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Diamond Education – The 4 C’s – CLARITY IN DIAMONDS

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

Diamond clarity refers to the level of natural inclusions or blemishes in a diamond. The clarity scale ranges from internally flawless to heavily included. Only about 1 % of gem quality diamonds are flawless, the other 99% have some level of inclusions or blemishes. Clarity grades are reported on all diamond certificates. Clarity grades can influence the price of engagement rings and diamonds significantly.

round-brilliant-diamond-engagement-ring-semi-bezel

After flawless, you have very very slight inclusions, VVS1 and VVS2, inclusions in these stones will never to seen with the naked eye and are very difficult to see even with magnification.

You then have the next level, very slight inclusions, VS1 and VS2, once again you will not see inclusions with the naked eye but under magnification it becomes easier to see inclusions but still difficult to find them. Be careful as some diamond shapes may have visible inclusions at VS2 levels, Emerald Cut Diamonds have less facets and therefore are easier to look into, so always check for visible inclusions with this diamond shape. Always ask jewellers if the stone is eye clean I.e. no visible inclusions with the naked eye. You may not notice the day you buy your engagement ring, but if there is a visible inclusion you will notice one day and once you see it and know where it is, you will notice it for ever more!

The next level on the clarity scale is slight inclusions, SI1, SI2 and S13. This is where you can get the best value for money when buying engagement rings in Ireland or abroad. Slightly included diamonds are still eye clean but easier to see inclusions under magnification. Most jewellers in Ireland recommend SI clarity stones.

Included clarity is next on the scale, I1, I2 and I3. These stones will have visible inclusions, tiny little black or white marks on the diamond that you will easily see with the naked eye. Prices for engagement rings with visible inclusions cost alot less than eye clean stones. Be careful with inclusions located at the sides of stones as these can weaken the structure of the diamond and may cause the diamond to crack or chip if the diamond is knocked against a hard surface. Or indeed when the diamond is being set in an engagement ring, the jeweller may damage the diamond if there are large inclusions close to the claws.

Reputable jewellers in Ireland will always advise you when you are buying your diamond jewellery as to the clarity of the diamonds. Check Voltaire Diamonds’ website

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What is a Diamond Certificate and what does in contain?

Posted in: Diamond Education, Engagement Rings

A Diamond Certificate is a “blueprint” of “fingerprint” of a diamond,
it provides all details about the diamond you are purchasing. No two
diamonds have the same characteristics. This certificate is an
independent evaluation by a third party.

A Diamond Certificate contains the following information about the Diamond:

1) Certification Body

2) Shape of Diamond

3) Date of Issue

4) Dimensions of the Stone in mm

5) Carat Weight

6) Colour Grade

7) Clarity  Grade

8) Cut Grade

9) Fluorescence

10) Polish & Symmetry Grades

Diamond CertificateThere are several Certification Bodies, GIA, HRD, IGI, EGL, AGS, DGL,
etc. All bodies have different grading standards and prices can vary
depending on who certifies.

Bear in mind that an appraisal is completely different from a
certificate. If there is a monetary value on the report, this is an
appraisal and not a certificate. An appraisal is not independent
unless it is carried out by an independent valuation company.

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Shining up that knee for Valentine’s Day? Here’s some practical advice on getting the right ring from Voltaire Diamonds

Posted in: Diamond Education, Engagement Rings, Jewellery Tips

Are you planning to get down on one knee for someone special this Valentine’s Day? If so, you better check out this helpful ring advice from the lads at Voltaire Diamonds before it’s too late…

For any of you romantics who are considering a traditional proposal with the “Real Deal” (and not some cheap stand-in ring you made from tinfoil), here are Voltaire Diamonds top tips to ensure you purchase your loved one the engagement ring of her dreams, and not something that will give her second thoughts.

engagement ring advice

Top Tips:

1) Listen carefully to any hints she may pass your way! Does she comment on any of her friend’s rings? Does she pass any comments at jewellery shop windows? If so, take note. You’re better off getting something you know she already likes rather than taking a shot in the dark.

2) Observe the style of jewellery she currently wears. Is it vintage or contemporary? Is it chunky or more delicate? This will narrow your search for the perfect ring.

3) What colour of metal does she tend to wear? Is it more white gold/silver or does she like yellow gold? Check the metal on her watch, if she wears one that is…

4) Take pictures of her existing rings and bring them into your consultation with lads from Voltaire Diamonds. They are the experts after all and they’ll be able to guide you towards ‘the one ring’.

