How do you know when you've found the one? The one perfect diamond, that is. It can be a difficult decision. Aesthetics are paramount, of course: Pear or square shape? Classic white or rare yellow? Single stone or pavé? Then there's the inherent quality of the stone itself, and how it was cut and polished.
But beyond those considerations lie other important questions, like where the diamond came from, if it was mined responsibly from a conflict-free zone, and whether the mining company is giving back to the local community. Here, we break down the process of choosing and caring for a diamond into four easy steps.
Step 1: Recognize responsibly sourced diamonds
Whatever your impulse for seeking out a sparkling piece of jewelry, a conflict-free stone ensures you’ll feel proud of the purchase long after it comes out of the box. Choosing the right supplier is crucial.
Consider Forevermark, a division of The De Beers Group of Companies, whose responsible sourcing commitment removes any guesswork. Not only are you guaranteed a top-shelf natural, untreated gem, but you can also be sure it has been mined, sorted, and polished under stringent business, social, and environmental criteria.
As part of The De Beers Group of Companies, Forevermark also supports local communities: by building schools and hospitals near the Group's mines in Southern Africa and Canada; funding micro-credit enterprises for female entrepreneurs; and committing to raising environmental standards and preserving biodiversity around the Group’s mines.
Step 2: Understand the characteristics of a quality diamond
To the untrained eye, telling a mediocre diamond from a magnificent one can be challenging. That's why it makes sense to leave it to the experts, like the masterful Forevermark Diamantaires.
The stones at Forevermark undergo a 17-step process that includes being rigorously examined for flaws or imperfections; scanned by proprietary machines to check authenticity, carat weight and symmetry; and hand-examined for color categorization or flaws visible to the naked eye.
Once the rough diamonds have been mined—from deep beneath the ground, the ocean floor, and even an Arctic lake—the Group’s expert sorters assess and segment the diamonds according to their natural characteristics, including color, size, and shape.
Diamantaires then cut and polish the diamonds in order to best release the brilliance and scintillation of each diamond, but that's still not the end of the journey. The eligible cut-and-polished diamonds are then sent to a Forevermark Diamond Institute—in Belgium, the UK, or India—where they are re-examined by yet more experts.
After passing the 17 tests, a unique inscription is placed on the table facet of the diamond representing the Forevermark Promise: that the diamond is beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced.
Step 3: Identify a reputable jeweler and ask the right questions
One way to ensure the quality and provenance of your diamond is to seek out an Authorized Forevermark Jeweler. Your jeweler can tell you about the Forevermark diamond journey and how each diamond is tracked at every step of the way, from their source to the store.
They typically sell loose diamonds to place in a setting of your choice as well as finished pieces designed and manufactured by one of Forevermark's design partners. All diamonds of a half carat or more, include a grading report with the unique identification number inscribed on the diamond and an accurate blueprint of its Four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat.
Step 4: Take care of your purchase
So you've found the diamond of your dreams: mazel tov! Now to make sure it retains its brilliance forever. The first move is registering ownership of your Forevermark diamond, a simple online process that means you'll receive a polishing kit whose cloths contain micron diamonds to help maintain the diamond's sparkling beauty.
Experts recommend insuring your purchase, and having the jewelry reappraised every five years. Avoid exposing your ring to harsh chemicals, including bleach and other cleaning agents, which can dull the ring's finish. And schedule maintenance appointments with your jeweler at least once a year to be sure the prongs are tight, the diamond isn't loose, and there are no hairline cracks in the shank.
Follow these easy steps and you'll have a treasure to last you for life.
Created in partnership with Forevermark.
© 2016 AFAR Media