*A Guest Blog by Irv Spivak, former ambassador for Simayof & current Director of Business Development at Inc. Business Owners Council
The first thing you need to know about diamonds is that they aren’t just for dress up anymore! One can wear his or her diamonds out for an evening soiree or dress them down with jeans for a supermarket run or a coffee date. They are the most versatile stone, taking on the colors of whatever you are wearing and always making you look your best at any time of the day. Union Square is filled with options for purchasing an elegant diamond you can wear on many occasions, depending on your taste and preferences. For a high-end, luxury selection of diamonds (including rare colored diamonds) you can stop by Tiffany & Co., Simayof, De Beers, Bulgari, Shreve & Co. or the new Graff Diamonds. For a more casual experience and selection, you might try Manika Jewelry on Maiden lane or the new Gallery of Jewels.
Lately, many first-time diamond buyers have been asking me about synthetic diamonds. These are pieces of carbon that have been artificially created in a laboratory and are less costly than their real counterparts. It seems that they are not as popular as many thought they would be. There are a couple of reasons for this – one is that they aren’t that much less expensive than the real thing and more importantly, unlike a real diamond, they are perfect. So what’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, are you perfect? Is anybody? With a real diamond, you will always be able to identify yours by its subtle imperfections. These endear them to us, just as the imperfections of our loved ones make them all the more appealing.
I also get many questions about “Blood Diamonds” or as we call them in our industry: “Conflict Diamonds”. While there are definite moral issues associated with buying a diamond, Hollywood has a way of exaggerating facts in order to make a more exciting film. In fact, De Beers, the largest diamond company in the world, recently signed the International Kimberley Process Treaty, agreeing to not buy diamonds that come from areas of conflict. In the United States we have an additional protection against diamonds that are mined by slave labor under terrible conditions and usually at the point of a gun. We are only allowed to import certified diamonds from reputable companies who are also signatories to that treaty. In short, I would have to say that very few diamonds in this country are smuggled in from areas of conflict. So, if you’re buying from a reputable jeweler, you are most likely getting a conflict-free diamond.
Once you have settled these issues, it will be up to you and your jeweler to choose the right diamond for your needs, personality and style. There are wide varieties of cuts and settings that can be tailored to your taste. Be sure to test out your diamond in natural and indoor light and feel out whether it truly reflects your preferences before making a commitment – after all, it will last a lifetime if cared for properly. After you have purchased your diamond, keep it clean and shining by soaking it in jewelry cleaner or any good household cleaner periodically. For many women and men, that seems to be enough, but I believe there should be one more step to really kick up the brilliance of a diamond. I am referring to a good steaming. Yes, that’s right; you just take a pair of tweezers, hold the piece firmly between the tongs and then place it in the stream created by a steam kettle for a few seconds on all angles. It will glitter and sparkle like a star! Lastly, be sure to have your diamond re-appraised every so often (the building at 210 Post St. is filled with reputable appraisers), so you can cover it with insurance and be aware of its changing value.
I end with this bit of advice – wear your diamonds as often as you like, because, as a wise, elderly diamond-lover once told me: “Young man, every day is special!”