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January-February 2015

31/1/2015 19:08:39

A heartfelt "Happy New Year" to all our customers. Wishing much happiness and good health to you and yours in 2015, and as always - wishing you beautiful DIAMONDS.

Jason is back from a well deserved break overseas, moving through Hong Kong, Dubai, Ukraine, USA, Panama and Colombia for business and pleasure. You may have seen many of his interesting adventures photographically documented on our Facebook page.

Jason in Kiev

If wedding bands are on your "to-do" list for nuptials this year, don't forget to come and see us to get a perfect match, or something unique made up especially for you and your spouse-to-be.

If you're looking for an oh-so-special gift for Valentine's Day, be sure to check out our exciting 48 hour special below.

Jason's Thought Corner. Melee diamonds - World phenomenon

Melee diamonds are best described as small round brilliant cut diamonds between 1 mm and 2.8 mm. In top class/top parcel Melee, the colour bracket is D, E, F, clarity grade is VVS to VS. Cut is ideal brilliant, displaying miniature perfect Hearts and Arrows. This is our standard parcel that we use for our accent diamonds in halos, on shoulders, in channels, micro pavé, etc.

The name "Melee", or "Mêlée" to use the correct accents, comes from the French for mixed, as in mixed parcel.

Melee diamonds

The cost of production on Melee parcels coupled with high-end jewellers wishing quality, limited high cost mining and world demand through China and the United States has put extreme pressure on high quality supply, causing price rises.

Debeers is now doing a feasibility study on the second hand market for diamonds worldwide, which tells me that prices for our beautiful luxury resource in general will keep moving up, outpacing inflation and world growth.

Quality is always quality, and the time for re-polishing and recutting of small diamonds is now upon us. Gold has been traded and reused this way for centuries, but there are many more variables and grades in diamonds, which makes the equation a super-specialist market.

Currently Sydney's diamond jewellery market is worth over 4 billion dollars per year. One market, one city, um... I need to do more!

See you next time,

P.S. I named my little Fox Terrier Jack Russell cross "Melee" 12 years ago after getting her from the pound, she has been brilliant!

Melee the dog

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond

One of the most common questions that gemologists are asked is how to tell the difference between a real diamond and a fake stone.

According to Reyne Hirsch, a 20th century decorative arts expert and consultant for the global online marketplace Lofty, here's a guide as to how to tell when a diamond is real, and when and why to take it to an expert.

Test At Home

"We see a lot of estate jewellery that comes up in our line of business," Hirsch explained to Business Insider. "People who are selling their parents' estate assume the money is in the house itself — but sometimes the things inside the home have a lot more value than they think."

For jewellery you inherit or find at garage sales, it's best to do a few simple DIY tests before bringing the pieces in for a gemologist to look at.

1. Look at the diamond and setting through a loupe

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (1)

A loupe is a magnifying glass that you can buy at any jewellery store and will let you take a closer look at your gem and setting.

"When you're looking at a diamond, there are a few things you'll notice," Hirsch told us. "First, the majority of diamonds are made in nature so that means you're going to see some imperfections in the carbon. A fake stone would be perfect — absolutely perfect."

Hirsch cautions that certain lab-grown stones will also look perfect through the loupe, and so you should be cautious before discarding perfect gems. It can be a clue, however, to take a closer look or bring the stone to an expert.

Second, observe the diamond's edges. "When you're taking a look at a diamond through a loupe, a real stone is going to have sharp edges, and a fake stone will have rounded edges," Hirsch explained.

Lastly, look at the mounting and etchings, especially any marks that signify what metal was used. "If the metal is gold plated or silver, chances are it's not a diamond because why would you put a nice stone mounted in such a cheap metal?" Hirsch said. "Most diamonds are mounted in gold or set in platinum."

"Also take a look at the mounting itself and how that diamond is set," she added. "If the setting looks like it's of poor quality, that probably means it's not going to be a real diamond either."

2. Rub sandpaper against the stone

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (2)

This is an easy test since diamonds are one of the world's hardest materials and won't be scratched by the rough surface. "If it's a diamond, it will remain perfect, if it's a cubic zirconium, it will scratch it up," Hirsch said.

3. Do the fog test

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (3)

Breathe hot air on your diamond the same way you would if you were fogging up a bathroom mirror.

"A fake diamond will fog up for a short period of time whereas a real diamond will not because it won't retain the heat," Hirsch explained.

4. Hold it in the light to see how it sparkles

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (4)

The way that diamonds reflect light is unique: Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle grey and white (known as "brilliance") while outside of the gem, it will reflect rainbow colours onto other surfaces (this dispersed light is known as "fire").

A fake diamond will have rainbow colours that you can see inside the diamond.

"People have a misconception that diamonds sparkle like a rainbow, but they don't," Hirsch said.

"They do sparkle, but it's more of a grey colour. If you see something with rainbow colours [inside the stone], it could be a sign that it's not a diamond."

5. Look at the stone's refractivity

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (5)

Diamonds are so sparkly because of the way they refract and bend light. Glass, quartz, and cubic zirconium may mimic a diamond's brilliance, but they have much lower refractive indexes.

This means that if your stone isn't in a setting, you can place it over a newspaper and the light will scatter inside the real diamond and prevent a black reflection. A fake diamond will let the black shine through, and you may even be able to read a word depending on the size of the fake stone.

If your diamond is mounted, make sure you can't see through it to the mount itself — that's a very bad sign.

Test With A Gemologist

Once you've done all your home tests, it's time to take your jewels that could be diamonds to a gemologist.