5) To get her finger size, draw an outline of the inner band of a ring she currently wears on a piece of paper. Try and do this with a ring that has a similar width to an engagement ring (i.e. 2-3mm wide). Make sure she wears the ring on the ring finger of her right or left hand and not the middle or index fingers. If you cannot get size, don’t worry, the lads at Voltaire Diamonds will make an educated guess and they can resize it the next day.

Voltaire Diamonds specialise in engagement and wedding rings and they meet all clients privately in their offices on Harcourt Street in Dublin. They always offer a relaxed atmosphere and you can choose from over 300 styles. By eliminating the overheads of a jewellery shop their prices will not be beaten.

If, for any reason, your partner does not like the style you select, Voltaire Diamonds offer a full refund, or she can choose from their entire range of styles. So it’s a win win (and if she says yes it’s a triple win) situation.

Don’t forget to check out the Voltaire Diamonds website at www.voltairediamonds.ie for the full range of rocks available this Valentine’s Day… Good luck!

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Diamond Education: the 4 C’s – Colour

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

Today I’m going to talk about the colour of diamonds and how they can influence the price of diamond engagement rings in Ireland.

The colour range of Diamonds starts at D and finishes at Z. D to G diamonds are generally regarded as being colourless, if I put four diamonds in front of you, D,E,F,G and asked you to pick the D and pick the G, you would struggle to do so. My advice to clients purchasing an engagement ring is to strongly consider a G colour if you would like to maximise your budget. You are getting a colourless diamond without paying the premium for a D colour diamond.
4 stone engagement ring
If the diamond size is important to you and you would like the biggest stone possible for your budget, then consider near colourless diamonds, H and I colours are still beautiful stones. Remember that the cut grade is the most important of the 4 C’s and it is this that gives the diamond it’s life. So a very well cut H colour will be a much nicer diamond than a poorly cut G colour diamond.

Further down the colour scale you start to see yellow tints in the stones, generally from J/K onwards will have visible yellow tints, once again these stones can be beautiful once they have a good cut grade.

A question we get asked all the time about the colour scale is why it starts at D and not A, the reason is there was an old scale prior to the modern 4 C’s that started at A. When the GIA set up the new grading scales they didn’t want any confusion with the previous scales for diamonds.

Another common question is what causes the diamonds to have yellow tints, why are they not all white and colourless. The answer to this is foreign particles when the diamonds were formed billions of years ago, the most common particle that causes the diamonds to have yellow tints is Nitrogen.

When buying a diamond engagement ring always ask the jeweller or jewellery expert if you can see the stone in natural light. Some certification bodies are stricter than others when it comes to grading diamonds. One body may give a stone a G whereas another less stringent body may give the exact same diamond a D, so be careful and inspect each diamond, even better if you can inspect loose diamonds that way you get to see the whole stone.

And as always “if it’s too good to be true it probably is” so do your homework!

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Diamond Education -4 C’s – CUT GRADE IN DIAMONDS

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

As I’m sure you know by now, there are 4 C’s, Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat. This system for evaluating diamonds was developed by the Gemological Institute of America.  Today we are going to talk about the Cut Grade of Diamonds and the impact that can have on the fire, brilliance and scintillation of Diamond Rings and Loose Diamonds.
Four Stone Engagement Ring
The most important of the 4 C’s is the Cut grade, most jewellers in Ireland will agree with this fact. People get confused between cut and shape when referring to diamonds. Round Brilliant, Princess, Emerald, Asscher, Oval, Cushion, Marquise, Radiant, Ashoka, Prince are all shapes of diamonds that are used in engagement rings in Ireland. However, cut grade refers to how well the diamond is cut from its rough state. A diamond that is cut correctly will have all the facets aligned correctly and it is this that gives the diamond its fire, brilliance and scintillation. A diamond with a poor cut grade will be too deep or too shallow and therefore, will not have the sparkle of a well-cut diamond. Basically, the light will enter the diamond and leave from the bottom or the sides. A well-cut diamond will have light coming back out from the top of the diamond. Any jeweller in Ireland who does not discuss cut grade with you is trying to hide something!

Always check the cut grade of a diamond when buying engagement rings, the scale is Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.

When you are purchasing your engagement ring from a jeweller in Ireland or abroad – Antwerp, New York, Dubai always inspect the diamond in natural light so that you can see if the diamond is well cut. Bear in mind, that with certain lighting, even a very poorly cut diamond engagement ring can sparkle. Several jewellers have LED lights that make any diamond sparkle!
One other aspect to inspect in the diamond ring is the table percentage, the table is the flat facet at the top of the diamond. If you are buying an uncertified stone just make sure the table is not to wide or too narrow as this also impacts on the life of a diamond, table percentage should generally be between 55-65% of the over diameter.
Once you take the time to inspect these various factors and are happy with the results, you will have a beautiful diamond engagement ring that will sparkle forever more!
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What are fracture filled diamonds?

