Tag: diamonds (page 2 of 5)

NCDIA Member Interviews

Retail Member

NCDIA Executive Vice President Barbara Wheat interviewed Breanne Wittrock of Gunderson’s, and member of the NCDIA Board of Directors.


breanne wittrock gundersons

Breanne Wittrock, Gunderson’s Jewelers, Sioux City, IA

Breanne Wittrock is well known among NCDIA members as the energetic Vice President of Gunderson’s Jewelers. She is also the Vice President of NCDIA and is the Chair of the Membership Committee. She has a proven track record within the industry and has sustained many long term relationships with her wholesale partners and Gunderson’s clients.

Breanne holds the CGA (Certified Gemologist Appraiser) through the American Gem Society and is also a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America.


How did you get started working in the industry?  After graduating from GIA I contacted Gunderson’s and they offered me a position. As a child, my parents had friends who were in the industry and I was always fascinated with their gemstone and diamond jewelry, so from a very young age I knew I wanted to do something with jewelry.

Do you have a favorite color diamond? I love them all! But I am particularly fascinated with greens!

What can a retailer do to stay engaged with clients? Social media? Personal contact? Instore events? I think it depends on what client you are targeting. For clients in the market for natural color, personal contact is best. But yes, talk about color on your social media platforms, it can’t hurt. And I always recommend an instore event. They are such a great way to show amazing and unique natural colored diamond pieces! The excitement they generate is very good.

What type of training do you provide for your sales team? How do you keep them motivated? I do hands on training color by color. We utilize the materials provided to us by NCDIA as a starting point. The easiest way to keep them motivated is to stay excited! Every day I read about natural color and I am always so excited about what I read it just pours over to all of our staff!!

Any other advice you can give to retailers? Be excited about what you do! It’s contagious!

What do you see as the future for natural color diamonds? I see the prices continuing to go up. I see more consumers entering the marketplace for natural color as now they are really gaining traction with all the media coverage of the auctions and more and more celebrities wearing color on the red carpet.


Wholesale Member

NCDIA Marketing Committee Co-Chair Emily Duke sat down to talk with Jose Batista of Rio Diamond Corp.


jose batista rio diamond

Jose Batista, Rio Diamond Corp., New York, NY

Jose Batista is an active NCDIA member who works with his father and brother at Rio Diamond Corp. based in New York City. Jose has been working in natural fancy colors since the mid-90s. He has served on several NCDIA committees and is currently a member of the Membership Committee.


For those of us who are unfamiliar, can you tell us about your business?  We are a family based wholesale company specializing in natural fancy color diamonds. My name is Jose and I am a second generation wholesaler.  In total, we have been in business for over 46 years.

How did you get started working in the industry?  It’s a family business, and throughout my early years of exploring I would come in to work and learn. After a few years of that, one day it just clicked. I have enjoyed it ever since.

 What diamond color intrigues you most?  The diamond color that intrigues me the most is green. It is one of the most difficult colors to cut and for GIA to determine.  If not cut properly you can lose the color for one, and secondly, it is a challenge for GIA to determine if the color is natural. Natural radiation and lab radiation can be very similar, resulting in an undetermined grade.

How has this auction season affected the industry? Your business?  I believe the auctions have helped the fancy color diamond industry by exposing fancy color sales to the masses.

Auctions have helped our business by creating more inquiries and demand. However, as an industry we need to educate, guide and be more transparent to the customer. This will help both the customer (to be satisfied with the purchase) and the wholesalers/retailers (by increasing sales).

Can you tell us about a memorable stone, or stone that you handled ?  A stone with a history?  One of the most memorable stones for me was a large oval fancy deep blue VVS layout stone. The stone was really a vivid blue. There were so many people interested in the stone that it was an amazing feeling. After selling the stone, we kept hearing about it from new people and again from others that knew we had owned the stone previously. I am very proud of my father and how he was able to polish and bring out the beauty of the stone. It’s truly an amazing feeling to see others enjoy the beauty that we created.  😉That pops created!

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Natural Colors: Pink Diamond Edition

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The Blue Moon Diamond goes up for auction at Sotheby’s Nov 11th


The 12-carat, Internally Flawless, Fancy, Vivid Blue Moon Diamond. Copyright: Cora International. Photo by Tino Hammid.

The Blue Moon diamond weighing 12.03 carats and described by experts as internally flawless could sell for a record $55 million (47 million euros) when it goes up for auction in November, Sotheby’s said Thursday.

The Blue Moon diamond, discovered in South Africa in January last year, will be exhibited in Hong Kong, London and New York before its likely purchase at auction in Geneva on November 11.

“The Blue Moon diamond is a simply sensational stone of perfect colour and purity,” David Bennett, who heads Sotheby’s international jewellery division, said in a statement.

He added that the immense hype which followed the stone’s discovery “has now been proven to have been totally justified.”

The Gemological Institute of America previously declared the Blue Moon to be “internally flawless”.  The Blue Moon Diamond has been categorized as an extremely significant find – andone of the newest and rarest stones currently worldwide – due to its unique color, clarity, and size. Cut from a 29.6-carat rough, the internally flawless gem is fashioned in a cushion-cut shape at a noteworthy 12 carats. Diamonds with a strong saturated color represent only a tiny percentage of all natural diamonds – and only a minute percentage of all natural color diamonds are blue, making the Blue Moon Diamond exceptional. The stone was found in the Cullinan mine, northeast of Pretoria, South Africa, which is known for discovering some of the most recognized blue and other color diamonds in the world.

