Diamond Ring Buying Guide: 8th Edition

How to evaluate, identify and select diamonds & diamond jewelry


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Shows with pictures

 what others explain with words

Learn how to:

·         judge diamond quality

·         spot fakes

·         select jewelry metals, mountings and settings

·         compare prices

·         get good value for your money and much much more. This is the book to take along when you go diamond shopping.

 What’s new in the 8th Edition of the Diamond Ring Buying Guide:

1.   Chapters on silver and alternative metals because they are now being used for diamond jewelry as a result of the high prices of gold and platinum.                                   

2.   A brief chapter on diamond grading lab documents.

3.   A comparison of the benefits of lab-grown diamonds versus those of natural diamonds and a page showing how UV fluorescence can be used to help distinguish between natural and lab-grown diamonds

4.   A brief chapter explaining why for hundreds of years diamonds have been more prized than other gems that are more rare.

5.   Updated colored diamond photos and top auction prices                                                

6.   A section on how color affects the prices of color-enhanced diamonds

7.   A revised chapter on judging cut quality with some new photos

8.   A revised chapter on judging diamond clarity and new photo examples of diamond clarity

9.   New photo examples of ring mountings and settings

10. A section on 10 ways to save money on diamonds.

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by Renee Newman   ISBN 978-0929975-54-2, Paperback--$19.95, e-book--$9.95

7" x 9" (18 x 23 cm) / 149 pages / 264 photos plus diagrams, charts, tables and quizzes

Publisher: International Jewelry Publications



"Graduate Gemologist Renée Newman has issued an eighth edition of her well-regarded Diamond Ring Buying Guide, which has remained a resource of unmatched excellence to diamond buyers since its first printing in 1989. This practical and straightforward book walks the shopper through all aspects of diamond quality, value factors while carefully explaining, and thoroughly illustrating additional considerations such as treatments, settings, and jewelry care.

       The Diamond Ring Buying Guide is divided into 18 chapters that cover everything from the Four C’s (Chapters 3-7) to metals used in jewelry manufacture (Chapters 12-14), as well as every other topic relevant to diamond selection and purchase. The initial sections on diamond characteristics and value factors will be well familiar to the gemologist appraiser, but are nicely laid out for those who approach the topic as novices or who need a deeper understanding before making a big purchase.
       Much of the material covered in these first sections overlaps with Ms. Newman’s Diamond Handbook, but there are many helpful additions! The book is glossed throughout with layman’s-terms explanations of gemology jargon and the approach to diamond assessment is decidedly low-tech: geared toward those wishing to both examine and enjoy diamonds with their own senses (not just purchase paper diamond reports). Ms. Newman has also included quizzes throughout the book to test the reader’s comprehension and reinforce important lessons.
       There are many resources now available on diamond characteristics and the “best” way to shop for diamonds, but I have not often encountered such a thorough explanation of the differences between the many metals and alloys on the market today. Ms. Newman covers in depth the traditional (gold, platinum, silver) and the new and faddish (tungsten carbide, palladium, mokume gane) to help the purchaser choose the best option for their vision of their diamond jewelry. Advantages and disadvantages of each metal or alloy are laid out plainly and without favor - something the consumer will rarely encounter in the retail environment, since every maker, manufacturer, and metalsmith specializes to some degree or other in a particular material.
        Related to the choice of metal is the choice of setting for diamonds in jewelry, which also tends to be governed by market trends. At the present time, we enjoy easy access to images of beautiful objects from all over the world. It is important for the diamond jewelry buyer to be reminded that the form diamond jewelry takes may require special maintenance over time, could leave certain stones very vulnerable to wear and tear, and might even be entirely impractical for everyday wear. That final consideration can rule out even the most romantic of designs for use as an engagement ring - an argument the purchaser may not hear from the retailer!
        Kudos to Renée Newman for again delivering exactly what she promises her readers: a guide that will help buyers make smart choices when it comes to purchasing diamonds and diamond jewelry. Every gemologist and appraiser is approached for advice on diamonds by friends and loved ones - often after the money has been spent! This is an excellent resource to recommend to potential purchasers who are looking for sound, professional insights to help make the most of every budget and avoid disappointment in the process."

