Diamonds – What is a diamond?
A diamond is a crystalline mineral built of carbon. It is created under very high pressure and temperature, at approximately 200 kms below the earth’s surface. Diamond is extremely rare and is only found in a few small areas of the world. Only 20% of the diamonds extracted from mining are of gem quality, the other 80% are used for industrial purposes. The beauty and rarity of diamonds, as well as the labour necessary to polish them and the ever increasing demand for polished stones accounts for the value.
The value of a diamond is also determined by its own characteristics. The four characteristics that determine the value of a polished diamond are called the ‘four C’s’, carat, colour, clarity and cut.
This is the weight of the diamond and is one of the factors that determines its value. There are 100 ‘points’ in one carat, therefore a 0.50cts stone can be called a ‘fifty pointer’ or a ‘half carat.’
The value of a diamond does not increase proportionally to its weight, as the price per carat increases as the size of the stone increases. Therefore, a 1.00ct stone is not worth twice as much as a 0.50ct stone with the same characteristics. The reason for this is that larger diamonds have more rarity value than smaller ones. At Classic Diamonds we carry stock up to 2.00ct in diamond weight.
This characteristic shows how white a diamond is, the whiter the stone the rarer it is and therefore the higher its value. The colour scale is done using letters D to Z, D being colourless and Z being strong yellow. At Classic Diamonds we stock stones ranging from D to H colour.
Clarity is a measure of the number, type and size of the imperfections that are in almost all diamonds. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections have the higher clarity grades. Clarity is a measure under 10x magnification, with IF being internally flawless down to I3 being visible inclusions to the naked eye. At classic Diamonds we stock stones ranging from IF to SI2 in clarity.
The cut of a diamond is made up of its shape, proportions and finish. Cut is a diamonds most important characteristic and has the biggest impact on the overall sparkle of the stone.
The cut grades of a diamond are as follows:
Ideal cut: The stone reflects nearly all the light that enters the diamond, giving optimum sparkle. This is the ultimate but rarest cut.
Very good cut: Reflects nearly as much light as an ideal cut but will be at a lower price.
Good cut: Reflects most but not all light that enters the stone, but will be significantly less expensive than a very good cut.
Fair cut: The diamond will not be as brilliant as a good cut but will still reflect some light passing through the stone.
Poor cut: These diamonds are either too deep and narrow or too shallow and wide, meaning they loose the light out of the sides and bottom, therefore offering minimal sparkle.
Classic Diamonds do not stock any diamonds below ‘Good’ cut.
The most common diamond shapes are:
Round brilliant Cut