A Girl’s Best Friend: The Enduring Allure of the Diamond
April 5, 2017
For millennia, humanity has prized diamonds. Poets have likened them to stardust, fresh snow, and teardrops from the gods. In ancient Greece, diamonds signified strength, and gifting a diamond to your loved one represented passing on love’s inextinguishable flame. Diamonds have been known to bestow curative, even magical properties. Plato called diamonds “living spirits.” Here, we explore what makes diamonds so valuable—and why they’re worth taking the plunge.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend!
The tradition of wearing a diamond as a symbol of betrothal – the classic diamond engagement band – caught on at the end of the late fifteenth century, when the stylish Mary of Burgundy received a diamond ring from her fiancée. The trend became a craze, and the tradition of the diamond engagement ring was born. Marilyn Monroe brought diamonds to the silver screen when she crooned her praises for the glittering stone.
Today, the diamond is no less coveted than it was in the 1950’s – or in the 1500s. More than 120 million carats of diamonds are purportedly mined annually—or an estimated $13 billion worth of rough diamonds. The industry employs more than ten million people a year worldwide, and diamonds remain the world’s preferred choice when it comes to engagement bands.
So what makes diamonds the stuff of legend and lore?
Billions of years old, the majority of today’s mined diamonds hail from Australia, South Africa, Russia, and the Congo. Diamonds are formed about a hundred miles below the surface of the earth, and are brought up by means of deeply seated volcanic eruptions. Constructed purely of carbon, diamonds are formed under intense heat, bonding the element’s atoms to form a durable and distinctive crystalline structure.
Perhaps most astonishing of all, though, is the durability of the diamond: Diamonds are, quite simply, the hardest natural substance. Only a diamond can scratch another diamond, so for the busy wearer, diamonds truly are best friends, withstanding brushes with all manner of surfaces and skirmishes.
The Skinny on the Four C’s
Many devote their lives to studying diamonds, so don’t be overwhelmed by all the technicalities as you begin your diamond search. It pays, however, to keep in mind the Four C’s: cut, color, carat weight, and clarity.
In a nutshell, the diamond’s “cut” refers to the proportions of the diamond. When you look at the stone from the side, how is it shaped? Are the angles even, or is the diamond’s top face overly long and flat? Conversely, is it too short, creating a narrow, tapered diamond? A high-quality cut will ensure ideal light reflection.
When it comes to color, a perfect diamond, some say, is one with no color at all. That said, some desire a slightly pink-, gold-, or gray-hued diamond. True, a colorless diamond will allow the most light to pass through, but colored diamonds have organic qualities that appeal to many. When it comes to clarity, the term refers to the number of flaws in the diamond – are there blemishes within the stone? And carat weight refers to the weight of the diamond in carats. Larger carat weights typically represent more rare diamonds – and thus costlier ones.
What About Lab-Created Diamonds?
In the last decades, lab-created diamonds have gained traction as an ecological alternative to mined diamonds – and one that skirts the issue of “blood diamonds” altogether. Truly, even geologists have an impossible time telling the difference between mined diamonds and those created in labs. And today’s lab-created diamonds come in an array of hues, from luminous ice-blue to warm, pale gold. If the politics or practices surrounding the diamond industry concern you, consider lab-created diamonds if enduring sparkle is what you crave.
The Incredible Diamond Planet
55 Cancrie, discovered in 2004, is a planet orbiting a star in the Milky Way. Composed largely of carbon, 55 Cancrie is likely more than thirty percent diamond! And scientists have located another star whose size is estimated to exceed ten billion trillion trillion carats. We at Grand Jewelers love imagining those dazzling diamonds hurtling through space, glinting and sparkling as they topple through the sky.
For more reasonably-sized diamonds—that is, ones you can actually wear!—come on in to Grand Jewelers today, or visit our website to view our broad selection of loose diamonds and diamond jewelry. Our pendants come in a range of shapes and styles, from the elaborate classic to the smoothly modern. Grand Jewelers carries an array of bracelets and cuffs for every wearer, and timepieces inlaid with diamonds can provide a hint of timeless glam. Diamond studs or teardrops will bright light and luminosity to the eyes and skin, creating a statement that will endure for a lifetime. And our selection of loose diamonds empowers our clientele to design their own dream creations.
At Grand Jewelers, diamonds are among our very best friends. Come on into our store or reach out to an online customer service representative, and let us talk the Four C’s with you.
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