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What is a Diamond?

Diamond is the hardest substance in the world and as they say lasts forever, which makes it the perfect representation of love and devotion. Diamond is the only gem made of a single element: It is typically about 99.95 percent carbon. The other 0.05 percent can include one or more trace elements, which are atoms that aren’t part of the diamond’s essential chemistry. Some trace elements can influence its color or crystal shape.

The way a mineral forms helps determine its identity. Diamond forms under high temperature and pressure conditions that exist only within a specific depth range (about 100 miles) beneath the earth’s surface. Another mineral, graphite, also contains only carbon, but its formation process and crystal structure are very different. The result is that graphite is so soft that you can write with it, while diamond is so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond.

On almost all modern birthstone lists, diamond is recognized today as the birthstone for April. Diamond is also the gem that marks the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries.
The selection of the diamond involves some basic understanding of the 4Cs (ie. Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat) as it determines the quality and price of the diamond that will be purchased. Each C has their own grading factor and the combination of the individual factors affect the overall value and price of a diamond.

Diamond Color: Colour of diamonds are determined by nature, and while there are fancy coloured diamonds in the many shades of the rainbow, diamonds sold widely are the white diamonds. The shade of the white diamond can range from colourless to various degree of yellow tinge. Due to the rarity of colourless diamonds (D colour grading), diamonds under this category would cost more.

The GIA D-to-Z scale is the industry standard for color-grading diamonds. Each letter represents a range of color based on a diamond's tone and saturation.
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Diamond Clarity: Clarity refers to the degree of inclusions that are present within a diamond. Diamonds were formed billions of years ago, and like colour, the inclusions are determined by the elements that were present when the diamond was formed. These inclusions are part of each diamond’s characteristics which makes each one unique and special much like our fingerprints. The lesser the inclusions, the greater the clarity hence the more valuable the diamond.
There are 11 clarity grades in the GIA clarity grading system. They are Flawless, Internally Flawless, two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included, two categories of Slightly Included, and three categories of Included. Flawless is the top grade in the GIA Clarity Grading System. Diamonds graded Flawless don’t have visible inclusions or blemishes when examined under 10-power (10X) magnification by a skilled and experienced grader.
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Diamond Cut: Cut would be the most important of the 4Cs as it affects the brilliance and beauty of the diamond. The precision of the cut greatly affects how the diamond sparkle & shine. As a general rule, the higher the cut grade, the brighter the diamond.
The term “cut” also can describe a fashioned diamond’s shape. Shapes other than the standard round brilliant are called fancy cuts. They’re sometimes called fancy shapes or fancies. Fancy shapes also have names of their own, based on their shapes. The best known are the marquise, princess, pear, oval, heart, and emerald cut.

Various Diamond Shapes
Fancy-shape diamonds, along with the classic round diamonds, are popular choices for today’s jewelry consumer. Courtesy Lazare Kaplan Diamonds
 
Diamond Carat Weight: Carat, abbreviated “ct.” is the standard measurement of the weight or mass of a diamond. One carat (1 ct) equals to 0.20 grams. Diamond Carat Weight is the most obvious factor as it indicates the size of the diamond. Carat weight alone will not give you an accurate view of a diamond's size. Larger diamonds of the same quality are worth more per carat. So a larger stone doesn’t just cost more. It also costs more per carat.
 
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Reference:
1)      GIA Edu –encyclopedia. Diamond- Retrieved December 15, 2016 from https://www.gia.edu/diamond