Catch Those (UV) Rays

Talking fluorescence with your customers

You know all about the 4 Cs (carat weight, cut, clarity, and color) when you’re looking for the perfect stone selection for your store, and chances are, many of your customers are at least familiar with them, too. It’s sort of Diamonds 101, and many consumers have at least touched on the unofficial course before embarking on the hunt for an engagement ring.

But there’s more to selecting the perfect stone than the basics. And while your clients need not know everything, you as a retailer should be well-versed in the factors that influence a diamond’s quality, so you’ll be ready to answer any questions that come your way.

One such factor is diamond ultraviolet fluorescence. According to a GIA Diamond Grading Report, fluorescence “refers to the strength, or intensity, of the diamond’s creation to long-wave UV, which is an essential component of daylight.”

For some time now, fluorescence hasn’t exactly been regarded with favor. Despite the fact that it can’t be seen or detected under normal circumstances (how many long-wave UV lights do you come into contact with on the daily, really?), many jewelers have considered this characteristic to alter a diamond’s appearance, making it seem oily, or hazy.

Not so, according to GIA. The association’s studies show that, for an overwhelming majority of diamonds, the presence of fluorescence—regardless of its strength—has no widely noticeable effect on its naked-eye appearance. Those that do appear hazy or oily thanks to this attribute do exist, but in very small numbers: Less than 0.2 percent of the fluorescent diamonds submitted GIA showcased this undesirable trait.

Noting a stone’s fluorescence—it’s a fairly common occurrence, with 25 to 30 percent of stones submitted to GIA possessing it in some degree—is important knowledge for a retailer, and information that should be passed along to their customers. But, as long as the diamond isn’t in the small minority of those with an altered appearance, there’s no reason for this characteristic to be considered anything but interesting. If you’re unsure about the status of the diamonds in your store, it might be a good time to test them out before the holiday rush, or have them appraised.

And if you do happen to have a customer who, say, authenticates a lot of oil paintings (a practice where blacklights are often used), selling them a diamond with fluorescence could be very cool, indeed.

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