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{ The History Of Diamonds }
Where in history did we first see the value and beauty beheld in a diamond? The word, diamond, historically derived its roots from "Adamas", a Greek word which means unconquerable or indestructible. Diamonds have traveled our many different cultures throughout diamond history affecting everyone in every possible way. The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were tears from the Gods. Diamonds were thought to be mystical and powerful stones that affected the heavens and the hearts. The Diamonds today continue to hold this fascination as it did throughout the diamond history.

For the last 3000 to 4000 years, the history of diamonds has held special magic for Kings, Queens and their subjects. Diamonds have stood for wealth, power, love, spirit and magical powers.
 
 

It was believed that diamonds were fragments of stars and the teardrops of the Gods. The diamonds possessed magical qualities of the Gods and held powers far beyond the understanding of the common man.

Until the 15th Century only Kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Over the centuries, the history of diamonds acquired unique status as the ultimate gift of love. It was said that cupids' arrows were tipped with diamonds that have a magic that nothing else can equal.

Since the creation of diamonds they have been associated with romance and legend. The Greeks believed the fire in the diamond reflected the constant flame of love.

For millions of people around the world, the mystery and magic, the beauty and romance shining out from a simple solitaire says all the heart feels but words can not express. It wasn't until 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy, that the diamond engagement ring was introduced. Placing the ring on the third finger of the left hand, dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the Vena Amors, vein of love, runs directly from the heart to the tip of the third finger.



{CUTTING}

The cutting of diamonds into the complex faceted forms we now associate with these gems is actually a relatively recent practice. For centuries, rough diamonds were kept as talismans, and often not worn at all, though natural octahedral (eight-sided stones) were sometimes set in rings. In sixteenth century England, fashionable lovers etched romantic pledges on window-panes with the points of their diamond rings, known as "scribbling rings".


{DIAMOND MAGIC}
Diamonds were once believed to hold many magical, mystical and medicinal properties. The phosphorescence of certain diamonds (their ability to glow in the dark) was considered a proof of the stone's extraordinary powers. They were supposed to impart virtue, generosity and courage in battle, and to cause lawsuits to be determined in the wearer's favor. A house or garden touched at each corner with a diamond was supposed to be protected from lightning, storms and blight.

Today one of the most common uses of the Diamond from a sociological aspect is in the Wedding, Engagement ring. Even in the 2nd Century Rome the ring was used in the ceremony before the Emperor and his blessing. The custom was then continued and mostly Christianized by the 4th century by St. Augustine. Byzantine wedding rings are thick gold bands with round or oval bezels depicting the couple face to face, or receiving Christ's blessing of their eternal union. Today the Diamond Ring, commits a man and a woman to each other with the expression of strength, purity, brilliance and the indestructible bond of love.



{ The Diamond Timeline }
3.3 Billion years ago
Almost 200 km below the earth’s surface carbon began to evolve under extreme pressure and heat, the beginnings of the formation of the most valued commodity on earth, the Diamond.

322 BC - 185 BC
Diamonds begin to appear in Europe as accent decoration in other forms of Jewelry. King Louis IX of France bestows rarity to diamonds and establishes intrinsic value on them. Within 100 years diamonds appeared in royal jewelry of both men and women, then among the greater European aristocracy.

1214-1300 A.D
The earliest diamond-cutting industry is believed to have been in Venice, a trade capital, starting sometime after 1330.

1477
The Archduke Maximillian of Austria “proposes” to his wife to be Mary of Burgundy with a Diamond Ring, a symbol of his betrothal. Hence the first recorded engagement ring. It was worn on the 3rd finger of the right hand, in order to be against a specific vein that goes directly to the heart.

1550
Antwerp Belgium, the most important diamond center of the period, where a Diamond-cutters' Guild was soon to be established.

1600 – 1750
The Diamond was the first and foremost symbol of ultimate wealth and prosperity in Europe. India was the only know source of Diamonds. Brazil was soon to follow.

1860
A discovery of diamonds near Hopetown, south of Kimberley in South Africa, gives birth to the modern diamond industry. The 1870s and 1880s in the Northern Cape saw a mad rush to the newly discovered diamond fields.

1905
The world's largest gem quality diamond, the Cullinan, was found in South Africa. Uncut, it weighed 3025 carats. It was presented to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday.

1939
The criteria for Diamonds established. The standards and the 4 C’s, Cut, Colour, Carat, and Clarity are published.

1967 - 2000
Botswana becomes the largest producer of Diamonds by value in the world. The Centenary, found in 1986, was polished from a 599 carat gem. The rough diamond was cut into various stones, the largest of which bears the name Centenary and, at 273 carats, is the Largest Modern Cut, Top Color, Flawless Diamond in the world.


The legacy of the Diamond will continue. It existed at the dawn of civilized man and will adorn for years to come. It will be part of Weddings, celebrations, a part of love and prosperity, a part of intrigue and beauty and a part of every woman’s heart that keeps one on her finger. Men will always swear love by it, and love will always maintain the brilliance of earth’s great gift, the Diamond.


{THE POWER OF DIAMONDS}
Today, diamonds continue to hold a deep fascination as the world’s ultimate symbol of love. The diamond’s rarity and natural beauty are the qualities that have contributed to making the diamond such a special and magical gift.


