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Diamonds color and clarity questions

Hello everyone,

Does anyone know somebody in the Orlando, Space Coast, or Vero Beach
area of Florida would look at a piece of jewelry that has diamonds
and guess their average clarity and color in exchange for small bag
of 1mm loose melee diamonds? I think I have 6 to 8 of the melee
diamonds for exchange for just a few minutes of one’s time and are
too small for me to use. I have no idea how to grade color or clarity
and don’t need a written appraisal.

The diamonds in question are round cut, 3.8 to 3.9 mm so I assume
they are almost a quarter carat each and there are around 2 dozen of
them. Under 10X loupe I will see sometimes one, sometimes up to 3
very small carbon inclusions. (the undigested carbon inclusions I
assume). Some don’t have any at all that I can see. So I assume they
are real from the carbon inclusions that some of them have. But I
have no idea about color or clarity. To me they look brightly white
but the science teacher in me wants to know what kind of lighting for
consistent grading results are used?

The piece was never purchased or exchanged for so that’s why I have
zero idea of it’s value. And as everyone can tell, I am a hobbyists
not a professional. The piece now belongs to my wife and I want to
know if it’s worth insuring or not. (We are school teachers by trade,
so some things are hard to replace obviously)

many thanks,

Hi Rick,

Check with the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) for
a member near you. You can also look for an American Gem Society
(AGS) member jewelry store. Membership in both organizations requires
that there is a GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) on staff. They will be
able to grade your diamonds. Whether any of them will do it for a
trade I don’t know, but it’s worth asking. Most will be happy to help
you figure out whether what you have is genuine or not and whether
it’s worth appraising for insurance or not at no charge.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the type of light used for color grading
diamonds is called ‘natural northern daylight’. It’s the reason most
diamond wholesalers’ offices are in spaces with windows that face
north; they get natural northern light with no direct sunlight. Such
a space is ideal for buying and selling diamonds. A professional
grading lab will have an artificial lighting system that meets the
standards of ‘natural northern daylight’. Some can cost well well
into the thousands of dollars. Some of the less expensive ones look
similar to desk lamps or lighting fixtures that you can get at Office
Depot, but they are actually quite different.

Accurate color grading also requires comparison with diamonds of
known grades because the eye isn’t capable of consistently discerning
very slight differences in color without having something to compare
to. These sets of comparison stones are very expensive as well. Most
gemological equipment is very expensive, there’s a lot of it and the
training isn’t cheap either and can take years. That’s the main
reason that appraisers charge what can seem to be a lot. Their
investment of both time and money is substantial, so give them a
break if they aren’t all that interested in grading your diamonds for
little or no money. Like I said though, most will give you an idea of
whether it’s worth paying for an appraisal or not for no charge.

Here’s a little peak behind the appraisal curtain. One of the things
we hear from time to time that makes my wife, the GG roll her eyes
and chuckle is “I don’t need a written appraisal, I just want to know
what it’s worth.” It makes her want to respond - “What do you think
an appraisal is?” Valuation is the most risky, difficult and time
consuming part of almost any appraisal and is entirely dependent on
doing all of the measuring, weighing, figuring and grading first.
Putting it in writing is the easy part.

There are also several different types of values, depending on
whether they’re buying it, selling it or insuring it, and they’re all
figured differently. There’s a lot more to answering “how much is it
worth” than it might seem at a casual glance. “I won’t hold you to
it” doesn’t make it any easier to figure out either.

It’s kind of like the one we’ve all heard at one time or another
concerning resetting a stone that’s fallen out of a mounting - “I
don’t want all that work done on it, can’t ya just take a minute or
two and pop it back in there?”

Hope this is helpful.
Dave Phelps


I’m in Altamonte Springs. Not a GG but I did have the diamonds class
at the Revere Academy. No I didn’t buy all the grading tools. But I
think it is being a women drawn to sparkly (meaning top quality)
stones, that I can pick out the best out of a bunch with a loop. But
again I’m not a GG. So it would be my opinion. I don 't need your
melee stones. I can show you how to guesstimate the color, and about
clarity. I would give you a starting point. Again I’m not a GG, but I
do have just a smidgen of knowledge. I’m also heading to my mountain
top for the summer soon. So if you want to meet up we would need to
do it before I leave the first of June.


You need someone with a color grading diamond set to compare the
color of your stones against their master color grading set. The
fact that they are setmakes it hard to get a good match because the
metal affects the color some.

Lighting north lighting at noon in I a room is the best. a good
gemologist will have special daylight lighting where they grade

Watch out… There’s a new diamond treatment, unknown prior to GIA,
which can jump color up three grades, but reverts after a while…

Last I saw, was not still figured out as to what’s what…

Gary W. Bourbonais
L’Hermite Aromatique
A. J.P. (GIA)

Good to know about the coatings.

A while back, I went with a client to a local jewelry store with a
flawless “D” diamond that (I had sourced for him), to verify its
color. The appraiser refused to appraise the stone, because he didn’t
have a “D” color in his test set to verify, so the customer had to
take my word for its color. And he did, thank goodness.

M J St. Amand