Magpies are drawn to shinny objects, and likewise, the same can be said of the female population. Which lady is not drawn towards the shiny display window of a jewellers, displaying all those glittering diamonds, whether it be rings, necklaces or bracelets, the attraction is always too great a temptation to be avoided. Gemstones, be it precious or semi-precious, are used to enhance the appearance of jewellery, diamonds being no exception, and one could say they are probably the most popular of gems when it comes to jewellery. Unusual jewellery gifts can almost certainly be found lurking in the window displays of most jewellery outlets, with designs and settings sometimes being so unconventional and unique that one is left speechless. Presenting one of these gifts would surely give the element of surprise to any recipient.
Diamonds Are – forever
The discovery of diamonds goes back over 2,400 years when first mined in India, since then diamonds have been located in many countries of the world. Africa, Russia and Australia being some of the biggest producers of diamonds today. We all know that diamonds are excavated out of the ground, but have you ever wondered how they got there in the first place? Diamonds are created from pure carbon, and due to extreme heat and pressure, over millions of years, has caused the pure carbon to form into diamond crystals, the most favorable conditions for forming diamonds can be found roughly 100 miles underground. Over time these crystals are pushed towards the earths surface, mainly due to volcanic eruptions.
Diamonds, as the saying goes, “are a girls best friend“, but did you know they are also the hardest material found on earth, having a lattice structure and strong covalent bonds with carbon atoms, making them strong and hard to break.
The biggest rough diamond ever found was the “Cullinan” diamond, so named after Thomas Cullinan, who was the chairman of the mine where the diamond was found on 26 January 1905. The Cullinan diamond mine is located 40km east of Pretoria in the Gauteng province (formally Transvaal) South Africa. The diamond itself weighing 3,106.75 carats was found 18 feet below the surface, by Frederick Wells who was the surface manager. Today the Cullinan diamond is located in the Tower Of London having been inset into the Sovereign’s Royal Scepter and forms part of the Crown Jewels.
When diamonds are formed they are colorless, but due to mineral contamination they take on a wide range of colours, thereby making it hard to find a pure colorless diamond. Due to the rarity of colorless diamonds these are considered to be the most valuable. How is the value of a diamond determined I hear you ask. When valuing a diamond weight obviously comes into the equation, but how are diamonds actually weighed? When buying jewellery you may have come across the word “carat”, this is the word used when measuring how much a diamond weighs. The world standard that defines a metric “carat” is 200 milligrams (being adopted at the Fourth General Conference on Weights & Measures in 1907), with each carat being subdivided into 100 “points” of 2mg, this allows for very precise measurements to be recorded.
To touch more on “carats”, where does this word come from?
It is believed that the word “carat” came originally from that of the Arabic “qirat” which was derived from “keration” meaning Carob seed in Greek.
Have you ever heard of Carob seeds? No, me neither, but believe or not these seeds were actually used throughout history to measure weight. Carob seeds come from the Carob tree, which is grown mainly in the Mediterranean region, the fruit from this tree looks very much like dark brown pea pods which contain the seeds, and is sometimes used as a substitute for cocoa powder, being sweet and healthy. It was thought that these seeds were consistent in size and therefore used by early gem traders as counterweights in their scales, unfortunately this is untrue.
The value of a diamond takes into account the 4C’s
A carat is the unit of weight used to measure how much a diamond weighs, and is not a measurement of its actual dimensional size. A metric carat being 200 milligrams.
The value of a diamond is also established by its colour, having various colour grades ranging from D (being nearly colorless) to Z (visibly yellow)
This refers to the imperfections found within a diamond or blemishes found on its surface, both these inclusions and blemishes have significant effects on the diamonds sparkle, this being due to the fact that the imperfections interfere with the light passing through the diamond.
Bruiting, which is the cutting of a diamond, and is the technique used to give them their shape. There are several shapes in which a diamond can be cut, such as, Emerald, Pear and Oval, but by far the most popular cut being the Round cut, with 75% of the worlds diamonds being cut to this shape, it is also the shape that gives the most brilliance and sparkle to a diamond.
When showing off that new diamond engagement ring or that lovely diamond necklace, have you ever thought about what makes the diamonds sparkle and how is this achieved. Yes, certainly by moving your hand at different angles will make the diamonds in your ring shine and sparkle, but what causes this effect. This is all down to the cut of the diamond itself, the cut having the greatest influence on the diamonds sparkle. There are several shapes in which a diamond can be cut, but by far, the finest cut to give that enhanced sparkle is that of the Round cut multi-faceted diamond. A Round cut diamond has 58 facets (a facet refers to a surface), and is classed as the sparkliest of diamonds, giving a brilliant and impressive sparkle, this brilliant sparkle is achieved by light entering the diamond and being reflected off every facet.
Real diamonds are unique in the way they reflect light and colour, the sparkle inside a diamond should be gray and white, with the outside reflecting the colours of the rainbow when reflected upon other surfaces, with a fake diamond it will still reflect the colours of the rainbow, but this will also be noticeable inside the diamond as well. But sadly, the beautiful sparkle of the round cut diamond comes at a price, this is down to the fact that all diamonds have to go through a cut and polish process before they become the diamonds that we all recognize.
During this cut and polish process, in the creation of a round cut diamond, a lot of the rough stone is discarded, thus the cost of such a diamond is much more, coupled with fact that the cutting process is lengthy, delicate and requires the skills of an experienced professional.
Rings And Things
Diamonds are used in all types of jewellery, either solely on their own or in conjunction with other precious gemstones such as sapphires, emeralds or rubies. Whatever piece of jewellery the diamond is set in you are always guaranteed a sparkle, the brilliance of that sparkle depends solely on the cut and actual size of the diamond.
The size of the diamond, in say, a necklace or bracelet, doesn’t cause as much dilemma as in that of an engagement ring. The sparkle of an engagement ring is the first thing to be noticed and needs to be impressive, but there are no set guidelines as to the size of diamond to select, although as a rule an engagement ring with a diamond over 0.5 carat is a good size, not too overpowering yet noticeable, but on the other hand, a diamond that is 1.0 carat will be more eye-catching. Other considerations to bear in mind are the cut, remembering that the round cut gives a better brilliance, another item to factor in is the setting, whether to select a single setting or a cluster setting, obviously a cluster setting will give a slightly better sparkle with a few more diamonds being present.
Flash Those Gems – make a sparkle
Diamonds certainly are “a girls best friend” and what lady doesn’t like to look glamorous? Whether it’s going to the theater, a dinner party or out with the girls, there’s a piece of diamond jewellery for every occasion. As we have seen, the sparkle and brightness of a diamond depends on it’s cut and the amount of light that is entering through it and reflecting off the facets, the Round cut being the sparkliest of all diamond cuts. Giving a piece of diamond jewellery, whatever the occasion or celebration may be, is something special, so why not add that little extra sparkle by purchasing something uniquely different, give an unusual jewellery gift and it’s sure to add the element of surprise. See the sparkle in her eyes as well as the sparkle in the box.