Pioneer Pawn
-Serving the Las Vegas community for over 80 years-
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A Beginners Guide to Diamonds

We put this guide together for the purpose of aiding our clients in their purchases of diamond jewelry.

To jump to the section on gold and gold jewelry follow this link.


In order to help you understand what your jeweler or jewelry salesman is saying here are some basic diamond definitions

  • Brilliance: Total amount of white light returned to the eye from a gem material as a result of
    internal and external reflections

  • Carat: Unit of weight for gems. Equal to 200 milligrams

  • Clean: Free from noticeable flaws

  • Crown: The part of the gemstone above the girdle

  • Facet: One of the plane, polished surfaces placed upon a gemstone, fashioned as brilliant cut, step cut, etc.

  • Feather: Almost any flaw inside a stone

  • Flaw: An inclusion of another substance, cleavage or fracture

  • Fracture: A break or chip in any direction

  • Inclusion: Any optically detectable irregularity of a gem material

  • Melee: Small round faceted diamonds, approximately .18 carats or less

  • Pavilion: That portion of a faceted diamond or other material below the girdle

  • Gemology: The study of gemstones and their identification, grading, appraisal, symbols etc


The difference between a Diamond Certificate and an Appraisal:

A Diamond Certificate is a document that describes the physical characteristics of a loose Diamond and is issued by a Gemological Laboratory.
A Diamond Certificate issues a "grade" indicating the physical properties of the Diamond "at the time of evaluation", and remains valid as long as the Diamond is not chipped or otherwise altered.

An appraisal can be performed on a loose Diamond, a mounted stone, or jewelry. If the stone is not loose, the physical properties are estimated using various estimation techniques. Most importantly, an appraisal indicates the Dollar Value of the piece under consideration. Obviously, the Dollar Value can easily change considerably over a relatively short period of time. Appraisals are most often used for insurance purposes.


Diamond Enhancement:

Diamond clarity can be improved, but not all enhancement techniques are permanent.
The two most popular treatments are:

Laser Treatments:
A laser is used to remove some types of inclusions.
An experienced jeweler can usually see the trail left by the laser. Laser treatments are permanent.

Fracture Filling:
Tiny cracks in a diamond are filled with a colorless substance.
Fracture filling is not considered permanent. In fact, many times when a ring is cleaned in an ultrasonic bath the flaw becomes very apparent.

Treatments are not inherently bad, they allow us to own a diamond that appears to be of a higher clarity than it truly is.
But treated diamonds should cost less, so it's important to do business with a jeweler you trust, one who evaluates and discloses any type of enhancement that's been performed.


Then there are four items that when combined give the appearance and value of every diamond.
These are the four "C's", Cut, Clarity, Carat Weight, and Color -- Click for more.


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Pioneer Loan and Jewelry
520 N. Eastern Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Office hours are from 9am to 8:00pm Monday through Saturday
and 10am to 5pm Sundays

Phone: (702) 384-2970 or (800)-943-1100
  FAX: (702) 384-2465