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What is Diamond?

A symbol of wealth, purity and love, a diamond leaves no one unmoved.

In mineralogy, diamond is an extremely hard, highly refractive crystalline form of carbon that is usually colorless and can be usedin abrasives, and other applications. Diamond is carbon in its most concentrated form, often occurring as octahedrons with rounded edges and curved surfaces.

Diamonds are formed at incredible depths of the earth, between 150 and 300 km below the surface and under conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. They are most commonly found in volcanic breccias and in alluvial deposits, pushed up by a kind of volcanic eruption through volcanic pipes of diamond bearing rock such as kimberlite. With gradual erosion, kimberlite chimneys were exposed at the earth’s surface.

4Cs INTRODUCTION

A symbol of wealth, purity and love, a diamond leaves no one unmoved. In mineralogy, diamond is an extremely hard, highly refractive crystalline form of carbon that is usually colorless and can be usedin abrasives, and other applications. Diamond is carbon in its most concentrated form, often occurring as octahedrons with rounded edges and curved surfaces. Diamonds are formed at incredible depths of the earth, between 150 and 300 km below the surface and under conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. They are most commonly found in volcanic breccias and in alluvial deposits, pushed up by a kind of volcanic eruption through volcanic pipes of diamond bearing rock such as kimberlite. With gradual erosion, kimberlite chimneys were exposed at the earth’s surface.

CARAT

The first factor of the 4C's that most people learn about is carat - the weight of the diamond, which is also the best indication of a diamond's size.

Let's take a look at carat in detail, to understand how it affects the price.

A carat is the standard unit of weight for diamonds. One carat equals 1/5 of a gram, or .007 of an ounce. In other words... there are 5 carats in 1 gram and 142 carats in 1 ounce.

You also may have heard about "points". This does not refer to the number facets on a diamond, but rather to its weight. Just like one pound is divided into 16 ounces, one carat is divided into 100 points -- so each point is 1/100th of a carat. A "10-point" diamond weighs 1/10th of a carat, and a 50-point stone weighs one-half carat.

HOW IT AFFECTS THE PRICE?

Carat weight has a great deal of influence on the price of a diamond. All other factors being equal, as weight increases, rarity and value of a diamond will also increase. For instance, one diamond weighing 2 carats will always cost much more than two diamonds of the same quality weighing 1 carat each.

So, if size is an important factor for you or the person you are buying for, less emphasis can be placed on the other C's to choose a larger diamond.

CLARITY

Clarity is one of the important factors in diamond pricing, along with color. While the color does affect a diamond's appearance, obvious inclusions (often called "flaws") may distract the recipient's eye from a stone's overall beauty.

Let's take a look at clarity in detail to understand how it affects the price.

Clarity greatly varies from one diamond to another, and no two are exactly alike. Diamonds are graded and identified uniquely according to the type and number of inclusions present in them.

The following chart gives an idea how each grade might look under a 10x loupe microscope:


FL Flawless No internal or external inclusions of any kind visible under 10x magnification to a trained eye, the most rare & expensive of all clarity grades.
IF Internally Flawless No internal inclusions visible under 10x magnification to a trained eye, but there may be some tiny external irregularities in the finish.
VVS-1 Very Very Slightly Included 1 Usually just one tiny inclusion visible only to a trained eye under 10x magnification.
VVS-2 Very Very Slightly Included 2 Tiny inclusions visible only to a trained eye under 10x magnification.
VS-1 Very Slightly Included 1 Very small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
VS-2 Very Slightly Included 2 Several very small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-1 Slightly Included 1 Small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-2 Slightly Included 2 Several small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-3 Slightly Included 3 Inclusions that may be visible to the naked eye for a trained observer.
I-1 Included 1 Flaws that are visible to the naked eye.
I-2 Included 2 Many flaws clearly visible to the naked eye that also decrease the brilliance.
I-3 Included 3 Many flaws clearly visible to the naked eye which decrease the brilliance and compromise the structure of the diamond, making it more easily cracked or chipped

HOW IT AFFECTS THE PRICE?

