Diamonds truly need no hype. They are the most exquisite stones on the planet. Nothing matches their combination of scintillation, dispersion, and allure. No stone surpasses them in beauty, no element matches their strength. Take ordinary carbon, compress it deep within the earth with monumental heat and pressure for eons, and create the most prized and stunning of gem treasures. The simple rigid carbon structure of the atoms makes impurities a rarity. It also enhances the way light travels through it creating a sparkle that nothing in nature can match – a colorless stone that scatters light into a rainbow of dazzling spectral colors. It is no wonder diamonds have been prized by lovers of rare beauty since their discovery thousands of years ago.
Diamonds undergo the most rigorous evaluation of any gem. Since their value is second to none, the scrutiny with which they are viewed guarantees that only the finest diamonds are introduced into the jewelry market. Those that do not meet the grade are employed for a host of useful industrial and commercial purposes.
The first criterion for judging diamonds is the color of the stone – or lack of color, more precisely. The best diamonds are absolutely colorless, free from the tints found in lesser stones, gems that are much less rare and therefore less valuable. Diamonds without color are termed “white” diamonds. It is this absence of body color in diamonds that allows the refraction of light into enticing rainbow flash and brilliance to burst from its heart.
Diamonds are graded with the letters D-Z. Those graded D through F are considered colorless, with G through J near-colorless. Diamonds in the K+ range can still show exceptional beauty, but the body color of the gem material is more observable to the average person.
Clarity is the second major factor determining a diamond’s value. Most diamonds have at least some tiny specks or flaws, known as inclusions, that diminish their sparkle. These could be internal or external cracks in the gem, crystals of other minerals, or other small diamond crystals. Obviously, the fewer inclusions, the more brilliant the reflections will be, and the rarer and more valuable the gem will be.
Cut is a vital quality of diamonds, and refers to the precision to which a diamond is cut, not the shape, sometimes refered to as cut also. A well-cut diamond will appear brighter, is rarer, and deserves a higher price. A diamond that isn't cut well, won't be nearly as beautiful as one that is. All things considered, cut is what makes a diamond look like a diamond.
The last aspect of a quality diamond is the carat weight. The carat is a measure of weight, not size. All else being equal, a heavier stone is much more rare than a smaller stone. The interplay between the variables could mean that a smaller stone rated higher in color, clarity and cut could be more expensive than a larger diamond of average quality!
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