Loose Diamonds

  • ARE YOU GREEN WITH ENVY FOR GREEN DIAMONDS?

    Green diamonds traditionally symbolise peace, tranquillity, growth and fertility. They are amongst the rarest and the most highly-valued natural fancy coloured diamonds available ranking alongside blue, purple, pink, and violet diamonds in terms of rarity value. However, due to the popularity of blue and pink diamonds they have become somewhat obscured, although in actual fact they are rarer and this is largely due to the way in which green diamonds are formed.  Here we take a closer look at this most intriguing of the natural fancy coloured diamonds:

    How does a diamond get its green colour? 

    Diamonds are formed when organised carbon atoms are pressurised and bound together in the earth’s core. As we know colourless diamonds are chemically pure and structurally perfect.  Whilst in comparison natural coloured diamonds are formed when impurities occur in the chemical bonding, or defects in the crystalline structure. However, green diamonds are the exception. They acquire their unique colour from an extremely rare process of natural irradiation that occurs where carbon deposits in the earth contain highly radioactive material.

    A natural green diamond will be exposed to radiation over a period of thousands of years during its formation underground. The radiation, usually coming from uranium near the Earth’s surface, has the innate ability to displace carbon atoms in the diamond from their positions. This changes the stones ability to absorb and refract light which allows it to reflect the green colour on its surface. The longer the diamond is exposed to radiation, the more vivid the green colour becomes. The fact that these conditions have to be absolutely perfect for a green diamond to form is the reason that natural green diamonds are a genuinely rare occurrence and this is what makes this gemstone so intriguing.

    There is however no reason to be worried about the levels of radiation in green diamonds. Because this process takes place underground over thousands of years the actual diamond is rendered harmless. The green colour does not contain harmful chemicals and is merely the green light being reflected on the crystal, and the diamond retains only the radioactive stains NOT the properties of radioactivity.

    The majority of natural green diamonds are mined in Brazil, Venezuela and Zimbabwe

    How are green coloured diamonds graded?

    The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a special colour-grading system for fancy coloured diamonds including green diamonds. This takes into account the hue, tone and saturation of the rocks.  The term ‘hue’ refers to the primary colour of the diamond, the tint which appears on the surface i.e., blue, red, green, yellow. ‘Tone’ refers to how light or how dark the colour is, with the faintest grade nearing transparency while the darkest leans to black. ‘Saturation’ refers to how heavy the colour appears on the stone. The more vivid, deeper colours are graded higher on the chart.

    How is a green diamonds colour intensity measured for grading?

    The longer a green diamond is exposed to radiation then the deeper into the gem the colour will have penetrated and this will also determine the hue.  As green diamonds are less affected with impurities, it is often difficult to classify these diamonds according to colour and they can range from faint green to fancy deep green. Pure green diamonds are graded as follows: Faint Green, Very Light Green, Light Green, Fancy Light Green, Fancy Green, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.  Those classified Fancy Vivid Green are the rarest as they hardly ever occur so making them the highest priced.

    Very often green diamonds will also display two secondary colours these being blue and yellow.  You will therefore often see them colour graded as yellow, yellowish, blue, bluish, brown, brownish, gray, grayish, gray yellowish, and grayish yellowish.

    To establish the origin of colour green diamonds are always submitted to a gem laboratory. However even with today’s advanced technology it is not always possible for the lab to produce a satisfactory assessment.  Most of them are not green all the way through and many will show green radiation blotches or stains on the surface which get polished away during the cutting process, which lead to a loss of colour.  In these cases diamond cutters have to work their way around this in order to present the highest colour saturation in the best way.  It is highly unusual for a stone to be evenly coloured all the way through, but they do occur.

    What are Chameleon Diamonds? 

    To add to the intrigue, mystery and beauty of natural green diamonds some display another extremely rare phenomenon. This is their ability to change colour to suit their environment, hence the name given to this type of diamond - ‘Chameleon Diamonds’.

    Chameleon Diamonds are a variety of natural green diamonds that normally possess a green colour but can change from brown to yellow dependent upon their exposure to light and heat.  For example, when heated or kept in the dark, they can turn to bright yellow temporarily and as they cool down or are gradually exposed to light, they turn back to their original green hue. There is no exact explanation as to why this phenomenon happens and no other diamond possesses this ability which is the reason why Chameleon Diamonds are twice as rare and are highly sought-after by diamond enthusiasts.   A very famous Chameleon Diamond is The Chopard Chameleon which is a 31.31 carat oval shaped diamond.

