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Questions On Natural Vs Ce Vs Hpht Vs Simulants


frayedends
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I could use a little help in understanding a few things. I'm looking for an "engagement" ring, and I'm not sure about a few things, so I'm soliciting some opinions. My G/F and I aren't actually going to be married. Think of it as a perpetual engagement. We're both divorced, with kids, and neither of us want to do that again.

 

The criteria for a ring is that it should look great on her finger, but aside from that, we're not looking at it as an investment, or anything else. As I've been looking around, both at jewelers and on the internet, I've come across a bunch of things that I need to sort out.

 

What I'm up against is trying to make a good decision, based on what our needs and budget are. I can either buy a real diamond that's not real large, but looks decent and is genuine... or I can buy a slightly larger CE diamond that could have potential problems with heat... or I could buy a Moissanite that's bigger but isn't real, or a CZ that's really inexpensive and would let me buy a nicer setting.

 

I've found there's natural, and clarity-enhanced diamonds. I've read a lot of the posts here, and from what I guess is the CE diamonds have tiny laser drilled holes to remove imperfections, OR they have some sort of filler in cracks that come to the surface. Do I have this right so far? Part of my dilemma is that there's a wide variation in price and quality, and it seems that some places have prices about half of what others do for the same size and quality. I can't make much sense of how two stones with almost identical specs can have such a great difference. It makes me think there's something amiss there.

 

I've seen that GIA is supposedly "the" trusted authority, but they don't certify certain CE diamonds? So should I beware of any diamond that doesn't have a GIA cert? The worry here is that I've read that the CE filled diamonds can have problems with heat, especially if the ring is resized, or the stone reset. They can crack, or the filler comes out somehow?

 

I've also seen that there's lab-grown, or treated natural diamonds, with this HPHT process. However, I'm really unclear about this one. These are all on the internet, and some say they can't make stones larger than 1/2 ct., some say 1 ct., some say clear stones can't be made, some say they can make brown stones clear. What's the real truth behind this?

 

Then I find there's Moissanite, which is SiC, which is still kind of expensive, but supposedly looks great, but can have a greenish hue and double refraction. I wanted to see one of these stones, but I couldn't find one within 100 miles of me, so a local jeweler I talked to said he'd bring one in on a memo, so I could see it. I'm looking forward to that, but the jeweler also told me that while Moissanite looks good, there's some newer CZ brands that are even better.

 

But I hear that CZ dulls with age, gets cloudy, and the surface shows wear over time. Then I read that the newer CZ's don't do that anymore. All of this contradictory info is driving me nuts! I want to make the best choice to get her a ring she'll be happy to wear because it's from me :) and also because it looks fantastic, and will hold up over the years. I do NOT want a problem on our hands in the future.

 

I'd appreciate any comments or answers to some of my questions. Toss your own opinions in too, I'd love to hear them.

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Nearly all diamonds that are sold labeled ‘clarity enhanced’ have a glass filler that helps to mask certain inclusions. Laser drilled stones are required to have the same disclaimer but, in practice, they are rather unusual in the marketplace.

 

GIA refuses to grade filled stones because the fill can be damaged with heat or acid. This means that the stone you’re seeing may be different from what GIA saw when the lab graded it. Their solution is to simply refuse to grade them although this is not any sort of an endorsement for or against buying them. It DOES lead to some serious shenanegans about grading them because the standard GIA grading scale doesn’t apply and the sellers can and do say almost anything they want.

Colorless lab grown diamonds can be made but they are not significantly less expensive than similar mined counterparts. That makes them unpopular except in a very specialized market. The manufacturers want to make things that sell well so they go for the fancy color market where they’ve got a price and size advantage over the miners.

The big reason CZ’s change is they are softer than diamonds and they scratch up on the surface, which affects brilliance in the same way it affects transparency on your glasses or windows. If you go with CZ on a bridal piece, be prepared to replace the stone periodically. As you point out, they are a LOT cheaper so this may be worth considering even if it does occasionally have some work required.

I don’t especially care for Moissanite for exactly the reasons you list but some people love it. Let us know what you think after you see one. Kudos to the jeweler for bring in one just so you can see it by the way. It's not free for them to do this.

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One other thought - totally tangential to your questions - is that if you aren't doing the traditional thing (and I understand you very well; it took us 20 odd years to go from "engaged" to married), why do you want to do the traditional colourless diamond solitaire as a token of love (or whatever else you want to call it)?

 

There's plenty of other options, most of which are less expensive: sapphires, coloured stones (tourmaline, topaz, chrysoberil, spinel), coloured diamonds, three stone rings, flower rings, whatever-else rings. Not to mention jewels other than rings: earrings, pendants, bracelets, ...