"You don't want to take a box full of jewellery because it will cost you money for them to look," Hirsch explained. "I would be flat out frank and say you're not interested in selling, but just ask if they're worth you paying attention to or if it's fine to let the kid's play with them."

In focus: 5 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond (6)

But don't just take your diamonds to any old jeweller. It's important to do your research and find a qualified gemologist.

"At mall stores, they tend to have sales people — not gemologists," Hirsch said. "They just know what sells in their stores and what appeals to the masses. Look beyond the average jewellery store and go to a local antique stores or ask your local antique jewellery store who is a reputable gemologist in town who knows about diamonds."

Even if you know the jewellery you have contains diamonds, it can pay off to take them to a gemologist to know how much they're actually worth.

"Say you have five, 1-carat diamonds on the table — the cut, colour, and clarity will be a huge factor in why one is worth $US800 and one is worth $US10,000," she said.

What it could be instead of a diamond:

White topaz - Topaz is a mineral that is usually tinted yellow, red, brown, or pale grey, but can sometimes be white or appear colourless. Diamonds are much harder than topaz, however, which can wear down and scratch over time making it dull or cloudy.

White sapphire - We usually think of sapphires as being blue, but this gem can also be white. Just like topaz, sapphires are prone to more damage than diamonds and do not have the same fire and brilliance of a true diamond.

Cubic zirconium - Mass-produced since 1976, cubic zirconium scratches easily and does not have the same fire and shine as diamonds.

Moissanite - Moissanite is harder than cubic zirconium and these stones are visually dazzling. The main difference is that moissanites have a different brilliance than a diamond where you can see rainbow colours within the stone, giving it a disco ball effect.

Lab grown - Lab-grown diamonds are technically "real" diamonds both chemically and physical, but they will not fetch for the same price as a mined diamond. Hirsch says they usually sell for about 20% to 30% less than a traditional diamond.

So the next time you run across something you think is just cheap costume jewellery, it's important to test it - just in case.


$5,700 Diamond Necklace Appraised at $125,000 on 'Antiques Roadshow'

A woman brought a diamond necklace to Antiques Roadshow's Austin, Texas, along with the piece's original receipt and a photo and New York stock number. Her father-in-law had commissioned the necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels in New York in 1960.

Diamond Necklace

The pendant features a 3.91 ct emerald cut diamond, two marquise cut diamonds of 0.63ct TDW, and one round-cut diamond of 0.15ct. It was originally on a platinum chain, though the owner had swapped it out for a longer one of white gold. The 1960 price, including federal tax: USD$5,700.

Appraiser Virginia Salem said that a GIA report would be needed to price the piece accurately, but based on the documentation and her own cursory appraisal, she estimated that the piece (with its original chain) was now worth USD$125,000.

"I would say that there would be a retail replacement value, or [that it would sell] in a high-end retail store, at USD$125,000 today," Salem said.

The owner seemed shocked: "Wow. That has appreciated quite a bit, hasn't it?"

No word on whether she plans to keep the family heirloom or sell it, but the segment surely sent many viewers to their jewellery boxes to see what treasures from the past they might have hiding there (and to their filing cabinets—if anything, the segment was a lesson in keeping the receipt!)

The full segment is available at

Full story at:

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Is this your year to finally acquire that dream diamond? See our diamonds section on our website to view rare and stunning diamond opportunities to purchase for yourself!

Perfect Hearts and Arrows in round brilliant cut diamond

Debbie's pick of the month

This is another excellent reminder of how just very slight variations to a traditional design like the trilogy or row ring, can really create a whole new and unique look for an engagement ring. The use of the step cut stones (emerald cut, baguette and carre) coupled with the ever so subtle halo of brilliant cuts surrounding them, really makes this a super elegant look on the finger and gives a truly beautiful point of distinction from an old classic.

Debbie's pick of the month (1)

Debbie's pick of the month (2)

18ct white gold custom designed engagement ring. Set with 1 x 0.92ct Emerald Cut diamond centre stone, F colour, SI1 clarity, Excellent polish, Very Good symmetry; 2 x matching pairs of Baguette cut diamonds (F VS1): 1 pair totalling 0.51ct, 1 pair totalling 0.33ct and 40 x 1mm round brilliant cuts (E/F, VS) totalling, 0.20ct. Total diamond weight of piece = 1.96 carats.

Emily's pick of the month

This customer wanted to create something completely unique for his Fiancée-to-be. He got really stuck into designing the perfect ring, even utilising his own drawing talents to express what he was after. The result was something very special indeed.

She said "yes" of course - who wouldn't when the centre diamond is a 1 carat, D colour!

Emily's pick of the month (1)

Emily's pick of the month (2)

Emily's pick of the month (3)

Custom designed ring in 18k white gold with palladium. Set with 1 x round brilliant cut centre diamond of 1.04ct, D colour, VS2 clarity, triple excellent (cut, symmetry, polish), GIA certified . Also set with 4 x 1.5 mm and 52 x 1.0 mm round brilliant cut side diamonds totalling 0.38 carats in D/E colour, VS clarity.

New Year Newsletter Special

For 48 hours only, this beautiful pendant is only $5999!

Nineteen 2.5 mm Hearts & Arrows cut diamonds create a perfect circle pendant to symbolise eternal love. TDW 1.14 carats. Set in precious 18k white gold on an Italian Omega slide chain, this would be the perfect gift for Valentine's Day!

New Year Newsletter Special (1)

New Year Newsletter Special (2)

We have this at our Brisbane studio if you would like to arrange a viewing.

Please enquire at the studio (07) 38394088 if you are interested in purchasing this gorgeous piece.

More photos here

Until next time!
The Team at Jason Withers

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