frequently asked questions
If you have a special question for Garry please complete the form on our Contact page here, or browse our FAQs below. We love to address those simple and complicated questions.
Questions sent to Garry
In your article on the cut of a diamond, you mentioned that 98% of a diamond’s life and sparkle comes from the cut . Where does the other 2% comes from?”
A rough diamond has about the same amount of sparkle as a piece of broken glass from a smashed windscreen. There is some sparkle even in a rough diamond. The other 98% comes from an amazing cut. Sadly though, cutters want to keep as much of the rough diamond because that is the big factor that impacts how much they will make on the diamond. A badly proportioned polished diamond returns more light to your eye than a rough diamond, but only about 2/3rds as much as my diamonds.
Hope that was of help.
My ring has lost a diamond, can you replace it?
The answer is yes, of course WE CAN. Our highly skilled professionals have tremendous ability to replace and set new diamonds in your jewel and repolish it back to its former shine and elegance. If the diamonds are old cuts or not as brilliant as my diamonds we can often do a great match with second-hand diamonds that we have traded up because putting a Holloway diamond™ next to most diamonds shows up the old diamonds. You may have an opportunity to make a claim on your insurance policy too – even a household policy will usually cover this. We will help you through this process.
Hope that helps you,
Garry, what is the lowest diamond colour that will still look white, and does it matter if it is set in white gold, or platinum or yellow gold?
The answer partly depends on your colour acuity, the size of the diamond, its cut quality, and of course the colour of the setting.
In under 1ct diamonds, most people can not tell a D from a G In my experience about ½ can tell D from H in good shaded daylight. Come in and any of our staff can test your colour acuity. I only occasionally find people who can not tell a 3/4ct I from a G. That is why we have a minimum colour standard of H.
But as diamond size increases, it becomes easier to see the colour. There is also a bigger cost difference because, naturally, there is more demand for apparently colourless diamonds. As a rule, I do not buy +2ct diamonds in H colour, especially if they are fancy cut (non-round) because they “show” more colour.
Aha – Why you ask? Round perfectly cut diamonds, like those that bear my name, are very bright because they have a very short ray path inside the diamond. Light enters the top, bounces off opposite sides of the pavilion (bottom facets) and almost all of it sparkles out the top. Radiant and some other ‘fancy shapes’ have the ability to keep the light bouncing around inside the diamond (our research shows we can increase the round brilliant from an average 2.7 times diameter to 7 times the diameter in some cuts). So imagine a full glass of orange cordial – look down into it and it is dark orange, drink most of it and the colour becomes much lighter.
Now you are thinking “why deliberately increase the ray length and make the diamond look a lower lessor colour?” The answer is that if the diamond is a rough pale yellow coloured diamond can be cut can make it appear much more intense or even vivid yellow, and could be worth 2 or 3 times more than if it was cut into a paler round. But the fancy shape loses more light out the back then the ‘in and out’ round so the sparkles are not as bright.
So back to your problem, a well-cut round will show less colour.
If your diamond is a lower than H colour sow some jewellers will tell you “set it in white gold because yellow will make it look yellower”. They would be wrong. Firstly, even if your diamond is not cut that well and light can get in the back, there are not many lights shining in the back of a diamond when you are wearing it! Secondly, the contrast in colour between yellow gold close to the diamond will make an off white diamond appear whiter. Setting I and lower colours in rubbed-in bezel settings or as close to as much gold as practical, and do not set diamonds below H colour in white settings.
Re the choice of white gold and platinum: see the FAQ’s here about plat vs WG.
Hope that helps,
I have an allergy from my white gold e-ring and wedding band, it makes my finger come out in a rash – what can I do about it?
The only known antidote to this allergy is the setting of very large diamonds all around the surface of the white gold.
University tests prove that the larger the diamonds, the fewer women suffer from ill effects.
There is an inverse relationship in the case of men. The likely side effect of the female antidote is extreme anxiousness.
Seriously though, there are different whitening agents used to make gold white. Nickel and palladium are the 2 main metals that are melted or alloyed with gold (which is orange) to make it white. It will be the nickel in white gold that you are reacting to. Less expensive mass-produced rings tend to be nickel-based, although sometimes a ring is made with nickel white gold because it is tougher or harder to bend. Very often wedding rings were made with nickel alloys for that reason – so you should try to identify if one or the other gives you more of the itchy problem.
