Diamonds

  • WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, DIAMOND CLARITY OR COLOR?

    When couples come into Reve Diamonds to shop for an engagement ring we are often asked the question which is the more important factor to consider diamond clarity or diamond colour?   This question is often asked as the basis for a trade-off between these two factors when deciding upon a diamond. For example, should I choose between a diamond with SI1 clarity and G colour or and VS2 clarity and H colour?

    This is a hard question to give a straight answer to as there are circumstances when colour matters more than clarity and vice versa. However, what also must be borne in mind is that these are two unrelated attributes much as when going to buy a car for example the colour isn’t related to the fuel consumption, you need to consider both factors separately but meet both requirements to be happy with your purchase.   So in terms of diamonds a more educated approach would be to consider clarity and colour independently then decide what the minimum acceptable level is for each attribute. So to help you to do this let’s take a look at the facts:

    How is the clarity of a diamond determined?

    Firstly the diamond will be visually considered to see if it is ‘eye clean’. This means it will be examined with the naked eye from a distance of 9 – 12 inches without magnification to determine if any inclusions or flaws are present.  The diamond will then be more scientifically evaluated using a 10x magnification loupe to determine the extent of any inclusions, and also identify any additional flaws inclusions which may be present. The top clarity grade, FL (Flawless), is assigned to diamonds that have no visible inclusions when looked at with a 10x loupe. The lower a diamond’s clarity grade the more likely you are to see imperfections such as black spots or lines within the stone.

    How is colour graded in a diamond? 

    Diamonds are graded for an absence of colour, and then each colour grade represents a range of colour.  The scale begins with D-colourless which is considered to be the highest colour decreasing Z which is the lowest grade of colour and used to describe diamonds which are faint yellow. Diamonds are colour graded by placing them on a white tray upside down so that they are sitting on the table facet with the culet pointing up in the air.  This is under a diamond grading light which is controlled lighting that is colour corrected. They are observed from the side profile in a completely dark room, and then compared side-by-side with other diamonds known as a “master set” which have already been graded for colour.  The colour of a diamond is relatively easy to determine from a side profile under this type of controlled lighting environment but it is much more difficult to establish the true colour under normal lighting from the top-down.

    How to choose diamond colour and clarity

    Our first recommendation is that you ensure that the diamond is ‘eye clean’ so has no inclusions that are obvious enough to be visible to the naked eye. You do not necessarily need to go for the diamond with highest clarity as diamonds graded VS1-VS2 or SI1 can look just as clean as FL/IF-clarity stones if you choose a diamond that is pleasing to the eye.  If you are buying a round diamond for a yellow gold setting, you can safely pick a stone with a colour graded as low as J, K or L, possibly even an M and not worry about the visibility of any tints of yellow when the diamond is set into your engagement ring.  However, for other cuts of diamonds you may need to decide upon a higher colour grade such as I, J or K.  For a round diamond set in white gold or platinum or white gold then we recommend that you do not go any lower than the colour grades H, I or J. For other cuts G or H is a good choice, but don’t go lower than I colour.

    Should I focus more on clarity or colour when choosing the diamond for my engagement ring? 

    As we have previously said when shopping for a diamond engagement ring the focus upon clarity ‘v’ colour is very much down to your personal preference and quality of vision.

    If having an engagement ring with a white gold or platinum setting then selecting a high grade colour will be more important than having top clarity as it is very important for the diamond not to have visible tints.  If you set a diamond with slight yellowish tints in white gold or platinum, the yellow will stand out even more against the white backdrop, and the diamond will look darker than its setting. A small inclusion on the side of the diamond would spoil its appearance much less than the diamond’s low-grade colour in these circumstances.

    Clarity starts to matter a lot when it is too low. There is not much difference to the naked eye between a diamond graded IF or FL than one within the VS1-VS2 clarity range but diamonds with clarity graded below SI1/SI2 are very likely to have visible flaws.  Clarity is much more important when your engagement ring is to be yellow gold setting as this colour of metal can absorb the yellowish tints in a low-grade diamond making it look whiter in contrast to the gold. Therefor in this scenario you would be well advised to choose a diamond that looks clean to the naked eye rather than opting for a perfectly white colour.

    One selection factor that should be considered is the overall quality of the cut of the diamond. The reason for this is that the cut determines the amount of light that is refracted by the diamond which gives the diamond its sparkle and brightness.  So always choose a diamond that is cut to deliver the maximum volume of light return, brilliance and sparkle which will make it more difficult to locate inclusions. Plus well cut diamonds tend to look whiter than diamonds which are not so well cut.

    If you are still in doubt as to the importance of clarity and colour our highly experienced team here at Reve Diamonds are very happy to answer any questions and provide good advice on this, or any other diamond related matter.

     

  • FAMOUS DIAMONDS – INTERESTING FACTS

    For many centuries there has been a global fascination with diamonds and they are widely regarded as one of the most intriguing gemstones on the planet. The famous slogan 'Diamonds are Forever' popularised by De Beers in their advertising campaigns, perfectly captures the essence of diamonds forged billions of years ago and surviving the forces of nature to be brought into our possession.  Throughout history diamonds have been revered for their mystic powers and incredible beauty and we are attracted to their innate brilliance sparkle and fire.

    Perhaps part of this fascination with diamonds throughout the years is their scarcity value which makes them even more sought after. Plus, from time to time there appears on the world stage a diamond that is so exquisite in its beauty, clarity, weight and/or brilliance that it is a real show stopper, and truly deserves to be remember in a ‘diamond hall of fame’.  Some diamonds do of course deserve to be more famous than others, and here we would like to celebrate five of the world's most famous, and greatest diamonds.

    The KOH-I-NOOR diamond

    The most famous and one of the world’s largest diamonds must be the Koh-I-Noor which in Persian means ‘Mountain of Light’. It is widely believed whoever owns the Koh-I-Noor ‘rules the world’, and as the most famous diamond of all time this is a very apt statement.

    This breath-taking diamond has a long and bloody history, starting, according to legend as far back as 6,000 BC, although it was officially discovered in 1304 and the first recorded owners were the Kakatiya Dynasty of South India.  It is believed that the Koh-I-Noor was found at Kollur Mine in India and weighed an incredible 186 carats in its rough state.

    This truly majestic diamond changed hands between various parties in India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan until it was given to Queen Victoria after the 1849 conquest of the Punjab by the British. The Koh-I-Noor was originally of a similar cut to other diamonds of the Murgal era which can be seen in the Iranian crown jewels. It was displayed at the famous Great Exhibition in London in 1851 but it failed to impress as it was said to be of lacklustre appearance!  Following the exhibition Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert ordered that the Koh-I-Noor be re-cut into the shape of an oval-brilliant and after this process the Koh-I-Noor now weighs 108 carats.

    The Koh-I-Noor is surrounded by superstition and as its history involved much fighting and blood shed amongst men, the British Royal family believed that only women should wear this exquisite diamond. It has been worn by Queen Victoria as a brooch and a circlet, by Queen Alexandra the wife of Edward VII when it was set into a crown and then subsequently by Queen Mary as her crown and finally by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937. This striking diamond is now on public display in The Jewel House at The Tower of London as part of the English Crown Jewels of England and still sits within the Queen Mother’s Crown.

    The Blue Hope Diamond

    As its name suggests, this diamond is an exquisite and much admired rare blue colour which is due to the presence of trace amounts of boron atoms and weighs an impressive 45.52 carats. The Blue Hope Diamond is one of the most talked about diamonds in the world. The story of this diamond has fascinated many people for many years hence why it is considered by many to be one of the most famous diamonds in the world.

