Purchasing a diamond should never be intimidating. Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring or a diamond ring to mark a significant personal milestone, choosing a unique stone is part of the fun. These fascinating gems are as interesting as they are beautiful. Knowing a little about diamonds in advance of your trip to the jewelers will make the day more memorable and ensure that you are prepared to evaluate the options and select the perfect stone.
Legend, Lore and Truth
Diamonds have a long and colorful history and many legends have grown up around their fire. Here are some myths that highlight the romance in the gem you will purchase:
- The ancient Romans believed that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds.
- The Hindus used diamonds as eyes in many of their statues and believed that diamonds were created when lighting struck stone.
- Monarchs went into battle wearing breastplates studded with diamonds in the hope that the stones possessed mystical powers of protection.
The truth about how diamonds are formed is equally compelling and mysterious:
- Diamonds are created 87 to 118 miles deep within the earth’s mantle.
- They are composed of carbon-like material and delivered to the earth’s surface by volcanic eruption.
- It takes 1 to 3.3 billion years to make a diamond.
Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat
The 4Cs are the qualities you evaluate to select a diamond. This standard, created by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in the 1940s, is used internationally.
- Color is not present in the most valuable diamonds, with the exception of fancy pink and blue stones.
- Clarity refers to the absence of the blemishes that typically occur when a diamond is formed.
- Cut indicates the way a diamond is faceted. Faceting disburses and reflects light to produce brilliance and fire.
- Carats are the unit of measure used to weigh diamonds and other gems. One carat equals 0.2 grams.
These qualities are interrelated. Your jeweler can explain more about how the 4Cs impact a diamond ring’s beauty and price to help you pick a stone that you will treasure for a lifetime.