We would be happy to loan you a white gold band made out of the palladium-based multipurpose white gold Gollum ring that we use in our two workshops. The other thing to try is to re-rhodium plate your rings. If you have worn your rings for more than a year it is very likely that the original sparkling white rhodium flash plating that all good jewellers apply to white gold has worn off. If that is the case for about $100 we can replate both rings, and they will look brand new again.
If all else fails, then you should consider having your rings remade in our platinum as we use 97% and 95% pure alloys. For earrings we can usually solder platinum posts on and solve the problem.
While this is a rather expensive alternative, it might be cheaper than covering both the rings in very large diamonds ;-)
Hope that helps,
White gold or Platinum? I heard white gold is yellowish. Which is best?
White gold is made white by adding palladium (better) or nickel (cheaper and can cause allergic rashes) because these two metals can mask the orange colour of gold. This was discovered by unemployed metallurgists after the first world war, so it is only recently that we have had ‘antique’ 100-year-old white golds jewellery. 18 karat means 18 parts in 24 parts (pure gold), so 6 parts of palladium make an 18K palladium alloy which is 75% gold. Granules of each are weighed out (in secret recipes, usually with some silver etc) and melted together. There are two problems: one is that palladium is quite expensive and many companies try to skimp on the amount of palladium and end up with a yellowish-white gold. The other problem is that nickel white gold is very hard to bend and makes a lousy metal for craftspeople to create intricate settings (I do use nickel white gold for springs in my cuff links though)..
Naturally, we do not cut corners; Holloway Diamonds use a palladium rich 18K alloy that has not a hint of yellow. It is however a little grey, which you will not see in our stores until the thin layer of rhodium plating wears off.
Platinum is a white metal all by itself. It is a very nice stainless steel white, but because it is soft it is alloyed with a small percentage of rare metals. We use two alloys, one is 95% and the other 97% platinum which are both superb for diamond settings. Platinum does not wear very much – it has a propensity to cling to itself and it is not unusual to see rings that have been worn every day for 70 years with no need for rebuilding or renovation. Platinum is a little more expensive because it is 30% heavier than white gold and because it clings to itself it requires a lot more work to achieve a great polish.
A good alternative is to make gem settings in platinum and the ring band in white gold which is harder to bend or deform. In some special cases we also work in a 9K palladium rich white gold which, because it has less gold component, has excellent colour and makes for great white gold handmade chains and bracelets.
Remember though, do not wear rings of different karats or platinum on the same finger. Platinum (and silver) will wear out gold. 9K will wear out 18K.
Hope that helps,
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there such a significant difference in price between these two 2.00carat diamonds?
The diamond industry commonly used price list shows a 30 times price difference for round 2ct diamonds between D Flawless and M colour I3. The colour and clarity range we recommend for 2ct round diamonds is D to G, VS1 to SI1 and that range is from half to a third the cost and very few people could see the difference between our diamonds and a D Flawless. If there was a difference a Holloway diamond™ will probably look better because D Flawless is all about D Flawless, and the cut quality is usually unfortunately collateral damage!
Are your diamonds GIA certified?
Above half a carat, yes. Below half a carat many of the diamonds we buy have GIA reports but we bin them as there is just too much bother to manage them. Sad really because the cost of GIA lab grading is almost as much as the cost of cutting and polishing!
If diamonds are as common as I read about, why are they so expensive?
Supply and demand. There are two categories of winging whining “diamonds are common” folk. Firstly, the gem dealers who are just plain old jealous at the prices diamonds command. Secondly, whining journalists who can’t afford them because the Internet stole their jobs (which is actually a problem as there is now way too much fake news). The thing is diamonds go with everything, they look beautiful, they don’t get scratched and rarely get damaged.
De Beers didn’t make diamonds desirable, they were already highly sought after by queens, kings and moguls. The finds in South Africa 150 years ago, with De Beers help, bought diamonds to the middle classes. There are many more tons of sapphires and aquamarine mined every year than gem-quality diamonds. They are dead easy to find, Diamond prospecting is really tough, just ask my 94-year-old friend Ewen Tyler who found the Argyle mine, Ellendale and Merlin (that Joe G wrecked).