{HOW DIAMONDS ARE FORMED}
One million years in the making. What many people don’t know about diamonds is that they were formed under immense heat and pressure hundreds of miles below sea level. After 100 million years of formation, volcanic explosions forced them upward, exposing their natural beauty to the world. Diamonds were formed more than 70 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today. Rated 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, diamonds are the hardest substances on earth, but their appeal goes far beyond durability.

Adding to the mystery and aura of what make diamonds so sought-after, approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed in order to produce a single, one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond.




{ The 4 C's }
{THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW WHEN BUYING DIAMONDS}

(1) CUT:
When referring to the ideal cut of the diamond, you are describing the angles and scaled proportions that are measured on the gem. The diamond cut is sometimes referred to as the most important characteristic of the 4 Cs. The diamond cut affects how light passes through the gem and is in direct relation to a diamonds brilliance. Each angle refracts the light at a specific angle until it reflects back out through the top of the diamond and thus creates the sparkling affect you think about when imaging gem stones. It is a pretty meticulous process to achieve the right angles. If the cut of the diamond is too shallow or too deep, the result is a lack of luster and the quality of the diamond engagement ring will diminish. The ideal cut diamond is a balance and an art.

The  shape of a diamond is also the cut characteristic, sometimes called diamond cuts. There are many different diamond cuts, or shapes, available when buying diamond engagement rings. There are as many as you can imagine. Some of the more common cuts, especially for engagement rings, are Round Cut, Princess Cut Diamond, Emerald Cut, Asscher Cut Diamonds, Marquise, Oval, Radiant Cut, Pear, and Heart shaped as well. There is no right shape to pick, it is preference. The only right diamond cut is the one that your potential spouse likes. Here is some advice on that... "Ask her."

(2) CLARITY:
Diamond clarity is defined as a scale measurement of inclusions on the surface or within the gem that occurred as the diamond took form. Inclusions may appear as fractures or air pockets or may even have a cloudy appearance. The diamond clarity scale is registered by a jeweler under the scrutiny of a 10X Magnifying Loupe and diamond clarity chart. How many inclusions and where the inclusions are, determine the diamond clarity scale rating, and this affects the cost of the diamond. The highest grade in this characteristic is the flawless diamond. Flawless diamonds are very rare in nature, and therefore, are more costly.

The diamond clarity scale ranges from Flawless (F) to Included (I). The closer the diamond is to flawless clarity, the better the quality of diamond you will be buying. This scale of clarity is established by the Gemological Institute of America.

{DIAMOND CLARITY CHART}

FL - Flawless Diamond Clarity
Diamonds with this clarity have no imperfections inside or on the outside of the stone under the magnification of a loupe of 10 power.

IF - Internally Flawless Diamond Clarity
Diamonds have no inclusions under a loupe with a 10 power magnification.

VVS1 and VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Imperfect Diamond Clarity
These diamonds have very small inclusions which are very difficult to see under a loupe with a 10 power magnification.

VS1 and VS2 - Very Slightly Imperfect Diamond Clarity
These diamonds have small inclusions which are slightly difficult to difficult to see under a loupe with a 10 power magnification.

SI1 and SI2 - Slightly Imperfect Diamond Clarity
Diamonds have inclusions which are fairly easy to see under a loupe with a 10 power magnification, or visible to the naked eye.

SI3 Clarity Diamonds
The SI3 diamond clarity grade is given out by EGL, the European Gemological Laboratory and is described as a blend between the SI2 and I1 clarity grade.

I1, I2, I3 - Imperfect Clarity Diamonds
These diamonds have inclusions which range from eye visible to very easily seen to the naked eye.

Clarity Chart 1Clarity Chart 2

(3) CARAT:
The weight of a diamond is what measures the carat size. It is not the phsical size of the gem. There are 5 carats to a gram in measurements. So each carat is the weight of 200 mg. The larger the diamond, the more rare it is and thus, higher in price. The shape of the cut and how the diamond is mounted, can affect the appearance of it's carat.

So what's in a carat anyways. Size should not matter when buying your diamond. Yes, it is a factor, but a higher quality cut and clarity diamond with a smaller carat weight is more brilliant than sacrificing quality for it's size.

Carat weight affects the price in an accelerated manner. The rate at which a diamonds price increases rises dramatically as one increases the carat mass.


(4) COLOR:
When talking about diamond color, one is really only talking about the lack of color. Colorless is the "best" characteristic and will increase the price of a diamond as it approaches the absolute colorless degree. Some people prefer a more unique diamond color such as the fancy colored diamond rings. There are a rainbow of choices when considering diamond color that are natural as well. It all depends on how the diamonds formed and with what other minerals. Pink Diamonds, and pink diamond engagement rings are coveted almost as much as natural color diamonds, the colorless variety. It is all preference, but when shopping for diamond engagement rings, you should always consult with the authority, your spouse to be.

   
"The History Of Diamonds " allaboutdiamonds.org December 2006 Click To View Full Article

"The 4 C's " allaboutdiamonds.org December 2006
Click To View Full Article

 

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