April 23rd 2015 11:28 pm | by Gemme Couture | Posted in Blog
Some basic facts about the diamond
The name diamond comes from Greek adamas, meaning invincible. It signifies clarity, trust and confidence.
Diamonds start their existence as simple, elemental carbon; the basic building block of all life on earth.
The story of diamonds is, to use the metaphor, a tale of fire and “ice”. Forged through immense heat and pressure over millions, or hundreds of millions of years, diamonds start their humble existence as simple, elemental carbon; the basic building block of all life in earth.
Diamonds are both elemental, and complex. Shopping for a diamond can be very confusing to the newcomer, but we have endeavored to make it as simple and interesting as possible!
The 4 “C”s – Cut, Carat, Clarity, Color
DIAMOND CUT QUALITY
When jewelers judge the quality of a diamond cut, or “make”, they often rate “Cut” as the most important of the “4 Cs.” The way a diamond is cut is primarily dependent upon the original shape of the rough stone, location of the inclusions and flaws to be eliminated, the preservation of the weight, and the popularity of certain shapes. Don’t confuse a diamond’s “cut” with its “shape”. Shape refers only to the outward appearance of the diamond.
When a diamond has a high quality cut (ideal cut), incident light will enter the stone through the table and crown, traveling toward the pavilion where it reflects from one side to the other before bouncing back out of the diamond’s table toward the observer’s. This phenomenon is referred to as “light return” which affects a diamond’s brightness, brilliance, and dispersion. Any light-leakage caused by poor symmetry and/or cut proportions (off-make) will adversely affect the quality of light return.
In the past, the “Cut” quality of the “4 Cs” was the most difficult part for a consumer to understand when selecting a good diamond because a GIA or AGS certificate did not show the important measurements influencing cut (i.e. pavilion and crown angle) and did not provide a subjective ranking of how good the cut was. Only a trained eye could see the quality of a good cut. All of that has changed with the AGS Cut Grading system and GIA’s new “Cut Grading System“.
HEARTS AND ARROWS DIAMONDS
A perfectly proportioned ideal cut that is cut to the exacting specifications of a Tolkowsky Cut, Eppler Cut (European Standard), or a Scan D. N. Cut (Scandinavian Standard) will display a “Hearts and Arrows” pattern when observed through a gemScope.
Perfectly formed Hearts and Arrows patterns with eight hearts AND eight arrows (above, left) are only found in diamonds that meet the American Gem Society Laboratories’ “0” Ideal Cut specifications.
The shape of the cut is a matter of personal taste and preference. However, the quality of the cutter’s execution of that shape is of primary importance. The shape of the diamond cut is heavily dependent upon the original shape of the rough stone.
A diamond or gemstone’s “Carat” designation is a measurement of both the size and weight of the stone. One “Carat” is a unit of mass that is equal to 0.2 grams (200 milligrams or 3.086 grains) or 0.007 ounce.
When a single piece of jewelry has multiple stones, the total mass of all diamonds or gemstones is referred to as “Total Carat Weight” or “T.C.W.”
The word “Carat” is derived from the Greek word keration, or “seed of the carob”. In ancient times, carob seeds were used to counterbalance scales, and as a benchmark weight due to their predictably uniform weight. Diamond prices do not increase in a steady line, as each jump past an even carat weight can mean a significant jump in pricing.
The term “Clarity” refers to the presence or absence of tiny imperfections (inclusions) within the stone, and/or on the surface of the stone. As a consumer, it is important to learn and understand the clarity designations found within the “Four C’s” diamond grading system.
Most all natural diamonds contain small quantities of nitrogen atoms that displacing the carbon atoms within the crystal’s lattice structure. These nitrogen impurities are evenly dispersed throughout the stone, absorbing some of the blue spectrum, thereby making the diamond appear yellow. The higher the amount of nitrogen atoms, the yellower the stone will appear.
In determining the color rating of a diamond, the Gemological Institute of America uses a scale of “D” to “Z” in which “D” is totally colorless and “Z” is yellow.
Diamonds, however come in all colors, the rarest being red and purple.
DIAMOND AS A SYMBOL OF LOVE
Many tales and myths, legends and stories wind their way around the eternal April birthstone. The ancient Greeks believed that the intense fire that burns when a diamond is created reflects the quality of eternal love.
The custom of gifting one’s fiancée a diamond began with the Archduke Maximilian of Austria who presented his Lady, Mary of Burgundy a beautiful diamond ring.
Since then, it has become customary for diamonds to be the stone of choice for engagement rings, representing eternal love.
Rough gemstones have a primordial quality, and a feeling of antiquity that their faceted counterparts have lost. As the “bling bling” look of recent decades has waned, a more natural, earthy look is beginning to emerge in popular culture.
Worldwide diamond mining regions include Australia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, India, Namibia, Russia, SA and US. However, diamonds are also found in conflict areas such as Angola, Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. These regions have been plagued by civil wars, corruption and mass suffering of the people. Rebel forces often take control of the diamond mines, and sell the rough diamonds illegally to finance insurgent activities; known as Conflict Diamonds. To prevent the proliferation of Conflict Diamonds, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. In Kimberly, South Africa they set up the Kimberly Process which controls the production and trade of rough diamonds.
Once certified, rough diamonds are shipped to cutting places such as Amsterdam, Antwerp, Guangzhou China, Gujarat India and Idar-Oberstein (Germany) where they are sorted and cut.