        Caitlin M St John, The Jewelry Appraiser


The previous (7th) edition of the Diamond Ring Buying Guide was published 12 years ago, and it has been out of print for four years. This new edition retains a lot of the original information, but also includes many updates. In the first chapter, the author proposes a set of price factors to judge diamond value by replacing the ‘Four Cs’ criteria of colour, clarity, cut and carat weight with a more complex value system consisting of six ‘Cs’ and two‘Ts’: cut quality, colour, carat weight, cutting style, clarity and creator (natural vs. laboratory grown), plus transparency (cloudiness) and treatment status. The ‘creator’ factor is new in this edition, reflecting the upsurge of synthetic diamonds being used in jewellery.

       Chapter 2 has been shortened and focuses on why diamonds are so valued. Distinctive and prized properties include diamond’s exceptional hardness; its resistance to high temperatures, radiation and chemicals; its electrical and heat conduction properties, as well as insulation from

heat; and the aesthetic allure of its brightness and fire.

       The next several chapters deal with each of the six‘Cs’ and two ‘Ts’. Chapter 3 covers carat weight and includes a useful table compiled by the Gemological Institute of America displaying corresponding weights and diameters of well-cut round-brilliant diamonds. A chapter on shape and cutting style describes these aspects and explains branded and non-traditional diamond cuts, accompanied by photos of examples.

       Excellent images also help illustrate an extended discussion on how shape affects price. Chapter 5 deals with colour, with revised text and new photos. It includes the effect of fluorescence on colour and price, the subjectivity of diamond colour grades, fancy-colour diamonds and treatments that affect colour. An updated table provides recently realized auction prices. The following chapter, on cut quality, explains how to judge the quality of cut for fancy-shape diamonds as well as round-brilliant cuts. It includes what to look for in face-up and profile views, with new  photos that demonstrate specific examples. Next comes a chapter on how to evaluate clarity and transparency, with photos illustrating how to search for inclusions, graining, surface features and more. Lighting, magnification, positioning and focus can all affect success in locating inclusions and other features. Photos also illustrate differences in transparency

       Chapter 8 focuses on synthetic diamonds, reviews various growth methods, and discusses the benefits of both laboratory-grown and natural diamonds. A section on how to detect synthetic diamonds lists the basic gemmological tests that are currently available. All-new photographs help make this chapter current.

       The following chapter on diamond imitations is very helpful, with tips on how to spot simulants using a little observation, without expensive tools or equipment. A separate section deals with synthetic moissanite, warning that it can show up as ‘diamond’ on a thermal tester. Some of the newer synthetic moissanites even fool moissanite detectors. A chapter on diamond treatment covers all the important types: laser drilling, fracture filling, coatings and irradiation with heat, along with descriptions of low-pressure, high-temperature (LPHT) treatment and high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) treatment. It also includes a new section on the factors involved in pricing colour-enhanced diamonds, accompanied by new colour photos.

       A new chapter on diamond-grading reports helps the reader know what to look for on a report, but with a warning that not all grading labs are equal. A chapter on gold, platinum and palladium helps the consumer decide on the characteristics they prefer in their setting, accompanied by terminology pertaining to precious metals. A well-organised chart contrasts white gold with platinum. The benefits and cautions of 14-ct vs. 18-ct gold are compared, as are the pros and cons of the different metals. The metalworking procedure of Japanese origin known as mokume gane is also profiled.

