Diamonds are forever: a guide to diamonds & gems

Diamonds are magical, compelling. It’s a love story between women and shining stones; perhaps a tale as old as time? Here’s a short guide to our favorite stones 🙂 

A world-wide adventure

The tale of the diamond begins way down South, more specifically in Kimberley, South Africa. Here you’ll find the gigantic diamond mine ”The Kimberley Mine”, where the discovery of precious stones back in the 19th Century led to the so-called diamond rush. It attracted a large number of adventurers and fortune hunters, who wanted to try their luck. Many of them owned a small piece of land, but most of the land was eventually acquired by Cecil Rhodes, who founded De Beers in 1888. Last-mentioned is still one of the largest diamond-trading concerns in the world today.

Historically speaking, De Beers has owned 80% of the global production of diamonds, but this scenario is starting to change as well-known companies like Tiffany’s and Harry Winston get their diamonds from mines in Canada. Another precious diamond mine has been discovered in Russia, and it’s supposed to hold more stones than seen in any other mine in the world. The diamond adventure began in South Africa, but has spread throughout the world.

white diamond

”C stands for…”

In the world of diamonds, you often talk about the four C’s which stands for: cut, color, clarity, and carat.

Cut stands for the grinding, or more specifically the proportions of the grinding, that has been done on the rock. The brilliance in a stone is also dependant on the grinding; the more grinding, the better. Many confuse grinding with the shape of the stone (if it’s square or circular), but it’s something completely different. Cut refers to the quality of the grinding, and whether all aspects meet each other and reach the right spot in order to create symmetry.

Colour. You work with a colour-scale that goes from white to yellow’ish. It starts with the letter D which stands for ‘rare white’, and it goes all the way down to Z, which is the point where all stones turn yellow. After Z, you’ll move on to another scale, where the different shades of yellow are evaluated. The most precious diamond in the world is a red diamond. That’s closely followed by the blue diamond, e.g. the Hope-diamond, which can be seen on The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, USA.

Clarity suggests the brightness of the stone and, more specifically, how many particles, the so-called enclosures, which have been encapsulated within the stone. Here the scale goes from clean as magnifying glass over internally flawless to VVS, which stands for very, very small inclusions. VS, which again stands for very small inclusion, to SI (slightly included) and at last, piqué.

Carat determines the weight – not the size – of the rock, and one carat equals 200 miligram. The name carat originates from the South African Johannes bread tree, whose seed, named carob seeds, always weighs the same: 0,20 grams. Thus, they were used as counter weight when diamonds had to be weighed.

zoe diamond

The Zoe diamond: a 9,75 carat blue diamond (and one of the most expensive diamonds in history)

Diamonds vs colored stones

Diamonds are shaped within the cubic crystal system, and even though coloured stones also exist there, they’ve still got an entirely different chemical composition. A diamond is coal that under enormous heated pressure has been turned into the jewel we all know. The colour-stone has a different chemical structure. E.g. a sapphire is composed by the mineral korund, and the characteristic blue colour of the stone is created because it has been near iron during the shaping process. Emerald, on the other hand, has been in touch with chrome. There are many more types of colored stones than diamonds (which regardless of grinding and placement on the color scale, is generally always white). The enclosures that are not meant to be seen in a diamond, are highly valued in colored stones, as they’re used as markers to identify the stone. For instance, if you look into an emerald and find a bubble of air and a tiny crystal, it’s 90%  sure that the stone is from Colombia. In other words, you can track the colored stone in a different way than a diamond.

From South Africa to Russia and from the dark mines to the red carpet; the journey of the diamonds is long. Still, they always end their journey in a jewelry shop somewhere in the world; ready to be exposed and adorned by mortals and celebrities. A diamond truly is a girl’s best friend.

Header photo credit: www.augrau.com 

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