what you need to know 

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There is some basic information that you should be aware of when it comes to understanding gold and silver jewellery, and of course diamonds and other gemstones. The quality of the metal and the specifications of the gemstones greatly impacts its value. Equally important is understanding what your needs are and therefore how you can create the piece that suits your lifestyle.

Gold [Au]

Gold - Karats


Pure gold is softer than pure silver, and its malleability, ductility, and softness makes it difficult for use in jewellery making. Alloying gold increases the toughness and hardness of the gold alloy.

While almost any metal may be alloyed (melted) with gold, only certain metals will not dramatically alter colour or strength.

The purity of gold is indicated by its karat (denoted 'k' or 'kt').

24k or 24 karat is as pure as you can get gold for jewellery making and is often referred to as fine gold. It consists of 99.7% pure gold.

Proof gold is over 99.95% pure gold and is not generally not available for jewellery, but really is used for standardaization purposes.

The designations 18k, 14k, or 10k indicate how much pure gold is present in the mix.

To illustrate, 24k gold consists of 24 parts of pure gold which equals 24/24 = 100%.

18 k gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal, or 18/24 gold which equals 75% gold.

14 k gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal(s), or 58.3% gold.

10 k gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal(s), or 41.7% gold.

In the US, 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called 'GOLD'.

In karated gold, there is a known proportion of metals in the non-gold percentage. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated golds. See colours of Gold next.




Colours of Gold


Pure gold has a hue that's oddly enough, reddish, yellowish. And that's 24k.

Any other colour therefore is a lower ‪or different carat‬.

The most common colour of gold is ‪Yellow Gold‬. This is an alloy of Silver and Copper, and sometimes zinc.

Adjusting the proportions of the non-gold or non-precious metals provides the various colours of gold. For example:

  • White Gold: Gold + Copper + Nickel (or palladium), zinc

  • Rose/Red Gold: Gold + Copper

  • Green Gold: Gold + Silver

  • Grey Gold: Gold + Iron + Copper

Other properties are also impacted during the alloying process, such as hardness, strength, corrosion resistance, workability, and ductility. It is important to understand how the alloy will be used and therefore how the alloy will be composed.

White Gold‬ consists of an alloy of gold and another 'white' metal. The acutal colour of 'White' gold is pale yellow to brown, and in order to get a very white gold, it is plated with Rhodium, which ironically hides the real white gold colour.

There is even black gold which includes oxidation and sometimes amorphous carbon.




Gold Filled


Gold filled metal refers to a metal with a bonded layer of metal (usually 100 times thicker than plated gold), to a base metal that is NOT gold, such as Silver or even Brass.
A "sandwich" is formed by mechanically bonding a layer of gold on both sides of the base metal. The result is a metal that is quite durable, however the base metal is not Gold as as such it is much less expensive due to its composition and 'quantity' of gold present.

We do NOT work with or offer Gold Filled Jewellery.




Gold Plated


Gold plated metal has a thin layer of gold deposited over a base metal that is NOT gold such as Silver or Brass. By electrically charging the base metal with a solution of Gold and the base metal, a thin layer is applied to the base metal. Jewellery is Gold-Plated when gold is electroplated with a mini­mum thickness of 1/2 micron (20 millionths of an inch) of Gold. Given the process and result, this metal has the lowest composition of the precious metal, and is therefore the least expensive. it however looses the shine quickly and because the layer of gold is not very thick, scratches may remove the layer of gold which exposes the base metal, which based on its properties, may be reactive, and therefore can react to chemicals and natural elements, often changing its colour.




Solid Gold


Solid gold jewellery is made from pure gold - it comes from the earth - with some other metal. It is generally alloyed and is based on karatage. The entire piece of jewellery is made from this karated gold.

Qirat Jewellery uses only Solid Gold. Your jewellery is NEVER Gold Plated or Gold Filled.

Generally we work with 14k or 18k Yellow Gold, White Gold and Rose Gold. Lower karat gold (10k at a minimum) is offered upon request, and for some specialized items.

See more - Gold General





Silver [Ag]

Sterling Silver


Silver, abbreviated Ag on the periodic table, is a naturally occurring metal. In its purest form, silver is soft, very malleable, and is easily damaged, so to be used for jewellery making, it is alloyed with other metals which helps with the durability. A variety of metals can be used for alloying purposes, however copper is primarily used as the shine and colour of silver is maintained while improving its durability.

Sterling Silver, so named as the Brits were paid in Esterling coins from Germany (in the twelfth century), and based on quality, adopted this as the standard for British coins. 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper is the standard for .925 or sterling silver! In the jewellery industry the mark .925, 92.5, or sterling is used to denote this combination. Fashion jewellery or other items simply called silver is ambiguous since it does not specify the ratio of metals used in the alloy.

