Category Archives: The Low Down on Diamonds

Pink Diamond Sells for $17.7 million

Source: CNBC.com
Source: CNBC.com

It is no lie that diamonds are truly dazzling – especially when they weigh in at 8.41 carats and boast a stunning vivid purple-pink hue! Sotheby’s recently sold this stunning 8.14 carat purple pink diamond for $17.77 million at an auction in Hong Kong – no big deal right?!

As shared on CNBC.com, the price for this flawless, fancy vivid purple-pink diamond was far higher than the $15.5 million top estimate and works out to $2.11 million per carat—among the highest paid per-carat for a diamond, experts say.

The highest price ever paid for a gemstone was the $83 million paid for “Pink Star,” a 59.6 carat flawless pink diamond sold by Sotheby’s last year. On a per-carat basis, a 14.82 carat fancy vivid orange diamond was sold by Christie’s last year for $35.5 million, or $2.4 million per carat.

Where do your preferences land on the diamond colour spectrum?

Are you a fan of vivid distinct coloured diamonds? Or do you prefer the dance of all the colours of the rainbow of near colourless to colourless diamonds?

Visit our Diamond Education page to learn more about a diamond’s colour and the 4Cs of diamonds.

Back to School… Back to your Routine… Time to Clean your Diamonds!

 

how to clean your diamonds at homeWith summer drawing to a close, the kids back in school and the return to your normal routine, now is the time to ensure you are taking a precious moment to give your cherished diamond jewellery a “good cleaning”.

Sunscreens, sand and lotions will tarnish the appearance of your gold jewellery. Therefore, it is very important to regularly clean your diamond jewellery thoroughly – especially after a summer full of sun, sand and surf. Make-up, perfume and hairspray can also dull the sparkle of your diamonds. The wonderful thing about diamonds is that they never ever lose their beauty and brilliance. You just have to clean them, and you will get that beautiful look that your diamond had the day you fell in love with it. A good soak, brush and cleaning will do the trick! As easy as 1-2-3…

1. Soak…
Soak your rings, pendants, earrings and/or bracelets in a warm solution of one part ammonia-based cleaner mixed (i.e. Mr. Clean All-Purpose Cleaner works great!) with four parts water. If the pieces are really dirty, you may want to let them soak for up to 20 minutes to loosen the dirt build-up. Never use cleaners that contain bleach, as it can damage jewellery.

2. Brush…
A good ol’ toothbrush is the best tool to use. But not just any toothbrush! Be sure to use a soft bristle toothbrush. Why? A hard bristle toothbrush can actually scratch your gold or metals, and could also snag/pull the prongs on your ring.

3. Clean…
Use your soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub and dab at the cracks, grooves, underneath your ring and the bottom of your diamonds. Wipe away the dirt and any built up debris. The areas that are the hardest to reach and clean are the areas under the stones. Yet, these areas are the most important spots to clean. Dirt built up on the bottom of your stone can make your diamonds look dull and dark. It’s vital that you scrub the bottoms (the points) of your stones and get them spotless.

You must be very careful around the prongs or channels of your ring. You don’t want to get the toothbrush snagged, pull the stones out, or harm the mounting in any way. Those little nylon bristles are strong!

Then rinse your jewellery with lukewarm water – but please, we beg you, NEVER do this over an open drain. You don’t want to see your diamonds disappear forever down a black hole. Then simply, dry with a soft cloth.

Spence has equipment that allows us to clean the bottom of the diamond, as well as other areas you can’t reach. Please let us professionally clean your diamonds. We’ll do it for free, forever. We are delighted every time we see you.

GQ’s 7 Essential Tips for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

how to buy an engagement ring
Photo Source: artofmanliness.com

Courtesy of GQ, author John Jannuzzi straight talks from the hip, and shares that there is a lot more to a diamond than meets the eye. From man to man, this article walks you through some basic knowledge of the diamond engagement ring world.

Check out GQ’s 7 Essential Tips for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring below, and read the full article here.

1. You don’t have to go this alone. 
There’s a lot of pressure put on this tiny stone, which is appropriate because diamonds are formed when carbon is exposed to earth-crushing pressure. I’d suggest bringing in reinforcements to help you decide on the exact right ring. By now, you’ve hopefully met your companion’s friends and family. Should you want some guidance, they’re an excellent place to start. It’s also fairly common to make the ring decision together these days. I know plenty of married couples who did some joint ring shopping, ensuring that everybody winds up happy.

