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Diamonds Consumer Information

Color

Diamonds are found in almost every colour of the rainbow, but white-coloured diamonds remain the most popular.

There are more than 20 subtle grades of colour, identified in alphabetical order from D-Z.

Variations are so slight that colours must be graded by an expert under controlled lighting conditions and compared against a master set for accuracy.

Those at the upper end of the scale will be more expensive, as they are rarer. However, they are difficult to discern with the naked eye.

The D-Z colour grades only apply to yellow and brown-tinged stones. If these colours are intense (Z+) in a diamond, they are referred to as “fancy-coloured”. For other colours such as blue, pink, red, green, etc., the colour does not need to be intense to be considered fancy as these colours are rare and highly prized

For fancy colour diamonds, the market value is determined almost exclusively by the intensity of the colour, which can in some diamonds significantly outweigh the effects of lower clarity and of a poor make

Clarity

Naturally-occurring features – known as inclusions – provide a special fingerprint within the stone. Usually invisible to the naked eye, these tiny marks are minerals or fractures which appeared while the diamonds were forming in the earth

The number, type, colour, size and position of these inclusions can affect the value of a diamond

Many can only be seen by a 10-power magnification loupe or stronger

Flawless diamonds are rarer and thus more expensive. Small inclusions do not affect the beauty of brilliance of the diamond however.

 

Carat:

Carat is often mistakenly used to refer to a diamond’s size, but it is actually a measure of weight. One carat (equivalent to 200 milligrams) can be divided into 100 “points”. A 0.75 carat diamond may also be described as a 75-point or % carat diamond

Larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, so they can command a significantly higher price. For instance, a one carat diamond will cost more than two Vz carat diamonds of equal colour, clarity and cut

There are specific “cut of weights” that command a higher price: For instance a 1 carat diamond will command a relatively higher price than a 0.95 carat diamond if all else is equal

Treatment

Color: stone can be bombarded (i.e. irradiated) by either atomic or subatomic particles; these particles damage the diamond’s internal structure, which may change the color. The longer the bombardment, the more intense the color

Color: The most recent and sophisticated development in diamond colour improvement is to treat brownish coloured diamonds to improve their colour. The colour change is to either colourless or fancy yellow/green depending on the starting material.

Cut

Cut is the shape and cutting style of a diamond.

The cut, polish and proportions of a diamond will determine its appearance.

The shape of a diamond is a matter of personal taste, with the round brilliant cut the most popular. Other shapes are the asscher, cushion, emerald, heart, pear, marquise, oval, princess and trilliant.

Care

At least 13 factors affect diamond value, including fluorescence, table percentage, symmetry and other crucial details.

The most important factors when determining the quality of a diamond are known as the 4Cs.These are the diamond’s carat weight, its cut, its colour and its clarity.

The key thing to note is that no one C is more significant than another. A particular combination of the 4 Cs can be chosen to suit a particular budget, occasion, design or jewellery piece.

 

DIAMONDS: Investing in Colored Diamonds Pays Dividends?

Create: 11/05/2009
Last reviewed: 18/09/2012

Colored diamonds collecting

Recent sales, and not only those at the famous auction houses, saw an influx of international buyers from dozens of countries bidding on colored diamonds around the $ 100,000 mark and above.

Reasons:

  • Beauty (no explanation needed)
  • Rarity: "for every 100,000 carats of white or colorless diamonds mined, just one carat of colored diamonds are found. Therefore, these gems tend to rise more quickly in value. Some jewelry experts claim that premium-quality colored diamonds double in value roughly every three to five years." says Artfact.com

Recent auctions such as that of an 5.44 ct Yellow Diamond wedding ring by a Chicago family created a true bidding war between a dozen buyers from Bulgaria, New York and Los Angeles.

Read the full story in Forbes

Investing in Colored Diamonds 1
Investing in Colored Diamonds 2

Rare blue diamond breaks world record in HK sale

Create: 25/10/2007
Last reviewed: 25/10/2007

HONG KONG (Reuters) - One of the rarest gems in the world, a flawless blue diamond, has sold for US$7.98 million (3.91 million pounds) at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, making it the most expensive gemstone in the world, per carat, sold at auction.

