Deciding on a setting? Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are all popular choices.
When purchasing jewelry, especially engagement rings and wedding bands, it can be difficult to decide on a metal for the setting. If you’re looking for the most durable metal, with a beautiful finish, platinum is the best choice. Although it is more expensive than white or yellow gold, platinum will last much longer. This is due to the fact that with normal gold and white gold, bangs and scratches wear away the band and mounting – often causing enough damage to require reinforcement and repair.
Although platinum is the strongest of metals, it can still be subject to scratches and loose its shine. Frequent polishing will to keep your ring or band looking beautiful.
Admired for its value and beauty, gold is the most common metal used today for many jewelry pieces from casual wear to engagement rings. Gold, although it can be extremely soft, will not be subject to tarnish, corrosion, or rust. Purity of gold is a large factor when purchasing a piece.
Pure 100% gold is much too soft to withstand constant wear; therefore it is mixed with an assortment of alloys such as copper, nickel, and zinc, to give it durability. Karatage (k), which indicates the gold content in a piece of jewelry, is expressed in 24ths.
* Almost all white gold jewelry is rhodium plated. Rhodium is an extremely hard, white metal that is applied over jewelry to boost whiteness.
Gold – Karat content
24K (karat) = 100% gold – too soft for jewelry purposes.
22K (karat) = 91.7% gold – extremely soft, not recommended for jewelry purposes.
18K (karat) = 75% gold – fine jewelry purposes.
14K (karat) = 58.3% gold – jewelry purposes.
12K (karat) = 50% gold – not an acceptable use for jewelry purposes.
10K (karat) = 41.7% gold – legal karat limit in United States of America.
Keep your gold jewelry away from harsh chemicals such as bleach and other cleaning products. To protect your jewelry from everyday damage jewelry, keep it tucked in soft cloth or original packaging. To clean, use detergent-free soap and warm water, cleansing softy with a dull or soft-bristled toothbrush. Bring your jewelry into your local jewelry store every so often to get it inspected and thoroughly cleaned.
Sterling silver consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Copper is the most popular alloy in silver (pure or fine silver). It is considered one of the best components to pair with silver because of its ability to provide durability and maintain beauty.
To care for your silver jewelry, keep it safely tucked in soft cloth or jewelry boxes when not being worn. Chemicals such as ammonia and chlorinated water can damage silver, so it’s best to remove silver jewelry when cleaning or swimming. To prevent tarnishing– which is very common due to reactions with the metal and hydrogen sulfide in the air – wear your silver pieces often, and cleanse them with products for tarnish removal, or a polishing cloth.
Palladium, a part of the Platinum family, is considered one of the rarest metals in the world. This metal does not require any alloys and is extremely durable, being 95% pure.
Buying pearl jewelry? Pearls can come in a variety or shapes and colors. Take a minute to learn more their unique attributes.
Mastoloni uses only the finest quality pearls in each of their beautifully designed jewelry. Their remarkable selection of Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian pearls are known throughout the world for their beautiful color, luster, and quality.
Pearls all have a deep inner glow and beautiful shine, which is known as luster. This effect is produced from light reflecting off abundant layers of calcium carbonate crystals, also known as nacre. The higher a pearl's luster, the more valuable it is.
Most pearls are measured by diameter in millimeter (mm) sizes. The size of the pearl generally depends on the type. The average ranges for the different pearl types are as follows: Akoya -- 2 to 10mm, Tahitian -- 8 to 16mm, South Sea -- 8 to 18mm, Keshi -- 1 to 10mm, Mabe -- 12 to 25mm.
Pearls are divided into five shape categories, round being the traditional favorite. Shape is determined mainly by the nucleus form that the pearl is structured around.
- Round: Symmetrically shaped spheres -- the most traditional, popular, and rarest shape.
- Semi-round: Spherical form with slight variations.
- Baroque: Irregularly shaped
- Semi-baroque: Drop, button, oval, pear shaped -- partially symmetrical.
- Circular: Irregularities on the upper third of the pearl such as streaks, ridges, or rings -- mainly Tahitian and South Sea varieties.
Pearls come in almost any color and shade -- from opaline white to anthracite black. The most common pearl colors are white, cream, yellow, pink, and black. Pearls can also have subtle secondary colors and overtones that add richness and variety.
During formation, blemishes such as bubbles and spots can appear when nacre does not adhere smoothly to the surface of the pearl, which is completely normal. The most rare and sought-after pearls have few imperfections and high-quality smoothness.
Pearl care, when done properly, is simple and can make them last a lifetime. Due to the natural body oils in the skin, wearing pearls as often as possible is a great way to keep their lustrous look.
Buying gemstone jewelry? Learn about the characteristics of gemstones including hue, tone and saturation.
Hue, tone, and saturation are the three characteristics used to evaluate gemstones.
Hue: Used to describe the primary color in a colored gemstone including any slight variations or tints of additional colors.