2. Sneak a peak at her jewelry box.
Before we start on about carats and what not, figure out her style and what kind of metal she wears. Does your intended have a lot of platinum jewelry? Have they mentioned a disgust for all things gold, especially rose gold? Hopefully by now you’ve learned enough of their taste to make a very well-educated decision. After deciding on the basics, you can add in the fixings like scrollwork or inscriptions. That’s again, a matter of their taste. In my honest opinion, it’s best to keep things simple, but I’m not the one wearing this ring.

3. Get rock solid, ahem, rock knowledge.
Now that you’ve figured out the band, it’s on to the rock or rocks. Most engagement rings have a diamond on them, a tradition you can thank the marketing minds at DeBeers for. Remember, after the two of you share this moment, this ring will come under the scrutiny of every single person in your network of friends. It may be blasted to instagram (please discourage at all costs) or find its way to Facebook and it will most definitely be the subject of conversation amongst all of your affianced’s brunch dates. Every diamond in the world is measured on a standard of 4 Cs. These measurements stand for color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

Color is the most obvious of the 4 Cs, because, it refers to the stone’s color. The best color rankings are D, E and F, all of which are considered colorless. The ranking basically describes how much light the stone reflects. The Rihanna lyric, “shine bright like a diamond” is probably referring to a near colorless diamond, the less color the brighter the shine. The color scale goes from D-Z, the latter meaning light yellow with a poor reflection of light. It’s nearly impossible to find a completely colorless diamond, so don’t go nuts on this end. 

4. Consider going fancy.

Exempt from the color scale are fancy diamonds. These gems are stones with strong hues like yellow, blue, pink or red. Fancy diamonds are considered more rare, are more expensive and are exempt from the D-Z scale. The ring that loosely bonded Bennifer together all those years ago was a fancy diamond, but even then, she’s was still Jenny from the block. If you’re going the fancy diamond route for your ring, I would like to be your friend so I can hang out in your mansion.

5. Choose your cut wisely.

This is very important. The cut of a diamond doesn’t refer to the shape, but to how it is sliced and diced. When you look at a diamond, I’m sure you notice the different facets, faces, and edges. These are all elements of the cut, and each detail works together to let the diamond shine at it’s maximum. So, where as color may refer to how clear and empty a stone is, cut allows the light to reflect perfectly. A poorly cut diamond won’t be quite as brilliant in the end. Although round brilliants are fairly standard, there are other options to consider: princess, cushion, heart, pear, marquise, radiant, oval, Asscher and emerald. Each of these highlight different qualities of the stone. Like all aspects of this ring, the cut will come down to personal preference, but just make sure you’re choosing one that brings out the best of the rock in question.

6. Clarity counts, but don’t get hung up on it.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to a diamond than meets the eye. In fact, what doesn’t meet the eye is usually what makes a diamond more expensive. The third C, clarity, is a measure of how flawed a diamond is. The ideal here is the “FL” grade, meaning completely flawless. This just means that when viewed under a microscope, there are no blemishes or inclusions, which are marks of impurity within the stone. Much like the legendary D diamonds, FL diamonds are extremely rare. Don’t get hung up on buying an FL. The next grade down from FL is IF, or internally flawless. The scale continues to “very very slightly included all the way to just straight up “included.” Stick as close to the top as you can.

7. Bigger isn’t always better.
The last of the 4 Cs is the one you’re probably familiar with: carat weight. The higher the carats, the bigger the stone. Simple. The Hope Diamond, which you saw on your middle school field trip to The Smithsonian, for example, clocks in at 45.52 carats. Damn. That’s one big rock. A lot of guys I know think that bigger is better here, but consider who you’re giving this to. Big diamonds can be ostentatious, and that may be totally fine for the receiver, but just give it a second thought.

Guys like Spence too…

We get it… Most guys would rather get a root canal than walk into a jewellery store. They’re uncomfortable, they’re overpriced and they’re intimidating. Spence, on the other hand, is guy-friendly. You can’t make a mistake shopping with us.