    Famous natural green diamonds

    As green diamonds are so rare, only a handful of them are ever found.  Perhaps the most famous green diamond in the world is the ‘Dresden Green’. Believed to have been discovered in India in the 18th century this stunning green diamond weighs an amazing 41 carats.  It is the largest the known natural green diamond to have been discovered and has a clarity grade of VS-1, which was received by the GIA in 1988 as uniquely its colouration is uniformly distributed throughout.   It was acquired by Augustus, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony in 1742 and it remains on view in the Green Vaults in Dresden today.  It sets the benchmark for all stones of its kind because its colour is natural and homogenous all the way through.

    Also famous is the ‘The Ocean Dream’ whose name refers to its unique Fancy deep blue-green shade that resembles the crystalline image of a very, very deep ocean. It weighs 5.5 carats and was put on exhibition in the Smithsonian’s ‘Splendour of Gems’ exhibition.

    The ‘Aurora Green’ holds the title of the largest ever Fancy Vivid Green diamond weighing 5.03 carat. Its size is not the only remarkable property of this diamond is that it also has VS2 clarity and no fluorescence which is extremely rare for such a diamond.   It was auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong on May 31st 2016 and sold for a very impressive $16.8 Million which makes the price per carat in excess of $3.3 million dollars!  This broke the record set at auction by ‘The Ocean Dream’ that sold in 2014 for $8.6 million, equivalent to $1.5 million per carat.

    As mentioned before another famous natural green diamond is ‘The Chopard Chameleon’ which was acquired in 2007 by Swiss jeweller Chopard. He revealed this stunning green diamond to the world in its delicate setting at Baselworld in 2008.  It is the centre piece of a ring surrounded by a delicate pavé setting of tiny fancy coloured diamonds and was designed by the renowned jeweller Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele. The Chopard Chameleon is the largest known chameleon diamond in the world, comfortably exceeding the previous record holder in size, a 22.28 carat chameleon heart shaped diamond.  It was estimated to be worth $10 Million in 2008.

    Famous celebrities who wear natural green diamonds 

    As green diamonds are so rare, they are not many who have been lucky enough to own/wear these amazing gemstones apart from royalty and the favoured few.

    The ‘Orlov Diamond’ is a bluish-green diamond which belonged to Catherine the Great of Russia and is set upon her Imperial Sceptre. There are a total of 180 facets on the diamond which features a rose-style cut and this diamond is said to have the proportions of half a chicken’s egg

    Queen Elizabeth is the lucky owner of a very rare chameleon diamond which was bought for Buckingham Palace anonymously. It is a very impressive 3 carat in weight and is heart shaped.

    In 2010 and in 2011, Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively was seen wearing a stunning green diamond ring which was designed by Lorraine Schwartz and consists of exquisite deep green coloured diamonds.

  • 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”……. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND – BUT HOW DO THEY COMPARE TO GEMSTONES

    Diamonds are a girl’s best friend sang Marilyn Monroe in the iconic 1953 movie ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and there is no doubt that the love affair that women have with diamonds has survived decades.   Diamonds have an irresistible charm and a fascination that lasts eternity (even beyond a relationship in some cases!) as the lyrics of this song illustrate: “Men grow cold / As girls grow old / And we all lose our charms in the end / But square-cut or pear-shaped / These rocks don't lose their shape / Diamonds are a girl's best friend." 

    When we think about an engagement ring or special piece of jewellery we automatically envisage the centrepiece being a stunning white diamond.  But there are many other choices of fancy natural coloured diamonds such as black, yellow, red, even pale pink – practically a colour for every diamond lover.  But is choosing to have a fancy natural coloured diamond on your engagement ring or necklace a wise choice when there are so many beautiful coloured gemstones available such as stunning Sapphires, the passion of deep red Rubies, the delicate beauty of an Emerald etc., that can also look beautiful set in a ring or piece of jewellery? Putting to one side the difference in price between diamonds and gemstones, we look at how diamonds compare to gemstones and if they REALLY ARE a girl’s best friend?   

    How and where are gemstones and diamonds formed and what are the differences in formation? 

