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Advice or tips, Diamond Advice, Frequently Asked Questions

In recent times almost every industry has either gone through or is about to go through massive disruption, on a scale never seen before. The diamond industry is by no means immune to the changes that are coming with man made diamonds.

We have seen a marked increase in the enquires around created diamonds in the last month. Some is general curiosity, but most are as a genuine interest in purchasing a man made diamond. Up until recently, there has been little information about them to give a client the complete confidence in their purchase choice. The important thing to remember is that is exactly what it is – a choice. I honestly don’t believe that one will replace the other, just as Uber hasn’t completely replaced Taxis. If you are making an informed decision, you can be comfortable with whichever choice you go for.


How are Man Made Diamonds created?

Before going into the characteristics of laboratory created diamonds, it is important to understand that there are two main ways to create a man made diamond. High Pressure / High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Disposition (CVD). HPHT process mimics the high pressure that created diamonds in the earth crust. It uses a metal catalyst (graphite/carbon) to dissolve the carbon onto a diamond seed, essentially drawing the carbon out of ferrous metals. Whereas the CVD process in contrast uses low pressure but employs a vacuum which is fuelled with hydrogen and methane. Which means that it derives its carbon source from a vapour. The CVD method starts with a diamond seed crystal to grow the diamond, much the same way you might have grown crystals as a child at school in your science experiment.

You can watch how an 
Altr created diamond is grown here.

Born of Fire, Born Perfect : The making of a Type IIa ALTR Created Diamond from ALTR Created Diamonds on Vimeo.


Diamond crystal types

Diamonds naturally occur in nature as either a Type 1 (a/b) or Type 2 (a/b) crystal. The most purist and transparent form of Carbon crystal in the world is the Type 2a crystal, it has almost no impurities which leads to the colourlessness and only accounts for 1.8% of the world’s supply and is a rare quality gem. 


Every Altr created diamond begins with a Type 2a seed crystal and is guaranteed to be only a CVD diamond, so it’s quality can be assured. Type 2a diamonds have much less nitrogen so they face up looking whiter and crisper, which is in line with their “Shine Brighter” campaign.

So that is most of the technical information out of the way. The simplest take way is that Altr created diamonds have;

  1. Same physical hardness as a mined diamond
  2. Same optical properties as a mined diamond
  3. Same Molecular structure as a mined diamond
  4. Will never have any fluorescence
  5. Will give you around a 20% bigger diamond for the same budget
  6. Often a cleaner diamond with less inclusions.
  7. Are completely certified and laser inscribed by the one of the worlds forensic laboratory (only 2 in existence), that even has a money back guarantee, if the stone hasn’t been accurately graded.

When I am showing a client an Altr created diamond, the first thing I will say is one was created below the ground, the other was created above the ground. That is essentially the only difference. Just like if you had two siblings, one was made by IVF and the other through the traditional way, you wouldn’t look at your sibling and call them a synthetic human. They just had a different start, but they are identical to you as a human in every way.

What a Man Made diamond is not.

A man made diamond is a very different stone to a Cubic Zirconia or a Moissanite stone, both of which are softer and have different optical properties. Both a cubic and a moissanite are known as stimulants, which means that they are like a diamond, but not the same.

What to watch out for in a created diamond.

The first thing to look out when shopping for a Laboratory created diamond is whether there is accurate disclosure around the way that it was created. Cheaper versions are made through either straight HPHT, or a combination of HPHT and CVD. If the stone you are looking at purchasing can’t guarantee the method of its creation, then it is most likely a cheaper combination creation stone.

Where your Laboratory created diamond is certified

The second thing to look out is for where the diamond was certified. If it is certified by IGI (International Gemmological Institute) it will be a cheaper stone, as the grading parameters for IGI are not as strict as the GCAL (Gem Certification and Assurance Lab). An IGI laboratory has been known to be a colour &/or clarity grade out compared to that of a GIA laboratory. Also, an IGI cert won’t tell you whether your diamond was created through HPHT or CVD.

