Introduction to Diamond Education

(Please don't skim read this tutorial: It is important for you to read this 5 minute tutorial slowly)

Diamond Buying Facts

Shopping for a certified diamond and an engagement ring should be fun, exciting, rewarding, educational, and just plain easy. But it is not and Malnekoff Jewelers is here to assist.

Most consumers try to comparison shop, going from store to store, website to website, referral to referral, trying to get educated about how to purchase a diamond. Some consumers spend over 20 hours of research time, agonizing over all the data they have collected, thinking that they have all the facts to make the correct decision.

  • We have seen consumers go to 10 different jewelers, looking at approximately 3 diamonds per jeweler. How can they make an informed decision about 30 diamonds viewed over a period of weeks without viewing them, all at the same time, next to each other?
  • When shopping from store to store, your eye and memory absolutely cannot remember the fine differences in brilliance and sparkle of the diamonds you have seen. Over a period of time, you become mentally and visually numb from all the sales talk and visual stimulation.
  • Or you hear the sales talk, “I’m the importer and therefore the cheapest”, or “I will beat anyone’s price” or “You must buy it now because I have another buyer coming to purchase at this price.” This is all sales talk and hype.
  • The same exact diamond should cost the same everywhere, within 5% or so, if all the diamonds are independently certified by a recognized diamond grading laboratory and all the gemology factors are the same. But optically the same two diamonds with the same specs may not have same optical properties of sparkle and brilliance. If you ignore the more factor, the cut factor of the diamond, and only shop carat weight or color and clarity, you will make a poor decision based on incomplete information.
  • For Internet shopping: Without the following “Diamond Facts” tutorial, how can you feel comfortable purchasing online, without a qualified diamond expert to assist you? You cannot view the optical brilliance of a diamond on the Internet, in person, just from reading specs on a chart or viewing a two dimensional closeup photo of the diamond. You cannot see the sparkle online.
  • Laboratory created synthetic diamonds facts: PROS: environmentally eco-friendly and cheaper than natural diamonds by approximately 30%. CONS: The real price difference should be 50% because the merchants make more profit margin on lab diamonds than natural diamonds. Over time, as the laboratories increase in production and supply, the cost will drop (like computers). The unlimited supply made in laboratories, with no rarity and no active lab diamond secondary market shows that there is no future cash or trade-in value for lab diamonds with a future diminishing value. 
  • Natural diamonds have always had a future market value, usually upward. Natural diamonds are rare and can only be mined once. Made by mother nature, each diamond is unique and with a GIA certificate, gives you peace of mind that what you are purchasing today has long lasting value. GIA certificate diamonds have the GIA certificate number etched on the edge of the diamond, for easy identification. There is a very large active diamond market that all natural diamonds can be easily valued for insurance purposes or for cash trade-in value on a larger diamond. Natural diamonds have long lasting value and as an heirloom, generations of family members in the future will benefit from your purchase today. We have seen the grandchildren bring in grandma's diamond purchased 70 years ago for $1000 that is worth $5000 today. Natural diamonds are worth more because or their rarity and we recommend purchasing natural GIA certified diamonds and jewelry for its long lasting value. 

Malnekoff Jewelers helps you shop with confidence, with the following diamond purchase formula to assist you:

Your Budget  =  

Ideal Cut Best Optical Brilliance    + 

Carat weight, Color and Clarity   +

Ring Design Cost  

  1. Your budget: This is a fixed amount. Unless your wallet is like an accordion, you have a maximum budget, which we can help advise you how to get the best diamond and ring combination to fit your budget.
  2. Ideal Cut Best Optical Brilliance: This is a fixed factor, which comes from the cut proportions that are listed on the GIA certificate. There are variations within the "Excellent" cut grade and we will show you the differences in brilliance among all "Excellent" cut diamonds.
  3. The Carat Weight, Color, and Clarity of the Diamond: These are all variable that we can advise you how to balance all these factors to adjust the price to fit your budget.
  4. The Ring Design Cost: This is variable depending on if you choose yellow or white gold, platinum, how many side diamonds, etc. We can advise you on the cost of the ring when you email us pictures of the ring designs you have seen that you like. 