    Diamonds are in fact categorised as ‘gemstones’ this is because all gemstones are rare naturally formed crystals which are made from certain elements or compounds.  One of the differences between diamonds and gemstones is that gemstones such as sapphires, emeralds, rubies etc are created in rocks found in the earth's crust approximately three to 25 miles beneath the earth's surface.  In contrast diamonds are formed much deeper in the Earth's surface, even as deep as 750km down into the Earth  

    Gemstones are formed in rocks of which there are three kinds within the earth’s crust - sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic.   
    Sedimentary rock is formed by the deposition and successive cementation of material at the Earth's surface within bodies of water. When water mixes with the minerals present on the Earth's surface rock is worn away.  Fragments of mineral rich water and wind seep down into the cracks and cavities within the Earth's surface where they deposit layers of minerals which over time are compressed so forming gemstones.   These gemstones include Opal, Zircon, Jasper and Malachite. 

    Igneous rock can be formed either by the cooling and crystallization of magma beneath the earth's surface (intrusive/plutonic) or by lava flowing to the earth's surface (extrusive/volcanic).  Interlinking crystals grow within intrusive igneous rock, sometimes forming gemstones depending on (1) if elements are present (2) the cooling time and (3) the environment.  For example, in deeper environments, the slower the cooling time and therefore the larger the gemstone is. Gemstones are formed in extrusive igneous rock when molten magma with temperatures of between 700 °C to 1300 °C runs through the rock and then reach the surface as lava. If the magma doesn't reach the surface, it cools more slowly, crystallising and forming coarse-grained minerals. Gemstones found in igneous rock include Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine, Moonstone, Diamond, Tanzanite, Topaz and Zircon. 

    Metamorphic rock is formed when intense underground heat and pressure change pre-existing minerals into something new.  In essence, the underground pressure forces minerals and elements that are already there to form into beryls. These gemstones include Emerald, Aquamarine, Jade, Ruby and Zircon. 

    One of the most significant differences between diamonds and other gemstones lies within the formation of a diamond.  Diamonds are the only gem formed from highly pressurised carbon which is a single element.  Other varieties of gemstones are formed from compounds of two or more elements e.g. sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. The sapphire's intense colour comes from traces of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium. 

    What causes the price difference between diamonds and other gemstones? 

    There is a notable difference in price between diamonds and other gemstones. The reasons for this are that the price of gemstones responds to normal market pressures of demand supply, but this is not the case for diamonds.  There is a monopoly on the price of diamonds, as they are held artificially high. Plus, a huge quantity of diamonds are also being held in storage in order to create a shortage and so keep the price up. This price manipulation is allowed in diamonds but prohibited for other gems and precious metals. 

    The characteristics of diamonds ‘v’ gemstones also contribute to the difference in value.  Whilst white (colourless) diamonds are the most common type, as has been noted previously natural fancy coloured diamonds are also found in different parts of the world. This makes diamonds very rare and the rarer the diamond, the higher the price will be. Traditionally, the value of a gemstone is determined using the naked eye. Aside from rarity, the value of a gemstone goes higher if it looks older. Diamonds, on the other hand, are analysed and valued using a more systematic system. This system is now being applied to other gemstones as well and is approved by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) 

    Are there any reasons that I should consider investing in gemstones as opposed to diamonds?  

    Following DeBeers’ exceptionally successful marketing campaign of the 1930s, diamonds became seen as the major investment gemstone. However, some experts believe that the tide may be turning in the world of investment gemstones.  In recent years white diamonds have not enjoyed the same increase in price as coloured stones like rubies and tanzanite. So, should you consider investing in gemstones? Here are some reasons why: 

    • Economy and politics are fickle things and gemstones are welcomed as an alternative store of value for those wanting to diversify away from paper investments. Specialists argue that investors should expect to hold a gemstone for 10 years or more before seeing a sizable return on investment, as stones tend to go up at an average rate of 5% p.a. 

     

    • Certain precious stones are very rare and therefore particularly valuable.  These include: 

    Tanzanite which is especially rare as it is only found in a small area of four by two kilometres at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Mayara Region of North Tanzania.  The number of chance natural events that created this beautiful stone 585 million years ago means that finding Tanzanite anywhere else on earth is a thousand times less likely than finding a diamond.  Furthermore, at the current rate of mining, it is estimated that the available supply will be entirely exhausted within the next 25 years. As a result, tanzanite has been dubbed the ‘gemstone of a generation’ because this generation will be the last with the privilege of buying from the primary market before supply is exhausted. 