As mentioned previously the GCAL is one of the strictest grading laboratories’ in the world and completely stands behind their grading. A GCAL cert in addition to the normal 4C’s information also has several additional features

  1. A Gem print – which is a unique optical fingerprint of your diamond
  2. Photomicrographs – which are actual photographs of your diamond, so you can see the actual incisions and faceting of your diamond.
  3. Optical Brilliance analysis – which is the overall amount of white light being returned to the viewer
  4. Optical Symmetry analysis – showing a coloured optical symmetry of the diamond, showing you a visual representation of the proportions and facet alignment.

    Man Made diamonds GCAL certificate

Minimal Carbon footprint for a Man Made Diamond. 

All Altr created diamond presses are powered by the earth’s natural wind cycles through the power of wind turbines. This renewable energy source creates the power required to form these amazing gems, ensuring that there is minimal impact on the environment.

Metallic inclusions for a created diamond.

Because HPHT created diamonds derive their carbon from a metallic source like iron, the inclusions found in them are often metallic in nature. These inclusions are often easily distinguishable and can even result in the diamond having a magnetic attraction to a magnet.

At the end of the day whether you choose a mined diamond, or a laboratory created diamond, will just come down to your own personal preference. Ultimately the choice will come down to whether it is more important to you that the diamond was created below the ground or whether you would rather have a larger diamond for the same budget. At the end of the day, the best way for you to decide is to compare them side by side and make the choice for yourself. So why not book an appointment and see the diamonds first hand and see if you can tell the difference.

We even have a special promotion on at the moment to celebrate the launch of the Altr created diamonds. You can WIN a .50ct F Colour VS clarity Altr created valued at $2900. All you need to do is book an appointment to come in and see them, to go in the draw to win this amazing diamond. 

    man made diamond promotion

Advice or tips, Frequently Asked Questions, Special event days

Like most ladies, I am sure you would love to know how to get diamonds for Christmas. I wish I could tell you that guys love shopping for your Christmas present. The truth is most of us hate going near the shops, especially at this time of year. Even worse there is a constant dread of choosing something that you are going to hate. So, what do we do? We procrastinate, we leave it till the last minute, then in the last chance effort, we dash to the shops on Christmas Eve to join all the other helpless guys looking for a present for their partners.

Sound familiar??

Why do guys do this?

I think it is partly because we don’t know what it is you really want, and partly because shopping for us guys is genuinely not an enjoyable experience. I am going to let you in on a little secret – we would rather be watching our favourite sports team, playing on our devices or pretty much anything else than spending hours at a shopping centre.


So, what’s the solution to not getting diamonds for Christmas?

Ladies, it would really help us a lot if you left a list of the things you would really like for Christmas, as well as a list of the things that you absolutely DO NOT WANT. I know that you think it is common sense not to get you a blender for Christmas, but for our practical minds, it simply isn’t that straightforward. We don’t take subtle hints, it needs to be written on a big sheet of paper in red and put on the fridge. Somewhere where we can’t miss it is ideal.


Secondly, tell us the stores that you would love us to shop at for you. Ideally, these stores should have great team members that will make the process easy and a pleasurable experience for us. Ideally, these stores should have ample comfortable seating, be away from the bustling crowds, and have offered us a beer or beverage of our choice while we are picking out your perfect gift.


So If you are tired of receiving the same type of gifts every year, try this new tactic and see if this Santa brings you exactly what you have been dreaming of. Not only will you get more of what you want, but we will actually thank you for making the process of choosing your gift easier for us.


Just in case your partner hasn’t been to see our new showroom. We have lots of beautiful diamonds for you to wear, a private upstairs diamond boutique with comfy chairs, a great team of diamond consultants trained to make picking out your Christmas present easy for them. If that wasn’t enough there is also an exclusive scotch bar and/or beer for them to make the experience one that they will want to come back time and time again.

We even have a special promotion running at the moment, to help you get diamonds for Christmas – you can find out more here #LetHerSparkle.


