» Jewelry Education
Diamond Buyer’s Guide
Buying a diamond is an exciting experience. It can also be a daunting task if you are not sure where to begin. Below are some tips to help you with your diamond purchase.
  1. Determine your budget. Quality diamonds are available at every cost bracket. We are more than happy to help you find the right diamond at the right price. One guideline for purchasing an engagement ring is that the cost of the entire ring should equal the sum of two months salary.

  2. Decide on a carat size. You may or may not have a specific carat size in mind. The key is to find a balance between size and quality. When working within a budget, larger diamonds are not out of the question. You can save money by selecting one that is graded slightly lower in terms of color and/or clarity.

  3. Choose a setting. The setting that holds the diamond may determine which one you choose. A variety of settings are available to fit all different sizes and shapes of diamonds. However, a setting should complement the diamond it holds and not detract from its beauty. You don’t want a setting so overpowering that the diamond gets lost in it, nor do you want a larger diamond to overtake its setting. Again, the key here is balance.

  4. Know the 4 C’s. This is how a diamond’s value is determined. The combination of cut, color, clarity and carat weight classify each diamond at a certain price and rarity.
  Cut describes the proportions and angles of a diamond. A well cut diamond reflects light from one mirror-like facet to another and projects light through the top of the stone. The result is a fiery and brilliant display. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in a lackluster appearance and diminished value. It takes a master diamond cutter to reveal a diamondís potential sparkle. Many people confuse cut with the shape of the diamond. Diamonds are available in a variety of shapes including round, square, pear, heart, marquise, and oval.
  Color refers to a diamondís shade. White diamonds remain the most popular, however, diamonds are found in every color of the rainbow. Red diamonds are the rarest and the most valuable. A color scale was implemented by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to grade the color of a diamond. The colors range from D, which is colorless, to Z. Truly colorless diamonds are prized for their rarity, but color is really a matter of taste.
  Clarity describes the amount of flaws or inclusions in or on the diamond. Naturally occurring inclusions such as minerals or fractures are identifying characteristics created while diamonds are formed in the earth. Master IJO Jewelers view diamonds at 10◊ their actual size in order to see these inclusions more easily. GIA established a scale of perfection to measure a diamondís clarity. The greater the clarity, the more rare and valuable it is. Inclusions can affect the dispersion of light, making the diamond less brilliant.
  Carat weight is a diamondís measure of weight. One full carat is equal to 100 points. A ¾ carat diamond is equal to 75 points; a ½ carat diamond is equal to 50 points and so on. Carat weight is also a matter of taste. Consider the ring that the diamond will be set in when choosing a carat weight. Firefall Jewelers can help you decide on the perfect diamond and setting.
  » Birthstone Guide

Anyone who loves the brilliance and beauty of the late summer colors will be dazzled by the color spectrum of the garnet. It is commonly thought of as a dark red stone, however, it can occur in any color but blue. Known to man for thousands of years, it has been said that Noah used a garnet lantern to help light his path while steering his ark. Most garnets come from African countries but they can also be found in India, Russia, and central S. America. With excellent wearing ability, the garnet has a brilliant beauty that will last for a lifetime.

The amethyst is the most striking of the quartz family. Known for its deep purple color, it has been sought after by royalty for centuries. Amethysts can be found all over the world, but the most valuable are mined in Africa. This enchanting stone’s color can range from a soft violet to a reddish shade, and then into the deepest hues of purple. Anyone who loves to feel elegant will appreciate the ancient beauty of this stone.

This popular stone, known for its divine blue color, is associated with tranquility and happiness. Its beautiful shades of blue compliment any skin tone. Like emeralds, aquamarines are members of the beryl family. A great quality of this stone is its clarity. Aquamarines are almost entirely free of inclusions, giving them a wonderful sparkle. They are also very durable, making them ideal for creative cuts. Whether you love an edgy or a classic look, you can always indulge yourself with an aquamarine.

