All About Gemstones: Diamonds
The story of diamonds is, to use the metaphor, a tale of fire and "ice." Forged through immense heat and pressure over millions, or hundreds of millions of years, diamonds start their humble existence as simple, elemental carbon; the basic building block of all life in earth. We attempt to demystify these enigmatic little stones, by explaining their scientific reason for being, as well as were they are mined, how they are mined, and the history of the diamond trade, or 'diamond pipeline.' Diamonds are both elemental, and complex. As such, there is a lot of technical jargon associated with them. Shopping for a diamond can be very confusing to the newbie, but we have endeavored to make it as simple and interesting as humanly possible. You shouldn't need extraordinary brilliance to understand scintillation or refraction. Enjoy!
All About Diamonds
Diamond Basics The "4 Cs" of Diamonds - Cut The "4 C's" of Diamonds - Carat The "Four C's" of Diamonds - Clarity The "Four Cs" of Diamonds - Color Diamond Chemistry Optical Properties of Diamond Fancy Colored Diamonds Diamond Inclusion Library Diamond Enhancements Synthetics & Simulants Synthetic Diamonds Cubic Zirconia Moissanite Diamond Cuts Diamond Cutting Ideal Cut Modern Round Brilliant Patented Signature Diamond Cuts Old European Diamond Cuts Uncut Raw Diamonds in Jewelry The Diamond Market The Diamond Pipeline Diamond Bourses The Diamond Trade's Key Players Diamond Pricing - Price Comparison Charts Diamond Certification
AGS Diamond Grading Report Independent Diamond Testing Laboratories Diamond Mining & Mine Technology Diamond Mining Technology Diamond Geology & Kimberlites Full List of Worldwide Diamond Mines Artisanal Diamond Mining & Conflict Diamonds Worldwide Diamond Mining Regions Australian Diamond Mines Borneo's Landak Diamond Mines Botswana Diamond Mines Brazilian Diamond Mines Canadian Diamond Mines India's Golconda Diamond Mines Namibia Russian Diamond Mines South African Diamond Mines US Diamond Mines Conflict Diamonds Angola Diamond Mines Congo (DRC) Diamond Mines Liberia Diamond Mines Sierra Leone Diamond Mines Zimbabwe's Chiadzwa Marange Diamond Fields Diamond History & Cutting Regions Historical Diamond Cuts & Cutting History Historical Diamond Cutting Regions Diamond Cutting in Amsterdam Diamond Cutting in Antwerp Diamond Cutting in Belgium Diamond Cutting in Guangzhou, China Diamond Cutting in Gujarat, India Diamond Cutting in Idar-Oberstein, Germany Diamond Terminology Glossary - Gemology
The 4 Cs of Diamonds: Cut
The 4 C's Diamond Grading System
1. 2. 3. 4. Cut Carat Clarity Color
More than 100 million diamonds are sold in the United States each year, yet most consumers know very little about the product they are purchasing, and how that product is valued. The '4 Cs' represent the four main variables that are used to calculate the quality and value of a diamond. Both rough and cut diamonds are separated and graded based on these four characteristics. As a consumer, your first step in shopping for a diamond should be to learn and understand the '4 Cs' diamond grading system. If you are purchasing an expensive stone it will also be critical for you to learn how to read and understand the details of a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) 'Diamond Dossier,' AGL report, or AGS (American Gem Society) 'Diamond Certificate,' or Sarin 'Diamond Grading Report' (see full list of independent testing laboratories, below). You will also want to familiarize yourself with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on jeweler conduct and consumer awareness. This knowledge will help be invaluable when you are comparison shopping for diamonds.
Diamond Cut Quality When jewelers judge the quality of a diamond cut, or "make", they often rate "Cut" as the most important of the "4 Cs." The way a diamond is cut is primarily dependent upon the original shape of the rough stone, location of the inclusions and flaws to be eliminated, the preservation of the weight, and the popularity of certain shapes. Don't confuse a diamond's "cut" with it's "shape". Shape refers only to the outward appearance of the diamond (Fig. 5 below), and not how it is faceted. The Importance of Cut Quality When a diamond has a high quality cut (ideal cut), incident light will enter the stone through the table and crown, traveling toward the pavilion where it reflects from one side to the other before bouncing back out of the diamond's table toward the observer's eye (see Fig. 1 below). This phenomenon is referred to as "light return" (Fig. 2 below) which affects a diamond's brightness, brilliance, and dispersion. Any light-leakage caused by poor symmetry and/or cut proportions (off-make) will adversely affect the quality of light return. The "Shallow Cut" and "Deep Cut" examples in Fig. 1 show how light that enters through the table of a Modern Round Brilliant diamond reaches the pavilion facets and then leaks out from the sides or bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye through the table. Less light reflected back to the eye means less "Brilliance". In the "Ideal Cut" example, most of the light entering through the table is reflected back towards the observer from the pavilion facets.
Keep in mind that the variance in proportions between an "Ideal Cut" (ideal make) and a "Fair, Poor, Shallow or Deep Cut" may be difficult to discern to the novice observer, although there will be a lack of brilliance, scintillation, and fire. Cut quality is divided into several grades listed below.
