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Frequently Ask Questions

Are your diamonds clarity enhanced or laser drilled?

No. In fact, GIA will not certify a diamond that has been clarity enhanced or laser drilled, and EGL will make specific comments regarding the procedure in the "comments" section of the certificate.   ShopADF does not believe in clarity enhancement. The reason we consider most clarity enhancement of diamonds to be bad, is that it is done by filling in surface cracks and fissures. If this could be done with diamond, by vapour deposition, then it would be almost imperceptible, undetectable, irreversible and stable, in which case, we would consider it as quite acceptable, but probably subject to disclosure rules. However, the filling material is not diamond, but usually a type of heavy glass. While we accept the arguments of those who carry out clarity enhancement, and those who actively market such stones, most of whom are probably quite honest, we believe that downstream from these reputable dealers, there are many people who would think nothing of failing to disclose the fact that the stone was enhanced, and we believe such failure to disclose to be fraudulent. If the carat weight of the diamond formed an important part of the contract, then because some of the weight would be non-diamond material, then any weight stated or estimated would be incorrect, having been artificially increased. Our other main objection is that the filling material has a much lower tolerance of high temperatures than diamond, so that when repair work is needed on fracture filled stones, the filling is very likely crack or melt, leaving the diamond's owner and the workshop in a difficult position, and neither with any recourse unless the original vendor or enhancer can be found, and is prepared to rectify the problem.

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What is a certificate?

A certificate is a diamond grading report issued by an independent laboratory, detailing the diamond's weight, dimensions, color, clarity and cut. At American Diamonds, all loose diamonds are accompanied by reports issued by the Gem Trade Lab of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL). The GIA and EGL, whose standards are the strictest in the diamond industry, are the undisputed international authorities on diamond grading and gem identification. The GIA issues a Diamond Grading Report or Diamond Dossier. The EGL calls their report a Diamond Certificate.

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What is your policy on conflict diamonds?

American Diamonds Forever is in strict compliance with the United Nations Kimberely Process – this assures that conflict diamonds cannot come into the U.S. The diamonds we sell have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict diamonds and in compliance with the United Nations resolutions. American Diamonds hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds. All of our diamonds are purchased from DeBeer’s DTC Sightholders.

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What is fluorescence, and how does it affect a diamond?

Fluorescence is an emission of light from within a diamond and can occur naturally. To detect it a "black" or UV (ultraviolet) light must be used. Yellow fluorescence and in some cases strong blue fluorescence may make a diamond appear cloudy or milky, even under daylight. In "lower" colors (I and below) some blue fluorescence may help the diamond to appear whiter than it technically is. Fluorescence information is always available on the certificate.

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What is an appraisal and how does it differ from a grading report certificate?

An appraisal is a document that contains all the pertinent information about a diamond with respect to the Four Cs, but differs from a grading report in that it also includes its estimated retail or replacement value. An appraisal is required by insurance companies since the Grading Report Certificate or Diamond Quality Document does not indicate price or value. The GIA and EGL never suggest a retail value, nor do they grade mounted diamonds. If the diamond is set in jewelry, the appraisal also describes the precious metal that is used in the mounting.

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What is the difference between the grading reports issued by the GIA and the EGL?

The GIA Diamond Grading Report and Diamond Dossier detail all the individual characteristics of the diamond commonly known as the Four Cs. The Diamond Grading Report includes a diagram of the diamond indicating the type, size and location of distinguishing marks that determine its clarity grade. The Diamond Dossier, which is issued for diamonds weighing under 1 carat, does not include a diagram, but does include a laser inscription registry, which notes the unique GIA report number that has been laser inscribed onto the diamond.

The Gemological Institute of America founded by Robert M. Shipley, is a recognized industry authority for grading diamonds and gemstones. In 1953, Richard T. Liddicoat created and introduced the international Diamond Grading system. Primarily an independent nonprofit organization GIA is well known as an authority in gemology. Recently relocated from Santa Monica, Ca into a new facility in Carlsbad , CA.

