The most rare diamonds, and therefore the most valuable, are those of
exceptional size that were formed without any trace of color or impurity. Within each of
the 4Cs, diamonds are graded according to quality or size.
A carat is the universal measure of weight for a diamond. It's the easiest of the 4Cs to
determine, but two diamonds of equal size can have very different values, because the
quality is still determined by the color, clarity and cut. Larger diamonds are found
relatively infrequently in nature, which puts them at the rarest level of the Diamond
Quality Pyramid. For example, fewer than one percent of women will ever own a diamond
weighing one or more carats.
Carat is the unit of weight for all gemstones.
A carat is a standard metric weight of 0.2 grams and is divided into 100 points.
One carat is subdivided into 100 "points". Therefore a diamond measuring 75
points is 3/4 carat in weight, or 0.75ct. There are five carats in a gram.
The word "carat" comes from the seed of the carob tree pod which is found in
tropical climates. These seeds were used until this century to weigh precious gems.
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Clarity is an indication of a diamond's purity.
A diamond's clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and colour of
internal characteristics called "inclusions" and surface features called
In all diamonds, except the most rare, tiny traces of minerals, gasses, or other elements
were trapped inside during the crystallization process.
These are called inclusions, but are more like birthmarks. They may look like tiny
crystals, clouds, or feathers and they're what make each diamond different and unique.
Many of these birthmarks are not visible to the naked eye.
These irregularities occured in the liquid magna (volcanic rock) within which the diamond
was created. Diamonds are mostly pure carbon, however, during crystallization other
minerals nearby, or even other bits of carbon forming more quickly may have become trapped
within the cooling mass.
The clarity of a diamond is graded by how many, how big and how visible the inclusions
are. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, the more rare and valuable the diamond.
Less than 1% of all diamonds ever found have had no inclusions and can be called flawless
(FL) or internally flawless (IF). Obviously, then, the larger, more visible and frequently
occurring the inclusions, the lower the grade and the less rare the diamond. Diamonds with
inclusions visible with the naked eye are graded P1-P3.
The clarity of a diamond is graded by using 10X magnification under good lighting by an
experienced grader. The final clarity grade is usually determined by how easy
theinclusions and blemishes are for the grader to see.
While many diamonds appear colorless, or white, they
may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that can be detected when comparing
diamonds side by side.
Diamonds of known colour are used as comparison stones for colour grading. Grading is done
by comparing the diamond to be graded against these "master stones" under either
artificial or natural north daylight ( in the Northern Hemisphere). A machine called the
"Colorimeter" can be used for colour grading but there is no substitute for the
trained human eye.
Diamonds were formed under intense heat and pressure, and traces of other elements may
have been incorporated into their atomic structure accounting for the variances in color.
Diamond color grades start at D and continue through the alphabet. Truly colorless stones,
graded D, are extremely rare and very valuable. They naturally are at the top of the
Diamond Quality Pyramid. The closer a diamond is to being colorless, the rarer and more
valuable it is. A single change in color grade can significantly affect a diamond's value.
Beyond "Z" is the range where the diamond's colour is vivid and rich, called
"fancy colours". Although the presence of color makes a diamond less rare and
valuable, some diamonds come out of the ground in vivid "fancy" colors
(well-defined reds, blues, pinks, greens, and bright yellows). These are highly prized and
While nature determines a diamond's color, clarity, and
carat weight, the hand of a master craftsman is needed to release its fire and beauty.
The cut gives each diamond its unique sparkle and brilliance by allowing the maximum
amount of light to enter and reflect back out of the diamond.
If the cut is too deep or too shallow light will spill through the side or bottom and be
lost, resulting in a less brilliant display and thus, a less valuable diamond.
Simply put, when looking at a diamond, if it doesn't catch your eye or if it doesn't flash
in the light, it's probably not well cut. Good cutting is what brings fire to the ice.
The cut plays a big part in determining the value of a diamond.
A well-cut diamond will be considerably more beautiful and valuable than a poorly cut
stone of the same size, clarity, and color.
Why Diamonds Are So Valuable
Anything extremely rare is also precious. Diamonds, formed billions of
years ago are rare in that only a few survived the hazardous journey from the depths of
the earth to reach the earth's surface. Indeed, you may be surprised to learn that even
though diamond production has increased in recent years, it is estimated that as little as
500 tons have ever been mined in recorded history to date. Of diamonds mined today,
approximately 50% are judged to be of gem quality. Even fewer are large enough to be
polished into diamonds that are much bigger than the head of a match.
To recover the relatively small amount of both gem quality and industrial diamonds is not
easy, even with the increasing sophistication of today's technology. Approximately 250
tons of ore must be mined and processed from the average Kimberlite Pipe in order to
produce a one carat polished diamond of gem quality. Wherever possible, the considerable
quantity of waste material produced is disposed of in such a way as to minimize the impact
on the local environment.
The Diamond's Rarity and Natural
Remember, each "C" is important in contributing to a
diamond's quality, but it is the combination of all of them that determines its value. For
example, a colorless diamond is at the top of the Diamond Quality Pyramid in color, but if
it lacks clarity, is small, or is not well-cut, it will be of lower value. The finest
diamonds possess the rarest quality in each of the 4Cs, and are the most valuable.
Ancient Greeks thought diamonds were tears of the gods and the Romans believed diamonds
were actual splinters from falling stars. Another legend has it that there was an
inaccessible valley in Central Asia carpeted with diamonds, "patrolled by birds of
prey in the air and guarded by snakes of murderous gaze on the ground". Today,
diamonds hold a deep fascination as the world's ultimate symbol of love. The diamond's
rarity and natural beauty are the qualities that have made the diamond such a special and
The Discovery of Diamonds
Diamonds were discovered around two thousand years ago,
but their origin has been said to date as far back as 100 million years. Adding to the
mystery and aura of what make diamonds so sought after, approximately 250 tons of ore must
be mined and processed in order to produce a single one-carat polished, gem quality
History and Magic
Women are not only drawn to diamond jewelry because of its natural beauty; they are also
inspired by the history and magic associated with diamonds. Like women, diamonds are
unique and special by nature. Because of this specialness, diamond jewelry offers a way to
articulate our innermost feelings and emotions regarding another person.
Diamonds do need care to keep them at their brilliant best. A clean diamond not only
reflects light better, but actually looks bigger than one that's been "dulled"
by skin oils, soap, cosmetics and cooking grease. Diamonds have an affinity for grease and
should be cleaned once every month to keep their fire at its brightest.
The detergent bath - Prepare a small bowl of warm suds with any mild
liquid detergent. Brush pieces gently with a tooth brush while they are in the suds.
Transfer to a wire strainer and rinse under warm running water. Pat dry with a soft,
The cold water soak - Make a half and half solution of cold water and
household ammonia in a cup. Soak the diamond for 30 minutes. Lift out and tap gently
around the back and front of the mounting with a small brush. Swish the solution once
more, and drain on paper. No rinse is needed.
Things Not To Do With Your Diamond:
- Don't let your diamond come in contact with chlorine bleach when you're doing housework.
It won't hurt the diamond, but it can pit or discolor the mounting.
- Don't wear your diamond when you're doing rough work or doing the dishes. Even though a
diamond is durable, it can be chipped by a hard blow along its grain.
- Don't jumble your diamond pieces in a drawer or jewelry case, because diamonds can
scratch each other and also scratch other jewelry.
- Take your diamonds to your jeweler for a "Check-up" at least once a year. He
will check your ring for loose settings and signs of wear. He'll usually give them a
professional "shine-up" too.