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Everyone Wants Big Diamonds

Aug 27, 2007
As a status symbol big diamonds have no equal. It shows that you have the ability to spend an extravagant amount of money on jewelry. When not being displayed these beautiful gems are hidden away in secure locations and rarely see the light of day. When was the last time you have seen the Esther Williams famous Champagne diamond ring or the Taylor Burton pear shaped diamond?

Finding a good jeweler is the first step you need to take when purchasing any jewelry item. It is also necessary to do some research on the grading system of diamonds. Many good article are available on the internet to assist you in understanding the 4 C's of diamond grading. After you have learned the fundamentals your jeweler can clarify your understanding.

The American Gem Society (AGS), the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and the International Gemological Institute (IGI) are the three most widely known and respected diamond grading laboratories in the world and each of them has developed a very similar nomenclature for identifying the 4 C's of diamonds. The 4 C's stand for Carat, Color, Clarity, Cut and I like to add shape to the 4 C's list.

The first of the 4 C's is the Carat. A carat is 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams and is always referenced within 2 decimal points. For example the the Golden Jubilee is considered the largest faceted diamond in the world and weighs in at 545.67 carts. The Taylor-Burton diamond is 69.42 carats. This is a highly accurate grading scale used to determine the weight or size of a diamond but it does not apply a value to the diamond.

The next thing you need to look at when purchasing a diamond is the color of the diamond. A white diamond is not white but clear in color. Different colors in diamonds are produced because of impurities trapped in the diamond during the formation process. Since nature rarely create anything pure many diamond will have show some color to the naked eye. Color range from totally colorless (D) to a pale color (Z). Diamonds of a higher grade than (Z) fall into the fancy color diamond range. A diamond with a color range greater that (K) usually have a descriptive phrase such as grade (M) Faint Brown.

White diamonds are usually more expensive because of their rarity, D through F, but some diamonds in the fancy color range can command a very high per-caret price. Pink diamonds have sold for up to $1,000,000 a carat. The largest Fancy Vivid Pink diamond is the The Steinmetz Pink Diamond and is 59.60 carats in weight.

Clarity Grading is the third factor in determining the quality of a diamond. This grading requires education and years of practice for a gemologists to master. The number and nature of the defects in a diamond is taken into account when applying the clarity grading code. Basically the diamond is looked at with the naked eye and under a 10X magnification lens.

Internally Flawless (I.F) when it presents no internal defects under 10x magnification.

Very slightly included (V.V.S.1 to V.V.S.2) when it presents defects that are very difficult to locate under 10x magnification.

Slightly Included (S.I.1 to S.I.2) when it presents defects that are easy to locate under 10x magnification.

Imperfect (P.1 to I.1) when it presents defects that are hard to locate with the naked eye.

Imperfect (P.2 to I.2) when it presents defects that are easy to locate with the naked eye.

Imperfect (P.3 to I.3) when it presents defects that are very easy to locate with the naked eye.

Next is the cut of the diamond and the cut has nothing to do with the shape of the diamond. The proportions and symmetry of the diamond cut determines the light dispersion, brilliance or life of the diamond. If the diamond's reflective qualities are below standard then the appearance of the diamond will be adversely affected. Many of the diamond cut over a couple hundred years ago were cut to maximize the carat weight with little regard to the diamond's reflective qualities. Many of the older stones have been recut to increase its brilliance. A good cut give the diamond it brilliance or the ability to handle light in a pleasing fashion. The brightness will seem to come from the very heart of a diamond.

In 2001 the EightStar company of California wanted to prove that optical perfection of the round brilliant diamonds could be obtained by using an exclusive light-tracking instrument called a FireScope which allows a diamond cutter to align facets so precisely that the flow of light into and out of a diamonds can be completely controlled. The American Star as slowly cut from 14.89 to 13.42 carats over a six-week period. Cutting the diamond for maximum light output and not size increased the beauty of the American Star and many of the older diamonds have gone through a recut.

There are several standard categories for the shape of the diamond but there are many variations on each standard categories. Basic categories include Round, Emerald, Pear, Heart, Marquise, Oval, and Princess cuts.

The Round cut is the standard for the diamond shape and is used in most engagement rings.

The Emerald cut is rectangular or square step cut with diagonally cut corners and usually has 2 to 4 rows of parallel facets to the center of the stone. A very popular style of cut used for Emeralds hence the name.

Pear or teardrop in shape and may or may not have a large flat surface in the center of the stone and is usually cut to have about 56 to 58 facets.

Heart shaped cut is heart in shape and if a shield shaped cutlet is present (flat center) then it will usually have 32 crown facets. If no culet is present then 24 pavilion facets is the norm.

The Marquise shape is oval in shape with curving sides and pointed ends and was developed in France in the mid 1700s. It is believed to have been named after the Marquise de Pompador, who was a mistress of King Louis XV.

Oval in shape and covered with triangular facets.

The Princess shape is a very popular square or modified rectangular shape. There are many variations of crown and pavilion facets cuts on the market.

The final shape of the raw diamond us usually determined by the imperfections found in the diamond. Many imperfectsions can be remove or hidden by and experienced jeweler in mounting the diamond in the final jewelry piece and by the proper cut of the diamond.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on Diamonds. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to Diamonds. Visit Diamonds
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