The Four C’s of Diamonds
Intense, fiery, brilliant, beautiful — there is a lot to love about diamonds. That’s probably why they’re most commonly associated with celebrations of love. Borsheims makes it easy to follow your heart – as well as your head – when selecting diamond jewelry.
Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond’s beauty; however, it’s one of the most important. The term “cut” can mean many things. In the jewelry industry, it is used to describe the shape, cutting style, proportions & finish of a diamond. Diamonds can be cut into almost any shape.
GIA’s diamond cut grade predicts levels of brightness, fire, & scintillation, which indicate how well a diamond’s proportions work together to return white and colored light to the observer. Face-up appearance, design & craftsmanship are critical to a diamond’s overall cut quality. Weight ratio, durability, polish & symmetry are all included in GIA’s Diamond Cut Grading System.
Crown: The upper part of the diamond above the girdle which includes a large flat area on top called the table, and several facets below it
Girdle: The perimeter of a diamond that separates the top crown from the pavilion below and is where a diamond is set and held in a piece of jewelry
Pavilion: The bottom section of a cut diamond; the pavilion begins below the girdle and is typically cut with a culet facet
Table Star Facets: These facets include the table facet that sits on top of the crown and the triangular facets that extend from the table to the upper girdle facets
Bezel or Kite Facet: Bezel facets are diamond shaped and lay between the table and the edge of the girdle
Upper Girdle Facet: These upper triangular facets are closet to the girdle edge
Lower Girdle Facet: These triangular facets extend from the bottom of the girdle to the culet
Pavilion Facet: Kite or diamond shaped facets that look like arrows
Culet: The point or very small facet at the bottom of a diamond
When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed through the top of the stone. If the cut of the diamond is too deep, some light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion. If the cut is too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected, thus reducing brilliancy.
The clarity grade is the degree to which the diamond is free of inclusions and blemishes. Nature produces very few things that are absolutely perfect. Most diamonds have internal birthmarks, known as inclusions, and external characteristics called blemishes. These clarity characteristics are evaluated under 10X magnification, by trained diamond graders, based on the number, nature, size, location and color of each characteristic. Clarity characteristics are also used to distinguish one diamond from another.
Also available are a small percentage of diamonds that have been clarity enhanced by chemical infusion and laser treatments. Clarity enhanced diamonds are typically offered at significant savings; therefore they are a great way to get a bigger look for your money.
Fracture Filling (Clarity enhanced by Chemical Infusion) – Fracture filling is a process for filling structural separations that occur naturally during the growth of a diamond, or during the cutting process. Its purpose is to reduce the visibility of surface reaching breaks or fractures in the diamond, which stand out in high relief compared to the rest of the diamond. The break is filled with non-permanent filler that has a refractive index close to a diamond, making it less noticeable. A jeweler can identify the fracture filled diamond by looking for a flash of color, or “flash effect”. Fracture filled diamonds may appear to be one to two clarity grades higher after enhancement, while color grades may decrease in some diamonds. To care properly for a fracture filled diamond, jewelers recommend against soaking the diamond in a heated, ultrasonic cleaning solution or using under a steamer. It is important to notify your jeweler that your diamond has been fractured filled before they begin any repair work on your piece to ensure they use the appropriate care.
Laser drilling is done to remove or minimize the visibility of dark inclusions in the diamond. A laser is used to create a microscopic tunnel from the diamond surface to the inclusion therefore allowing light to reach the inclusion. If further treatment is needed, an acid is injected through the drill hole to “bleach” the inclusion. The clarity grade of these diamonds is seldom changed after drilling, the original inclusions are still there and the laser hole itself is another inclusion. The positive benefit is that it does improve the appearance of the diamond. Laser drilling is not considered detrimental to the durability of the stone; therefore no special requirements are necessary in caring for these diamonds.
The color scale below reflects how closely a diamond approaches the colorless range. Although most people recognize diamonds as colorless, true colorless diamonds are quite rare. The absolute finest white diamond carries a “D” color grade. These exceptionally white diamonds make up a small fraction of all mined diamonds; therefore most jewelry is made using diamonds in the near-colorless range. When comparing different color grades, most people will be unable to see a difference in color, although there can be a significant difference in price.
Surprising to learn, diamonds are also available in a variety of colors including red, purple, pink, green, orange, yellow, blue, brown and black. These extremely rare and unique diamonds are termed “Fancy Colors” and are graded based on the hue, tone and saturation of their color. The more intense the color, the higher the rarity factor. The most rare of the fancy colors is red.