You get to browse thousands of rings designs in open showcases, uninterrupted. Each design has a price tag. You can use real gem-lab instruments to peer into your diamond while brushing up on your diamond education.

You got this, and Spence has your back. We’re here for you whenever you’re ready to get started on a ring that will far exceed her expectations. See you soon.

What Guys Need to Know About Spence

 

Well, we’re definitely not your typical jewellery store. In fact, we’re pretty certain Spence Diamonds is like no other jewellery store you’ve ever been in.

Here are a few of the unique benefits you receive when you do your engagement ring shopping with us:

  1. You’re in control from the word ‘go’. Our 2500+ designer ring prototypes are in wide-open, self-serve showcases so you can browse as many as you want without feeling pressured by a salesperson.
  2. Her ring is made especially for her after you’ve chosen her diamond and ring combination. Rings generally take between 7-14 days from the order date.
  3. Almost any ring can be made to fit any budget. You decide on the size and quality of your diamond, and the karat of gold or platinum for your ring, and we build the ring to those specifications.
  4. You’re not paying any hidden ‘middleman’ costs. Spence keeps all diamond buying, importing and manufacturing services in-house. We have a buying office in Antwerp, Belgium and a design studio in Vancouver, B.C.
  5. You never have to wonder about price. Each designer ring prototype is marked with an ‘average price’. From there, any increase or decrease is the result of your diamond and ring choices.
  6. We don’t try to ‘sell you’ anything. You choose the ring and price you’re comfortable with. We’re just there to be your trusted advisor and help you find the best diamond for your money.
  7. You get to see exactly what you’re paying for. Spence uses Binocular microscopes, GIA Facetware Cut Estimate software and other specialty tools to show you the true cut, colour and clarity of your diamond.
  8. Your purchase is protected by our diamond guarantees. You can buy with confidence knowing we’ve got your back.
  9. There’s no chance of buying a conflict diamond. Spence diamonds are purchased only from legitimate sources in compliance with United Nations resolutions. Our diamonds represent love, not war.

Are you ready to set up an appointment at a Spence Diamonds near you?

Engagement Rings Why guys love shopping at Spence

 

The 4Cs Spotlight – Colour

 

Coloured Diamond Engagement Rings - Diamond Color
Photo Source: Forbes.com

 

Blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, brown, pink, grey and violet – colours of the rainbow? Yes – and also the many possible colours of diamonds!

Many are surprised to hear this, as the majority of diamonds sought after in today’s market, range from near colourless to light yellow. The same unique factors that create most of a diamond’s beauty – being chemistry and structure – also create this wide range of diamond colours.

The natural creation of a diamond by Mother Nature not only results in each diamond having unique clarity characteristics, it is also contributes to the unique natural colour of each diamond.

It is not yet fully understood what exactly causes a diamond’s unique colour; however, it is agreed that various combinations of trace elements and crystal distortion create a wide spectrum of colours.

Given a diamond is composed of mostly pure carbon, when the arrangement of atoms is close to perfectly symmetrical (the chemical composition and crystal structure are close to pure – aka. perfect) a diamond will be completely colourless.

Diamonds are typically graded on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Colour Grade Scale from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). The GIA Colour Grade Scale consists of 23 letter grades. It is interesting to see that the GIA Colour Grade Scale does not indicate one specific colour grade – it is uses closely defined ranges to determine a diamond’s colour. Like a rainbow, diamond colours form a continuous colour spectrum.

Keep in mind, coloured diamonds are not graded on the GIA Grade Scale from D to Z, as they are considered fancy colours.

What does this all mean? Generally speaking, the whiter the diamond, the more valuable it is. A premium is paid at both ends of the colour scale because of the rarity, not necessarily because of the beauty of the diamond. This is similar to the two other C’s – clarity & carat weight. Colour’s impact on value is linked to rarity.

Here at Spence, we use a certified GIA DiamondLite to show you your diamond’s true colour. Under proper lighting conditions and compared to master stones, we are committed to helping you find your special diamond in the exact colour you desire.

 

Diamond Color - GIA Diamond Color Scale

 

Interpreting the Gemological Institute of America Colour Grade Scale above:

  • D grade is absolutely colourless.
  • E & F grades are essentially colourless. The differences between D, E & F are minute.
  • G,H,I & J grades are considered near colourless.
  • K,L & M grades are considered faintly tinted.
  • Grades N through Z the light tint colouring becomes more visible.
  • Diamonds darker than Z or coloured diamonds are considered fancy colours, and are not graded on the GIA Colour Grade Scale above.