Ideal Cut Premium Cut Very Good / Fine Cut
or 96 facets which are not counted in the total number of facets (58). An Ideal Cut or Premium Cut "Round Brilliant" diamond has the following basic proportions according to the AGS:
Table Size: 53% to 60% of the diameter Depth: 58% to 63% of diameter Crown Angle: 34 to 35 degrees Girdle Thickness: medium to slightly thick Facets: 58 (57 if the culet is excluded) Polish & Symmetry: very good to excellent
The girdle on a Modern Round Brilliant can have 32. A poorly cut diamond with facets cut just a few degrees from the optimal ratio will result in a stone that lacks gemmy quality because the "brilliance" and "fire" of a diamond largely depends on the angle of the facets in relation to each other. a Round Brilliant cut that does not have the proper proportions and symmetry (off-make) will have noticeably less brilliance. The crown will have 33 facets. the "Parker Brilliant" invented in 1951. This can also result in the undesirable creation of extra facets beyond the required 58. All of that has changed with the AGS Cut Grading system and GIA's new "Cut Grading System". 80.
Fig. when one incorrect facet angle can throw off the symmetry of the entire stone. and the pavillion will have 25 facets.e. Other variations of the "Modern Round Brilliant" include the "Ideal Brilliant" which was invented by Johnson and Roesch in 1929. The chart below shows several common problems to look for. Only a trained eye could see the quality of a good cut. Poor Diamond Faceting and Symmetry Due to the mathmatics involved in light refraction. 3
. the "Cut" quality of the "4 Cs" was the most difficult part for a consumer to understand when selecting a good diamond because a GIA or AGS certificate did not show the important measurements influencing cut (i. pavilion and crown angle) and did not provide a subjective ranking of how good the cut was. 2
The proportion and symmetry of the cuts as well as the quality of the polish are factors in determining the overall quality of the cut.
Fig. 64. Common cutting problems can occur during the faceting process.Good Cut Fair Cut Poor Cut
Cut Proportions In the past. and the "Eulitz Brilliant" invented in 1972.
or a Scan D. 4
Perfectly formed Hearts and Arrows patterns with eight hearts AND eight arrows (above. Proportion) must meet the "ideal" criteria. 5) are listed below. The GIA will give a symmetry demerit for what it calls "non-standard brillianteering" which some manufacturers use to 'improve' on the standardized Tolkowsky-type cuts.' while AGS uses a more exacting combination of proportional facet ratios along with raytracing metrics to calculate light return. In order for a diamond to receive a "Triple-0" grading. out through the table. making the diamond appear white when viewed from the top. Symetry. left) are only found in diamonds that meet the American Gem Society Laboratories' "0" Ideal Cut specifications. N. The IdealScope was invented by Kazumi Okuda in the 1970's. However. which gives out much more fire than a real diamond. Eppler Cut (European Standard). there is a balance between "brilliance" and "fire". A cut with inferior proportions will produce a stone that appears dark at the center (due to light leaking out of the pavilion) and in some extreme cases the ring settings may show through the top of the diamond as shadows. or a H & A Viewer gemscope (FireScope). Cut (Scandinavian Standard) will display a "Hearts and Arrows" pattern when observed through a IdealScope (arrows only).For a Modern Round Brilliant cut (Tolkowsky Brilliant). Several basic diamond shapes (Fig." was invented by Ken Shigetomi and Kazumi Okuda in 1984. all three categories of cut (Polish. The round brilliant cut is preferred when the crystal is an octahedron. Asymmetrical raw crystals such as macles are usually cut in a "Fancy" style. the "FireScope.
GIA vs AGS Cut Grading
GIA's new cut-grading system is based on averages that are rounded-up to predict 'light performance. A Triple-0 diamond can also be called a "Triple Ideal Cut" or "AGS-Ideal Zero" diamond.
AGS Triple-0 Certification
The American Gem Society (AGS) is the industry leader in laboratory testing of round gems for cut grade and quality. The "Ideal" designation is an AGS term that is not found on an GIA report.
Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
A perfectly proportioned ideal cut that is cut to the exacting specifications of a Tolkowsky Cut.
Fancy Diamond Cuts
The shape of the cut is a matter of personal taste and preference. The first official H & A "EightStar" diamond was cut in 1985 by Kioyishi Higuchi for Japanese businessman and FireScope manufacturer. as two stones could be cut from one crystal.
. and its later incarnation.
Fig. A diamond cut for too much fire will look like cubic zirconia. The shape of the diamond cut is heavily dependent upon the original shape of the rough stone. Takanori Tamura. A well executed round brilliant cut should reflect the maximum amount light from the interior pavilion facets. the quality of the cutter's execution of that shape is of primary importance.
a 1/2 carat diamond would be 50 points. Cut 2.C." "Briolette" (a form of Rose cut). and the Pear. representing the four variables that are used to calculate the quality and value of a diamond.Heart Marquise Oval Pear Princess Radiant Round Trillion (not shown at diagram)
Fig. Both rough and cut diamonds are separated and graded based on these four characteristics. A carat can also be divided into "points" with one carat being equal to 100 points.
