Diamonds are seen worldwide as a symbol of love and commitment. Formed from a single element, Carbon, they are the hardest substance known to mankind. Despite their remarkable hardness, they are extremely brittle and should thus be treated with care. A rough diamond may seem dull and lifeless, but in the hands of an expert cutter, this rough is transformed into a polished stone exploding with fire and brilliance.
Arguably the most important of the 4C's, an Ideal cut diamond will possess much more fire and brilliance than a poorly cut diamond. In an Ideal cut diamond, the geometry and proportions of the facets are such that light entering through the table of a diamond travels to the pavilion of the diamond and is reflected to the other side before being reflected back out of the table of the diamond.
In a poorly cut diamond, i.e. one that has been cut too deep or too shallow, the light is not reflected back off the pavilion, but instead is lost through the sides and bottom of the diamond, leading to less brilliance and correspondingly less value.
Encompassed by the cut of a diamond is its shape, the most obvious visual characteristic of a diamond. Brilliant (round) cut diamonds have traditionally been the favoured choice of consumers, but princess (square) cuts and fancier cuts (marquise, trillion, radiant) and starting to gain in popularity. It is worthwhile noting that fancy cut diamonds tend to be cheaper than brilliant cut diamonds, due predominantly to consumer demand.
The colour of a diamond is determined by its composition. A perfectly colourless diamond contains no impurities and allows more light transmission than a coloured diamond. True colourless diamonds are extremely rare and are thus more valuable than slightly tinted diamonds. Fancy coloured diamonds are prized for their vivid colours, which may range from blue to yellow to pink. These are exceptionally rare and command high prices.
Colourless or near-colourless diamonds are graded on an alphabetical scale that begins with D for top colourless diamonds. As the scale moves through the alphabet to Z, diamonds contain increasing traces of yellow tint. Commercially sold diamonds tend to be available up to M colour. Although diamonds graded D through F are considered to be of top colour, diamonds graded G through I show no visible colour to the untrained eye.
The clarity of a diamond refers to the presence natural inclusions within the diamond. Diamonds containing no inclusions are rare and correspondingly more expensive than flawed diamonds. The clarity of a diamond is graded using a 10x magnifying loupe and range from flawless (F; no inclusions or external blemishes) to Included 3 (I3) where inclusions are visible to the naked eye.
- F - Flawless: No internal or external flaws; extremely rare.
- IF - Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws; very rare.
- VVS1 - VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included (two grades): Inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemmologist.
- VS1 - VS2 - Very Slightly Included (two grades): Inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
- SI1 - SI2 - Slightly Included (two grades): Inclusions easily detected under 10x magnification.
- I1 - I2 - I3 - Included (three grades): Inclusions visible under 10x magnification and to the naked eye.
A carat is the unit of measurement used to weigh diamonds and other gemstones and is equivalent to 0.2g. Larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds and have a greater value per carat. As such, the price of a diamond rises exponentially relative to its size. When deciding what size diamond to purchase, it is important to bear in mind both your available budget and the proposed setting for the diamond - a good setting can visually enhance the size of a diamond.
|"My sister had organized an appointment with Clare Appleyard and Katannuta Diamonds regarding a tanzanite pendant and I joined them or the appointment. With Clare's professional knowledge and advice and after looking through some catalogues we created a ring. The final product arrived it took my breath away, it was so much more than I had imagined. Thank you Katannuta Diamonds, I wear my ring with pride. I have also received many compliments. You will be seeing me again in the future."
Tracy Pringle, Johannesburg, South Africa