April’s birthstone is the classic diamond, so we’d like to take the opportunity to share more about this remarkable gemstone. Known as the ‘king of gems’, diamonds are the ultimate symbol of eternal love, fidelity and purity. A well-cut diamond sparkles like no other gem, and are incredibly durable and iconic stones.
WHAT ARE DIAMONDS MADE OF?
Many people are drawn to diamonds specifically because they are made out of carbon- the foundational element of life on Earth. Not only is diamond the hardest gemstone, it is the hardest natural material known to man. Only another diamond can scratch a diamond. Their crystal structure is formed out of very geometric configurations of atoms, which gives diamonds their strength. Although they can cleave, (this is often the first step of cutting a rough diamond!) they can only fracture in certain directions along their growth planes. Their name actually derives from the Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning ‘unbreakable’.
HOW ARE DIAMONDS FORMED?
These stones are an astounding feat of nature, formed deep within the planet under incredible heat and pressure. Carbon is compressed under enormous pressure and high temperatures in order to form diamonds. Recently human ingenuity has been put to use to match nature in creating lab grown diamonds. Lab created diamonds are not simulants or ‘fake’ diamonds; they are made from carbon and have the same crystal structure, they are simply made in a lab instead of within the earth. Lab grown diamond technology has improved significantly in recent years, which has lead to an increase in good quality lab grown diamonds in the market.
ARE ALL DIAMONDS WHITE?
Diamonds are generally thought of as white or clear, but they can actually come in a variety of colors. Trace amounts of other elements as well as microscopic alterations in the crystal structure can give diamonds colors such as yellow, blue, pink, brown, green, orange, black, and red, although some of those colors are extremely rare. Brown and yellow are the most common diamond colors. We love pieces that contrast lively pink diamonds or warm yellow diamonds with the bright iciness of white diamonds.
White diamonds have been the traditional center stone for engagement rings for years, but there are many more uses for diamonds! They sparkle in necklaces in bracelets, and bring light to the face when used in earrings. Diamonds are an ultimate luxury purchase, sure to last a lifetime. Diamonds are also used many other ways- they have many industrial uses, such was on drill bits or abrasive powder.
HOW ARE DIAMONDS GRADED?
Diamonds are graded on several scales, known as the 4 Cs. These are Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight.
Cut describes how well the diamond is cut- the symmetry of its facets, shine of its polish and proportions of its angles. The cut tells you how much light a diamond reflects because it controls the dispersion and refraction of the light.
Colorless white diamonds are graded on a scale from D (completely colorless) to Z (a visible tint). If a diamond has enough color to be beyond a Z grade, it becomes a Fancy Colored diamond, and is therefore listed by its color, such as Fancy Yellow Diamond.
Clarity is different from Color- it refers to how many natural inclusions are within a diamond. The inclusions are usually very small and normally visible under magnification.
Carat weight is pretty simple, it is just the measurement of weight used for gemstones- it is equal to 200 milligrams.
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