The 4 C's of Diamonds: Carat (Weight)
The 4 C's Diamond Grading System
1. Color Carat weight is one of the 4 C's.
Balancing Cut and Weight A diamond or gemstone's "Carat" designation is a measurement of both the size and weight of the stone. your first step in shopping for a diamond should be to learn and understand the "4 C's" diamond grading system. The "fancy cuts" are generally not held to the same strict standards as Round Brilliants. When a single piece of jewelry has multiple stones. Carat 3. 5
Popular fancy cuts include the "Baguette" (bread loaf). "Princess" (square outline). "Marquise" or "Navette" (little boat). "Heart. As a consumer. and a 2 carat diamond is 200 points. a 3/4 carat diamond is 75 points. One "Carat" is a unit of mass that is equal to 0.2 grams (200 milligrams or 3.W. the total mass of all diamonds or gemstones is referred to as "Total Carat Weight" or "T. Clarity 4.007 ounce."
. and with each point being 2 milligrams in weight.086 grains) or 0. Therefor.
that is published by the Rapaport Group of New York.99 carat diamond for its better price. FTC Guidelines on Diamond Weight According to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) Jewelry Guides on Decimal Representations. many one carat diamonds are the result of compromising cut quality to increase carat weight.800 6. a stone cutter will need to make compromises by accepting imperfect proportions and/or symmetry in order to avoid noticeable inclusions.VS1 Carat Size</ 0.The word "Carat" is derived from the Greek word keration. "If the diamond's weight is described in decimal parts of a carat. it must be accurate to the second decimal place.5 carat 1. Price Per Carat (2005) . 58% table and 1% girdle are maintained. The spread is the ratio between diameter and three principle geometric components of the crown.600 6. or to preserve the carat rating of the rough stone.0 carat 1. carob seeds were used to counterbalance scales. The "Rapaport Diamond Report" is a weekly diamond price list based on cut.5º crown.504 carats. as each jump past a even carat weight can mean a significant jump in pricing. It is for this reason that an even 1.500 15.5 carats must have an actual weight of between .
Occasionally.000 Total Cost (USD)</
Rapaport Diamond Report Diamond prices do not increase in a steady line.5 carat 2.204 carat. or to buy a 1.10 carat diamond for its better cut. the figure should be accurate to the last decimal place. a diamond can have a larger diameter and therefor. a larger apparent "size" for a given carat weight. In ancient times.
Note: Your screen resolution may alter the reproduction size of the chart above. By sacrificing cut proportions and symmetry.20 carat" could represent a diamond that weighs between . A Diamond's Spread Think of the "spread" as the apparent size of a diamond. If the carat weight is shown as one decimal place.750 30.495 carats and . and as a benchmark weight due to their predictably uniform weight.195 and . Since the per-carat price of diamond is much higher when the stone is over one carat. A diamond that has a specified carat weight of . girdle and pavilion.600 8.
The Four C's of Diamonds: Clarity
.600 12.Grade: F Colorless . Some jewelry experts advise consumers to purchase a . 40º pavilion.00 carat diamond may be a poorly cut stone.000 Cost Per Carat (USD)</ 1." If the carat weight is shown as ". See the chart above for a millimeter to carat size comparison. This carat/millimeter sizing chart is meant for comparison purposes only. clarity and weight. or "seed of the carob".0 carat 3. A given diamond will have a 'zero spread penalty' if the correct 'ideal cut' symmetry of a 32.
representing the four variables that are used to calculate the quality and value of a diamond. point size and the location of inclusions.The Four C's Diamond Grading System
1."Very Small" inclusions visible at 10 x mag. or break the surface."Small" or "Slight" Inclusions or "Imperfections" visible to naked eye SI-3 . and/or on the surface of the stone."Very Very Small" inclusions hard to see at 10 x magnification VVS-2 .Imperfect. with large Inclusions. Diamond Clarity Designations
FL .small blemishes VVS-1 . it may be possible to hide certain inclusions behind the setting of the diamond (depending on where the inclusion is located). On the other hand. and flaws
GIA Clarity Grading System
The chart below explains the GIA grading system for inclusions and imperfections. fractures. . Considerations in grading the clarity of a diamond include the type of stone. As a consumer. Clarity 4. therefore reducing its value significantly. may weaken the diamond structurally. Cut 2. Color Clarity is one of the Four C's. In "colorless" diamonds. thus minimizing any negative impact of the inclusion. it is important to learn and understand the clarity designations found within the "Four C's" diamond grading system. VVS1 better than VVS2 VS-1 . darker inclusions will tend to create the most significant drop in clarity grade. little or no brilliance I1 to I3 .Inclusions large and obvious.
