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Learn about all the diamond characteristics and how to purchase the right brilliance at the right price.
When selecting a diamond the first thing to decide on is the shape. Diamonds offer a wide variety of shapes, each of which is unique to the personality and taste of its wearer.
How to Decide on a Diamond Shape
Each diamond has its own unique characteristics, just like a fingerprint. Once a diamond is recovered from kimberlite, it is cut
into various shapes, the shape is decided on the basis of the inclusions and the raw form of the diamond procured; which also determines its size. These major and minor specifications impact the final look of the stone.
The diamond shape also determines its reflection and refraction, as the shape is directly linked to the cut and the cut to its brilliance. These shapes are given names such as round, oval, heart, pear, which are named directly after the shape, whereas some others have fancier names like princess for square, baguette for rectangle, cushion for pillow shaped diamonds and so on. The diamonds however have one important feature and functionality – reflection, the shape decides how the diamond will be cut to maximize light return.
A diamond shape can also increase or decrease its value. The round being the most popular shape, followed by princess, pear, oval and baguette. However baguettes and tapers are used mainly for settings rather than solitaires.
The "round brilliant cut" consists of nearly 75% of diamonds sold. Due to its shape a round diamond can reflect maximum fire, scintillation and brilliance as compared to any other shape. The round cut is the oldest shape and had evolved over time from the Old European to the RBC and best suited for all designing purposes from vintage to contemporary.
The CUT Chart
The cut refers to the symmetry and proportion of the facts of a diamond; how well the diamond is cut determines the diamond’s ability to reflect and refract light. The perfect diamond has a Table percentage of 53% to 57% and a Pavilion depth of about 43%. The thickness of the Girdle and Culet are two very important determinants of the ideal cut, the culet should be nothing more than a fine dot and the girdle neither too thick nor too thin. The facets on the crown and pavilion if cut a few degrees out of alignment can dull the brilliance of a diamond and render it inferior or of low grade.
CUT is a diamond's most important characteristic. Depending on the cut of a diamond it reflects the light which is generally known as sparkle or fire of a diamond. Diamond has various cut grades.
We provide everything you need to know to find your perfect Diamond.
A CUT Beyond
The cut is a diamond’s most crucial ‘C’. Everything depends on the cut. A diamond’s cut can increase or decrease its value; as the precision and craftsmanship of a cut can enhance or diminish the brilliance or luster of a diamond. The diamond is divided into parts like the table, crown and pavilion, whereas its reflection is divided into brilliance, dispersion and scintillation.
The carat weight of a diamond is the most important and visible feature that is considered when comparing its price. A slight difference in weight can make a significant difference in price. "Carat" (ct.) is a phase representing the weight of a diamond, the price of a diamond is directly proportional to its weight. The cut off weights are 0.50ct, 0.75ct, 1.00ct so on and so forth.
Diamonds are not always as white as they look to the untrained eye. However, just the lack of color makes diamonds more expensive, too much color can also make it priceless and rare. Most diamonds exhibit a yellow or brown tinge, a completely colorless variety will allow more light to pass through it emitting maximum brilliance. The diamond is shaped like a prism and acts in the same way, and so color in a diamond diminishes the fire by acting as a filter. A colorless diamond will emit a spectrum of colors.
Like all things natural, diamonds too are flawed. Diamonds like all other minerals and gemstones are born with several inclusions that develop during its formtion. Although almost invisible to the naked eye, inclusions do decide a diamond price. Internal characteristics are known as inclusions while external characteristics are known as blemishes all of which are mostly visible through a 10X loupe. List of diamond inclusions include, cloud, feather, needle, pinpoint, crystals, twinning wisps, whereas bruise, chip, cavity, cleavage and knot appear on the surface of the stone.
If you would ever come across a diamond in the rough, you would probably not even look at it twice. But if the same piece of brilliance was presented to you in all its shine, you would find it hard to put it down. This charm manifests only due to its characteristic beauty; beauty that can be handcrafted to perfection.
Diamonds have always been considered as a mark of purity, durability and luxury. From the ancients Greeks to the modern day, many are enamoured by its scintillating beauty and sparkle. Greeks believed that diamonds were tears of God and shards of Stars. Experts suggest that diamonds were first found in India in 800 BC and Alexander the Great brought the first diamonds to Europe in 327 BC from India.
The significance of diamonds as an epitome of love dates back to 1447 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as ‘promise of marriage‘. This tradition can be traced back to the middle ages and roman times. In fact, Italians believed diamonds could sustain harmony between couples and from there came the tradition of setting a diamond in wedding rings.
Diamonds are known to make a long arduous journey before they reach your jewellery box. The story of a diamond begins 100-200 miles below the Earth's surface. Diamonds were formed billions of years ago due to extensive heat and pressure on carbon crystals. Subsequently, volcanic activity forced diamonds up Earth's surface through pipes or openings in the Earth. Some of them made their way to river beds, streams and seas but the majority of diamonds settled back into the Kimberlite pipes. It is said that the first diamonds were found as glittering pebbles near the course of an ancient river.
Once the diamonds are found, the process to obtain them can be long and cumbersome. It is said that it takes more than 250 tonnes of ore to produce just 1 carat of rough diamond. The ore goes through different stages of blasting, crushing and processing to procure the diamonds.
Now that the rough diamonds have been released from the ore, they go through sorting and classification according to their shape, size, quality and colour. Before they're passed on to diamond cutters, expert sorters scan these rough pieces under X-rays which enables them to detect and sort them for their natural characteristics.
The diamonds are then brought to life by master craftsmen who transform the rough diamonds to a sparkling expression of deep emotion. Using meticulous and laborious cutting methods, its brilliance is revealed. The cutter uses cleaving, sawing or laser cutting to separate the original rough into smaller, workable pieces. The bruter grinds the stone’s edges for that remarkable outline. Faceting trails next where 18 facets of the table, pavilion, culet and bezel are cut and polished then the next 40 facets – star facets, upper and lower girdle facets follow suit. Although, most of the polishing work is computerized, some of the work is still done by hand to bring out its true shine. The best cutting process brings out maximum brilliance and most carat weight. An ideal cut and polished diamond, even if small in size, will stand out more than a poorly cut big diamond. In fact, Mumbai is one of the key diamond cutting and trading centres in the world.
The finished gem is then boiled in acids to get rid of all dust and oil. The diamonds are now ready to go out into the world and be set into finished pieces of jewellery. They are sold to either wholesalers, who work as middlemen to sell the manufacturer's goods to the retailer or sold directly to the retailer by the manufacturer.
From jewellery showrooms and retailers, it slowly makes way into hearts of buyers as eternal memories and moments of joy.