Diamonds are one of natures wonders, The hardest substance known to man diamond are used not only for jewelry to capture a ladies heart but also in industry as cutters and to ensure watches and other moving parts move smoothly.
What is a Diamond
A diamond looks like the clearest of crystal. It sparkles in the light and is ideal as a decoration in jewelry.
A diamond is made of carbon, the same substance as talc, the softest carbon known. The difference in hardness between the various carbons such as talc, gypsum, fluorite and diamonds is the way the atoms are arranged in the carbon. Diamonds are made under immense pressure and are the hardest of all the carbon substances.
The largest diamond ever found was the Cullinan Diamond in the Premier mine in South Africa in 1905. It weight in at a massive 3,106 carats, or 621.2 grams. This is 6.21 Kilos. It was cut into nine separate stones including the Cullinan or Star of Africa which weights 550.20 carats. This stone is mounted in the British Royal Scepter, part of the British Crown Jewels, and can be found in the Tower of London.
80% of the worlds diamonds are unsuitable for jewelry. They are used in industry for cutting other material or other diamonds and for watches as, for all intents and purposes, cannot wear out.
To get 5 grams of diamond generally requires mining or sorting through about 1 million grams of material but only 20% of these are suitable for jewelry. The rest are used in industry.
Diamonds are thought to be white but in fact can be a range of colors, see Color of Diamonds for more information. Colored diamonds are often called Fancies.
Diamonds are graded by various characteristics. These are the cut of the diamond. The color, clarity and the weight and size.
The cut is how the diamond cutter has cut the rough diamond to a specific shape. The main cuts can be seen at the top of the page. The color of the diamond is also important, with pure clear transparency or white, as it is called, being the top one and a sort of dirty yellow, mostly used in industry, being the lowest quality. All diamond have the same hardness regardless of their quality.
Clarity, or how clear the diamond is, is another characteristic and this is the degree of inclusions or imperfections or flaws contained with the diamond. Also almost all have some inclusions the less they have the more valuable the diamond as it allows more light to pass through unobstructed and give you a better sparkle. The flaws and imperfections, however, are useful in identifying a diamond from others.
The carat weight and size, of course, is usually well know and rule is the bigger the diamond the better the price per carat. A carat weight .2 of a gram so is quite small.
How Old are Diamonds
Most natural diamonds are 1 to 3 billion years old. They originate deep within the earth's crust and are created under enormous pressure. This makes them the most dense material known to man. They reach the planets surface through volcanoes and most diamonds are found in Kimberlite, a volcanic rock.
Price of Diamonds
The price of diamonds varies with the characteristics of the diamond. The better the cut, color clarity and carat weight the higher the price. With the weight, given that it is a good quality diamond the price per carat increases expotentially to the weight. This means that a 5 carat diamond is worth more per carat than a 2 carat diamond. This is because larger diamonds are more rare than smaller one.
How to Buy Diamonds
The best way to buy diamonds is to go to a diamond dealer and buy loose diamonds if you can. He will supply an appraisal from an independent laboratory that gives the exact characteristics of the diamond and this is useful for valuing the diamond and for insurance and possible resale purposes later.
Buying from a chain store jewelers means that you will pay a much higher premium on your diamond. Also some may not offer an independent appraisal but just give you a certificate from them that states the quality or grading of the diamond and this is not always accurate.
You can buy a good quality diamond without a heavy premium if you have some understanding of diamonds and know what to look for. So when out scouting for a diamond, ignore the advertising and just look for the diamond facts.