All of the grades of diamond clarity shown in the table below. The term "Clarity" refers to the presence or absence of tiny imperfections (inclusions) within the stone. . making them more apparent."Small" or "Slight" Inclusions or "Imperfections" may be "eye clean" SI-2 . In fancy-colored diamonds.not naked eye VS-2 ."Very Very Small" inclusions. Inclusions that are near to."Internally Flawless" no inclusions at 10 x mag. Carat 3. causing a greater drop in grade. light or pale inclusions may show greater relief."Flawless" no inclusions at 10 x magnification IF . reflect the appearance of inclusions within the stone when viewed from above at 10x magnification Higher magnifications and viewing from other angles are also used during the grading process."Very Small" inclusions VS1 is better grade than VS2 SI-1 .
Inclusions resulting from crystal twining during growth. much like repairing a crack in your car's windshield. vendors should disclose this enhancement. or feathers along the outer edge of girdle. Cavities .
Laser drilling involves using a laser to burn a tunnel or hole to a carbon inclusion. There is a significant price discount for fracture-filled diamonds. haze. Internal Graining . Grain Center . appearing as a raised area.Visible surface lines caused by irregular crystallization during formation. Pinpoints . Clouds . The treatment is considered permanent and both the GIA and AGS will issue grades for laser drilled diamonds. Indented Naturals .Diamond Clarity Grade Inflation
A fairly common practice in the jewelry trade is grade-inflation or "grade bumping. Bruising . he or she could legally sell it as a VVS-2. Filled Fractures . Knots .Cleavage planes or internal fractures that have the appearance of feathers.An indentation resulting from a feather or damage during polishing.A natural indentation that was not removed by polishing. The heat generated by a blowtorch used to work on settings can cause damage.An inclusion that penetrates the surface. therefor it is essential to inform anyone working on a setting if the diamond is fracture-filled. so they can use greater care while working on the piece.Fractures that have been artificially filled. fringing." According to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) Jewelry Guides. Such diamonds are sometimes called "fracture filled diamonds".Garnet or other Included gem stones Twinning Wisps . According to FTC guidelines. waviness. Surface Graining . Pique . a diamond must be within one clarity grade of its advertised amount at the time of sale. The final clarity grade will be the grade that is assigned after treatment. Internal Diamond Inclusions
Carbon . and reputable filling companies will use filling agents which show an orange or pink flash of color.Fine cracks. "One out of every three diamonds sold in the United States is laser-drilled. Chips .Damage usually occurring on the sharp edge of a facet. Pits . Needles . The drilling process leave tiny telltale shafts or tunnels that are visible under magnification.Tiny black spots caused by undigested carbon inclusions (natts)."
.Minute crystals within the diamond that appear white. Feathers .Rutile-like needle inclusions. According to Fred Cuellar in his book How to Buy a Diamond.
Diamond Fracture Filling
Diamond clarity is sometimes enhanced by filling fractures. in part because the treatment isn't permanent. Reputable companies often provide for repeat treatments if heat causes damage to the filling.Cloudy grouping of tiny pinpoints that may not resolve at 10X Magnification.
External Diamond Inclusions
Bearded Girdles .Irregular crystal growth causing internal distortions. followed by acid washing to remove the coloring agent.Concentrated area of crystal growth that appear light or dark. chips. If a jeweler sells a diamond that has an actual grade of VS-1.Dislodged pinpoint inclusions at the surface.A percussion mark caused by impact. The GIA will not grade fracture-filled diamonds.
The Four Cs of Diamonds: Color
The Four Cs Diamond Grading System
1. the yellower the stone will appear.near colorless K.Grinding Wheel Marks of scratches from contact with other diamonds. a Sarin Diamond Color Grading report is the state-of-the-art color measuring standard.Human Caused Surface Blemishes
Abrasions . Color Color is one of the Four Cs representing the four variables that are used to calculate the quality and value of a diamond. R .Small chips at facet junctions. the Gemological Institute of America uses a scale of "D" to "Z" in which "D" is totally colorless and "Z" is yellow. thereby making the diamond appear yellow. assign this grade. H. M . W. J . U.Surface burning from heat buildup during polishing. The higher the amount of nitrogen atoms.
"SI-3" is a grade sometimes used in the diamond industry. Diamond Color Designations D. Clarity 4. O. P. Nicks . In determining the color rating of a diamond. Y.light yellow or brown Fig. I. As a consumer. Z . At present. L.Whitish haziness along the junction of facets caused by wear.colorless (white) G. X. F . Burn Marks . the most reputable well known US labs. T. These nitrogen impurities are evenly dispersed throughout the stone. 1
. Cut 2. it will be beneficial to learn and understand some of the basic parameters for diamond color grading. The designation of SI-3 was popularized by the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) grading office. absorbing some of the blue spectrum. Diamonds of this low grade would be inappropriate for jewelry. E. Q. Neither the GIA nor the AGS (American Gemological Society). 1 explains the GIA grading system for clear (not fancy-colored) stones.
Most all natural diamonds contain small quantities of nitrogen atoms that displacing the carbon atoms within the crystal's lattice structure. The color chart in Fig. V.very light yellow or brown S. Scratches .faint yellow or brown N. Carat 3.
3 example below. and D5). color grading should be determined by examining the stone through the side of the pavilion (Fig. 2).Due to a diamond's high brilliance. D4. For the consumer.
