KNOW YOUR GEMS

DIAMOND

The word diamond is derived from the Ancient Greek word “adámas,” meaning “unbreakable.” It is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones. Royalties have used them as a symbol of power. Before the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 1700s, India was the only place where diamonds were mined. Early references to diamonds in India come from Sanskrit texts. To us as people, diamonds are a symbol of wealth and beauty. A diamond is one of the crystalline allotropic forms of pure carbon.

  • INTRODUCTION

  • The 4 C’S

  • TYPES

  • World famous Diamonds

  • CARE AND CLEANING

History

Diamonds have long been known and used by all kinds of civilizations. It is believed that the diamond first appeared sometime around 800 BC India. Diamonds were reserved for the wealthy and served as a status symbol. From this, it's evident that diamonds were not only well known, but there was also a thriving trade in it, since ancient times of mankind.

FORMATION

Diamonds only form under a very specific temperature and pressure, and such conditions can only be found deep below the earth’s crust, present thousands of centuries ago. Diamonds are formed by nature in the upper mantle of the earth, in two types of magmatic rocks called “eclogite’ and ‘peridotite.’ Crystallization took place millions of years ago under enormous pressure and at a very high temperature (1500-1800). Before being forced to the surface of the earth some 100 million years ago, they were stored in the upper mantle of the earth at a depth of 150-300 km below the surface.

CUT

Cut refers to a diamond's proportion and the quality of its finish. A well-cut diamond captures the light around it and makes that light perform in breathtaking ways. Cut also refers to the shape and faceting style of the diamond. The cut is one of the most critical components of determining a diamond's value. It is the cut that provides a diamond with brilliance, and brilliance is what diamonds are all about.

The most sought-after cut in the diamond is the ‘Round Brilliant Cut’. All other cuts are known as Fancy cuts, which include Princess cut, Pear shape, Marquise cut, Oval cut, Heart Cut, Radiant cut, Emerald cut to name a few.


CLARITY

Clarity is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes, collectively called as clarity characteristics. Inclusions are wholly enclosed in a diamond or extend into it from the surface. Whereas blemishes are confined to the surface of a polished diamond. Inclusions usually have more impact on a diamond's beauty and value than blemishes. Diamonds without clarity characteristics are scarce, which makes them extremely valuable.


COLOUR

Color relates to the amount of body color in a diamond. Genuinely colorless diamonds are extremely rare and valuable. Most diamonds used in jewelry are near colorless, with at least some trace of yellow or brown. Diamonds also come in deeper shades of yellow and brown, as well as a variety of other colors like blue, pink, green, red to name a few. These make up the category of fancy colored diamonds. With near colorless diamonds, less color means higher value. Whereas with fancy colored diamonds, the opposite is true, more color usually means higher value.

The Gemological Institute of America grades diamonds for their color as follows:


CARAT WEIGHT

Carat weight is merely the weight of a diamond. Diamonds are weighed in metric carats. A carat equals one-fifth of a gram (0.200gm). Depending on the quality, large diamonds are rarer and more valuable than the smaller ones. For practical reasons, carats are broken down in decimals called points. There are 100 points in one carat.

CHOOSE YOUR DIAMOND SHAPE.

It's relatively common to confuse a diamond's cut with its shape. The cut describes a diamond's light performance, dimensions and finish. Shape refers to the overall outline of the diamond when viewed from the top. Round is far and away the most popular diamond shape, followed by squared shapes such as princess, Asscher, and emerald.

  • ROUND

  • PRINCESS

  • PEAR

  • OVAL

  • MARQUISE

  • HEART

  • EMERALD

  • RADIANT

  • TRILLION

  • ASSCHER

Since all diamond shapes are very different, unique characteristics determine quality for each shape. Select your shape below to learn how to recognize the most beautiful diamond.


ROUND

The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular and most researched diamond shape available today. For almost 100 years, diamond cutters have been using advanced theories of light behavior and precise mathematical calculations to optimize the fire and brilliance in a round diamond. In addition to being the most popular and researched shape, a round diamond will typically give you more flexibility in terms of balancing cut, colour, and clarity grades while still getting the fire and brilliance you want.


PRINCESS

This is our most popular non-round diamond. Its beautiful brilliance and unique cut make it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square. When choosing a colour grade, consider that while the price of a J-colour non-round diamond is exceptional, the colour may be slightly visible in its corners. Also, princess-cut diamonds can vary significantly in how square or rectangular they are. To find the dimension of princess you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. This will determine what the diamond will look like when viewing it from above. Here are length-to-width ratios for princess-cut diamond shapes that are pleasing to the eye.


