While many jewelers emphasize the four Cs of diamonds — cut, color, clarity and carat — Jim Petterec believes in a fifth C: confidence.
As the owner of JP Jewelers in St. Charles, he says confidence stems from the relationship between a diamond expert and his or her customer.
And this holiday season, Petterec and other area jewelers are sharing their insights — and the hottest diamond trends — with shoppers.
Direct from Mother Nature
A rare gift option, the diamond has long been coveted for its durability and sparkle, says Petterec, who creates custom diamond jewelry in his downtown St. Charles store.
“The gemstone itself is the hardest mineral known to man, with the highest refractive index,” Petterec says. “In other words, it has the highest sparkle.”
Aside from its brilliant shine, the stone’s existence itself is rare, he says. When unearthed in mines, diamonds are typically less than one carat in weight, and any diamond larger than that is even more special.
“Diamonds in the rough are formed in a crystalline structure called octahedrons,” Peterec says. “Those are eight-sided crystals with 58 to 144 facets to release the brilliance and sparkle.”
An extremely hard material, diamonds “are a symbol of the enduring love and the lasting relationship,” Petterec says. “Millions of years ago, Mother Nature created a diamond for you today.”
Though rare, there are diamonds for those with modest budgets, and they are available through most retailers today, Petterec says.
Understanding The 4 Cs
From the mine to the retail store, a diamond goes through quite a transformation. Jewelers assess diamonds’ value by looking at each stone’s specific attributes, commonly called the Four Cs.
“I always have one additional C, and that is confidence,” Petterec says. “You have to have confidence in the jeweler who [is working with you].”
To develop trust and comfort with customers, Petterec focuses on relating to customers instead of presenting them with industry jargon. By educating customers on cut, color, clarity and carat, Petterec’s staff prepares customers to select which diamond appeals to their specific style.
With diagrams of various diamond cuts, and even his own sketches of design varieties, Petterec strives to give customers a basic foundation about the gemstone.
“Then our clients can choose what is best for them, and they can find what meets their budget, taste and passion,” he says.
Jeff Hampton, owner of State Street Jewelers in Geneva, also emphasizes the importance of relating to customers when considering the Four Cs and in recognizing customers’ tastes.
“The Four Cs are important in determining the dollar value, but they don’t determine what you like necessarily,” Hampton says. “Many times, people have preferences into which of the Four Cs are the most important, and the cut is the most esoteric.”
Cut To Brilliance
From marquis to emerald, and square to round, cuts determine how light will react to the diamond, Petterec says, while Hampton adds that the angles and facets can lead to a “spectacular diamond” when cut properly.
“It makes worlds of difference in how the diamond looks,” Hampton says.
From Petterec’s perspective, rectangular or square shapes, as well as the brilliant round, are most popular now.
Hampton says he appreciates the elegance of emerald cuts, though they are not considered the more popular style.
“It comes and goes,” Hampton says. “The most popular cut currently, and consistently, is the round.”
Season Of Color
Along with selecting a cut, diamond buyers have a decision to make with color.
Both Petterec and Hampton agree that colored diamonds are hot this season.
“Chocolate and black are popular ... white is always a hit,” says Petterec, who also carries natural yellow diamonds as well as treated pink diamonds.
Those shades have actually been popular for the last several years, Hampton says, noting that irradiated blues – diamonds treated with radiation to create a color – also are trending.
Yellows and pinks are available at State Street Jewelers, and Hampton says he enjoys the creativity of working with colored diamonds.
And the options don’t stop with yellows, blues and pinks, he says.
“Diamonds come in every color of the rainbow.” kc