Buying Diamonds

Hello Everyone:

I have a question that relates to a few posts I have seen. I am very
curious about the beads being advertised as diamond beads. I am just
starting to see these in trade magazines and am wondering what kind
of diamonds they are.

I am an experienced bead buyer, but not in this area. There was a
post yesterday about selling stones and making sure they are
represented correctly. I would never want to misrepresent anything to
my clients. Many of them are also friends and my reputation of being
honest means everything to me.

That said, I would like to learn more about the buying aspects. Can
anyone point me in the direction of a source of learning? They don’t
seem to be high quality diamonds as one might set in a ring for
example, but should they be coming with certification? Does anyone
know of reputable suppliers? I saw an add advertising diamond beads,
diamonds in the rough, and “cheap” diamonds.What does this mean?
Lastly, are they all they are cracked up to be? If I spend a lot of
time to track these down, they have to be worth it.

I know my question if loaded with land mines, but I am intrigued.

Thanks very much,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

IMHO the diamond beads are of course low quality mostly available as
black opaque and you can more than likey get a better result in a
necklace using something else dark opaque and faceted i.e. onyx,
smoky quartz, ‘mystic’ topaz…

The trouble I have thought about stringing the diamonds no matter
what you use eventually that cording is going to risk rub wear and
being cut probably at a much faster rate than any of us are used to

I guess it really depends on how many clients you have that would
want to pay the increase in costs for these pieces. Especially when
they and their jeweler are the only ones who know thise beads are
‘genuine’ diamonds.

An American Cameo Artist

Hello, Are you referring to black diamond beads? They have been
pretty hot as a sales item in the past few years. I have 2 friends
who sell quite a few strands in their retail stores every month. they
are priced all over the board. However, you need to know what you are
buying. there is a guy named Sam Williams who sell really high
quality strands He is out of North Carolina try googling him.

Good luck. Dennis


We have done very well selling black diamond beads to our customers,
they twinkle like no other bead can…not for everyone’s pocketbook

Oriental Gemco out of New York has a wonderful stock of them which is
where we purchase ours from.


Hi Dennis

Are you referring to black diamond beads? They have been
pretty hot as a sales item in the past few years.

Thank you for the on diamond beads. I think my original
post was a little cryptic. I’m actually trying to find out how to
become an educated buyer of diamond beads, diamonds, and stones. I
have been looking into cert. programs at FIT as I am close
geographically.They are pricey and I am already 37. I’m a little
anxious about getting started at such a late time. I have found that
GIA offers extensive online programs at much lower tuition rates and
I am sending for a catalog. I am about 1 1/2 hours from NYC so I can
get to the required labs. Does anyone have any experience they would
share about the GIA distance education program? I want to emphasize
that I do not wish to be a gemologist. I wish to make informed
purchases when using stones in my work. I have bought stones and
thought (as I walked away with my purchase) geez, how do I know I am
buying the real thing? Also, the diamond beads I saw look just like
diamonds (ie. clear and sparkly, not black) but they have a hole in
them. I have found one dealer in these diamonds that will offer their
customers a course in how to buy diamonds. Taking a course in how to
buy from the guy I’m buying from seems a little risky, no?

Thanks for the help,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

One other comment about diamond beads (the black ones at least).

Examine them closely before you buy them. I got an unwanted surprise
after buying a string of black diamond beads.

I didn’t ask to open the strand & check the holes. When I got them
in the shop & opened the strand, I found the holes very small. But
the worst surprise was yet to come. If I had to guess, I’d bet the
holes were drilled from each side using a laser. As a result, the
holes don’t line up & there’s a wear point some place inside the
stone. This has the effect of further shortening the life of whatever
is used to string them, be it metal or organic material.

I suppose if one had the right type of laser, the wear point could
be eliminated, but I’d hate to price that type of laser. it’d
probably make the standard welding lasers look like a bargain.


The responses I’ve seen so far refer to black diamonds, but I’m not
sure that’s what was meant. I have seen absolutely gorgeous (white)
diamond briolettes. My guess about this issue (since I’ve never
studied diamond beads) is that you will find a range of qualities,
just like with any diamonds. My advice would be to learn what you
can about diamond grading and apply the same criteria to diamond
beads. If there’s a demand for high quality diamond beads, the supply
will follow.


Hello Kimberly

I'm actually trying to find out how to become an educated buyer of
diamond beads, diamonds, and stones 

If you just want to buy diamonds for jewelry purposes I doubt that
you even need GIA certification. There really isn’t any way to really
know about diamonds except by looking at a lot of them. I was
fortunate enough to have this experience back when the Hunt brothers
cornered the silver market, gold hit $800 and everyone sold
everything, including their diamond engagement rings. If you want to
buy diamonds for your own use you’d do better to read a bit about the
4 Cs and spend a couple of days in the Diamond District in Manhattan
looking at stones. There are plenty of good books on diamonds and
plenty of good on the Net.

I don’t buy many diamonds so I rely on Rio Grande, who sell below
Rapapport and recently, for stones larger than.25 points, include a
fine little Rio certification, giving very exact on the
stone. If you do an internet search you will discover that there are
stones out there that have been treated in ways that only very
sophisticated and expensive equipment can reveal. Frankly I’m not
even sure I could tell the difference between Moissanite and Diamond
with a 10X loupe. So I only buy from trustworthy sources, like Rio.
I’ve done business with them for 25 years with no problems not
immediately resolved. I may pay more my customers don’t seem to mind a
simple retail mark up.

