Colour: Colourless, yellow, brown, green, blue, reddish, orange, black
Moh’s Hardness: 10
Refractive Index: 2.417 – 2.419
The name ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek word for ‘hardness’, which is adamas. Literally translated, it reads as ‘the unconquerable’ due to the sheer strength of the diamond. In fact, it is the hardest natural mineral substance found within our Earth, able to withstand all cutting and knocking. It is 140 times greater in resistance compared to the corundum family of ruby and sapphire.
A diamond strength (arising from its pure carbon structure) however is variable depending in which direction you attempt to cut the diamond in. This slighter weakness in direction is what allows us to cut diamonds into their faceted designs with other diamonds or diamond powder.
There are many imitations of the diamond, but few have the same dazzling lustre as the diamond does – in fact, its so striking it has its own name to describe this: the adamantine lustre. This brilliant ability to reflect light means that the diamond can be identified against its imitations by a qualified eye. It also has a high dispersion rate, known as a ‘fire’. This fire is the ability for the gemstone to split white light into its rainbow spectrum – hence why a diamond sparkles. The more colourless a diamond is, the greater its ability to do this, and therefore the more expensive it is.
More people in the gemstone world are employed within diamond mining and cutting industry than any other gemstone. It is by far the most popular of choices to be adorned within jewellery since ancient times to our modern day. Due to their popularity and desire, it is also the stone which has the tightest standards on their grading, such as with clarity, colour, and cut.
History and Lore
In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”
Discovered in the 4th century BC by Indians, they were traded within the country to those of very high class or royalty. Trade of these stones were kept within this region and didn’t make it towards the west anytime soon – not until the 1400s.
Up until the late 1800’s, diamonds were extremely rare within our societies trade. They were also believed to have incredible magical powers, and that if you cut them this would reduce their magical abilities. Coloured gemstones had more documentations about them due to their biblical meanings than the diamond ever did.
It wasn’t until the 14th century when the first diamonds began being faceted and documented, and with the discovery of the South African deposit in the late 1800’s, that the diamond really began to fly into its high regard. Marketing campaigns and sales control meant that diamonds began flying off the shelves and onto the hands and necks of many.
Due to this stone’s beauty and unbelievable strength, ancients believed that the diamond possessed the ability to open up many spiritual doors for its wearer, and reveal unseen truths. It is also believed to bring clear, positive revelations and bring true clarity to your mind.
Purchase and Styling
When it comes to buying a diamond, whether it is loose or within a piece of set jewellery, its important you know what to look for!
All diamonds are graded using the 4 C’s…
One carat is 0.2g, or 200 milligrams. The greater the carat of your diamond, the more money it is worth – however, where carats usually increase with the size of your stone, carat does not equal to size. You could have a less dense diamond which means a small carat, even if it is the same size as another diamond which is of a higher carat.
This being said, the larger the diamonds on the market, the greater it’s price tends to be – due to large diamonds being rarer and hard to come by.
Unlike coloured gemstones, diamond colour grading is based on how colourless a diamond is. The more colour a diamond has, the lower the worth of the stone (excluding fancy diamonds).
A diamond’s colour is graded from D-Z: with D being the colourless grade, and Z the most yellow. Although these distinctions are undetectable by the untrained eye, they can affect a diamonds quality and properties greatly.
The clarity of a diamond refers to how clear the body of the stone is, regarding how many inclusions and blemishes it has within or upon its mass.
It is graded by a clarity scale, which follows: Flawless (FL – No inclusions or blemishes), Internally Flawless (IF – No inclusions), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1/2 – Very slight inclusions), Very Slightly Inclusions (VS1/2 – Slight inclusions), Slightly Included (SI1/2 – noticeable inclusions), and Included (I1/2/3 – Included). Of course, the closer to flawless the diamond is, the greater the price and quality. With a flawless diamond, you get greater light dispersion and light reflection.
The brilliant cut was developed especially for diamonds; not just because it looks pretty, but for the science behind this cut allowing a diamond to sparkle in the way that it does.
When in a brilliant cut, diamonds display a greater dispersion of light and greater brilliance/reflection. When light enters the stone, it internally reflects within the inside walls and returns to our eyes, producing a scintillation of light. Therefore, a brilliant cut within a diamond is the most popular and tends to be the most valuable.
When cut incorrectly, or with slight miscalculations to angles – this can affect the property of the stone greatly. Light can escape through the bottom or the sides, making the stone appear dull.
If a diamond is particularly great in size or flawless, they can receive a fantasy cut which outlines these properties. The rarer cuts can also sell for a very premium price.
Cut, although also affects price, all comes down ultimately to your preference and what you want from your desired diamond.
When it comes to the classically beautiful diamond, it is incredibly diverse and can match with most metals, styles, colours, and combinations of stones. You really do have creative freedom with the diamond! What is fantastic about this incredibly diverse stone is that it comes in a variety of colours and so you have your choice of which is the best for you. Because the diamond is colourless, it tends to work best within silver settings as to not alter the internal colour of the stone – however this is again just preference.