    Rubies are less rare, as they are mined all over the globe. However, for a very long while pigeon blood rubies were only available in Myanmar, and so Burmese rubies still enjoy a certain pedigree. The term pigeon blood refers simply to the brilliant red of the gemstones mined from the Mogok region which is due to the chemical composition of the earth and the conditions of the climate. The incredibly rich cocktail of minerals infuses the earth with gem upon gem upon gem and this is the reason why Myanmar is noted as the original source of the ruby.  Tanzania and Vietnam now also boast small quantities of the gem, but Myanmar’s long-standing reputation protects Burmese pigeon blood rubies as the preferred option.   A particular ruby that is perfect as an investment opportunity is the Star Ruby. Star Rubies are rarer and therefore much more valuable than the average ruby: only one out of every one hundred rubies mined is a Star Ruby. The stone exhibits a very distinct six-ray star that moves across the surface as light passes over it. 

    When considering choosing gemstones as an investment, as with diamonds, look at the four ‘c’s’ of carat, cut, colour and clarity.   Coloured gemstones, in particular, call for an analysis of hue, depth and brilliancy.  Brilliancy refers to the light a stone reflects in one position under normal light conditions. This measure of sparkle is highly dependent on skilled cutting. Depth is the height of the stone divided by its minimum width. The ideal range sits between 60%-80%. Below this percentage, the stone is considered shallow. A shallow stone with a light tone will find it tricky to hold on to its colour. On the other hand, a stone that has a dark tone, with a depth beyond this range might blackout. Hue is the gradation of colour. Finally, all serious stones should be accompanied by the appropriate documentation, certifying the quality of the stone as well as that it has been sourced responsibly. 

    If you are seriously looking for investment gemstones you will most definitely need to have your wits about you as coloured gem prices have increased and decreased throughout history – this social luxury is subject to social change and fashions!  It should be noted that whilst other gemstones are beautiful in their own rights, white diamonds are still overridingly the winner in stealing the heart of every woman alive and therefore will always command the premium price and be seen as the best investment. All this said which do you prefer coloured diamonds or gemstones?  

  • THE FIVE MOST ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BLACK DIAMONDS

    In recent years black diamonds have grown massively in popularity to become one of the most popular of the fancy coloured natural diamonds.  The reasons for this may be that the demand for non-conventional engagement rings has grown significantly the styles of which perfectly suits the incorporation of black diamonds. Plus many celebrities are now wearing jewellery and engagement rings featuring black diamonds.   However, even though black diamonds are so popular, there is still a lot that is unknown about them and a lot of misinformation and misconception surrounding these stunning gemstones.  Here are answers to the five most asked questions about black diamonds: 

    1. What is a black diamond? Is it real and what is the difference between black and white diamonds? 

    Black diamonds re MOST DEFINITELY real!  If you ask a variety of experts in the diamond industry what is a black diamond?" this will result in several answers as there are in fact two types of black diamonds:  

    1. Natural black diamonds (also called fancy diamonds or Carbonados). These are quite different than other natural fancy coloured diamonds and for that reason are widely considered to be rarer. The main difference is that natural coloured diamonds get their colour due to impurities that are attached to them during the formation process i.e. boron causes blue diamonds.  Black diamonds are created from an impure form of polycrystalline diamond consisting of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon.  
    1. Treated black diamonds. These are regular white diamonds that are usually of extremely low value due to the high amount of inclusions in them. Since they have so many inclusions, as white diamonds they would only want to use them as industry grade diamonds and not for use in jewellery making. However, with the help of treatments such as irradiation or heat they are transformed into "colourless treated black diamonds" also called "black coloured diamonds".  This type of black diamond is the cheapest type of black diamonds. 

    Black diamonds and white (colourless) diamonds are almost the same. The main difference is that the black colour is produced by the inclusion of graphite in the crystalline structure during the diamond's formation, before the kimberlite deposits reached the Earth's surface. Therefore, the only difference between them is that black diamonds have the graphite inclusion and white diamonds do not. They are both formed by high pressure on the element of carbon under the Earth's surface, that produces a repeating geometric pattern in the crystal lattice. Black diamonds are completely real diamonds and almost exactly the same as white diamonds except for the colour.  