    So, beyond its innate beauty, why is this diamond so famous – the answer is for its curse! Legend tells the story that in the 17th century The Blue Hope Diamond was plucked from the eye of an Indian statue of the Hindu goddess Sita, by the French merchant traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier. A curse was placed upon the diamond in revenge for this act of theft, bringing bad luck or death to all who touched it.

    This curse has of course been dismissed as superstition and as a story invented in the late 19th century to enhance the mystique surrounding this diamond in order to generate publicity and to enhance its market value. Many claims were made of those who had met a gruesome end when owning The Blue Hope Diamond including King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who were guillotined; the Russian Prince Ivan Kanitovski, killed by Russian revolutionists and who also shot his sweetheart; Sultan Hamid who was thrown from a precipice along with his wife (and child) the Folies Bergère actress, Mademoiselle Ledue, whilst she was wearing the jewel on stage; and also Tavernier himself, said to have been torn to pieces by wild dogs in Constantinople. Many of these claims have not withstood the test of time or scrutiny but of course add to the diamonds fascination

    The facts that are known are that The Blue Hope Diamond was discovered in India in the Kollur mine in Golconda by Tavernier. In the rough it weighed around 112 carats and was a crude triangular shaped stone, which he described as a ‘beautiful violet’. Today the GIA have officially classified The Blue Hope Diamond as being fancy dark greyish blue (rare). A further test using a very sensitive colourimeter has shown that there is a very slight violent component to the deep blue colour that is indiscernible to the naked eye.

    Tavernier sold The Blue Hope diamond to King Louis XVI in 1668, and it was recut by his court jeweller, Sieur Pitau. The diamond was suspended on a neck ribbon which the King wore on ceremonial occasions and called the French Blue ‘Le bleu de France’.  It was stolen in 1791 during the French revolution, and in 1830 it was bought by the Englishman Henry Phillip Hope and was recut with the

    largest section acquiring its "Hope" name. The Blue Hope then resurfaced and changed hands several times until 1909 when the diamond was bought by Pierre Cartier. He had it recut and set as a cushion antique brilliant diamond with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion (weighing in at 45 carats). This is the form in which the diamond appears today, and it was done to aid Cartier in the sale of the diamond to the American mining heiress and socialite, Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean, and her husband Edward who despite protracted wrangling’s bought The Blue Hope Diamond in 1911 for $300,000.  On Mrs McLean’s death, the stone was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston Inc. He exhibited The Blue Hope around the world and in 1958 donated the diamond to The Smithsonian, Washington’s National Museum of Natural History  where it has since remained on permanent exhibition.

    The Great Star of Africa

    The Great Star of Africa diamond is both the largest clear-cut diamond in the world and the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, weighing a jaw dropping 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g) in its rough state. What is even more amazing is that many crystallographers believe that the diamond that was discovered was only a cleavage fragment of a considerably larger stone! The Great Star of Africa was discovered in the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It is also referred to as ‘The Cullinan I’ in honour of Sir Thomas Cullinan who was the owner of the mining company that found this amazing diamond.

    This stunning diamond was cut by the world-famous cutter Asscher in Amsterdam. After cutting it weighed 530.20 carats and exhibited an extraordinary number of facets - 74 in total!  In 1907 The Great Star of Africa was sold to the Transvaal Colony who then gave the diamond to King Edward VII as a 66th birthday present.  It has now taken its rightful place in the hallowed halls of the Tower of London as part of the British Crown Jewel’s as it is set in the Spectre of the King.

    The Excelsior

    This diamond with a stunning blue-white tint is the third largest rough diamond of gem quality ever found, originally weighing an amazing 995.2 carats (194g) – it was the largest known diamond in the world from the time of its discovery in 1893 until 1905, when the larger Cullinan diamond was found.

    The Excelsior has quite an interesting story surrounding how it was found. The diamond was discovered on June 30, 1893 at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa by an African worker. He found it in a pile of gravel whilst he was unloading his truck, but he was frightened to tell anyone of his discovery so kept it secret until he could deliver the diamond direct to the owner of the mine. The delighted and very grateful mine owner rewarded him richly with £500 cash and a horse with a saddle and bridle.

    On the day that The Excelsior was discovered the contract between the mining company and the London based syndicate which purchased its diamonds expired. The diamond’s discovery was never reported in any of the well-known British newspapers, despite its remarkable size and properties, and this could have been the reason.  In 1895 another very large diamond was found in the Jagersfontein Mine which was originally called named after the President of the Orange Free State the Reitz Diamond and later renamed the Jubilee Diamond, in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.  It is not entirely clear as to why the Jubilee Diamond which weighed only

    650.80 carats eclipsed The Excelsior in terms of infamy and many have speculated that the reason for this could be that The Excelsior was felt to be far too large and of a quality that was too superior for any prospective buyer.  Consequently, The Excelsior was sent to I. J. Asscher in Amsterdam, in 1903, to be cut into ten pieces with the three largest cut diamonds weighing a very respectable 158, 147 and 130 carats.

    The Orlov (Orloff)

    Described as having the shape and proportions of half a hen's egg, this is the third world's largest cut diamond weighing more than 194 carats. The Orlov is a very rare diamond as it has retained its original Indian rose-style cut and its colour is widely described as white with a faint bluish-green tinge. It was discovered in Golkonda, India in the 17th century.  According to legend, this diamond was once used as the eye of an idol in the Temple of the Brahma in Mysore until it was stolen by a French deserter, who escaped with it to Madras. Others believe that the history of the Orlov extends to the middle of the 18th century, when the diamond belonged to the King of Persia - Nāder Shāh. After his assassination it was stolen and sold to an Armenian millionaire named Shaffrass.  Whichever version is correct, The Orlov diamond was purchased in 1774 by Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, who in an unsuccessful attempt to regain her favour, presented it to Empress Catherine II the Great. Catherine then had the diamond mounted in the Romanov Imperial Sceptre, and it is now part of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin.

    The Orlov diamond should not be confused with the "Black Orlov diamond", called the Eye of Brahma, which according to legend was stolen from a Temple near Pondicherry.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • THE BEAUTY OF BLUE DIAMONDS

    The basic rule of economics is that supply and demand dictates price, and in the world of diamonds this is undoubtedly true where rarity equals value. Take for example, natural fancy coloured diamonds which account for less than 0.1% of the number of mined diamonds. Prices for these fancy coloured diamonds are determined by the rarity of the diamond’s colour and how hard it is to obtain it.  Whist coloured diamonds present in 12 different colour variations with more than 90 secondary hues, 9 intensity levels, and over 230 combinations of colour, natural fancy coloured diamonds can basically be divided into four main groups based on their prices, these are:

    Ultra-High - Red diamonds which are the rarest of the coloured diamonds and therefore the most expensive.

    High price range – Blue, Pink, Purple, Violet and Green diamonds.

    Mid-price range - Vivid and Intense Yellow Diamonds and Orange Diamonds.

    Relatively affordable - Grey, Brown and Fancy Yellow Diamonds.

    As can be seen, blue diamonds are amongst the rarest of the fancy coloured diamonds. They stand at the tip of the second rarest group and are rarer than pink diamonds but less than violet and purple diamonds.  Of course what must be borne in mind is that as with all coloured diamonds, not all blue diamonds are equally rare - the strongest the colour, the more rare the diamond.

