The Timeless Lure of Diamonds

The ideal situation is that you’re the person being bought the diamond, but it doesn’t hurt to know something about them as well. So let’s begin with the basics.

Most of us know that diamonds are one of the hardest naturally occurring materials on the planet. This is partly because they can take anywhere from thousands, to even millions of years to form. Much of their attraction and mystique comes from these roots, since natural diamonds still have properties that can’t be reproduced in an artificial environment, and the genuine article sells for around 15 – 20% more than its synthetic counterparts.

In all fairness however, laboratory developed diamonds are getting closer in quality to those from natural sources, but at the high-end of the market, most jewellers still hold the latter in higher regard.

A Rich History
They symbolise extravagance and rarity, juxtaposing the romantic ideal of a substance which is so strong, but able to transform light in the most delicate of ways.

Much of this image has come from cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe having a love for them, not to mention diamonds being used in some of the world’s most expensive clothing to ever be made. A perfect example of this is a bathing suit which was exhibited in a New York fashion show in 2005, and was priced at around 18 million US dollars.

However, with such wild levels of luxury, there also comes the more sombre side of what they represent to some people. Elizabeth Taylor, whose name is synonymous with glamour, wrote in her biography: My Love Affair with Jewellery, about the temporary nature of beauty, but her love the illusion nonetheless.

So looking at these topics of illusions and extravagance, would you know how to tell a real diamond from a fake? We’ve all seen the films where the real things have been replaced by counterfeits, so let’s look at a few methods that you could use in real life to show your diamond knowledge.

True or False?
One of the easiest tests is to simply breathe warm air on a diamond to see if the surface steams up. It probably isn’t recommended that you start doing this with a newly married bride’s diamond ring on her wedding day, but the science behind it is interesting.

A real diamond – no matter how much you breathe on it – will never fog up, because it’s too dense to retain heat at this temperature, but a fake stone will for a few seconds, like when you breathe on a window. Of course, there are much more specialist ways of testing as well, but another simple one is to just look at how the diamond is mounted. If it’s in a material like gold plating, silver, or another type of cheap metal, it’s more likely that you’re looking at a cubic zirconia.

The Prized Possession
Finally, here are some tips on choosing the right diamond for you, if you’re lucky enough to be looking at a range of them. Most people have heard of the 4Cs, these being: carat, cut, colour, and clarity. Where obviously, we want to get the best levels of these indicators we can in relation to our budget. Regarding the cut, take a look at this size comparison to get a better idea of what is recommended as ideal for diamond shapes.

A good way to use these values when deciding what to buy, is to decide what carat you would like first. This gives you a basis for size. The idea is to choose the highest carat available, which will normally be above your budget. You then try to get the best clarity, colour, and cut you can at lower levels, until you’re looking at an option within your target price range.