Happy Birthday, Diamond!
Perhaps the most famous and popular gemstone in the world, diamond is the birthstone for April.
If you are a diamond lover, you probably already know that diamonds are graded based on the 4Cs (clarity, colour, cut and carat weight).
But did you know that although they are the hardest substance on earth, they can still be damaged?
As a certified gemologist, I am excited to share what I know about these magnificent gems!
Lets begin with some fun facts:
Diamonds that exist today were delivered to the surface between 2.5 billion and 20 million years ago (Earth is about 4.6 billion years old)
They were first discovered in India
There was not much scientific knowledge about diamonds until the 20th century
In the past 50 years, scientists have learned a lot about how diamonds are formed and transported to the surface, making it easier to predict diamond deposits
Scientists have discovered a star that could potentially consist of diamonds. It has been named by astronomers as “Lucy” from the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
Where do diamonds come from?
India was the original source of diamonds, followed by Brazil.
Since then, diamonds have been discovered in Africa, South America, Australia, Russia and Canada.
It has been suggested that Canadian diamonds and Russian diamonds actually come from the same deposit that formed billions of years ago, before Pangea slowly separated into different continents. Similarly, sources in Africa and South America were at some point one deposit.
Ethically sourced materials are of utmost importance to me and I take pride in working with companies who supply responsibly sourced, conflict-free diamonds that adhere to the Kimberley Process.
Upon request, I also source diamonds of Canadian origin.
Typically, Canadian diamonds are inscribed with a maple leaf logo or other symbols associated with Canada, accompanied with a serial number laser inscribed on the diamond’s girdle.
To learn more about Canadian diamonds, check out my previous Blog Post here
Myth Buster: Diamonds Are Indestructible - FALSE
Although the word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning invincible or indestructible and it is "the hardest substance known to man", diamonds CAN be damaged, especially by other diamonds if they are not stored properly.
There is a difference between calling something "hard" and "strong."
Although diamonds rank at 10/10 on Mohs hardness scale, all that means is that it will only be scratched by another diamond but it does not mean that diamonds cannot be broken.
For example, if a diamond has a large inclusion like a fracture, it can actually crack even further if you accidentally hit your diamond ring on a table or a door.
This is why I advise not to wear your jewellery to the gym, the beach, or while baking or gardening, even if it is diamond jewellery.
If you want to wear jewellery all the time, diamond stud earrings are your safest option.
For more mythbusters, check out my previous posts:
What are the 4 Cs exactly?
The 4Cs are a grading system used to judge the quality of a diamond:
Neither one is more important than others, it is the combination of all four that make each stone unique and special in its own way.
Clarity refers to a diamond's freedom from clarity characteristics such as inclusions (inside the diamond) and blemishes (on diamond’s surface).
The factors that affect the clarity grade are: the number, position, colour and nature of the characteristic.
For example, a large fracture within a stone has a larger effect on the clarity grade and value of the diamond than a small white pinpoint or a crystal. All three are often seen in diamonds.
To learn more about clarity in gemstones, check out my previous blog post here
Diamond clarity is graded on the following scale:
Internally Flawless (IF)
VVS1 and VVS2 (very very slightly included)
VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included)
SI1 and SI2 (slightly included)
The majority of diamonds in jewellery are SI and I graded diamonds.
Pro Tip: Personally, I recommend selecting a VS or an SI stone.
You will have a larger selection of diamonds to choose from in these two ranges.
These diamonds will be eye-clean (show no visible inclusions) and you won't be paying a premium for a higher clarity.
The larger the diamond, the more likely it is to have inclusions and therefore more likely to show them.
Some cuts, like Emerald Cut are also more likely to have visible inclusions as they do not have as many facets as round / oval / cushion cuts do to "hide" them.
When choosing an Emerald Cut, I highly recommend upgrading to VS or higher.
Inclusions are often viewed as a negative when it comes to diamonds and are sometimes referred to as imperfections.
It is however important to remember that diamonds really are a miracle of nature and are bound to show some imperfections. After all, they were formed billions of years ago under incredible circumstances. So you have to be a little forgiving when it comes to inclusions, especially when selecting larger stones.