    1. Are Black Diamonds rare and are they considered a good investment? 

    Whilst they are by no means the rarest occurring colour in nature, natural fancy black diamonds are indeed more rare than common colourless diamonds and they are one of the most valued for their artistic beauty and dark allure, all of which means that they can command a higher price.  Within the jewellery trade blue, red and pink diamonds are considered the most desirable of natural fancy coloured diamonds for investment (where investment is defined as a diamond whose value rises considerably over time as their supply deteriorates and demand continues to rise).  A natural fancy black diamond would only be considered an investment item if it was considerably large or had a distinctive feature or factor that would make it in high demand in the market.  

    1. Are Black Diamonds Expensive? 

    The answer to this question must be yes and no. Treated or enhanced black diamonds are less expensive and the demand for them is relatively low as many people looking for a piece of jewellery or a ring incorporating a black diamond will prefer to opt for the real thing i.e. a natural fancy coloured black diamond.  Natural fancy black diamonds are in fact quite affordable, but obviously it depends on the size of the diamond and the quality.   Because black diamonds are heavily included and porous, they are often harder to polish.  This can result in blemishes and nicks in the surface that may affect the cut. When buying black diamonds make sure the surface of them is smooth and polished and that the diamond is not porous.   GIA certified natural black diamonds of a good quality can easily fetch $1,500-$3,000 per carat for diamonds weighing 1.00 - 3.00 carats, this is however still cheaper than a colourless white diamond which makes Black Diamonds an excellent cheap alternative to the conventional white diamond ring. 

    1. Are There any Famous Black Diamonds? 

    Possibly the most well know and famous black diamond is the Black Orlov. This was a cushion-cut 67.50 carat diamond brooch. The black diamond was surrounded by 108 white diamonds and suspended from a 124-diamond necklace.  The Black Orlov is also referred to as the "Eye of Brahma" as folklore has it that an uncut black stone of 195 carats was pried out of the eye of the statute of the sacred Hindu God Brahma, from a temple in Southern India.  Other famous black diamonds include the Korloff Noir, the Black Star of Africa, the Gruosi diamond, the Table of Islam and the Spirit of de Grisogono diamond.  

    The largest black diamond in the world is the old Moghul-cut, 312.24 carat, black Spirit of de Grisogono which was mined in the Central African Republic.  The Black Star of Africa is a very impressive 202 carat Fancy Black diamond but sadly it was seen for the last time in Tokyo in 1971.   The Gruosi diamond was a heart-shaped, 115.34 carat black diamond that was discovered in India in 1998 and was cut by the world renowned black diamond cutting specialist, de Grisogono.  The Table of Islam is a Fancy Black square emerald cut diamond weighing in at an impressive 160.18 carats but little is actually known about this diamond. The 88 carat Korloff Noir diamond is currently located with the Korloff jewellers in France and is reputed to bring good luck to the owner. 

    1. Do Black Diamonds Look Good as Jewellery?  

    If you love the allure and mystery that a black diamond possesses then you will no doubt agree that black diamonds, look stunning when used in jewellery and suit both men and women. Black diamonds are seen in many pieces of modern day from necklaces to cufflinks, engagement rings to bracelets and even in wedding rings. Many celebrities wear black diamonds one of the most famous being the black diamond halo ring engagement ring that Mr. Big gave to Carrie Bradshaw in the hugely popular tv show and movie Sex and the City.  Alternative fashion icon Carmen Electra received a black diamond engagement ring and Katherine Heigl, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Jennifer Lawrence, Lauren Conrad, and Sarah Jessica Parker have all been seen wearing black diamond earrings   

  • A DIAMOND FIT FOR ROYALTY - PRINCESS CUT DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RINGS

    Every woman wants to feel like a princess when she meets ‘the one’ and he pops the question so what better way to make your lady feel like royalty than by presenting her with a Princess Cut diamond engagement ring and make her dreams come true?  

    The princess cut diamond engagement ring is one of the favourite and most admired diamond shapes, being chic, classical and always in style.  This cut was designed to showcase the incredible brilliance and sparkle of a diamond with its many facets, and this is perhaps why this cut of diamond is such a popular choice for engagement rings. 

    What is a Princess Cut Diamond? 

