Our grading system is unique because Celestial Diamonds (trademark pending) are not the industry norm. Color grading systems tell you what you cannot see with your naked eye with codes to classify their rareness. The grading system for clear white diamonds is important because you need to know what you are buying and cannot tell on your own. As you can see, our diamonds do not conform to standard grading. When sent to the GIA for certification, our diamonds come back with the word "fancy" as their grade. (They too think these diamonds are fancy!)
We have created our own chart and grading system that we call the Midwinter Co. Celestial Diamond Code Chart. Since you can clearly see the difference in our diamonds with the naked eye, you can look at our different codes and clearly communicate to us what you like best and share what we call your favorite coloring/clarity of diamond.
What are Celestial Diamonds?
They are normal, genuine, earth mined, untreated natural diamonds. We trademarked the name that we call the type of diamonds that we use - gray toned, and with inclusions we adore. These diamonds are found in the ground, made by nature, and completely untouched by any treatment.
These are called "Salt and Pepper" by the industry. We began using these diamonds before they had an industry name, and have always called them Celestial or Galaxy Diamonds.
Diamonds are made of a crystalline form of pure carbon, creating the hardest mineral known. They have a high surface luster, meaning that much light is reflected from their surface. They do not appear the same a your standard diamonds, but we assure you that they are strong and shimmery!
Are Midwinter Co. Celestial Diamonds real?
Yes. They are indeed genuine, real, natural, made of pure carbon from the earth like your classic diamonds. We only work with reliable sources with fair trade practices.
We often work with amazing and stunning natural diamonds that we call Celestial diamonds, which the industry sometimes calls salt and pepper diamonds, or galaxy diamonds. We worked with these diamonds before they were somewhat normal on the scene. Everything about the diamond is a real diamond, and possibly even more real than your "standard" diamond that may have been heat treated or had it's inclusions microscopically removed/filled. The perfectly imperfect stones are each unique, and since they are not your standard mass-purchased stone in our industry, isn't worth the effort to "bad guys" to make fakes that look like these.
You can buy a diamond tester and test any diamond at home.
What makes your diamonds more environmentally friendly?
The diamonds we use are less taxing on the earth to find, to mine, and to ship. To find the clear diamonds that the jewelry industry pushes, mining companies cause huge disturbances in the earth. They then ship off (causing so much polution) hundreds of tons of earth to another country to be sifted through to find just one carat of the clear perfectly clean diamonds the world wants. Mining the diamonds we use is very minimal in comparison. Yes, they are still shipped, yes they are still mined in the earth. Yet, the amount of ore that needs to be shipped is much less. Mining is much less deep causing less of a disturbance.
Why do the Celestial Diamonds look different?
They are unique looking because of their natural character. All genuine diamonds are mined from the earth and are made of carbon within ore. Because they are formed in the earth, all diamonds have birthmarks. Natural diamonds get their character from the traces of hematite, graphite, and magnetite that has not yet crystalized which creates the unique dark beauty within.
"Perfect" Diamonds are often treated to remove inclusions, or are thought of as less beautiful for having hidden inclusions. We simply chose not to conform to the mainstream idea of perfection, and believe our diamonds with their obvious inclusions are the epitome of true perfection: each is unique, real, and stunningly beautiful in it's own right... just like the person wearing it.
Are the diamonds as good as white clear diamonds?
Diamonds are made of a crystalline form of pure carbon, creating the hardest mineral known, whether they are see-through or not. The diamonds we use are internally filled with inclusions. That is why we love them. They also can have outer natural openings. These characteristics we personally embrace as beautiful, showing their nature.
Due to the inclusions, they are technically more weak on the inside than your high dollar clear white diamonds. To be fair, when hit with a hammer, every diamond in the world will shatter very easily, no matter the level of inclusions or price you paid. All jewelers should suggest purchasing ring insurance in order to cover a lifetime of stone theft, loss, scratches, or breaks.
They are, however, still stronger than your strongest gemstones. They will scratch less than any gemstone because of their hardness, and sparkle more due to their higher refractive index. Our opinion is that they are not just 'as good' but overall better - better for the earth, genuine looking, and unique for the wearer.
What can you share about your stone sourcing?
Diamonds - The majority of our diamonds and gems are sourced directly from mines in Canada, Botswana, and South Africa. They are often cut in unique shapes by our suppliers in India, who buy rough stones in bulk through the Kimberley Process Scheme.
The supplier of our smaller accent diamonds is also a part of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, whose mission is to promote the highest standards of ethics, integrity and professionalism in the American marketplace.
Gemstones - Our main gemstone supplier has experts visit the mines they purchase from to ensure that they maintain socially responsible practices and that they comply with the US Patriot Act. Our main gem supplier belongs to the American Gem Trade Association, which requires its members to uphold the highest ethical standards in their business practices.
Our buyers also order unique cuts and hand pick gems from artisan gemstone cutters that have purchased their rough gems through Kimberley Process approved channels.
More Info / Fine Print -
Mining gemstones, diamonds, and metals from the earth from different governments around the planet has created human rights issues. As an industry, we've seen a change in truly caring about fair trading and sustainable mining, but as an entire industry, we are at the beginning of being better to the planet and each other.
Midwinter Co. does not own any diamond mines nor are we big enough to have eyes on our stone stock from earth to finger. This explains why we do not certify our stones as conflict-free, ethically sourced, or fair trade even though they are.
The Kimberly Process is the best the governments and heads of industry have come up with, and changed 90% of the world's stone exchanging. Honest jewelers will tell you that sourcing is work that is largely based on communication and the trust you built with whom you're working with. Our buyers are selective as to which small businesses, artisans, gemstones, and mining locations to work with! If in any way it makes you uncomfortable to work with natural stones, we can source and cut Moissanite in a large variety of white/grays/black or intense colors to make your piece out of the finest manmade material of the top strength and brilliance!
Are they certified?
No, unless you require it. Certification is often for those who cannot tell by the naked eye what they are buying. Certification helps you tell the difference between the $100,000 dollar diamond and $5,000 diamond that looks exactly the same to the naked eye. It is so that you don't overpay for what you cannot see in front of you due to microscopic differences. With our diamonds, the color and clarity is seen very clearly.
You can choose to get your diamond certified. Our stones can be certified upon request through the GIA before we set the stone. We charge $200-500 to insure your shipment both ways, and pay for your certification. You will receive digital certification and lasering of the certification number on the girdle of your diamond upon request.
To put it simply, our stones just have not gone through the certification process because it is just not needed. You can see the inclusions with the naked eye, and trusted diamond testers are affordable online for at home use.
Appraisals are an opinion, a personal choice, and have value long term in case of damage and insurance coverage! Appraisals are for when you want a trusted 3rd party opinion that the stones are real, the gold is the value of karat it is stamped with (or the platinum is real), and to come up with an insurance value for the piece to be recreated if theft/loss.
An appraisal is only as good as the opinion of the appraiser, which is why we do not appraise our own work and why you must choose a 3rd party that is up to date on the current engagement ring/diamond industry/market.
If your appraiser needs info from us, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer any questions or give stone carat weight info that they may need for set stones with unusual cuts/shapes.
How do I pick one?
You can look at our current stock of diamonds to create a custom ring. However, you are not limited to our stock if our options are just not hitting the mark. We can source something perfect for you. Customization is a simple process where we start by feeling out your budget, ideas, favorite stones you've seen us use, and we go from there. Our designer Samantha sends you images, videos, and/or virtual mockups of your diamond options. It's best to start by filling out our Custom Work Inquiry form, and let us know if there is a setting we have that you love!