The west coast laboratory is located at:
5355 Armada Dr. Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008

The east coast laboratory is located at:
580 Fifth Ave. Suite 200
New York, NY 10035

GIA Certification Example

The Diamond Certificate, issued by the European Gemological Laboratory, details the same variables that make up the Four Cs as the GIA. The diamond certificate records all the relevant information pertaining to the diamond, including carat weight, colour grade, clarity grade, measurements and physical properties as well as plotting diagrams.

The European Gemological Laboratory is a recognized industry authority for grading diamonds and gemstones. It is an independent gemological laboratory. The EGL-USA mission Statement embodies EGL goals:

"As a global gemological institution, EGL has a sacred trust. Our goal is to ensure this by protecting the integrity of the jewelry trade and the public's interest through applied science, innovation, education and exceptional service."

First established in 1974 with offices in:
E.G.L. Belgium, 15 Schupstraat, ANTWERP, 2018, (32)323 32458

E.G.L. Korea, 305, On Young Bldg. 19-1, Bongik-Dong,
Chongro-Ru, Seoul 110-390 KOREA (82)2747 2045

E.G.L. Great Britain, 83 Clerkenwell Rd. Suite 209, LONDON EC 1R, (44)1

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How can I authenticate my diamond?

We can send out your diamond to the GIA or EGL to get it authenticated. This is a detailed analysis of your diamond from the industry's most reputable leader in diamond grading.

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What is the Rappaport Diamond Report?

Since the 1970's, Martin Rappaport has published the Rappaport Diamond Report for the diamond and jewelry trade. Today it is considered the primary source of diamond price information and is used in diamond markets world-wide as the basis for establishing inter-dealer prices. It provides invaluable information for trading stones effectively and profitably. Once the diamond's 4C's are established, the price sheet serves as a starting point for negotiations and as a basis for establishing the diamond's value. Obviously the closer to the source (diamond manufacturer, diamond wholesaler, diamond retailer, jewelry wholesaler, jewelry store, final customer) the better your price compared to the Rappaport List will be. For example a diamond wholesaler might pay 30% back of the Rappaport List while a jewelry store might pay 20% below the Rappaport price list and the final customer will probably pay very close to the full price. This is called the diamond pipeline. American Diamonds Forever has virtually eliminated this pipeline by manufacturing all its own diamonds then selling via the Internet directly to the final customer.

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What is De Beers?

De Beers SA is the Luxembourg-based holding company of the De Beers Group (“De Beers”), which was established in 1888 in South Africa. De Beers is the largest rough diamond supplier in the world with an annual turnover of around US$ 7 billion in 2004 (approximately € 5.6 billion).

In addition to its wholly-owned diamond mines in South Africa, De Beers has entered into production joint-ventures with the governments of Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. It has interests in operations throughout the world in relation to diamond exploration, mining, recovery, valuation, marketing, trading, cutting and polishing of rough diamonds and jewellery sales, covering in effect the entire diamond pipeline from the mine to the consumer.
Through the London-based Diamond Trading Company (“DTC”), De Beers sorts, values and currently retails more than half of the world's annual supply of rough diamonds.

Throughout most of the last century, De Beers was considered the “custodian” of the diamond market. Its position during that period, according to De Beers, enabled it “to co-ordinate and regulate the supply of diamonds in pursuit of price stability and consumer confidence.”

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What is De Beers’ “Supplier of Choice” about?

Supplier of Choice (“SOC”) is De Beers’ system for distributing rough diamonds that was put in place in 2003 following a clearance by the Commission (see IP/03/64). SOC limits supplies of rough diamonds by De Beers to a number of selected customers, the so-called “sightholders”. The system provides amongst others for procedures and criteria for selection of “sightholders” and allocation of rough diamond supplies to “sightholders” and other rules governing the supply relationships. It also introduces an Ombudsman, whose role is to oversee the proper implementation of SOC rules on selection and allocation.

The Commission has received several complaints alleging that SOC violates Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty on restrictive business practices and abuse of a dominant market position. The Commission’s investigation of these complaints is ongoing.

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Does American Diamonds Forever maintain its own inventory?

Yes! We sell diamonds from our own inventory. We do not list "virtual" stones, or act as an intermediary between you and another diamond company. Our inventory is always changing, and this is the reason for our "Request a Diamond" system. You tell us what you would like, and we will respond with information about the diamonds we have which most closely match your request.

