*Open Studio Visiting Creative, Marc Knobloch is the Vice President of Aron Knobloch Inc., a third generation, family owned diamond and diamond jewelry wholesale firm that has been selling diamonds for over sixty years. To read his Bio, click here
No matter what part of the jewelry trade you belong to, figuring out how to purchase diamonds can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be if you know the basics.
Diamonds are a complex, complicated product in their chemical composition, their discovery, their cutting and the depth of grading that is involved to classify them. For you, the artist, it will be a relief to know that these aforementioned things are not considerations you need to concern yourself with when you want to add them to your art.
You do, however, need to bring the following decisions to the diamond buying table: maximum budget, shape, millimeter size, knowledge of how the diamonds are going to be set (prong, common prong, channel, and bezel) and your project’s deadline.
No, this is not a tool that the diamond merchant uses to see how much money they are going to make off of you.
As a wholesale artist/buyer who has to cost your work and has a budget in mind, you need to be ready to tell the diamond seller how much of your budget has been allotted for diamonds in your design. Knowing the maximum that you are comfortable paying is important. This will greatly assist them in the determining the appropriate price per carat. Since the size and shape of the diamonds has already been dictated by your design, they can adjust the price, up or down, using higher/lower color and clarity. Make sure they explain to you how what the difference in the diamonds are as they show you each one.
The outline of a diamond, also known as its shape, is important and will be dictated by the design of the jewelry piece(s). Please be prepared to discuss with the diamond seller any ideas that you may have, if you are unsure. A diamond’s shape and size can greatly influence the design you may have in mind and possibly change it. As an expert in his field, he will be able to help you with an alternate shape that may suit your pocketbook better.
A diamond’s weight is measured in carats. However, from the designer’s point of view, it’s measured in millimeters. Usually ascertained by a device called a Leveridge gauge, a diamond’s millimeter size is important to know because that tells you how much area of the design the diamond(s) will occupy.
* GIA Color and Clarity Scales
How a diamond will be mounted and held in a design is also very important for several reasons.
First, you will have a little more size flexibility if the diamond(s) are going to be set by prongs as opposed to either “common prongs”, where two diamonds share one or more prongs between them, or “channel set”, where diamonds are held precisely between two walls of metal. The challenge with common prongs is that the diamonds can’t be placed in your design too far from each other by virtue of the common prong’s close-set design.
Bezel settings, on the other hand, offer flexibility in the sense that you plan for the size of the bezel and put the appropriately sized diamond into it.
Pave setting, where the diamonds are set directly into metal without prongs, walls or bezels, is yet another style of setting that may accommodate your design ideals and I will focus on in another article.
Second, you need to think about durability issues. Diamonds are indeed the hardest substance but they can be chipped, cracked or broken if hit in just the right way. Diamonds, like wood, have a grain and damage can happen if it occurs “along the grain.”
You want to keep this fact in mind since rings and bracelets get more wear than necklaces, earrings and brooches. Diamonds set in prongs leave some parts of the diamonds exposed as opposed to channel setting or bezel setting. This increases the chance for damage to occur and while this should not alter your creative vision, it is an important fact to keep in mind.
While a diamond seller can have a large inventory, there is not one diamond seller out there that has everything. Even if your diamond contact has the diamonds in his stock, it may take some sorting and processing to draw those diamonds needed out of an endless assortment of diamond parcels. Sometimes a diamond merchant may have to query his network of other diamond dealers if he does not have the shape, for example, of the diamonds you are asking about.
By focusing on these diamond aspects affecting designers, careful planning and trusting your diamond seller to be your partner in thought and planning, you are sure to be successful!
Best of luck with your decision to enter the jewelry market, if you are a new force to be reckoned with, and continued success if you are already a participant in this exciting and changing field!
Have you thought of using diamonds in your designs? How different it is than buying other faceted stones? What is the one thing stopping you from using diamonds? Leave your comments below and SHARE this article by clicking the buttons below. Thanks!
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