All other factors being equal, as the grading decreases the price decreases exponentially. This is because diamonds with greater quality (correspondingly with lesser inclusions) are that much rarer. Along with the type and number of inclusions, their position also makes an impact on the value and brilliance of a diamond. Inclusions at the edges of a diamond can be hidden by the setting selected. However, inclusions in the middle of a diamond may significantly affect it’s radiance and beauty and so it’s value.

COLOUR

Color in the diamond trade usually refers to the amount of yellow in a stone, but can also indicate brown or gray and sometimes all three. The most treasured diamond color is actually the "colorless" grade -- one without any color at all.

Let's take a look to cover color in detail to understand how it affects the price.

Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). The light that enters a diamond is split into the rainbow spectrum of colors, which are reflected throughout the gem. These colorful splashes are collectively called fire. Entirely colorless diamonds will exhibit fire in all the colors of the rainbow. The more color a diamond has, the lesser colors there will be in the fire which itself will be slightly dimmed. Off white diamonds absorb light, inhibiting brilliance.

Diamonds are also found in a variety of other colors such as blue, green, yellow, orange, pink or, rarest of all red. Diamonds with distinct tints other than those of the normal color range are classified as fancy colors. All such colored diamonds are very rare and valued.

Diamonds are graded on a color scale, which ranges from D (colorless) to Z.


D Absolutely Colorless The highest color grade, which is extremely rare.
E Colorless Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.
F Colorless Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a "colorless" grade. A high-quality diamond.
G-H Near-colorless Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but these grades offer excellent value.
I-J Near-colorless Color slightly detectable. An excellent value.
K-M Faintly tinted Usually yellow. Tint can be seen with the naked eye.
N-Z Tinted Usually yellow, may progress to brownish. Tint visible to the naked eye, even when mounted.
HOW IT AFFECTS THE PRICE?

All other factors being equal, the more colorless a diamond, the higher its value. The color results from the presence of certain elements in the surroundings of the diamond crystal during its formation stages. The formation process of a diamond ensures that only a few, rare diamonds are truly colorless. Fancy color diamonds do not follow this rule. These diamonds, which are very rare and very expensive, can be of any color including red, blue, & green, unlike white diamonds, the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone.

CUT

Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. The shape you select is a matter of individual taste, and today your choice is only limited by the skill and imagination of the craftsman.

Let's take a look to cover cut in detail to understand how it affects the price.

The cut is the most critical component of the 4C's, since the value of two diamonds with exactly the same carat weight could vary by up to 50% depending on the quality of cut. Just as fine cloth needs an expert tailor to create a quality garment, the diamond cutter controls the fire and brilliance of a diamond.

Cut of a diamond refers to how well a stone is cut and faceted to bring out the full beauty of the rough crystal. Good proportions, symmetry and polish affect the beauty of a diamond much more than perfect color or clarity.

The cutting grade is determined by the diamond cutter's effort to maximize the refraction of light during every stage of the fashioning process. Most brilliant-cut or fancy-shaped diamonds possess fifty-eight carefully angled flat surfaces, called facets, whose placement will affect the fire, brilliance and ultimate beauty of your diamond.

Proportion is the single most important factor, because it determines the flow of light more than other quality factors. Proportions that are too deep or too shallow both allow light to leak out the bottom and lessen the amount of light that strikes your eye.

Deep Cut

Ideal Cut

Shallow Cut

Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are: Ideal, Premium, Very Good, Good, Fair & Poor Selecting the grade of cut is really a matter of preference. To make the best selection, you need to understand the various grades. Please note that the descriptions below are general guidelines.

This cut is intended to maximize brilliance. Ideal cut diamonds generally have smaller tables, complemented by a great deal of light dispersion, or fire. GIA's Excellent stones, as well as AGS 000 stones fall into this category. This category applies only to round diamonds and most valued.

Also intended to provide maximum brilliance and fire, premium cut diamonds can be generally found at slightly lower price points than Ideal cut diamonds.

