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Dec. 2001

Gemstone Press, Woodstock Vermont

Antoinette Matlins is both an expert gemologist and an accomplished author and lecturer on gems and jewelry. But her greatest talent is her ability to explain complicated topics in simple, practical terms for the consumer.

The advice in the new edition of “Diamonds: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide” is not tainted by any promotional considerations. The uneducated customer will always lose, Matlins says. After reading a few chapters of this book, a consumer will not become an expert, but certainly a lot more educated.

From such basics as how to hold a loupe or how to hold a colored grading card, to the intricate subject of “fine” or “ideal” cuts, she goes way beyond explaining the four C’s. For instance, the book explains how the position of the flaw — whether it’s seen from the back, or near the girdle, or near the table — effects the value of the diamond. These questions are often ignored by self-proclaimed comparison shoppers who compare one “SI” to another on price alone.

A very important chapter is called “How to Read A Diamond Grading Report.” Matlins does an excellent job in explaining the many variables in a GIA report, but she wisely advises to use an expert or your own eyes to decide such things as whether fluorescence adds or subtracts from a diamond. She also talks about the latest treatments, like HPHT (high pressure, high temperature).

We couldn’t have said it better than Matlin’s “Final Word about Reports”: “Diamond grading report provide a useful tool to aid in comparing diamonds and evaluating quality and value. But the key to their usefulness is proper understanding of how to read them.”

The book is up to date on a lot of fronts — there’s even some very sound advice for buying on the Internet. “Remember that many Internet companies are unknown entities, without reliable track records or well-established reputations. This means that problems might be difficult or impossible to resolve satisfactorily, regardless of “guarantees” made before purchase.”

She also lists other information for consumers, plus online resources.

One thing that Matlins avoids is the conflict diamond question. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved by the time this book becomes widely disseminated.

This is not only a useful book for the consumer, but it’s also useful for jewelers to keep on hand as a sales training tool. Plainly put, it’s the best “how to buy a diamond” book currently on the market. 


Here are Matlins’ main tips to avoid fraud and misrepresentation:

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