Does Your Engagement Ring Have a Real Diamond?
Is it a Diamond?
It looked perfect to me, and I knew my wife was going to be bidding on it when the auction started – and I knew I was going to be paying for it. I hadn’t a clue which granddaughter’s birthday it was for, but I could guarantee my other half had chosen the correct granddaughter and how it was going to be wrapped and where it was going to be presented.
When it came to costume jewelry I was as knowledgeable as any other grandfather; it was shiny and it sparkled, but even I was aware that this piece of jewelry was shiny and sparkly in an elegant manner. And it was a certainty to please one of the 4 granddaughters whose birthdays were approaching, from the 8 year old to the 27 year old.
We had no intentions of attending any auctions that Saturday; my wife was going to drop me off at the billiard hall and she was going to go shopping / browsing. That way we could escape from each other and cabin fever for a few hours. We would both be happy and we could meet up at Tim Hortons later and swap stories. But my wife, who was driving, saw a sign for an auction, and before I knew it, we were doing an emergency stop and screeching up a side road.
“Auction” she explained belatedly. And there was I thinking we had an emergency. I swallowed my heart, which had been in my mouth since the first screech, and resigned myself to being late for my game. I phoned my opponent and explained; his laughter didn’t make me feel any better, and his shout to the guys in the hall had me grinding my teeth.
“Hi guys, Mac’s going to another auction: with any luck somebody will bid for him this time.” Very droll.
I wasn’t too late for our game. The necklace that looked perfect to me came up almost immediately and Elle won it for a miserly $20. She was quite excited about it. As I paid for it, she whispered to me,
“It’s an 18 carat gold chain; nobody else seems to have noticed. And there’s a possibility that the stone isn’t a CZ, but a real diamond.”
“How do you work that out?” I asked, checking my watch. “And what is a CZ?”
“Cubic Zirconia, it’s a stone invented by the Soviets. It is heavier than diamond, but doesn’t quite have the same sparkle, but if you remember that diamond is the hardest natural mineral, and rate it as 10, CZ is the next hardest at 8.5 - 9, and it is man made.
"I also work it out because of the 18 carat gold. Pure gold is described as 24 carat, and is really too soft to use in jewellery, so it is usually mixed with alloys of silver, palladium or copper. 18 carat gold means that it is 18 parts of pure gold mixed with 6 parts of alloys. Now if I was a jeweller, I don’t think I’d use an18 carat gold chain for a cheap synthetic stone; but if the stone was a diamond, I would. I’m going to find out, aren’t I?”
That's when I slapped my forehead! That's when I suddenly understood the reason for the screeching tyres! That's when I suddeny understood the reason for the detour. She wanted to try out her recent acquisition, the Diamond Selector instrument.
When I returned from the billiard hall, vowing to take up a hobby I might be good at, like marbles, my better half was just getting around to testing the diamond.
The Diamond Selector 11 instrument, made in Japan, looked efficient, and was very compact. It had only cost her $16.00, on eBay. She’d bought it after previously having had to pay a jeweller $60.00 to check for a stones status. What had annoyed her then wasn’t the $60.00, but the fact that the stone wasn’t a diamond and the $60.00 outlay was a waste of money.
The Selector 11 had a full set of instructions and it seemed to be relatively easy to use. If you made a mistake and touched metal with the delicate tip, it would buzz to warn you. If the stone wasn’t a diamond it would stay silent. If it was a diamond it would flash a red light and beep.
The delicate probe had to be treated gently as it was very easy to bend or break it. When my partner first tried it on the necklace, she touched the mounting of the stone and the detector gave out a continuous loud warning buzz. The probe had to be applied to the diamond at the right angle to be sure of accuracy. (The right angle, strangely enough, was at right-angles to the stone.)
On her second attempt, she made sure the Selector was at right angles after she had set the temperature gauge. This caused a series of amber lights to glow, which apparently proved that everything was fine. A second later, three red lights lit up and the Selector 11, beep, beep, beeped. It was a diamond, or was it? To be sure, she applied the Selector another dozen times, revelling in red lights and beeps. Eventually she stopped playing with the lights, and did some measuring and then looked up a table of some sort.
Apparently, not only was the stone a diamond, but it was a .3 carat stone (whatever that meant) – on an 18 carat gold chain.
My wife grinned. “Well, well,” she said. “It appears I ‘did good.’” She stressed the ‘I’ as she slipped the chain over her head and centred the stone. “It will go very well with my white dress.”
I was about to remind her that the necklace was supposed to be for a granddaughter, when I saw her cocking her head to one side as if she was listening for something. It was her ‘I dare you’ look. Clearing my throat, I spoke casually, “We must find time one day to choose birthday gifts for the girls.”
My wife leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. “And to think it only took you 40 years. As husbands go, you are a really fast learner."