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Painting by numbers - Apr.2002

Our 6-year old granddaughter recently brought home a beautiful "masterpiece"—a picture of a rose with petals in a rainbow of colors. Delighted, everyone praised her artistic talent. But she humbly replied, "You know something, it’s very easy, you just have to paint by numbers." And we realized that this "masterpiece" would never make it to the Louvre

None of the old masters painted by numbers. We were recently reminded of this when consumers sent us a list of numbers for their dream diamond. They told us it must be 59, 61, 63, etc. Everything was spelled out except the facts that it should have brilliance, scintillation and fire. The mistaken assumption is that these numbers automatically will create the most perfect-cut diamond.

Recently a customer called up for a pear-shaped diamond with a 60/60 cut. Consumers are confused by the few facts and the little knowledge that they get from websites claiming to teach everything you need to know about diamonds in 60 seconds.

Specification numbers definitely help guide a customer to avoid certain bad cuts in diamonds, but

the problem with solely buying by numbers is that first of all, cut is not the only reason a diamond is beautiful. In fact, the color has a much more visible affect on a diamond because everyone can see the difference and everyone agrees on a standard.

On cut, the jury is still out. Should it be 53-57 table or should it be 57-62 table, etc.

Clarity also sometimes affects the brilliance of a stone more than the cut since some inclusions stop the reflection of light coming out of the stone. Inclusions—even if they are not visible to the naked eye—have an optical effect on the fire of the diamond. Some types of flaws break up the reflection and dispersion of the stone. But again, the numbers don’t mean much. The difference between a VS1 and VS2 means less than where the particular inclusion is located. Consumers who buy by numbers, neglect sometimes to ask whether the VS is a cleavage which may cause the diamond to crack or is it a colorless pinpoint? Is it on the surface or deep inside? Is it a feather or a black spot?

But what seems most sadly to be lost in the maze of number is that the overall beauty of a diamond—which is a masterpiece of nature—is not always quantifiable by numbers alone.

In the final analysis, a diamond’s value is not determined by numbers, but—as the Federal Trade Commission says in defining a flawless stone—it must be seen by the eye of a person skilled in diamond grading.

To this we must add: and in the eyes of the beholder. One of our customers, who is a top salesman, told us he directs the customer not to the numbers on the certificate, and not even to the sparkle of the diamond, but to the sparkle in the eyes of the woman looking at it.

Diamond Dealers Club to Hold Its First Auction

The Diamond Dealers Club will hold its first auction on May 2. The DDC hopes auctions—to be held on a regular basis—will help revive DDC trading floor action, which has suffered the loss of foreign buyers deterred by the Far East’s recession and the fear of flying from 9/11.

All DDC members, and members of other international diamond clubs in the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, may participate. Buyers must be members of the DDC, but non members may arrange to buy through a DDC member. Buyer commission is 1 %, but members may charge for their services. Purchases require a 25% deposit. v


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The Diamond Registry offers free diamond quotes, industry and consumer information. Originally an exclusive B2B site for the diamond industry, we are now accessible to the discerning public for retail diamond sales at diamond district wholesale prices.  The Diamond Registry offers free diamond quotes, industry and consumer information. Originally an exclusive B2B site for the diamond industry, we are now accessible to the discerning public for retail diamond sales at diamond district wholesale prices.
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