    Blue diamonds are not only extremely attractive and highly desired, but they are also one of the most fascinating gemstones in existence.  This is due to their unusual chemical makeup and rich role in history and this is why there is more to blue diamonds than meets the eye.

    How blue diamonds are created

    Quite simply the colour blue is created by the presence of boron.  Whilst the diamond is forming in the earth’s crust, boron particles can become trapped inside the crystal lattice. It is this substance that absorbs yellow light, thus reflecting the stunning blue colour.  The more boron that is present within the diamond, then the deeper the colour of blue.   Like any other coloured diamond, blue diamonds can exhibit a wide range of hues, from pale shades to intense and the modifying colour will be referred to in their gemological grading reports. For example, one of these diamonds may be classified as gray-blue or greenish-blue. It is very common to see blue diamond’s referred to with names regarding their shade, such as midnight, navy, baby, or royal blue.

    It is estimated that less than one-tenth of a percent of all fancy coloured diamonds are rare blues - Type IIb blues.  Even rarer than these are the Type Ia blue diamond’s where the colour of blue is created by the presence of hydrogen within the gemstone which if present in in sufficient quantity creates  a blue-grey or grey-violet colour which is similar to that caused by boron.

    The colour of blue diamonds can also be influenced by exposure to radiation exposure and those that have been exposed are usually described as green-blue. There is another characteristic that sets natural blue diamonds apart for mother gemstones, and that is that they are the hardest conductors of both heat and electricity on Earth.

    Where do blue diamonds come from?

    As blue diamonds are a rarity they are found in very few mines. The Cullinan Mine near Pretoria in South Africa is the primary source of blue diamonds. Owned Petra Diamonds this mine has been the source for some of the most interesting discoveries and sales of blue diamonds. The Argyle mine in Australia, the Golconda mine in India and the Lesteng mine in Lesotho have also yielded blue diamonds but on a less common basis than The Cullinan Mine.

    The value of blue diamonds  

    Due to their inherent rarity natural blue diamonds are highly sought after by diamond collectors and as we said before, scarcity and demand pushes up value!  The NCDIA has reported that prices for natural blue diamonds have been consistently increasing at a rate of 12 to 17% during the last decade irrespective of the saturation level.  So whilst fancy vivid blue diamonds may be less commonly found and more highly sought-after, even fancy light blue diamonds are being sold for some quite astounding prices. In fact in recent years there have been many record-breaking sales of blue diamonds.  As only about two to four important blue diamonds come to market annually this has created a fervour amongst diamond collectors and investors that has inflated the prices achieved at auction.  Of course, as with any diamond, the carat weight, clarity and cut of a blue diamond will also have an impact on the value.

    Famous blue diamonds

    Undoubtedly the most famous blue diamond has to be The Blue Hope Diamond.  This stunning diamond was discovered in the Kollur mine in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier. When found it weighed a very impressive 112 carats and was described as being a beautiful violet. The GIA have classified The Blue Hope Diamond as a rare fancy dark greyish blue.

    The Blue Hope Diamond was sold to King Louis XVI in 1668, and was recut for the King to wear on a neck ribbon for ceremonial occasions. It was then named ‘Le bleu de France’ (the French blue). In 1830 this incredible was bought by Henry Phillip Hope and was recut and acquired its name as The Blue Hope Diamond.  After numerous other owners The Blue Hope Diamond was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston who donated it to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington where it remains on permanent exhibition and is insured for a staggering $250 million!

    Other impressive blue diamonds include The Star of Josephine a 7.0-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid blue and internally flawless diamond that was found in 2008. This diamond sold at a Sotheby's auction in 2009 for $9.49 million, the equivalent of $1.35 million per carat setting a world record at the time for the highest price per carat for any gemstone at auction.

    The Tereschenko diamond a 42.92-carat pear-shaped stone is the second largest fancy blue stone in the world after the Hope.

    Blue diamonds can’t be discussed without mention of the famous Wittelsbach-Graff, which was discovered sometime in the mid-1600s. After being bought, recut and repolished by Laurence Graff, it weighed an impressive 31.06 carats and fetched $24.3 million in 2011.

    More recently, a blue diamond called ‘The Blue Moon’ broke the world record as being the world’s most expensive diamond. It was auctioned at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in November 2015 for $48.5 Million Dollars the equivalent of over $4 Million Dollars per carat!  This diamond is an internally flawless 12.03 carat fancy vivid blue and is the highest colour grading and of the highest clarity.  It was discovered by Petra Diamonds in the South African Cullinan mine and was sold to Cora International for $25.6 Million dollars as a rough diamond.

  • WHY DO WOMEN LOVE DIAMONDS SO MUCH?

    When the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ in the movie ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’ she could not have been more true.  

    A truly beautiful diamond is breath-taking, and undoubtedly the fascination that women have had with diamonds for many centuries will never fade – unlike the love for some male suitors!  Who could fail but to yearn to possess one of the most stunning natural phenomenon? Irrespective of class every woman would love to have at least one diamond. Even non-westernised women, and those from cultures where wealth is not coveted, cannot fail to admire and be impressed by a piece of exquisite diamond jewellery.  Receiving the gift of a fabulous diamond engagement ring fills the daydreams of many young women, and even those who already a diamond engagement ring or other pieces of diamond jewellery, cannot fail but to be excited at the opportunity of adding to their collection.  So, what is it about diamonds that makes women love them so much – here are our thoughts: 

    Just what is it about diamonds!  

    The exact reason that women love diamonds is to be truthful unknown. It could be any one of many factors that create this affection and it is hard to pinpoint just one thing about diamonds that make them so irresistible. We think that at least one of the factors below helps to create this long-standing love affair:  

    Diamonds have always been surrounded by an air of mystique and wonder.   Possibly it is because of the formation process that diamonds go through that makes them one of the most desired commodities worldwide.  Whilst they are made of an ordinary everyday material – carbon, the process through which the carbon is transformed into a diamond and in some cases colours laid into the stone, is extra ordinary! 

    The formation of natural diamonds takes many thousands of years requiring extremely high pressure and temperatures.  Exactly the right environment is needed to create a diamond which is one of the hardest substances, and one of the most indestructible, on our planet.  So, maybe another reason that women love diamonds is that the time that is taken to form the perfect diamond, and the strength of this gemstone, can be seen to be akin to forming the perfect relationship between two human beings that will not break under pressure.  

    This symbolism of an indescribable connection between two people is part of the romantic message that diamonds express as the ultimate symbol of eternal love. For this reason, diamonds are the most popular choice of gemstone for engagement rings as nothing quite says, “I Love you, you are the one, please marry me!” than a diamond does.  Placing a diamond engagement ring on a woman’s finger tells her that you want to spend the rest of your life with her and symbolises to the world that she is loved and cherished as a diamond is the ultimate gift of love. Perhaps it is this symbolism and expression of deep love that we all crave that makes women love diamonds so much.  

    Does the expensive nature of diamonds have a part to play? 

    Whilst it may be seen as verging on crass to talk about diamonds in terms of the price that you will pay, perhaps ironically one of the reasons that they are so desired by so many women is that they are expensive. Of course, the expense of a diamond is related to its size, the brilliance of its colour, and the quality of its cut—the larger the diamond, the more brilliant the colour, the better the cut, then the more expensive the diamond. Correspondingly the more attractive and desired the diamond will be therefore price does play a part.   

