamond Council agreed on measures to further strengthen the Kimberley Process.
  23. At the 2006 Kimberley Process Plenary, the industry committed funds and resources to address challenges faced by countries with a high prevalence of artisanal alluvial mining.

Cool Diamond Pics

There really is something almost magical about looking into a diamond, so I thought that I would start a collection of interesting photos.

It is very difficult to capture the beauty of a diamond in a photograph, but like other examples of natural beauty, such as a photo of a beautiful sunset or a scenic panorama, a photo that captures the essence of a sparkling diamond can also be a work of art.

Here is a photo of a .19 carat fancy intense pink diamond we sold earlier this year. Diamonds

Raw Diamond Crystals

Here are four very interesting photos of raw diamond crystals. These raw diamond crystals are the exact form that diamonds are found in nature. Note the varying body color of the diamond crystals. Most diamonds found in nature will have some tint of color, the yellow tints and brown tints are the most common. A diamond crystal without a tint of yellow or brown is very rare and desirable, these diamonds are given the top three grades of D-E-F or colorless.
It is even more rare to find fancy colors such as the fancy intense pink diamond shown in the last article.

Photos courtesy of International School of Gemology

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More Pictures to come…