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Jewelers Row Diamonds

Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row is America’s oldest Diamond District and one of the biggest. Here hundreds of independent jewelry stores line the brick paved streets with virtually unlimited selection of fine jewelry at discounted prices. It is located one block from Historic Independence Hall and a short walk from the new Pennsylvania Convention Center, Jewelers’ Row is on Sansom Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets and on Eighth Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Many shops are open seven days a week. Free parking and major credit cards are accepted.

One of the jewelries sold at the Jewelers’ Row are diamonds. Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. A diamond also has remarkable optical characteristics. Because of its extremely rigid lattice, it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities (ie. Nitrogen and Boron). Combined with wide transparency, this results in the clear, colorless appearance of most natural diamonds. The diamond has relatively high optical dispersion (the ability to disperse light of different colors), which results in its characteristic luster.

On the Jewelers’ Row, a consumer armed with knowledge of asking prices will find shopping easier, but still a challenge.

Internet pricing has had an effect on retail store asking prices, but you need to assert yourself when shopping to get to the “right” amount. Many local stores will treat you very well and may come close to internet pricing sometimes. Service, in-person attention, and immediacy are keys to the success of B&M retailers. Some of these stores get it and others don’t have a clue.

Thousands of diamonds are bought on Jewelers Row every year. Don’t totally discount the concept of making a pleasant retail purchase in-person, but do what makes you feel right when it comes on how to buy. Knowing about diamonds and their relative value is very important to understand before you shop at all.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Compare settings

The way a diamond is framed can have a major impact on how big it looks. For instance, a bezel (a thin band of metal that wraps around a gem) gives the illusion of a larger stone.

Request for certification

A diamond of a carat or more should come with a gem report – a gemologist’s evaluation of the stone’s color by letter grade (good stones are ranked no lower than I) and clarity, ranging from “flawless” (FL) to “very slight inclusions” (either VS1 or VS2) for an acceptable diamond. The cut, carat weight and measurements are also listed.

The Gemological Institute of America issues most gem reports, but a few fine jewelry firms offer their own guaranteed certificates. The Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate lists a diamond’s distinguishing characteristics and its linear measurements, accurate to within .02 millimeters.

Know your metals

Platinum and gold are the top choices for engagement rings. The former will cost you, a simple platinum band can cost nearly 600 bucks more than a comparable one in gold, but many brides feel the price is worth it. Platinum is a far more durable metal. It will show fewer nicks and scratches, and platinum prongs will hold a stone more securely.

As for color, some people believe that yellow gold casts an unflattering light on the diamond, while others prefer the hue’s warmth and traditional look.

Invest in insurance

The cost of protecting yourself against loss or theft depends on several factors including the value of your ring as well as where you live (major city dwellers will pay more). According to Donna Syverson, a spokeswoman for the national insurance firm Jewelers Mutual, your annual premium will be about 1 to 2.7 percent of the jewelry’s appraised value, even for rings that cost six figures.

Have your ring numbered

Your diamond’s certificate number (or jeweler’s designation) can be laser-inscribed on the side of the stone, allowing it to be positively identified in case of theft or after cleaning or repair.

Such inscriptions, which are visible under magnification don’t affect the gem’s value. They cost from $40 to $200 and offer more than mere peace of mind: Some insurance carriers will give policy discounts on inscribed diamonds.

Save big with a smaller stone

Most couples look for diamonds in whole carat weights, but what you may not realize is that jewelers charge a premium for such stones. If you opt instead for a gem just under a carat (or under 2 or 3 carats, for that matter), the savings can add up to 30 percent. And the difference in size is so insignificant that you won’t be able to tell.

Buy with an eye to trading up

For a big anniversary, couples often replace their engagement ring with a grander model. When shopping now, ask jewelers if they’ll accept this purchase as partial payment on a later ring. Both Tiffany & Co. and Jeff Cooper will apply the full retail purchase price toward another ring (that’s at least double the value) for as long as you own your original one.

Dream up a custom piece

Believe it or not, many reputable jewelers offer one-of-a-kind rings without charging exorbitant fees. Some companies require a minimum purchase or bill clients a small amount for preliminary work, such as drawings.

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