If you like
geology, & stars
in the sky,
are some of the "cons"
of the "pros & cons" of buying Diamonds.
Diamonds: let confusion reign.
Confusion in the publics minds over synthetic versus natural
diamonds has yet to really come to term, as synthetics havent hit the market in any
significant quantity so far.
But "branded diamonds" have, and Ive already had questions from
people about the differences between various brands, and the cutting styles, cutting
qualities, and sources they represent. Why branding?
The marketplace is so awash in diamonds, the only way suppliers can differentiate
themselves is to establish a brand identity and sell it, rather than the stone, per se.
Brand gives the consumer something else to focus on something besides visible
quality, appeal, and value.
Sellers know this, and know how to use it to their advantage. As we know from
non-jewelry examples all around us in the world of commerce, brand does not necessarily
imply quality. Some brands connote low price, some suggest style. Think of
"Gucci" (high-quality, expensive), "Scotch Buy" (save money), or
"The Gap" (style).
With diamonds these days, there are brands associated with style of cut:
"Tiana", "Elara", and "Quadrillion", to name a few. Cut
quality brings a host of other names, such as "EightStar", "Hearts on
Fire", or "Leo". And source brings even more -- Canadian
diamonds, for example, with names like "Sirius", "Canadia", and
There are so many nowadays that I cannot keep up with them all, and I even have a
catalog of suppliers! Its no wonder that consumers are more confused than
Well, the thing to remember is that they are all little pieces of crystallized
carbon, with facets on them to reflect light and make them sparkle. In other words,
dont be sidetracked by the hype. People can get easily sold on a name, and
forget that what really matters is how good it looks. And if the price is fair.
In many cases, diamonds with fancy sounding brand names sell for much higher than
unbranded ones, and yet the difference between the two is virtually indistinguishable or
non-existent. Dont get caught up in the game of trying to guess which name on
the stone is more valuable.
All that matters is how it looks, and what it costs. As one appraiser friend
of mine has said about some of his customers, "[People] arent buying diamonds.
They are buying paper!" Meaning that consumers are spending (read:
wasting) money so that they can have a certificate, a laser inscription, and a brand name,
rather than focusing on the diamond itself.
Predictions within the jewelry trade are that within about 10 years, suppliers will
start allying with and acquiring retail jewelry stores, leading eventually to a nearly
completely vertical integration of the diamond business.
Goodbye to choices when purchasing, and free market pricing. If you like
Exxon, you will like DeBeers.
Be aware of quality and cutting accuracy, yes. But remember that you can get
both, without paying exorbitantly.
To Buy or Not To Buy.... (con #2)
Every so often I get a question from one of my clients about the sources of the gemstones
I use in my creations. These customers do not want to purchase something that might aid
and abet some evil, corrupt government or band of terrorists somewhere.
It is a worthy concern. (You also have to ask yourself a similarly perplexing
question, then, about the taxes you pay, the gasoline you buy, the food products you eat,
and so on. Right?)
If you have any doubts as to what you should consider purchasing, and what you
shouldnt, here is some information for you.
Within the last few years, the gemstones most
questioned in this regard are diamonds. This has come about due to the dismal state
of affairs in some of the worlds major diamond producing countries, particularly
Sierra Leone and Angola. And for decades before that, the sorry treatment of black
miners in the apartheid regime of South Africa had always cast an unwelcome shadow on the
sparkle of an industry that only wants people to believe in "love",
"desirability", and "forever".
But diamonds are not the only guilty stones in this
scenario. For example, rubies, jade, emeralds, and lapis lazuli are in the
menagerie, as well as others. These rubies and jade come from Burma (called Myanmar
by its military dictators), the emeralds from gang-ridden Colombia, and the beautiful blue
lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Its hard to say how much money was made in the
latter country by those fun-loving boys of the Taliban.
Of course, this is not to say that all gems come from problematic places in the
world. The difficulty comes when one tries to ascertain where a gemstone comes
from. How does one know its source?
Well, for the most part, the simple truth is that unless you see it come out of the
ground, there is no sure answer. Why? Because as far as I know, there is
currently no sure-fire test that can be done to determine exact origin as
well as chain-of-supply. The technology barely exists, and if it does, it is so
expensive to conduct that no one can afford it. (I will talk about the means of such
testing in some future issue, as it is a detailed topic in itself.) And once a stone
is mixed into a parcel of similar stones for sale (which is the case many times), keeping
track of every ones details is simply impossible.
With diamonds, a determination of source is particularly difficult. It is
hard enough to tell if a diamond is synthetic or natural, let alone where it was mined, if
it is indeed natural. With colored gems, like emeralds and rubies, lets say,
the source mining area can be reasonably determined for some stones, but then how does one
know if the gem was stolen from the mine, or sold into the trade by some dubious
character, or used right on down the line as a means of laundering money?
So the bottom line is this: if you are really worried about buying a
"conflict" gemstone, stay away from those gems which have a chain-of-supply so
nebulous as to make their true origin unclear. Ask questions when you are shopping.
There are many beautiful gemstones in the world that come from known, honest
sources, which have no connections to a "dark side".
--- Richard Allen
Current popular fabricated designs
featuring Arizona Peridot and Four Peaks Amethyst
featuring Arizona Peridot and Four Peaks Amethyst
us to create a piece of lasting beauty for you or your special someone!