 

Back to your topic - this is a short and hopefully interesting read. http://www.diamondre...thetic-diamonds

 

BTW - the other reason why CZ grows dull is because it is incorrectly stabilised and it reverts from the metastable cubic crystallisation to the stable monoclinic one, which is opaque and is larger in volume, causing cracks in the crystal. This tends to be the case in very cheap, unbranded CZ or in older stones. When I say unbranded, you don't need to spend hundreds to get good quality - Signity (Swarowski) CZ is excellent, and costs a $/carat or thereabouts.

Edited by davidelevi
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Well, to answer your question, the way we think of it is that we are in a continual engagement, therefore the traditional solitary engagement ring would be most appropriate :)

 

Thanks for the info so far. It seems that unless someone can give me a really good reason to use CZ, I'll probably strike that one, since it's going to dull and probably need replacement at some point. I'd rather spend more and get something that isn't going to do that.

 

Will let you all know tomorrow how that Moissanite looks. It's an equiv 1.5 ct., I think 7mm that he's bringing in. I'll have to look for the double refracting, and see how noticeable it is, and if there's the greenish hue. I have my myriad of lights I'm bringing with to see!

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Hum - well, to put things into perspective:

 

1. CZ can last years or even decades. I have an emerald ring dating to 1962 (I have the original invoice), and the emerald looks new, although it's considerably softer than CZ. A lot depends on how much it is worn, and how. My kids (ages 5 and 7) have had a batch of coloured CZ for two years+, which is their "treasure". I leave you to imagine how they treat them. They are still flawless and scratchless after 2 years.

 

2. CZ is cheap, I mean really cheap. As in hundred of times cheaper than moissanite, and thousands of times cheaper than diamond. And it looks darn close to diamond. A lot more than moissanite.

 

This said - your call!

Edited by davidelevi
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I thought of the inexpensive factor too, but she's going to wear this thing every day, whether it's a CZ, real diamond, or Moissanite. The big deal here is the fact she has the ring, not specifically what it is made of. So, I'd expect it to be subject to a lot of wear and tear, and for that reason alone, I'd expect to be replacing it as some point. I'm ok spending more money for a similarly-sized Moissanite, or a smaller diamond.

 

On a side note, as I have been talking to several nearby jewelers about this, one of them is trying to sell me a "supposedly" genuine diamond solitaire for exactly the same price as a moissanite ring. It's not the same guy who's getting the moissanite stone for me to see, this guy wouldn't do that, I had to buy the ring, and I could return it within 30 days if I didn't like it.

 

So what he's telling me, is a 7.5mm moissanite stone, set in a 14-karat white gold setting, is exactly the same price as a 1.5 ct "genuine" diamond, in the same setting. Only difference is there is no cert for the diamond, and he claims it's an "I" color, "good" cut, "I-1" clarity. Price? $1000 for either. Can this be legit? I haven't seen this "

diamond", but as I said in my original post, it sounds too good to be true.

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I bought a 6 carat diamond a couple of years ago for $600. It's a lovely crystal of rough brown diamond, but a gem it is not - not even a 0.30 carat if one were to cut off and polish the best area. ;)

 

What this jeweller has could well be a diamond. I doubt it's an I colour, I-1 clarity or a "good" cut based on GIA standards. Or even on EGL "standards". The cheapest lab-graded 1.50 for sale here are about $2500-2700, and the descriptions look rather dreadful. If it looks good, at that price, it's not a diamond.

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I saw the moissanite stone the jeweler brought in, and WOW! He put out a 1.38 ct SI2, K color real diamond next to it he said would retail for around 12k, and I could not tell the difference. I even looked at both through a loop, and I could not see anything different about them. Granted, I'm not trained in such matters, but I had gotten the feeling that it would be easy to spot the double refraction of the moissanite, but I could not, even as he was telling me what to look for.

 

The color is great. I can't really detect any hint of green hue, it really looks rather colorless. He set each in a 6-prong solitaire setting, and put both next to each other under the lights, and the moissanite seemed to be brighter. On the jewelers paper, they looked the same, but in the mounting it was a bit different. The real diamond seemed to have a "shadow". Don't know a better way to describe it.

 

He also had some CZ on hand, and it was a brand name I don't remember, but it wasn't Signity. It looked decent, but it didn't have the same sparkle under the lights. So after seeing the CZ, Moissanite and real diamond, I opted for the moissanite, given the difference in cost and how great it looks. I hope it wears well, and maybe in the future we'll replace it with a real diamond, but for now it'll do just fine!

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If you like it, it's a good choice. Enjoy it in health and happiness!

 

BTW - to see the double refraction of the moissanite you need to look at it not through the table. There is one direction (a so called optical axis) through which the moissanite crystal is not doubly-refracting. Of course, manufacturers cut the stone so that the main viewing angle is the one that minimizes the birefringence - thus the table is aligned to be perpendicular to the optical axis. If you observe the stone through the side and look at the opposite side, you should pick up the doubling of the edges quite easily in a 7/7.5 mm stone.

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