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How long have you been in business?

American Diamonds Forever is located in the heart of the diamond district in downtown Chicago. We have been doing business in Chicago’s diamond district since 1984.

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Is buying online with my credit card safe?

Purchasing online with your credit card is extremely convenient and very safe. American Diamonds uses a Secure Commerce Server which works with Netscape & Internet Explorer Web browsers to encrypt credit card information as it is sent to our secure database. If you see the blue key or a closed lock at the bottom of your screen, you can order with complete confidence. Your purchase online is secure.

Despite concerns about using credit cards over the Internet, there have been no actual reports of credit card information being stolen online. In fact, with the use of encryption, your credit information is much safer than if your credit card leaves your possession, such as in a restaurant or at a gasoline station.

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How much do you charge for shipping?

Your diamond will be insured and shipped by USPS, free of charge, within the USA. Shipping notification will be automatically forwarded to you via email once your order has been placed. Registered mail is available as well upon request.

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Do you charge sales tax?

Unless your order is shipped to an Illinois address, we do not collect sales tax. Like any other mail order company, we are only obligated to collect sales tax for the state where we have a location. We are confident that you will voluntarily pay the appropriate sales tax to your state government if due.

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How do you ship, and how quickly?

We normally send in stock items within 5 business days. All other custom orders will take up to three weeks. We ship via USPS with insurance, and shipping/handling is free.

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How do I ship back to you?

Ship only via USPS Registered Mail w/ insurance. This is the safest and best way to send. Send all returns to the attention of Customer Service Department, SHOPADF.

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Do you set the diamonds, and can you size the rings?

If you purchase the diamond and ring from us, the setting and size specifications are done by us at no charge.

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Should you ask your fiance-to-be to go ring shopping with you?

Whether you take your fiancé to be ring shopping with you will depend on a number of factors, the first and foremost being does your fiancé know that you’re planning on marrying her. If you two have talked about marriage and she knows that you are planning to tie the knot, you should ask her if she wants to go ring shopping with you or if she would rather you surprise her.

If your fiancé doesn’t know that you’re planning on asking the question, asking her if she wants to go ring shopping will ruin the surprise, unless that’s how you want to propose to her.

If you know that your fiancé-to-be is very hard to shop for, you may want to suggest to her that she go ring shopping with you. This is a piece of jewelry that she’s going to be wearing for the rest of her life, so you want to make sure it’s something that she absolutely loves.

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Why do some rings cause some people to have allergic reactions?

The reason the ring you’re wearing is causing your skin to have a reaction is probably due to the alloys used when the ring was made. If the alloys in the ring aren’t hypoallergenic and you have sensitive skin, your ring will cause your skin to have an allergic reaction to the metals in the ring.

In order to avoid your skin having an allergic reaction, it’s important to buy jewelry that’s hypoallergenic and it’s important to buy jewelry that’s well made and of good quality. 14k gold and higher, platinum and titanium usually will not cause reactions when worn.

If you do find a ring that you absolutely love and you’re afraid it will cause a reaction, buy some clear nail polish and coat the inside of the band with the nail polish. This will help to prevent the alloys in the ring from coming into contact with your skin and will help prevent an allergic reaction.

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What should you look for when buying a diamond?

When shopping for a diamond, you should look for cut, color, clarity, carat weight, sparkle and fire.

The cut of a diamond, otherwise known as the shape, does not really affect the value of the diamond unless there are flaws in the cut. Whether you choose an emerald cut, a brilliant cut, a marquis cut or a pear cut is really up to your personal preferences.

The color of a diamond does affect its value. You should look for a colorless diamond if possible. Champagne diamonds, or diamonds that have a yellowish color are less valuable than diamonds that are clear or white.

The carat weight definitely affects the value of a stone. How much you spend on a diamond will be greatly determined by its carat weight. The average carat weight of an engagement ring is between ½ to 1 carat.

Sparkle and fire are also important characteristics and the more sparkle and fire a diamond has, the more a jeweler will be able to charge for it.

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Can you buy an engagement ring online?

Yes, you can definitely buy an engagement ring online. In fact, more and more people are doing just that each and every day. The trick is to make sure that you purchase from a reputable jewelry store or auction seller and that you make sure you know the cut, color and clarity of the ring before you purchase it.