    For some women the fact that their partner, fiancé or husband has spent a significant amount of money upon the gift of a piece of diamond jewellery signifies how great his love is. The gift makes a validation for the world to see of that woman’s worth in his eyes, so somehow cost can be compared to the value-added component in a love affair. 

    It is a well-known fact that women love to be admired by other women. Wearing a stunning diamond will certainly draw attention and satisfy that desire, and of course the more quality the diamond the more it will be a head turner. So, whilst it is impossible to say which of those attributes is the most important, the beauty of the diamond or its price tag, deep down we all know that cost does play a vital role (or a combination of both).  In today’s society there is still some degree of importance placed on material wealth, so no woman can truly be blamed for loving and coveting a diamond not only for its beauty but also for its value. 

    Does the answer lie somewhere between ancient history and eternal hope 

    Diamonds have played a significant part of ancient history right back to Egyptian times and maybe even earlier. When a woman wears a diamond engagement ring (or any other piece of diamond jewellery) she is making a connection with the past. Plus, she is forming a partnership with the miners, diamond cutters and jewellery retailers who have all had a part to play in that diamonds’ heritage. From raising the diamond from the earth, to cutting and fashioning it, to presenting that valuable piece of jewellery that it is today for purchase.  All these factors are interconnected with that diamond engagement ring.  Of course, there is also the element of eternal hope that the gift of a diamond engagement ring brings for a woman  - symbolising the beginning of a new life with her soulmate and hope for eternally happy times which long after she’s gone will still live on in that diamond ring, because as Shirley Bassey famously sang “Diamonds Are Forever”……. 

  • WHAT IS AN EYE-CLEAN DIAMOND

    Have you ever been in a jewellery store and heard the phrase “eye-clean diamond” and wondered what exactly it means and should you be investing in one? Here is a short guide to “eye clean diamonds” to help you better understand this terminology and its implications in your choice of diamond: 

    What Is An Eye-Clean Diamond? 

    “Eye-clean” is a term that is used in the jewellery trade associated with diamond grading.  It is used to describe the clarity of a diamond that is visibly clear to the naked eye when looked at from the top and without magnification i.e. a diamond that has no visible inclusions that can be seen unaided.  When looking for a good quality diamond this is an important consideration as some diamonds can disappoint with noticeable inclusions apparent when viewed with the naked eye.   

    How Are Diamonds Graded For Clarity?  

    Diamonds are graded for clarity using a 10x magnification loupe which makes it easier to view naturally occurring clarity characteristics or inclusions.  The clarity of the diamond is evaluated on the specific internal inclusions and external blemishes which are then further assessed on their location, orientation and overall visibility.   The less inclusions/flaws that are found in a polished diamond the more rare the diamond becomes and in turn more expensive. 

    Clarity should not be confused with brilliance and this is a common mistake.  Investing in a higher clarity diamond such as a VVS2, IF or VVS1 will not necessarily mean that you will have purchased a sparkling diamond.   It is the cut of a diamond that determines the amount of light that is reflected from the diamond so caused brilliance and only rarely does clarity affect transparency, so therefore diamond clarity should be solely viewed as a rarity characteristic. 

    Is the term “Eye Clean” Subjective? 

    Using the term “eye clean” to describe a diamond does bring with it an element of subjectivity relating to how precise and robust the definition of the term is.   

    The reasons for this are that firstly visual perception and sharpness varies from person to person i.e. some people will be able to see tiny inclusions whilst others will require the assistance of glasses to enable them to detect flaws within a diamond.  Secondly, some inclusions can only be seen in certain levels of lighting which will also affect the brilliance of the stone - more brilliance means fewer visible inclusions, whereas less brilliance makes flaws more visible.  Therefore whether a diamond appears “eye clean” can vary dependent upon kind of lighting that the diamond is exposed to.  Thirdly,  the distance from which you view the diamond plays an important factor in that the closer you get to the diamond the more likely it is that you will see an inclusion. 

    How Do I Establish If A Diamond Is Eye Clean”? 

    Having said that the term “eye clean” carries a certain level of subjectivity, there is a method in which a diamond can be established as being within this category.   If you view the top of the diamond in broad daylight with a naked eye at a distance of approximately 20-25 centimetres if you cannot clearly see any inclusions or flaws such as clouds, lines or black dots  then that  diamond can be considered “eye clean”. 

    What Clarity Grades On The G.I.A. Scale Are Considered” Eye-Clean? 

    When matching the lower end of the “eye clean” clarity range to G.I.A. clarity grades the line is drawn at SI clarity, and more specifically SI2. Therefore any diamonds stones graded I1 and lower will not be considered “eye clean”.    

    Diamonds with clarity grades of VS1 and above do not have visible inclusions and are always visually clean to the unaided eye.  Diamonds that are SI2 and higher will generally look relatively “eye clean” when viewed by the naked eye. It should be remembered that you may see some inclusions in SI2 diamonds when looking from the top depending upon the lighting. For the most part these inclusions will be quite hard to spot without using a 10x magnification loupe and therefore generally, SI2 diamonds will appear “eye clean”.  This is however considered a borderline grade and it separates the diamonds that are definitely eye clean (SI1 and above) from those that are definitely not (I1 and below).  However, please bear in mind that the term “eye clean” refers to viewing a diamond from the top only with the naked eye therefore in some cases a SI2-clarity diamond when viewed from the side may show some inclusions. 

    It should be borne in mind that the clarity can vary dependent upon whether you choose a Step-Cut diamond (Emerald-cut, Asscher-cut, Baguette-cut etc.) in which it is easier to see inclusions, or a brilliant-cut diamond.  For step cut diamonds we recommend VS1 clarity to ensure the diamond is visibly clear to the naked eye and for brilliant-cut diamonds SI1 clarity. However each diamond is unique and must be evaluated individually. 

    Does The Size Of The Diamond Have Any Influence On It Being “Eye Clean”?  

    The answer to this question is YES, the clarity of an “eye-clean” diamond does depend upon diamond size. For example at SI2 clarity or possible lower, a tiny 2mm diamond will appear “eye-clean” the reason for this is that the characteristics that define clarity are harder to detect within small diamonds.  In comparison when viewing a larger diamond e.g. of 3 or 4 carats that is graded SI1 flaws will be more easily noticeable due to the larger table size of the diamond and this is accentuated when there are small inclusions present directly below the table facet. 

    Is Buying An “Eye Clean” Diamond A Good Investment 

    As each diamond is as unique as the person purchasing it, there really are no hard and fast rules for buying a diamond, as they say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. However, as diamonds are mainly bought to be part of an engagement ring or other piece of jewellery, like many people you will most probably want to be sure that you get want best bang for your bucks!    

    As the factors of carat weight and colour are more visually obvious to an onlooker, buying an “eye clean” diamond is an appropriate guideline as you will want to see a diamond that appears clean when viewed under normal conditions. Therefore perhaps place more importance upon the diamond you choose being “eye clean” rather than obsessing over its actual exact clarity grade.  To illustrate this it is easier to see the difference between a 1.00ct and a 2.00ct diamond just as it is to see the difference between a ‘J’ coloured and a ‘D’ coloured diamond with the naked eye.  However, if you compared a VS1 diamond with an IF diamond visually you would not be able to see the difference. This is what makes “eye clean” diamonds the most economical choice and the easiest compromise to make when choosing your diamond.  

