All You Need to Know About Diamonds
As Peter Singer once said “Diamonds have an image of purity and light. They are given as a pledge of love and worn as a symbol of commitment”. No wonder they are such mysterious and remarkable objects. As such they require a certain level of education as to how they should be picked and differentiated.
Let’s take a look at 6 key aspects, also known as the 4C’s, plus a two little bonus insights:
According to Paulette Hutterer, “The word carat comes from the Mediterranean tree whose seed was used for centuries as the standard for weighing precious stones”. Paulette is indeed referring to the Ceratonia Siliqua or more commonly known as Carob Tree, which gave its name to the carat unit of mass of gemstones. Carats thus measure a diamond’s weight.
1 carat = 2 grams or 007 ounces.
Even though the weight is important, it is crucial to avoid one common mistake:
Weight does not always equal value. As Paulette highlights is “Just because a diamond weighs more does not mean it will necessarily be worth more. That’s why it’s important to factor in all the diamond’s 4Cs when shopping for a diamond”.
2 ︳PURITY (Clarity)
Diamonds commonly contain impurities. The level of purity thus determines the quality of the gem, which relies on its imprinted impurities. The later “are tiny traces of non-crystallized carbon or small crystals inside the diamond” as indicated by Subtil Diamant. They can be spotted through a magnifying x10 glass and while they are known to deterior the stone’s value, it is important to note that they make each and everyone of them unique.
As Paulette suggests it “The rare colored diamonds are the most valuable certainly when they are of good color and quality and 100% natural”.
However, finding a genuinely natural colored diamond remains rare. Beware of commonly applied color coatings, usually used to hide yellowish shades, deceive the buyer and increase the diamond’s price. To avoid such unpleasant surprises, rub off the diamond with water or a cleaning solution. The coating will eventually be removed.
Additionally to the color itself, the color’s intensity also determines the diamond’s value. The more vivid, the more rare and expensive the diamond will be.
Differences also exist within color shades. This is particularly true for the pink one, as the US Gold Bureau’s analysis suggests it.
4 ︳SIZE (Cut)
Contrary to popular belief, cut and shape are two different things. As Beyond 4C’s underlines it “Shape refers to the outline a diamond has (e.g. heart and cushion) while cut refers to a combined aspect of a diamond’s proportions and finishing (symmetry/polish). Cut itself can make a diamond look bigger, improve the face up color and mask inclusions. This means you get a free boost in the other aspects of the 3Cs (color, carat and clarity) just by having a better cut!”.
As for shapes, as Subtil Diamant explains “The most common forms are the round brilliant size to 57 or 58 facets, but there are other like the emerald cut, the Royal Asscher size, waist cushion, size Radiant, Princess, Marquise, Pear, Oval, Heart or trillion”. The affordable ones are the Radiant, the Cushion, the Oval and the Pear Shape, while the rarest and most expensive are the Round the Princess and the Esmerald Cut.
5 ︳ FLUORESCENCE
Fluorescence is considered by GIA as a non 4C’s grading factor, though which still needs to be acknowledged appreciated when picking a diamond. As GIA explains it “Fluorescence is the glow you sometimes see when an object emits visible light. Some diamonds fluoresce when they are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sources like the sun and fluorescent lamps. This can cause them to emit a bluish light or more rarely, a yellow or orangy light. Once the UV light source is removed, the diamond stops fluorescing”. Fluorescence also remains a rare attribute, as only 25% to 35% of diamonds exhibit some degree of fluorescence.
Because the recognition of valuable diamond’s is such a delicate matter, recognized gemological laboratories make it their mission to evaluate the cited gradings and make sure no mistakes are made. Thus, another valuable attribute you should consider when buying a diamond is none other than its certification document.
The most known of these laboratories is GIA, which fixates a globally recognized grading raking. Other such as IGI, AGS or HRD Antwerp also account as top certification institutions to be trusted.
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