Any reputable online seller, whether it be a store, an auction site or an individual, should have no problem letting you know the cut, color and clarity of the ring before you make the commitment to purchase the ring. Also make sure that they offer a money-back guarantee. If they’re not willing to guarantee such an expensive item, you should look elsewhere to purchase it.

Also make sure that you have the package insured when it is shipped or you might take a severe financial loss if the ring gets damaged during transit.

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What are the different birthstones?

Each month of the year has its own birthstone. Below is the list of birthstones for each individual month.

January's birthstone is the garnet. The garnet is said to bring friendship and loyalty.

February's birthstone is the amethyst. It is said to bring peace of mind.

March's birthstone is the aquamarine. It is said to protect health.

April's birthstone is the diamond. It is said to strengthen body and soul.

May's birthstone is the emerald. It is said to help tell the future.

June's birthstone is the pearl. Pearls are said to be aphrodisiacs.

July's birthstone is the ruby. It is said to bring love.

August's birthstone is the peridot. Peridot is believed to help bring divine inspiration.

September's birthstone is the sapphire. Sapphire is said to relax and soothe the mind.

October's birthstone is the opal. Opal sharpens emotions.

November's birthstone is the citrine. It is said to make its wearer lighthearted.

December's birthstone is the blue topaz. It is said to bring patience.

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What are the four C's that are referred to when shopping for diamonds?

The four C’s that are referred to when shopping for diamonds stand for cut, color, clarity and carat weight. These are the factors that every diamond is judged by, and if you’re purchasing a diamond it’s best that you understand what each “C” stands for.

The cut of a diamond is how the diamond is shaped. There are four main cuts when it comes to diamonds. These include the princess cut, the brilliant cut, the marquis cut, and the pear cut. There are also hearts, stars and other cuts that are available on the market.

There are a number of different grades of color for diamonds and they are rated on a scale from D to Z, with D being the best and most rare of diamond colors.

The clarity of a diamond indicates whether or not the diamond has any flaws, and if so, how many flaws are visible to both the naked eye and under a jeweler’s loop.

The carat of a diamond determines how big the diamond is. For instance, a quarter of a carat diamond is smaller than a 1 carat diamond.

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How can you tell whether a diamond is real?

Assuming the diamond is yours, the traditional way is to try to cut glass with it, although this is not recommended, as it may damage the setting. The easiest way is simply to walk into any jewelry store that buys jewelry (many do) and tell them you're thinking of selling it. They will pull out a jeweler's loup, examine the stone and size it in about two minutes. If the stone is a fake, they'll tell you instantly. Just be aware that if the stone is genuine, the price they quote will be about half what you originally paid for the new ring.

If you're buying a stone from a reputable source, it should come with certification papers and you can have it appraised by another jeweler, as well. Most stores allow you to return the diamond within 3-7 days for a full refund.

If you're speculating about someone else's ring, it's difficult to impossible to be sure. Cubic Zirconias and other fakes look so convincing that people couldn't tell if Paris Hilton's megawatt stone was real or not. I'd try to judge by the person's general socioeconomic status. Someone who buys their clothes at Walmart is unlikely to be sporting a genuine five-caret stone. Celebrities and the wealthy DO wear fakes from time to time, especially to prevent theft if traveling. (If the diamond is not yours, a second question might be, why do you care if it's real?)

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What's the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding band?

An engagement ring has traditionally been given as a symbol of a man’s intent to marry a woman. When the man proposes to the woman, the engagement ring is presented. The way it is presented may vary, but it is always presented when the question is asked. If the woman accepts the proposal, the engagement ring is worn throughout the engagement as a sign that she is no longer “available” for courtship.

Traditionally, the engagement ring is a gold or platinum band with a solitaire diamond atop it, however, it is not uncommon to see people using other types of rings or stones for their engagement ring.

The wedding ring is the ring that is given to the bride (and one also to the groom) at the wedding ceremony. The wedding rings signify the eternal bond and sanctity of marriage. The wedding ring is usually a single band without any seam, although many wedding bands are decorated with stones or intricate designs.

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