    It should always be remembered that “eye clean” is not an official grading category, and this is why you should decide whether a diamond is worth the price asked based on the clarity as graded and certified by an official body such as the G.I.A. .  We always recommend that you check the official grade of the diamond as to the untrained eye two different grades of diamond can look equally clean but in fact the higher graded diamond may be far more expensive. To avoid overpaying for additional clarity that cannot be seen to the naked eye, opt for the lowest grade diamond that is still “eye clean” in the range of SI1-SI2. 

    Buying Tips For Eye-Clean Diamonds  

    1. The most prevalent inclusion in diamonds are crystals. We recommend that you choose a white/translucent or grey crystal over a dark/black crystal inclusion. 
    2. It is generally preferable to select a diamond that does not have inclusions directly under the main table facet as this facet is the largest and easiest to see through. 
    3. Choose a diamond which has small scattered inclusions rather than more concentrated inclusions.  
    4. In S1 diamonds twinning wisps are quite common but they are almost always impossible to see without magnification so buying a diamond with these wisps is a great way to save money.  
    5. Buying an eye-clean SI2 diamond stone doesn’t mean that its flaws won’t be seen from the side but if you wish to have this diamond set in a mounting that will hide its sides, then this would not be an issue. However, if the side view of the diamond is to be a feature of your chosen engagement ring or jewellery item, you would be well advised to opt for an SI1 diamond. 
    6. I1 diamonds often have visible inclusions and are sometimes referred to as ‘prongable’ which means that an inclusion can be easily covered by a jewellery prong.  However, pay special attention to I1 or lower clarity grades as these can be more vulnerable to damage through wear and tear. 
    7. “Eye clean” diamonds with lower clarity grades can offer tremendous value for money. Just remember, when it comes time to making your final decision on the purchase of a diamond, always consult with a diamond professional such as the expert team here at Reve Diamonds to ensure that your diamond is visibly clean and not vulnerable to breakage. 
  • RED IS THE COLOUR OF LOVE AND ALSO OF THE RAREST DIAMONDS

    The colour red is generally associated with love, passion, and strength, therefore it is very fitting that the world’s rarest, most desirable and most valuable of the fancy natural coloured diamonds is the red diamond! Red diamonds are so rare that it is believed that thirty true ‘predominantly red’ diamonds are in existence, and most are smaller than half a carat - ‘predominantly red’ is the description given by the GIA that indicates that red is the primary colour in the diamond with no secondary hues such as purple.  

    Here we take a look at the phenomenon of the world rarest diamonds – the red diamond:  

    Why are red diamonds red?  

    In comparison to other natural fancy coloured diamonds there is very little gemological information about red diamonds largely due to their scarcity.  Colouring in diamonds is caused by various chemical impurities but as red diamonds are wholly comprised of pure carbon experts have long pondered how a gemstone with no such impurities attains such a striking and magnificent colour? 

    It is believed that the red colour is due to rare deformities in the gemstones anatomical structure which resulted from increased stress during the formation of the diamond. These lattice defects internally bend and refract the light that enters the diamond so giving it the red colouration.  Given different sources and amounts of light passing through, red diamonds appear to exhibit different colours and they shine more brightly under natural daylight, and under florescent light they appear much different and dull. 

    Often diamonds that may initially appear to be red to the naked eye are actually fancy deep or dark pinks. The difference between a fairly deep pink and a moderately dark red can be very subtle and almost undistinguishable to an untrained eye which is especially true under poor lighting conditions. 

    Red diamonds really are the exception to the rule  

    All natural fancy coloured diamonds have their colours prefixed by terms such as ‘intense’ or ‘vivid’ when compared in a colour grading scale.  Red diamonds however are the only exception to this rule and the reason behind this is that most gemological laboratories consider the red colour to be unique, as well as, “intense” or “vivid” itself.  However, there have been red diamonds found with slight differences in depth of colour with hues ranging from a lighter and sweeter tone to those with a much darker and deeper tint. 

    Where Are Red Diamonds Found? 

    The vast majority of red diamonds are found in the Argyle mines owned by the Rio Tinto company located in the East Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia and they are often featured in their famous annual Argyle tender. Red diamonds have also on rare occasion been found in the diamond mines of Brazil, Africa. Australia, Russia, and India 

    How much are red diamonds worth?  

    Out of all the natural fancy colour diamonds, red is the most rare, even surpassing pink diamonds. Red diamonds are one of the most expensive and rare diamonds in the world and they will always continue to break records although they rarely appear at auctions. In 1987 the 0.95-carat Hancock Red Diamond was sold for $880,000 in 1987 (you can only imagine what it must be worth now!).  The 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red Diamond was sold for $8 million dollars in 2001 and in 2013, a 1.92-carat Fancy Red rectangular-cut diamond, sold for CHF3.15 million at Christie's, while the auction house also sold a 2.09-carat heart-shaped Fancy Red diamond ring by Moussaieff for HKD39.32 million in 2014.  Since this time, only a limited number of red diamonds have been revealed, increasing their mystique. 

     

    What is the largest Red Diamond? 

    Red diamonds are so rare that there are only a handful of unmodified reds available on the market, with most of them weighing less than 1 carat in weight.   The world’s largest red diamond is the Moussaieff Red, which weighed in at 5.11 carats and sold for $8 million at auction in 2001 and is estimated to be worth over $20 million today!  It has a triangular brilliant cut sometimes referred to as a trillion or a trilliant cut and is rated in colour as a Fancy Red by the GIA.  Although this may seem relatively small when compared to other famous diamonds, in fact, the Moussaieff Red is the largest Fancy Red the GIA reports having valued.  

    Other famous red diamonds 

    Undoubtedly the most famous and largest red diamond is the ‘Moussaieff Red’ also referred to as the ‘Red Shield’) but other famous red diamonds include the Hancock Red Diamond, the Rob Red and the Supreme Purple Star 

    The Hancock Red Diamond is famous for its rare purplish red colour and weighs 0.95 carat. It is a round brilliant cut red diamond and was named after the famous collector, Warren Hancock who reportedly paid $13,500 for this diamond in 1956, which proved to be a great investment as he later sold it for $880,000 in 1987! 

    The Rob Red is a 0.59 carat fancy red diamond which is pear shaped and exhibits VS1 clarity. GIA colour grading experts described the Rob Red as ‘the most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world’.   

    The Supreme Purple Star is a round brilliant cut deep purple diamond that weighs between 2 to 5 carats. The exact colour and clarity of this diamond has not been revealed but when viewing looking at the diamond from one angle, it appears to be of a deep purple colour, however when the diamond is rotated in the light, the colour changes to a very striking and lustrous deep to vivid purplish red colour. 

  • PRETTY IN PINK – THE BEAUTY OF PINK DIAMONDS

    Whilst red diamonds are acknowledged as ‘the’ rarest of all the natural fancy coloured diamonds, pink diamonds are considered by experts to also be one of the rarest natural diamonds on earth (along with purple, green, blue, violet and pure oranges). Due to this rarity it is estimated by experts that a pink diamond can cost at least 20 times the price of its colourless (white) equivalent and they are highly sought after by diamond collectors and connoisseurs worldwide for their personal collections and bespoke items of jewellery.  So what is it about pink diamonds that makes them so impressive? Let’s take a closer look:  

    Where in the world are pink diamonds found 

    Pink diamonds have been found in diamonds mines within Africa and India but the Argyle Diamond Mine owned by the Rio Tinto company and located in the East Kimberley region in the remote north of Western Australia, is the world’s only consistent source of pink diamonds. This mine accounts for more than 90-95% of the world’s supply of pink diamonds and also yields the highly rare red diamonds, blue, brown, cognac and champagne fancy coloured diamonds.  

