ABOUT

NorthShore Diamonds LLC is a family owned, online jewelry company. We are supplied by a national wholesaler which provides high quality jewelry to well-known retailers throughout the United States. When you place an order with us, you can be assured that you will be receiving high quality jewelry at the best prices available. We offer jewelry in all price ranges, in a variety of materials such as 18 K gold, 14 K gold, platinum, ceramics, tungsten, and sterling silver. We also provide items that include diamonds*, gemstones, and pearls of all sizes and qualities. Since we do not have the overhead of a ‘brick and mortar’ jeweler, we can offer lower prices for the same products.

In addition to finished jewelry, we also can provide you with made to order and special order, and semi-mounted items. If you do not see something that you would like on our website; please contact us at info@northshorediamonds.com and we will work with you to get exactly what you would like. We will be continually updating our website inventory and expanding our online inventory.

At NorthShore Diamonds, we do not tolerate conflict diamonds. We fully support the Kimberley process. All diamonds that we sell comply. Buy with confidence, knowing that our diamonds are conflict-free.

All rough and polished diamonds sold by NorthShore Diamonds LLC., comply with the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process ensures that rough diamonds are:

• Exported and imported with a government validated Kimberley Process certificate stating the diamonds are conflict-free.
• Transported between signatory countries in a sealed and tamper-proof container.
• Sold with a statement from the seller (known as a warranty) on all invoices guaranteeing that the diamonds being sold are conflict-free.

We appreciate your business and look forward to fulfilling all your jewelry needs for many years to come.


Gemstones

Much like a diamond, the various combinations of a stone's cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, along with availability and accessibility, determine rarity. You will find a brief description of those features here. These explanations are based on the system for gemstone evaluation established by the Gemological Institute of America. For more information on GIA, please visit www.gia.org.

Color
Color is typically the most important value-setting factor for gemstones. All gems have a preferred color or a relatively small range of preferred colors. The more the color varies from this range—lighter or darker, more vivid or less—the less valuable the stone. Color is composed of three dimensions: hue, tone, and saturation.
Hue refers to the impression of color usually noticed immediately, such as red, yellow or blue.
Tone refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of an object.
Saturation defines the degree of purity of a hue.

Cut
Cut refers to the shape or design of a stone, arrangement of facets, as well as the precision of the stone's proportions and finish. The cutting process reveals the beauty of a gem. Gemstones are cut into shapes we are familiar with such as oval, emerald, pear, round, and marquise. In addition, they can be carved or fashioned into almost any design imaginable. Proportions involve the balance and appeal of the basic design. Finish refers to the detail of the workmanship. A well-proportioned cut with a fine finish will show a stone's optical properties to its fullest potential. When all of the other factors are even (color, clarity, and carat weight), a better-cut gem will be more valuable.

Carat Weight
The size of a gemstone is measured, not by its dimensions, but by weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measurement for gemstones, is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a gemstone referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat; therefore a 75-point gemstone equals 0.75 carat. Two different gemstones may have the same dimensions but different weights. This is due to the specific gravity or density of the gem mineral. This difference can help gemologists identify a gemstone. Up to a certain point, the larger a stone is, the more rare it is and the higher the price it will command. For stones that commonly occur in larger sizes, the value may decrease if the gem reaches a size that makes it impractical for jewelry use.

Clarity
A gemstone's clarity grade is directly related to its rarity. Clarity refers to a gemstone’s relative freedom from clarity characteristics. Clarity characteristics include inclusions, which lie within the stone, or blemishes, which lie on the surface of a gem. The fewer clarity characteristics, the more rare the gemstone.

Each variety of gemstone has its own clarity standards. For example, Tanzanite is virtually inclusion-free, while Emerald almost always contains clarity characteristics. For this reason, Gemological Institute of America's grading system divides transparent colored gemstones into three clarity types. This allows gems to be more evenly evaluated as it takes into account the individual nature of each gemstone. Each type is further divided into five grading descriptions.