Fine silver is 99.9% silver, American Coin Silver is 90% silver, and Continental Silver, which is used in tableware and hollowware, is 80% silver. These are the international standards for articles, including jewellery, that are made using precious metals.




Silver at qirat Jewellery


We only use Sterling Silver: 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or .925.





Metals & Properties

Understanding the Alloy


An alloy is a mixture of two elements, where one of the elements is a metal.The other element may or may not be a metal but, when molten and mixed they are miscible. Generally alloying a metal is done in order to enhance the properties of the mixture, such as hardness, toughness, and ductility.




Metals & Elements


In Chemistry, a metal is an element that readily forms positive ions (cations) and has metallic bonds. More simply, metals are opaque, lustrous elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity.

Most metals are malleable and ductile and are, in general, denser than the other elemental substances.

Gold is a soft, heavy, and yellow metal.

It's chemical symbol is Au and its atomic number is 79. Every gold atom has 79 protons in its nucleus and its atomic mass is 196.967. In fact, the arrangement of outer electrons around the gold nucleus and the transitions of electrons between energy bands is related to gold's characteristic yellow color.




Alloying Gold with Silver


Alloying gold with Silver generally increases its strength and hardness, with some reduction in malleability and ductility. The silver atom is slightly larger than gold, so alloying gold with silver gives a moderate improvement in strength and hardness. The copper atom is significantly smaller than gold and distorts the gold crystal lattice, thereby strengthening gold moreso than when alloyed with silver. Reducing the karatage of gold results in stronger and harder alloys, however any reduction in karatage less than 18k does not provide significant changes in stregnth or hardness.





THE 4 C'S

Colour Grade


A diamond’s color is measured using the GIA® D-to-Z diamond color grading system and is the most widely used and accepted system for grading.

The evaluation of diamonds is based on the absence of colour (colourless is the most valuable diamond)

Above, from left to right, the colour grade shows diamonds with the colour grade D - H - N - Z.

The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown.

The lack of color is measured in degrees based on comparisons with masterstones, made while viewing under controlled lighting and conditions. This means that regardless of where in the world the diamond is graded it will be under the same conditions and should receive the same grade.

Color distinctions are not easy to determine and is invisible to the untrained eye.




Clarity Grade


Clarity is graded based on the absence of inclusions or blemishes on the diamond.

Internal characteristics: Inclusions

External characteristics: Blemishes.

Naturally occuring diamonds are formed over hundreds of years, and as such there are marks. Diamonds are evaluated based on the quantity, size, relief, nature, position of these characteristics, and how they affect the appearance of the diamond. The fewer incusions or blemishes, the rarer the diamond, and the higher the value.

The grades are as follows:

FL, IF
Diamonds Flawless: No internal or external flaws
Internally Flawless: No internal flaws

VVS1, VVS2
Diamonds Very, very slightly included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10X magnification

VS1, VS2

Diamonds Very, slightly included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye

SI1, SI2

Diamonds Slightly included: Inclusions are visible under 10X magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye

I1, I2, I3
Diamonds Included: Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye

These inclusions generally cannot be viewed with the naked eye.




Cut Grade


Cut does not equal shape.

Cut actually determines Brilliance, Fire and Scintillation of the Diamond.

Brilliance: Combination of all of the white light reflected from the surface and the inside of the a diamond

Fire: Flashes of color you see in a polished diamond

Scintillation: Flashes of light you see when the diamond, the light, or the observer moves

These properties are determined due to the diamond's facets which impacts how light is returned.


For the best results, proportions of its facets, symmetry, the relationship of its weight to its diameter, girdle thickness, and quality of its polish have to come together in just the right way.




Carat


In addition to color, cut, and clarity, carat weight directly correlates to price of the diamond.

The rarer the diamond, the higher its value (or price). Larger diamonds are fewer in nature, and the demand is higher.

1 Carat = 200 milligrams

1 Point = 0.01 carat = 1/100 of a carat

Diamonds of equal weight are not necessarily the same size.

Different proportions and depths will result in different size and weight combinations.

The carat, the standard unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstones, takes its name from the carob seed.

In the olden days, carob seeds generally were quite uniformed and so gem traders used this with their scales.The modern metric carat, equal to 0.2 grams, was adopted by the United States in 1913 and other countries soon after.

Carats are fairly consistent weights across the world.




The Value of a Diamond


Every single diamond is unique, and its value varies from one diamond to another. The value of the diamond is determined based on the 4 (four) Cs: - Cut - Color - Clarity - Carat weight.