Advice or tips, Frequently Asked Questions

Just as no two individuals are alike, no two jewellers are the same. Every successful jewellery retailer operates in a particular niche. There are some that cater for the mass market, while some are more bespoke. I am not suggesting that everyone must go for the bespoke jeweller. Rather it is important to discover the jeweller who is right for you.  Outside of buying a house or car, your jewellery is one of life’s most expensive and important purchases. Although I would argue, it is the most important, as it is rarely ever sold or traded.  

Choosing a Jeweller – Chain Stores

Mass market or chain stores will usually have a price advantage because they are working on large quantities of scale. They actually analyse units of cost right down to the gram. Because they know, if they can save half a gram on a ring, then over 10,000 units it will make a significant difference to their bottom line. The unfortunate thing is, this prematurely shortens the life of the ring. The diamonds that are used tend to be from parcel groups. While there are savings to be made from buying diamonds in bulk, what you lose is the ability to hand pick the diamonds.

So you might end up with the best diamond in the parcel, or the worst. Most of the chain stores will also have a very limited warranty period. Most offer after care plans that you have to purchase to help maintain their products. As without this, the clients are likely to run into issues. These product care plans also form a significant recurring revenue stream for these jewellery retailers and can cost you a lot of money in the long run. The type of experience usually received is transactional in style. The staff are trained to show you the items in their cabinet and to help facilitate the transaction, giving you some basic diamond information.

Choosing a jeweller – BESPOKE

Usually although not always, a bespoke jeweller will specialise in hand making your jewellery. There is definitely a difference in the standard of manufacturing. Metal that has been hammered and forged is always stronger as the atoms inside the metal have been compacted. Rings tend to be heavier, which means that they will last longer before claws need to be replaced and the bottom of the ring reinforced. 

The designs will also more likely be more unique, rather than a vending machine style process, where as soon as you take one out of the cabinet, it is replaced with an identical copy.In a diamond specialist boutique, the diamonds are more likely to be hand selected.
Having your diamond specially selected for you means that you have more control over the diamond parameters, so that you end up with a diamond that’s perfect for your partner.

With bespoke jewellers, you should expect things like a lifetime manufacturing warranty come as standard on the jewellery they craft. It always amazes me when I hear someone who is willing to spend a considerable amount of money on an item that they will have for the next 50 years from someone who is only willing to guarantee it for 12 months. A bespoke jewellery store should offer more of an experience that a mere transaction. It should be less about just forcing you to choose something out of the cabinet because it is convenient, and more about finding the piece that is the perfect fit for you, with an experience you will always remember. Bespoke jewellers generally have more expertise than a generalist jeweller and should be able to answer any diamond questions that you have, so you have complete peace of mind.

Choosing A Jeweller Who’s Right For You

At the end of the day, which store you choose is entirely up to you. As long as it is an informed choice, you can always look back without regrets. Take the time, do your research, have a look at the Google reviews and find the jeweller that’s right for you. If you would like more help in how to choose the perfect diamond and engagement ring, you can find out everything you ever needed to know from the international award winning book – Rock Her World “The ultimate guide to choosing the perfect engagement ring”

Advice or tips, Diamond Advice

PI3Confused by the diamond certificate?

Have you ever looked at a diamond certificate and had no idea what all the numbers and percentages mean? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Starting out can be a bit daunting, not only do you have to find the ring that she likes but you need to make sure the rock you are putting your hard earned cash into is going to be  worth it. The first thing that you are probably familiar with, if you have been paying attention to her subtle hints or done even just a little research is this thing called the 4C’s. They are Cut, Colour, Clarity and Cut Grade.  The big question is which one is the most important? You can see my short video series here.
Here are the diamond 4 C’s in a nutshell in the order of their importance.

Diamond CutDiamond-Dossier

Is only talking about how well the diamond is cut – which ultimately means how much it is going to sparkle. It is that twinkle that her friends will see from across the room.   Tip – Aim for an Excellent cut grade. Diamonds like a Passion8 diamond sit in the top 1% for diamond cut and will outsparkle normal excellent cut grade diamonds.  

