One can understand why it is said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. For centuries they have adorned queens, kings and movie stars – and when fashioned into a ring becomes a symbol of romance, love and commitment. During the 13th century in France only the king was allowed to wear diamonds. We are dazzled by their exquisite beauty and many desire to become the proud owners of these amazing pieces of rock that lasts for eternity. They are a sign of wealth and even when passed on from one generation to another never lose their appeal but rather grow in value.
Diamonds are one of the hardest substances known to man. Said to be more than forty times harder than it closest match, this strength being the reason why it was named “diamond”, from the Greek ‘adamas’, which means unconquerable or invincible. In Greek mythology diamonds were said to be the tears of the gods. It is quite unbelievable that carbon, the softest material on earth, changes into diamonds between 75 to 120 miles below the surface of the earth under extreme pressure and at very high temperatures. Only about 50% of all diamonds mined are of gem quality and even fewer are large enough to be used in jewelry.
Gemstone-quality diamonds are a crystalline form of carbon famed and prized, not only for their hardness, but mainly for their brilliance (known as high refractive index) and their outstandingly high dispersion rate of visible light. White or colorless diamonds are the most popular although yellow (champagne) and brown (cognac) diamonds are the most commonly mined. Fancy colored diamonds include pink, blue, black orange, green and red stones which are the rarest in the world.
Diamonds for commercial use are measured in carat-weight, the standard measurement for size being 200mg. One-carat diamonds are one in a million and takes more than 250 tons of ore to retrieve. Unlike gold, diamonds do not carry a hallmark and in order to guarantee the quality of a diamond it has to be certified by and independent laboratory. Certified diamonds guarantee the characteristics and quality of diamonds and are usually accompanied by a report confirming the following:
– The carat weight
– The color
– That the stone is a natural diamond
An engagement is made more memorable with a diamond ring that symbolizes enduring love and commitment. Diamond rings can be made unique by having them designed and created especially, or chosen from thousands of ready made designs available on the market. Choosing the perfect ring is a very special occasion in a couple’s relationship but can be daunting when there are so many aspects to consider, from the shape of the diamond and the type of metal for the setting, to the quality and value of the stone.
When choosing a diamond ring for any occasion it is important to know the basics. All reputable diamond jewelers across the world make use of the “Four C’s” to describe the quality of diamonds. These are: cut, clarity, carat and color. The cut refers to a diamond’s reflective quality and not the shape. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light from deep within the stone and display a dazzling sparkle – whereas a poorly cut diamond will lack light and sparkle.
The number of inclusions (tiny natural blemishes that cannot be seen with the naked eye), their location and size affect the clarity grade of a diamond. The fewer inclusions, the more valuable the diamond. Carat weight refers to the actual weight of the diamond and not the size, for example 1ct equals 0.2g. Color is measured on a scale ranging from D (colorless and the best) to Z (light yellow). The higher up the color grading scale for example D, E and F, the more valuable the diamond.
Another consideration is the shape of the diamond which includes: Round Brilliant, Oval, Emerald Cut, Marquise, Asscher, Cushion, Heart, Pear, Princess and others.
The term “diamonds are forever” is based on the belief that diamonds can strengthen the relationship between the couple. It is the official birthstone for April and the 60-year anniversary gemstone. Diamond rings are given as tokens of enduring love for engagements and on many other special occasions.