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Ring Maven and Amateur Psychiatrist


"Like all of those who deal in diamonds, Ruth Hendelman spends her days evaluating the icy, sparkling stones based on cut, color and quality, deciding which to use in the rings she makes to order. The better the color and quality, the higher the price. ''I think color is very important,'' she said. ''All the young people are looking for color.''

Color grades are denoted by letter, she explained: D through F mean colorless, G and H near colorless, K through M faint yellow, N through R very light yellow and S through Z light yellow. Most stones that she sells, Mrs. Hendelman says, range from D through F. ''You train your eye,'' she said.

She hunches over the diamonds, spread, small and sparkling, on her desk, searching for imperfections with her 10-power magnifying glass. If she sees nothing, the stone is perfect, but that is rare. Often there is a featherlike line or a slight tint."