No two diamonds have the same inclusions, each diamond is unique and one-of-a-kind. That's what makes it special and interesting.
In fact, many customers in search for something unique are opting for “salt and pepper diamonds”. These stones are heavily included and show a combination of heavy, visible white and black inclusions.
For all you trendsetters out there, I would be delighted to source a very special
“salt and pepper” diamond for you, like the one below.
The colour or the lack of it is what counts when grading diamond colour.
The less the colour a diamond shows, the higher its value and more rare it is.
Diamonds are graded on the D-Z scale as developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Fun fact: diamond colour is graded with the stones upside down
Pro Tip: Personally, I recommend selecting a stone in the D-H colours
D-E-F stones are preferable and will show no yellow tint
G-H colours might show a slight yellow tint but are a "great value" option
Diamonds are typically colourless (or white) but also occur in gorgeous yellow and pink shades, as well as brown, black, purple, orange, green and blue.
These are known as “fancy-coloured” diamonds and are graded on a different scale.
They significantly range in prices and availability compared to colourless diamonds. When it comes to fancy-coloured diamonds, the stronger the colour, the more valuable the stone is.
With the recent closure of the main pink diamond source - the Argyle mine in Australia, the already high prices of pink diamonds are only going to go up, so grab them while you can!
Most diamonds on the market range from colourless or nearly colourless to light yellow and brown diamonds (also known as “cognac” or “chocolate” diamonds).
The cut of the diamond refers to how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.
It's what gives the diamond its brightness, fire, scintillation and makes it sparkle!
The cut is the most complex and difficult of all the 4Cs to analyse.
The grader has to consider proportions, polish and symmetry and assign a grade ranging from Poor to Excellent.
With modern cutting technologies available, the majority of diamonds range between Good, Very good and Excellent cut.
The shape refers to the outline of the diamond, for example, round, princess, oval, etc.
Not sure which shape is right for you?
Check out my previous Blog Post to help you decide: What shape should I go for?
Diamonds and gemstones are weighed in carats. The name comes from the carob seeds which were used by early gem traders as counterweights on their balance scales.
1 carat (ct) is 0.2g and should not be confused with karat, which refers to gold purity, e.g. 14K, 18K etc.
Just like a dollar is divided into 100 cents, a carat is divided into 100 points.
For example, a 50-point diamond refers to 0.50 carats or half-a-carat. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewellery weigh 1 carat or less.
There are of course, some gorgeous, larger options available upon request, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for something truly spectacular!
Diamonds are also known for the following traits:
linked to love, eternity and strength
opens up doorways to the spiritual realm
enhances psychic abilities
helps you achieve your dreams and bring desires into reality
What are Synthetic Diamonds?
Synthetic diamonds are also known as Lab-Created and Man-Made diamonds.
They have the same crystal structure and chemical composition as their natural counterparts but are developed by scientists in labs, instead of being mined from the ground.
Natural and synthetic diamonds are essentially the same, however there are slight differences that can only be detected by a trained gemologist (like me), with the use of special equipment.
The main difference being: natural diamonds are grown by nature and are mined out of the ground where as synthetic diamonds are grown in a controlled lab environment.
When it comes to price, lab-created diamonds are less expensive than natural diamonds, but it is important to remember that they are also not as valuable.
What are diamond alternatives?
Stones that look like diamonds are also called imitations, simulants or diamond alternatives.
Here are some examples:
Moissanite (man-made stone)
Cubic zirconia (man-made stone)
Zircon (natural stone)
White sapphire (natural stone, above)
Moissanite (above, left) can imitate a diamond (above, right) and is often marketed as a diamond alternative. It actually shows more sparkle than a diamond at a fraction of the price. However, I have to mention that the difference in value is also significant.
To find out more about diamond alternatives, check out my previous Blog Post:
Are Diamonds on your wishlist?
I would be delighted to hear about it! To discuss your options, schedule a complementary, 30 minute connection call with me here
Looking for inspiration? Visit our Instagram page for more stunning jewellery ideas