TIPS ON DIAMOND CARE
Diamonds may be the hardest substance on earth, but they are not indestructible. While they can be cut or polished only by another diamond, a hard blow can cause them to chip. Never wear your diamond jewelry when doing rough work.Don’t wear it when you’re doing rough work. Even though a diamond is durable, it can be chipped by a hard blow.Don’t let your diamond come in contact with a chlorine bleach when you’re doing household chores. It can damage and discolor the mounting.
THE MYTH, MYSTERY AND MAGIC OF DIAMONDS
If you appreciate the tradition of diamonds and what they signify in people’s hearts and minds, you will better understand what it is about diamonds that makes people want to buy them, to own them and to wear them.For some 3000 years diamonds have held a special place in people’s heart s. They have been thought to possess magical powers, have been sought after, fought over and even worshipped. Some believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to earth, others that they were the tears of the gods.Every diamond is unique, with a mystery and beauty which is all its own. Just take a look at one. The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas”, meaning unconquerable. Their indestructibility and sparkling life have made diamonds the true symbol of enduring love. Diamonds are forever.The gems became a traditional symbol of love in Ancient Greece, and have been a mark of status for kings throughout the ages. Kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility, but since the very beginning diamonds have also been associated with romance and legend.Then 1477, the Archduke of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy, and so began the tradition of the diamond engagement ring.
Diamond is the hardest natural material to be found on earth, and the simplest of all the gemstones in composition. The conditions that created diamonds have not existed on this planet for millions of years.
Very early in the history of earth as solid matter became condensed into a sphere, the material at the heart of the planet became subjected to unbelievable extremes of temperature and pressure. it was the conditions in those deep layers that caused deposits of pure carbon to begin to crystallize into diamonds. A diamond consists of pure carbon, and although there is no chemical difference between carbon powder and diamond, the physical difference between carbon powder and the diamond crystal is both enormous and miraculous.
As the outer layer of the earth cooled, stress developed, and the plates of solid rock shifted and split. Streams of liquid rock (magma) were forced to the surface in volcanic eruptions, and some of that material carried with it the diamond crystals that had begun to form deep within the earth.
As the surface cooled, the diamond bearing rock turned solid, and it is within this rock that diamond are now to be foundToday, most diamonds are found in South Africa, Botswana, Russia, Zaire, Australia and parts of South America. Altogether diamonds are mined in 20 countries spread across 4 continents. Many diamonds are found where they were first brought to the earth’s surface, and some of the major mines have been developed on those sites.
At a typical mine, material has to be dug out over a vast area. On average, 250 tons of ore have to be dug out to produce a one carat’s weight gem quality polished diamond.
Having found a rough stone, the way it is the “cut” is vital to the value of the diamond, each stone has to be individually cut and polished to transform it into the gem with which we are familiar. To maximize the yield fro a rough crystal, it may well be divided first by a process called cleaving. Diamond has a natural grain, so when a blade is placed against the diamond and struck with right amount of force, at the right angle, and in the right spot, it will naturally split into two. Many stones however may need to be sawn, and others are cut by lasers.
But cutting isn’t simply a matter of cleaving or sawing. Each gemstone then needs polishing using other diamonds and powdered –diamond abrasives. Polishing produces a number of facets on each diamond to create the sparkle from the gem diamond with which we are all familiar.
A good cut produces facets whose placing and angles are mathematically accurate to maximize the diamond’s brilliance. It is the cut that unlocks the hidden beauty of the diamond. The way the diamond sparkles in the light is called its BRILLIANCE and FIRE. These are not subjective terms, but can be scientifically defined. Suppose the same amount of light should fall on a pile of black carbon powder as on a cut diamond. Both are formed from the same chemical, but clearly they will handle that light in quite different ways.
Most of the light falls on the powder is absorbed, which is why it appears black. But when light strikes a diamond, part of the ray is reflected from the surface. This is called EXTERNAL REFLECTION. The other part of the ray enters the diamond, and as it does so it bends due to the greater optical density of a diamond. This is called REFRACTION. The light is then reflected from the internal surfaces of the diamond – which is INTERNAL REFLECTION.
The ray then emerges from the top of the diamond where once again it is bent or refracted, and is separated into the colors of the spectrum. It is this DISPERSION that gives the diamond its fire.The 4 C’s determine the quality and value of a diamond, and explain why some are rarer- and so more valuable-than others. The 4 C’s relate to a diamond’s:
The better any diamond is on each of these four characteristics, the more valuable it will be.
We have already considered most of the essential facts about cutting. However customers may confuse the quality and precision of the cut with its shape-oval, marquise, pear etc- appoint to bear in mind.
There are many shapes and sizes of diamonds. But whatever the shape or size, the CUT is technical feature which can vary in quality, and which is unique to each stone. The better the quality of the cut, the better the stone will create BRILLIANCE and FIRE-and that determine the value of each stone G The most important type of CUT is ROUND BRILLIANT which gives maximum light. The other types are OVAL, MARQUISE, HEART, EMERALD, PEAR and SQUARE. Most of the diamonds look colorless, but there are many subtle shade differences and the closer a diamond is to having no color the more valuable it becomes. Why does the color vary? Well, in the chaos of extreme temperature and pressure that first created diamonds, traces of other elements became mixed with the pure carbon-which is hardly surprising. It is these traces that give a diamond its color-or lack of it. Diamonds with no trace of color at all are very rare. But also rare are diamonds with a strong pure color. These are called Fancies and are extremely rare. Pink and blue are the most prized, but virtually any color is possible. International standards have been established for grading diamonds according to extremely subtle differences in color. The main scales are those of the G.I.A (Gemological Institute of America), of I.D.C. (International Diamond Committee), and of C.I.B.J.O. (International confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and stones).I.D.C.-C.I.B.J.O. G.I.A.
Exceptional white + D
Exceptional white E
Rare white + F
Rare white G
Slightly tinted white I-J
Tinted white K-L
Tinted color M-R and S-Z
Nature being what it is, diamonds may show peculiarities of crystallization, which could be minute traces of other minerals trapped during the crystallization process. These may show up as tiny black or white marks. These natural characteristics are called “inclusions- nature’s fingerprints. The number, size and position of any inclusions determine the CLARITY of a diamond. The fewer the inclusions the rarer it will be, so making it more valuable. Since it is very rare to find a diamond that’s flawless the greater the value.
As with COLOR, there are internationally agreed and accepted standards of CLARITY. The major categories from the G.I.A and C.I.B.J.O systems of clarity are shown below.
C. I. B. J. O
G. I. A
VVS1-VVS2- Very, very small inclusions, Very, very slightly included
VS1- VS2- Very small inclusions, Very slightly included.
SI1-SI2- Small inclusions, slightly incuded
I1- Pique1, Imperfect 1
I2- Pique2, Imperfect2
The last of the 4C’s is the carat weight. A diamond’s weight is the simplest of its characteristic to measure, and from the earliest times it was used to calculate the value of a diamond. The carat is a unit of weight which derives from the carob seed. The pods of the carob or locust tree contain tiny seeds which are remarkably consistent in weight. These seeds were used by early gem traders to weigh their diamonds.
A 1 carat diamond used to equal the weight of a carob seed, but in today’s terms the carat is a standard metric weight of 0.2grams, and each carat is divided into 100 cents. So for example, a quarter of a carat is 25 cents, written as 0.25; a half a carat is 50 cents, written as 0.50, and so on