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What Color Grades of Natural Diamond do Many Filipinos Choose the Most?

Succeeding past our first article on fancy shaped diamonds, we would like to continue with Gemcamp's three-part survey series on the jewelry buying population here in Metro Manila, we'll follow up with a discussion on the color-grade and clarity-grade preferences of our hundred-fold sample group.

So it's firstly important to note that most of the people we interviewed range from younger millennial executives to middle-aged business owners and their spouses / partners. The general consensus that we were able to gather up from our data, expresses how most Filipinos often try their hardest to find a balance between two important ideas: 1.) Getting the most value for what they're willing to pay, & 2.) Making sure that the item's acquisition can also be multi-purposed in the long run.

For example, it wouldn't make sense to many of them, if someone advised them to buy a smaller half-carat stone with a premium price because its color and clarity rating was D-Flawless. Nobody would notice the high grades in this size of a stone. High priced buys would rather be allocated to a larger stone with colors ranging from G to J. These color grades fall into the "near-colorless" range, and command more affordable rates.

G,H,I and J colored stones seem to move quickly in Philippine high-society markets, due to being easily tradable at their current retail prices and investment-quality recognitions.

The dual purpose of having a large enough "wearable" stone for occasions and parties, and having a hard-asset storage of wealth that's easily converted to cash, appeals strongly to many of the people we interviewed, for reasons based on practicality.

For clarity grades, the majority was evenly split into two main groups. One selection of people preferred stones that were graded at the SI 1 level (slightly included, first tier). This was mainly because SI 1 diamonds tend to be the threshold grade before stones start to exhibit eye-visible inclusions. People seemed to prioritize color over clarity, but still wanted a stone that did not show prominent inclusions to the naked eye.

The scale above provides reference for the color, clarity, cut and carat weight parameters by which diamonds are graded by. It was invented in 1953 by the Gemological Institute of America, and pioneered by its founder, Robert Shipley. (Image Credit to GIA), Gemcamp's gemologists are all alumni-graduates from their institution's educational programme.

The second selection of people preferred VS 1 to VVS stones, due to the "near-invisibility" of inclusions when the diamond is viewed even under a loupe. While it's true that many VVS stones might only show a few pinpoint-sized specks, certain VS stones have still been reported to showcase larger inclusions (i.e., tiny mineral crystals or needles). In any case, neither of the groups preferred to buy clarities of IF or F (Internally flawless or Flawless), as the extra premium charge for these grades did not warrant the difference in visible quality.

The preferences may have been different had we opted to restrict survey demographics to the super-wealthy (i.e., yacht owners, private plane owners, etc), however we wanted to measure the choice disposition of the middle-class population here in the area, people who were working and earning enough to live comfortably with saved-up excess funds for family vacations and even certain luxuries.

The mentality of this group mixed practicality with function, even in the realm of luxury and non-essentials. It's quite re-assuring to know that many Filipinos hold a virtue for knowing more about what they're buying, before they make a purchase. Diamond grades, gemstone treatments and the issue of lab-grown stones, these are all topics often discussed here at our laboratory when clients come in for a visit. We often encourage people to gain as much knowledge as they can before deciding on a gem or piece of jewelry they'd want to bring into their lives.

Gemcamp Laboratories will be offering workshop classes on diamond grading and gem identification in mid-2018. If you are interested in learning more about these topics, let us know. We'll place you on our first-receivers list for any updates regarding tuition fees, timetables and what to expect when you attend our workshops led by GIA-graduate gemologists.
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