       A new chapter on silver has been added, explaining its history and standards. It includes a review of various brand names of silver that have been treated with anti-tarnish alloys such as those containing copper or germanium. Another new chapter covers alternative metals, which are quickly finding acceptance on the marketplace. Short descriptions of each metal are accompanied by a discussion of their advantages and disadvantages, including stainless steel, tungsten, tungsten carbide, titanium, cobalt-chrome and tantalum.

       A chapter on setting styles describes popular mounting techniques, including prong, channel, bezel, bead, pave, flush and bar settings, along with invisible setting, a method of displaying stones without visible metal support. Situations reveal which mountings might be best for people with different wearing needs. New to this edition is a section with tips on what to look for in a well-made, secure setting. Selecting a ring style is also a personal choice, but the author poses practical questions to consider when choosing such a significant piece of jewellery. Many new photos are featured in this chapter.

       The next chapter covers how to clean and store a diamond, along with how to prevent it from being ‘switched’. The latter entails knowing your diamond’s unique characteristics and establishing a long-term relationship with your jeweller. The book concludes with a chapter that gives shopping pointers, followed by a new section on the chemical, physical and optical properties of diamond and a thorough bibliography.

       This book can be used by consumers who are not necessarily interested in becoming diamond experts, but who want to feel more informed about the material and the industry in general when considering a purchase. The book is also a helpful sales tool for those in the retail jewellery industry. It outlines what a consumer should know and what information a salesperson should be responsible for. An amazing amount of excellent information has been packed into this portable paperback that can accompany the prospective buyer to the jewellery store or sales office. The numerous updated photographs help illustrate current styles, and the streamlined text addresses commonly asked questions and concerns.

     Jo Ellen Cole, Journal of Gemmology

"I just finished reading your new work in detail. It is remarkable to see your capacity for integrating new information, clearly and seamlessly, into the body of your discourse. This means that your revised editions actually feel like entirely new books, as if you had just conceived them.

       I always admire the clarity with which you present things like diamond treatments. nobody else has ever done this! Very refreshing, and should not ever be considered a threat by the industry.  Consumers, once in possession of the facts, will be less, not more, fearful of being abused. Congratulations."   

   Eve Alfillé at Eve Alfillé Gallery

Reviews of previous editions

Want to feel truly confident in the jewelry store? Read this book [Diamond Ring Buying Guide] by an industry insider, which will teach you how to judge a quality diamond. What We Love: The seriously savvy shopping tips (like how to tell whether you’ve got an honest salesperson) and the massive color photos that reveal what diamonds look like under a loupe.

    Brides magazine

"An entire course on judging diamonds in 155 pages of well-organized information. This book could be used as a training manual for sales staff, or as a gift for those favored and inquisitive customers. For the consumer, the book serves as a checklist for the purchase, mounting and care of a diamond. The photos are excellent and there are plenty of uncomplicated illustrations to drive home the verbal points... another fine update in a series of books that are useful to both the jewelry industry and consumers."

    Gems and Gemology, reviewed by Gail Brett Levine, publisher, Auction Market Resource.

"Filled with useful information, drawings, pictures, and short quizzes...presents helpful suggestions on detecting diamond imitations, in addition to well-though-out discussions of diamond cutting, and how the various factors can influence value...a very readable way for the first-time diamond buyer to get acquainted with the often intimidating subject of purchasing a diamond."

    Stephen C. Hofer, President, Colored Diamond Laboratory Services, Jewelers' 

    Circular Keystone

"Will definitely help consumers...Written in a popular style with lots of personalized examples, the book should be easy reading for the young people who are thinking about their first diamond purchases."

    Lapidary Journal

"Useful, informative and pleasing...The Sixth Edition of the Diamond Ring Buying Guide is a significant improvement over the Fifth Edition, and it continues to be an excellent reference book—good value for both the serious diamond shopper and the diamond and diamond jewellery enthusiast."

