Why aren’t all diamonds certified?

When choosing a diamond, should you ever buy without a certificate?

Well, we could argue both yes and no.

Are all certified diamonds better quality than those not certified? No. Many lower-quality diamonds can be independently sold with a certificate, whilst others (for many reasons) will not. These aren’t necessarily inferior to those that are certified, just that they don’t have a laboratory’s printed out statement of their opinion.

We at Cry for the Moon have both, and we happily buy new and pre-owned certified and non certified diamonds.

It’s a much discussed subject, and as such, there are many different opinions surrounding it. The majority consensus is that you should purchase diamonds with a certificate, and that it should be GIA or HRD. It’s also often stated that certain laboratories should be avoided as they aren’t terribly accurate at best, and misleading at worst. Many jewellers provide and/or produce their own in-house variations, including none other than Tiffany’s… so it must be correct, right?

What is the standard?

Well, there is in fact no internationally recognised standard – and more importantly – no one body that regulates the independent labs for verification of grading quality. We aren’t suggesting that the laboratories are wrong, but a study published in July 2013 (page 74-75), by the NAG (National Association of Goldsmiths) and Gem-A (Gemology Association of Great Britain) (page 74-75) found great variations in the grading. Seven previously graded GIA diamonds were sent to six independent UK labs for certification, and the results were quite alarming. In many cases, both the colour and clarity results varied by a number of grades – which would likely alter the price by 20-25% at retail.

Perhaps GIA had graded some of the diamonds to a better standard now than they had 20 years ago, suggesting a softening in the required standard, or perhaps it is that the grading is slightly subjective, with the human factor not allowing 100% accuracy. Let’s face it, diamonds tend to speak for themselves – you don’t walk around with a piece of paper around your neck or in your handbag to show off the colour… and as soon as it’s worn it becomes dirty, affecting the colour and clarity anyway.

Where do we buy our diamonds from?

We have, for many years, purchased diamonds direct from our supplier in Antwerp who have their own source of approved, traceable diamonds that have up-held the Kimberly process. Kathy, Stephen & Harry (who choose and buy all our loose diamonds) have over 100 years of experience between purchasing and grading stock. We are extremely confident in our process of assessing and grading both new and loose diamonds, and happily supply our own valuation stating an honest opinion of the diamond’s grading.

Another point to bear in mind is that diamonds are graded against other diamonds, so the cut and proportions will affect the stone as much as other factors, which is why it’s very important to physically see the diamond for yourself and make your own decision.Be it certified or not, we have a fabulous range in stock at all times – in many different styles and designs across rings, pendants and earrings.

If you would like to see for yourself, please pop into our shop and ask one of our sales team to show you our stunning collection. Any one of the team would be happy to share knowledge on anything you might like to know – to help you make up your own mind. Buying a diamond should always be an exciting, romantic and pleasurable experience. Contact us today to book your appointment, or simply come in to the shop.

Pearls: Nature’s Natural Gems

Almost all gemstones are crystal structures formed under huge pressure, but a select few are created by Mother Nature herself. These organic gemstones are coral, amber, jet, bone or mother of pearl – but the most popular and versatile would be pearls.

Throughout history pearls have been coveted by royalty and the rich and famous. Demonstrated by none other than ‘The Imperial State Crown’ (perhaps the most important item within the Crown Jewels) containing a stunning 269 pearls.

Dating further back, Cleopatra is said to have swallowed a pearl earring to win a bet with Marc Antony in order to host the most expensive dinner in history. According to historians she dropped one of her expensive pearl earrings (said to be worth ten million sesterces) into a cup of wine vinegar and crushed it until ‘melted’ – and then drank it. Not only winning the bet, but also Marc Antony’s heart in the process.

Fortunately, Marc Antony declined to swallow the second earring!

Pearls are formed in a mollusc of either oyster or freshwater mussels

The most popular cultured pearls, or Akoya as they are often referred to, are grown in farms. This process places a tiny bead of mother of pearl into a mollusc for between 10-15 months to protect the nacre from irritant, creating a fabulous gem of irradiance pearl.