    The Princess Cut displays a flat square or rectangular face, with an inverted pyramid profile and usually comprises of either 57 or 76 facets. When viewed from above the Princess cut has a square or rectangular shape, with sharp corners. From the side it resembles a pyramidal with four bevelled sides. This unique shape and faceting style creates greater dispersion of light than any other square shaped diamond cut and Princess Cut diamonds also give the welcome illusion of being of greater size due to their diameter being 15% larger than round diamonds of the same weight.  In addition a princess cut diamond with the same width as the diameter of a round brilliant will weigh more due to the fact that it has four corners which would otherwise have been cut off and rounded to form a round brilliant. 

    What is the history of the Princess Cut Diamond? 

    The Princess Cut is thought to have originated from another cut of diamond known as the ‘Profile’ cut which was created in the early 1960s. In 1979 a group of Israeli jewellers created the Princess Cut (or Square Modified Brilliant) as it is now known today.  In the 1980s optical research saw the creation of the modern Princess Cut with its many unique light refracting facets which are arranged in a similar way to those of a round brilliant cut diamond.   

    Why a Princess Cut Diamond is the perfect engagement ring 

    Princess Cut Diamond engagement rings are second only to the classic round cut in popularity with  brides to be throughout the world, but what is the reason for the popularity of this cut? 

    Quite simply a Princess Cut diamond is absolutely stunning as its many facets maximise brilliance within a diamond. However, it is also a versatile option as its remarkable and unique structure makes it as suitable for a solitaire engagement ring as for a halo setting. The neat edges of a Princess Cut diamond look totally stunning when used as part of accompanying diamonds within cluster or trilogy styles, and this cut of diamond looks equally as good set within either platinum, white or yellow gold as it makes a bold statement all of its own.   

    Are Princess Cut diamonds engagement rings affordable?   

    As wastage is minimised during the cutting process, the Princess Cut retains much of its crystal weight throughout the process, which helps to keep its cost down when it comes to crafting into an engagement ring. A good example of this is that a round brilliant cut generally yields approximately 40%,  in comparison a Princess Cut will yield between 80% and 90% and this difference can therefore be therefore be reflected in a more affordable price tag. 

    Choosing a Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring 

    There are several factor s to consider when choosing a Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring: 

    Clarity: One of the advantages of good a Princess Cut diamond is that its proportions allow it to exhibit a significant amount of brilliance and sparkle, which have the effect of making the diamonds inclusions less visible.  The best method to find a Princess Cut diamond with good clarity at an affordable price is to choose diamond graded VS1, VS2 or SI1, Princess Cut diamonds with clarity lower than SI1 are rare.  When viewing the Princess Cut diamond ensure that the stone does not have any inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.  In addition make sure that the Princess Cut diamond you choose doesn’t have serious inclusions in its corners, which are the weak spots of this cut. If there are large inclusions in these places, the corners will be weakened even further and be more prone to chipping. 

    Cut: When it comes to evaluating the quality of the cut of a Princess Cut diamond there is no specifically agreed proportions the best Princess Cut should have. Princess Cut diamonds, its cut will not be assigned an overall quality grade in the GIA grading report (unlike the round cut).  You will only be able to see a grade for the diamond’s polish and symmetry, which should have a grade of at least Good.  

    So what should you look for in terms if cut quality?  Generally, the best Princess Cut will maximize the diamond’s brilliance, without making it look too deep or too shallow. The rule of thumb for Princess Cut diamonds is to look for stones whose total depth (or height) is about 70% of their width. When viewed from the top, the diamond should look square (stones that look rectangular are usually cheaper). Ideally look for a certified Ideal cut which will ensure that the diamond that you have chosen is likely to be more fiery and sparkly than a less valuable stone. 

    Colour: In terms of evaluating the colour of a Princess Cut diamond, we recommend that you look for diamonds that do not have a visible yellow tint. This means that you should not go lower than the Near Colourless range (which contains the G, H, I and J grades) or you will start seeing some yellow. 

    SettingWhen buying a Princess Cut diamond, you should make sure that it is set in a mounting that protects the stone’s corners.  The reason for this is that this is area where the diamond gets very thin, so if the corners are not well protected, a strong blow could chip them. A V-prong setting is a great choice for keeping a princess cut stone safe. If your Princess Cut diamond engagement ring is to set a style that is set with accent diamonds, make sure that the accent diamonds are the same colour as the centre diamond or no more than one grade apart. 

    We offer a superb selection of Princess Cut diamond engagement rings to choose from in a variety of styles and settings to suit all budgets.

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