Categorised as a fancy vivid blue diamond, the Blue Moon is the largest cushion-shaped stone in that category to ever appear at auction. Sotheby’s put its estimated sale price between $35-$55 million which, at the higher end, would mark a record for any diamond sale. In November 2010, a 24.78 carats pink diamond — known as the Graff Pink — sold in Geneva for just over $46 million. The record sale for a blue diamond so far came in November last year, when a 9.75 carats fetched $32.6 million at an auction in New York.


The Blue Moon Diamond during scientific testing at the Smithsonian Institution. The equipment behind the diamond is a phosphorescence spectrometer. Copyright: NHM. Photo by Eloïse Gaillou.



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Natures Diversity; Natural Color Diamonds – Alan Bronstein

Alan Bronstein

NCDIA Member Alan Bronstein discussed the many beautiful creations nature provides as natural colored diamonds, in front of a full house of National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) conference attendees and DCGIA members. Like flowers in a garden, diamonds cover every color and shade, to hold us in awe and appreciation. We were captivated with the brilliance, fire and color of each diamond Alan shared as well as the personal stories of previewing the Argyle Diamond Tender for colored diamonds he collected and dealt with during the past decades. Visit: Aurora Gems  for some wonderful pictures of colored diamonds.

NAJA + DCGIA Members

National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) was founded in 1981 on the premise that the specialized field of gem and jewelry appraising was an area that was long overdue for representation on a professional basis. Learn more at:  NAJA

Interest in fancy colored diamonds has caused demand to increase over the last 10 years. This has caused great strain on the very limited supplies and strong upward pressure on prices. The cut of fancy colored diamonds is usually selected to maximize the intensity of the color rather than to maximize light return, which would lessen the richness of the color. The best cut for colored diamonds, is one that gives the strongest face-up color. So when cutting a colored diamond, the cutter wants a shape that will balance maximum brilliance and maximum color. GIA’s standard D-to-Z color grading system is based on the relative absence of color in diamonds, from colorless to yellow or brown, which are the diamonds most common in the retail market place.

For Fancy Colored Diamonds, GIA’s colored diamond color grading is based on the presence of color. There is a wealth of information at GIA’s Website GIA describes color in terms of hue (the color), tone (relative lightness or darkness), and saturation (intensity). Hue (like pink) is modified by a “Fancy-grade” term (Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep, Fancy Vivid or Fancy Dark) which describes the effect of both tone and saturation. Get a copy of the GIA COLORED DIAMONDS COLOR REFERENCE CHARTS “here soon”  See natural diamonds in all their colors, and where they appear on the GIA colored diamond grading scale.

Nature has given birth to many beautiful things, and among the rarest are natural colored diamonds. Colored diamonds, whether of a pure color or modified by one or more colors will always fall in a range of description based on its primary color and modifier colors if any, to include the saturation strength, vividness or amount of color present, as well as the value or tone, the scale or measurement of lightness to darkness, or white to black. Nomenclature used by most labs, such as Light, Fancy Light, Fancy. Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep and Fancy Dark, take into account all levels of lightness, saturation, value and tone. But the dividing line between such grades can often vary between competing labs. Nomenclature used to describe the color of a diamond, Purplish Pink, will presumably take into account any stone that has a primary visible color of pink, and a secondary or modified color of purple. As long as the primary color is seen as pink, the percentage of the purple modifier can vary from 1% – 49%. While a scientific description of natural colored diamonds, it is a subjective grading and nomenclature choice, which allows differences of opinion between labs. The ranking of this nomenclature can have a major effect on the “perceived” value and desirability by customers. Beauty is not definable by a grading report or color description. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different to every individual and to every colored diamond. Fancy color diamond, shape, color and idiosyncrasies are what make it beautiful and unique.

Sharing polished colored diamonds next to a piece of rough that might yield a similar color to the cut and polished diamond below it. See the 12 color varieties of natural color diamonds and their modifiers from Aurora Gems Diamond Color Variety Chart

Image courtesy of Aurora Gems – Image Photography Robert Weldon

Only a small percentage of diamonds show good saturated color, the color of diamonds is due to minute traces of other elements, or defects in the crystal structure. Nitrogen causes a yellow color, while boron causes blue. Radiation damage to the structure of diamond causes green, while pink diamonds result from dislocations with-in the crystal structure itself.

Colored diamonds are often best viewed in comparison with something that contrasts with what you want to see, not with something similar. In the case of colored diamonds, rough often does not show the color that cutting will yield. Looking at the picture of Colored Diamonds Rough & Polished, the Blue Diamond fifth from the right, shows almost a colorless rough from which a similar blue color might come once cut.

GIA grading system tends to describe colored diamonds scientifically while also making it commercially valuable. Customers want something with a Fancy Vivid nomenclature on a report, seeing the color of the stone is often not enough.

Only a third of the world’s diamonds fluoresce when exposed to UV light. The color of emitted light may be very different from the diamond’s color in normal daylight.

We will never look at a colored diamond, much less a flower, without thinking of the wonders of nature and Alan’s passion for colored diamonds.

DCGIA & NAJA both THANK Alan for sharing his passion with us all.

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