Diamond Colour

Is only talking about how white the diamond is. This is talking about the body colour of the stone and has nothing to do with the colour. The colour grade starts at D and goes down to Z.   Tip – Aim for the top 3 colour grades – D, E, F. Any colour that is G in colour or lower will pull a lot of yellow.  

Diamond Clarity

Is only talking about the natural inclusions you can see with a 10x magnifying lens.   Tip – Aim for eye Clean SI clarity. As everyone’s eyesight is different make sure you look at the diamond with a lens before purchasing it. Looking at the plot on the diamond certificate will not tell you how good or bad the inclusion is.  

Diamond Carat Weight

Is only talking about the physical size that you see. While this might seem like the most important to some ladies, it isn’t if it is coming at the expense of quality. Smaller more perfectly cut diamonds will actually have the same diameter as larger average cut diamond.   Tip – Always go for a diamond that is slightly smaller of better quality. After all, do you want a diamond that looks better or one that weighs more?   So now that we have that sorted, let’s look at what all the percentages mean. I wish it was as simple as looking at an excellent cut grade. The truth is the goal posts have widened significantly in the last 5 years. Today more and more diamonds are falling into the excellent category than ever before.   AnatomyIn a recent price comparison on diamond certificates, I found as much as a 28% price difference between two identical diamonds (based on their paperwork). Both stones had been graded as a triple excellent cut grade. So it is vital to make sure you have a cut specialist look over your diamond. Just like going to a heart surgeon instead of a GP when you need specialist surgery, a diamond cut specialist will be able to show you where your diamond sits in the cut spectrum.   Tip – Aim for a 57% table percentage – It will give the diamond more dispersion. (The blues, reds and yellows)     If you want to make the best-informed decision on how to pick a stunning diamond and design a ring that will really blow her away – you can learn more about how to choose the perfect diamond by getting a free copy of the international award winning book and Amazon best seller – Rock Her World here.


What should I do before I look for a ring? Having decided to spend the rest of your life with your partner, what ground work do you need to do before venturing out
What is going to look the best on my partner’s hand? With so many different styles to choose from, having a ring that will compliment her hand is crucial.
How do I find the jeweller that’s right for me? There are many different niche jewellers out there, but which one is the right one?
Why buying a diamond on the internet is a mugs game Apart from the many internet scams out there, there are some real dangers associated with buying your diamond online.
Engagement ring design tips that will rock her world Expert style tips on how to really personalise your engagement ring and make it completely unique for your partner.
How much should I spend on the Rock? Is the 3-month rule still relevant? Should both partners contribute to the engagement ring?
Diamond 101: How to Master the 4Cs How to ensure that you are only paying for a difference that you can actually see with your own eyes.
How to pick a diamond that sparkles more than any other The benefits of choosing a high-performance diamond like a “hearts and arrows” diamond.
What the Independent Diamond Certificate is actually telling you An in-depth study on how to read a diamond certificate and what all the percentages mean.
Can diamonds be an investment? Should you buy a fancy coloured diamond to use in your engagement ring?
7 steps to the ultimate proposal How to make it a proposal that she will never forget.
How to make sure your engagement ring is protected Why you should insure your diamond engagement ring before you leave the store, and the insurance horror stories, when it all goes horribly wrong.

Advice or tips, Jewellery, Special event days

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution last year that you didn’t keep or achieve?

By now you have probably recovered from your New Year’s festivities and made a few New Year’s resolutions. Ironically there are probably a number of them that you have recycled from last year. All those things that you want to change or improve, but never got around to doing. Whether it is something physical like losing a few kilos or business orientated like reaching more clients, having an incentive to achieve your New Year’s resolution is sure to increase your chances of success.