PEAR

This brilliant-cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end. The unique look of the pear shape helps make it a popular choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. If you choose an elongated pear shape, the length of the diamond creates a subtle slimming effect on the fingers.

To understand what the diamond will look like when viewing it from above, look for the length-to-width ratio on each diamond's detail page.


OVAL

An oval diamond has a beautiful brilliance that's similar to a round diamond. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers. To find the dimension of oval you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top.


MARQUISE

The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. This brilliant-cut diamond looks beautiful set with round or pear-shaped side stones, and the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender. To find the dimension of marquise you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top.


HEART

The heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The unique look of the heart-shaped diamond helps make it a distinctive choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. When choosing a colour grade, consider that while the price of a J-colour heart shaped diamond is exceptional, the colour may be slightly visible in its corners. To find the dimension of heart-shape you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top.


EMERALD

What makes this shape different is its pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance. Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. If you choose an emerald-cut with a lower clarity grade, such as SI, be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate. Also, emerald-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. If you'd prefer an emerald cut with a squared outline, look for an Asscher-cut diamond. To find the shape of emerald you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top.


RADIANT

Trimmed corners are the signature of this diamond, and they help make the radiant-cut a popular and versatile choice for jewelry. A radiant-cut looks equally beautiful set with either baguette or round side-diamonds. Radiant-cut diamonds can vary in their degree of rectangularity. To find the dimension of radiant you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond's detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top.


TRILLION

The trillion cut was developed in the late seventies. The cut is an adaptation of the radiant cut, but it is in a triangular shape. The trillion is a triangle that has equilateral sides and is a combination cut of the step cut and the brilliant cut diamond and, when cut correctly, trillion cut diamonds have an incredible brilliance. They are often cut shallow and resultantly look large for their carat weight. Trillion diamonds are beautiful when flanking a center diamond, or in a more avant-garde piece as a center diamond.


ASSCHER

This beautifully unique shape is nearly identical to the emerald-cut, except that it is square. Also, this shape has a pavilion that is cut with rectangular facets in the same style as the emerald-cut. If you choose SI-clarity, be sure to view the clarity plot on the diamond certificate, because this shape highlights the clarity of the diamond. When selecting a colour grade, consider that while the price of a J-colour non-round diamond is exceptional, the colour may be slightly visible in its corners.

THE CULLINAN

Weight: 3106ct rough
Origin: Transvaal, South Africa

The Cullinan, the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, was discovered at the Premier Mine on 26th January 1905. The rough diamond was nearly flawless and named the Cullinan in honour of Sir Thomas Cullinan, the founder of the Premier Mine, who was visiting that very day. Louis Botha, premier of the Transvaal, persuaded his government to buy the diamond for approx. US $1 million and presented it to England’s King Edward VII as a token of thanks for granting Transvaal its constitution.

The Cullinan was handed to Amsterdam’s House of Asscher to polish. The diamond was divided into nine significant gemstones, 96 smaller stones and about 19.5cts of unpolished pieces. The two largest gems were kept for England’s regalia, and the rest went to Asscher as payment. King Edward bought one of the significant gems for his consort, Queen Alexandra. The Transvaal government purchased the remaining stones and pieces and presented the other six tremendous gems to Queen Mary in 1910. Two of the small stones were presented to Louis Botha, who gave one to his daughter when she turned 17.


CULLINAN I, STAR OF AFRICA

Weight: 47.75ct polished, 83.50ct rough
Shape: Pear Shape Brilliant
Colour: Unrecorded
Clarity: Unrecorded
Origin: Zandfontein Farm, South Africa

At 530.20 carats the Cullinan I or Star of Africa diamond is the largest cut diamond in the world. Pear-shaped, with 74 facets, it is set in the Royal sceptre (kept with the other crown jewels in the Tower of London). It was cut from the 3,106 carat Cullinan, the largest diamond crystal ever found. The Cullinan was discovered by Frederick Wells, a mine superintendent in Transvaal, South Africa in 1895 on an inspection tour of the Premier Mine. The Cullinan was cut by Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam, who examined the enormous crystal for around six months before determining how to divide it. It eventually yielded nine major and 96 smaller brilliant-cut stones. When the Cullinan was first discovered, certain signs suggested that it could have been part of a much larger crystal, but no discovery of the ‘missing half’ has ever been authenticated.


