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Why Are Diamonds Special?

Updated: Apr 10

Unraveling Their Secrets and Symbolism


Diamonds are the most celebrated gemstone since their discovery over 2500 years ago in India, however most are actually between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years old! So, what is it about these shimmering gemstones that makes them so extraordinary? Diamonds are more than just sparkling stones—they are symbols of love, endurance, and unparalleled beauty. From their remarkable formation at depths between 93 and 155 miles in the Earth's mantle and the 4 C's, to their role as cherished tokens of commitment, let's celebrate diamond month, April's birthstone, and explore the myriad reasons why this dazzling gemstone holds a special place in our hearts and history.


Gemstone Harness and Diamonds


diamond solitaire ring set in yellow gold with a bezel and twisted band


Diamonds, with their impressive hardness rating of 10 on the Mohs scale, are ideal for enduring everyday wear, making them a popular choice for engagement rings, commitment rings, wedding bands, and other frequently worn jewelry pieces. While diamonds have traditionally dominated the realm of commitment rings, recent years have witnessed a surge in the popularity of alternative engagement rings featuring sapphires and other gemstones. Sapphires, boasting a commendable hardness rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, also offer durability suitable for everyday jewelry. It's crucial to note the importance of selecting gemstones with a hardness of 8 or higher for engagement rings subjected to daily wear, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of everyday use. Nevertheless, even with resilient gemstones, regular maintenance and occasional repairs may still be necessary, especially for those who lead active lifestyles or handle their jewelry roughly. (For additional insights on selecting the perfect wedding band, explore our blog post "Finding the Ideal Wedding Band: A Guide Tailored to Your Lifestyle")


Following their discovery and extraction, rough diamond crystals undergo a meticulous sorting process before being expertly cut into the dazzling gems adorning our cherished jewelry. Any diamond material that doesn't meet gem-quality standards may find application as diamond dust or serve various industrial purposes.


DID YOU KNOW THAT ONLY A DIAMOND CAN CUT ANOTHER DIAMOND? Because of its unparalleled strength, industrial-grade diamond is ground into dust and utilized on cutting wheels to craft gem-grade diamonds.


Diamonds in Commitment Rings


Damond engagement ring set in platinum with round brilliant solitaire with halo

One correlation between diamonds and commitment rings lies in their shared symbolism of resilience. Diamonds endure the rigors of their journey to the Earth's surface, much like how partners withstand challenges when life gets tough. Just as diamonds are forged over time, commitment strengthens and matures, growing more precious with each shared experience and cherished memory.


The 4 C’s - CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CARAT WEIGHT


graphic featuring different shaped diamonds and the 4c's, clarity, color, carat weight, and cut

Before we dive into the fascinating world of the 4 C's of diamonds, let's first appreciate how these gems come to be. Diamonds, unique among minerals, are formed solely from carbon. Originating deep within the Earth, they endure immense heat and pressure on their journey to the surface. Along the way, they acquire distinct "birthmarks" in the form of internal inclusions or external blemishes. Hence, diamonds without these imperfections are exceedingly rare, signifying a remarkable journey from the Earth's core to its surface without accruing any flaws. Now, let's explore the 4 C's—clarity, color, cut,, and carat weight—that define the beauty and value of these extraordinary gems. 💎✨



COLOR


graphic featuring what color means in a diamond

At Mejia Jewelry, I adore working with a diverse array of diamonds, from classic colorless brilliant ones to captivating colored varieties such as yellow, grey, brown, black, and champagne. The renowned diamond grading system established by GIA spans from colorless to deep yellow, graded on a scale from D to Z. A diamond earning a D is considered the "whitest" and completely devoid of color, while a Z denotes the darkest yellow. It's important not to confuse Z color with "fancy yellow" diamonds, which are graded on a separate fancy scale.




Radiant cut yellow diamond custom engagement ring set in platinum with 4 round brilliant white diamonds set on either side

Did you know that diamonds come in a myriad of colors? Among the rarest hues are red, purple, and green. Interestingly, with colored diamonds, greater intensity of color corresponds to increased value.


CLARITY


graphic featuring clarity of a diamond

Additionally, GIA devised a clarity grading scale from F to I. The most exceptional diamonds achieve an F for "flawless," indicating the absence of internal inclusions. Typically, the colorless diamonds I use range from VS (very slightly included) to S (slightly included), unless otherwise specified. Some of these diamonds carry the unique "birthmarks" acquired during their journey from the depths of the Earth to its surface. These inclusions, akin to human birthmarks, contribute to each gem's individual allure. I take great pleasure in celebrating a diamond's color and inclusions through thoughtful and intricate jewelry design.




graphic featuring clarity of a diamond with an image of a volcano

Diamonds possess internal features known as inclusions and surface characteristics. Throughout history, the perception of which diamonds are suitable for jewelry has evolved. In the past, jewelry predominantly featured traditionally cut, colorless diamonds without noticeable inclusions. However, today's trends embrace a wider variety of diamonds, including rough, opaque, portrait cut, black, brown, grey, and fancy cut diamonds, celebrating their unique inclusions and blemishes.


CUT


Rough grey diamond nugget stud earrings with a round brilliant diamond set in the center set in 18k yellow gold

Similar to clarity and color, consumers now embrace less traditional diamond cuts. In the realm of designer handmade jewelry, rough, rose, and traditional cuts are commonly employed. Rough gemstones are set in their natural state without any additional lapidary work. Rose cut gemstones feature facets typically arranged in a diamond shape, covering the entire surface when viewed from above.




graphic featuring "Cut" highlighting diamonds come in different cuts like rough, brilliant, rose cut and portrait cuts

Standard round brilliant diamonds, characterized by 33 facets above the girdle and 24 or 25 below, are the epitome of traditional cuts. The term "brilliant cut" encompasses gemstones in various shapes, with facets predominantly triangular or kite-shaped, radiating from the center like the round brilliant cut. Other cuts, such as marquise, pear, oval, heart shape, emerald cut, or princess cut, fall under the category of fancy cuts.




BRILLIANCE, FIRE, & SCINTILLATION


large round loose diamond displayed in a hand

When discussing "cut," it's essential to consider brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Brilliance refers to the brightness resulting from white light reflections both on the surface and inside the polished diamond. Fire denotes the flashes of color observed, while scintillation refers to the flashes of light seen when the diamond, light source, or observer moves. The quality of the cut directly influences the level of brilliance, fire, and scintillation exhibited by a diamond.



CARAT with a “C”


Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in carats. It's important to understand that a larger diamond holds greater value than a smaller one due to its rarity. Gemstones are priced on a "per carat" basis, with the cost per carat typically rising as the gemstone's weight increases.


In conclusion, diamonds stand as more than mere gemstones; they symbolize endurance, beauty, and the remarkable journey from the depths of the Earth to the sparkle of jewelry. With their captivating colors, unique inclusions, and exquisite cuts, diamonds continue to enchant and inspire. Whether celebrating their rarity or brilliance diamonds remind us of the enduring allure of nature's most precious treasures.




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