Buying Tips - Jewellery  

Here at Richard Hung Jewellers, we believe that there is a piece of jewellery for everyone, no matter the occasion or budget. Be it a gift for someone special, an engagement ring, jewellery to make a statement, or even to invest, our friendly staff will be happy to guide you through the process, ensuring that you make the best decision for your circumstance.


Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams. All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight, because larger diamonds are rare and desirable. But two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Clarity, Colour and Cut.

It's important to remember that a diamond's value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.

Although colour is undeniably a big factor in value, all diamonds, even those of lower colours and clarities with reasonably good cut, are valuable. Diamonds in colours K, L, and M and clarity SI are diamonds nonetheless and their value is determined by their quality. So, why bother, if differences between colour grades are so difficult to see?

Partly, the answer lies in the practice of long standing. Diamond experts have always placed a high value on colourless diamonds, and this view has affected the minds of consumers. Another reason is that experts can recognize the subtle difference. And even if consumers cannot; there are those who insist on the rarest and most extraordinary diamonds money can buy.

One cannot colour-grade mounted diamonds as accurately as loose diamonds because the colour of the metal influences the appearances of the diamond. The smaller the diamond, the more difficult it is to judge. Two mounted diamonds less than a quarter of a carat, differing by two or three colour grades, can look very much the same in colour, even side by side.

Colourless and near-colourless diamonds are often set in white metal prongs, even when the ring itself is yellow gold. This is because diamonds "draw" the colour of the metal and even high-grade stones will look yellowish. Platinum and rhodium-plated white gold are considered best for mounting colourless or near-colourless diamonds. Diamonds that face up light yellow or brownish present a different problem. They are usually not mounted in platinum or white gold, which make these colours stand out more. Such stones are usually mounted in yellow gold, as that will make them appear whiter or lighter.

Cut refers to the proportions and overall appearance of a diamond. A good cutter has to understand the principle path of light and how to control it through angles and proportions to bring about the best qualities in each diamond, maximising light return and achieving balance between brilliance and fire. Only when the angles are correct will the diamond reflect light to its best ability, ensuring maximum brilliance, fire and sparkle. It is analyzed and graded on how well a diamond's proportions and angles interact to return white and coloured light to the observer.

If all else is equal, an Excellent cut grade guarantees an extremely appealing diamond. Diamonds in the Very Good and even Good cut grades are also attractive. They only differ by comparison to the very best stones.

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes.'

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance and therefore, the value of the diamond.

Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS and an SI diamond may look similar, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality. This is why expert and accurate assessment of diamond clarity is extremely important.

Synthetic diamonds
HPHT (High Pressure/High Temperature) Diamonds and CVC (Chemical Vapour Deposition) Diamonds are laboratory-created. Synthetic Moissanite is the latest laboratory created diamond simulant that will fool a thermal diamond tester by giving a false positive reading. For peace of mind, customers should always go to a trusted jeweller with the skills to assess a diamond accurately.

Coloured Gemstones

Generally, people who are not familiar with gemstones, identify them based on their colour (ie. blue - sapphire, red - ruby etc). This is a misconception as sapphires come in a variety of colours and not all red gems are rubies! To complicate matters, natural gemstones are frequently altered to improve their appearance and apparent quality.

A large proportion of gemstones sold today have been treated in one way or another, with untreated gems being the exception rather than the rule. Treatments are performed to improve the colour or clarity of a gem. Examples of treatments are heating, irradiation, use of nuclear bombardment, application of coloured or colourless oil or epoxy-like resins, wax, plastic, glass, surface diffusion, coating, impregnation or dyeing.

The list of popular gems routinely treated includes amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, jade, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, tiger's-eye, topaz turquoise, chalcedony and zircon.

Some of the treatments used have been around for a long time and have either been recognized by the gemstone industry or have been readily identifiable. However, some of the newer forms of modification are very sophisticated and are much more difficult to detect by anyone other than trained gemologists

While treated gemstones are widely available in the market, a premium is usually charged for a fine-quality untreated gemstone that comes with a lab report stating that there is no evidence of treatment.

Besides treated natural gemstones, there are also man-made gemstones (synthetics) in the market. These are created in a laboratory. Synthetics do not have the rarity of naturally coloured gemstones, and are generally inexpensive. Unlike imitations that look like natural stones in appearance only (e.g. glass, plastic, or less costly substances), synthetics gemstones have the same chemical, optical and physical properties as natural gemstones.

We strongly believe it is our customer's right to know if they are buying a treated gemstone in order to make an informed choice for their purchase. Click here for our Policy of Treatment Disclosure.


Almost all pearls sold today are known as cultured pearls. It is naturally formed by surgically implanting a mother of pearl nucleus together with a small mantle tissue into the oyster. The quality of a pearl is graded according to its size, shape, coating (nacre) thickness, surface condition and luster.

As a cultured pearl is formed in the natural environment of the sea, a perfect pearl is very rare. A better pearl should have slight to very slight imperfections or blemishes. Producers use various methods of treatments to enhance their beauty. Some treatments are relatively benign while others may lead to pearls that deteriorate with normal wear. Understanding treatments is therefore critical to buying pearls that will last.

Akoya cultured pearls, which have been the traditional, cultured pearls for almost a century, usually range from 2mm-9mm in diameter. Common sizes are 6mm-8mm. The colour of Akoya pearls is commonly enhanced to white, silver, pink and champagne. To achieve the more popular colours, these pearls, which are mainly cream, yellow and green in their natural colour state, undergo a process during which impurities are bleached out. In fact, with the exception of most South Sea Pearls, the majority of the white pearls on the market are bleached.

South Sea Pearls are larger pearls that range from 9mm-18mm in diameter. They are classified into 3 groups: the White, the Dark (commonly called Black) and the Gold. South Sea Pearls are sometimes treated, depending on their producers. For example, high quality pearls from Australia are seldom treated.

Pearls, whether cultured or natural are organic substances which consist mainly of calcium carbonate and must be treated with the utmost care. They are most sensitive to acids, perspiration, cosmetics and hair spray. If treated thoughtfully, like wiping them with a soft cloth after use and keeping them away from other jewels, you can be assured that your pearls will maintain their beauty and longevity.

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