Please read the Q&A question list below, cut and paste the Q&A into your reply email and answer each question in line for ease of tracking. We will reply with a few comments and suggestions by email, and then arrange a telephone consultation to discuss further and setup a showroom visit to view diamonds in person.  

Email: Showroom Telephone: 312.332.7054. Ask for Peter

  1. What is the shape of the diamond you are looking for: Round, Princess, Oval, Pear Shape, Asscher, Emerald Cut, etc. 
  2. Any carat weight desire? We will help match carat weight (perceived size), with your budget and color and clarity.
  3. What is your maximum budget for the final ring (center diamond and ring design).
  4. What is the ring design that attracts you the most? Somewhere you have seen a ring design she loves. We can duplicate any ring design (only better) you have seen. It is very important to email us a link to the picture of the ring design for our review and pricing.
  5. Precious metal: White gold, yellow gold, or platinum?
  6. Does she want the wedding band to fit flush up against the engagement ring, or if the ring design is curved, is it ok for the wedding band to curve around the ring? (the ring design has to take this into account)

For over 4 generations since 1880, the Malnekoff Family has assisted customers in acquiring fine jewelry with confidence and peace of mind. Our job is help guide you to balance all the different factors between your budget and the final ring that is presented to her, a gift for a lifetime.

We have created the only patented diamond evaluation process system, called Diamond Inspector, created by Malnekoff Jewelers. You can receive a personal demonstration of the system by setting up an appointment to view diamonds in the Malnekoff Showroom.Click Here to View the Patent:

 Diamond Facts:  Diamond Certificates  

We can advise you how to balance your desires with budget and style to get the best diamond and ring design for your budget.
The "Cut Proportions" of the diamond are the most important 
factors that affect the pricing of a diamond and the appearance dramatically. What are the cut proportions? Table %, Depth %, girdle thickness, crown angles, pavilion angles, overall shape of the diamond if oval, pearshape, radiant cut, cushion, etc. 

Please read the following important information:

• Based on the cut proportions of a diamond, there is up to a 60% price difference between the highest best proportion ideal cut diamond and the poorest cut and proportioned diamond.
• A deeper cut diamond is priced differently than a wider shallower cut diamond.
• A diamond with an “extremely thin girdle” is priced cheaper because the edge of the diamond can break while wearing.
• The length to width ratio of a fancy shaped diamond of pear, marquise, oval, emerald cut and radiant cut diamonds can affect the price dramatically.
• No matter which lab certificate the diamond has, the cut proportions and carat weight are fixed and finite for each diamond. Only the color and clarity are subjective. Therefore, the cut proportion analysis for "Optical Brilliance" is the same for all certificates.
• Fluorescence is a factor that can be a negative quality or a positive quality, depending upon the strength of the fluorescence and the body color of the diamond, adding another factor in pricing. An H to I color with faint to medium fluorescence is a positive factor because it will make the diamond look like an E or F color in daylight. Strong fluorescence is a negative quality and should be avoided, while faint to medium may be positive.
• Branded and or specialty cut diamonds have different pricing than other diamonds.
• Special weight sizes add more difficulty in shopping price calculations: A diamond that weighs .90 carat weight compared to a 1.00 carat weight. A 1.80 carat diamond is priced closer to a 2.00 carat than a 1.50 carat diamond.
• Seasonal and yearly demand for a specific shape of diamond that changes over time. 
Fancy shape diamonds like cushion and princess cut diamonds, present even more of a challenge because because there is no optical cut standard for maximum brilliance. The problem is how do you rate the optical brilliance of a diamond, just from the certificate. You can not. Ideal best cut cushion cuts are very very very very hard to come by. Most cushion and princess cut diamonds are not cut for maximum brilliance, which is the most obscure and most important factor in buying a diamond.

Our diamond cutting factories do cut for optimal brilliance, but these diamonds are hard to come by. We (as the jeweler) have to look at them in person, side by side, to judge the optical brilliance. The internet has made it easier to buy diamonds, but the missing factor, which cannot be seen or analyzed on the internet, is the optical brilliance factor which can only be seen in person.

