At this time of year, in the past anyway, I’ve found that it’s been fairly quiet work wise. I guess this is because most of my commissions are from engaged couples, and Christmas gets in the way of wedding planning during Nov/Dec. That hasn’t happened at all this year, and while I’m certainly not complaining, its not leaving me with much time for blog writing, so today’s blog is an edited version of one that I wrote a few years ago (well if Kevin McCloud and George Clarke can do it, so can i 😉)...............
Buying a piece of jewellery with a diamond in it can be a confusing business with prices varying massively. The main thing you should be aware of is where your diamond has come from. The Kimberley Process is an international government-led certification process that guarantees diamonds have not been used to fund armed conflict. Unfortunately the Kimberley Process doesn’t certify environmental and social standards and has recently been weakend by its acceptance of Zimbabwe as conflict free. Personally, I think the “greenest” type of diamond is one that’s being repurposed from a piece of jewellery that’s no longer worn. Obviously, a recycled diamond might not always be available, so then there’s lab grown. These are in every aspect, a real diamond, its just that a 100,000 tons of earth hasnt had to be dug up in order to get it! There are also other options if you want a white stone, such as lab grown moissanite or white sapphire.
If you’re buying an “officially certified” stone, it will be graded based on The Four C’s:
The cut of a diamond determines how it reflects light, this is responsible for its sparkle or brilliance and refers to the angles and proportions of the polished stone. A well-cut diamond is cut by a skilled professional to the best proportions possible so that light will be reflected from each of its facets and disperse through its top.
Because a diamond with perfect colour and clarity could nevertheless have poor brilliance if it is not well cut, many gemologists consider this to be the most important property to note when choosing a diamond. Diamonds can carry cut grades of Excellent, Ideal, Very Good, Good, or Fair.
Diamonds are measured in weight, not size. The heavier the diamond, the greater the carat weight. As diamonds increase in size, their cost tends to increase exponentially, meaning a one-carat diamond can cost significantly more than a half carat diamond of equal quality. The weight of a diamond less than one carat in size may also be described in "points". There are 100 "points" in 1 carat.
While many diamonds appear to be colourless, or white, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that can be detected when comparing diamonds side by side. Colourless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable of all.
These variations are a result of the natural forces (i.e., temperature, pressure, trace elements) at work during the formation of diamonds within the Earth. Because subtle colour variations dramatically affect the value of a diamond, a colour grading scale is used to categorize the shading differences from one diamond to the next.
Diamonds are graded according to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) colour chart.
This is an indication of a diamond's purity. Clarity is determined by a diamond's naturally occurring internal characteristics. These characteristics are sometimes not visible to the naked eye and they are what make each diamond unique. The characteristics, or inclusions, may look like crystals, feathers, clouds or dark spots and the quantity, size, and location of these inclusions has an affect on a diamond's value. Diamonds with fewer and smaller inclusions are generally more expensive.
It all pretty confusing and in reality, unless you’re buying a very expensive diamond, you’ll probably find that there isn’t an official grading certificate to go with it, especially for the increasingly popular, unusual and rough cut stones. The main thing is that you trust whoever you are buying from, that they can tell you where it’s come from and assure you that its been created or mined by people who have been fairly paid and treated.