Diamond Guide

The staff at Barnhart Jewelers Gemologist Pawnbroker are carefully selected and especially qualified to help you understand diamonds and allow you to make your selection with confidence.  We offer immediate gemological analysis and knowledgeable advice that you expect from your jeweler.  Whether you are considering the purchase of a diamond, precious or non-precious colored stone or have one to sell, we can help you navigate today’s market values, and modern specific forms of gemstone enhancement.  (Specific Forms of Enhancement)  At Barnhart’s we use the International Diamond Grading System ™ developed by the Gemological Institution of America, (GIA) who created the famous 4C’s of diamond quality, and have set the standards for grading and identification practices used worldwide.

Graduate Gemologist (GG) is the industry’s most prestigious gemological diploma.  Earning this credential wins the respect of industry professionals and opens doors of opportunity.

Barnhart Jewelers offers laser inscription with identification numbers inscribed on the girdle of your diamond, only visible through magnification.  These numbers typically correspond to an accompanying independent Report (GIA Diamond Grading Report, GIA Diamond Dossier)

At Barnhart’s diamonds are available with the following grading reports:

  • GIA Diamond Grading Report
  • GIA Diamond Dossier
  • EGL Israel
  • AGS

Designer Diamonds we purchase for resale:

  • 8-Star
  • Hearts & Arrows
  • Hearts on Fire
  • Leo
  • Lazar

At Barnhart’s we believe a ½ carat (.50 ct.)  Diamond should be .50 carat when placed on a legal-for-trade carat scale.  The reason is simple, a .49 (.42ct. to .49ct.) carat diamond, costs as much as 30% less at the wholesale diamond trading price (for the same grade diamond).  Example; a .45ct. round brilliant diamond GIA Certified VS-1 (D) and a .50ct. round brilliant diamond GIA Certified VS-1 (D).

This Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guides has made it difficult for one jewelers who uses the *decimal representation standard to compete on a level playing field.  You can spot a jeweler who uses the FTC *fractional representation of diamond weight, (Tolerance range principle) by the mandatory disclaimer they must use in catalogs and advertisement.

*Decimals: Decimal parts should be accurate to the last decimal place, as in .47 carat,  When diamond weights are stated only to one decimal place, the stated figure should be accurate to the second decimal place.  For example .5 carat would represent a diamond that weighed between .495 and .504 carats.

*Fractions: When diamond weights are stated as fractional parts of a carat, you must inform consumers that the diamond’s weight is not exact, in a conspicuous manner and close to the statement of its weight.  In addition, they should disclose the reasonable range of weight for each fraction (or the weight tolerance used).

Catalogs and Advertisements  

Diamond sellers who use  fractional representations of diamond weight in catalogs or other printed materials must inform consumers on each page where such representations are made that the actual diamond weight is within a specified range. 

The consumer can again, easily be misled when the symbol (tw) is used verbally or in printed description detailing the total weight of a diamond ring.  For example a ring containing a .40 carat diamond  flanked by two smaller diamonds, one on each side that weigh approximately .025 each, is commonly represented verbally or printed in catalogs as ½ carat t.w. diamond ring.

So when shopping for a diamond it’s important to establish the true carat weight of all parts of a ring set with multiple diamonds, and to let the seller know you expect to receive a .50 carat diamond if you are paying for one.  And more than likely the ½ carat diamond you pick out of the ½ carat promotional group is not going to be the .55 carat diamond that allows the seller to sell a .42 carat diamond as a true ½ carat diamond.

The diamonds which truly weigh .50ct. to .55ct. that are promotionally advertised as ½ carat diamonds, alongside higher grade diamonds truly weighing between .42ct.  and .49ct., are usually unpleasant and are often past over for the smaller, higher grade diamond which costs the jeweler the essentially the same price.

General Discussion

Diamonds of supposedly the same qualities are offered to the retail jeweler at a wide variety of prices.  As a result, jewelers who know little about diamonds or diamond grading often believe that they can save 10% to 20/% or more by buying from one major source rather than another.  The fact is that, among competitive diamond suppliers, substantial price differences based either on lower costs or lower markups are very unlikely. This is because the Diamond Trading Company sells rough at essentially the same price to all firms.  Also, fashioned diamonds carry an import duty which partly offsets the lower foreign labor costs for cutting small sizes, and more than offsets them for larger stones.  It is true, however that those firms that buy from major suppliers and resell to the trade with extended credit terms must charge more for their stones. Suppliers also charge higher prices for stones which are given to the jeweler on memorandum.


Why do large price differences seem to exist among the competitive retailers?

1.)  Color and clarity terminology varies from dealer to dealer and may not convey the true grades of the stones being offered.

2.)  Retailers who offer stones cut from a cutter who cuts with the primary goal of weight recovery are able to sell their diamonds at a lower price per carat than a cutter who cuts with a primary goal of achieving maximum beauty.