Diamonds, Glittering Extravagance

Diamonds Scintillating Extravagance 

Diamonds have always held a special position in the world of gems and jewelry. The beauty and glitter of diamonds along with their rather expensive price, have given some exclusivity to this stone. It is one of those 'oh can I afford it?' line getting stones. Technically there is one more thing that places diamonds ahead of all other stones. Gem experts will tell you that there is no other gem used in jewelry which is as hard, or harder than a diamond. Gem hardness is measured on the Mohs scale and goes from 1 to 10, diamonds proudly take the top spot with a hardness of 10.

We will keep this discussion as simple and non-technical as possible. The idea is to make it understandable to as many gem and jewelry lovers as possible. If you analyzed the reasons for heavy price tags on diamonds or diamond jewelry, one of the main reasons is the low availability of diamonds. Another feature that will influence the price of a specific diamond, is it's color and clarity. Using white (colorless) diamonds as an example, you would expect a good white diamond to be very white, with no tint of cream or grey.Similarly if you looked into this diamond, you would want to see no spots or specks (also known as, inclusions) in it. The world of diamonds loves to complicate things. They define the inspection of diamonds for inclusions as 'eye clean' or 'loupe clean'. The loupe is a type of magnifying device, specific models are available for checking gems and diamonds.  If you view the diamond with your naked eye and do not see any inclusions, the diamond would be termed as an 'eye clean' piece. But inspecting the same diamond with a loupe that can magnify 10 times (10x loupe), could reveal some visible inclusions. If you do not see the inclusions even with the loupe, the diamond would be classified as a 'loupe clean'.

So we now know that, a diamond that is absolutely white (colorless) and shows no inclusions is a  very good diamond. The interesting thing is that if you talked about white diamonds and restricted your selection to such 'very good' diamonds, less than 10% of the diamonds would meet your specifications! Most diamonds would be in a range where some amount of inclusions can be seen, this either with the naked eye or the loupe. We talked about white diamonds being absolutely white with no traces of other colors, this refers to the color of the diamond. Once again, this is a specification that very few white diamonds would meet. The range of color would go from pure white (very small proportion) and be graded as per, the degree of other colors being mixed into the white.

So in reality, diamonds would be graded according to clarity and color. The better the color and clarity, the higher the price. This is something that needs to be understood clearly and thoroughly. Diamonds are priced per carat, which is the weight unit used to weigh diamonds. You can relate to this weight unit with the knowledge that 1 gram = 5 carats. Let us presume that the grade of a diamond is based on the clarity and color of the specific piece, pricing would then depend on the diamond grade.

The next concept in pricing diamonds relates to the size of the diamond. Let us presume that the color and clarity of some diamonds gave it a grade of "A". The diamond expert who prices this set of diamonds needs to now the size of the diamonds inside the set too. Diamonds are normally cut to standard proportions in each size and shape. A diamond expert can therefore get a fairly accurate weight estimate (per piece) based on the size and shape of the diamond. The point is that diamonds with the same grade, in our example 'A' grade would cost more per carat, if the size of the diamonds was large. As an example, 1 carat of 2mm round diamonds of grade 'A' would be cheaper than 1 single diamond (the same grade 'A') that weighs a carat. The price per carat of a diamond would increase as the size of the diamond increases, this even if the grade remains constant. This is a very important issue that needs to be understood. Read this paragraph over and over again until you fully grasp the contents.

Another feature of diamonds is their shape, most diamonds that we come across are round or square (princess cut) diamonds. When diamonds are cut in fancier shapes like pear, marquise, cushion or heart they command higher prices. These shapes might not be considered as being fancy or unusual when done in other gemstones but, in diamonds they are special, unique and rare.

Not all diamonds are white or colorless, the stone is available in other colors too. There was a time when you had to literally hunt for colored diamonds. When found in natural colors, the price of color diamonds can easily exceed that of white diamonds. This is mainly because, colored diamonds are rarer than white diamonds. You might notice large quantities of colored diamonds in recent years. The explanation lies in a technological development that, actually changes the color of white diamonds to other colors. In the gemstone world, such diamonds are referred to as 'treated' diamonds or 'color enhanced' diamonds. The diamonds used in the color treatment process are genuine diamonds but, they are of a low quality. As a result of this, treated diamonds are modestly priced.