What is a diamond?

At a basic level, diamond is the hardest bulk substance on earth formed from crystalline carbon atoms.  When the atoms are unblemished, the stone is colorless, giving it amazing lustre and brilliance as a gemstone.  If the carbon is blemished or tainted with extracts, then the diamond is still extremely hard, but lacks the value of colourless stones which are considered as some of the highest regarded precious gems.

A diamond as most people know is “cut” or fractured from the the larger diamonds crystals to provide a gemstone of the most dynamic brilliance.  When it is cut, it is done so for the purpose to maximize the brilliance of the stone and its properties to reflect and refract light, giving it an almost magical quality.  The “diamond” is then ready to be used as a gemstone for many jewellery applications.

Uncut diamonds, or rough diamond, is still crystalline in structure, and contains all the hardness properties of the original mineral, and is used as an abrasive and cutting tool in many industrial and commercial applications.  A diamond is a naturally occurring mineral   that is one of the hardest substances known to man, and has the unique qualities of being a gemstone and also extensive industrial cutting and drilling uses.

Where do diamonds come from?

Diamond, as a composite product, exists naturally in nature and is a direct result of hundreds and thousands of years of carbon compression and burning at extreme temperatures from core burning lava found at the earth’s mantle.  When the process of cooling occurs, under extreme compression, the carbon atoms formnthe crystal structure or diamond lattice that gives the diamond its unique strength and crystal shapes.

What is an “Ideal Cut”?

There are many types of diamond cuts, and mostly the cuts are designed for purposes and styles catering to the jewellery industry.  Many buyers are looking at the “brilliant cut” as the most ideal cut because it allows the diamond to optimize its refraction and reflecting capabilities to create the most brilliant characteristics for viewing from any angle.  Being circular in shape, with matrix style cuts around the edges, the light is bounced almost infinitely around the stone to create incredible brilliance, hence, the popularity.

Other cuts include:

Round Cut:  The diamond is cut in circular design to highlight the properties using a 360 degree cut.

Marquise Cut:  This cut is more popular among collectors and specialty designers since it requires more sophisticated cutting.  Designed for focused reflections on the center of the stone.

Pear Cut:  The pear cut is an expensive cut designed for focusing the refraction points to the center of the stone, while highlight reflections at the apex of the cut for optimal viewing.

Princess Cut:  A classic cut for diamond engagement rings, the Princess Cut uses its style to bring the points of light through the sides of the diamond, reflecting the rays into the centre of the gem for maximum lustre.

Heart Cut:  A very rare cut, this is done mostly for style, to say “I love you,” but does have properties that make the heart at the centre glow and shine more brilliantly.

Oval Cut:  The oval cut is similar to the marquise, but is more symmetrical since it is designed around the geometrical design of the oval.  The cut optimizes multiple refraction points to give the gem brilliance from any angle.

Emerald Cut:  Often considered one of the most expensive cuts, it is modelled after another popular gemstone, the emerald.  The emerald cut offers buyers brilliance multiplied by each layer so the stone registers multiple levels of brilliance when viewing from above.

Baguette Cut:  A rare cut, this cut is less popular since it does not maximize brilliance as well as some of the other cuts, however does offer a larger surface area for larger carat diamonds.

Trillion Cut:  A cut that accentuates the prism qualities of light refraction into a style that is geometrically triangular.  The triangle style offer highlights and brilliance at many angles from the sides and above, and is considered a premium style cut.

Is a diamond a good investment?

A diamond is an investment that can last a lifetime, and depending on the diamond you choose, you can make a fortune on your investment.  There is always an element of risk when investing, so you should become well-versed in what you are looking to invest in before making any purchases.  Diamonds serve various niches, from diamonds for wedding rings, and diamonds as equity investments, diamonds are one of the few items that retain value even when other sectors and gems decline because of their inherent strength and brilliant quality.

What factors increase of decrease a diamonds value? 

Obviously, the size of the diamond is one of the most influential aspect of determining the value of the diamond.  Diamond sizes are measured by carats, and the larger the carat number, the higher the value.

Other factors that can increase the value of the diamond is the “cut” as mentioned earlier since some cuts are more rare and harder to do because of the inherent octahedral characteristics of the diamond.  Other factors that affect the diamond are its levels of purity, colour, and lustre, which contribute to the value (eg. high purity = higher value, lower purity = lower price).

What is the difference between a “certified diamond” and a “non-certified diamond”?

A certified diamond is a precious stone that has been approved or certified by an external agency as being a pure stone.  Since the value of diamonds is extremely high, there have been many people trying to sell fraudulent and counterfeit products.  As part of a quality assurance program, many sellers get their products certified by independent analysts so buyers are sure they are getting real stones.

Uncertified diamonds can be just as pure or beautiful, but there is a certain element of risk in these stones because they have not been approved or certified as “real” by a third party.  Thus, as consumer protection mechanism certification is employed to prevent counterfeiting.  If you are looking at uncertified diamonds, it may pay to get the diamond reviewed by an independent jeweller for carat consistency, quality, price, and purity.