How to Identify & Evaluate Diamonds
NEW! The Diamond Handbook: 3rd Edition updates jewelry professionals and serious diamond buyers on new developments in diamond grading, treatments, synthetic diamonds, imitations, branded diamonds and fancy-color diamonds. Using close-up photos, it shows how to make visual judgments about clarity, transparency, brilliance and cut quality. As the Journal of Gemmology stated in its review of the previous edition, the Diamond Handbook “gives the trade reader virtually all the essential information needed to buy and sell diamonds.”
A chapter on how to distinguish transparent and black diamond imitations from real natural diamonds has been added. The chapter on synthetic diamonds has eleven new pages, seven of which are photo pages that help trade members identify HPHT- and CVD-grown diamonds with magnification, fluorescence and crossed Polaroid filters. Photos and information have been updated in the chapters on fancy color diamonds, diamond fluorescence, diamond treatments, recutting diamonds and antique cuts & jewelry. A review in Gems & Gemology described a previous edition as “an entire course on judging diamonds . . . useful to both the jewelry industry and consumers.”
Diamond Handbook: A Practical Guide to Diamond Evaluation, 2nd Edition
by Renée Newman
Publisher: International Jewelry Publications
$19.95, trade paperback, 168 pages, ISBN 978-0-929975-53-5
392 photos (178 of them new) + diagrams, tables, glossary and index, 6" x 9"
The revised second edition of the Diamond Handbook by Renée Newman is a delight to read from cover to cover. With more than 200 new colour photographs, the reader can appreciate the wonderful nuances of colour in the world of diamonds and diamond jewellery.
New chapters to the Diamond Handbook have been added that focus on fancy-coloured diamonds and how they are evaluated, diamond treatments and how to detect them, a chapter on evaluating light performance in diamonds, and additional information on man-made (synthetic) diamonds. The contents are presented in a concise, clear and easy to read manner.
Basic diamond facts include the formation of diamonds, the major diamond producing countries, optical properties, and the best lighting conditions for viewing diamonds.
Diamond price factors describe the 4 C’s and include the GIA, CIBJO, Scan D.N. and AGS colour grading scales. The many images of fancy shapes give the reader a broad overview of the many shapes other than the standard round brilliant cut available on the marketplace.
With the jewellery industry placing such importance on the cut grade for diamonds, I found it very useful to see two chapters dedicated to judging the cut of fancy shapes and the standard round brilliant. Wherever possible, diamond photos include their grading information. This gives the reader a visual reference for comparing colour, clarity and cut. Both the GIA and AGS cut grading factors are compared in chart form. The topics of windowing, bow-ties, thick girdles, inclusions, polish and ideal proportions are well presented.
Judging the light performance of diamonds is presented in detail with comparisons from the different grading labs. The chapter on clarity includes many reference photos with their clarity grades. . .
In a new chapter, synthetic diamonds and their detection are discussed in detail. . . . The subject of diamond treatments includes methods of detecting the older techniques of foilbacking, coating and irradiation, as well as new high pressure high temperature treatments. Clarity enhancements and their detection, including laser drilling and glass filling, are also discussed.
With increased consumer awareness of coloured diamonds, the industry has been working to establish grading parameters for describing and evaluating these diamonds. In the chapter dedicated to judging fancy coloured diamonds, photos are used to illustrate some of the many colours, and the description of colour terminology is explained.
Rounding out the book is a chapter on antique cuts and jewellery. The idea of recutting diamonds to improve their appearance and value is examined.
Finally, about 25 branded diamonds are well illustrated with descriptions. Did I forget to mention that a new glossary has been added?
The second edition of the Diamond Handbook is almost a complete rewrite of the first. Very much has been done to improve the contents, now with colour photos, tables, charts and updated information. This book will be purchased by the consumer who wants more detailed information than just the 4C’s. For the gemology student, trade professional or industry employee, this book will be very helpful in upgrading or adding to your knowledge of diamonds and this industry. A great deal of effort has gone into producing this edition and it shows!
Canadian Gemmologist, 2008
All of the material is presented in a very readable and intuitively structured format. The photographs are of high quality and provide good illustrations of the information that is covered. The tables are excellent. and provide a concise, at-a-glance overview of some of the things I find myself having to look up on occasion, e.g. cause of color in natural fancy colored diamonds. At 186 pages, the Diamond Handbook is a very manageable size and the quality of the publication recommends it as a ‘ready reference’ and a pleasure to read . . . I believe that the Diamond Handbook would be a valuable addition to any appraiser’s bookshelf. It’s compact size and clear layout make it perfect to grab for a quick reference during an appraisal, and it’s readability makes it accessible to the layperson. I can easily see pulling it off the shelf to help illustrate an explanation to a client or customer, or to use one of the fine photographs as an example of a particular inclusion. At $19.95, I think the Diamond Handbook is too well priced to pass up.
