Since their discovery in early times, diamonds have been one of the most alluring and sought-after gemstones in every culture - one only has to set eyes on their outstanding shine and sparkle to understand why.
The following guide will explore some interesting facts about these stunning precious gems, as well as outline some top buyers tips when it comes to shopping for diamond earrings.
Introduction to Diamonds
Forged deep inside the earth at high temperatures, diamonds are not only magnificent, they are the strongest gemstone on earth.
One of the earliest records of diamonds being used in jewellery is India, which led the world in diamond production from approximately the 9th century BC to the mid-18th century AD. In the early 20th century, the De Beers Company launched a major advertising campaign which saw diamonds elevated as â€˜a girl's best friend' - since then they have been synonymous with opulence and sheer glamour.
In 2002 the United Nations, the diamond industry and diamond trading nations introduced the Kimberley Process, which distinguishes â€˜blood diamonds' (those obtained from conflict torn countries such as parts of Africa and used to fund wars) from so called â€˜clean diamonds'. This means that any reputable supplier must provide documentation and certification to ensure that their sale profits will not be used to fund criminal and revolutionary activities which abuse human rights.
Overall, diamonds are a highly traded commodity and there are numerous organisations dedicated to the grading and certifying of these gems based on the four C's-carat, cut, colour and clarity.
Main Sources of Diamonds
Approximately 49% of the world's diamond supply originates from Central and Southern Africa, while other major deposits of this gorgeous mineral have been discovered in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and Russia.
Buying Tips for Diamond Earrings
- When shopping around for diamond jewellery, the most important points to remember in terms of rating quality are the gem's weight, clarity, colour and cut.
- A diamond's weight is measured in carats, with 1 carat being equivalent to 100 points.
- As with many gemstones, most diamonds have inclusions (inherent tiny cracks which occur naturally as they are formed). Too many inclusions will diminish the flow of light through the stone.
- There is a grading system which rates the degree of flaws that affect the clarity of diamonds i.e. Flaws visible to the naked eye: I1 - I3; Smaller flaws: SI1 â€“SI2; Very small flaws: VS1 â€“VS2 and Very very small flaws: VVS1 â€“VVs2. Diamonds with no flaws whatsoever are very rare - they are graded as FL (flawless) or IF (internally flawless).
- Diamonds come in a wide ray of colours and all have trace elements of yellow or brown inherent in them. Their colours are graded on a scale that ranges from D (colourless) to Z. Colourless diamonds rated D, E and F are the best grade in their class, and the price tag will reflect this.
- A quality diamond will not simply have a top grade for colour, it must also have good clarity and cut to showcase its brilliance and sparkle.
- Deeply coloured diamonds like the brilliant canary yellow variety are can be extremely expensive. This variety is known as Z+ diamonds-they are very rare and come in blue, green, red, pink and black hues.
- A diamond with excellent colour and clarity can nevertheless have a dull appeal when not well cut, since an excellent cut will allow light to reflect off the gem magnificently, giving the stone an unforgettable sparkle.
- There is a difference between the cut and the shape of a diamond. Cut is all about the facets and angles embedded in the diamond to best reflect its brilliance, while the shape refers to the actual geometric form of the stone after it has been cut and polished. In addition to cut and shape, the final result of a diamond gem is also determined by stone's natural dimensions which are dictated during formation.
- When shopping for diamond earrings, do make sure that their weight is not too heavy, since this will strain your ear lobes uncomfortably over time and might even permanently stretch them.
- Take care when choosing the setting of your diamond earrings because some people are allergic to certain types of metals. If you have metal allergies, it's best to only buy hypo-allergenic earrings made of either titanium or niobium.
- Diamonds rate 10 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness - this means they are the hardest known natural material and are highly resistant to knocks and scratches. The only way to cut a diamond is by using another diamond.
The brilliance and stunning sparkle of diamonds ensures they will always be one of the most prized gemstone choices for use in jewellery. Diamond earrings are a particularly excellent option, since they will capture and reflect light wonderfully.