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Diamonds Are Forever!

Diamonds are precious, timeless and very often, stunning stones. Symbolic of eternal love, diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement rings. When considering purchasing a diamond, it is vitally important that you are aware of the characteristics to look for or ask about.  Within the jewellery industry, these are called the 5 C’s.

Here we take a look in closer detail at each of the C’s and explain what it is all about!

The cut is the only one of the 5 C’s that does not occur naturally – when a diamond is found and mined from the ground, it is called a rough diamond. The process of the ‘cut’ gives it its shape and determines how much the shine and brilliance the stone will have. These precious gems can only be cut by trained crafts men and women, who have spent years dedicated to the jewellery world. Diamonds are shaped, or cut into many different shapes with the most popular being:

Brilliant Round – This is the most commonly found diamond cut as it accounts for more than 75% of all diamonds that are sold today. The brilliant round is a favourite as the sparkle obtained from its 58 facet cut is second to none.

Oval – The oval shape is particularly popular with those women that have long, slim fingers and the cut of the stone looks very elegant when set on such a finger. This cut is even and completely symmetrical.

Marquise – This cut of stone was created from the smile of the Marquis de Pompadour and was commissioned by Louis XIV. More often than not, this cut is used as a central stone, either on its own or surrounded with smaller round cut stones.

Pear – This is classed as a more hybrid shaped cut, combining the best of the oval and marquise shapes. This shape works well for earrings and as a diamond pendant as well as for a stunning ring.

Emerald – This is a rectangular shape with cut corners, but this particular shape and cut does highlight flaws and inclusions much more than some of the other cuts.

Heart – A truly romantic cut, this would be classed as a pear shape with a cleft at the top, to make the heart take shape.

A well cut diamond will be determined on its ability to handle the light which it comes into contact with alongside its return of light and its brilliance.

Clarity is all about how the flow of light through the diamond. When a diamond comes into contact with light, it is internally reflected all around the gem and then exits. However, if a diamond contains a lot of marks or inclusions, the light flow can be reduced and affected. Clarity means how clear the stone it – the clearer the stone, the better flow of light and therefore the ring will effectively sparkle more and vice versa.

Inclusions are nothing to worry about – they should be seen as natures stamp on the gem. An inclusion could be a small particle of mineral dust that has been trapped inside the stone, or a fracture within the body of the stone. They can look like a few different things when you get up close to them – tiny feathers, little specks, clouds or crystals. Inclusions are hardly visible with the naked eye, but can be seen using a jeweller’s tool, a single lens magnifying glass called a loupe.

The clarity of diamonds is charted by the CIBJO (International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware and Diamonds) as detailed below:

 

Loupe Clean Diamonds

These diamonds are completely flawless, inside and out! These diamonds are the most valuable and will fetch the biggest prices as auction. These flawless diamonds are also incredibly rare.

VVS1 – VVS2

The diamonds that fall into the range have the smallest inclusions possible, and even with the help of a loupe, are extremely difficult to see. However due to the fact that inclusions are present, they will not retail for the same sort of money as the flawless diamonds.

VS1 – VS2

 

These diamonds contain slightly more inclusions that the VVS1 – VVS2 diamonds and are easier to spot using a loupe.

S1 – S2

Diamonds ranked within this category are found to have more inclusions than any of the others previously stated, some of which may possibly be visible to the naked eye.

P1 – P3

The diamonds that fit into this category contain far more inclusions than all of the others, which will be visible to the naked eye. They rank from P1, 2 through to 3 with P3 rated diamonds containing more inclusions than P1

 

When a diamond is mined and cut, it will then go for colour grading. Although diamonds may look clear, they can actually contain yellow to brown hues. A diamond is most valuable if it hardly has any other colour present and is therefore colourless.  The reason for the often sharp hike in price for a colourless diamond is that these rare stones allow the light to flow through it very freely, therefore making it sparkle considerable more than a diamond that contains any hint of colour.

Based on the GIA (Gemological Institute of Colour) scale of colour, diamonds are graded from D right through to Z as follows:

D, E & F – These stones are classified as ‘colourless’ and therefore are rare and would fetch a very high price at retail / auction.

G, H, I, & J – these stones are the next step down, graded as ‘near colourless’

K, L & M – Here, the colour starts to be apparent, with a ‘faint yellow’ tone present

N, O, P, Q & R – These stones contain a ‘very light yellow’

S, T, U, V, W, X, Y & Z – these stones are all classed as ‘light yellow’ and are therefore considerably cheaper than the other categories

Diamonds are also naturally found in a variety of different colours, such as pink, brown, blue and yellow – however these stones are extremely rare.

 

Probably one of the most well know of all of the C’s, carat is all about the weight of a stone. A stone is weighed as a loose stone, before being set into its final jewellery setting.  A carat is also converted to ‘points’, and can be referred to in this way at some jewellers. In the instance of points, one carat would equal 100 points, as shown below:

Carats Points Also Known As
0.05 5
0.10 10
0.20 20
0.25 25 Quarter carat
0.30 30  
0.40 40  
0.50 50 Half carat
0.70 70  
0.75 75 Three quarter carat
1 100 One carat

 

If the diamonds are set in a cluster ring for example, the carat weight would be the combined weight of all of the diamonds when weighed together.

 

Even though diamonds are the hardest gem stone every discovered and rated as a 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it is still key that you are aware of the best ways to care for your jewellery and to make sure that you get the most out of your diamond.

Regardless of the hardness of the stone, it is important that when working with any strong chemical, the ring or jewellery is removed as it can damage the setting of the stone. Also, when doing hard, rough work, such as moving house for example, it is recommended that you remove all jewellery to prevent it from getting snagged or pulled. This will also prevent the jewellery from coming under any damaging stress such as being hit or having a hard knock.

When storing diamonds, it is always best to secure them in the original ring box or a soft bag, such as a velvet bag for example. This is because diamonds, along with other stones you may find in your jewellery box, could potential scratch each other and damage the stone, shank or setting.

To keep the diamond clean, you can gently brush it with a soft brush, such as a clean baby’s toothbrush, as these bristles are much softer than any other brushes. Using some clean water and a tiny amount of washing up liquid, gently brush the setting of the ring, allowing the bristles and soap to get into all of the ring, including any areas that the eye cannot see! After you have gently cleaned, rinse with some fresh, clean water and then pat dry with a soft cloth.

Steffans Diamond Rings

We have a core range of diamond rings on our website which will always continue to grow, however our diamond pieces and creations are endless, we are more than happy to accommodate any ideas and requests from our customers! Click here to view the range.

Arrange an appointment with our Diamond Specialist

For that extra peace of mind why not visit our luxury VIP room to view your chosen ring with our Diamond specialist. It's the perfect opportunity for you to sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of champagne whilst discussing all your needs and ideas, including individual and bespoke creations!

Our VIP room is located at our Northampton store, click here to book an appointment or alternatively telephone 01604 622090.