Tone: Used to describe the ‘depth’ of color, in degrees of lightness to darkness in a gemstone. Tone is defined as:
Saturation: Used to describe a gemstone’s purity, or the color’s intensity. The saturation of a color ranges from dull to pure (vivid). A good gemstone with a vivid color will be free of most brown and grey hues.
All gemstones are formed under extremely unique conditions. Trace elements are interspersed in each stone during formation leaving behind identifying marks or inclusions. Unlike with diamonds, these marks do not always detract from gemstones, but give them personality.
Though cut is not as significant a factor when evaluating gemstones, a well-cut stone can maximize the display of color and minimize inclusions. With gemstones, shallow cuts give a deeper saturation of color and symmetrical facets and a smooth polish to give maximum reflection and quality.
Carat Weight & Size
Like with diamonds, the carat weight of a gemstone does not always correlate with the actual viewable size. In addition, gemstones have different densities so two stones that are of the same weight may appear to be different sizes.
Shopping for loose diamonds? Familiarize yourself with how diamonds are cut, graded, and valued.
Diamonds are cut in a variety of standard shapes each with its own unique properties and characteristics. Please note that the appearance of diamond from the top and often its pricing is affected by its particular proportions. Each diamond's length-to-width ratio describes these proportions and is noted in the detail tab of our diamond search pages.
Round: Round brilliant-cut diamonds are the most popular shape on the market today. The cutting technique used to create this shape enhances light refraction. As a result, round brilliant-cut diamonds display the most fire and brilliance, and are the most flexible when trying to balance maximum brilliance with cut, color, and clarity. They are also the most valuable shape, per carat, since more of their original mass is sacrificed in the cutting process.
Princess: The second most popular shape, traditional princess-cut diamonds are square with pointed corners. Price and quality vary depending on their length-to-width ratio. Traditional square shapes (with a length-to-width-ratio of around 1.0) are the most valuable, while more rectangular variations (with a length-to-width-ratio of greater than 1.1) are less costly.
Emerald: Emerald-cut diamonds are rectangular in shape, and get their distinctive look from the facets cut into their pavilion. This shape highlights diamond clarity, which is easily viewed due to its large, open table. Traditional emerald-cut shapes have a length-to-width ratios of about 1.30 to 1.40.
Asscher: Asscher-cut diamonds have the same distinct facets cut into their pavilion as emerald-cut diamonds. The primary difference is that asscher-cut diamonds are square, with a length-to-width ratio of about 1.0. As with emerald-cut diamonds, clarity is very visible in this shape, due to its large open table.
Marquise: Marquise-cut diamonds can look much larger for their carat weight than other shapes, due to their slender proportions. Traditional marquise-cut diamonds have a length-to-width ratios of about 1.75 to 2.25.
Oval: Oval-cut diamonds not only accentuate finger length, but like round brilliant-cut diamonds, maximize brilliance and fire due to their cutting style.
Radiant: With their signature trimmed corners and versatile use, radiant-cut diamonds are becoming increasingly popular. This cut can come in a variety of proportions, described by a stones' length-to-width ratio -- around 1.0 for a square shape or greater than 1.1 for a more rectangular shape.
Pear: Pear-cut diamonds have a very traditional look with a rounded end and pointed tip. Their length creates a finger slimming look and their shape works across a variety of jewelry styles.
Heart: A universal symbol of love and compassion, the heart-cut can be used in a variety of jewelry styles.
Cushion: Cushion-cut diamonds have a unique shape that gives them a cushion or pillow-like look. Brilliance is increased through their rounded corners and large facets.
Cut is considered the most important characteristic of a diamond and is the key factor determining a diamond's brilliance. A well cut diamond will reflect light into and back out of the stone, maximizing its sparkle and beauty.
A cut grade refers to the symmetry and proportions of the diamond and how that affects the interaction between the diamond and the light around it.
An ideal cut will reflect all light that enters the diamond back out, emitting the most sparkle. If a diamond cut is too shallow, the light will enter and then escape out of the bottom of the diamond. If the diamond cut is too deep, the light will enter the diamond and leak out the sides.
Excellent: Reflects almost all light that enters the diamond, superior and rare.
Very Good: Combines precise proportions with considerable price points, best in overall value and beauty.
Good: Reflects most light that enters.
Fair: Not entirely brilliant, light reflection is scarce.
Poor: Poor proportions allow for little to no light reflection.
Clarity, also known as purity or quality, refers to the number and size of the small naturally occurring imperfections present in almost all diamonds. There are two main types of imperfections -- inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions generally have more impact on the diamonds beauty and value; blemishes are easier to remove.
Flawless (F): No inclusions or blemishes under any type of 10x magnification. May include inscriptions and non-visible extra facets.
Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions when examined under 10x magnifications. May include minor blemishes.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS2, VVS1): Minor inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS2, VS1): Minor inclusions such as crystals, small clouds, and small feathers that can be seen with experienced examination under 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI2, SI1): Noticeable inclusions such as clouds, crystals, knots, feathers, and cavities, which are viewable in experienced examination under 10x magnification.