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

round-brilliant-bezel-rubover-engagement-rings-platinumI recently met with a jewellery valuer who values all types of jewellery. One of the services this valuation company provides is insurance valuations for diamond engagement rings that were purchased abroad, mainly Antwerp, Dubai and New York. Several Irish couples head to these locations each year in the search for a better deal, as they believe Irish Jewellers are too expensive due to higher margins, overheads etc.

Couples head off to these locations in search of diamonds and engagement rings at knock down prices. What you must remember is, if something is too good to be true it probably is!

This particular valuer in Dublin has seen an upsurge in recent times in couples coming in with engagement rings purchased abroad which have fracture filled diamonds set in them. The valuer now experiences fracture filled diamonds in 25% of these engagement rings. Some sellers refer to these diamonds as clarity enhanced, to most unsuspecting customers this term “clarity enhanced” sounds positive! However, what the buyer does not know is the cost of these diamond engagement rings is a fraction of the cost of an engagement ring with a natural diamond.

How is a diamond fracture filled? Basically, the inclusions are removed from the diamond by drilling tiny holes in the diamond, removing the inclusion and then filling the hole with a see through resin or filler. This resin will blend in perfectly with the surrounding diamond so the appearance will be very similar to a natural diamond. It is not against the law to fracture fill or sell these type of diamonds, however it is totally unethical of a jeweller not to inform the customer that they are buying a treated diamond that is not 100% natural.

Nearly all the couples that are informed of the diamonds treatment are distraught at the news, these couples were not informed or did not understand the term “clarity enhanced”.

Some couples only realise that they have a treated diamond when they need the ring cleaned or claws tightened as the treated diamond when exposed to heat can react adversely resulting in the resin melting and leaking out of the diamond. Exposure to sunlight can also result in creating an oily cloudy appearance for treated stones.

My advise is always check the receipt and paperwork you receive when you purchase the diamond engagement ring, if it states that the diamond is clarity enhanced just make sure that is reflected in the price. Always ask the jeweller if the diamonds are 100% natural and untreated.

And remember, if something is too good to be true, it probably is!

UK based customers looking for an engagement ring check our website here

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Tips for Jewellery Valuations

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

blue-sapphire-diamond-engagement-ring-bIf you have jewellery of value you should more than likely have it insured. With the recent rise in home burglaries and crime, having your jewellery insured has never been more important.

Before you can insure your jewellery with an insurance company, you will need to get the items valued and a report on each item prepared. The insurance company will then provide you with a premium based on the value of the items insured.

Fees vary significantly for valuing jewellery, traditionally jewellers charged a fixed fee per item plus a percentage of the value up to 1.5%, this is still the case now with many retail jewellers. This pricing mechanism is now outdated. Irish Jewellery Valuations now charge a fixed fee per item, this results in valuation fees being much lower.

When getting jewellery valued bring as much of the original paperwork as possible, the receipt from the original seller if you have it, any previous valuations and certificates for any diamonds in the jewellery. This paperwork will assist the valuer in providing an accurate insurance valuation.

A comprehensive valuation should include accurate description of the jewellery, the type of metal or metals that comprise the piece and a picture of the item. An accurate valuation will make it much easier for the insurance company to replace the jewellery if a claim is made for lost or stolen jewellery or even jewellery that has been damaged.

Due to the price movements in metals and diamond prices in recent years, my advice is to get your jewellery valued every 18 – 24 months. This will protect you against under-insuring your jewellery.

If your jewellery is lost or stolen, my advice is to notify your local Garda Station immediately and provide them with the valuations so that they have images of the items. You will be required to fill out a lost/stolen form at the station that you will also need to provide to your insurance company.

The above advice is provided by Irish Jewellery Valuations, 93 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2

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Diamond Shapes

Posted in: Diamond Education, Jewellery Tips

Today I am going to discuss the most popular Diamond shapes and the factors that make each one unique.

Asscher Cut Diamonds

asscher-cut-halo-pave-set-engagement-rings-newThe asscher cut diamond was developed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher who set up the Royal Asscher Company in Amsterdam. The first cuts are very rare and each one was unique, they can be found at auction from time to time. The asscher cut diamond has 72 facets/sides and he a square appearance. The corners are clipped which makes the diamond look like an octagon. Julia Roberts wore a 10 carat Asscher cut ring to the academy awards recently and Rees Witherspoon has a 4 carat Asscher Cut engagement ring. There are very few diamonds as stunning as a well cut Asscher.