Is Fluorescence good or bad in a Diamond
I have been an advocate for blue fluorescent diamonds for decades and my research and methods to reject and avoid those with problems have been ‘discovered’ finally by GIA researcher Yun Luo. Google Measurement and Characterization of the Effects of Blue Fluorescence on Diamond Appearance and you will see that they are actually measurably brighter and that the fluorescence absent certain types of inclusions means they never have haziness.
Where do we get our Diamonds from?
India. Liars tell you their diamonds are from Antwerp in Belgium. The truth is more than 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished in world-class high tech factories in Surat, India. Because Antwerp was a major rough diamond trading hub, the Indians sold their diamonds through Antwerp. There may be one or two hundred diamond cutters in Antwerp compared to half a million in Surat!
What is the difference between LGD and can you tell if one is?
LGD’s come in two flavours, HPHT and CVD. Both are grown in factories in China and India and most of the huge amount of electricity consumed in growing them comes from fossil fuels. There are lots of greenwashing companies in Western nations who lie and cheat as to where their diamonds actually come from.
A. GIA and decent labs sort the wheat from the chaff and above half a carat all our diamonds come with a GIA report.
B. At Holloway Diamonds We can tell if a diamond is type II and since only about 2% are if we see more than three type II in a parcel of a hundred smaller uncertified diamonds we simply return them and never deal with that dealer again.
C. Aha – yes – how do we tell – we have a little black box that creates two frequencies of Ultra Violet light (UV). If the diamond fluoresces brighter under the shorted wave than the longer wave it is type II.
Do you sell lab grown or synthetic diamonds?
NO. We offer a trade-up deal on our diamonds. Bring them back in a year or two decades and we will credit you what you paid towards a bigger diamond. LGDs have been losing a third of their value every year. No way does any seller want them back!!!
Isn’t a Champagne diamond just another name for a brown diamond?
Yes, but there is brown and there is brown. We are Argyle Champagne diamond fans because they are honey-sweet brown. Most of the rest of the world’s diamonds are olive or greyish butt ugly brown.
Do you custom design?
When I opened the Canterbury store in 1976 (I was 10, so I am only 55 now) my vision was to have all the trades and skills under one roof. Back then most custom made jewels were sent out to rabbit warren rat holes in old city upper floor dungeons. The Chinese whisper game bought us heaps of business remaking stuff-ups 😊
Can my partner exchange it for another piece if it is unsuitable?
That depends. If he chose a piece from stock – for sure! But if he is choosing an engagement ring we would guide him to a simple Tiffany style ring that we can easily take the diamond out of (if you want the very same diamond that is) and make the ring that you will cherish forever. Well, till you want to upgrade it – and yes – we will give you full credit on the diamond toward your bigger diamond.
I’m wanting to propose…”Do I bring my partner in or should I surprise her?”
See the answer just above 😊 We like the surprise idea withing that simple solution.
Do you offer repair work?
We do, but we are a bit fussy. We hate repairing chains and rings that are past their use-by date. We fix a chain that is worn out or weakened from bub yanking on it, and you lose your 1ct diamond pendant – and we get a lousy review and badmouthed all around town. Go see one of our only 2 non 5 star reviews – and we didn’t even do that repair, she clicked on the wrong jeweller!
What happens if I buy the ring and the size is wrong?
D’oH! We make our rings – the same big ugly dudes resize them! Sorry – actually, they are the nicest guys and their wives are great cooks – we get their leftovers for lunch!
What is the difference between 9ct and 18ct Gold? and can you wear both together?
This is the old man’s wives tale – 9k is better for men’s rings because it is harder. Actually, it bends like butter and every men’s 9k signet ring you ever saw – I bet it had a bent band!
- 18k is much harder to bend, but if you wear a 9k band beside a more expensive 18k ring, the 18k ring will get worn away.
- Wear hardness in this order: platinum, Silver, 9k, 14k, 18k, 22k and pure gold which is 24k.
- Bending toughness goes: 14k, 18k, 9k, platinum, silver, 22k, 24k.
- White golds are a whole different kettle of fish.
What type of gold it is and whether a particular piece that is photographed(if they are looking online) can it be made in say yellow gold and not white?
But platinum and special white golds have advantages for claws in some cases.
Does the price include CAD design?
