Recently Joe asked me; Would making a ring in 18k over 14k increase the strength and durability of the band? and then referred to something called moisanite. Here is my reply.
Thank you for your questions. I will answer your questions according to my knowledge and expertise.
Before doing so I will compare this knowledge ignorance issue to the medical field.
Lets say you have a rare heart condition. Who would you seek out to get the best help? Your general practitioner who got the basic and bare minimum training to become a doctor who can then prescribe medicine, or the world’s leading authority on heart disease and abnormalities who not only knows what the general practitioner knows but also the additional years of study, training, research and developments that gave him his specialized knowledge? Since he has specialized knowledge does this make him ignorant regarding general medical practice? No I think his specialized additional training makes him even more acute as a general practitioner. Yet with his extra training he qualifies for higher pay so he uses his expertise in a specialized medical practice that rewards him for his extra training. Thereby he becomes your specialized general practitioner, and even your regular practitioner concedes to his advice in your case.
Just as the heart surgeon I not only have specialized training, I have also all the other training regarding the general manufacturing of all kinds of jewellery in all kinds of settings. After completing the mandatory 4 year apprenticeship to become a qualified Goldsmith I then completed another two year apprenticeship under the tutorship of one of the best stone setters in the world who was self taught and who’s services were the most sought after in Vancouver British Columbia at the time when Vancouver was home to some of the most expert and talented hand fabricating jewellery designers/craftsman who influenced the much of the jewellery design trends of high end designer jewellery and consequently then copied by mass production enterprises from the 1950’s to the present.
During this time I studied diamond grading and geology to give me additional knowledge to help me in my profession.
To complete my doctorate studies my thesis was inadvertently on developing the best precious metal alloys to be used for creating the jewellery that wanted to make.
Early in my apprenticeship I sought every opportunity to gain experience in hand fabricating techniques as this made the most superior quality and the most durable jewellery. Extensive knowledge and experience in this field is very rare in any one person or company in the world. In the beginning I offered to every client the choice of having their designs made with the lost wax casting method or having it hand fabricated. Increasingly my clients would opt to have their jewellery hand fabricated to the point that it was not long before I entirely eliminated the lost wax casting method in the creation of any of my jewellery. I consciously chose to eliminate LWCM so I could devote all my time to developing my repertoire of hand fabricating techniques that could be used to develop unique and durable designs. I have now nearly four decades of jewellery making experience coupled with general and specialized training, research and development into products and services that are second to none.
How can my qualifications help you?
What difference does my knowledge make to you?
Do you really want to know the truth regarding your questions?
If you do here is the truth.
What effects the durability of precious metal jewellery?
To answer this question to it’s most revealing level would require the divulgence of proprietary secret information that has come from my own private research and development so I will answer this question as well as I can without revealing this proprietary information.
The simplest answer is that what makes precious metals so durable is their powerful molecular bond, (which requires very strong acids to separate them from each other which are used in the refining process and then those individual molecules still exist suspended in the acids and all other impurities dissolved leaving only the precious metal behind.
In order of the strongest molecular bond first are the precious metals that I use to create my individual alloys.
When these alloys are used in different combinations to create different jewellery alloys the integrity of the strong molecular bonds are maintained.
An example of how this molecular bond works is in the example of stretching a one ounce bar of 24 karat 99.99 pure gold one mile long as thin as a humane hair without breaking.
The following additional metals are in general use in the manufacturing of jewellery especially in the mass production and lost wax casting method.
The alloys used in the lost wax casting method are formulated so that the metal will flow most successfully into and fill the tiniest crevices of the jewellery mold.
The durability of this kind of jewellery is very well influenced by the purity of the metal. The alloys used are generally 19k, 18k, 14k, 10k and 9k golds, the most durable being also in that order. The most widely used Platinum alloy in this process is 950 Platinum with 5% Cobalt. The main purpose of the above alloys is to expedite the manufacturing process.
How does this molecular bond made manifest in the daily wear of fine jewellery?
First lets define some of the most common terms used in describing the durability of jewellery. Please refer to the attached image.
Furthermore the jewelry that I make from the 18k gold and the platinum alloys that I use that I have formulated combined with hand fabricating makes my jewelry ten times more durable than similar commercially available alloys used in the same hand fabricating techniques. I have used commercially available 18k gold alloys but they could not hold up to successfully completion of the jewelry I was making. This concludes my discussion regarding jewellery metal alloys and their durability for now.
