What could be more beautiful and pure than a diamond? Indeed, diamonds have been capturing our attention and our eyes for thousands of years. The first mined-diamonds that we know about came from India 3,000 years ago, but some scholars have theorized that humans have been using diamonds in some way or another for 6,000 years!
Diamonds are the crystalline form of pure carbon, and the hardest known substance on Earth (10 on the Mohs scale). Chemically identical to graphite, diamonds are formed in high temperature and pressure areas deep (about 86 miles!) beneath the Earth’s crust. It is thought that diamond formation takes 1 to 3 billion years. It is through deep volcanic eruptions that diamonds are driven towards the surface, usually in a rock called kimberlite that often contains many other minerals as well.
Diamonds are also prized for their high refractive index (brilliance), as well as their dispersion rate of light (fire). While yellow and brown diamonds are the most common colors found, white diamonds are still the most popular, and expensive. Diamonds are also found in many other colors like blue, pink, green, orange, black, and red. The naturally occurring red diamond does not get its color from impurities, as other gemstones, but rather is the result of defects in its crystal lattice structure…this creates one of the most rare gemstones in the world.
Most diamonds are mined in Central and Southern Africa, but other large diamond producers include Russia, Australia, India, Canada and Brazil. One reason that diamonds are so expensive is because only about 20% of any diamond deposit is usable as gemstone quality. Most diamonds are too heavily flawed to have value, and of the 20% that is usable, most of those cut and polished stones will have visible flaws like feathers, nitrogen bubbles, or other inclusions. Truly flawless diamonds are extremely rare and extremely expensive.
Diamonds are generally graded for cut, color, clarity, and carat weight (the 4Cs). This grading is done by a certified gemologist or master jeweler, but it’s not an exact science due to the subjective nature of the scale of grading. Indeed, you could send off a diamond to three different laboratories and receive three different grades. Though these grades should be very close to one another, there are too many variables involved with an individual stone for the grading to be exact with anything other than carat weight.
Most gem-cutters will utilize cuts that maximize a particular stone’s brilliance and fire, but due to its hardness, diamonds are well-suited for any type cut. Some of the more popular cuts today are the ‘brilliant’, ‘passion’, and ‘princess’ cuts. Though diamonds are extremely hard, they also exhibit perfect cleavage. This means that they can be split by a sharp blow, so care should always be taken when wearing diamond jewelry.
Because of the physical appeal of diamonds, there is a large market for simulant or imitation diamonds. Producers of these stones have gotten quite good at replicating the diamond-look, though nothing can really compare to the luster of a real diamond, and this has allowed the consumer to attain large diamond-looking stones at a fraction of the cost of a natural one. Most experienced jewelers can determine if a diamond is real or not, and for those hard-to-determine cases, most will have a thermal tester on hand that sets aside any doubt. We recommend always buying any expensive jewelry from a reputable establishment, and when in doubt, have someone from that reputable establishment check out the stone before you make a purchase. As a rule of thumb, if the deal is almost too good to be true…
Diamond is the birthstone for April and the 10th, 60th, and 75th (it’s possible!) wedding anniversary stone. Since diamonds have been in our culture for so long, they have a strong associations within our beliefs. Diamonds are considered to be the stone of truth and victory, and were often worn in battle to achieve those ends. Diamonds are also thought to protect individuals from mental illness, panic, and curses. Of course, they are also thought to strengthen the bonds between people, which is why they are often given as symbols of unity during marriage ceremonies.
We have yet to meet a woman that doesn’t like diamonds, and with that kind of appeal, it’s no wonder that the diamond market is over a $30 billion per year industry. This is about triple what the market is for all the other gemstones combined. The biggest driver for this market is bridal and engagement jewelry, but due to diamonds’ brilliance, fire and hardness, they are favorites for most any type of jewelry.
Cleaning your diamonds is easy. Just use soapy warm water and a soft-bristle toothbrush or soft cloth, and wipe dry. Because diamond jewelry is often worn daily, stones and settings tend to collect a lot of debris like dead skin, lotion, dirt, etc., plus diamonds tend to hold oil from fingers like magnets. To keep your diamond jewelry looking like new, we suggest to bring it in and allow us to clean it while you browse. With just a simple five minute cleaning job, we can have your stones sparkling again, and we’re happy to do it on the house! As usual, store your diamond jewelry in a fabric-lined box, or tuck it away somewhere safe wrapped in a soft cloth.