These are then sorted for colour and shape, and polished to improve the lustre of the pearl. As a natural product, not all pearls grow perfectly round. The misshapen and irregular pearls are known as ‘baroque’ or ‘blister pearls’ but can have their own special beauty and character. The largest pearl ever found ‘The Pearl Of Allah’ weighs over 14lbs and was found in the Philippines in 1934.

The birthstone of June and the gem of 30th wedding anniversaries

Pearl Jewellery changes with fashion, but will always be a classic ‘must have’ to every jewellery collection. Necklace, Pendants, Earrings, Bracelets, Rings, Brooches & Tiaras.

Pearl Jewellery

Pearls

From just £115

Necklaces

At Cry for the Moon we have a large range of classic modern pearls, alongside traditional two and three row previously owned items. Large Southsea pearls of 12-16mm, Tahitian (Grey), Akoya and freshwater, set with diamonds or plain. Long lariats, short chokers feature design pendants and so much more starting from £510.

Earrings

Pearl earrings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a simple stud to a large southsea diamond set drops, ranging from £115-£7000+. With 70 different designs, we have a design for all tastes.

Pendants

Pendants are an ideal bridesmaid gift and set off any bridal dress, a simple sign of purity to bold strong contemporary features.

Bracelets

Bracelets that match necklace or Victorian seed pearl bangles are an ideal accompaniment for your special occasion.

Now, we’ve touched on several of the organic pearls, such as Southsea, Tahitian, freshwater and seed pearls. South Sea pearls are grown in the warm waters of South China and Japan, forming the great layers of nacre created by the oysters nucleated with a small bead. These are usually farmed for between 2-4 years allowing for longer growth – up to 20mm on some rare occasions.

Tahitian

Tahitian are natural grey or dark grey pearls grown in black lipped oyster’s. Many pearls that are dyed black or grey are called Tahitian, but mistakenly so.

Freshwater

Freshwater pearls have seen a huge boom over recent decades as they grow quicker, proving a more cost effective solution to their Akoya equivalent size. However, the lustre and irradiance may fade quicker with freshwater, and they do not appear as bright.

Seed

Seed pearls were extremely popular in the Victorian and Edwardian era, either small whole or half pearls of perhaps 1-3mm .

So, what is a natural pearl and how can you tell?

Honestly, looking at them with the naked eye it is impossible to tell. Perhaps the age and colouring could give you some indication, but unless you can spot a bead nucleus by looking down a drill hole, the only way to verify is by Xray.

  • If there is no bead, it is natural
  • If there is a visible bead, it is a Cultured Akoya

Are Mikimoto better than cultured pearls?

No, they are the same. Mikimoto is simply a brand that sells different qualities of pearls like many good jewellers… such as ourselves!

Please view our range here for your perfect pearl accessory.

Aquamarine March’s Birthstone

If you’re lucky enough to have been born in March, you’re lucky to have a birthstone as lovely as aquamarine. This beautifully clear, pale-blue to sky-blue stone has a magical appearance of a summer sky, or a clear blue sea. This, perhaps, is why it was a favourite with sailors, believing it would bring them calm seas and oceans.

Aquamarine is part of the beryl family, closely related to both the emerald (which is green), and morganite (a pink / rose gold coloured gem).The colour variations are from the small amounts of chromium in emeralds, manganese in morganite and small traces of iron in aquamarines.

The most sought after aquamarines are often referred to as Santa Maria, in reference to a specific mine in Brazil that produced rich green / blue coloured stone, which is now almost exhausted. Brazil remains the world’s leading source of gem-quality stones, and the stones are still referred to as Santa Maria, even if they are not from this mine.

Found in both pegmatites (within rock) and alluvial deposits, outside of Brazil the leading sources of aquamarines, are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia

Similar to Emerald

Unlike emeralds, this gemstone is very often extremely clear and free from inclusion. It is also the same hardness on the Mohs scale (7.5 – 8), so it is a durable gemstone for jewellery… as long as it is treated with care, to protect against scratching and hard knocks.