For centuries diamonds have been a symbol of purity and eternal love. Their durability makes them ideal for everyday wear and guarantees beauty to last a lifetime. Those born in April are not limited to the white brilliance of a colorless diamond. Hues of blue, green, pink, red and yellow are also available, which makes the diamond a very versatile birthstone.

This highly esteemed gem is known for its radiant green color. Emeralds can have a higher value than a diamond with the right quality and color. It is said that the oldest finds were made near the Red Sea in Egypt between 3,000 and 1,500 BC. In fact, it was a favorite of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and Alexander the Great. Emeralds are members of the beryl family and are high on the hardness scale. Columbian emeralds are considered of the highest quality, but a guarantee of quality cannot be determined by origin alone.
June-Pearl or Alexandrite

Pearls are truly timeless and are known to bring good health and a happy marriage to those who wear them. Both natural and cultured pearls form when an oyster coats a grain of sand or other irritant with a substance known as nacre. The alexandrite, named for Czar Alexander II of Russia, is believed to bring good luck to those wearing it. Its sparkle can vary from
green to red, making this stone very unique.

Power and passion have long been associated with this gorgeous stone. Known to protect its owner from misfortune, the price of rubies has been compared to the price of wisdom. Rubies are a member of the corundum family and are just below diamonds on the hardness scale. Though their color can range from a pinkish red to a brownish red, the most prized rubies are a deep, bright red. A ruby with great color and quality can be rarer than a diamond.

Peridots are commonly linked with protection against evil and enchantments. They are also thought to enhance the properties of healing drugs. Ranging from a lime green to a warm olive green, the peridot’s value lies in its color. The greener the peridot, the more valuable it is. Peridots are a by-product of volcanic action and can be found from the Red Sea to Burma to the Southwestern United States.

Steeped in ancient ritual and beliefs, the sapphire is one of the most treasured gems. Considered pure and sacred, the sapphire is associated with faith and wisdom. It was adopted by King Solomon for his royal seal and according to legend, a sapphire will refuse to shine if worn by the wicked. It is a member of the corundum family and comes in a variety of
colors. A red corundum is known as a ruby, but all other colors are sapphires. A yellow gold setting can really make a yellow sapphire shine, while the deep blue sapphire looks especially stunning in white gold or platinum.
October-Opal or Tourmaline

October birthdays have a choice between two truly exquisite stones. The opal flashes with light and color, giving it a fiery appearance. It is said to hold the virtues of all other stones as it displays their various colors. Opals have been linked to healing forces and friendship. Primarily found in Australia and Mexico, the opal is a naturally delicate stone. Tourmalines
have an incredible range of brilliant colors, from bright pinks to mint greens. Legend has it that the tourmaline passed over a rainbow on its long journey up from the center of the earth, which accounts for its spectrum of colors. They are mined primarily in Brazil and Africa, although some have been found in Maine and California
November-Topaz or Citrine

Topaz has a rich, ancient history starting over 2,000 years ago. It is one of the gemstones which form the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City of the New Jerusalem and during the Middle Ages, it was thought to drive away sadness and anger. The Romans dedicated the stone to the god Jupiter. Topaz is most commonly found in yellow, but it can occur in blue, green, pink, or golden brown. Citrine is a member of the quartz family
and is rather durable. Citrines can have a lemon yellow to brownish red hue and are an inexpensive alternative to other yellow stones
December-Turquoise or Tanzanite

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for the month of December. For centuries it has been treasured for its beauty and attributes. The ancient Egyptians used turquoise to adorn the grave furnishing of their royalty. It can be green, yellow green, blue green, or a light or dark shade of blue. Naturally occurring rock patterns can also be seen in some stones. Tanzanite is a new choice for a December birthstone. It was only recently
discovered in Tanzania, Africa, the one place in the world it can be found. Tanzanite is rapidly becoming one of the most popular stones worldwide. With its bright blue color and a hint of purple, it is easy to see why.
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