Mark Defrates

Not all of the diamond beads are black diamonds. You can get diamond
“crystals” as beads. They are NOT gem quality, hence they are less
expensive (note please, I did not say “cheap”). They are usually
irregular in shape and color and can be quite attractive as accents.
The holes are very small (think 28-30g). You can also get them
undrilled and as octahedral/hexoctahedral/macle-twin crystals.

I get mine from Elaine Greenspan. They are also available on-line
from and and I’m sure

I have no affiliation with any of the above except that I am a
satisfied customer of Elaine Greenspan.

Good luck!

Doreen K. Sanborn
DKS Designs, Inc.

GIA is the best and most renown program for diamond identification.
They also have an at home program.

Hi Beth:

I have seen absolutely gorgeous (white) diamond briolettes. 

Thanks, this is exactly what I was referring to. I go into NYC about
every 3 months to shop for beads and I will look for sources there.
However, I know that if I go to area shows, I can find a much broader
selection. Have you seen these briolettes at shows? I am horribly
phobic. Going to shows is very difficult for me, but if I have to,
I’ll take a friend with me and tough it out.

Thank you so much for the reply.

Best Regards,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads


I agree with Beth. It is important to learn somthing about the
quality of anything you are buying, especially gems. I have been at
it for awhile and I can tell you that the landscape is fairly
littered with ex-jewelers who went out of business because they
relied on dealers and paid much to much for gems, couldn’t setll
what they made and to this day they don’t realize it.

After 25 years of travel and study, I wrote Secrets Of The Gem Trade,
The Connoisseurs Guide To Precious Gemstones. It covers quality
grading in 35 different gem varieties. Orchid reviewed it, Charles
Lewton-Brain called it “a monumental work, a tour de force” and
suggests “buy this book.” Here is a link to the Ganoksin review and a
couple of sample chapters:

For Information and sample chapters from my new book:

There really isn’t any way to really know about diamonds except by
looking at a lot of them.

Frankly I'm not even sure I could tell the difference between
Moissanite and Diamond with a 10X loupe. 

See, now that is why you need a good education other than “looking
at a lot of them”. If you had the right background you would know
that moissanite is doubly refractive and diamond singly refractive
and it is usually quite easy to spot under a microscope. (I have long
held that the reason moissanite really developed and sold the stone
was so that they could sell the unnecessary detector that they
manufactured as well.)

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hello, in regards to diamond briolettes, Sam sell them too. Also
sometimes polished diamond crystals that have been drilled. In terms
of learning about diamonds and other stones the idea about GIA online
classes sounds good. Also perhaps buying ‘The Guide’ wouldn’t be a
bad idea. this periodical comes out several times a year. It give the
standard prices of gemstones and also diamonds. It has technical
also that comes out I think every month. Can’t remember,
I don’t always read mine when it arrives. I pile them up and read
them in a group.

Good luck.

Hi Richard:

couple of sample chapters: 

Thank you very much for the info. I intend to order the book and
read it fully. I often jump into things without being ready and I
certainly would like to do more research before I jump into a GIA
program that will cost thousands of dollars to complete (I have to
make a lot of bracelets to foot the bill).

Best Regards,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

Hi Kim,

Have you seen these briolettes at shows? 

Yes, but I’m on the West Coast so it might not do you any good. The
dealer I’m aware of that carries these diamond briolettes is Prijems,
located in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles. They do the
International Gem, Jewelry & Bead shows, but I don’t know if they
travel with these shows to the East.


I guess the question should be - “How many 10’s or 100’s of
thousands of dollars would the original poster like to spend on a
strand of these high grade white diamond briolettes?”

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers

Tuscon will have them. Check out “California Collection”- they are
located in LA, and are very nice on the phone if you want to call
them and have them send some out if you’re not going to Tuscon.
Their prices are very very fair. I think much more fair than a few of
the other sources mentioned!

Hi Lee:

I guess the question should be - "How many 10's or 100's of
thousands of dollars would the original poster like to spend on a
strand of these high grade white diamond briolettes?" 

This is an excellent question. I don’t think they’re the kind of
quality that one might see set (as in many engagement rings), so I
don’t think they’re as expensive as I originally thought. The prices
are probably all over the place. I have seen a couple people use
“industrial grade” diamonds in their work. One website even says
“saved from the scrap heap” or something like that. The spin is that
the artist is “redefining the word precious”. Personally, I think the
work is beautiful. I think the marketing spin is genius. It is only
my opinion. Anyway, right now, I’m small potatoes. I would like
someday to be big potatoes. The mark-up on something that costs
(including labor) 50 might be 150 to 175 dollars. If one follows the
same procedure for something that costs (and this is a guess) 200
dollars, the retail would be much greater. The benefits are greater
in seeking out the finer material. Yet again, there are artists out
there who have made pieces from rusted metal and rocks off the beach.
The work has been original and (sometimes) beautiful. It is only my
opinion. I’m curious about these diamonds and I tend to love working
with anything that has a hole in it.

Best Regards
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads

my local diamond supplier carries briolettes. their phone number is
248-968-3500 ask for Pat or Raj. they are very nice and eager to
help. tell them Matthew @ mhg jewelry gave you their number.