    Despite only opening in 1985, due to the low yield of gem-quality stones, the Argyle Diamond Mine is expected to close by 2020 which further adds to the scarcity and rarity value of pink diamonds Argyle have estimated that “for every million carats of rough pink diamonds produced from the mine, only one polished carat is offered for sale by annual tender.” To put that in perspective, for every 200kg of rough pink diamond that is mined at Argyle, only 0.2g is offered for sale each year as part of the exclusive Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. 

    How are pink diamonds formed?  

    Considering the rarity of pink diamonds geographically, the obvious question has to be whether the formation of pink diamonds has a direct relation to factors that are peculiar to the Kimberley region where the Argyle diamond mine is located?  

    Like white diamonds, pink diamonds are formed only of carbon within the kimberlite pipes of volcanoes. Pieces of carbon are transformed by extreme heat and pressure into the glass like diamond.   In contrast to other natural fancy coloured diamonds which obtain their colouring from traces of chemical impurities e.g.  a blue diamond from traces of boron in the soil being incorporated into the diamond as it forms, and yellow diamonds are formed due to trace levels of nitrogen,  experts have been unable to identify any chemical impurities in pink diamonds.  Many leading scientists believe that that the pink colour may be a result of historic seismic activity causing the defects which refract pink light. Given that the seismic activity varies wildly from area to area, this could explain why Kimberley and the Argyle mine is the world’s only significant source of these pink diamonds. 

    Famous Pink Diamonds 

    Perhaps the most well-known pink diamond is ‘The Pink Star’, formerly known as the Steinmetz pink diamond, which in April 2017 became the world's most expensive gemstone, selling at auction at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for $71.2 million (£57.3 million) including buyer's premium.  This magnificent gemstone is a huge 59.60 carat and is the largest Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever graded by the GIA.  It is rated as Internally Flawless as it has no internal inclusions, and is a Type IIa stone, the coveted classification given to less than two per cent of all gem-quality diamonds, which signifies chemical purity.  The Pink Star was cut from a 132.5-carat rough diamond mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999. It took two years of meticulous cutting and polishing to hone it into its current oval shape. 

    Before the Pink Star sold, the record price for a pink diamond at auction was $46.2 million, achieved by the 24.78-carat Graff Pink, which sold at Sotheby's Geneva in 2010. The Pink Star is more than twice as big as the Graff Pink, and its colour rating, Fancy Vivid, is the highest possible grade on the scale used to assess coloured diamonds, and therefore considered the most valuable. 

    The Graff Pink diamond falls in the top 1 to 2% of diamonds in terms of purity, according to the GIA. Its colour is exceptional and it features an emerald cut. This stone was previously owned by Harry Winston, a world renowned York jeweller who has possessed a number of famous diamonds. He kept it in his private collection for more than 60 years, when it was auctioned in 2010 in Geneva and purchased by Laurence Graff, a legendary diamond collector known as the “King of Bling.” He paid $46.2 million, which, at the time, was the most expensive diamond in the world. When Graff decided to buy this diamond he had planned to make it even more valuable than it was. Using cutting-edge technology, experts were able to eliminate potential defects considered as flaws, such as blemishes. Graff also planned to intensify the colour of the diamond, which can be achieved through cut. 

    Equally famous is the Darya-ye Noor, or “Sea of Light”, a 182 carat diamond which is pale pink in colour and weighs an impressive 186 carats. It is said to originate from the Golconda mines in India.  It was originally part of the crown jewels and was worn by many kings as part of their ceremonial dress until 1739 when the Persian army retrieved it and returned it back to Iran where research teams believe that the diamond was part of an even larger diamond that was divided into two pieces. Now featured as part of the Iranian Crown Jewels, the Darya-ye Noor is currently showcased at the Central Bank of Iran, in Tehran. 

    The Noor-ul-Ain pink diamond has also graced royal families. It is an absolutely stunning 60-carat oval brilliant-cut pink diamond which was given to Empress Farah Diba in the form of a tiara when she married Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran. The centrepiece of the tiara is the famous pink diamond, surrounded by hundreds of coloured diamonds. 

    Other famous pink diamonds include The Martian Pink diamond which is a very rare 12.04 carat stone that was named in 1976 by US jeweller Harry Winston to commemorate the year that the Americans sent a satellite to Mars and was auctioned in Hong Kong for $17.4m (£11.1m).   The Rose of Dubai a pear-shaped Fancy Coloured Loose Pink Diamond weighing an impressive 25.02 carats, and the Princie Diamond which is a cushion cut fancy intense pink diamond boasting VS2 clarity which weighs 34.65 carat.  

    Are pink diamonds a good investment?  

    The answer to this question has to be a definitive yes.   Although pink diamonds are among the most valuable jewels today, 20 years ago they were little more than a geological curiosity. Sales have been driven by savvy marketing and a growing appreciation of their uniqueness. As the main source of pink diamonds the Argyle mine estimates that there are less than 500 tender quality diamonds yet to be unearthed in their mines, each day these extremely limited edition stones are becoming rarer still.  It is for this reason that those that weigh less than one carat can often command staggeringly high prices at auction reaching anywhere between $100,000 per carat to over $1,000,000 per carat, depending on the colour intensity, cut, clarity, and other given factors.

  • SHINE BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN WITH YELLOW DIAMONDS

    Are you the sort of person who likes to break the mould and turn heads wherever you go? Do you seek out the spotlight rather than shy away? Well if the answer to either these questions is yes then you may want to consider the choice of yellow diamonds for your engagement ring or other item of diamond jewellery.
    Natural fancy coloured diamonds are rare and yellow diamonds are amongst the rarest. They have become increasingly popular over the last decade with many A-listers choosing these stunning gemstones over the tradition of white diamonds. Jennifer Lopez is reported to love yellow diamonds and is often seen wearing a stunning 30 carat yellow diamond ring on the red carpet. Heidi Klum, Hillary Clinton, Kelly Clarkson, Cheryl Cole, even American R&B star Usher all enjoy the beauty of yellow diamonds. Of course, the most famous wearer of yellow diamonds must be Marilyn Monroe. She wore a fabulous 24-carat yellow diamond, famously known as the Moon of Baroda, to the Hollywood premier of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The diamond belonged to the royal dynasty Gaekwad Maharajas and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. It was reportedly cursed, and was said to have been the source of Monroe’s misfortune and ultimately, her death.
    Nothing makes a statement quite like a yellow diamond and this is perhaps the reason that this is one of the most sought after of the natural fancy coloured diamonds. Natural Fancy yellow coloured diamonds come in various intensities: light Yellow, fancy light Yellow, fancy Yellow, fancy intense Yellow (also called Canary Yellow) and fancy vivid Yellow. In addition, yellow diamonds are often found with high clarity grading. Both facts have obvious impact on their pricing. With that in mind, the nice thing about natural Yellow Diamonds is that they are considered relatively affordable when examining the niche of natural coloured diamonds. However, prices do of course increase as the colours reach higher intensity colours. Some of the yellows with the higher intensity of colour (e.g. Fancy Vivid Yellows) are as rare as blue and pink diamonds and this will of course be reflected in the astronomical price that they can command!
    Although faint yellow in white diamonds is viewed as undesirable, fancy intense yellow is highly prized and sought after. South Africa today is currently one of the main producers of these natural coloured gems, India did yield some yellow diamonds in the 16th and 17th centuries, but this supply has been exhausted in recent times. The first authenticated yellow diamond was in fact found in South Africa and was the 10.73 yellow Eureka. By the early 20th century, South Africa had also produced the 128.51 Tiffany, the 130 carat Colenso, the 228.50 DeBeers, and the 205.07 Red Cross.