Goal Planning

When I sit down with clients we discover together what pieces are on their jewellery wish list and what major goals they would love to achieve for the coming year ahead. For some it might be a promotion or a number of successful client transactions, for others it is the completion of a project. Whatever your goal is, having a piece of jewellery to symbolise your achievement will not only give you the enjoyment of wearing it, but also spur you on to hit your next goal. One of the things that my clients often overlook is the power of goal setting – using diamonds as the carrot (pun intended). I always say that if a picture tells a thousand words, then your jewellery is a novel with a lifetime of memories. When I look at a piece of jewellery I am reminded of all the memories associated with it – how I designed it, where I sourced the diamonds from, how the jeweller made it etc…

Sally’s Story

One of my clients, Sally, had a goal of reaching 150 active recurring clients in her business. Sally’s incentive for working towards that goal was a new pair of gorgeous diamond studs. Throughout the year Sally worked tirelessly, putting in extra hours, sacrificing personal leisure time and even visited her diamond studs in the showroom as a motivator to stay on track.   By the time the end of the year came around Sally actually ended up with 186 clients. Sally had been so motivated to achieving her goal that the extra momentum she had built up allowed her to blow her target out of the water. Now we use Sally’s earrings as a memory anchor to help her go after her next target of 250 clients. You see, every time Sally now looks in the mirror, she doesn’t just see her diamond studs, she sees everything those diamond studs represent. Sally is reminded of all the hard work she put in to achieve her goal, and ultimately how successful it makes her feel, which is a great sense of fulfilment for her. It also makes her excited about going after her next goal, which is a diamond bracelet.   It doesn’t have to be a set of diamond studs for you; it might be a bracelet, a ring or a strand of pearls. Whatever your taste in jewellery is, link it to S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Set yourself one SMART goal

S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Achievable, R – Relevant, T – Time sensitive.

I find limiting it to one main goal at a time works best, that is until you develop the skill set to handle multiple goals at once. That way you will avoid the vicious cycle of recycling your New Year’s resolutions. While the beginning of the year is a great time to set a goal, there is really no reason that you can’t do it at any time. Just follow the S.M.A.R.T acronym and link it with whatever is going to be your greatest currency, and you will be sure to achieve it. Accountability is also a great way to make sure that you stay on course to achieve your goal.

So what is your goal this year, and what is going to be on your jewellery wish list to motivate you to achieve it?

Like the old saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. The time to set a new goal is now. So don’t wait another week or month to start putting your diamond S.M.A.R.T. goal together. I guarantee that when you look back in 12 months’ time, you will not only be amazed by the results, but you will have a lovely piece of jewellery to remember the journey.

About Karl

kschwantes-rock-cover-webuse-xlgeHis recently released book, ” Rock Her World” is available now. If you would like help, in choosing the perfect diamond to help you achieve your goals for 2016, there is a lot of great information in Rock Her World” or you can even listen to a sample chapter hereKarl believes that choosing a piece of jewellery should be a phenomenal experience, and over the last 21 years has helped more than 5800 clients choose a special piece of jewellery that tells their story.


Advice or tips, Engagement rings, Frequently Asked Questions, Special event days
Believe it or not Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the two biggest events on the calendar for proposals. Having helped over 5800 couples on their journey to finding their perfect engagement ring, it never ceases to amaze me how popular this time of year is. I can’t really blame guys for choosing this time to propose. Everyone is normally taking time off with their partners to celebrate the holiday season, families are coming together, and lets be honest a fair amount of holiday cheer is involved. Whatever your reason for choosing this time of year to get engaged i have;

7 important tips that will help your proposal go off with a bang!

  • 1. Find out how she would like to be proposed to.

    While you might think that a public proposal in front of all of her family might be the romantic gesture she has been waiting for, the truth is most ladies would prefer a more personal intimate setting with just the two of you.
  • 2. Propose with a ring.

    While i am sure the answer would still be “YES”, proposing with a ring will DEFINITELY create a bigger WOW factor
  • 3. Ask her father for his daughters hand in marriage.

