History of Diamonds
A diamond is a fragment of carbon. The way the atoms are arranged makes the difference between a diamond and another type of carbon. Natural diamonds are formed at a depth between 85 and 115 miles (equivalent to 136 to 184 km) in the Earth mantle, due to a combination of high pressure, high temperature and an absence of oxygen. Most natural diamonds take millions of years to appear at Earth’s surface. It is also noticeable to say that diamond is the hardest material on Earth.
Rough diamonds are mainly found in Southern Africa, Australia, Siberia, and Canada (see map). The color is typically yellow, gray, or brown to colorless. Rarely rough diamonds can be discovered as blue, green, black, pink, violet, orange and the most rare are red.
Learning about diamonds begins with an understanding of the four main characteristics known as the 4 C’s:
These features help anyone from the rough expert to the final consumer to grade, compare, and eventually price diamonds. Finding the diamond that suits you is a tradeoff between these features, taking into account the amount of money you want to spend.
In a few words, the price of a diamond is based on its rarity and the 4C’s define the diamond’s rarity and uniqueness. The diamond is a very expensive commodity, mainly due to its rarity.
''no two diamonds are alike''
4C's: The Carat
The number of carats represents the weight of a diamond. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams, so the weight of a five carat diamond is one gram. A carat is divided into 100 points, so usually when the diamond is lower than 1 carat, let’s say half a carat, it may be referred to as a 50 point diamond.
As mentioned previously, the rarity sets the price of a diamond. Generally as a diamond’s weight increases, so does its rarity and value. The bigger the diamond is, the rarer it is (considering the other factors remain the same). Therefore, the price of a diamond will increase exponentially when its size increases.
There is a big correlation between the carat weight and the cut. Depending on the cut, two diamonds with an identical weight may have different size appearance.
4C's: the carat
4C's: the color
Depending on their individual composition, diamonds may show different hues in their color. Diamonds are made of carbon atoms but 98% of diamonds also have trace elements of Nitrogen. The brown and yellow shades, the two most popular colors, are due to the presence of the Nitrogen within the crystal structure.
The colour scale of diamonds is from D to Z with D colour diamonds being colourless and increasing the presence of
colour to the letter Z. The difference between two grades is subtle and complex to see with the untrained eye.
4C's: the cut
The cut of a diamond refers to the style chosen when shaping a diamond during the polishing process. The cut refers to the shape (brilliant, emerald, Asscher, pear, oval, etc.). It also denotes the proportions, symmetry, angles and polish of the diamond. This will in turn define how brilliant, beautiful and valuable the diamond is. When the proportions or symmetry are off – such as a shallow or deep pavilion (include picture of different parts of a diamond) – light leakage will occur, therefore, the diamond will be less brilliant.
The cut is a parameter that is determined by the skill of the craftsman’s hand. Achieving the best cut for an expert is not about increasing or reducing the number of facets; instead it is about using skills to deliver maximum brightness, sparkle and pattern from within the diamond. The two mains goals of an expert are: providing the most exquisite brilliance and maximizing the size appearance.
4C's: the clarity
The clarity describes the quality of a diamond in relation to the internal presence of so-called inclusions, and surface appearances known as blemishes. The presence of inclusions occurs naturally within the crystal structure, while the presence of blemishes comes from both nature and/or human manipulation (such as cutting).
Almost every diamond has some inclusions or blemishes. A diamond is graded under 10x magnification. The table below summarizes what can be detected with a 10x loupe for each clarity grade, see figure 6. The higher the clarity of a diamond, the more rare and valuable it is.