Now on to Gems.
Is used as a cheaper substitute for diamonds.
Substitutes for diamonds are in quite a high demand as the diamond industry, as is much of the jewelry industry is riddled with cheap inferior quality materials along with rampant misrepresentation as the norm, with lies covering more lies and lies being passed off as subjective opinions.
As a result of the above noted situation, most diamonds on the market are easily and successfully substituted with imitations. The reason for this is that the value of the material of the imitations is almost nothing so cutting the material to optimum proportions does not cut into the cutters profits. So most imitations look better than most natural commercial cut diamonds. This fact has been brought home to me so many times by people who think they know diamonds and commenting that the stones that I had on display were not diamonds as they were too bright and had a rainbow of colours coming from them.
Well this is sadly very true as most diamonds are not cut to their ideal proportions as doing so directly cuts into the profits of the cutter.
Diamonds are priced according to what the rough will yield in an ideal cut modern round brilliant, with the only exception being the marquise cut. So any variation on the cutting the diamond cutter can do increases the carat weight of the polished diamond adds to his profits.
In addition The Gemological Society of America has development of the 4 C’s grading system widely used and abused throughout the world and is used and abused extensively now by almost every diamond cutter to maximize their profits. This is how that works.
On completion of the diamond cutting the cutter sends the specific diamond to a specific diamond grading laboratory that is known to grade the specific diamond in a specific way or bias thus maximizing his potential profits.
Now the diamond cutter has a vast inventory of many different sizes, shapes and qualities of diamonds with certificates from many different diamond grading laboratories implementing the same grading system developed by GIA according to each individual laboratories interpretation and standards to the satisfaction of the cutter.
The distribution of these diamonds happens in several different ways.
First choice of the fresh new stock of cut diamonds goes to the most discriminating buyers such as my preferred supplier. He examines the diamonds and rejects over 90% of the diamond he looks at.
Why are so many rejected?
They are rejected mainly due to misrepresentation! Either on a certificate from one of the diamond grading laboratories or verbally or both. The other is that the diamonds are just not cut good enough to do what a good cut diamond is supposed to do.
Where do the rejected diamonds go?
In most industries rejected products are sold as factory seconds at such places as factory outlet stores and other discount stores, ebay and other internet merchants.
So it is with diamonds, the diamonds that are rejected by the most discriminating buyers are bought up in the lower qualities by the chain stores and big box names. The rest are kept in the cutters inventory and the certificates are electronically distributed to internet sellers such as Blue Nile and various merchants on eBay.
What are you acrually getting from Blue Nile and the other internet sellers selling from certificates?
At very best you can get an Ideal cut diamond meaning an AGS cert triple 0 cut grade or a GIA triple excellent with the colour and clarity being subjectively off by one grade each.
You can be quite certain that the colour and clarity grading will be subjectively off on all the diamonds being sold through these means as these diamonds will have already been purchased by ethical suppliers and therefor are not available to these internet sellers. So in one way or another the diamonds sold by Blue Nile and other internet sellers are indeed factory seconds when compared to the diamonds that I sell.
One example of these factory seconds (the variables are endless enough to confuse anybody) is laser drilled clarity enhancement. The clarity grade is clearly stated with out direct reference that that clarity grade was achieved through laser drilling to remove a more sightly inclusion and then filled with polymer (which if heated will destroy the diamond, goldsmith beware) until further down the certificate as an after though, but of course is offered to you in no uncertain terms that the diamond comes with a certificate certifying the clarity grade. Of course the buyer is so pleased to find such a well priced diamond. Laser drilling changes an imperfect clarity grade to subjectively again to a VS clarity grade.
I have seen many ambiguous terms used in describing man made diamonds. (Yes man made diamonds exist and I can supply them in certain varieties.) I have read many internet man made diamond listings and the terms have been so ambiguous that no matter how far I could read and research the offering to come to any conclusion as to what the material actually was that they were selling.
I hope I am clear enough that you understand that when you ask for the most durable and stunning real diamond jewelry that is what you are getting. All the jewelry that I have made in my career to these standards has never needed any restoration work done to them due to premature wear. So as to how long they will last I don’t know. I will not live long enough nor will you to necessitate this restoration service.