The Diamond Journey


Naturally occuring diamonds - those formed underground in the earth, and are subsequently mined / removed - are rare, taking billions of years to form. While the four C's information helps you to identify the quality of the diamond individualy, it is the combination of these four characteristics that actually determines the diamond's rarity, and its value - or price. The selection of specifications & characteristics based on the 4 C's therefore helps with determining the value.It also provides you with the opportunity to select a diamond with the characteristics that are most important to you! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you ought to select that diamond which suits your style, and budget!





NATURAL, LAB GROWN & SYNTHETIC

Natural Stones vs Lab Grown Stones


Gemstones maybe formed naturally beneath the earth, or may be created in the lab.

Naturally occuring stones and lab created ones are physically, chemically and optically identical to each other, with minor exceptions - flaws.

Lab created stones have fewer flaws, and are less expensive versus stones which are mined.

Naturally occuring stones, are considered rarer, and are mined, resulting in a higher value - and price. These include, but are not limited to diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and opals.

Gemstones created in the lab have compositions identical to naturally grown gemstones - they are real.




Natural Stones vs Artifical Stones


Artificial stones, or imitiation gemstones are made artificially, however the composition is quite different that those stones that are formed naturally, beneath the earth. The properties of artificial stones are completely different - physically, chemically and optically- from the natural stones or lab grown stones.




Creating a Stone in the Lab


Basically the lab is used to replicate the process that occurs naturally beneath the earth - of course over a shorter period of time - i.e. a few millions of years less - with the same mineral composition.

It is a complicated process that may be done using several methods. The type of method used to create the stone therefore impacts signficantly on its quality. The cost of creating the stone within a lab is still however significantly less that when mined even though it is done in a shorter timeframe.

It is not easy to tell the difference between the two stones. In fact, becasue the lab envirornment is controlled, including the application of minerals, heat and pressure, Lab-created stones are nearly perfect in appearance, and the main distinction with these stones are imperfections and inclusions.

Lab Created stones typically have fewer inclusions from the crystallization process, versus their naturally occuring counterpartws which often contains other minerals and gases present from the formation of the stones naturaly.




Natural Gemstone


Natural gemstones are made of rock, crystals, minerals, or other organic materials. These materials can be cut and polished to produce beautiful gemstones




Artificial/Imitation Stones vs Lab Created Stones


Artificial gemstones imitate the color or look of natural gemstones. The chemical composition and optical properties are very different than its natural gemstone counterpart. It can be made from any material really - even glass, often cz and other minerals - may be used to replicate the appearance of the gemstone. In some cases, they natural minerals are used to mimic the colour of the gemstone. Why glass? Glass is commonly used to create artificial stones because it is versatile, and can be made into any colour and cut into the required shape. Glass however does not exhibit the hardness of gemstones, and a such, makes it susceptible to wear and tear, and it softeness makes it prone to breakage. Glass may also contain bubbles, and it can display a distinctive swirly texture.




Stones at qirat Jewellery


We offer Genuine Stones ONLY. This includes Natural Stones and Lab Created Stones. This is clearly indicated and you should pay close attention to the details of the gemstone that is selected when creating your custom designed piece. We DO NOT sell artificial stones.





MOISSANITE

Moissanite - General


One of our favourite stones, and it's from outer space! Well almost.

Moissanite is a stone with more shine and fire than diamond but at a fraction of the cost. It was discovered by Henri Moissan, oddly enough, it was accidentally from a meteor crater! Natural Moissanite is incredibly rare - even rarer than diamonds - and so today most Moissanite is created in a lab. It has the allure of being conflict free.

It was almost mistaken for a diamond, but with further testing it was discovered to be Silicon Carbide as compared to diamond, whose chemical formula is Carbon.

The main reason that Moissanite was first mistaken for a diamond was due to its relative hardness and exceptional brilliance.

REFRACTIVE INDEX (RI)

2.65–2.69" The double refraction reflects more light back to your eyes. This is greater than that of diamond which means it shines more than a diamond and it costs much less than a diamond making it a great replacement gem for the budget conscious.

FIRE DISPERSION

0.104: 2.4 times higher than a diamond, bending the light into mesmerizing flashes of radiant fire.

HARDNESS MOHS SCALE

9.25: Excellent toughness and made to last through daily wear.


Why is hardness important?

Well put simply, the harder the material, the less likely it is to become damaged – no scratch marks. Diamond, which is of course the hardest mineral known today, measures 10 on the Scale, while Moissanite is 9.25. Cubic Zirconia measures somewhere between 8 – 8.5

Moissanite has a relative hardness second only to diamond so it will not chip or scratch.




Clarity & Inclusions


Moissanites contain needle-like inclusions which are usually visible under 10x magnification (not visible to the naked eye). It does not affect the clarity of the stone. Every gemstone contains inclusions, of various types/sizes.