Shop By Color
In order to alter their original color, diamonds can be irradiated using a nuclear reactor and controlled heating known as “annealing”. This improves the color of the diamond, to make it appear the same shade as natural fancy colored diamonds such as yellow, blue, green, brown, and pink diamonds. Sophisticated equipment, such as an infrared spectrometer, is needed to identify the origin of color. A jeweler’s torch, at several hundred degrees centigrade, used for standard repairs may affect the color of an irradiated diamond. It is, therefore, important to inform your jeweler that your diamond has been irradiated before they work on your piece.
In addition to irradiation, the most common practices of artificial color enhancement used in the industry today are overlay coating and HPHT. A diamond’s color can be remarkably enhanced through the application of applying an overlay coating. The coating often contains fluoride, silicon oxide, aluminum oxide, or titanium oxide and can be applied to parts of the diamond or the whole diamond. HPHT stands for high-pressure, high-temperature. Through this treatment, the color of a diamond can be permanently altered. Depending on the stone, the color change can be minor or quite dramatic.
GIA will issue reports for treated diamonds that have been laser drilled or HPHT processed, disclosing the presence of treatments on the report. As a further precaution, GIA also laser-inscribes the girdles of diamonds it identifies to be color-treated. GIA does not issue grading reports for any treated diamond having undergone a process that’s considered nonpermanent or unstable, such as coating or fracture filling.
Diamonds are weighed on a scale of metric carats, abbreviated “ct.” It is equal to approximately 1/5 of a gram. A carat is broken down into 100 points, just like a dollar is broken down into 100 pennies. When you see a diamond weight of 1.45ct, it means one carat and 45 points.
The larger a diamond is the more rare it is. Diamonds are bought and sold on a pricing concept known as “per carat.” As diamonds get larger, the price per carat increases due to the rarity factor, so a diamond that weighs 2ct. will be worth more than twice as much as a 1ct. diamond.
Since a diamond takes thousands of years to create, it is worth it to invest a little time and attention in its care. Doing so will ensure its lasting beauty, brilliance and sparkle.
Routine Home Cleaning
Gently scrub your jewelry with a soft brush, using an ammonia solution, warm water or a jewelry cleaner, to remove perspiration, household cleaners, chlorine, hair care products or even soap film. Borsheims also offers small “ultrasonic” cleaners that clean your jewelry with high frequency sound.
Diamond jewelry, especially pieces that are worn frequently, should have a biannual cleaning by Borsheims. This not only helps to restore the diamond’s brilliance, but also allows the security of the setting to be checked. Borsheims offers free jewelry cleanings any time.
When not worn, diamond jewelry should be stored individually to prevent scratching or dulling. Soft cloth pouches are ideal for this purpose.
Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced in a controlled laboratory environment. They consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure in order to have the same physical, optical and chemical characteristics as mined diamonds.
There are two ways to produce laboratory-grown diamonds:
HPHT- High Pressure High Temperature
This process imitates the way diamonds are formed in the depths of the earth. A tiny diamond capsule containing diamond seeds is put into a chamber with pure carbon in the form of graphite and a metal catalyst. Under enormous pressure and very high temperature, the metal catalyst dissolves the graphite and the carbon atoms bond with the tiny diamond seeds and grow into a bigger diamond. The tiny diamond seed can be a lab-created diamond or a mined diamond.
CVD- Chemical Vapor Deposition. In this process, a diamond seed in the form of a square is put into a reactor with a combination of gases. With the help of a microwave gun, the gases are heated until they become plasma (a state where the atoms are separated from one another). The free carbon atoms are then deposited onto the diamond seed, thus growing new layers of diamonds on top of the diamond seed. The diamond seed can be a lab-grown diamond or a mined diamond. The majority of laboratory-grown diamonds sold by Borsheims will be grown using the CVD process.
At Borsheims, we pride ourselves on offering all options to our customers. Lab-grown diamonds are a great alternative for the value-conscious customer who wants the beauty and quality of a mined diamond at a more cost-effective price point.
Borsheims is proud to work with other members of the diamond industry, international governments, the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds. After years of work, it is now estimated that more than 99% of the world’s diamonds are conflict free.
Borsheims supports the Kimberley Process and only buys its diamonds from legitimate, reputable manufacturers that adhere to the Voluntary System of Warranties. That guarantee is written on the back of every receipt from Borsheims. For additional information about the Kimberley Process and the work being done to eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds, please visit the diamond industry’s website, www.diamondfacts.org.
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