After intense bidding, the 6.04 carat, internally flawless blue diamond fetched $HK61.9 million (3.91 million pounds), or US$1.32 million per carat. The price smashed a 20-year-old record held by the "Hancock Red" -- a red diamond, which fetched US$926,000 per carat at the time, Sotheby's said.

Sotheby's said the buyer was "Moussaieff Jewellers" in London which has a reputation for acquiring extremely rare and costly gemstones. The seller was a private Asian collector.

Blue diamonds have long captivated the rich and powerful -- shimmering with a certain dark mystique. The famous "Hope Diamond", a 45.52 carat grey-blue beauty, was passed down through the ages by King Louis XIV of France, Marie Antoinette and American heiress Evalyn Walsh McClean among others. It now rests in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

The Sultan of Brunei reportedly bought another massive "blue" which surfaced briefly in the 1980s.

While not a large stone, the Sotheby's diamond has an esteemed cut and "fancy vivid blue" hue, factors which contributed to its blockbuster price -- roughly 10 times the per-carat price of regular white diamonds.

The blue hue is a result of trace amounts of boron in the stone's crystal structure.

Other coloured diamonds with pink and red hues can be mined in multiple locations across the globe including Brazil, India and Australia, but "blues" are mostly found at just one site on earth -- the Premier Mine in South Africa.

Rare blue diamond breaks world record in HK sale 2
Rare blue diamond breaks world record in HK sale 1

Diamonds References in Antique Gemological Books

Synthetic Diamonds

Professor Hershey on Synthetic Diamond experiments

De Beers Ernest Oppenheimer early responses on the rise of synthetic diamonds

One of the earliest articles on HPHT synthetic diamonds by Sir Charles Parson (1893)

Diamond Mines in India and Brazil

Mined Diamonds India:

Edwin Streeter on Indian Diamonds

British geologist Valentine Ball on Diamond Mines

Catelle on Indian Diamond Mines

Tavernier on Golconda Diamond Mines

Diamond Mines Brazil:

Brazilian Diamonds Overview

Irradiation effect Diamond Color

Sir William Crookes was the discoverer of Thallium, identified the first sample of Helium, worked with Faraday and wrote a great book on Diamonds. He was the first to note the effects of Irridiation on Diamond Color in 1904

Diamond Mining in South Africa

Gardner Williams was a General Manager of De Beers. His 1000+ page epic work extensively describes the history of South Africa, its diamond mines, mining, cultures, towns and work conditions.

Diamond Mines of South Africa Vol. I

Diamond Mines of South Africa Vol. II

Early article on the South African Diamond Matrix: Kimberlite

Catelle also dedicated a large chapter to “South African Diamonds” in his classic on Diamonds.

Famous British jeweler Edwin Streeter (who competed with the Rothschildts for the rights of the famous Burma Ruby mines) extensively wrote about Diamonds in South Africa as well.

More recent history in Hershey’s Book of the Diamonds

Arkansas Diamond Mine

Arkansas Diamond Mine

Arkansas Diamond Mine USGS 1908

Famous Diamonds (Koh-i-Noor, Hope Diamond, Cullinan Diamond etc.)

Famous Diamonds Review Works:

The Classic: Edwin Streeters’s Great (Famous) Diamonds of the World

Mrs. Orpen wrote a standard work with additional Stories about Famous Diamonds

Go here for short summaries on “Famous Diamonds” (see table of contents of this book)

Koh-I-Noor, Hope Blue Diamond:

Famous French traveller (who brought back the Hope Diamond) Tavernier wrote about the “Koh-I-Noor

Famous Indian Moghul Babur writes about the Great Diamond: the “Koh-i-Noor”

Diamond References before 1800

Nicols on Diamonds (1652). (Sinkankas wrote “landmark gemology”; “attempt to scheme of classification”, “large section on Diamonds” , “gem enhancements which are still pertinent today”.

