Out of all the gemstones in the world, the diamond is the most precious. It has been that way for centuries and will remain as the most elegant and romanticized gem for years to come.
There is no other gem that is more interesting and alluring than the diamond. It is known for being the hardest substance on earth, which adds to its value.
The sparkling gems are usually colorless; however, some can feature slight natural tones and hues. Others, known as fancies, are visibly colored and also very rare and expensive.
While experts may know plenty about the history and value of diamonds, there are many people who are unsure about what a diamond actually is. Some say that it’s a gemstone while others say it’s a mineral.
Here you will find out all you need to know about the beloved diamond and gain some insight into why it is the most cherished stone on Earth.
Is Diamond a Mineral or a Gemstone?
Diamonds may be grouped in the same category as gemstones, but they are actually naturally occurring minerals and the hardest on Earth. Diamonds are a polymorph of Carbon, it is a great electrical insulator and one of the best natural abrasives that we have access to. Diamonds conduct heat better than any substance and have the highest melting point of any substance at 3820 degrees Kelvin.
The main difference between diamond and other gemstones such as rubies and emeralds are that diamonds are formed from a single element. Gems are compounds which are combinations of two or more elements.
The History of the Diamond
Diamonds have been treasured ever since the ancient times. Prior to the 1700’s the only source of these naturally occurring minerals was in short supply in the Alluvial River deposits inside of India.
Later, small amounts of diamonds were found in Brazil as well. It wasn’t until the 1870’s that the diamonds of South Africa were discovered and exploited.
Since then, we have discovered several new deposits of diamonds throughout the world, which is a good thing because they have continued to grow in popularity over time. Even with a significant increase in their supply, diamonds are still the most sought-after stones on Earth.
The Color of Diamonds
Most diamonds are colorless however some will have a very light yellow or brown tint to them. Diamonds that are perfectly clear will be much more valuable than those with a variation.
While light yellow diamonds are often disregarded in the industry, deep yellow diamonds are now becoming more popular and valuable, placing them in the fancy diamond category.
Fancy yellow diamonds have gained popularity in recent years and have been used in more engagement rings and other types of diamond jewelry within the past few decades. Fancy is a term in the industry that is used to describe a deeply colored diamond.
While it includes deep yellow and brown diamonds, there are also other colors of diamonds available such as red, blue, pink, green and purple. Colored diamonds may have been considered defective years ago, but today they are just as valuable as their crystal-clear counterparts.
The Four Cs
Any jewelry expert will tell you when buying a diamond, you need to look for the four Cs. That is a grading system created by the GIA. It is used to evaluate diamonds based on their Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
The color of a diamond is graded on a scale between D and Y. The color saturation ranges from colorless at D to deep yellow at Y. Sometimes the letter Z may be added to the color grade to indicate a Fancy Diamond. If you are looking for a perfectly clear and colorless diamond, you will want to purchase a D gem or one as close as possible to that end of the alphabetical scale.
The cut or facet of a diamond is the style or shape that it is cut into. Most diamonds feature a Brilliant cut which brings out the most fire in the stone. Sometimes a diamond may have flaws that prevent it to be cut a certain way. Professionals must take time to plan a cut since any errors will significantly decrease the value of the stone. Popular cuts include Marquee, Pear, Heart-Shaped, Princess and Round.
The clarity rating of a diamond is based on the size and any visible flaws that the gem may have. This is graded based on a scale that ranges from FI for Flawless with no inclusions to I3 for a diamond containing large inclusions that are clearly visible.
Diamonds are measured in carats, and one carat is equal to 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces. Smaller diamonds may also be measured as a point or pt. Each point is one/one-hundredth of a carat. Obviously, the higher the carat, the larger the diamond and the more the stone is worth.
Finding the Perfect Diamond Starts with Your Local Jeweler
While you may be wondering if “Is diamond a mineral or a gem?”, there is no question that diamonds will always be one of the most valuable and enchanting natural resources on Earth.
Finding the perfect diamond involves looking for one that has the right color, carat weight, and clarity. Whether you are interested in a crystal-clear stone or a fancy colorful diamond, your local jewelry expert can help you find the perfect diamond for yourself or that special someone.