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.
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
Rule Number 1 – always consider your wedding ring style when you are buying your engagement ring. I meet so many clients who did not realise they would need a shaped wedding ring when they were purchasing their engagement ring.
Your wedding ring should always complement your engagement ring, it should not take away from your engagement ring, so sometimes less is more!
Match the metal quality of your wedding ring with your engagement ring. In Ireland, the gold used is 18 kt, however if you buy your engagement ring abroad it may be 14 kt gold. Always check with the diamond retailer what the carat of the gold used in your engagement ring is. If you mix metals, the stronger metal will wear away the weaker metal.
Palladium Wedding Rings – you can use a palladium wedding ring with a platinum engagement ring. Palladium is from the same family of metals as platinum, it is just as hard as platinum. Only real difference is palladium is 30% lighter than platinum. Palladium is also less than half the price of platinum.
Generally ladies will select a wedding ring the same width as her engagement ring or slightly wider. As I mentioned earlier, your wedding ring should compliment your engagement ring not take from it.
If your engagement ring has diamond set shoulders, try and match the setting styles in both rings. Most jewellers will recommend this. The most common diamond settings are pave set, channel set, grain set or scallop set. Also, try and match up where the diamonds finish on each shoulder.
Some clients also like diamonds on the walls / sides of he ring, consider having these diamonds on one side as you will not see the other side when wearing both rings.
Match the diamond quality on your wedding ring with those on your engagement ring. If the diamonds are colourless on your engagement ring, buy the same quality for your wedding ring. A good jeweller will advise you on this.
Try your wedding ring on without the engagement ring, how does it look? Bear in mind, several ladies will not wear their engagement ring when they have very young children in case the ring scratches the baby.
Plain wedding rings are also very popular. The price will be dictated by the number of grammes of metal in the ring. If you are on a budget, consider ring styles that are not too heavy/deep. So you could find that there are big differences in prices despite rings all being the same width, eg 2 mm wide.
Given that you will wear your wedding ring 7 days a week, buy quality. Be careful with rings that are very thin at the bottom, you may be saving money on less grammes of metal but over time the ring will go out of shape after small knocks etc.
Final Tip – once again, if it is too good to be true it probably is!
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.
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!
Voltaire Diamonds guarantees to beat diamond prices anywhere, Dubai, Antwerp, New York, South Africa etc, provided you are comparing “like with like”
All jewellers no matter where in the world they are based buy their diamonds off the international diamond wholesalers. The only difference then is the local overheads the jeweller may have and the local tax rates.
With a little research you can soon realise that you can buy diamond engagement rings in Dublin or anywhere else in Ireland at competitive prices. However, there is a belief amongst many that if you travel abroad you will get a much better deal than buying from Irish jewellers, not the case. Due to our very low overheads Voltaire Diamonds guarantees best prices.
Most diamond buyers who travel abroad have no idea that a number of factors can greatly influence the price of diamonds, eg who certifies the stones? What is the cut, polish and symmetry grades of the diamonds? What is the fluorescence grade of the diamonds? All these grades are reported on the diamond certificate. We provide engagement ring insurance, therefore we see the valuation reports for the engagement rings they have purchased abroad. The amount of clients who have purchased poor quality diamonds is staggering, they had no idea that cut grade was so important or that the certification body who certified the diamonds were not highly regarded in the diamond industry.
There are also several other serious risks involved in buying abroad:
Treated diamonds are becoming more and more prevalent, treating a stone with high temperature and pressure can increase the colour and clarity. These stones cost substantially less than a natural diamond. Some jewellers will sell these stones as natural stones, only when you come home and get an insurance valuation will you realise you have been conned.
Clarity Enhanced Diamonds – another tactic used by some jewellers is to line fill diamonds and remove the inclusions. Basically, a little hole is drilled into the diamond therefore removing small inclusions, these holes are then filled with a colourless resin which then gives the appearance of a higher clarity. These clarity enhanced diamonds cost significantly less than natural diamonds. Some certification bodies certify these stones so make sure you check the certificate for any comments like Treated or Clarity Enhanced. We had a client in recently looking for a valuation, we told her the stone was enhanced and that the value was significantly lower than what she paid, needless to say she was devastated. She contacted the jeweller in New York who sold her the stone and he said he pointed out that fact at time of sale.
