Diamonds have sparked the imagination of people for thousands of years. It's unique lustre, combined with it's well known hardness have given it an almost mythical reputation.
Diamonds were first discovered in India, where they became a powerful religious symbol. Diamonds always had a special attraction on people.
The ancient Greeks believed they were tears form the gods and the ancient Romans thought they were splinters from shooting stars. Until the fifteenth century, only men were allowed to wear them because the magical powers of the stones were believed to be to powerful for women to handle.
How does a diamond originate?
Diamond is a crystallized form of carbon. They originate between 140 and 190 kilometers under the earth surface, between the earth’s crust and the magma. Under the extreme pressure and heat, carbon atoms form a very close lattice. The diamonds are pushed to the earth’s surface by volcanic activity. There they are mined.
Today, most diamonds come from Africa. Other mines are located in Canada, Russia, Brazil and Australia.
The 4 C's
The four C’s are four criteria by which diamonds are graded. This system was developed in the fifties of the previous century by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The goal was to make the diamond grading objective and standardized.
The four C’s are carat (weight), cut (shape), color and clarity. All polished diamonds are graded using this system.
The weight of a diamond is expressed in carat (ct). One carat = 0.20 gram or 100 points. 0.50 ct can also be referred to as 50 points.
Carat of diamonds mustn’t be confused with carat of gold. In gold, carat is used as a measure of purity.
For the most common shape, the round brilliant, the carat weight corresponds with the following size.
The luster of a diamond is very dependent on the way it has been cut. A slight imperfection can cause the diamond to ‘leak’ light. The quality of the cut is the hardest one of the four c’s to grade. Therefore, most laboratories only make a distinction between poor, fair, good and excellent.
Besides the quality of the cut, the shape itself also plays an important role in the appearance of the diamond. Most shapes, such as the brilliant and the marquise, are designed to reflect the maximum amount of light, to give the diamond a nice luster. Other shapes, the emerald-cut in particular, are designed to accentuate the natural color of the diamond.
Most diamonds are white (or colorless) to slightly yellowish. The color is determined by comparing the diamond with a set of ‘master stones’. The best grade is D, excellent white +.
Diamonds also occur in a variety of colors, ranging from intense yellow to blue, red, pink, purple, brown, etc. These diamonds are known as ‘Fancy colors’.
At Van der Veken Jewellery we only sell diamonds with colors D, E and F.
All diamonds contain minuscule traces of their origin. These are called inclusions. In gem quality diamonds, most inclusions are too small to be seen with the unaided eye. The clarity is determined by examining the diamond with a loupe 10X.
At Van der Veken Jewellery we only sell diamonds with the clarity grades of LC, VVS and VS.
Diamond grading reports are documents that contain an overview of all important aspects of a particular diamond. These reports are drawn up by independent institutes. These have specialized laboratories where gemologists examine the diamonds and establish their authenticity, carat weight, color, clarity and cut.
A report is only delivered once several gemologists have independently reached the same conclusion on all examined properties.
Most diamond grading reports are drawn up by the High Diamond Counsel (HRD), the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).