A few photos of “Diamond Divas” flaunting coloured rocks:

Coloured Diamond Engagement Rings - Diamond Color

Coloured Diamond Engagement Rings - Diamond Color

Coloured Diamond Engagement Rings - Diamond Color

Coloured Diamond Engagement Rings - Diamond Color

 

Spence Originals: Create your one in a million diamond engagement ring

Spence Diamonds - Diamond Engagement Rings

Every couple has a special, unique love story. Your unique love story deserves a personalized, unique symbol: a one-of-a-kind engagement ring.

What does it mean to design your unique, one-of-a-kind engagement ring here at Spence? And what does the experience look like?

We are confident that you’re going to love shopping at Spence…

Browse the largest collection of designs in North America. Every ring has a price tag so you never have to ask, “How much is this one?” And the showcases are wide open! Just pick up a ring and see how it looks on your finger. You have our permission. How can we do this you ask? The rings on display are prototypes. They look and feel like real diamonds and gold, but they’re not. We’ll make your real diamond ring, after you’ve chosen the style you like best.

How does it work?
Step 1. Pick the ring style you like.
The price you’ll find on the tag includes a diamond of the same size and shape as the illustration stone in the prototype ring. When you’ve found the ring and price you like best…

Step 2. Now you’re ready to look at real diamonds.
Remember, the price on that tag includes our most popular color and clarity of diamond, so there won’t be any surprises. You’ll personally choose the diamond you want. All our diamonds are fabulous and we have LOTS of diamonds from which you can choose.

Step 3. Prepare to be amazed.
You’re going to love, love, love shopping at Spence.
We promise.

Hand-crafted uniquely for you… Once you have hand-picked your one-of-a-kind diamond (one of Mother Nature’s spectacular creations, diamonds are truly unique for that no two diamonds are identical!) and chosen the perfect style to set your diamond in, you can leave the rest of the work to our master craftsmen in our Design Studio.

The chances of seeing another with your exact same Spence ring are less than one in a million. We don’t do run of the mill. We do completely unique, one-of-a-kind – just like your love story. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Work of Photographer Otto Schultz
Work of Photographer Otto Schultz

“If you love me, take care of me…” TLC Tips for your Precious Diamonds

 

 

Spence Diamonds Engagement Rings

“If you love me, please take care of me…”

When we wear something every day, we often forget to treat the item that we cherish so dearly with the utmost care. Whether it is your stunning engagement ring, wedding band, anniversary ring, favorite set of diamond studs or your go-to diamond pendant – just like your car – your diamond jewelry also needs regular “maintenance” check-ups.

Finding the perfect diamond is such a memorable and exciting experience. To keep your diamond jewelry looking stunning and your fond memories fresh for many years to come, below are a few recommendations we hope you find useful.

  1. Take Care of Your Gold! Over time, metals oxidise naturally with exposure to air. However, contact with abrasive chemicals and daily cleaning products, such as chlorinated products, detergents, beauty care products, cosmetics, lotions, perfume, hairspray, etc. will tarnish the appearance of your gold jewelry.
  2. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Although it may seem like “all the time is the right time” to wear your diamond jewelry, there are actually times when you should NOT wear your cherished possessions. It is highly recommended to remove your jewelry when sleeping, showering, cleaning, doing rough work, such as gardening, working with tools, engaging in sports activities, etc.
  3. FRAGILE: Treat with Care: Although diamonds are one of nature’s hardest natural minerals, even a sudden sharp blow can still chip it. Wear it with pride & care, and avoid contact with hard surfaces. Gold is also naturally very durable, but can get scratched or dented with daily wear.
  4. Keep it Clean: Clean your diamond jewelry regularly to keep it free from dust, soil, natural skin oil, etc. Soap, water, a toothbrush and a good scrub often does the trick!
  5. Proper Storage is Important: Store all your jewelry separately in the original jewelry case(s) or soft cloth pouches to avoid scratches.
  6. Regular Check-Ups: Have your diamond jewelry professionally inspected regularly. This is important to ensure your diamond stone(s) are secure in your setting, as your stones can become lose over time with wear.

