Diamonds have great brilliance and fire. The fire in a diamond is due to dispersion, which is the ability to take in white light and throw back flashes of colour.
Collection of 0.02, 0.03 and 0.04 carat diamonds - photo by Swamibu on Flickr
Diamonds have been used in jewelry for centuries. They were first cut to improve their look in the 13th century. The brilliant cut, which has become the standard cut in the diamond trade, was introduced in 1919. It is a round shape with 58 facets and it makes the most of a diamond’s natural dispersion, leading to fire.
In addition to the brilliant cut, there are many fancy cuts such as baguettes, pear shapes, heart shapes and marquises. Fancy cuts often have more wastage than brilliant cuts, and so are often higher priced than brilliant cuts.
Diamonds are graded according to 4 qualities, which are often referred to as the 4 Cs. These are colour, clarity, cut and carat. These qualities ultimately determine the value of a diamond.
Colour refers to the colour of the stone. Letters are assigned to different colours. The letters D, E and F refer to “colourless” and are considered the most valuable. G, H, I and J diamonds are described as “near colourless”. K to Z diamonds are tinted, usually yellow to yellowish brown. The more tinting a diamond has, the lower the value.
Clarity is determined by size and inclusions. The more inclusions the stone possesses, the less clarity it has.
Cut is the proportion, symmetry, polish and finish of a stone, not its shape. The cut of a diamond heavily influences its brilliance.
Carat is the weight of the diamond. One carat equals 0.2 gram (0.007055 oz). Diamonds are more common in small sizes, so larger diamonds of similar grade have a higher per carat price.
Although colourless diamonds are most frequently seen in jewelry, coloured diamonds naturally occur. Yellow, orange, brown/cognac and black are the most common of the coloured diamonds and easiest to find. But diamonds also occur in pink, light green and lavender. The rarest colours of diamonds are deep blue, red and dark green. These are not often seen and they go for higher prices.
Uncut coloured diamonds
If diamonds aren’t within your budget, consider jewelry made with clear crystals which provide sparkle and light, like these examples made by members of the Starving Artists Team.
Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current Etsy shop owner members can be found at SATEAM.etsy.com.