HM Queen Elizabeth II has perhaps one of the most fantastic collections of Aquamarine jewellery. During her coronation trip in 1953 the people of Brazil gifted her a beautiful set of glistening diamonds and aquamarines in the form of a necklace with matching pendant earrings. This set has since been reworked into a tiara and necklace, now with a matching bracelet and earrings. Clearly a favourite, as seen worn in the link above – though perhaps a little too much for everyday wear!

Large emerald cut aquamarines remain popular today, with many celebrities proudly wearing them, including Kirstie Alsop and of course Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex – who has been photographed on many occasions wearing items from Diana’s collection.

At Cry for the Moon we have many beautiful items, including:

Engagement Rings

18ct White Gold Trilogy Aquamarine & Diamond Ring Aquamarine & Diamond Three Stone Ring Emerald Cut Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Ringe Oval Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Ring
18ct White Gold Trilogy Aquamarine & Diamond Ring Aquamarine & Diamond Three Stone Ring Emerald Cut Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Ring Oval Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Ring
 £2,470  £3,300  £2,810  £3,680


Pendants

Aquamarine & Diamond 18ct White Gold Pendant Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Pendant Aquamarine & Diamond Cushion Shaped Pendant Briolette Aquamarine & Diamond Pendant
Aquamarine & Diamond 18ct White Gold Pendant Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Pendant Aquamarine & Diamond Cushion Shaped Pendant Briolette Aquamarine & Diamond Pendant
 £1,650  £1,285  £975  £9,850


Earrings

18ct White Gold Aquamarine Stud Earring Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Earrings Emerald Cut Aquamarine & Diamond Stud Earrings 18ct White Gold Pear Shaped Aquamarine & Diamond Drop Earrings
18ct White Gold Aquamarine Stud Earring Aquamarine & Diamond Cluster Earrings Emerald Cut Aquamarine & Diamond Stud Earrings 18ct White Gold Pear Shaped Aquamarine & Diamond Drop Earrings
 £375  £825  £1,050  £645


Book an appointment to visit our shop, or order online today.

November’s Topaz & Citrine

November has nearly finished now, and as we see the golden brown leaves covering everywhere but the trees from which they fell – I always wonder if that is why the similarly coloured gemstones Topaz & Cirtine are the month’s birthstone. For those lucky enough to have these beautiful stones representing their birth, the bright yellow golden to orange shades perfectly represent the season.

Whilst Imperial Topaz is thought to bring about healing, Citrine is considered to be a gift from the sun.


Citrine

Citrine is so named after the french word Citrion meaning ‘lemon’ with its colours varying from a pale yellow to a rich wine colour. The most sought-after / prized are those described as Madeira Citrine, named after the colour of Madeira wine, and not the Atlantic island itself.

Citrine is found as many different gemstones in many different areas, but Brazil has perhaps the finest and most valuable. A member of the Quartz family and largely similar to Amethyst (they can sometimes be found in the same crystal structure, in the rare occurrence known as ‘Ametrine’ where half is yellow and half is purple), Citrine is also mined in France, Madagascar and the Ural mountains of Russia.

Citrine & Diamond Rubover Set Stud Earrings Multi Gemstone Drop Earrings Citrine & Diamond Three Stone Ring
Citrine & Diamond Rubover Set Stud Earrings Multi Gemstone Drop Earrings Citrine & Diamond Three Stone Ring
 £560  £350  £1485


Referred to as ‘The Merchants Stone’ or ‘Money Stone’, Citrine is thought to bring prosperity and wealth if placed on a table or till whilst making a deal. This, along with its bright orange colour representing the sun are some of the reasons that you see Citrine adorning many Scottish jewellery designs.

As well as representing November’s birthstone, Citrine is also the wedding anniversary gift for your 13th year of marriage.


Topaz

Topaz is a naturally hard gemstone measuring 8 on Mohs scales, in a family all of its own. Although most commonly found in jewellers in a sky-blue colour, this is very rarely its natural colour. Blue Topaz stones can be found naturally, but most are irradiated to add the colour to an otherwise colourless or slightly yellow stone.

The stone can also be found in many other colours, including:

  • Colourless
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Reddish/Pink
  • Golden Topaz
  • Imperial Topaz

It is found in deposits around the world, including Topaz mountain in Utah USA, Ural mountains of Russia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Germany, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, Italy and Brazil… to name but a few.