Included: (I1, I2, I3): Obvious inclusions such as large feathers and crystals that are clearly observable under 10x magnification. This grade can affect transparency, brilliance, and durability.
How do you know which clarity grade is right for you?
Only you can decide which diamond fits you and your budget. If you're looking for a cost-effective choice -- with beauty in mind -- Slightly Included diamonds are good choice. These diamonds have imperfections that are not visible to the naked eye, and are an excellent value.
Size, which is often one of the first things people consider when purchasing a diamond, is measured in carat weight. Since larger diamonds are increasingly rare, carat weight drastically affects price and rarity. Prices jump at half sizes, such as from a 0.50 to a 1.00 carat diamond.
How do you know which carat weight is right for you?
Start by understanding the basic characteristics of diamond shape, clarity, cut, and color and how they affect value. Then pick a carat weight that fits your budget. Remember, hand size and diamond shape affect how diamond size is perceived.
The color of a diamond actually refers to the lack of color, or whiteness of a diamond. The best color a diamond can have is no color, or a 'colorless' attribute. Most diamonds are nearly colorless with tints of brown and yellow from elements present during their formation. Slight differences in color can cause dramatic differences in value. In the normal color range, the more colorless a diamond is, the higher its per-carat price.
D (Absolutely colorless): The highest grade and most rare of all diamond color grades.
E - F (Colorless): A range of rare diamonds, with only nearly undetectable trace elements and tints viewable by expert examination.
G - H (Near-colorless): A excellent value. Color is hard to detect unless compared against stones with higher color grades.
I - J (Near-colorless): A great value, but do have some noticeable color.
K - Z (Noticeable color): Starting to head more towards fancy colored stone range.
A diamond grading report or certificate is a document prepared by a gemological laboratory. It verifies a diamonds characteristics and quality for the non-expert consumer. The loose diamonds available online through our diamond search are graded by two internationally regarded laboratories: The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and European Gemological Laboratory (EGL). While both laboratories have solid reputations, GIA has become known for its stricter grading standards than EGL.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Established in 1931, the Gemological Institute of America is the world's foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. GIA exists to protect all purchasers of gemstones, by providing the education, laboratory services, research, and instruments needed to accurately and objectively determine gemstone quality.
GIA Diamond Grading Report: The standard GIA Diamond Grading Report includes the following:
- assessment of a diamond's 4 C's = color, clarity, cut, and carat weight
- plotted diagram of clarity characteristics
- transparent sleeve packaging, lamination and other security features
- graphic representation of proportions
- for standard RBC diamonds in D-Z color range, report includes GIA cut grade
GIA laboratory issues diamond grading reports for loose, fully natural diamonds in D-Z color range, weighing 0.15 carats or more. Grading reports are NOT issued for synthetics, stimulants, mounted diamonds. or diamonds that have been subjected to unstable treatments. Stable treatments are noted on the GIA grading report.
GIA Diamond Dossier: The GIA Diamond Dossier offers identical grading information that of the GIA Diamond Grading Report, minus the plotted diagram. With an added security feature, the GIA Diamond Dossier service includes microscopic laser inscription of the report number on the diamond's girdle. The GIA laboratory issues Diamond Dossiers for loose, fully natural diamonds in the D-Z color range, weighing 0.15 carat to 1.99 carat. The GIA Diamond Dossier is NOT issued to diamonds that have undergone unstable treatments. Stable treatments are noted on the GIA Diamond Dossier.
European Gemological Laboratory
Founded in Belgium more than 30 years ago,The European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) is committed to protecting the integrity of the jewelry trade through scientific innovation and consumer education. EGL certificates are recognized around the globe for their accuracy and integrity, defining industry standards in evaluation and appraisal. The company maintains a worldwide presence in the major diamond trading centers, cooperates with leading organizations including the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and runs an extensive educational program as part of its dedication to protecting public interest and raising the level of professionalism in the field.
EGL Diamond Certification Full Page Report: The EGL Diamond Certification Full Page Report includes the following:
- Assessment of a diamond's 4 C's = color, clarity, cut, and carat weight
- Plotted diagram of clarity characteristics.
- Free UGS Consultation of Appraisal
- Security features = lamination, embossed logo, hologram
- Transparent sleeve packaging
- 8.5 x 11"open page view
EGL Diamond Analysis Full Page Report: This report contains identical information to the EGL Diamond Certification Full Page Report, but is ONLY issued to round stones and also includes the following features:
- Final prominent cut grade
- Emphasized proportions in graphic profile view
- Free UGS Consultation of Appraisal with retail replacement value
- Laminated with hard-vinyl packing and EGL USA embossed logo
- 8.5 x 11" open page view
EGL Diamond Certificate Mini Sized Report: This is a smaller, condensed version of the Diamond Certificate Report. This contains all proportion and finishing information and includes the following:
- Assessment of the diamond's 4 C's = color, clarity, cut, and carat weight
- Finished proportion and measurements
- Includes Diamond Consultation with a plotted diagram
- 4 x 3.25" page view