Tag Archives: Diamonds

Enigma of Diamonds: Expensive Yet Always in Demand

Fine Cut DiamondThey are the manifestation of glitz.  Some refer to them as the tears of the gods and some consider them stardust. No matter how you identify with them, diamonds have captured the imagination of mankind since the very beginning. And the real wonder is that even after all these years, human beings are still dazzled and mesmerized by the enigmatic beauty of these precious stones.

In this article, we will find out what factors make this beloved gem so expensive and how it has been part of the human history for so long, so let’s begin with some relatively less known facts about diamonds.

Not all diamonds are expensive

Very few people are aware of the fact that not all types of diamonds are as expensive as we are taught to believe. Diamonds don’t come out of mines in the shape and texture we are used to seeing in ornaments and jewelry items. In fact, most of the natural diamonds never make it to that beautiful refined state because they come with too many imperfections and defects and consequently, such diamonds are only really suitable for industrial use.

Since the majority of mined diamonds can’t be used in jewelry, we are left with very few grades of diamond that have such quality, the expensive ones that can be used for decorative purposes.

It’s the simple imbalance of supply and demand makes this stone expensive. But that’s not all. There are other characteristics which add to the cost of diamonds.

Color of the Stone

The diamond’s color is one major factor in determining its price. Most of the naturally occurring diamonds contain a noticeable tinge of a yellowish hue. In fact, it is hard to find a stone that is completely colorless; thus, the more colorless a diamond is, the rarer and more valuable it is.  Although they may be colorless, the diamonds will appear whiter and brighter to the eye. Therefore these diamonds automatically become more expensive.

When traces of the yellowish hue drop, the demand and price of the diamond increases exponentially. This is more noticeable for diamonds that have other color traces like pink and blue in them. These color traces come from the natural impurities that are present in the internal chemical structure of the stone but are valued highly by diamond lovers.

Clarity of the stone

It is very rare that an original diamond comes without any internal spots and lines within the stone. Now, you can easily deduce how difficult it is to find the stone that has the color shade of your choice and comes with the clarity you want. Once again, demand and supply sets the price of the stone.

Size of the stone

The weight and size of the diamond also affect its price. Diamonds that are larger in size are hard to find naturally and consequently come with an expensive price tag.

Cut of the stone

As we all know, mined diamonds can’t be fitted directly onto jewelry. They have to be polished and cut into a shape that can give optimal balance between size, clarity and color. Getting the perfect cut is a tricky prospect.

There is a tremendous balancing act involved in which the cut has to be made to enhance clarity without reducing the weight of the stone. There is always the chance that the weight and size of a diamond may be compromised while removing some visible imperfections from it.

As a result, a diamond with balanced aspects of clarity, size and shape are hard to find and expensive to buy.

Have diamonds always been so popular and in demand?

Diamonds have not come to the forefront from the renaissance, agricultural or industrial revolution. They have been important since ancient times when the Greeks ruled the world. Even the name ‘diamond’ is said to be derived from the Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning indestructible, because the Greeks associated the radiant and ever-glowing glitter of the diamond to be an indestructible sign of love.

Generally, throughout the course of history and various civilizations, diamonds have always been considered as the sign of supreme power. Many cultural dogmas considered diamonds to contain magical powers that can be used to cure madness and repel evil spirits. Plato, the famous Greek philosopher shared the thought that diamonds were living spirits. Diamond powder, due to its curing abilities, had also been used in medicines.

There are a lot more historical anecdotes that can be mentioned to highlight the fact that the diamond has always been popular. It’s this popularity that makes it so expensive.

 

Four Cs of Diamond Grading

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) was the first to implement a universal diamond grading system. Before 1953, there was no agreed upon standard for judging diamonds. The founder of GIA, Robert M. Shipley, created the Four C’s grading system in 1953 which became the international standard for determining diamond quality. The Four C’s stand for color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.

Color

Gem-quality diamond color evaluation is based on a lack of color. The most perfect diamond is colorless and has no hue. The scale of color starts with D, the rarest, and continues on to the letter Z. Many of these color differences are extremely subtle and are not seen by the untrained eye. However, these differences can be quite big when it comes to a diamond’s quality and price. Excellent value diamonds have a color grade of D, E, F, G, and H. These are also best set in platinum or white gold.

Clarity

Diamonds are a result of carbon being exposed to intense heat and pressure under the earth’s mantle for over a billion years. This long process can add internal and external imperfections called inclusions and blemishes, respectively. The number, size, nature, and position of these imperfections affects the clarity of the stone. The clarity scale has six categories: flawless (FL), internally flawless (IF), very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2), very slightly included (VS1 and VS2), slightly included (SI1 and SI2) and included (I1, I2, and I3). FL diamonds account for less than 1% of the current diamond supply while it accounts for less than 3%, these are the highest valued diamonds.

Cut

The cut refers to proportions, and not shape. Diamonds are the only naturally occurring gemstone with a refractive index greater than 2, meaning they are very sparkly, this sparkle is called fire in the gem industry. A diamond’s cut will affect its fire, brightness, and scintillation. The cut scale contains five grades: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. An excellent cut allows light to enter the stone and disperse it properly throughout the diamond, reflecting back through the top. When a diamond’s cut is too shallow or too deep, the light can escape through the bottom of the stone.

Carat

Many think that a diamond carat refers to size, when it actually refers to weight. As carat weight increases, so does the rarity and price of a diamond. A metric carat is defined as 200 mg. Each carat can be divided into 100 points. This allows precise measurement to the hundredth decimal place. A 25 point diamond weighs 0.25 carats. Many times, a diamond can look bigger but be a lower carat based on shape and size. Since prices are based on carat, one can usually get a better deal for a diamond that ends in .9 carats. A 2.9 carat stone can look bigger than a 3 carat stone and cost less, simply based on size.