    I might be a romantic and a traditionalist, but i still think it is a nice gesture that most fiancée’s (and their dad’s) appreciate.
  • 4. Rehearse what you are going to say

    You might think you are a “wing it” kind of guy, but this is one of those special moments where you want to make sure everything is said just right. So spend a few minutes rehearsing what you are going to say before you get down on one knee. A lot of guys can get caught up in the moment, and if you haven’t practiced, all your best ideas may go out of the window.
  • 5. Have a plan B.

    Despite the best intentions and planning, sometimes things just don’t work out as well as you planned. So having a backup plan come sometimes calm the nerves. If you are planning an outdoor proposal, maybe have an indoor spot picked out, just in case Mother Nature tries to put a spanner in the works.
  • 6. Take her out on a decoy date.engagement ring for christmas

    If this is the first time you have taken your partner out on a date in a long time, chances are she is going to suspect that something is up. So if a surprise proposal is high on your hit list, then makes sure you plan the lead in with a few extra outings.
  • 7. Relax and have fun.

    On many occasions a bride to be, has commented to me that their partner was acting really weird before the proposal. Just remember millions of guys have gone through what you are about to go through you, and millions will go through it after you. It really isn’t as scary as your mind might make it out to be.
Often the process of choosing an engagement ring can be all consuming, and it seems to take everything they have just to make this important decision. One of the great things i get to do is to coach guys through the process not just about buying an engagement ring, but all the things they need to do before and after the pick up the ring. Just remember, it doesn’t need to be difficult. Choosing an engagement ring can not only be easy, but also a fun and enjoyable experience as well. So if you have been thinking of taking the plunge this Christmas time – Don’t put it of any longer. 🙂 If you would like help, in choosing the perfect engagement ring, there is a lot of great information in my recently published book, “Rock Her World” or you can listen to a sample chapter here Rock Her World  

Advice or tips, Engagement rings, proposal advice

tips on how to get engagedDid you get a new years proposal? If the answer is no, and you have been together for what seems like “enough time”. Maybe it might be time to take an active role and plan for your upcoming engagement. 

Plan to be engaged

Like anything in life, if you want something special you need to plan for it. Whether it is a new car, holiday or your dream engagement ring, the key is to lay some groundwork. Depending on your age and how long you have been together, you may do some, or all of these tips on how to get engaged.

Tips on how to get engaged 

I wish i could say that guys can take a hint. But the truth is, most of us will procrastinate when something seems a little difficult. For some guys not knowing what sort of engagement ring you want, can be a significant factor in putting off the engagement. Having some tips on how to get engaged and choose the perfect engagement ring can make the difference between having an amazing engagement ring that blows your away and something that you will love just because your partner chose it for you.

  1. A great option is to put in the ground work for him. Go out and visit a few jewellery stores and spend the time to find the ring you want. Have all the details written down on a card, and leave it in a place you know he will find it. Most guys will actually be grateful, that they haven’t had to walk through 10 different stores trying to find out which ring is your perfect engagement ring.
  2. Circling ring pictures from a magazine is also a good start to get him thinking that it might be time to make that commitment official. Depending on how subtle you want to be, you could try leaving them on the coffee table, on top of the remote, or even on the fridge.
  3. Tagging him in a Facebook/Instagram post. Even if you don’t explicitly tag him, as long as you are liking and commenting on a ring picture, he is sure to see it in his news feed. Of course this option will only work if he is on Facebook or Instagram.
  4. If he doesn’t have a Facebook or Instagram account, you can try taking a screenshot of your perfect engagement ring and text it to him. Believe it or not, i am starting to see this tactic a lot more often. Today’s lady often knows exactly what she wants in an engagement ring, and isn’t afraid to tell her partner. 

If you think your partner is putting off a proposal because he doesn’t know what you want in an engagement ring, then we can help. We have some great tips to help guide him through that initial “looking phase” to really find out what your style is and what will look amazing on your finger. 

If that fails there is always our FREE arm twisting service to help get him across the line. You can try tweeting it here 🙂

 [Tweet “I need @XennoxDiamonds FREE arm twisting service to help my partner get the perfect engagement ring”]