|Diamond is the
official birthstone for April as adopted by the American
National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Diamond is suggested
as a gem to give on the 10th and 60th wedding anniversaries.
Diamond is a perfect "10" on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Diamonds were discovered in India in 500 B.C. and since ancient
Greece, Diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love, and
the ancients believed they were hardened dew drops, splinters
from the stars or crystallized lightning. Gem-quality diamonds
are mined around the world, but the largest producers are South
Africa and its neighbors. Russia, Australia and Brazil are also
major producers. Diamonds come from the mines in crystals, often
with eight sides. As much as 60 percent of the original crystal
is cut away to create a round brilliant diamond. A Diamond is
the hardest substance known to humankind, and is made of a
crystallized carbon that has unique powers of light reflection.
Since diamonds are composed of a single element, they are the
purest of all gemstones.
Click here for a picture in natural form.
Click here for more faceted and natural specimens.
Diamonds may be nearly any color in the rainbow plus browns,
grays, and white. Shades of yellow are most common, followed by
colorless. Blue, black, reddish, and greenish are more valuable
(some extremely so). Diamond is the ultimate gemstone, having
few weaknesses and many strengths. It is well known that Diamond
is the hardest substance found in nature, but few people realize
that Diamond is four times harder than the next hardest natural
mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby). But even as hard as it
is, it is not impervious. Diamond has four directions of
cleavage, meaning that if it receives a sharp blow in one of
these directions it will cleave, or split. A skilled diamond
setter and/or jeweler will prevent any of these directions from
being in a position to be struck while mounted in a jewelry
piece. As a gemstone, Diamond's single flaw (perfect cleavage)
is far outdistanced by the sum of its positive qualities: broad
color range variable, high refraction, high dispersion or fire,
very low reactivity to chemicals, rarity, and of course, extreme
hardness and durability. The name Diamond comes from the Greek
word "Adamas" which means "unconquerable" - suggesting the
eternity of love.
The formula for Diamond is C, Elemental Carbon. Diamond is a
polymorph of the element carbon. Graphite is another polymorph.
The two share the same chemistry, carbon, but have very
different structures and properties. Diamond is hard, Graphite
is soft (the "lead" of a pencil). Diamond is an excellent
electrical insulator, Graphite is a good conductor of
electricity. Diamond is the ultimate abrasive, Graphite is a
very good lubricant. Diamond is transparent, Graphite is opaque.
Diamond crystallizes in the isometric system and graphite
crystallizes in the hexagonal system. Somewhat of a surprise is
that at surface temperatures and pressures, Graphite is the
stable form of carbon. In fact, all diamonds at or near the
surface of the Earth are currently undergoing a transformation
into Graphite. This reaction, fortunately, is extremely slow.
The Value of a Diamond: The Four C's
The Cut is the factor that determines the brilliance of a
diamond. A classic round brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets: 33
on the top, 24 on the bottom, and the culet (1 point at the
bottom). Each of the diamond's facets must be placed in exact
geometric relation to one another when the stone is being cut.
Quality diamonds must be properly cut and not "spread", which
means that the proper proportions are compromised to make the
diamond weigh more. Coomon cuts include: Round, Oval, Pear,
Marquise, Heart, Emerald, Princess and Radiant.
The Clarity of a diamond is based on the number, location, size,
and type of inclusions found in the stone. An inclusion is an
imperfection or trace mineral in the stone that is visible under
the magnification of a jeweler's loupe. The fewer inclusions the
diamond has; the clearer, more brilliant and more expensive the
diamond will be. A "Flawless" diamond is one that has no
inclusions and is extremely rare and valuable.
Colorless and near-colorless diamonds are the most valuable.
Though most diamonds may appear colorless to the naked eye, the
majority of diamonds contain slight traces of yellow or light
brown when viewed under a jeweler's loupe. Depending on the
stone's size, a single increase in color grade can boost the
value of a diamond by thousands of dollars per carat. A
traditional engagement diamond is usually colorless or
In nature, diamonds can also occur in shades of red, pink, blue,
green and deep yellow - These are called "Fancy Diamonds". In
the United States and around the world colorless diamonds are
graded on an alphabetical scale, introduced by the Gemological
Institute of America (GIA). "Colorless" or "rare white" diamonds
are of color grades D, E and F. Diamonds of color grade D are
very rare, and extremely valuable.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. But, the carat
weight alone is almost meaningless unless you also consider the
cut, clarity and color of the diamond. A large diamond is not
very valuable if it lacks brilliance, purity and high-grade
color. However, since larger stones are rarer than smaller ones,
diamond value rises exponentially with carat weight. Therefore,
a diamond weighing 3.0 carats, will always be worth more than
three 1.0 carat stones of the same quality. No two diamonds are
exactly alike, and you must weigh all of the factors - color,
cut, clarity and carat weight - when making your buying
decision. Our jewelry consultants will gladly give you expert
advice to help you find that perfect diamond.
Legends, Myths and Healing Properties:
Diamonds have been at the heart of myth and legend since their
discovery. Medieval knights wore them uncut on their armor in
the belief that they could make a person invincible, a myth no
doubt related to the stone's hardness. There are legends of a
diamond that could reveal the guilt or innocence of a person.
Diamonds could also drive away the devil, and in the days when
gems were believed to cure disease and ill fortune, diamonds
were thought to amplify the magical powers of other stones a
Almost universally, diamonds have been associated with virtue,
purity, strength, wealth, power, and love - and, not
surprisingly, diamonds have been associated with sex, too. So it
was a small jump for diamonds to become the modern symbol of
love - diamond wedding rings have been popular for hundreds of
years. They were believed to ensure fidelity and strengthen
emotional bonds. Today, they are the preferred gift for all
manner of romantic occasions.
There is one important footnote to the magic of diamonds: the
magic is lost if the stone is acquired by purchase. When found
or given as a gift, however, it will convey its power to the
recipient, which no doubt accounts for how diamonds became such
a popular gift between lovers.