Here at Spence Diamonds, we have equipment that allows us to clean the bottom of the diamond, as well as other areas you can’t reach. Please let us professionally clean your Spence diamonds. We’ll do it for free, forever. We are delighted every time we see you. See you soon.

 

The 4Cs Spotlight – Clarity

No two natural diamonds are identical. Clarity refers to the number of natural markings found inside every diamond from the various events in the “life” of a diamond. The natural creation of a diamond by Mother Earth results in each diamond having “clarity characteristics” (aka. blemishes or inclusions).

Most diamonds contain natural ‘inclusions’ that resemble tiny crystals, which are trace elements of other minerals that got trapped when the diamond was being created. These are the birthmarks that make each stone unique. Like a person’s features, a diamond’s “clarity characteristics” also make a diamond unique and identifiable.

Diamond Education - 4Cs - clarity

The number, size and position of these inclusions affects the value of the diamond. The clarity scale of the Gemological Institute of America ranges from Fl (flawless) to I3 (many inclusions visible without magnification). The interesting note about clarity is that there is no direct link between clarity and beauty of a diamond. “Cut” is the C that determines a diamond’s beauty and brilliance.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Under 40x magnification, these microscopic crystals can be seen within every so-called “flawless” diamond. And without magnification, not even a jeweler can detect the clarity difference between a “flawless” diamond and the much-less-expensive SI1. Clarity, like color, is a measurement of rarity, not beauty. And in the absence of magnification, the less rare SI1 is visually identical to the higher clarity grades, but significantly less expensive, so… We leave it to you to make the right decision for your needs…

Defined by the Gemological Institute of America Diamond Clarity Grade Scale, there are 6 main categories.

  • Flawless (FL) – No blemishes or inclusions visible under 10 power magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only minor blemishes visible under 10 power magnification
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Minute inclusions that are extremely difficult (in VVS1) or very difficult (in VVS2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Minor inclusions that are fairly difficult (VS1) or fairly easy (VS2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Significant inclusions that are usually visible (I1), easily visible (I2) or obvious (I1) without magnification

Diamond Education - 4Cs - Clarity

If we know one thing in the world, it’s diamonds. Whereas many jewellers have you examine your diamond through a hand-held loupe, Spence’s diamond education includes the use of 10 power magnification Gemscopes , GIA Facetware Cut Estimate software and other certified Gemological Institute of America specialty tools to show you the true colour, cut, and clarity of your diamond. We’re trained to take the mystery out of your diamond hunt – and we’re passionate about helping you find just the right diamond. When you’re finished at Spence, you’ll know diamonds too.

The 4Cs of Diamonds

The 4Cs of Diamonds

If we know one thing in the world, it’s diamonds. We are passionate about taking the mystery out of your diamond hunt – and we are committed to helping you find just the right diamond. At Spence, you will personally choose the diamond you want. All our diamonds are fabulous and we have LOTS of diamonds from which you can choose.

You can be absolutely certain that your Spence “first look” diamond is cut for maximum impact. Because “Colorful Doug and Uptight Sean” set out to find “the headwaters of the Nile” in 1986. And 11 years later, they got their “first look.” And they’ve kept it ever since.

Who is Spence Diamonds?

Fact #1: Spence Diamonds built its own state-of-the art manufacturing facility because Sean Jones couldn’t find a factory willing to manufacture the quality that he insists upon.

Fact #2: Sean Jones is a meticulous perfectionist. Seriously, this is a man who buys a brand new car and then takes it to the finest mechanic in North America to eliminate the tiny imperfections that were allowed by the factory.

Fact #3: Jewelry manufacturing is a messy job involving the casting of hot, liquid gold into cast-stone molds from which wax impressions have previously been melted. But Sean doesn’t believe in messes, just like he doesn’t believe in imperfections. So the Spence Diamonds manufacturing facility is a legend among casters of fine metals. It’s like a hospital operating room, snowy white and continually spotless.

Fact #4: So yes, when we say that your Spence Diamonds ring will be of a quality far above the quality sold anywhere else, we really mean that.

Who is Spence Diamonds? Let us introduce you to Colorful Doug and Uptight Sean.