Friday, March 16, 2012

Diamond or Not Part 2.: The Most Important Characters in The Game.

"If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!" 
I intend this series as a practical guide for those who are - quite understandably - confused by the wide and wild variety of diamonds "diamond substitutes" and "diamond simulants". 
I don't even try to cover all the names, that advertisers put out there in their attempts to stir the already murky waters. 

All I am trying to do is to help you make informed shopping decision based on common sense. This - our  Common Sense  - is what is the target of various marketing efforts; most of which are legitimate, reputable  and sell fair quality products. The difficulty for the consumer is to select products they are going to be happy with.

Before we continue I prepared a few lists of  commonly used minerals, (trade) names, term  and concepts, that can be confusing and without full understanding, may lead to a regretted purchase.

I plan to update this list as I see necessary. However if you see or hear a term or an expression, that you would like to see here, or you feel it needs explanation, please feel free to contact me, or propose in the comments section!

A rare, fancy deep orange yellow diamond of ~ 0.7 ct.

Diamond: Carbon (C): is a mineral that has a very simple chemical composition; C. This means nothing else, but that diamond is the element carbon. More exactly an allotrope of carbon, a structural variation of crystallized carbon. Wikipedia has a lot to offer on this topic for those who are interested : .

CZ or Cubic Zirconia: :zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), CZ should never be confused with zircon ( see below ), because CZ in commerce is exclusively man-made, or laboratory grown, inexpensive, colorless and frequently cut and sold as diamond (downright crime) or "diamond simulant", which is perfectly legal - see my previous post. Natural CZ is extremely rare, practically non-existent. The process is continually improving, but there is considerable variation between products! Any man made thing is only as good as the process and the maker ( the laboratory in this case).

Zircon: zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4): a gem quality mineral, frequently mined, cut into beautiful gemstones and prized by jewelry and lapidary enthusiasts. It can be found in a wide variety of colors and certain varieties can be very valuable. It certainly is not an inexpensive gem if good quality.

Moissanite: silicon carbide (SiC). A mineral, that so far has been only found in meteorites, in the form of extremely small crystals, However, similarly to CZ, it can be grown under laboratory conditions and cut into gemstones. The process is patented and currently only a couple companies produce it.It has many advantageous features, that we are going to talk about later. Good quality Moissanites are produced by Charles and Colvard and Moissanite Co. However, there are "generics" out there and even the original products have different qualities.

As a general guideline, even controlled processes result in differing quality products, therefore "good deals" should be very carefully questioned and examined!

The use of any of the following terms is legal. It shows compliance with the law about the proper disclosure of the nature of the product. Since I am not a lawyer, I do not take responsibility for proper description of the law, nor I can take the to research and discuss all the bylaws, not even dissect what products are regulated and what are not. The point is, that as long as a merchent honestly tells what it sells, it should be OK.

IF the buyer can properly interpret the disclosures!

"Diamond or other gemstone SIMULANT": This is a term, that deserves a separate paragraph. Simulant means, that the stuff is intended to appear to the unsuspecting observer as something else. Quite often clear or colored glass or plastic is used to simulate gemstones, including diamonds. However synthetic or laboratory grown or man-made minerals can also serve as simulants ( of diamonds or other valuable gemstones ). I still have a nice blue plastic "gem" that was sold by an - otherwise reputable - seller as Swiss blue topaz. No need to mention, that the reputation of that seller has gone with the wind in my eyes.

More interestingly, often natural gemstones are used as simulants: In these cases - without proper disclosure - exhausting the concept of criminal activity! An example can be spinel, that is often sold as (more expensive) ruby or sapphire. Again, that is a crime. Tourmalines sold as emeralds, and even wilder examples can be listed here, since the average consumer is not a trained gemologist, for many, a superficial similarity in color along with the word of the seller is enough. Often only the grandchildren find out , that the family treasure, Granny's huge ruby ring is a piece of garnet, worth maybe $200 or less.

Therefore a simulant has nothing to do with the simulated, chemical and physical properties are different, : the similarity is superficial, often the color is not even close!

OK, it is getting late, TO BE CONTINUED!

No comments:

Post a Comment