Clarity Types

Type I gems are often virtually free of clarity characteristics. The stones most commonly seen in the market include:
•Aquamarine
•Green Tourmaline
•Morganite
•Smoky Quartz
•Green Tourmaline
•Tanzanite
•Topaz – Blue
•Zircon – Blue


Type II gems normally contain clarity characteristics. The stones most commonly seen in the market include:
•Alexandrite
•Garnet
•Zircon – Green
•Amethyst
•Lolite
•Sapphire – all colors
•Zircon – Orange
•Ametrine
•Peridot
•Spinel - all colors
•Zircon - Red
•Citrine
•Ruby
•Tourmaline
•Zircon – Yellow

Type III gems almost always contain clarity characteristics. These include:
•Emerald
•Tourmaline – Watermelon

Clarity Grades

Type I: Usually eye-clean with no clarity characteristics visible to the unaided eye.
Eye clean – appears clean to the unaided eye.
Slightly Included - Minute inclusions difficult to see with the unaided eye.
Moderately Included - Minor inclusions somewhat easy to see with the unaided eye.
Heavily Included - Prominent inclusions that have a negative effect on appearance or durability.
Severely Included - Prominent inclusions that have a severe effect on appearance, durability, or both.

Type II: Typically shows some eye-visible clarity characteristics that do not detract from the overall beauty of the gem.
Eye clean – appears clean to the unaided eye.
Slightly Included -Minute inclusions difficult to see with the unaided eye.
Moderately Included - Noticeable inclusions apparent to the unaided eye.
Heavily Included - Prominent inclusions that have a negative effect on appearance or durability.
Severely Included - Prominent inclusions that have a severe effect on appearance, durability, or both.

Type III: Almost always contain eye-visible clarity characteristics.
Eye clean – appears clean to the unaided eye.
Slightly Included - Noticeable inclusions apparent to the unaided eye.
Moderately Included - Obvious inclusions very apparent to the unaided eye.
Heavily Included - Prominent inclusions that have a negative effect on appearance or durability.
Severely Included - Prominent inclusions that have a severe effect on appearance, durability, or both.

The various combinations of color, clarity, cut and carat weight are primary factors in determining the value of a gemstone.
Rarity

Some other factors that impact rarity are the abundance of a particular gem type and the geographic location where it is mined. Several gemstones are more abundant and are more easily accessible than others. Many other gems are found in remote locations, which makes mining virtually impossible. The economic and political environments of the region where the gemstones are located may also limit the accessibility of some gems.

With all of these considerations, it is truly an amazing and often challenging journey from the mine to the jewelry store.

Source: Gemological Institute of America


NorthShore Diamonds has several different types of pearls and pearl jewelry available. We can provide you with a great selection of South Sea, Tahitian ,Akoya, Freshwater, and Mabe cultured pearls in all qualities and sizes. The most important thing to remember when selecting a pearl is that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” as most elements used to assess a pearl will depend on individual taste.

South Sea cultured pearls are the most voluptuous, usually 10 to 15 milliliters, and are the most valuable natural pearl. Originally from Australia, they are now also farmed in Indonesia, Burma, and the Philippines. Nacre thickness tends to be at least 3 millimeters and, in many cases, reaches over 6 millimeters. South Sea pearls are graded into 4 complexion categories: Statement, Fine, Fashion, and Foundation.
Tahitian cultured pearls, often called black pearls, are mostly found in French Polynesia in the South Seas. Natural colors are usually shades of grey to black. They are usually found in sizes ranging from 8 to 13 but can exceed 20 milliliters. They come in a variety of shapes and nacre quality is the defining attribute of quality and value.
Akoya cultured pearls are the classic and best known variety of cultured pearl. Mostly found in certain areas of the east coasts of North and South America, the east coast of Africa, the Mediterranean, and around Japan. These pearls are usually between 2 and 10 milliliters in size with a nacre thickness of .1 to.2 of a milliliter. White with pink undertones are the most highly valued in most cultures. In some cultures, the creamier tones are more complimentary to natural skin tone and are more desirable.
Freshwater cultured pearls are not produced by an oyster. Most are farmed in China in varieties of freshwater mussels. They are not marketable in their natural state and require clinical enhancement such as bleaching, coloring, and polishing. Traditionally, they grow in shapes from near round to oval, from 2 to 5 milliliters. New production techniques now produce freshwater pearls that compete with Akoya for size and general appeal. Supply is plentiful and quality is highly variable, resulting in a much lower price than other cultured pearls.
Mabe cultured pearls form on the inside shell of the oyster rather than the soft tissue. The half pearl grows into a domed blister as the shell secretes nacre. The blister is then removed and backed with mother of pearl. Their thin nacreous layer can be easily cracked or damaged by misuse. White with pink undertones are the most desirable. However, there is an increased interest in dark, smoky, or blue color.

