Diamond is a mineral and is the hardest known substance to man, but one of the simplest being composed of carbon and the first recorded history dates back to some 3000 years ago to India. Throughout history diamonds have been associated with mystical power, great beauty and more recently great value and wealth. The word comes from the Greek meaning ‘adamas’ meaning unconquerable and they have been worn throughout the ages by men going into battle as a sign of strength, courage and invincibility.
Most diamonds still originate from central and south Africa although there have been other significant finds in Canada, Brazil, Australia and the biggest diamond mine is in Siberia. The diamond market is very much dominated by De Beers to control the supply and price of diamonds across the world by what some would say are monopolistic practices.
Some of the worlds largest and most valuable diamonds are in the Tower of London in the British Crown Jewels.
Diamonds are indeed very desirable objects and are worn throughout the world set in precious metals in many different types of jewellery. One of the most common pieces of jewellery is still the ladies diamond engagement ring and many women still choose to have a diamond as a symbol of love to wear on their engagement finger whether it be the traditional solitaire or three diamonds which some believe signifies ‘I love you’.
Diamonds have always been associated with romance and legend and it is said that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds because they possess a magic that nothing else has equalled.
Diamonds vary enormously in price according to size and quality so when choosing diamond rings it is important to consider your budget.
Diamonds are graded according to the 4 c’s which refers to cut, clarity, colour and carat.
The cut of a diamond is very important as it affects the reflective qualities, which will determine the brilliance of a diamond and how it looks to the naked eye. Cut should not be confused with shape such as pear, emerald, round etc.
Clarity refer to the number of flaws known as inclusions in the stone and the stones which have fewer inclusion are more highly prized and valuable because they have greater brilliance. Remember though that a diamond doesn’t have to be flawless to look absolutely stunning.
Diamond colour usually refers to whiteness or colourlessness in white diamonds with those with least colour being more valuable because of their ability to pass more light giving more sparkle and fire. Coloured diamonds do occur naturally ranging from blue to green but they are rare and very expensive.
Carat is the unit of weight for measuring the size of diamonds and in this case it really is a case of size does matter. The value of a diamond rises exponentially in relation to its size so the cost of a 4 carat stone for instance will not be double the cost of a 2 carat stone but very much more. So it is all down to your budget and not a measure of how much someone loves another.
Cost is important when buying a diamond ring but you will find that there is a huge choice out there that will fit within your budget. Remember that clever design and settings can make a diamond appear bigger but if you really want a larger stone on a limited budget you could decide to purchase a stone which is graded slightly lower in terms of clarity and colour.