    Why are Diamonds Yellow?

    One of the main contributors towards the colouration of yellow diamonds is the presence of Nitrogen molecules occurring in higher concentrations than any other element during the diamonds formation. These molecules of nitrogen absorb blue light making the diamond appear yellow, yellow being the natural complement to the colour blue. The secondary colours for yellow diamonds include grey, green, orange, brown and even olive.

    Famous yellow diamonds

    Perhaps the most famous yellow diamonds was that discovered in South Africa in 1877 - the Tiffany Yellow diamond. This diamond was cut into a cushion style and weighs an amazing 128 carats. Set in what is known as the ‘Bird on a Rock’ setting, the diamond was made famous by the iconic movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Today, the piece, still in the ‘Bird’ setting, is on permanent display on the ground floor of Tiffany’s, New York.
    Other famous yellow diamonds include the Kimberley Octahedron which is believed to be the largest yellow diamond. This incredible gemstone weighs a phenomenal 616 carats. It is the 14th largest, gem quality, rough diamond in the world, and was discovered in 1972 in the Dutoitspan mine, South Africa.
    The Sancy diamond is another famous example of a stunning yellow diamonds and it has a rather romantic history. Weighing in at 55 carats, this yellow diamond fluoresces yellow and pink. The romantic part of the tale lies in the legend of its origins as it is thought to be an Indian diamond which Charles, Duke of Burgundy is said to have lost in on a battlefield in 1477. The name of the diamond comes from its first verified owner, Nicholas Harlai of Sancy who was a French ambassador. He purchased the diamond in Constantinople in the late 1500’s. It passed back and forth, being sold between France and England, ending up with the Astor family, who sold it, in 1978, back to France and it now resides in the Louvre.
    Due to their the growing popularity of yellow diamonds, more and more brides to be are changing their preference from the classic diamond engagement ring to yellow diamond engagement rings - adding a little touch of NOW to the classics. Here at Reve Diamonds ee offer a superb selection of yellow diamonds in a variety of shapes and cuts to suit all tastes and budgets, and provide a bespoke engagement ring design service should you be looking for that something just a little more special incorporating your very own ray of sunshine – a yellow diamond!

  • WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NATURAL AND LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS?

    If you have been considering buying a piece of diamond jewellery, perhaps an engagement ring or a pair of diamond earrings, you will no doubt have been doing your homework on the world of diamonds.  So you may well have come across the term ‘lab grown diamonds’ or seen information upon the comparison between lab-grown diamonds and naturally formed diamonds.   

    Some sources may refer to lab-grown diamonds as being ‘fake’, ‘imitation’ or a ‘simulant’, but this is actually incorrect.  The reason for this common misunderstanding is that the vast majority of lab-grown diamonds are chemically and physically the same as a natural diamond that is produced by the geological processes of time and Mother Nature.  In comparison moissanite and cubic zirconia which to the untrained naked eye both look similar to diamonds, in fact exhibit very different chemical and physical properties, and therefore are in fact imitation or simulant diamonds. 

    Here at Reve Diamonds we like all our valued customers to be equipped with the right knowledge that allows them to make the right purchasing decision based on the correct facts about diamonds. So here is our short guide to the similarities and differences between naturally formed diamonds lab grown diamonds and imitation diamonds such as cubic zirconia and moissanite that we hope will help you be well informed; 

    How are natural diamonds made and how are lab-grown diamonds created? 

    Very simply a natural (or organic) diamond is formed at high temperatures and pressures at depths of 140 to 190 kilometres (87 to 118 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source and the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centred cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. The growth of a diamond occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). They are delivered to Earth’s surface by deep-volcanic eruptions by magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites which are sought after by diamond prospectors.   

    Not all diamonds are created equally due to the extremely rigid lattice of the diamond formation meaning that it can be contaminated by a small number of impurities, such as boron and nitrogen that mix within the carbon structure.  Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) give the diamond its colour i.e. blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red.  

    Lab-created diamonds are grown in highly-controlled laboratory conditions that reproduce the Earth’s natural growing environment: high pressure and high temperature. These man-made diamonds have essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, optical and physical properties of diamonds found in nature. They aren’t technically “synthetic diamonds” since their chemical composition is that of naturally occurring diamonds; and they usually exhibit the same fire, scintillation and sparkle as organic diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are categorized as either high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds, depending on the method of their production. 

    Lab-grown diamonds (which are also referred to as cultured or engineered diamonds) are, as their name suggests, grown in highly controlled laboratory environments and take approximately 6 to 10 weeks to develop. Technologically advanced and controlled processes replicate the conditions that natural diamonds develop within when they form in the Earth’s mantle of either extreme pressure and heat or a special deposition process.  These lab-gown diamonds are formed from tiny carbon seeds of pre-existing diamonds arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. As they are formed of the same material as natural diamonds, they therefore show the same chemical and optical properties.  

    Lab-grown fancy coloured diamonds are formed when small amounts of specific trace elements are present during the growth phase of the diamond as with natural fancy coloured diamonds. In both white and fancy coloured lab-grown diamonds, the exact composition of trace elements may differ from their natural diamond counterparts. Lab diamonds can only be distinguished from natural diamonds using specialized equipment that can detect the minor differences in trace elements and crystal growth. 

    Unless you are a trained expert gemologist you will not find any visible differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds. 

    Are the flaws/inclusions in lab-grown diamonds the same as those in natural diamonds and are they graded in the same way? 

    Both lab-grown and natural diamonds will generally exhibit flaws or inclusions that will affect their clarity.  Every certified diamond gets assigned a clarity grade by the GIA or the AGS and these grading indicate how large and noticeable that particular diamond’s inclusions are. It should however be noted that the scale used to grade clarity in lab-grown ‘v’ naturally formed diamonds is a different. 

    As lab-grown diamonds are cultured in a molten metal solution as a result they will have metallic inclusions which can usually only be identified with 10x magnification so are not visible to the naked eye. These metallic inclusions do not occur in naturally formed diamonds. 

    Natural diamonds contain inclusions like crystals, feathers, clouds and pinpoints which are caused by violent volcanic eruptions and all kinds of elements as they rise towards the surface of the Earth. Only the rarest diamonds emerge with no inclusions in perfect condition. 

    The grading system used for lab-grown and natural diamonds is different. The GIA does not grade lab-grown diamonds in the same way that it grades natural diamonds.  The GIA issues a ‘Synthetic Diamond Grading Report’ for all lab-grown diamonds, which is quite different from the standard grading report.  As previously mentioned, lab-grown diamonds display visual characteristics such as colour zoning, metallic inclusions, weak strain patterns, and colours of ultraviolet fluorescence to differentiate them from natural diamonds and so the Synthetic Diamond Grading Report offers a more general description of colour and clarity.  After a lab-grown diamond is graded, the diamond’s girdle is laser-inscribed with its report number and a given statement that the stone is laboratory grown. 

    So which diamond offers the better value – natural or lab-grown?  