Samuel Chapuzeau on Diamonds (1667) He reduces the number of “hear-say” localities of Diamonds to 5 in total in the “East Indies” including the famous mines of Golkonda.

Robert Boyle’s Experiments on Diamonds (1664)

Theophrastus on diamonds (as gemstone and as carving tool) in “History of Stones” (315 BC)

Georg Agricola (considered the “father of Mineralogy”) wrote “De Natura Fosslium, diamond chapter (1655)

Al-Biruni (973 – 1048) one of Islam’s foremost scientists on Diamonds

Diamonds Mines Borneo Indonesia

Edwin Streeter on Borneo Diamond Mines

Tavernier travelled to Borneo and writes about Diamond Mines

Diamond Lore and Superstition

In the 1500’s it was believed in India that Diamond dust was a poison (and read how it was proven not to be !) whereas in Europe it was believed Diamonds protected against the plague (and read the hilarious reasons why !)

FAMOUS DIAMONDS

Famous Diamonds Overview works

 

Famous Diamonds Review Works:

The Classic: Edwin Streeters's Great (Famous) Diamonds of the World

Mrs. Orpen wrote a standard work with additional Stories about Famous Diamonds

Go here for short summaries on "Famous Diamonds" (see table of contents of this book)

 

Koh-I-Noor:

Several writers have a chapter on the "Koh-i-Noor": Short Overview, Streeter and Orpen

Famous French traveller (who brought back the Hope Diamond) Tavernier wrote about the "Koh-I-Noor"

Famous Indian Moghul Babur writes about the Great Diamond: the "Koh-i-Noor"

 

Hope Diamond

 

Hope Diamond: Streeter who supposedly bought part of the original Tavernier Blue diamond, that together with another stone in Geneva would and the Hope diamond would add up to the original blue diamond that was sold to Louis IX by Tavernier.

Also Orpen and Hershey 's short factsheet

Kunz on the sale of the Hope to Frankel

 

List of Famous Diamonds

 

Braganza Diamond

Nizam Diamond

Matan Diamond

Great Mogul Diamond

Stewart Diamond

Star of the South Diamond

Du Toit I Diamond

Great Table Diamond

Regent Diamond

Jagersfontijn Diamond

Orlof Diamond

 

Cullinan Damond

When was the Cullinan Diamond found ? How was it cut ? Read the whole Cullinan Diamond history here.

Photo Uncut Cullinan

Photo 9 largest cut stones

 

DIAMOND MINING:

 

Africa Diamond Mining -- Other

 

1911 Belgian Kongo, included colored Diamonds

 

Diamond Mining -- India

 

Streeter on India

Geologist Val. Ball on Diamond Mines

Catelle on Indian Diamonds

Tavernier on Golconda Diamond Mines

 

Diamond Mining -- Borneo Indonesia

Edwin Streeter on Borneo Diamond Mines

Tavernier travelled to Borneo and writes about Diamond Mines

 

List of Diamond Mines

Wikipedia's list of diamond mines in the world.

 

Diamond Mining -- South Africa

 

Gardner Williams was a General Manager of De Beers. His 1000+ page epic work extensively describes the history of South Africa, its diamond mines, mining, cultures, towns and work conditions.

Diamond Mines of South Africa Vol. I

Diamond Mines of South Africa Vol. II

Early article on Diamond Matrix, Kimberlite

Wikipedia on the Cullinan Mine, the Koffiefonteyn Mine and the Kimberley Mine.

Catelle also dedicated a large chapter to "South African Diamonds" in his classic on Diamonds.

Famous British jeweler Edwin Streeter (who competed with the Rothschildts for the rights of the famous Burma Ruby mines) extensively wrote about Diamonds in South Africa as well.

More recent history in Hershey's Book of the Diamonds

 

Diamond Mining -- Brazil

 

Brazilian Diamonds Overview

 

Diamond Mining -- Arkansas USA

 

Arkansas Diamond Mine

Arkansas Diamond Mine USGS 1908