March 30, 2020

White Diamonds

In the 1st century AD, Pliny the roman naturalist stated “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in the world”.

While many people wear diamonds, sometimes on a daily basis, not many know all the facts about them, such as the fact they are between one to three billion years old. A white diamond is made up of pure carbon, the only gem made of a single element, trace elements found in the structure can cause the diamond to show different colours. The carbon atoms are arranged in an equidistant pyramidal structure which makes it 58x harder than any other material on Earth, only a diamond can cut a diamond. The most common rough diamond shape is an octahedron, which is essentially two pyramids back to back. (click link for rough diamond ring).

A 6.10ct rough diamond set in a platinum and 18k yellow gold mount.

Diamonds are formed 100’s of kilometers below the surface of the earth, under intense heat and pressure only found in specific locations at certain depths. They are rare gemstones, in fact the average mine yield is 1 part diamond to 1,000,000 parts host rock; picture trying to find one golden ball in amongst 1,000,000 red ones. The host rock diamonds are found in is a kimberlite, a type of volcanic rock which has been violently ejected from deep within the earth, to the surface. Over time, this rock is uplifted, weathered and eroded, and the material transported away from its source. This is how diamonds were initially discovered in the rivers and lakes of India in the early 4th century BC. Diamonds are weighed in carats, which is equivalent to 0.2g, the weight of a carob seed which they were first weighed against.

First large scale mines were in Kimberly, South Africa. The rock kimberlite was named after the town after the discovery of an 83carat diamond named the Star of Africa, which sparked the diamond rush in 1869. De Beers first opened mines in 1888, by the 1900’s they owned 90% of the worlds’ diamond mines. (See how sapphires are mined - link to sri lanka sapphire blog).

This natural gem has a natural sparkle called scintillation which causes it to reflect and refract light in such a way that it seems to glow from within, this is also known as “fire”. The way in which the diamond is faceted impacts its’ brilliance, much research has been done into which proportions and angles create the perfect sparkle. A certified diamond will come with a cut grade, clarity grade, colour grade, carat weight and shape.

The 4 C’s was created by the GIA in the 1950’s and is today the world grading standard. Diamond colours range from D-Z, colourless-yellow. They also have 5 cut grades of Excellent (EX), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F) and Poor (P). The clarity of a diamond is how many natural inclusions it has within, the best being Flawless (Flawless), with the worst being I3 (Included 3).

Clarity Grading Scale GIA
Clarity Grading Diamonds by GIA

Most popular shape is a round brilliant (click here to view our solitaire ring) as this is the usual pick for most people’s engagement rings, however over the past few years a trend in ovals and cushion shapes have seen a surge in popularity.

A 1.50ct round brilliant cut diamond set in a cushion shaped diamond halo.

First recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477, it was an initial “M”, set with rose cut diamonds. Since then, diamonds have been set in pretty much everything from watches to headphones, and loafers to handbags.

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