D-Flawless . India. and not by looking at the top of the stone. Using a Sarin Diamond Colorimeter DC3000 (aka Gran Colorimeter). GIA-GEM. IGI. jewelers and gem labs can accurately provide a 'color typing' printout of a diamond's color grading that is compatible with AGS. These colorless stones. most gem labs do not currently provide color-typing data in their reports and certificates. as in our Fig. 3
Type IIa diamonds (aka Golconda Diamonds) are colorless stones containing negligible amounts nitrogen or boron impurities to absorb the blue end of the color spectrum. Color grading by 'visual-observation is performed against a Master CZ Colored Grading Set." are named after the famous Golconda Diamond Mines located in the state of Hyderabad. D3." "whiter than white. D2. it is extremely benificial to know if your 'F' is a strong 'F." or "D+. Fig. Fig. Each classification is divided into five sub-classifications (D1. sometimes referred to as "white diamonds. 2
Sarin Color Typing
is a relatively new sub-classification of the D through Z gading scale.' Unfortunatly.The Holy Grail
. and HRD grading scales.' or a borderline 'G. and dispersion of light (fire) when looking through the table or crown.
fewer than 5. so this effect will be more apparent under natural daylight than under artificial incandescent light. In some settings with various combinations of other stones. Only around 600 D-flawless roughs are cut into gems weighing between 1 and 2 carats during a given year. When diamonds are viewed under a UV light-source. faint.
Approximatly 1/3 (35%) of all diamonds have a tendency to fluoresce when exposed to ultra-violet (UV) light.
Diamonds: Chemistry & Structural Properties
| Optical Properties of Diamond
| Diamond Enhancement
Structural Properties of Diamond . This fluorescent effect can be beneficial to a diamond that has a yellow tint. Even with microscopic inclusions." but the diamond will have a dull. Skin Tone and Settings While some may prefer a very transparent D to F range.
For diamonds with a color grading of D through H (colorless). murky appearance when compared to a non-fluorescing diamond. See Color in Gemstones for more information.Diamond Formation
.000 D-color diamonds weighing over half a carat are found each year. and strong.Large D-flawless diamonds (those weighing more than 2 carats) are some of the rarest minerals on earth. as the blue fluorescence will cancel out some of the yellow. diamonds with a poorer color grading (I through K). Fluorescence is graded as none. Ultra-violet light is a component of natural sunlight and artificial 4800k to 5000k color-proofing light. fluorescence can negatively impact the value of the stone by 3% to 20%. they tend to fluoresce as blue. others may prefer a "warmer" color found in a G to J range to compliment their skin tone. fluorescence could increase the value by 0% to 2% buy improving the color (or lack thereof). On the other hand. according to the GIA. diamonds with a visible tint may be preffered. making the diamond appear "colorless. medium.
igneous rock composed of garnet. and pyroxene." and excavated via a hard-rock or open pit mine. in the diamond-stable conditions defined by the "graphite-diamond equilibrium boundary" . pressure is roughly 5 gigapascals and the temperature is around 2." "untamable. Long periods of exposure to these higher pressures and temperatures allow diamond crystals to grow larger than under land masses. Under the continental crust. A diamond is a transparent.Diamonds are formed when carbon deposits are exposed to high pressure and high temperature for prolonged periods of time. Therefore.
." and "unconquerable.200 degrees Fahrenheit (1. At these depths. Kimberlite occurs in the Earth's crust in vertical. with the principle allotrope being graphite. The name "diamond. and differentiates it from simple graphite. diamonds form at depths of between 60 miles (100 kilometers) and 120 miles (200 km). The word "allotrope" or "allotropy" specifically refers to the structural chemical bond between atoms. Diamond formation under oceanic crust takes place at greater depths due to lower surface temperatures. phlogopite." referring to its incredible hardness. and a specific gravity of 3.044. a refractive index of 2. with a relative hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale." which is also known as "adamant. or "invincible.
Basic Physical Properties of Diamond
Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material on earth.42.200 degrees Celsius).
Diamond Crystal Structure & Hardness
The unique chemical and molecular structure of crystalline diamond is what gives this gemstone its hardness. olivine. optically isotropic crystal with a high dispersion of 0. they are found in alluvial stream-beds known or "secondary deposits. ultramafic." is derived from the Greek adamas. upwardly-thrusting structures known as kimberlite pipes. which resemble a champagne flute. Deep within the earth's crust there are regions that have a high enough temperature (900¼C to 1400¼C) and pressure (5 to 6 GPa) that it is thermodynamically possible for liquified carbon to form into diamonds.52. diamond formation within the oceanic crust requires a higher pressure for formation."
Diamond-bearing kimberlite is an ultrapotassic. Diamond is one of several allotropes of carbon. When diamonds are not located within a "kimberlite pipe. with a variety of trace minerals.
The natural crystal form.
