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I AM FEMALE MAGAZINE GUEST BLOGGER

D I A M O N D is a girl's BESTFRIEND

For the western part of the world, an engagement ring or a proposal ring is most usually a diamond ring. But for us Malay, it's usually a bland proposal band called 'belah rotan' ring, like the one I received from my fiance last year. And as for the wedding ring it can be anything you like, even not necessarily a ring! Alas, before buying a diamond, one must be well informed on The 4C's of Diamonds:

Carat
A diamond's size is measured in carat weight. (Big rock equals many carats). Each diamond carat is also equal to 100 points. For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can also be referred to as a 50-point diamond. But keep this in mind : bigger isn't necessarily better. A two-carat diamond that is cut poorly is not nearly as beautiful as a smaller diamond, cut by a skilled diamond artisan. Or, it may be cut well, but have poor color and clarity. The point is, to be exceptionally beautiful, a diamond must be of high quality in all 4Cs.

Clarity
A diamond's clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and colour of internal characteristics called "inclusions" and surface features called "blemishes". These irregularities occured in the liquid magna (volcanic rock) within which the diamond was created. Diamonds are mostly pure carbon, however, during crystallization other minerals nearby, or even other bits of carbon forming more quickly may have become trapped within the cooling mass. These show themselves as the various characteristics which make up the clarity of a diamond (included crystals, feathers, clouds etc). Clarity is measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included (I-3). The clarity of a diamond is graded by using 10X magnification under good lighting by an experienced grader. The final clarity grade is usually determined by how easy the inclusions and blemishes are for the grader to see.

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Colour
Ideally, a diamond should have no colour at all, like a drop of spring water. Increasing degrees of body colour are measured on a scale ranging from no colour at all (D) to deeply coloured (Z). Beyond "Z" is the range where the diamond's colour is vivid and rich, called "fancy colours". Diamonds of known colour are used as comparison stones for colour grading. Grading is done by comparing the diamond to be graded against these "master stones" under either artificial or natural north daylight ( in the Northern Hemisphere). A machine called the "Colorimeter" can be used for colour grading but there is no substitute for the trained human eye.

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Cut
Cut, sometimes the forgotten "C", ensures that a given stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case were the stone cut for weight alone.
We use the following scale to grade a stone on it's overall appearance. The proportion page shows angles and percentages for round brilliant cut diamonds; but angles and percentages are for diamond cutters and graders. Simply put, when looking at a diamond, if it doesn't catch your eye or if it doesn't flash in the light, it's probably not well cut. Good cutting is what brings fire to the ice.

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So a characteristic of a high quality diamond can be determined if it possesses all the numbers and data on the left scale on each table. But that's rather hard to find or honestly very expensive. It depends on the eye of the buyer itself, if you rather have a bigger carat and you don't mind having the slightly yellowish tinge, then go for it. As for the Clarity, the difference of having SI-1 to VS-2 is hardly noticeable seen with naked eyes. Only under a magnifying glass the difference can be seen. But the difference in price, with a similar carat & color, a VS1 diamond is worth almost double the price of a SI-1. Correct me if I'm wrong here, these are all through my simple observation.

One more thing that need to be considered is:

Certification
Although many diamonds look the same, not all of them are going to be of the quality you might like. Diamond certification is the written proof of a diamond's attributes. Without it, you have no assurance that the diamond you are buying is of the quality you're paying for. With it, you know the precise grading for each of the 4Cs – carat weight, cut, color and clarity – and, therefore, the diamond value.

Diamond certificates are issued by independent gemological laboratories. There are several grading laboratories, the most prominent being: the International Gemological Institute (IGI) ; the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); the American Gem Society (AGS); the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) and GemEx Systems.

A diamond without a certificate is called commercial diamond.

So anyways, fiance insisted he wants to buy me a single rock diamond for my wedding ring whilst I wanted to opt for more fancy style and color. But after reading up more about diamond and it's 4C's + 1C, I was convinced. Lucky for us, Habib Jewels is having their exhibition at KLCC and the manager (we think he was the manager since the other workers came to him for signing and verification) was there to attend us. Ofcourse being us, coming all the way from work; I'm in my acid wash skinny jeans + leopard print top + ruffled back blazer + slightly greasy hair (eek!) and him in sneakers and shirt, we surely didn't look like a potential buyer. But the manager was super nice and an honest person, first thing he asked politely, what was our budget?

Then he asked whether we are familiar with the 4C's and thank God we've looked it up. He was also so charming on enticing me to pick a H colored diamond with VS1 clarity as it's cheaper compared to a D colored with SI-1 clarity, being that he's totally on the guys side. Ya know, helping out my guy so that he won't have to fork out larger sum of money heh. After a few consideration, seeing both diamonds on 6 prong white gold ring, and compared both of them side by side. I chose the clearer (D colored) one. He jokingly apologized to my fiance that he's sorry he couldn't help me budge out of that decision. Well ;P

He took the size of my ring finger, 11 and a half and told us to come back around 10pm. Which was only 2 hours away. We came back and he held the ring to me, I wore it for a few seconds being all giddy & mesmerized by the sparkles. And he took it, wore the magnifying glass on his eyes, and promptly told us the certification number for the diamond is actually inside the diamond itself. And he read the numbers to us, Naz read it too when the manager offered. A very tiny prescription in the diamond. Oh, now I know. Ahhh.

Funnily enough, he forgot to pack the ring inside a paper bag and he went away to find one and came back within less than a minute with a super large red paper bag! He said, "Now people will think you just made a very large purchase of jewelry". OMG ROFLMAO, it's safe to say both Naz & me are charmed by this guy. He knows me too well! LOL. We went home feeling very content that we were able to find a round solitaire diamond ring that's within our small budget :)

p/s: Habib Jewels Exhibition will go on till 17th January 2010 at centre court KLCC, look for a tall fair guy fluently speaking in Malay, he looks almost 'mamak' like (probably Habib's descendant). I think his name is Rash/Russ. He can give you the best price :)