    Many retailers of lab-grown diamonds claim that these diamonds cost approximately 30% less than natural diamonds of a comparable quality and size.  However, inventories of lab-grown diamonds are often quite limited compared to natural diamond inventories, therefore making your choice of the perfect diamond more limited. When you consider that many more natural resources and work go into delivering a natural diamond to the jewellers shop than the lab-grown diamond, this is not a surprising figure.  However what must be borne in mind is that lab-grown diamonds have no resale value whilst natural diamonds at the very least retain their value, and in some cases show an increase, and can be sold on at a later date if desired.  

    What are imitation or simulant diamonds such as Moissanite or Cubic Zirconia? 

    Natural Moissanite originally came from space and was created by a meteorite that fell to Earth being composed of crystals of silicon carbide. Natural Moissanite is incredibly rare, so Moissanite is now created in the laboratory-created and engineered to look similar to a natural diamond, but is physically quite different from an organic diamond. 

    Cubic Zirconia (also commonly referred to as CZ) was first created in a laboratory in 1976.   It was made to offer a low cost alternative to natural diamonds that is durable but with a similar sparkle to that of a natural diamond. Cubic zirconia is a synthesized (man-made) crystalline diamond simulant mineral that is colourless, hard, and flawless. 

    Both of these diamond simulants are not made of carbon crystals, and therefore do not have the same brilliance as diamonds and for that reason, simulants sell at much lower prices than lab-grown diamonds. 

    Whilst naturally formed and lab-grown diamonds are chemically exactly the same, their qualities and brilliance is judged somewhat differently by diamond experts.   Natural diamonds were formed in nature between 1 billion to 3.3 billion years ago and this reason alone makes them a very valuable commodity as they are artefacts of our relationship with the Earth on which we live.  The symbolism behind that and how many years natural diamonds have been in formation, for many people makes them the only choice for a jewellery item that is to be given in love and cherished  for many years to come.  

  • THE GREAT PRETENDER - HOW TO TELL IF A DIAMOND IS FAKE

    As diamond experts one of the questions we get frequently asked is how to tell if a diamond is real or a fake! The bad news is that if you are not familiar with the structure and components of a diamond you may be led to think that a gemstone is a diamond when it is in fact an entirely different stone such as moissanite or cubic zirconia. In addition, it is almost impossible to spot a fake from areal diamond with the naked untrained eye as there is virtually nothing that you can feel or see to help you spot the difference. For this reason it is essential to know how to spot a fake diamond and the good news is that there are a number of simple tests that that you can carry out that can help you to spot a fake diamond. Of course no single at-home test should be regarded as conclusive proof either way, and we always recommend that you contact an expert such as the highly experienced team here at Reve Diamonds as we have professional experience and equipment to confirm if a diamond is real or fake.

    Here are some simple tests that you can carry out to help you spot a real from a fake diamond:

    Look at the diamond and setting through a loupe

    A loupe is a magnifying glass that you can buy at most jewellers and this piece of equipment will let you take a closer look at your prospective diamond and its setting. When looking at real diamond you will notice that due to the fact that diamonds are created by natural processes there will be some imperfections in the carbon. A fake diamond would not show such inclusions and would look to be perfect. It should be noted that laboratory grown diamonds will also appear to be perfect when viewed through the loupe, and therefore you need to exercise some degree of caution when discarding perfect gems as fakes so ensure that you bring the stone to an expert.
    Also observe closely the edges of the diamond as a real diamond will have sharp edges whilst a fake will show some rounded edges and fake diamond generally show abrasions or scratches.
    Lastly look at the settings and mounting of the stone in question. Take note of any marks that show what metal was used and if the metal is gold plated or silver there is a very high possibility that it is not a real diamond as no jeweller worth his/her salt would mount a true diamond in a cheap metal. The vast majority of diamonds are mounted in gold or platinum. Look inside the ring’s centre for markings e.g. the notes 10K, 14K, and 18K indicate the type of gold used and the markings PT and Plat refer to platinum. If you see a number such as 585, 770, 900, and 950, those markings also indicate platinum or gold as well. A ‘C.Z.’ stamp or engraving indicates that the gemstone is a cubic zirconia, and not a real diamond. In addition if the setting itself looks to be of poor quality, this probably indicates that it is not going to be a real diamond.

    The fog test

    For the fog test, hold the diamond or ring between two fingers and breathe on it with a puff of air the same way that you would if you were fogging up a bathroom mirror. A light fog will form on a fake diamond for a short time due to the moisture and heat in your breath, whereas a real diamond will not because it won’t retain the heat as real diamonds effectively conduct heat and therefore disperse heat quickly.

    The rainbow test - hold the gemstone in the light to see how it sparkles

    Diamonds reflect light in a very unique way. Inside the stone, the diamond will sparkle gray and white which is known as ‘brilliance’, while outside of the gem, it will reflect rainbow colours onto other surfaces and this effect is referred to as ‘fire’. A fake diamond will have rainbow colours that you can see inside the diamond and in fact moissanite and cubic zirconia, the two most common diamond simulants, actually throw more rainbows and more fiery stuff than a real diamond ever will as they are both slightly more refractive than real diamonds, hence that extra fire.

    The water test

    Find a normal sized drinking glass and fill it ¾ of the way with water. Carefully drop the loose stone into the glass. If the gemstone sinks then it is a real diamond but if it floats underneath or at the surface of the water, you have a fake diamond. A real diamond has high density, so the water test shows if your stone matches this level of density.

    Heat the stone and see if it shatters

    Diamonds are made of incredibly strong material and are unresponsive to high heat. To carry out this test use a glass full of cold water and use a set of plyers or heatproof gloves hold the stone. Heat the stone with a lighter for approximately 40 seconds, then it directly into the glass of cold water. If the stone shatters, it is made of weaker components and is not a real diamond. This is due to the quick expansion and contraction of heat, and weak materials like glass or cubic zirconium will crack and break. A true diamond will show no reaction as diamonds are one of the strongest materials on the planet so by their nature are resistant to such heat tests as they will disperse heat quickly and be unaffected by the change in temperature.

    Test the stone’s refractivity

    This test is most effective on loose diamonds. To test the diamond’s refractivity you can simply use the newspaper or ‘read-through’ effect. Place the stone flat side down onto the page of a newspaper with lots of text/lettering. Ensure the lighting is bright and that no objects or people are casting a shadow on the diamond. If you are re able to read the letters of the newspaper, even if it is a bit blurry, the diamond is a fake. If the diamond is real, its facets will refract the light in different directions, rather than in a straight line and due to this refraction of light, you will not be able to clearly see through the diamond to read the newspaper.

    Alternatively if you do not have newspaper to use, then the dot test is an excellent alternative. Place a white piece of paper on a flat surface and draw a small dot with a pen. Lay the stone onto the dot with the flat side down. Look down onto the paper through the pointed end of the diamond. If you can a circular reflection inside the gemstone, the stone is a fake. If you cannot see the dot or a reflection in the stone, then the diamond is real.

    While various tests can be used to tell if a diamond is real, we strongly advise that you use the services of a professional diamond expert assist you in determining if a diamond is genuine. Bringing your stone to a diamond professional will give you peace of mind, because several proven methods and tools are used to determine if a diamond is real such as using a thermal conductivity probe (aka “The Diamond Tester), testing with high profile weighing, using electrical conductivity, examination under a microscope or by x-ray. Of course the way to avoid buying a fake diamond is only to buy from a reputable source and to ensure that your diamond or item of diamond jewellery comes with a legitimate GIA or AGS certificate and to ensure the diamond matches the certificate.

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