Pearls are classified by origin, then graded by luster, complexion/surface, size, shape, color, and nacre thickness.

Luster
Describes the beauty you see as light travels through the nacre of the pearl. The finer the nacre, he better the luster and color and the more valuable the pearl. Luster is not to be confused with surface shine. Luster comes from deep within the nacre, much as light filters from the depth of the clear blue sea. It is probably the most important indicator in evaluating cultured pearl quality.
Complexion /Surface
Pearls may have surface characteristics which may or may not detract from the pearls’ beauty depending on the quality, depth, or visibility or the blemishes. Pearls are graded into 4 complexion categories: Statement, Fine, Fashion, and Foundation.
Size
Cultured pearls are measured by their diameter in millimeters. South Sea cultured pearls dominate the pearl world in quality and size, and are generally found in sizes between 10mm and 15mm. When found, rarer pearls from 16mm to in excess of 20mm are highly prized by connoisseurs. The larger the pearl, other factors being equal, the more valuable it will be.
Shape
The most common shapes, in descending order of value, are: Round, Oval, Circle ,Drop, Full Bottom, and Baroque. Shapes from round to drop are pretty symmetrical ; while baroque denotes asymmetrical or free form. The shape of a pearl does not affect its quality.
Color
Pearls come in colors from white to black. The most popular color is white or white with slight overtones. The overtone colors of the South Sea cultured pearl are the natural colors of the South Sea pearl shell and cover the full spectrum of the rainbow including pink.
Nacre Thickness
Nacre is the iridescent layers which are produced by the mollusk to coat the nucleus.
Very thick: 0.5mm (millimeter) of nacre, approximately 2 years of cultivation. Cannot see any nucleus with the unaided eye.
Thick: .45mm of nacre, approximately 1 ½ - 2 years of cultivation. Cannot see any nucleus with unaided eye.
Medium: .35mm of nacre, approximately 1- 1 ½ years of cultivation. Nucleus not visible with unaided eye
Thin: .30mm of nacre, approximately 9 months to 1 year of cultivation. To the unaided eye the pearls appear to blink when twirled
Very thin: .25mm of nacre, approximately under 9 months cultivation. To the unaided eye pearls have fisheye look, nucleus lines are visible.

Care of Pearls
Pearl jewelry will require some care to preserve its freshness and beauty.
Occasionally clean the pearls gently with a cloth dipped in alcohol diluted with warm water, or in mild soapy water. Then rinse the cloth in fresh water and wipe the pearls clean. Dry them with a soft cloth.
The following hints will help you keep your pearls looking their lustrous best.
•Wait until after applying makeup, perfume, and hairspray to put on jewelry. Some chemicals may harm jewelry.
•Don’t allow pearls to rub against harder gems.
•Before putting pieces away, wipe the pearl jewelry softly with a clean cloth.
•For storage, keep the pearl jewelry wrapped in a soft cloth and protected from abrasive objects.
•Strands will need restringing from time to time, depending on how often they are worn.
Consult with a jeweler annually.

To read more about Diamonds:

Page 1 (Cut & Color)
Page 2 (Clarity & Carat Weight)
Page 3 (Choosing the setting and working with Northshore Diamonds, LLC