Did you know that round diamonds are more expensive than any other shape? Or that square diamonds from Russia are among the most flawless and brilliant in the world?
You may know the 4 C’s of diamond buying (if not, forward this to your groom immediately), but you probably don’t know much more than that about the world’s most precious (and expensive) stone. We consulted two experts: Adelaide Polk-Bauman of Forevermark Diamonds, and Jennifer Gandia, owner of Greenwich Jewelers, for some insider facts. Find out what the rarest colored diamonds are, which cut is the most expensive, and how you can make sure your diamonds are ethically sourced.
Before we jump in to the “surprising” facts, here’s a refresher on the basics: when deciding on a diamond, consider the 4C’s – Carat, Color, Cut and Clarity. For more information on that, consult Blue Nile’s diamond education guide.
1. Round diamonds are the most popular and expensive shape. “The most amount of rough diamond is lost when cutting a round brilliant,” Jennifer explains. “This contributes to the price tag.” Luckily, you get what you pay for: the round brilliant is more likely to be brilliant and sparkle than all other cuts — pear, oval cushion, etc. “They also hold value over time better than other shapes,” she said. So round diamonds aren’t just pretty — they’re a good investment, too.
2. “The categories of all vintage diamonds are ‘Old Mine Cut,’ ‘European Cut’ and ‘Rose Cut.'” says Jennifer. “They have unique appearances and charm and were mined long before diamond conflict existed.” So if you’re looking for a conflict-free diamond, vintage cuts are a great place to start looking.
3. The youngest diamond in the world is 1.1 billion years old, according to U.S. geologists.
4. Square diamonds from Russia are among the world’s best. “Crystal rough mined in Russia is best cut into square shapes that tend to have less visible imperfections and are brighter and more brilliant.”
5. Red diamonds are the most rare of the colored diamonds. Forevermark diamond experet Adelaide Polk-Bauman explained; this is why they command higher price tags.
6. The ‘halo effect’ makes the center stone appear more brilliant. This is Jennifer’s term for the ring of small diamonds around a larger stone — an excellent trick for grooms on a budget!
7. The Kimberley Process is the gold standard for ethical diamond mining. It was put in place in 2003 to ensure ethical practices worldwide. Both Forevermark Diamonds and Greenwich Jewelers only use diamond suppliers who adhere to The Kimberley Process; be sure to ask your diamond supplier the same.
8. Green diamonds owe their green color to radioactive particles, which are often buffered off in the polishing process. Jennifer tells us that ” Due to the fact that current lab tests cannot detect if the radioactive particles are natural or the result of treatment, green diamonds are the most challenging to assert as naturally-colored.”
9. Slightly included diamonds don’t have to be visibly flawed. It’s all about how you choose your 4 C’s. “To maximize your budget you can go as far as a slightly included quality diamond and a color in the near colorless range,” Jennifer advises. Just be sure to select a “Very Good” or “Excellent” cut. “The quality and amount of brilliance, dispersion (or “fire”) and sparkle in a top cut will render color or clarity characteristics difficult if not impossible to detect with the naked eye.”
10. “It can be as cost effective design your own ring!” says Adelaide. “Just because it’s a custom or semi-custom design does not necessarily mean greater expense. If you don’t see what you like in store, don’t settle! ”
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