Diamonds are rare, naturally occurring minerals composed of carbon and it is the hardest substance known to man. They have continued to be the most popular gemstone for wedding jewellery. However, do you know that there is so much more to selecting a diamond than just its size?
The 4C’s of Diamond Quality
The 4C’s are the global standard for evaluating the quality of any diamond and they were developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in 1953. The 4C’s constitute a diamond’s cut, colour, carat, and clarity; this grading system is universal and is a trusted indication of quality.
All Carrie K. diamonds are certified by the GIA. So, rest assured that all our diamonds come with a GIA Grading Dossier! Other than the report, a true GIA certified diamond will have its unique numbers inscribed on its girdle.
A diamond’s cut is not its shape (round, pear, asscher etc). It is the symmetry, facets and polish that come together to maximise the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond. Different shapes are cut differently to scintillate light and if the cut is too shallow or deep, the diamond will sparkle less and appear darker. This is one of the most important qualities you should not compromise. So, what you should be looking for is called the ideal cut!
Diamonds are not always white or colourless and are rated on a GIA colour scale of grades D to Z. With D being the whitest and most valuable, and Z appearing yellowish and most affordable. This natural phenomenon is a result of the presence of boron and nitrogen impurities. Boron give a much rarer blue, ‘icy’ colour whereas nitrogen give off a yellowish hue.
The conventional thinking here is that the whiter and bigger the diamond, the better. But realistically speaking, a tradeoff depending on what is important to you could be more feasible. If the size matters and you want a bigger diamond, consider an excellent cut of grade G-I. If you want a colourless grade D diamond, you might want to get it at a smaller carat because diamonds of this grade come at a premium price tag.
Diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous amounts of pressure and heat, so ‘inclusions’ and ‘blemishes’ are natural. Inclusions are flaws within the diamond and blemishes are flaws on the surface. A diamond of a higher clarity with little to no flaws will therefore have a higher value. Interestingly, there has been a growing trend for flawed diamonds, such as the salt and pepper diamond, as some believe that the inclusions give it a unique character.
Ah, we are finally here! Carat is a term very widely used and it is also a term commonly misunderstood. Carat is a measurement of how much a diamond weighs and not how big it is, a metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams.
Word of advice, instead of going for a full 1-carat diamond, go for a 0.9-carat diamond. Or get 1.90 carat instead of 2 carats. Buying it just under the half-carat mark can save you a considerable sum of money and the slight difference will be unnoticeable. Will your partner's best friend have your head on a chopping board for not buying a full carat ring?
No. Because they can’t tell.
With the increasing awareness of sustainability, some customers are moving away from conventional diamonds and are looking out for options that are less detrimental. But, do these alternatives measure up?
Sustainably-created diamonds are grown in a laboratory and there are two ways to grow these diamonds:
High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) process
Where the machine mimics the condition of how a natural diamond forms in the earth’s core.
Chemical Vapour Deposition process
Where carbon gas is pumped into a gas chamber to be deposited onto a diamond seed that will crystallise into a full diamond.
The mining of natural diamonds release gases such as sulphur oxide and other fossil fuels into the air which are detrimental to the environment. Meanwhile, sustainably-created diamonds release little to no emissions of significance and are, therefore, more environmentally friendly.
Sustainably-created diamonds are optically and chemically similar and they look exactly the same as their natural counterparts. Like natural diamonds, sustainably-created diamonds go through the same rigorous grading scale — the almighty 4C’s.
Carrie K. offers GIA and IGI certified sustainably-created diamonds that come with a grading dossier and its unique number inscribed on the girdle so that you can be assured of its origins and quality.
Same shine, more sustainable. Yay!
Moissanites — your second alternative — originated from the meteorites and we like to call them the gem from the stars. Unfortunately, naturally occurring moissanite are extremely rare because you don’t see meteors falling every day. So the gems you see now are created in the labs using the same mineral — silicon carbide.
Moissanite score a 9.25 out of the Moh scale, making it the second hardest substance after diamonds. Also, since it has a higher refractive index of 2.65 - 2.69, it displays a heightened kind of brilliance that looks rainbow-like and people usually describe it as the “disco-ball” effect.