HOPE DIAMOND

Weight: 45.52ct
Shape: Oval Brilliant
Colour: Dark Blue
Clarity: Reported Flawless
Origin: Unknown but believed to originate from India

Widely considered to be the most famous diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond received its name from Henry Thomas Hope and was discovered centuries ago in the southern region of India. Long before the fabled bad luck associated with its owners, the Hope Diamond has an illustrious history. It was believed to have a great mystical power that surrounded this unusual size and unique colour, a deep indigo blue. The Hope was reputedly used to adorn the statue of a Hindu idol.

In 1642, the famous Blue Tavernier Diamond from Europe was in the hands of King Louis XIV who had it cut to bring out its brilliance. Later, the diamond was discovered stolen during the French Revolution. For many decades, the Hope Diamond could not be found. It was rumoured, according to legend, jewelers and thieves had previously acquired the stone. Some say, those who owned the blue stone, had some bad luck associated with them wherever they went.

At the turn of the century, in 1911, the diamond was purchased by a young American socialite heiress named Evalyn Walsh McLean who bought the Hope Diamond from Cartier for US$185,000. This gift was given to Evalyn by her husband Ned, who owned the Washington Post and Cincinnati Enquirer newspapers. After some time, Evalyn became convinced that the real power of the Hope Diamond came from the joy and awe which filled the faces of those who gazed upon it. Mrs. McLean was the longest private owner, and she owned the diamond for 36 years until her death in 1947. Harry Winston purchased the Hope Diamond from her estate in 1949, and nine years later it was given to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.


CENTENARY DIAMOND

Weight: 273.85ct polished, 599ct rough
Shape: Pear Shape
Colour: D
Clarity: Flawless
Origin: Premier Mine, South Africa

The Centenary was found on 17th July 1986 by the electric X-ray recovery system at the Premier Mine. Only a handful of people knew about it, and all were sworn to silence. In its rough form, it resembled an irregular matchbox with angular planes, a prominent elongated horn jutting out at one corner and a deep concave on the largest flat surface. The shape of the stone expressed problems in cutting with no apparent solution.

De Beers unveiled the Centenary Diamond, the world’s second largest modern-cut flawless diamond, on the company’s 100th birthday in 1988. At 273.85 carats, this stone is remarkable for its numerous facets: 164 on the stone and 83 on the girdle. The stone was cut from a 599ct flawless rough diamond and was found in the renowned De Beers Group Premier Mine, birthplace to many other famous diamonds such as the Cullinan and the Heart of Eternity. The Centenary is the largest modern fancy cut diamond in the world and the only one to combine the oldest methods – such as kerfing – with the most sophisticated modern technology in cutting.


THE MILLENNIUM STAR

Weight: 203.04ct polished, 777ct rough

A near perfect diamond, weighing a magical 777 carats in the rough, falls into the hands of an alluvial digger from a small village. He approaches a De Beers diamond buyer stationed nearby and sells the magical stone.

After several years of deliberation, the cut is decided, yielding 203.04 carats of stunning, internally and externally flawless pear-shaped stone. It is the second largest faceted D-Flawless diamond in the world; the 273.15 carat Centenary Diamond is the first. The Millennium Star is arguably the most beautiful diamond in the world, and one which experts have declared priceless.

The Millennium Star is the centrepiece of the company’s Limited Edition Millennium Diamonds collection, which further consists of 11 highly unusual blue diamond’s cut into a variety of shapes, having a total weight of 118 carats.


THE KOH-I-NOOR

Weight: 108.93ct rough
Shape: Brilliant Cut
Colour: Unrecorded
Clarity: Unrecorded
Origin: India

This diamond was discovered around the 13th century but only received the name Koh-I-Noor in 1739 when a Persian conqueror, Nadir Shah, took Delhi and acquired the diamond. He named it Koh-I-Noor meaning ‘Mountain of Light’. The diamond was given to Queen Victoria in 1850 and weighed 186ct. In 1852 it was cut into a Round Brilliant weighing 108.93ct. The diamond has been used in the crowns of various Kings and Queens and is currently on display in the Tower of London.

HOW TO CARE YOUR DIAMOND.

For best results, it is advisable to take your precious jewels to your jeweler of choice for a professional cleaning and polishing service handled by expert craftsmen.

Home care: Dip in warm water for five minutes with 2 to 3 drops of very mild liquid soap and remove the dirt with a soft brush. Dry in cotton cloth or soft facial tissues.