The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek (adámas), "proper", "unalterable", "and unbreakable.” The beautiful diamond has a history that is rich in romance, hope, violence, and intrigue. Every diamond has a story to tell.
The grandeur and sparkle of this magnificent gem has hypnotized mankind since times immemorial.
Diamonds rank among the oldest substances in our planet, and ironically a diamond is made of one of the most common elements - carbon. Their creation began nearly 3.3 billion years ago, 200 kilometers below the surface of the earth.
Carbon containing materials took on a crystalline form due to the high pressures underground, and these were pushed to the surface of the earth by volcanic eruptions. The first diamonds were mined in India along river banks as far as back as 3000-6000 years! Diamonds were revered by Indians.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIAMOND
Diamond is a precious stone of miraculous abilities and exceptional power.
When a diamond is properly faceted, it sparkles with multi-colored rays of light. Diamonds have many healing powers as they strengthen and re-energize all the energy centers of the wearer. According to Eastern culture, diamonds are used to prepare heart tonics. Popular legacy is that people who carry diamonds wouldn't suffer from chronic stomach problems or any memory loss. Hindus in the ancient times strongly believed that the vibrations of a diamond render a very positive aura to many organs of the body, brain and heart in particular.
Other healing powers of diamonds also include protecting the owner from driving away bad dreams, fight depressions and preventing apoplexy. Green diamonds are particularly useful to mothers during their time of delivery; this type of diamond is also considered to be a symbol of motherhood.
It was also believed that wearing a diamond made a person courageous and invincible. Kings often wore diamonds to battle, and it worked because nobody dared to attack a person protected by the power of the diamond!
THE 4 CS OF DIAMOND
The 4 Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight) are the main factors by which the diamond industry evaluates a diamond's physical attributes. It's very important to understand this basic terminology, as it is the mode by which diamond dealers’ rate diamonds comparatively, and the way in which diamonds are evaluated by laboratories which issue Diamond Grading Reports. Understanding the 4 Cs will enable you to grasp the details that are listed in your diamond's grading report, and give you the 4 most important words in the vocabulary of the diamond industry.
Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, finish, and polish of a diamond. These are factors that influence the brilliance and reflective qualities of the diamond. A high quality diamond cut will result in a symmetrical, brilliant stone that reflects maximum fire and brilliance. A poor cut will muffle the brilliance or sparkle of a diamond by preventing light from being dispersed evenly.
A well cut diamond sparkles brighter and the more cuts the diamond has, the more beautiful it looks. It takes time and skill to produce a well cut diamond. If your diamond has a high cut grade, it will be valued more highly.
The most popular solitaire styles vary by diamond shape. Listed below are some of the most popular solitaire shapes in order of popularity.
ROUND SOLITAIRE – ROUND BRILLIANT CUT
The round diamond is generally superior to fancy diamond shapes due to the proper reflection of light, maximizing potential brightness.
PRINCESS SOLITAIRE – SQUARE PRINCESS CUT DIAMOND
The face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular and the profile or side-on shape is similar to that of an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides.
EMERALD CUT SOLITAIRE – RECTANGULAR STEP CUT DIAMOND
The unique look of the emerald cut diamond is created by the step cuts of its pavilion and its large, open table. Instead of the sparkle of a brilliant cut, emerald cut diamonds produce a hall-of-mirrors effect, with the interplay of light and dark planes .
OVAL SOLITAIRE – SIMILAR TO THE ROUND BRILLIANT BUT ELONGATED
Oval cut diamonds are classic yet modern! They are popular in all types of jewellery as they have an incredible brilliance similar to the round cut. They also are a good bet to accentuate long slender fingers.
MARQUISE SOLITAIRE – BOAT SHAPED WITH POINTED ENDS
The football-shaped marquise diamonds are a modified brilliant cut. Marquise diamonds are long and narrow, and create the illusion of greater size. Carat for carat, the marquise diamond has one of the largest crown surface areas of any diamond shape, making it a good choice when trying to maximize the perceived size of a diamond.
HEART SOLITAIRE – MOST ROMANTIC HEART SHAPED BRILLIANT CUT
When choosing modified brilliant cut heart shaped diamond, the symmetry is a very important characteristic, since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical. The cleft (between the two lobes) should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape.
PEAR SHAPED – COMBINATION OF ROUND AND MARQUISE
The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end.
RADIANT CUT DIAMOND
The radiant cut diamond has a definite rectangular outline with cut corners.
The color of your diamond will determine its quality. When buying a diamond, remember that a small difference in the color grade can make a huge difference in the price of the diamond.
Color refers to the color scale of white diamonds, or the color or colors of fancy diamonds. White diamonds can be completely colorless, or have a yellowish tone, but even the most yellow of white diamonds is far less colorful than a fancy yellow diamond. Fancy diamond colors include red, blue, pink, green, orange, yellow, black and brown, and one diamond may include more than one color. Fancy diamonds, being rarer than white diamonds, may be more valuable, depending on their level of purity and size. The pink diamond is the rarest and most sought after diamond. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) classifies low saturation yellow and brown diamonds as diamonds in the normal color range, and applies a grading scale from "D" (colorless) to "Z" (light yellow). Diamonds of a different color, such as blue, are called fancy colored diamonds, and fall under a different grading scale.