There are too many factors that affect the price of diamonds in the market place. You simply cannot calculate all the factors on your own. Leave off one or two price factors, and you will make a poor decision. You are at risk from information overload, biased advice; burn out from visiting too many jewelers and pressure from professional salespeople.

Malnekoff Jewelers is your trusted advisor, for over 4 generations, the grandchildren of the original customers continue to shop with confidence. We will assist you with making the correct purchase by advising you and helping you balance all the different factors in selecting your jewelry.

Malnekoff Jeweler's professional jewelry staff has been specially trained to assist you in the selecting the best diamond for your budget, based on the Malnekoff Jewelers Diamond Inspector system. The hands on personal one on one assistance, will give you the confidence and peace of mind during the shopping process.

Here is more information about the "Cut" of the diamond from the American Gem Society (AGS) Diamond Laboratory:

1. What is Cut?

The jewelry industry refers to Cut in two ways:
1. As a reference to the shape, style and faceting of a diamond.
2. How well a diamond is fashioned (e.g., brilliance, fire and scintillation).

2. What is an Ideal Cut diamond?

There is much debate in the diamond industry about what an actual Ideal Cut is. An AGS Ideal Cut is a diamond where all of the diamond’s Cut quality factors (light performance, proportions, and polish and symmetry) are at the highest possible levels, and they make the maximum contribution to the diamond’s beauty and value. The Gemological Institute of America, changed the Tolkowsky Ideal Cut proportions and expanded the range of what used to be an ideal with new parameters rated as "Excellent" cut grade on a GIA certificate. But not all "Excellent" cut grade diamonds look the same and Malnekoff Jewelers will show you how you can purchase the best optically brilliant diamond when you select among the many "Excellent" cut grade diamonds available. 

3. What are the factors that determine a diamond’s Cut Grade?

AGS Laboratories utilizes the AGS Performance-Based Cut Grade system, which is based on the overall performance of a diamond, specifically in the area of Light Performance. When analyzing the overall performance of the diamond, we take the following into consideration: light performance (contrast, leakage, dispersion, and brightness), proportion factors (girdle thickness, Culet size, Weight Ratio, durability, and tilt) and finish (Polish and Symmetry).

4. Is there a Cut Grade for fancy shape diamonds?

Yes, in 2004, AGS released their fancy shape Cut Grade research, which concluded five years of research by a team of diamond experts, optical physicists and mathematicians. The AGS Laboratories' Diamond Quality™ Document was the first diamond grading report to ever issue a fancy shape diamond Cut grade. Currently AGS Laboratories is now grading the Princess Cut, Emerald Cut, and Oval Cut shapes, other fancy shapes will follow.

5. What is Brightness?

The amount of white light in a diamond that is returned to the observer.

6. What is Brilliance?

A diamond’s brightness with positive contrast effects.

7. What is Contrast?

The light and dark patterns seen when observing a faceted diamond. It can be positive or negative in its optical effect. Usually caused by, but not limited to, the observer's head.

8. What is Dispersion?

The separation of white light into colors by refraction in a diamond.

9. What is Durability?

A diamond’s resistance to chipping or breaking.

10. What is Leakage?

Areas in a diamond that do not return light.

11. What is Weight Ratio?

The millimeter footprint of a diamond versus its weight.

12. What is Tilt?

The point at which the girdle reflects in the table of a diamond. It is defined by the minimum pavilion angle allowed for each table size.

13. What is Luster?

Luster is the quality and quantity of light reflected from a gem's surface.

14. What is Polish?

Polish is the quality of the diamond's surface and edges.

15. What are Proportions?

Proportions are the size and angular relationships among the main parts of the diamond. AGS Laboratories diamond graders consider the following factors when evaluating Proportions: Table Size, Crown Angle, Girdle Thickness, Pavilion Angle, Culet Size.

16. What is a Culet?

A Culet is the point on the bottom of a diamond's pavilion. A diamond's Culet may be pointed or it may be blunted with a small facet.

17. What is Shape?

The Shape is the outline of the diamond such as marquise, pear, or oval.

18. What is Symmetry?

Symmetry is the exactness of the balance and evenness of the diamond's shape and facets.