Large crystals are not uncommon, and perhaps the largest is the American Gold Topaz weighting in at 4.5kg! It has a total carat weight of 22,892 – one of the largest ever cut gemstones in the world, Mined, in Brazil and took 2 years to cut from an 11.8kg crystal, by Leon Agee in the late 1980s.

Along with representing November’s birthstone, Topaz is also the 4th Wedding Anniversary gemstone.


Golden Topaz & Diamond Cluster Ring
Golden Topaz & Diamond Cluster Ring
 £2,875


We at Cry for the Moon are proud to have some fabulous Imperial Topaz rings in stock, so please Get in touch if you’d like to book an appointment to try them on for yourself.

October’s Opals

Opal is the birthstone for the month of October, along with pink tourmaline. It is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th year of marriage.

History

The name ‘opal’ is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit ‘Upala’, meaning ‘precious stone’ and later the Greek derivative ‘Opallios’ meaning ‘to see a change of color’. The Greeks believed they possessed the power of foresight, invisibility and prophecy, and the Romans considered Greeks as talismans for protection from danger.

Today, the most valuable opals come from Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, which have been the main producer of opals since their discovery in the 1870s. Opals are mostly found in Australia, Ethiopia, Mexico, the USA, South America, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Australian opal was known as the ‘fire of the dessert’, formed from the weathering of sandstone deposited over older host rock in the Australian basin. The structure of of the gemstone is unique and comprised of tiny spheres of silicon dioxide, forming a pyramid shaped grid, interspersed with water. It’s the refraction of light through the spaces between these spheres that produces the recognisable opal characteristic, and unique ‘play of colour’. Australian opals are also valued for their stability, a key consideration for a gem containing 6-10% water.

Here in our Guildford shop we have a fine collection of opal jewellery, which you can see a selection of on in our dedicated category.

Opal Diamond Cluster Earrings Opal Diamond Cluster Pendant Opal Diamond Cluster Ring Opal Diamond Cluster Pendant
Opal & Diamond Cluster Earrings Opal & Diamond Cluster Pendant Opal & Diamond Cluster Ring Opal & Diamond Drop Pendant
 £4,500  £6,850  £3,995  £2,560

 

There are several classifications:

The preface

Solid means that the stone is a natural cut and polished, which does not have any kind of backing adhered to the stone to enhance the colour (as is the case with the partially fabricated stones – doublets or triplets). Queensland Boulder Opals – even though they have a natural brown ironstone backing which makes the stone darker – are still known as ‘solid opals’ since this is the natural formation of the stone.

Black refers to opal which has a dark grey to black body tone, and is generally mined in the Lightning Ridge area of New South Wales. As a general rule, Black Opal is the most valuable form, since its dark body tone causes the colours to be more vibrant.

Boulder is opal mined in Western Queensland. which normally has a natural brown ironstone backing attached to the stone. Boulder Opal usually has a very dark body tone and is the second most valuable form.

Crystal means any kind of opal which has a translucent or transparent quality. Translucent or transparent stones often have an enhanced clarity of colour, and for this reason it usually increases the value of a stone. The term ‘Crystal Opal’ normally denotes stones with a very light body tone, however Black Crystal Opal refers to a crystal opal, which has a dark body tone.

Semi-Black refers to opal which has a light to medium grey body tone and is therefore not quite dark enough to be called Black Opal. ‘Semi Black’ is generally found in Lightning Ridge, but is also found in White Cliffs and occasionally South Australia and can be one of the lesser valuable forms.

White means opal with a white to light body tone, and is also known as ‘milky opal’. White Opal is found in large quantities in South Australia, and the bulk of it does not have the same vibrancy of colour as found in other forms of the gemstone. For this reason, it is generally one of the least valuable forms.

September’s Sapphires

It’s nearly the end of September already, and we can’t go through this month without addressing its birthstone’s biggest myth:

Sapphires are blue, right?

…Wrong!

Sapphires are perhaps the only natural gemstone that is available in almost every colour of the rainbow. Though blue is the most popular stone colour, and most often thought of when talking about sapphires, colours of yellow, green, orange, pink, purple and even clear (white) can also be found! In fact, September’s birthstone even come in every colour except red (red being rubies).

