Our diamond sourcing standards will ease your mind. Find out why.
Ignorance is not bliss. At least not when it comes to diamonds and fine jewelry.
Transparency is of utmost importance to us, and we don’t have anything to hide, so we’re going to be honest with you about how we do what we do.
Spoiler Alert: Our diamond sourcing standards will ease your mind. Maybe you have questions about our sourcing methods. Or maybe you’re wondering about our diamond selection process. Either way, get ready to shop with a renewed peace of mind because answers are coming your way.
Let’s start with sourcing, since we get a lot of questions about that and it’s somewhat of a hot topic. You might be wondering...
Are your diamonds sourced responsibly and ethically?
Caring for people and the environment is one of our five brand values. (The others are craftsmanship, using growth for good, creative expression, and honoring personal stories. Learn more about us here.)
Our commitment to maintain high ethical standards, practice sustainable sourcing methods, and use recycled gold is simply an extension of our love for craftsmanship, creativity, and personal connections. It’s naturally part of what we do.
We only work with suppliers who abide by the Kimberley Process (KP). It’s the highest standard of ethical sourcing. Basically, it’s an international certification scheme that a coalition of governments, non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations established in 2003 that regulates the trade of rough diamonds and prevents the flow of conflict diamonds.
“Conflict diamonds” (a.k.a. “blood diamonds”) are the diamonds that rebel movements use to do various illegal, violent, and horrible things that hurt people, governments, and the environment.
But before you pat us on the back and hail us as the Good Samaritans, we’re going to let you in on a little secret that big brands like Brilliant Earth or Blue Nile wouldn’t want you to know.
According to the KP collective, KP participants “are responsible for stemming 99.8% of the global production of conflict diamonds.” What does that mean? It means that blood diamonds have been all but completely eliminated from the market already, so there’s not much there for a brand to brag about anymore because it’s literally the standard practice.
You might also be wondering...
How do you decide which specific diamonds to select for each of your designs?
Being the skilled artisan she is, Melanie Casey handpicks and quality-checks each diamond herself. Even though she now leads the company of expert goldsmiths, customer service reps, and dozens of other team members, Melanie is still very much involved in the jewelry-making process. She prioritizes both the overall beauty and the value of each diamond. They must meet five criteria to be set in a design.
- Clarity – It must be completely clean inside to the naked eye.
- Color – The color rating must be G or higher.
- Value – The diamond must meet an appropriate price point so you don’t waste money.
- Size – It must be the largest millimeter size available.
- Cut – It must be the best-cut diamond available (but never at the expense of the clarity, color, or size)
Let’s take a closer look at each of these criterion.
First, the diamond must be completely clean inside to the naked eye. No one wants a tiny black dot or some other imperfection to ruin an otherwise beautiful stone. Our baseline standard for most designs is VS2 clarity. (“VS” is a jewelry industry term that refers to a “very slight” inclusion, which means that it’s minor and somewhat difficult to spot under 10x magnification.)
Compared to most jewelers, Melanie has extremely high clarity standards. Even the tiny diamonds we use for accents are of higher quality than most melee stones you’ll find in the jewelry industry.
We prefer to keep the color rating at G or better. (D is the most colorless white diamond and Z diamonds have a yellow-brown tone.) Of course, the higher the rating, the better. But once they’re set in yellow gold, diamonds that have a D, E, F, or G rating look amazing—they appear to be glowing with bright whiteness. If we’re looking for a diamond to set in white gold or platinum, our standards move up to F or better.
(Speaking of clarity and color, here’s something to keep in mind as you shop: With Melanie Casey, you can always request clarity and color upgrades!)
Yes, we have high clarity and color standards, but we also have to take the diamond’s value and price point into consideration. We don’t want you to waste your money. For example, an internally flawless (“IF”) diamond wouldn’t be worth its exorbitant cost for you if it looks identical to a much less expensive VS clarity stone. So we typically don’t go to the extremes with clarity and color because we’re sensibly value-oriented. But of course, if you want to go all out and get the most opulent ring money can buy, let us know!
The priority here is impact. In other words, we’re asking, What’s the diamond’s overall impression? For maximum effect, we try to find the largest millimeter size we can. The diamond should look substantial and full. So we don’t go for “flat” diamonds because they lack the dynamic qualities that look best. And we don’t want “deep” diamonds either, because if all the carat weight is in the underbelly but it’s not improving the diamond’s overall impact, it’s a waste of your money. There should be an obvious difference between, for example, a 1ct. diamond and a 1.5ct. diamond.
Cut is important, but it’s not our top priority. Why? Because it simply doesn’t affect the overall impact of the stone to the same degree that color, cut, and size do. So we look for the best-cut diamond available, but not at the expense of those other qualities. Plus, diamonds are cut so precisely these days that even diamonds with a “good” cut rating are remarkably reflective and objectively beautiful.
Once a diamond meets all these criteria, Melanie chooses which diamond will be set in each design.
If you’ve ever looked into how other jewelers source and select diamonds, then you probably already noticed that our nitpicky process is topnotch. We’re self-proclaimed perfectionists when it comes to the quality of our jewelry. And we’re proud of it.
And to be honest, our decision to handle this process in-house is not the most cost-effective option for us.
If we were only concerned about our bottom line, we’d outsource this part of our job. Like so many other jewelers out there. But we don’t. Why?
So we can ensure that you get the highest quality jewelry at the fairest price. Our team of expert jewelers carefully handcraft each piece, and they’ve all received extensive training in the art of setting even the daintiest of stones and perfecting each prong.
All that stuff you read about up there—it’s proof that “exquisite craftsmanship and extraordinary customer care” is not just something we say. It’s woven into what we do everyday. And that’s why so many thousands of people all around the world love Melanie Casey Fine Jewelry.
Now that we answered all your diamond sourcing and selection questions, it’s time to shop with your renewed peace of mind.