Perhaps there is no other gemstone in the world that is much more coveted than a diamond. Derived from the Greek word, “adamas,” meaning unconquerable, diamonds are considered to be the hardest natural substance on earth. Made of pure carbon, a single piece of diamond endures through time as it takes centuries to be formed. The youngest diamond known to man is at least 900 million years old, while the oldest one is as old as 3.2 billion years. Indeed, the beauty of a diamond is timeless. As the famous adage goes, “Diamonds are forever.”
Diamonds Through Time
The history of diamonds dates back 3,000 years ago, where the first references to the gemstone can be found in Indian texts. At first, diamonds were highly-regarded because of their refractive ability to light. Later on, the ancient Indians found out that they can use these diamonds as ornaments. It was also believed that they can be used as talismans against evil.
During the Dark Ages, diamonds were believed to be some sort of panacea which can be ingested to help cure hopeless illnesses, though this is not the case nowadays. Diamonds have always been shrouded with mysticism until the Middle Ages, when people started looking at diamonds in a different light. More people started paying attention to the value of a diamond, as more diamonds were found in the mines of India. To date, India is still the one of the leading producers of diamonds, as well as Brazil, Australia, and South Africa, where diamond deposits were also found.
Knowing the 4 C’s
Diamonds are cut and polished in order to be converted into a stunning piece of jewelry. Since diamonds are one of the most precious gemstones in the world, it is to be expected that the price of a single jewelry containing diamonds is soaring high. Therefore, it is very essential to know what to look for before buying diamond jewelry. This is where the 4 C’s–carat, clarity, color, and cut–come into play.
The carat pertains to the weight of the diamond. It is important to note that the carat is not equivalent to the size of the diamond. The higher the carat, the more expensive the jewelry becomes. One carat is estimated to be 200 milligrams.
Clarity is also another thing to consider when buying diamond jewelry. This pertains to the internal defects of the gemstone, termed as inclusions. A diamond can also have external defects known as blemishes. Only around 20% of all diamonds discovered have a clarity enough for gemstone use, while the other 80% are used for industrial purposes.
Contrary to popular belief, diamonds come in different colors. However, the colorless one is the rarest and most valuable, and these are the types of diamond most often used in gemstones. The degree of colorlessness can be measured through the D-Z rating scale developed by the Gemological Institute of America, starting with D as colorless and progressing to Z, which has a bright yellow tinge.
Lastly, the cut is considered to be the most important factor in purchasing diamonds. A good cut brings out the beauty in each unpolished diamond, and it requires human skill to do so. Diamond cutting is considered to be a science, and new techniques for cutting diamond are being developed until today.
With the value and beauty that a diamond possesses, it is not surprising why diamonds have been the subject of many folklores, myths, and legends through the years. This gemstone has also gained popularity as a favorite engagement ring among women. No wonder diamonds are considered to be “a girl’s best friend.”