Diamonds have captivated mankind for millennia. Beautiful, clear, pristine, and perfect, diamonds, as the slogan goes, are forever. You can see them as the beautiful gems they are, or as solid investments. Whichever the case, these really are something special. You probably heard of different types of diamonds, about terms like cut, or carat. However, there are a couple of more distinctions that separate diamonds.
Namely, gemmologists analyze and distinguish diamonds types by their atomic makeup. They observe them, on a microscopic level, and analyze their growth, their colour, their physical and chemical properties. In this manner, they figure out whether they are real, synthetic, or treated. However, as far as the consumer is concerned, there are four types of diamonds, and three characteristics that make them stand out. You can read about them below.
The first way we can distinguish diamonds is by color. Now, the perfect and ideal diamond is absolutely colorless. These are the most expensive, and most highly regarded. However, most diamonds have a tint to them, even those that seem clear. The Gemological Institute of America grades these from a scale of D to Z. So, for example, a D class diamond is completely clear, while a Z class diamond will be obviously tinted and colored. On the other hand, G class is pretty much clear, and cannot be noticed by the untrained naked eye.
While completely clear diamonds are the most expensive, many people seek out naturally colored ones as well. These can come in all colours, shapes, and sizes. They can be blue, pink, orange, yellow, green, red…. Essentially, all the colours of the rainbow. The most common diamonds are yellow diamonds, but even these are exceedingly rare.
Man-made diamonds are artificial diamonds that have been “grown” in a lab. These are much cheaper than regular diamonds. Some are almost 50% cheaper than a regular diamond, and it looks pretty much the same. Of course, a gemmologist will be able to tell, but the average consumer most likely won’t be.
However, due to their artificial origin, they are not as valued and as sought-after as regular diamonds are. Still, they are beautiful and more financially friendly than the real ones.
Treated diamonds are, in a way, a mix between the first two. While they have been naturally mined and obtained, they have also been artificially enhanced. Essentially, their colors are enhanced, and any impurities are hidden with special fillings. These are perhaps the cheapest diamonds out there. The reason for this is that, essentially, treated diamonds are diamonds of a lower quality that have been modified to look better.
Besides their origin, they also differ in the quality of their cut, their clarity, and their size (carat).
Everybody has heard of carats. This one is rather simple. It just focuses on the size of the stone. So, for example, 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Now, its common practice to give points to all stones. So, for example, you have 100 points in one carat. Of course, their price varies predominantly based on their quality.
So, the cut refers to the symmetry, proportions, and polish of any diamond. Essentially, you want a high-quality diamond to be symmetrical, to be well proportioned, and to be polished. In fact, a poorly cut diamond that is larger than a nicely cut one will be less valuable. But, it’s not only about symmetry. The quality of the cut actually influences how well light travels inside the diamond, and how wonderfully it exits. In other words, to put it simply, the way it shines. And of course, there are various shapes to each diamond as well, like oval, pear, round, heart-shaped… Depends on whether they will serve as a fashion accessory, or any other usage.
There are also several clarity levels for each diamond. For example, you have FL, which means it’s completely flawless. Bellow that is the IF (internally flawless) type. This one has external flaws, but the interior is perfect, and so, can be fixed with some polish. VVS1 and VVS2 are flaws that can only be detected by an expert using a microscope. VS1 to VS2 can be detected by a microscope, but with more ease (though it will still take some trouble). SI1 and SI2 mean that the flaws are easily visible with a microscope. Finally, I1 to I3 have flaws that can be seen with the naked eye. The numbers 1 and 2 means that, respectfully, the flaws can be seen when looking at the top, or at the bottom, of the diamond.
The world of diamonds is not as complex as it seems. As long as you understand where they come from (i.e. man-made, modified, or natural), and know how to figure out they are valued, you will certainly make the right choice. Both as an investment and as a gift, you can never go wrong with diamonds.