These diamonds reflect most of the light that enters, creating a good deal of brilliance. With these diamonds, the cutters have chosen to stray slightly from the preferred diamond proportions in order to create a larger diamond.

Diamonds that reflect much of the light that enters them. Such stones result from the cutter's choice to create the largest possible diamond from the original rough crystal, rather than cutting extra weight off to create a smaller Premium quality diamond. Diamonds in this range offer an excellent cost-saving to customers who want to stay in a budget without sacrificing quality or beauty.

A diamond graded as fair or poor reflects only a small proportion of the light that enters it. Often these stones are bought and re-cut into Ideal or Premium cuts, such that a more brilliant stone is produced by sacrificing some weight.

HOW IT AFFECTS THE PRICE?

With all the attention given to the 4C's of diamond grading and evaluation (cut, color, clarity and carat weight), the cut is actually the single greatest factor in the beauty. Color, shape, clarity and carat weight determine the rarity and value of a diamond, but the cut determines its beauty. Without any cutting, bruting, faceting or polishing, a rough diamond might very well go unnoticed in a pile of rocks. It is the diamond's unique combination of durability, rarity and potential beauty that makes it so valuable.

Shopper Care


There are many places to purchase a diamond these days. One great option available to shoppers of diamonds is to purchase online. It may all seem complicated but you will be surprised to learn the number of people buying diamonds online has increased dramatically. There are 10 reasons to buy diamonds online and these are listed below.

SAVE MONEY
The first and most important reason to buy your diamond online is to save money. An online seller does not have to pay such high overheads as bricks and mortar jewellery stores, and the prices that consumers see may be much less expensive.

SAVE TIME
You can purchase your desired diamond just by using your fingertips, with no need to leave index.

CONVENIENT
Buying diamonds online is also convenient. You can search the various options without ever leaving index and have it shipped right to your door.

WIDE SELECTION
By purchasing a diamond online you will also have access to a wide selection. Using the Internet to buy any item allows you to search stone after stone, until you find the perfect one.

AVAILABILITY
When searching items online, most online retailers will designate whether or not the item is currently in stock. This provides the consumer with relevant information such as when they will receive it and whether they should look elsewhere should the ordering process take too long.

SELECTION
For those shoppers who like to buy items from large dealers, you too are able to use the Internet to purchase a diamond. Many larger diamond and jewellery dealers have websites these days and sell their rings online.

SHOP EASILY AND IN PRIVACY
Shopping for a diamond via the Internet also allows one to shop easily and in privacy. It is a useful way to shop from index and to make sure you keep it a surprise from your loved one.

FIND EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ONLINE
By shopping for a diamond, you may also find it easier to locate exactly the type of diamond you are searching for. Many online sellers offer search engines where you can specify the material, carat size and other designations which will narrow down the options for you.

READ DETAILED DIAMOND SPECIFICATIONS
Most online selling sites will also have good descriptions of their products, which let you know exactly what each diamond consists of, such as diamond grading reports viewable online.

REVIEW VARIOS OPTIONS QUICKLY
Also, shopping online for a diamond allows you to review various options more quickly. This is convenient and greatly appreciated by many shoppers.

Diamonds have been around forever. It is the most expensive natural resource produced by mother earth and polished by man. Diamond is a synonym of elegance, magnificence, prosperity, shine, purity, intricate workmanship and eternal love.

To make this precious and memorable purchase, our guide explains how to get optimum value of your purchase. The guide explains how to check the four ‘C’s- Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. We urge buyers to be cautious while making such a precious purchase and understand the details of the diamond to get the best value.

Most diamonds contain some inner flaws, or inclusions, that occur during the formation process. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine what is called the clarity of a diamond. Diamonds that are free of inclusions, create more brilliance and are therefore more highly prized, and priced. A diamond's clarity refers to the presence of inclusions on and within the diamond crystal, including scratches, blemishes, trapped air bubbles, or trapped non-diamond mineral material resulting from the harsh stress that the crystal undergoes through its formation and production stages. Diamonds with few or no inclusions are extremely rare and are therefore much more expensive. Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification. Grades range from “IF”, internally flawless - diamonds which are completely free of blemishes and inclusions even under 10 x magnifications, to “I3”, diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

Practically there is no difference between a diamond that is certified and one not certified. A certificate does not add to the quality or the finishing of the diamond it just adds to the authenticity of the characteristics claimed by the manufacturer.