The external shape of the crystal.A Type 2-A diamond has a hardness value of 167 GPa (±6) when scratched with an ultrahard fullerite tip. or carbon dioxide. does not always reflect the internal arrangement of its atoms. When a gemstone has an irregular external shape or asymmetrical arrangement of its crystal facets." This means that diamond crystals usually "grow" in an orderly and symmetrical arrangement. it is termed as "subhedral. A diamond's incredible hardness was the subject of curiosity dating back to the Roman empire. whether it is cubic. may also be as hard or harder than diamond. beta carbon nitride. and therefore. a currently hypothetical material. is nearly as hard as diamond. perfectly formed crystals are rare.
Diamond Crystal Habit
Diamonds have a characteristic crystalline structure. where it was shown to combust in scientific experiments. or dodecahedral."
. and crystal habit of a diamond is octahedral (photo. by igniting a diamond in an oxygen atmosphere." or "anhedral. Experimentation during the late 18th century demonstrated that diamonds were made of carbon. octahedral." when found in a crystalline form that is structurally similar to diamond. The material "boron nitride. above). Additionally. and a hardness value of 231 GPa (±5) when scratched with a diamond tip. a predictable crystal growth pattern known as its "crystal habit. with the end byproduct of the combustion being carbonic-acid gas. although the reason for its combustion was not understood at the time. although in nature.
pressure and space can also affect the final shape of a formed crystal." If you were to place a large enough diamond on your tongue it would draw heat away.
In extremely high temperature environments above 1700 ¡C. making it seem cold. due to its ability to fracture along cleavage planes.
Thermal Properties of Diamonds
Diamond is a good conductor of heat. Hematite has a hardness of only 5. yet sapphire has a toughness rating of excellent. the term "toughness" describes the resistance of a given material to fracture when it is stressed or impacted. a diamond's "toughness" is only fair to good. with a Mohs scale rating of 10. is a facet specifically designed to resist breakage." which only denotes a diamond's high resistance to scratching. and varying growth conditions of heat. Particular cuts of diamond are more prone to breakage along cleavage planes.
Carbon Inclusion . By comparrison. graphite can develop internally and on the diamond's surface. A material's toughness is measured in units of "joules" per cubic meter (J/m3) in the SI system. sapphire has a hardness rating of 9.© AGS Labs
Within the fields of metallurgy and materials science. Internally formed crystallographic graphite inclusions often create intense strain on the surrounding diamond. and "pound-force" per square-inch in US units of measurement. Many natural blue
. Although diamond is the "hardest. Additionally.5 to 6. and therefore may be uninsurable by reputable insurance companies. very thin girdles on brilliant cut diamonds are also prone to breakage. acting as a "thermal conductor. causing stress fractures or feathers. its "toughness" rating is moderate. most scratch resistant mineral on earth. but its toughness rating is also excellent. The culet facet at the bottom of the pavilion.Trace impurities.© AGS Labs
Hexagonal (Graphite) Platelet Inclusion . Unlike "hardness. crystal twinning." and therefore. meaning that a diamond is 4 times "harder" than sapphire.5.
re-emitting them as lower-energy.nearly five times greater than pure copper. electronic circuits could be manufactured from diamonds in the future . giving off a somewhat greasy sheen. or having the hardness or luster of a diamond. increasing thermal conductance. Natural blue diamonds containing boron atoms.
Electromagnetic Properties of Diamond . to prevent silicon and other semiconducting materials from overheating.
Optical Properties of Diamond: Type I & Type II Diamonds
| Optical Properties of Diamond
| Diamond Enhancement
Surface Luster of Diamond
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones.
. which are in fact semiconductors. The word luster traces its origins back to the Latin word lux. it is used in the manufacturing of semiconductors.
Fluorescence in Diamonds
Fluorescence is an optical phenomenon in which a diamond's molecules absorb high-energy photons. Purified synthetic diamond can have the highest thermal conductivity (2000-2500 W/m-K) of any solid material at room temperature .com The surface luster (or "lustre") of diamond is described as adamantine. If an n-type semiconductor can be synthesized. are known as p-type semiconductors. or longer-wavelength photons. meaning "light". and generally implies radiance. which means unyielding. inflexible. and synthetic diamonds that are doped with boron.diamonds contain boron atoms which replace carbon atoms within the crystal matrix. with the exception of natural blue diamonds. gloss.Insulators or Semiconductors
Diamond is a relatively good electrical insulator. Due to diamond's high thermal conductance. The term adamantine describes the way light interacts with the surface of a crystal. or brilliance.
These Type IIa diamonds have a near-perfect crystal structure making them highly transparent and colorless. All Type 1 diamonds have nitrogen atoms as their main impurity." and refraction. These rare diamonds have a lower nitrogen content.
Type I & Type II Diamonds
As many as 99% of all natural diamonds are classified as Type I. There are also two subcategories (a and b) within each diamond 'type' (either Type I or Type II) that are based on a stone's electrical conductivity.© AGS Labs
Type I UV Fluorescence . classifying them as Type IIb diamonds. absorbing some of the blue spectrum.Long Wave/Short Wave UV Cabinet
Diamond Fluorescence Under UV Light
Diamond types that exhibit the phenomenon of fluorescence radiate or glow in a variety of colors when exposed to long wave ultra-violet light. Some Type IIa diamonds can be found with pink. greenish or yellow fluorescence when exposed to the X-ray wavelength. Diamond can exhibit pseudochromatic coloration giving the appearance of "color" without having any actual color in the mineral itself. they can give the stone a yellow tint. This illusion of color is caused by the varying optics effects created by spectral dispersion.417.© AGS Labs
Type IIa diamonds are very rare. thereby allowing the passage of short-wave ultra-violet (SWUV) light through the stone. If the nitrogen atoms are dispersed evenly throughout the crystal.
