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 Post subject: Backing yellow diamonds w/ gold
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:24 am 
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I would like to know exactly how common this practice is. I have been in the industry for about 5 years, have worked in both commercial and high-end retail markets (at least, I thought it was high-end) and until recently have only seen this in samples and thought it was just because the samples had CZ's in them. I recently started working in a new store and the vast majority of their yellow, and other colored diamonds, are set this way (they design and manufacture most of their own products). I had a discussion with my new boss about this and told him I feel the same way about this as I do coated topaz: if the customer is FULLY aware of what they are getting (a diamond that is not nearly as yellow as it appears) and also knows that we can get them a diamond (for a higher cost) that really IS that yellow, than I will sell the merchandise. He told me (get ready) that all the really high-end designers do this and it's because all yellow diamonds look white in daylight, so backing them in yellow gold makes them always look yellow. I am a G.G. and also was not born yesterday so I know the latter is BS, however I'm not sure about the former. I've seen a lot of colored diamonds set w/ yellow or pink gold prongs or bezels, but , as I said, only samples that have been backed. And, am I the only person that feels this is misleading?
Thank you in advance for your replies!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:28 am 
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By backed, do you mean a foil backing in yellow gold?
Or, do you mean the stones are set in yellow gold heads?

I haven't seen foil backed diamonds made to imitate fancy colors.

One sees foil backing frequently with rose-cut diamonds in both antique pieces and contemporary reproductions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:41 am 
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From the top you see a diamond that appears to be just bezel set, but from the underside you see what looks like a cup of yellow gold (not foil) covering the entire pavilion (there is a small hole at the bottom of the cup presumably to let in cleaning solution). I have seen antique and reproduction jewelry that has the foil or gold backed rose cuts and I love that style, but these are not made to look like reproductions and do not have any rose cut stones. Also, it is very hard to see the "cup" under the center stone due to the substantial scroll work that covers the undergallery. We also have a pendant with a large brown diamond that is backed by rose gold.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:48 am 
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Sounds like this is a clever attempt by certain manufacturers to create an illusion of more color.
Certainly, it is your choice as to whether you continue to buy products designed by this manufacturer.
I'd stop....if for no other reason than cleaning these diamonds in the future is going to be a horrible headache and dirty diamonds are never attractive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:26 am 
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That IS why they are doing it and since we are the manufacturer we cannot stop ordering from ourselves (unfortunately :) ). What I'm trying to find out is is this a common practice by high end designers as my boss has told me? I have not noticed this before but he says that since they want to be a high end line they are trying to do what other high end lines are doing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:31 am 
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Quote:
is is this a common practice by high end designers


No...although it is rather common to set, let's say, a pink diamond in rose gold, a yellow diamond in yellow gold, etc.....just like colorless diamonds are often set in white metal to make them appear "whiter" and larger....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:

I haven't seen foil backed diamonds made to imitate fancy colors.



'Bet you have... 8)

That's outrageous, but the practice not too exotic - just old.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:59 pm 
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Hi,

Your cup sounds a lot like mirroring to enhance a stone. Once an art, now frowned upon. http://www.langantiques.com/university/ ... hancements

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:22 am 
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Yes. This is the way every fancy yellow diamond I have seen is set. Do I think it is deceptive? Yes. That is why, when selling a fancy colored diamond, I prefer to only sell those that have a GIA Report stating "Natural" and with the color determination made while the diamond was LOOSE. It is very much like ancient foiling of a diamond. Benvenuto Cellini would be proud. Since the color of fancy diamonds is judged face-up (rather than through the side like non-fancy diamonds) is why so many fancy yellows are radient cuts; it intensifies the color. There was an article in G&G that talked about re-cutting a yellow diamond and getting a better fancy grade, i.e. removing material to intensify reflection and color. So...the fancy grade is not necessarily an aspect of the actual color of the material but of how it can be manipulated by cut, and when set, by the mounting.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:54 pm 
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"Richard": "Yes. This is the way every fancy yellow diamond I have seen is set."

How long have you been in retail? Do you work in a store that sells product from (mostly) one brand (Cartier, Tiffany, Yurman, ect)? Is it a single store or a large or small chain? Is your store in a large city or a rural setting? I'm wondering because I've worked in a few different cities (both US east coast and west coast) and, like I said, until now the only colored diamond rings I've seen that were backed, were either vendor samples or at this new store. Also, there seems to be a difference of opinion on whether this is the norm or not and I'm trying to figure out why.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:03 am 
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Hi tofeet. Me personally? 28 years retail, various situations: from Tiffany to Nieman Marcus to a shop in South Africa...and various different independants. Now?.. an independant in Texas. Our last larger sale was just shy of a quarter million; so we have some nice goods. We have six fancy yellows in the case at the moment; from $37K to $65K. Not all have the "cup"-like reflecting device but all at least have highly polished royal-gold under galleries and thick polished reflecting surfaces on the inside of the prongs. They have been graded before being mounted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:24 am 
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A properly cut round diamond would not reveal what is behind it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:46 am 
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william wrote:
A properly cut round diamond would not reveal what is behind it.


It was my understanding that many/most colored diamonds (of a size large enough to be "interesting" as more than accent stones) are NOT round brilliant cut.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:07 pm 
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william wrote:
A properly cut round diamond would not reveal what is behind it.


This is not entirely correct. Although a well cut round diamond will return nearly all light that enters the stone from the vertical axis, light from oblique angles is often transmitted. In fact, the only stones that transmit no light at all are foilbacks. A cuplike reflector behind the stone returns at least a bit of this and if the cup is colored it will impart some color to the stone.

I’m with Richard, I see this and things like it on mounted fancy colored diamonds fairly regularly.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Tofeet.....I've been in the business 21 years , and have been extensively involved in colored diamonds. I see yellow diamond rings with metal backings like you describe all of the time. It really is fairly common these days. I do not think that it is inherently wrong or deceptive to do this. I think the whole idea of designing a ring for a particular stone is to make the stone look as beautiful as possible. In saying that though, I think "intent" is the real issue here. If you are taking an XYZ colored diamond, setting it like that, and then offering it for sale as a fancy yellow, then that to me is fraud, or at the very least extremely deceptive. However, I have a fancy intense yellow 4 ct. round diamond (GIA graded as intense, and even, but it is not even) that I set with a yellow gold cone behind it because the round cut makes it look like uneven color to me. The metal behind the diamond evens the color dispersion and makes it look even more beautiful. In contrast, I have a 3ct. radiant that needs no help at all, and I would not dream of putting a backing behind it, although it is set in a yellow basket. I do see a lot of bluffy stones set this way to pass them off as something they are not, and that is a problem, but the practice of bringing out the beauty of the diamond should not be considered wrong or deceptive, in my humble opinion. Also, there should be considerable discussion between the jeweler and the customer on what exactly they are buying, and how it would look outside of the setting. If the jeweler explains what they did and why, than everyone should be happy. My suggestion to you ,tofeet, would be to find out as much as you can about what you are selling, and convey that to your customers. If you do that honestly, and the ring is beautiful, you should be able to make the sale, and keep your integrity at the same time...o)


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