Jewelry Appraiser, 2008
"Gives the trade reader virtually all the essential information needed to buy and sell diamonds. . .The book is an advance of the same author’s Diamond Ring Buying Guide (6th edition, 2002).
"The text covers everything the buyer needs to know, with useful comments on lighting and first-class images. At all relevant points the author gives an up-to-date list of references.
"No other text in current circulation discusses re-cutting and its possible effects, and the author’s discussion of the new topic of branded diamonds conveniently brings together a number of examples of particular cuts peculiar to different firms. . . . Brief and useful notes describe the present position of synthetic gem diamond and treated diamond. Rip-offs are soberly described and sensation avoided. This is a must for anyone buying testing or valuing a polished diamond and for students in many fields."
Journal of Gemmology
"The Diamond Handbook covers all aspects of diamond evaluation. All of the material is presented in a very readable and intuitively structured format. The photographs are of high quality and provide good illustrations of the information that is covered. The tables are excellent. and provide a concise, at-a-glance overview of some of the things I find myself having to look up on occasion, e.g. cause of color in natural fancy colored diamonds. At 186 pages, the Diamond Handbook is a very manageable size and the quality of the publication recommends it as a ‘ready reference’ and a pleasure to read.
"I believe that the Diamond Handbook would be a valuable addition to any appraiser’s bookshelf. Its compact size and clear layout make it perfect to grab for a quick reference during an appraisal, and its readability makes it accessible to the layperson. I can easily see pulling it off the shelf to help illustrate an explanation to a client or customer, or to use one of the fine photographs as an example of a particular inclusion. At $19.95, I think the Diamond Handbook is too well priced to pass up."
"Impressively comprehensive. . . . a practical, well-organized and concisely written volume, packed with valuable information. . . . Newman familiarizes us with some diamond-district jargon and supplies us with a survival kit for our journey into the jewellery jungle. And of course, she walks us through the 4 Cs. In fact, Newman has given us a fifth C: Cut quality. She explains the importance of proportions and finish to the brilliance, fire and overall beauty of a diamond, and how these factors can affect the price of a stone by as much as 50%.
"As a facetor, I am always pleased to see the critical importance of good cutting not only acknowledged but emphasized. In this respect, Newman has made me very happy. She covers the history of diamond cuts and cutting styles, and even devotes an entire chapter to the re-cutting of diamonds (information I have not seen elsewhere) and how the cutter works his magic. Even more valuable, however, are two chapters about how to judge the cut of fancy shapes and round brilliants. Here the reader learns about the consequences of bad cutting (bow ties, windows, fisheyes and nailheads) and how to recognize them. The "anatomy" and proper proportions of a round brilliant are discussed in detail, along with symmetry and polish.
In addition to his fifth C, we are also given two T’s: transparency and Treatment status. Newman feels that these three factors, taken in conjunction with the traditional 4 C’s, supply us with a more complete and reliable set of pricing parameters. I agree. In particular, transparency (and its relation to clarity) has been little understood and seldom addressed in most popular publications.
"The Diamond Handbook, is subtitled How to Look at Diamonds & Avoid Ripoffs. This phrase neatly summarizes a major theme of the book–a theme that is both sound and refreshing. Learn to use your own eyes when judging a diamond! Don’t rely overly much on lab reports. Get to know what you like (and dislike) in a diamond. Discover your own sense of beauty. She reminds us that we are buying a gemstones and not a lab report: "We need to strike a balance between using our hearts and our minds. We also should realize that our opinion of a diamond is just as important as that of a gem laboratory." Just do your homework, compare, and know what you are paying for.
"As you have probably gathered by now, I like this book a great deal. . . .The Diamond Handbook is destined to become an indispensable reference for the consumer and trade professional alike."
"This is a new book that aims to update the diamond buyer’s knowledge of what has happened to diamonds, diamond set jewellery, and the diamond industry over the last decade or so . . . Those readers familiar with previous editions of the author’s Diamond ring buying guide will note the addition of useful information on antique cuts, recutting, diamond gracing reports, and appraisals to this book. In addition the chapters covering fluorescence, synthetic diamonds and fancy cuts have been updated.
"As this reviewer has become accustomed to, the text of this book is accurate, clear and very consumer oriented. That is not to say the gemmologist will not learn quite a lot by carefully reading and considering the oft very thoughtful arguments presented by the author. In summary, Diamond handbook is a useful addition to both the popular and gemmological literature."
How the Diamond Handbook differs
from the Diamond Ring Buying Guide
For information on gold, platinum, settings styles, ring mountings, diamond care and detecting imitation diamonds, consult the Diamond Ring Buying Guide.
Newman Gem & Jewelry Series and Osteoporosis book links