The consumer buying a diamond or any product relies a lot on certification of authenticity. A certified diamond carries a legal assurance of the nature and quality of the diamond. These certificates can include Diamond quality, serial number on the girdle, authenticity that it is natural, color, clarity, weight. The diamonds are certified by labs like GIA, HRD, IGI or AGS.

An uncertified diamond does not have an authenticated grading report; it all depends on the word of the seller or manufacturer. An uncertified diamond need not be a bad diamond; it can be equally beautiful and attractive as a certified diamond.

Diamonds signify love, luxury and aesthetic sense. A diamond expresses clearly the feelings of the person offering it. This precious stone is a symbol of love and devotion. A diamond is not only an excellent investment but also a true representation of your feelings.

For centuries, people have been in awe of diamonds. It is not an easy task to select a diamond and a little insight into the quality of diamond is recommended. When you evaluate a diamond, check for the four ‘C’s – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. The cut of a diamond ascertains its brilliance and brightness. It is the most important and most challenging of the four ‘C’s. Different colors are available in diamond: yellow, slight tints of yellow, gray, intense yellow, blue, green, pink and red. Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). Generally, the color of a diamond refers to the presence of yellow or brown tints in a white diamond. A diamond's clarity refers to the presence of inclusions on and within the diamond crystal, including scratches, blemishes, trapped air bubbles, or trapped non-diamond mineral material resulting from the harsh stress that the crystal undergoes through its formation and production stages. Diamonds with few or no inclusions are extremely rare and are therefore much more expensive. A carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. The larger the diamond the higher the carat weight and hence the price.

Diamond Care

In addition to the 4C's there is the 5th “C” which is in the hands of the user. That is Care. For the care and maintenance of the diamond and diamond jewellery please follow the steps:

Store the jewelry, diamonds in separate soft cloth pouches. Diamonds are hardest known substance, a diamond scratches another diamond so if put together it will scratch each other and dull the shine and cut.

Avoid wearing your Diamond while doing the housework or swimming and showering.

Be careful when removing your jewelry to wash your hands. Do not leave your diamond ring or jewelry on the edge of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.

After wearing, clean your diamond jewelry thoroughly with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. This will enhance the luster and ensure that your jewelry is clean before you store it.

Clean the Diamond with warm soapy water and soft brush and dry with a clean soft cloth or air dry.

Do not expose your precious gemstone pieces to salt water or harsh chemicals, such as chlorine or detergents.

Avoid exposure to sudden changes of temperature to prevent existing cracks in diamond from increasing.

Ask a jeweler to check the setting, fittings and mounting periodically. He can even clean it with steam or proven methods to retain the sparkle.

Certification And Authentication

The consumer buying a diamond or any product relies a lot on certification of authenticity. There are many certificates for different items like food, chemicals, software. Even for diamonds there are certain certificates for authenticity and trust. These certificates can include diamond quality, serial number on the girdle, authenticity of natural origin, color, clarity, weight.

The gemological labs issue the certificate, objectively irrespective of the diamond’s market value.

For quality Diamond and authenticity:

Ensure that the grading certificate issued is by a reputed gemologist or gemological lab. Some labs offer online services, where you can check different criteria. You can also ask the retailer for the origin of the diamond.

Reputed Labs:

GIA Gemological Institute of America It is a non-profit organization established in 1931 with headquarters in Carlsbad, California and offices in many countries.
IGI International Gemological Institute It grades the diamonds and gems. It has headquarters in New York and other offices across US.
EGL-US European Gemological Laboratory USA It is an independently owned lab founded in 1986 with headquarters in New York.
AGS American Gem Society It is situated in Las Vegas, Nevada and founded in 1978.
HRD HRD The private foundation formerly known as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD).

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