Among all the gem stones sold in luxury shops, diamond is the undisputed most popular crystal. It is not only one of the rarest, most durable and valuable minerals, but diamond also became the known expression and measure of undying love. As popularized in the 1940s, truly, “A diamond is forever.” To this date, diamond is the logical and prevalent option for either weddings or engagements. Diamond is the perfect symbol that captures the idea of promise and commitment. Most people are willing to spend on the perfect diamond to gift something rare for someone truly special.
Fancy a diamond? How can you recognize the perfect choice?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed the global language in recognizing quality stones. There may be many characteristics of a diamond, but we can focus on the 4Cs.
In the spectrum of colorless to vibrant, diamonds with no color are regarded as the most valuable and sold for premium prices. Through GIA’s alphabetic grading system, a diamond’s color is appraised from grade D to grade Z.
D, E, F: Diamonds along these grades are gem-quality or top grade diamonds and considered the perfect diamond. A diamond’s value is greater as it nears colorlessness. These completely colorless diamonds are prime investment grade colors.
G, H, I, J: These are also beautiful gems that are almost colorless, popular for its’ slightly more affordable price range.
K, L, M: These are diamonds that are slightly colored with faint tones of yellow or brown visible to the naked eye are also pleasant and popular for their lower prices.
Grades beyond Z: It is the new trend that is increasing in popularity. These are colored diamonds known as “fancy” or “fancy-color diamonds”. Fancies with vivid and desirable presence of color in yellow, orange, red, pink, purple or blue are also rare and esteemed as valuable.
Your ideal diamond must be free of fractures or any blemishes. Though every gem is unique and particles present in each stone are like its unique signature, presence of inclusion or other particles in the gem may affect its appearance and durability.
F, IF: Among the premium quality diamonds are Flawless (F) and Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds where the prior have no infractions while the later may have minor scratches. Still these two grades are top class and have no visible imperfection to the naked eye or even under magnification.
VVS: The following has two ascending grades: VVS1 and VVS2. These are diamonds with Very Very Slightly (VVS) Included flaws that are still difficult to be perceived even by a trained gem expert.
VS: This grade, also with two sub-categories, pertains to stones with Very Slightly Included minor faults that are vaguely visible to a trained gem expert under magnification or another even without magnification.
SI: Slightly Included are stones with noticeable inclusions. This grade is further subdivided into several categories where flaws are growing more visible under magnification.
I: Lastly, diamonds labeled as Included are stones with visible defects even without magnification. These stones, upon treatment and processing may remove such imperfections and can still prove to be beautiful.
While the first two characteristics above describe the inherent quality of diamonds, cut depends on the craftsmanship and design applied to the raw diamond. A diamond’s beauty and appearance shines brighter through skilled work. A diamond’s final form is valued for the perfect proportion, brilliance and pattern. This is very important as the luster of the a diamond depends on the cut. The edges must meet perfectly on all sides and the stone must be perfectly polished to enable maximum passage of light. A diamond not properly refined may result to unwanted reflection and watered down or grayish hue that is unappealing and may reduce its value. Timeless designs include round, oval, princess and emerald among others but emerging trends combine these traditional cuts and is also becoming popular in the market.
Lastly is a diamond’s unit of measurement. This is different from karat which defines a gold’s purity. Carat is the weight of a diamond. Though small stones are more common than large diamonds, popular weight designations include half carat, one carat, two carats, and five carats that are considered as sizes of high demand. Any weight slightly below or above the popular weights may be priced at more affordable cost.
Though in the beginning of the diamond trade only natural diamonds are commercially available, the huge leaps in technology of this recent decade enabled the successful synthesis of gem-quality stones. Either through high pressure and high temperature controlled methods or chemical vapor deposition (CVD), these alternative diamonds are created of same composition and crystal structure as the mined diamonds. Natural diamonds may contain impurities and irregularities compared to laboratory created diamonds that can be produced beautifully and at a much appealing price range. Furthermore, the source and production of lab-grown diamonds is also more conservative and sustainable.
In the end, the perfect diamond may be influenced by world-class grading regulations and other factors but the best diamond is the diamond of your choice; handpicked for the best intentions.
A diamond’s true value not only lies in its beauty, but in the bearer who bequests this timeless gift; its silent meaning—the global language of love beyond affluence.