They are beautiful. Their brilliance sparkles. Most girls, at some point, would like to own one (or a few!). What am I referring to? Why, diamonds, of course! These gemstones may very well be more cherished than any other. Diamonds make some of the most stunning jewelry. They are extremely hardy – the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond! They are also extremely functional, with uses in heating, cooling, and coating.
Diamonds’ journey to our earrings, necklaces and rings is a long one. Diamonds are pure carbon, originating deep within the Earth; at the mantle to be exact. Squished between the heavy crust and the hot core, the carbon atoms go through a lot. Eventually, the condense and crystallize to form diamonds. But once diamonds are formed, how to they make it up to the surface? Volcanos. Diamonds come up through small volcanos, that go much further into the Earth’s surface than larger ones do. During the journey upwards, the diamonds become embedded in the hardening magma.
Diamonds are generally found where a continent was first formed. The volcanic pipes through with diamonds travel, are also responsible for the formation, and thus hold the thickest, most undisturbed bedrock. The discovery of other gemstones, such as garnet and zirconia, which use similar means of transportation, may also be indicators of diamonds nearby. Inevitable erosion is what eventually takes diamonds from their initial home to other spots.
When diamonds are first mined, they are sold in three grades: 1) gem quality, 2) near gem quality, and 3) industrial grade. Once the gemstones are in the dealers’ hands, they are cut in to smaller stones. These smaller stones are then cut and faceted to increase their value. Once this is done, they are cleaned with acids and evaluated for quality and worth.
When looking at a diamonds quality and worth, there are “4 C’s” to keep in mind:
- Color – while there are some diamonds that are colored, they are generally judged on a chart from colorless (“D”) to light yellow (“Z”).
- Clarity – refers to the flaws (or lack thereof) in the diamond. That chart goes from flawless (“FL”) to flaws visible to the naked eye (“I3″).
- Cut – there are three important aspects to the cut 1) polishing, 2) shape accuracy, and 3) the effect of the proportions. If the shape or proportions are off, light will not reflect light properly; thus, not show off the diamond’s brilliance as much.
- Carat – diamonds are measured in carat weight; the higher the carat, the larger and more expensive the diamond generally is.
Recently, a “5th C” has come into play: certification. Because a rise of “blood” or “conflict” diamonds, certification is now necessary to ensure that diamonds being bought, traded and sold are indeed conflict free.
I hope this has been somewhat informative to you! I will work hard to get another post out to you guys later today! Until then…