Sunday, August 18, 2013

Get to Know Your Diamonds

As one of the toughest substances on the planet, the diamond earned its name. The word diamond comes from the Greek word adamas, which means unbreakable, which is what diamonds are. Diamonds have a wide variety of uses, especially as a mineral in many different industries. But, the most popular use for diamonds is in jewelry, and diamonds have been and continue to be the valuable gemstone.

Diamonds have been used as a decoration on the body for hundreds and possibly thousands of years because of the beautiful structure and fire that many diamonds have. As diamonds have continued to be popular for adornment, gemologists have created ways of deciding the value and class of each diamond. The “four Cs” is the common name for the way that diamonds are classified.

The first “C” is carat, which is the weight of the diamond. Many engagement rings are designed with diamonds that are one-carat in weight and many people will choose a diamond that weighs 1.01 carats over a diamond that weighs .99 carats, just for the sake of being able to say they have a one-carat diamond. Smaller diamonds are easier to find, so the larger ones are more expensive.

The second “C” is clarity and it is the clarity that decides whether a diamond can be put into jewelry or be used in an industrial capacity. Many diamonds have little flaws, called inclusions, which make the diamond look cloudy. Clarity is based on the eye of a trained professional using a magnification of 10x. About 20% of diamonds are clear enough to become jewelry and many of those have inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye. Many jewelry designers can hide flaws with the settings. The most desirable clarity is called flawless and the poorest rating is imperfect. Needless to say, the flawless diamonds are the most valuable.

The third “C” is color and gemologists have several rankings for this scale. Diamonds come in a wide variety of colors, like blue, pink, brown, and yellow, as well as different variations of white or colorless. The scale for color are graded on letters, with the best colorless diamonds rated “D”.

The fourth “C” is the cut of the stone. This is not the shape of the diamond, but the way the diamond was cut within the standards of the industry. There are certain terms that are applied to cuts and certain degrees and percentages. Many diamonds are not cut to the standards so they will reach the magic one-carat weight. Terms regarding the cut include the facets on the top half (the crown) and the bottom half (the girdle). Ideal percentages have been designed so that angles and depths of the crown and pavilion are cut to get the best fire out of the diamond.

Even though this is not included in the grading of a diamond, the shape is very important to those who are buying diamonds. The fancy diamonds cuts include baguette, marquise, princess, heart, briolette, and pear. Right now, the most popular cut is the cushion cut, which is like a princess cut, but with rounded edges.

Once you choose the perfect diamond, you can keep it safe and secure in a beautiful heirloom quality jewelry box from

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