Loose stones or small stones popping out of settings – this can happen and when it does you normally go back to your jeweller. Most Irish jewellers will not repair rings purchased abroad in case they damage the ring further as they do not know quality of craftsmanship that was involved in making the ring. Bear this in mind as we have witnessed several clients who have had to travel back to the original seller to carry out repair work.
Fake Diamond Certificates – with modern printing technology it has become very easy to counterfeit any paperwork, diamond certificates are no different. This is becoming more prominent and once again it is only after the purchase that you realise this, when you are getting the engagement ring valued for insurance purposes. Always deal with reputable jewellers.
And remember, like everything in life “if it is too good to be true, it probably is!”
Historically diamonds are used as the center stone for engagement rings in Ireland, but there are some ladies out there who much prefer non diamond engagement rings and choose other gemstones. After diamonds, the blue sapphire has been the most popular choice by women for the center stone of their non diamond engagement rings and the reason for this may be because the history behind the blue sapphire runs as deep as its warm blue color.
It is believed that the ten commandments were originally scribed in sapphire because the sapphire is one of the hardest gemstones. If a women prefers non diamond engagement rings, she may be drawn to the blue sapphire not only because of its color, but also for its durability. Diamonds, of course, are the hardest gemstone, and this helps them in their lifelong wear, but sapphires are almost as hard which makes them an excellent choice for an engagement ring. Every gemstone has a symbolization that is attached to it and women have chosen blue sapphires for non diamond engagement rings since they symbolize faithfulness and sincerity.
Séamus Fahy: “The recession suits me perfectly; more and more people are looking for value for money now.”
Séamus Fahy – founder of Voltaire Diamonds
What is the most unique thing about your business?
Voltaire Diamonds is all done by appointment. I don’t have a jewellery shop, therefore I don’t have the overheads of a jewellery shop. It’s a nice environment, you’re getting top quality product at very competitive prices.
A lot of my clients say they’re intimidated by jewellery shops. But you come in here and it’s relaxed, there’s no pressure on people and there’s no pushy sales techniques. We design the rings, but you can add your personal stamp if you want.
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.
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!
There are several types of diamond settings for solitaire engagement rings. The most popular setting would be the classic traditional four claw setting, this can sometimes give a round brilliant stone a squarish look from a short distance. The most popular four claw setting amongst our clients is a Cartier 1895 diamond setting. Most jewellers in Ireland will be aware of this claw setting.
Given that the Cartier setting can give a squarish look, some clients prefer the claws set in what’s called a North East South West setting, this makes the stone look more round and is now a very popular style for round brilliant solitaires.
The next most popular setting is the six claw setting, this makes the stone appear rounder due to the number and position of the claws. The most popular six claw would be the classic Tiffany style setting.
With both the four and six claw settings, you have a choice to have a bezel (little ar connecting the claws) or not, some clients prefer to see more of the stone and therefore decide nt to have a bezel, others prefer the bezel as they feel it gives the centre stone more security. When deciding not to have a bezel, just make sure the claws are not too thin otherwise there is a risk the centre stone may become loose and you may even lose it if one of the claws takes a sharp knock.
Bezel / Rubover settings are also quite popular if you prefer a ring style without claws. Here you have two options, a semi bezel or full bezel. With a semi bezel set diamond engagement ring, approx. half the stone will have metal surrounding it. Full bezel / Rubover will have metal all round the diamond.
A more recent type of setting is what’s called an invisible or illusion diamond setting, my advice here is run a mile! This setting is where you have a number of stones set against each other with no claws and from a distance it gives the impression of one big stone instead of lots of smaller ones. These rings allow you to have a high carat weight for your budget as lots of small stones cost significantly less than one bigger one. Over time most of these settings become loose as the have very little metal holding the stones together. There are several jewellers in Dublin now selling these settings as some clients want to maximise the diamond weight they have for their budget. Most popular would be four small Princess cut diamonds put together to give a bigger looking princess cut stone. I can guarantee one thing, you will have problems in the long run with this type of diamond setting.
Merrion Private Vaults is the first independently owned safe deposit box facility in Ireland and is 100% Irish owned and operated. They provide custodial services to private individuals and businesses, allowing them to safeguard their most valued possessions in a secure state-of-the-art purpose-built vault in Dublin City Centre.
They are situated in the heart of Dublin, only minutes walk from Grafton Street, Dáil Eireann and Trinity College. Our aim is to provide a unique and first class service to our clients, ensuring the safety and security of their most valued possessions, documents and jewellery.