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The Diamond Mystery

8th Sep 2014

This is intended to be a personal explanation based upon my observations of the complex world of the diamond. When I say the world of diamonds I am referring to what my customers might find or ask when attempting to buy an item of jewellery with diamonds in it. In its most basic form, the colour and purity are battling with the size of the diamond for a given price. There are other issues but we will start with the most basic appreciation. So for a given budget, the higher the colour and higher the purity the smaller the size of the diamond. To take the colour first DEF are the top colours and where the item is a significant piece or a single stone engagement ring, then these high colours are of interest. To step down from the single stone, the next step might be a three stone then a cluster or an eternity. As the significance of a single piece is lost the colour does not have to be as high to give a sense of value. So DEF for a single stone going to GH for say a cluster. The purity which is an important make-weight in the argument of "value", let me suggest that although marks may exist if you cannot see them with the naked eye then for practical purposes they do not exist. The lowest purity which meets this criteria is SI2. So for a nice single stone a colour D purity SI2 is a good choice but with marking you need to see the marks with a lens and decide yourself. A bit like Marmite. To go one higher say VS is fine but to go any higher the colour or size of the diamond is compromised. As I said this is my opinion I will gladly show you whatever you want.

Now as I said you really need to see the purity of the diamond with a lens, this also extends to the colour. This is made slightly more complicated than it may at first appear as a diamond shows the colour of its surrounds. The most obvious problem is the use of a lens with a coloured body or casing, this is got round by using a black cased lens. The lens with a magnification of 10 times has the added difficulty of what is called depth of focus. This means that you do not see all the diamond only a layer so it is important to be familiar with scanning the top to bottom of the diamond in layers. If you are not used to a lens it will give meaningless observations. The marks need to be pointed out to help and/or a lens with a lower magnification used I prefer an 8 times to give an oval view and a higher magnification if greater detail is required. Just as a point of interest when looking at a diamond for the first time the first thing to look for is the colour as your eye will adjust to the colour to a certain extend so the first impression is important.

The property of a diamond to show the colour of its surrounding is interesting as in electric light the colour will be that of the lighting. Most electric light is yellow so the diamond will take on some of the yellow and make it difficult to compare with another diamond. The sorting lights used by diamond sorters are what is called North Light, a very white light also used in operating theatres. So to look at a diamond you need to bear all these point in mind. The property of absorbing the surrounding colour has an exception with "electric" diamonds. These have a small amount of fluorescence and retain their whiteness, however, any more than small is a bit too much.

The colours we have covered are to be set or mounted in a white alloy such as Platinum or 18ct white gold to show off their loveliness and this has worked for a very long time. Now consider a design where the metal next to the diamond is yellow. Do we need a high colour white diamond or would a slightly yellow diamond look acceptable. These yellow diamonds used to be called "sun kissed" and in the right mount can look fabulous.

Just in case I appear to have given the impression that these variables of colour purity and size relate to each other in some linear form, there are several over riding factors. Mother Nature makes less large diamonds, she also makes less top colour diamonds and you guessed less top purity diamonds so the price for all these variables goes up like a rocket or exponentially. This is easy to understand but there are 2 more influences to the prices of diamonds. Desirability this is where the consumer all want the same let’s say a 1.00 carat diamond not 0.98 carat or 1.02 carat but a 1.00 carat diamond the price is basically at a premium. The other influence on prices is the diamond traders themselves. If there exists at any point in time an excess of a grade or a shortage the prices will be influenced to level the demand.

In real terms I do not thing that is it necessary to understand diamonds as an expert but to feel guided amongst the variables in a constructive manner, which is how I approach the problem and will be glad to assist you with your purchase.

Author: Graham Saunders