Diamonds are one of our many, many friends. And we heard you want to know all about them. Well, class is in session. Welcome to Diamonds 101.
So how hard are diamonds, anyway?
Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. They are 58x harder than any other natural element. They measure at a 10 (out of 10) on the MOHS scale of mineral hardness. The MOHS scale measures mineral hardness by the ability of a mineral to scratch another mineral. They are crazy tough, for example, a diamond can only be scratched on its surface by another diamond!
Can diamonds crack, break or chip?
Diamonds aren’t indestructible. Diamonds can definitely break under pressure (they aren’t alone in that). An intense knock, fall, or blow may cause a diamond to chip or crack. This is a rare occurrence and diamonds have to be placed under great pressure to do so. Like all fine and beautiful things, your diamond ring should be treated with care.
Can diamond rings get wet?
Short answer, yes! Your diamond ring can get wet. Our jewellery is designed to be lived in. Worn often. Washing your hands, under warm water with a gentle soap, for example, is perfectly ok!
What you should be mindful of, however, is your diamond ring as a whole (its claws, setting, and band) coming into regular contact with harsh chemicals. Chlorine and strong cleaning products can damage or discolour your solid gold and platinum settings when exposed on a regular and long-term basis. This affects the strength of the setting, potentially leaving your diamond vulnerable.
What are the 4Cs?
Diamonds are universally measured, categorised and graded by their Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. Created by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, in the 1940s, the 4C’s are universally considered as the markings of diamond quality.
The cut of a diamond is the first thing you see and is classified by how its facets interact with light. Popular diamond cuts are round brilliant cut, oval, emerald, pear and marquise. In our opinion, cut is the most underrated of the 4C’s as it is essential to the sparkle in diamonds that we know you love.
The clear, sparkling colour you look for in a diamond, is actually found in its lack of colour. The colour of a diamond is measured alphabetically, with D measuring the whitest or clearest diamond and Z measuring lightly in colour, sometimes appearing yellow or brown (not to be confused with fancy coloured diamonds, such as fancy yellows or champagne diamonds).
As diamonds are a naturally occurring element, they form with internal inclusions and external blemishes which can affect their clarity. GIA developed this grading of diamonds when viewing the diamonds under 10x magnification. Any inclusions or blemishes aren’t going to be visible to the naked eye. The highest clarity of a diamond is F, for flawless, which is extremely rare. Diamond clarity grading progresses to the following, with further classifications within them;
- Flawless, Internally flawless (F and IF)
- Very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2)
- Very slightly included (VS1 and VS2)
- Slightly included (SI1 and SI2)
- Included (I1, 12, and I3)
Carat is the unit of weight for diamonds, and all other gemstones (it also measures the purity of gold but let’s not get sidetracked). Diamond carat is the distribution of the stone’s weight. For example, a deeply cut diamond may have a small table (aka the top of the stone) and may be comparable in price to a shallow stone with a large table, whilst appearing completely different.
Fun fact: The origin of ‘carat’ can be attributed to many cultures, but begins with the Greek word kreation meaning ‘fruit of the carob’. This is remnant of the use of carob seeds by ancient gem traders, as they used the small seeds as counterweights to balance their scales when measuring diamonds.
What are created or lab-grown diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are natural diamonds’ fraternal twin. Almost impossible to tell apart, and on the inside completely identical. The only feature that differentiates natural diamonds from their lab-grown twin is their origin. Natural diamonds are formed over billions of years and are mined by human hands across the world. Lab-grown or created diamonds, however, are manufactured in a lab by mimicking the environment that forms a natural diamond. Lab-grown and natural diamonds consist of the exact same materials and properties, 100% carbon!
Where does the word diamond come from?
Diamond is derived from the Greek word adamas, in other words, unconquerable, indestructible, and untameable, and now you know why.
Why are most engagement rings diamonds?
The ever-enduring, timeless, everlasting nature of diamonds, has led them to be cemented within the institution of marriage. Promising to outlast your love, and then some. Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the first to propose with a diamond ring, forever changed the game. In 1477, he promised his love for Mary of Burgundy with a ring of rough diamonds set in the shape of the letter ‘M’. But, if ‘M’ was for Mary or Maximilian we aren’t too sure.
Personally, we love engagement rings with all the stones under the sun. Emeralds and sapphires are some of our favourites, to name a few.
How do diamonds form?
Diamonds are older than you, me and, actually, only a couple of years younger than the entire earth. Diamonds form over billions of years from one singular element - carbon. They are the incredible result of carbon atoms bonding tightly together under extreme temperatures and high pressures within the earth’s crust. Diamonds rise through volcanic activity, to greet us with their uncharacteristically rough appearance. I’m so glad we didn’t judge a book by its cover all those centuries ago.
What makes a diamond sparkle?
Diamonds are known for their sparkle, that’s why we love them. Their sparkle is created when an ideally-cut diamond and light combine. This light ‘refracts’ internally, bending and hitting the surfaces within the stone and reflecting back on itself. The refraction of light emits from the top (technically known as table) of the diamond, meaning that a diamond can be surrounded by a solid metal setting and still shine.
That’s why our signature Nico, encompassing its stone in a brushed bezel setting, doesn’t affect a diamond’s sparkle!
What diamond should I choose?
Diamonds come in endless unique shapes, cuts and colours for a reason. Here’s some questions we think you should ask yourself when shopping for a diamond ring:
- If you would like to invest in either a lab-grown diamond or a natural diamond? While considering the potential price difference between the two.
- Which of the 4C’s are most important to you? For example, a higher quality diamond that is smaller may cost more than a lower quality diamond that is larger, and there is nothing wrong with either, it’s all up to you!
- In our opinion, as we mentioned prior, we believe that a diamond’s cut is essential to sparkle. We would recommend investing in a well-cut, well-proportioned diamond, giving it full potential for maximum shine. With that, you should consider which cut you like most.
But, when it comes down to it, a diamond is always as unique, radiant and exceptional, as you.
We are masters in the duality of jewellery, the classic and the contemporary, the unique and the timeless. Our custom team will help you design your dream diamond ring. Visit us in our in-house workshop in James St or book an appointment with our custom team.