Yes, it does. Once we have the go-ahead you can view the CAD drawing and make amendments to it before we have it physically made.
Is GST included?
Yes, it is.
Are any check ups included? E.g. Yearly maintenance?
We offer free steam cleans and check-ups to all of our clients. For a new piece that is worn every day, I would recommend coming in a month after you present (provided the size is right) then 6 months after to check it is wearing well. From then on once a year will be fine.
Everyone wears their jewellery differently, some of our client’s get away without any repairs to their jewellery for 5-10 years. However, if you do opt for white gold, the ring will need to be rhodium plated once every year or so to stay shiny. You don’t need to do this, the white gold we use has palladium in it, so it will stay a white colour over time, it will just matt or dull with wear. Platinum does need to be polished up too and no matter the metal used, claws do need to be tipped every so often too. At the moment a rhodium plate costs $40 and a polish $30.
Is insurance provided for the centre stone, if there is any damage caused during the stone setting?
Our gems specialist checks all stones before we set them. He will check your sapphire before we have anything made to ensure there are no major surface-reaching/ nasty inclusions that would cause the stone to crack or chip when we are setting it. Our setter is a master though and he has over 30 years of experience. Should our gems specialist be happy with the stone, we take responsibility for it. Meaning that should anything happen to the stone that changes the stone from when you gave it to us we will source you another of the same if not better quality, i.e it must be the same carat weight if not more, the same intensity and dispersion of colour if not better etc.
Is there a workmanship guarantee provided?
A.Yes, if the ring has a manufacturing fault. We repair the ring free of charge or if repairs are not possible we make a new one.
Does this include a final box or presentation kit?
Yes, all of our pieces come in a Holloway wooden ring box and the piece is valued complimentary on completion of the ring. This valuation you can provide to your insurance company.
What is the expected lead time from the deposit payment?
We usually take 10 business days to create a piece from start to finish, however, we have worked miracles before if you need it sooner. Let me know if this is the case.
What is the expected deposit?
We usually take 25%
Do all Australian pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine?
No, there are occasional pink diamonds found in several African mines and quite a few purple-pink diamonds from Russia. But the intense pink diamonds have all but dried up with only a trickle coming from alluvial river mining in Brazil.
A. How can one ensure the provenance of an Australian pink diamonds from the Argyle mine?
Argyle provides certification and laser inscriptions for larger pink diamonds, although they started this process in the 1990s and originally for stronger colours in big sizes. Those certs and inscriptions can be confirmed on a website Argyle hosts. Smaller diamonds get sold in lots or parcels and the only identification is the lot number from a trusted source. Also, it was common for larger pinks to be recut to improve their colour and that often resulted in laser inscriptions being polished off. Fortunately, we have three friendly associates who can provide proof of provenance. They use super cool spectrographic analysis.
What grade of diamonds do you sell?
D to H colour, SI to VS eye clean. But we are famous for the sparkle and no one does that better than me. That’s why we are here. That’s why I have worldwide fame as an inventor of diamond cut grading tools. But hey, don’t believe me, just google Ideal-Scope and Holloway Cut Adviser.
Are your diamonds GIA certified?
Yes, over half a carat.
Can you explain the significance of colour, cut and clarity. Which one is more important?
Cut is the most important because it is what makes a diamond sparkle. Clarity is important if you don’t want to see stuff inside the diamond (I own a diamond with a red garnet inclusion – now that looks pretty cool). But you do not need to go nuts and chase flawless – most Holloway diamonds™ are rated VS2 by GIA and you need a 10 power jewellers loupe to see them. Colour is important if you want a diamond to look what diamonds are meant to look like – icy white. For me, that means D to H below 2ct round cuts and G plus in larger or most fancy shaped diamonds. But the thing you didn’t ask – is fluorescence. That is a huge money saving diamond improving factor that makes diamonds icy whiter and adds to their sparkle.
If diamonds are as common as I read about, why are they so expensive?
Finding diamonds is really expensive. The volcanic pipes that bought them to the surface are often only as big as a few footy fields and only one in a thousand have enough diamonds to make it viable to mine them. The last mineable volcano erupted more than 20 million years ago and the oldest is a few billion years old. Most have eroded away or been covered over by other rocks so prospecting is a very tough gig.