Moissanite - Charles & Colvard


Moissanite is not a substitute for diamond, either scientifically, chemically or emotionally.
The Charles & Colvard created moissanite is a unique gem with its own set of chemical and optical properties that exhibit more fire and brilliance than any other gemstone.

Charles & Colvard’s Forever One™ is formed from a specific structural configuration of silicon carbide, ensuring that no matter what Forever One grade is chosen, the stone will be more brilliant than any other gemstone.


Perfecting the gemstone it created 20 years ago, Charles & Colvard’s Forever One™ Moissanite is breathless and classic. More brilliant than a diamond, these man-made gemstones are as stunning as they are affordable. Charles & Colvard’s Forever One™ is offered in two grades, DEF colorless, and its equally stunning, GHI near-colorless. As the original creator of created moissanite, Charles & Colvard holds its gemstones to the highest standard.




Forever ONE, Forever Classic, Forever BRILLIANT


Charles & Colvard Forever One moissanite is a triumph of art, science and sustained effort. The structural configuration of this new moissanite material is what yields its unsurpassed, colorless (D-E-F) quality. While chemically it is still silicon carbide (SiC), and its optical and hardness properties remain the same, it is the stacking of SiC material in the manufacturing process that makes Forever One moissanite unlike any of its predecessors.

Through its research and development efforts working with Forever One, Charles & Colvard has developed a second grade of Forever One, in G-H-I quality*. This near colorless gemstone emits a faint, icy hue compared to its Forever Brilliant predecessor, which yields a warm hue. This new, near-colorless gemstone is only currently available in limited quantities on the Charles & Colvard® e-commerce website, www.charlesandcolvard.com.

Forever Brilliant moissanite falls within the prized, near-colorless G-H-I range. Forever Brilliant was developed through improvements to the crystal growing process from the original brand of Charles & Colvard created moissanite also known as Forever Classic. Forever Classic offers subtle color shades in the J - K range of the industry color scale, with faint undertones of green, yellow or gray. Forever One D-E-F, Forever Brilliant and Forever Classic moissanite gemstones and jewelry will continue to be made available to wholesale distributors, manufacturers, retailers, TV shopping networks and designers.

*Based on the Gemological Institute of America's diamond grading scale.





COLOURED DIAMONDS

Coloured Diamonds


Enhanced color diamonds are done through one or two methods, irradiation or high pressure/high temperature (HPHT)..

Irradiation is used for the Aqua Blue and Teal Blue Diamonds

Irradiated Diamonds

Irradiated enhanced color diamonds, like all diamonds, are known for their non-reactivity, hardness, durability, and resistance to general wear and tear.They do not change over time and require no special attention in daily use.

Care is needed once exposed to high temperatures, usually when the jewellery is being repaired. As such, the stone needs to be protected from direct exposure to high temperatures.

Irradiated enhanced colored diamonds may be set in various ways including channel-set, prong-set, invisible-set, bezel-set, flush-set or used in pavé. A major exception is the wax setting due to the high temperatures involved.

HPHT Diamonds

HPHT enhanced colored diamonds require the least care and are known for their hardness and durability, and are resistant to general wear and tear. They require no special attention in daily use, and can also be subjected to high temperatures. As such, in addition to most settings, HPHT Diamons may also be wax set.




GREY Diamonds


Natural fancy grey diamonds consist of a neutral color whose iterations are quite diverse. Blue is usually the most common overtone found in grey diamonds. GIA defines the official colour grades as: light grey, fancy light grey, fancy grey, fancy dark grey, and fancy deep grey. Natural Grey diamonds are formed with the inclusion of foreign elements during its formation, particularly hydrogen. It is notable that both Grey and Blue diamonds are semiconductors of electricity compared with colourless diamonds which are non-conductors.




Blue Diamonds


For every 10,000 diamonds mined, you will find one Blue Diamond. It is formed when Boron bonds with Carbon, which causes the absorption of red, green and yellow light, trapping blue light, thus giving it the colour.





ANATOMY & MEASUREMENTS

Measurements for Stones (different shapes)


Round-Shaped Stones
Measured across the widest point.
Square-Shaped Stones
Measured vertically from the top to the bottom and horizontally from side to side (Includes Antique, Princess-cut and Square, Step-cut shapes). Rectangle-Shaped Stones
Measured vertically from the top to the bottom, and across the widest part (Includes Octagon, Cushion, and Antique Cushion shapes). Pear-Shaped Stones
Measured vertically from the top to the point, and across the widest part. Triangle/trillion-Shaped Stones
Measured vertically from the base to the point.




Anatomy of a Gemstone