Cloud Inclusion Under UV . a natural diamond may contains both Type 1-A and Type 1-B material. If the nitrogen atoms are grouped in clusters they do not necessarily affect the diamond's overall color.
. while Type II diamonds that lack boron impurities are classified as Type IIa. Man-made synthetic diamonds containing nitrogen are classified as Type 1-B. and some of the finest historical gemstones such as the Cullinan and Koh-i-Noor are both Type IIa diamonds.
Type II Diamond Formation
Certain diamonds were formed under extremely high pressure for longer time periods. and give off a bluish-white. red. These Nitrogen impurities found in Type I diamonds are evenly dispersed throughout the gemstone." with a refractive index of 2. Some diamond varieties. and are classified as Type 1-B. with very high thermal conductivity. and contain nitrogen atoms as an impurity. particularly Canadian diamonds. and they are classified as Type 1-A. Natural blue Type II diamonds containing scattered boron impurities within their crystal matrix are good conductors of electricity. Type II diamonds do not contain any detectable nitrogen. show no fluorescence. Typically. due primarily to certain structural anomalies arising from "plastic deformation" which occurred during their formation. and thereby making the diamond appear yellow. or brown coloration. and appear dark when exposed to ultra-violet light or X-rays. which replace some carbon atoms within the crystal lattice structure. making them appear 'colorless' (D). permitting the passage and reflectance of blue light.
Diamond Refraction & Coloration
Diamonds are "singly refractive. or "fire.
. However. green. when a diamond's color is more intense than the "Z" grading. Once thought to be of little value. it enters the realm of a "Fancy Color" diamond. and black. and red (Hancock Diamond) are particularly valuable.
Fancy Diamond Color Hues
A fancy brown (or Fancy Cognac). boron (blue diamonds). blue (Hope Diamond). blue. yellow. Yellow. Colorless diamonds would normally be priced much higher than yellow diamonds. radiation exposure (green diamonds) or irregular growth patterns within the crystal (pink. or yellow diamond may have a relatively low value when compared to a colorless diamond. while chemically "pure" diamonds are basically transparent. Blue. and their color is due to trace impurities of nitrogen and/or hydrogen (yellow. All colored diamonds contain certain specific impurities and/or structural defects that cause their coloration. red. However.Diamond Refraction & Light Dispersion
Diamonds can also exhibit allochromatic coloration which is caused by chromophores from the nitrogen trace impurities found within crystalline structure. certain fancy-colored diamonds such as pink (Condé). Green & Cognac
Fancy Colored Diamond
Diamonds can occur in all colors of the spectrum. and therefor colorless. green (Ocean Dream). pink. fancy pink diamonds can command very high prices as they have become increasingly popular. the intensity of the color in the diamond can plays a significant role in its value. green.
Fancy Colored Diamonds: Pink. orange. brown diamonds).
Diamond Color & Composition
Diamonds can occur in a wide variety of colors: colorless or white. brown. red diamonds). In this case. It is this nitrogen component that produces the color of fancy yellow diamonds. steel grey. The value of a Fancy Color Diamond can surpass that of colorless diamonds if the intensity of the color is high and the color is rare.
1PP is the highest quality designation for Pink Diamond. sold at a greater discount. The rough stone weighed 287. daylight) and ambient temperature changes.Pink (Reddish-pink) 1 is darkest 1BP to 8BP .S to Z Fancy Light .Champagne 3 is darkest C8 to C1 . causing microscopic imperfections within the lattice structure. Pink diamonds are similar to pink sapphire in color. and value (darkness) using nine classifications ranging from 'Faint' to 'Vivid. lighting color temperatures (incandescent.
The pink color within these rare diamonds is due to irregular crystal growth patterns.M Very Light . bright light). The GIA grades fancy diamond color by quantifying the saturation.'
GIA 'Fancy Yellow' Diamond Color Saturation Designations
Faint . Only 1% to 2% of the diamonds produced at the Argyle Mine are high-quality pink specimens. which changes hue from grayish-blue or olive-green to yellowish-green or straw-yellow under different lighting conditions (darkness. halogen.' found in Kimberly. which are generally less appreciated than other fancy colors and therefor. One of the world's only major sources for rare pink diamonds is the Argyle Mine in Australia. This Chameleon-like phenomenon was first documented by the GIA in the early 1940s.Start of 'Fancy' Fancy Fancy Dark Fancy Intense Fancy Deep Fancy Vivid .Brown diamonds.Pink (Magenta-pink) 1 is darkest 1P to 8P . left).42 carats.54 carat cushion cut with an estimated value in the millions of dollars.Pink (Brownish-pink) 1 is darkest PC3 to PC1 . and was cut into a 128.N to R Light .Highest Saturation
One of the largest.