Flawless diamonds are rare and very expensive. Most diamonds have imperfections. However, the fewer and less visible the imperfections, the more valued is the diamond. Virtually all diamonds contain "birthmarks"; which are small imperfections inside the diamond (called inclusions), or on its surface (called blemishes) since they are formed deep within the earth.
Clarity in diamonds refers to their clearness and purity, that is how many impurities or blemishes occur both on the inside and on the surface of a diamond, and where they are positioned. A perfectly clear diamond is the most desirable, and will have the highest clarity rating. Every imperfection or color flaw inside or outside the diamond will diminish its level of clarity, and therefore its value. Even fancy colored diamonds have clarity ratings, and have a heightened value based on how perfect and even they are, and how many or few blemishes they include.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. The term itself is derived from the Carob fruit, whose evenly weighted seeds were used long ago as a comparative measurement for the weighing of diamonds and other small, but valuable, items. Contrary to popular belief, carat weight is not directly correlated to the size of a diamond. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams, and is subdivided into 100 points. Larger diamonds are rarer than small diamonds, which means that each subsequent carat of weight makes a diamond successively more expensive with the value per carat increasing with the size of the diamond. An obvious example for this is that two 0.50 carat diamonds are worth less than a single 1 carat diamond due to the natural rarity of larger rough diamonds.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DIAMONDS
Remove all diamond jewelry before performing any heavy-duty tasks. : Tasks that should be done without wearing jewelry include: Gardening, working in the kitchen, cleaning the house, doing outdoor jobs and heavy lifting work. Lotions, perfumes, hairspray and cosmetics contain chemicals that can damage diamond jewelry. Only put the diamond items on after you are done with using these products. Remove your diamond jewelry before you take a shower. Soap can form a layer of film on diamonds, which can quickly dull their radiance and appearance.
CERTIFICATION - THE 5TH C OF DIAMONDSGIA, AGS, EGL and other diamond grading certificates, or certs, as they are known in the diamond industry, are often called the fifth C, in addition to the well-known 4Cs of diamond stones: Carat Weight, Cut, Color, and Clarity. Ensuring your diamond is certified by one of the leading independent and recognised certificationlaboratories is essential for an unbiased assessment of the stone's quality.
GIA, AGS, HRD, IGI & EGL are the leading grading bodies in the diamond industry, and are listed here in order of their stringent grading policy.
The price you will end up paying for a diamond is highly dependent on how the diamond is graded in the grading report and/or "certificate”. The Gemological Institute of America's (GIA), HRD Lab's, American Gem Society's (AGS), and Gem Certification and Assurance Lab's (GCAL) reports command the highest premium in the industry. However, among all the other gems labs, there is significant discrepancy in how they grade diamonds and the reliability of their grading reports.
The Gemological Institute of America is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and education of gems and jewelry. At present, GIA’s diamond grading reports are top rated diamond verification and “certification” documents in the diamond industry.
HRD Antwerp’s is mainly owned by Antwerp world diamond centre. AWDC was founded in 1973 and represents the Belgian diamond industry. HRD Labs are very reliable.
The American Gem Society, is a membership organization of jewellers, suppliers, appraisers, and traders. The company has been around since1934.They also have an advanced instruments division founded in 2004. AGSL is the division that grades diamonds and have developed their own standards for grading diamonds. AGSL is a close competitor to GIA and has a strong reputation in the diamond industry.
The International Gemological Institute was established in 1975 and is headquartered in Antwerp – one of the key centers of the diamond business. IGI has several branches all around the world and is one of the largest labs in the world. It also has a gemology school. IGI is graded as slightly less strict than GIA or AGS.
Gemological Science International mainly grades diamonds for some of the large chain stores in mass numbers. Recently, they have expanded their operations to a number of countries worldwide. GSI seems to be a favorite of large stores as they grade diamonds much faster than GIA or AGS. GSI is close to IGI in how they grade diamonds and usually grades diamonds one grade lower than GIA or AGS.
In order to make an informed decision on the various diamond grading reports/certifications, it is important to understand exactly how diamonds are graded to begin with. The major gem labs have remarkably similar processes for analyzing and grading diamonds. The process usually involves several graduate gemologists independently assessing the cut, color, clarity and carat weight of the diamond, with the final grade being extracted after an evaluation of all the assessments. This process helps to reduce the potential for human error in the determination of a diamond’s final grade, but it still doesn’t eliminate it.
CONSISTENCY OF RESULTPart of the reason for AGS and GIA’s dominance is their consistency in that they are able to consistently assign similar diamonds the same grade.
CERTIFICATE STANDARDSAnother major consideration in diamond certification is the certification standards that the various labs operate by. In order to illustrate this point, one could consider GIA and IGI side by side: GIA is a non-profit organization while IGI is a commercial institution. Expectably, GIA has been known to be somewhat more objective than IGI for the simple reason that the latter is bound by their profit motive to be more customer oriented (the customers in this case being diamond merchants). The disparity in results is an open secret in the industry. Sometimes commercial labs would give diamonds an average of one point higher grading than those given by GIA and AGS to make their clients happy.
In a nutshell, from a buyer’s perspective, diamond certification is very important while buying a diamond. The diamond grading or certification come from a wide variety of labs, all with varying reliability, but in order to get the best possible deal, your best bet would be to go for a diamond that has either GIA or AGS certification..