Cushion Cut Diamonds

cushion-cut-ruby-halo-engagement-rings-newThe cushion cut diamond is a combination of a round and square diamond with a softened outer shape similar to a pillow. These shapes are generally squarish or oblong. These diamonds emit great light and as a result the sparkle and fire is amazing. All cushion cut diamonds are different as there is no agreed standard for what the proportions should be. As a result, the quality of cut us very important. Each stone needs to be seen to judge it’s true beauty. Halo style engagement rings are very popular choices for with cushion cut diamonds. Cushion cut solitaires are also very popular engagement rings.

Radiant Cut Diamonds

radiant-cut-handmade-solitaire-white-gold-pave-set-shoulders-engagement-ringsAs the name says, these diamonds are truly “radiant”. This diamond shape is a combination of emerald cut and round brilliant. This cut was developed by Henry Grossbard and was his patented in 1977. Grossbard wanted the stone to have the shape of an Emerald with the brilliance of a round stone. As most ladies love sparkle, this stone is a very popular choice for engagement rings.

Princess Cut Diamonds

princess-cut-solitaire-yellow-gold-white-gold-head-engagement-ringsThis cut is probably the second most popular diamond cut. The original square cut diamond was called a Barion cut, however the Princess cut evolved by adding extra facets to give the diamond more brilliance. This cut is a combination of two cutting styles, the top half of the diamond referred to as the crown is a step cut and the bottom half called the pavilion has a brilliant cut with many more facets or sides. Because of its pointed square corners, extreme care must be taken in setting this stone and ideally the claws should be protecting these corners.

Emerald Cut Diamonds

emerald-cut-solitaire-engagement-rings-landscapeFor those who like clean lines and flashes of brilliance, this stone is a must. The stone is normally rectangular but can also be squarish. The corners are generally flattened to protect the stone as sharp corners act as a point of weakness if the stone received a knock and chipped. This stone is also called a step cut and the facets are generally parallel. This cut due to its shape does not have as much fire or brilliance as a modern round brilliant but it does show the lustre, whiteness and clarity of the diamond.

Heart Shaped Diamonds

heart-cut-shaped-engagement-ringsThis diamond is cut in the shape of a heart and is truly romantic. These are very popular around Valentines Day.

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Why 25% of my sales come from Facebook marketing

Posted in: Diamond Education, Engagement Rings, Jewellery Tips
Why 25% of my sales come from Facebook marketing

Voltaire Diamonds’ founder Seamus Fahy reveals how clever use of Facebook’s business services has boosted his company’s revenues

“About 25% of our sales come from Facebook,” says Seamus Fahy, founder of Dublin-based jewellery company Voltaire Diamonds, which specialises in engagement rings. “In that respect it’s our second most important channel.”

“It’s interesting the primary channel is not search but another form of social media in the shape of wedding-oriented forums. YouTube and search engines are also important sources of new customers.”

Rather than selling through a shop, the company keeps costs (and ultimately prices) down by arranging face-to-face meetings with potential customers at its offices in Dublin and London, where it targets young Irish couples based in England. Without a shop to showcase its product, Voltaire’s marketing is focused online, and Facebook is a key point of contact.

Mix paid-for and free services

Voltaire currently has around 25,000 ‘fans’ liking its Facebook page and Fahy uses paid and unpaid promotional tactics to get his message across. Since combining the approaches in the past two years, Fahy says he’s noted significantly higher distribution and reach in terms of direct enquiries.

Create a content strategy

A key tactic is the regular posting of high resolution images of rings, augmented by videos and always accompanied by a call to action. “We always ask people what they think,” he says. “This increases engagement. I’ve developed the content strategy by trial and error, experimenting to see what works.” Having fine-tuned the approach, Fahy estimates that the company spends around 30 minutes a day posting and responding and adds a new piece of content around four times a week.

Target your key customer segment

By providing high quality content, Fahy has increased the reach messaging. “Very often people will see an image and click like – so it goes viral.” But it’s his approach to Facebook’s paid-for services that have enabled him to target his ideal customer. Ads have enabled him to build his followers in what he sees as the key demographic of 26-34 year-old women, the age when people tend to get engaged, he says. He says the demographic accounts for around 95% of his hits.

“I tried Google, but people weren’t clicking on the sponsored links and we’re high as an organic result on search pages anyway. I also tried LinkedIn, but didn’t see the value as I couldn’t target the right demographic. A lot of people say on Facebook when they’re getting engaged and change their status. When I pay for a Sponsored Story ad, for €100 we get 60 new fans, plus 60 that look at it, but don’t click ‘like’.”

Read the whole article here

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