FASHION: How to Shop Wisely for Diamonds for Mother's Day & Other Special Occasions
Sunday, May 5, 2002

NEWSTREAM -- It's that time of year... when mothers are appreciated just a little more, love is acknowledged in special ways, and graduations are rewarded.

For those planning to buy a diamond to honor someone special or commemorate one of life's most treasured moments, it's important to shop wisely. This rare gemstone is not only a beautiful gift, but can also become a priceless family heirloom. To help consumers make more informed purchases, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - the world's foremost authority in gemology - recommends consumers chose a jeweler with proper credentials, understand the "Four Cs," and ask for a diamond grading report.

First, ask about a jeweler's education and qualifications. It's wise to choose a jeweler just as you would a doctor, lawyer, or other similar professional. Such designations as a G.G. (Graduate Gemologist), G.J. (Graduate Jeweler), or A.J.P. (Accredited Jewelry Professional) are industry accepted credentials for a jeweler. Also look for affiliations

with jewelry industry groups and professional associations.

It's also important for consumers to understand the "Four Cs" of diamond grading: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Diamond professionals use these four factors to describe and classify diamonds. When taken together, they help in evaluating the finished diamonds being purchased. That's why the Four Cs are often called "value factors." Since these are the key factors a jeweler uses to assign prices to diamonds, it's wise to spend a little time learning about them. To help consumers quickly learn the essentials of the Four Cs, consumers can access GIA's interactive tutorial, "How to Buy a Diamond," on GIA's Web site (www.gia.edu).

Finally, GIA urges consumers to make sure a diamond is accompanied by a grading report from an independent, third party - such as the one issued by GIA Gem Trade Laboratory. Such a report provides an objective analysis of a diamond's quality and authenticity. Diamond grading reports can go a long way

in giving the consumer a peace of mind. And once a diamond is purchased, how does the proud new owner keep it clean? Even though a diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth and can cut any kind of rock or metal, the oil deposited from the mere touch of a human finger can cause dirt to collect, causing this nearly indestructible gemstone to quickly lose its sparkling appeal. Because diamonds are natural magnets for grease, they're not easy to keep clean. That's why it's important to handle diamonds sparingly. Additional diamond care advice is to clean your diamond regularly and to keep it away from harmful solutions like chlorine or household cleansers or toothpaste. These items can erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings, and may also loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal completely. For more valuable information on purchasing and caring for diamonds, see GIA's new Web site designed specifically for consumers at http://4cs.gia.edu.

 

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