How can the same stone be so varied?

Both rubies and sapphires are part of the Corundum family of gems – a family in which is highly influenced by the presence of elements such as chromium; more chromium equals more red. Here’s how it works:

  • No chromium or iron and the stone appears colourless
  • Vanadium, and the stone appears violet or purple
  • Iron and chromium give the stones a yellow or orange colour
  • Padparadscha sapphires display a very specific pinky-orange hue
  • (though this is particularly rare and associated with Sri Lanka)

    About Sapphires

    Not only are sapphires the birthstone of September, but they also represent the 45th wedding anniversary gemstone. Since they have such an array of colours, they can be admired and worn by almost everyone!

    Many countries have sapphire deposits, with the most prized and valuable coming from Sri Lanka (formally Ceylon). Still today, the bright velvety cornflower blue stones are referred to as ‘Ceylon sapphires’.

    Here at Cry for the Moon we purchase many of our sapphires from our supplier of many years direct from Sri Lanka. We have built up a strong relationship allowing us to pick the brightest and most amazing sapphires to set in our beautiful bespoke jewellery.

    One of our favourite sapphires, the ‘Star Sapphires’, result from a rare naturally occurring phenomenon and exhibit a six-pointed star known as an asterism (and commonly a ‘Star Sapphire’). These stones will be cut into cabochon cut, finished with the look of a polished pebble, flat on one side.

    But don’t take our word for it! Even British Royalty show an admiration for the sapphire, with perhaps one of the most famous sapphires ever being available to view within the Crown Jewels. The Stuart Sapphire of 104ct is set within the Imperial State Crown and can be viewed with a visit to the Tower of London.

    Visit our sapphire page or pop in store to see our fabulous range of jewellery and rings.

    Emeralds: The Reasons Why I Love Them

    It’s finally May, and the trees are now almost full of leaves; bright and vibrant greens of many shades. Perhaps this is why Emerald is the birthstone for May; it radiates new life with its vivid, bright colour.

    On a personal note, Emerald is my favourite of all the coloured gems. Both my wife and mother own Emerald engagement rings since their birthdays both fall in May. I personally think Emerald engagement rings are both unique and wonderful, but it isn’t just my love for Emerald I wish to share today; I’m hoping to help you discover yours…

    What Are Emeralds

    Emeralds are part of the ‘Beryl family’, a family known for an array of different colours:

     Sky Blue  Aquamarine
     Pink  Morganite
     Yellow  Golden Beryl
     Red  Red Beryl
     Colourless  Goshenite

     

    Emeralds are the green variety, first thought to have been mined by the Egyptians in countries known now as Austria and Pakistan. Today, Emeralds have been discovered at gem-quality by many countries, including Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India, Russia, USA, Afghanistan and Madagascar, to name just a few.

    However, the most prized and valuable emeralds are still thought to be mined in Colombia. Featuring a deeper, more intense colour, better fire, brilliance and clarity, Colombian Emeralds are the most sought after for these reasons and hence command a higher value.

    A Stunning Structure

    Perhaps it’s the internal structure of Emeralds and their unique characteristic features that I find so compelling. Whilst most gems are considered ‘better’ if they are clean and free from flaws, Emeralds celebrate a uniqueness known as ‘La Jardin’ which only adds to their natural beauty.

    ‘The Garden’ of gemstones is likened to its unique fingerprint, each one as different and as mesmerising as the next. Yes, some Emeralds are beautifully clear, but this individual character just adds further fascinating appeal.

    Buy Today

    Here at Cry for the Moon, we have conceivably the largest selection of Emerald jewellery in Surrey, and certainly Guildford. We have some magnificent unique Emeralds encompassed within an array of rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, bangles and brooches. We are certain we will offer an Emerald gemstone piece that you will love.

    If this article has inspired you to love Emeralds as much as I do, please visit our Emerald category and browse our fabulous range of options. Perhaps you’re looking to surprise somebody special, whether it be for a May birthday or a 55th wedding anniversary – whatever your reason may be, our team would love to help find the perfect emerald for you.