    Peter Perrin, PhD, Canadian Gemmologist

"Expanded in both content and quality and number of illustrations to cover the significant changes that have occurred in diamond technology and the diamond ring industry over the last five years...This 6th edition still represents excellent value for money, and it is a very useful guide for those interested in purchasing a diamond ring. Gemmologists will find the information contained in this buyers guide up-to-date, accurate, and well presented."

    Australian Gemmologist

"A wealth of information...delves into the intricacies of shape, carat weight, color, clarity, setting style, and cut—keeping explanations streamlined enough so even the first-time diamond buyer can confidently choose a gem."


"Fact-filled, succinctly written...There’s no doubt this guide is a valuable asset to the retail jewelry buyer. Sellers concerned about shoddy competitors" might do themselves a favor by making this book available to those clients who are eager to find that optimum blend of value, quality and service. This is a definite thumbs up!"

    C.R. Beesley, President, American Gemological Laboratories.


 Table of Contents:


  1. Diamond Price Factors
      Why the 4 C’s is not an Adequate Pricing System
      Price Factors Explained

  2. Why Diamonds are so Prized 
      Diamond’s Remarkable Properties

  3. Carat Weight
      Effect of Carat Weight on Price
      Estimating Carat Weight
      Size Versus Carat Weight
      Chapter 3 Quiz (Carat Weight)

  4. Shape & Cutting Style
      Diamond Terms Defined
      Cutting Styles
      Non-traditional and Branded Cuts
      The Effect of Shape & Cutting Style on Diamond Prices
      Judging Shape
      What Shape is Best for You?
      Chapter 4 Quiz (Shape & Cutting Style)

  5. Diamond Color
      How to Grade Color
      How Objective are Color Grades?
      Diamond Fluorescence
      Fancy Colored Diamonds
      Diamond Color Treatments
      Chapter 5 Quiz (Judging Color)

  6. Judging Cut Quality
      Judging the Face-Up View
      Judging the Profile
      "Ideal-Cut" Diamonds
      Additional Cut Grading Terminology
      Judging Cut with the Eye Instead of with Numbers
      Chapter 6 Quiz (Judging Cut)
  7. Judging Clarity & Transparency
      Examining Diamonds for Clarity
      Diamond Inclusions
      Clarity Grading Explained
      How Lighting Can Affect Your Perception of Clarity
      Judging Transparency
      Chapter 7 Quiz (Judging Clarity)

  8. Lab-grown Diamonds
      HPHT-Grown Versus CVD-Grown Diamonds
      Benefits of Lab-Grown Diamonds
      Benefits of Natural Diamonds
      Detecting Lab-Grown Diamonds

  9. Diamond or Imitation?
      Detecting Transparent Diamond Imitations

10. Diamond Treatments
      Fracture Filling
      Detecting Fracture Fillings
      Laser Drilling
      Irradiation + Heating (Annealing)
      Low Pressure High Temperature (LPHT) Treatment
      High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) Treatment
      Pricing of Color Enhanced Diamonds

11. Diamond Grading Reports
      What to Look for in a Diamond Grading Report

12. Gold, Platinum & Palladium
      How Precious Metal Prices Fluctuate
      Which is Better—14K or 18K Gold?
      Platinum Contend & Notation
      Platinum and Palladium Versus White Gold Jewelry
      Chapter 12 Quiz (Gold, Platinum & Palladium)

13. Silver
      Avoiding Silver Tarnish

14. Alternative Metals

15. Choosing an Appropriate Setting Style
      Jewelers’ Tips on Selecting a Secure Setting

16. Choosing a Diamond Ring
      The Significance of the Diamond Ring
      Choosing a Ring Style
      Factors Affecting the Cost of Mountings
      Tips on Buying Custom-Made Rings

17. How to Care For and Protect Your Diamond Ring
      Cleaning Your Diamond Ring
      Preventing Your Diamonds From Being Switched

18. Tips on Smart Buying
      Ten Ways to Save Money on Diamonds
      Additional Shopping Pointers

 Chemical, Physical & Optical Characteristics of Diamonds




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