You will not be bombarded with overly analytical information on how to buy a diamond, but you will learn what others have never revealed. You will soon understand the true sparkle and allure of a diamond; the most sought after, romantic, pure and precious of all gemstones.
A diamond is the hardest natural mineral known to man, yet its composition is simple carbon, making it the most pure gemstone. Its name comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning supreme and invincible. Diamonds form 75 to 120 miles below the earth’s surface and are delivered to us through volcanic eruptions.
The gems are recovered from mines, rivers and beaches. Some natural diamonds are over 3 billion years old – even the youngest diamonds were formed over 40 million years ago.
The ancient Greeks were among the first to marry the concept of romance to diamonds. They believed diamonds came from falling stars as gifts from Eros, the God of Love. The tradition of the diamond engagement ring began in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a ring set with diamonds. Wearing a diamond ring on the fourth finger of the left hand comes from the ancient Egyptians’ idea that the “vena amoris” (vein of love) runs directly from this finger to the heart.
Buying a diamond shouldn’t be complex, but the industry has offered a lot of information and one may become easily confused. You have probably heard of “the 4 C’s” but do you know which is the most important “C”? The one “C” which is more important than any other is CUT. If you take only one thing away from this reading, remember: It is the cut that gives brilliance to every single diamond. Many diamonds are cut to maximize weight, not brilliance.
Clarity refers to the number, position and size of the inclusions that occur naturally inside diamonds. Inclusions are “feathers,” “clouds,” or minute crystals in the stone which can be seen under a standard power jeweler’s magnification. Simply: The fewer and less obvious the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond.
The diamond industry designates a letter grade for “Color”, but it is really the lack of color that you desire. Diamonds should radiate light in a perfectly pure, colorless way. You are captivated by the color that is dispersed by a diamond, not the color within the gem.
The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is. Many diamonds have a yellow tint caused by residual nitrogen. Natural diamonds come in a wide array of colors – from completely clear (the rarest and most desirable) to slightly yellow, even brown.
The term “Carat” comes from ancient times when gemstones were weighed against carob beans which were known to be very consistent in weight. In 1913 carat weight was standardized internationally in which 100 points would equal one full carat.
“Carat” and “Karat” are often confused. In the U.S., karat refers to the fineness of gold alloys and carat refers to gem weights, not size.