Facts About Diamonds

Elvis Elvis

Diamonds are the hardest natural known substance on earth, are 1 to 3 billion years old, and the most sought after gem in the world.

Diamonds were discovered in India over 2000 years ago. In 1905 the largest diamond was found in South Africa. It weighed over 3000 carats (more than 600 grams). This was cut into 9 large stones, and many smaller ones, and amazingly they are all flawless. Now they are part of the British Crown Jewels.

A truly flawless diamond is very rare, as is a colourless one. Most have a yellowish or brown tint, although this is not usually obvious to the untrained, naked eye.

The 4 c’s of diamonds – the value of a diamond is determined by its Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. These terms refer to how a diamond is graded. Prices increase significantly the better the colour and clarity.

CARAT – this refers to the weight of a diamond, one carat=0.2 grams. Small diamonds are usually determined by points, one point=0.01 carats. The higher the carat weight does not necessarily mean a wider stone, depth is also a consideration.

Facts About Diamonds

CLARITY – this refers to the visibility of internal imperfections (known as inclusions), or external blemishes. These occur in natural diamonds. You wouldn’t find inclusions in a Cubic Zirconia!

The grades are all with the use of 10x magnification.

F-FL = flawless, no surface blemishes or inclusions. Very rare.

VVS1 & VVS2 = very, very slight inclusions. Extremely difficult to find inclusions or surface blemishes.

VS1 & VS2 = very slight inclusions. Fairly difficult/easy to find inclusions or surface blemishes.

SI1 & SI2 = slight inclusions. Easy to very easy to find inclusions or blemishes, but usually appear “eye clean” to the naked eye.

I1 = slight imperfect. Surface blemishes and inclusions difficult to find with the naked eye, but easy to see with magnification.

I2 = surface blemishes obvious, and inclusions are easy to see with the naked eye.

I3 = very imperfect. Many inclusions very easy to see with the naked eye. Beauty and durability affected, this stone could easily crack.

COLOUR – grading used to evaluate a diamonds internal tint. Colourless diamonds are the most expensive and desirable. Diamond jewellery often has the stone settings plated with rhodium or platinum as these hold the stones more securely, also they enhance the brilliance of the diamonds.

DEF = colourless. Tint undetectable to the trained eye.

GH = near colourless. Tint almost undetectable to the trained eye.

IJ = near colourless. Trace of tint only just detectable to the trained eye.

KLM = faint yellow to faint brown tint apparent to the trained eye.

N-R = very light yellow to very light brown tint easily apparent to the trained eye.

S-Z = light yellow to light brown tint obvious to the trained eye.

Stones rated N-Z are referred to as Champagne diamonds, and can be attractive and beautiful in their own right.

CUT – refers to the proportions and shape of a finished diamond. This is the most important factor in determining the brilliance of a diamond. Diamonds that are cut too shallow don’t let the light pass through the sides, this makes it appear lifeless. Cut too deep and the light doesn’t reflect back through the top, this makes it appear dark in the centre.

Diamonds come in various shapes (cuts). Round – the most popular, most brilliant and most expensive.

Oval – have a larger surface area than a round of the same weight.

Princess – rectangular cut, and still has some of the sparkle of a round cut.

Marquise – equals the brilliance of a round cut, but has a larger surface area. An expensive look for less cost.

Emerald – not as brilliant as a round cut as it has large facets.

Pear – has a combination of round cut brilliance, and a marquise cut. Looks good in pendants and drop earrings.

Trillion – as the name suggests the trillion is a triangle. A good cut has a wonderful brilliance. A classy expensive look.

Heart – a cut with brilliance and of romance.

Baguette – a rectangular cut like the emerald cut, does not have the sparkle of the round brilliant cut, but still a classic look.