. yet considerably more expensive. South Africa in 1878. Fancy Pink/Brown Diamond Color (Hue) Designations
1PP to 8PP . An 1P designation would have less blue and more brownish-red. As the numbers go lower (8PP) the color is paler. have become more commonplace as Australian colored diamonds have gained in popularity. hue.
Fancy Yellow Diamonds (Canary Yellow)
Fancy yellow diamonds owe their color the presence of nitrogen impurities which absorb the blue end of the color spectrum. and most valuable Fancy Yellow diamonds in the world is the 'Tiffany Diamond. having a pure magenta color with deep saturation.Cognac 8 is darkest
There is a very rare olive-grayish color-changing diamond called "Chameleon Diamond" (below.
000 in 1987.
Deep Orange Diamond (photo: © AfricaGems. The first red diamond to be found was the 1 carat 'Halphen Red.
Diamond Fashion Trends
While prices will undoubtedly remain predictably higher for colorless diamonds and certain rare fancycolored diamonds. Other famous reds are the Moussaieff Diamond weighing 13.90 carats. greyish-green.000 to $500. and weighed a modest 0. or a combination of the two.000 per carat. and the De Young Red weighing 5.03 carats. Intense. Pricing in today's market is in the range of $1 million dollars per carat. On thing is certain. as in the one-of-a-kind 5. or short-term storage (up to 24 hours) in total darkness . There are fewer than twenty known specimens of "natural" red diamond. the specific color most valued by a given consumer is largely influenced by current styling trends and personal taste.Green Chameleon Diamonds
Fancy Pink Diamond Color Grading
Chameleon diamonds can be forced to temporarily change to a yellowish-green color by exposing them to heat (150º C to 250º C). The color change effect is temporary. Green diamonds can range from $35.
. The most famous red diamond (the Hancock Red) was found in Brazil.com)
The Elusive Red Diamond
Perhaps the rarest diamond color of all is the elusive Red Diamond. and will totally reverse itself when conditions re-stabilize. The Hancock Red sold at Christie's auction house for a staggering $926. It was cut into a round brilliant named after its owner. Warren Hancock.95carats. Primary sources are in southcentral Africa.
Green diamonds owe their hue to millions of years of exposure to naturally occurring gamma and/or neutron radiation. Most 'green' diamonds are actually a yellowish-green. so will the market prices of sought-after commodities that are in limited supply.com)
Green/Brown Chameleon Diamond (© AfricaGems. and are typically found in alluvial secondary deposits.' discovered during the 18th century. pure green hues. It is believed that the color changing effect is due to a higher than normal amount of hydrogen impurities. as the tastes and preferences of the consumer shift in priorities.51 carat blue-green 'Ocean Green Diamond' or the 41 carat apple-colored 'Dresden Green Diamond' are virtually non-existant. Exposure to direct sunlight will bring out an olive-green color. Irradiation can artificially induce a green color in diamonds.
All of the microscopic inclusion photographs on this page were generously contributed by the A.
. gemological testing laboratory in Las Vegas. and can be naturally occuring. or absence of tiny imperfections known as "inclusions. These impurities absorb the blue end of the light spectrum. F grades.com)
Fancy Colored Synthetic Diamonds
Unlike natural diamond which can occur in completely colorless D. The term "clarity" refers to the presence.G.com)
Enhanced Blue & Yellow Diamonds (© AfricaGems. most synthetic diamonds will have a slightly yellowish hue due to nitrogen impurities that are dispersed throughout the crystal lattice structure during the growth phase. and beautifully photographed by their Director of Gem Services. and so-called "piquŽ diamonds" fall into the GIA grading range of I1 to I3 (CIBJO grade P1 to P3). This section contains a compendium of photography depicting all of the various types of diamond inclusions—both naturally occurring. representing the four main variables that are used to calculate the quality and value of a diamond. or human caused. E.com Clarity is one of the Four C's of diamond grading. Inclusions which are visible to the naked eye are referred to as piquŽ.L. Joe Vanells.Reddish Brown Diamond (photo: © AfricaGems.S." These inclusions can occur within the stone. Inclusions which are not visible to the naked eye (eye clean) fall into the GIA range of "IF" (Internally Flawless) to "SI2" (Small Inclusions). It is for this reason that manufacturers of synthetic diamonds tend to specialize in fancy colors.
Diamond Inclusion Library: Inclusion Photos
Over 100 High-Resolution Diamond Photos!
All Contents: Copyright © 2010 AllAboutGemstones. Nevada. making the stone appear yellowish. and man-made imperfections—that can be found in raw and cut diamonds. or on the surface of the cut stone.
ferropericlase. ferropericlase. pyrrhotite and pentlandite.Internal Diamond Inclusion Photos
Carbon Tiny black spots caused by undigested carbon inclusions (natts).
. PiquŽ Carbon Inclusion Photos
Internal Carbon Pique Diamond Inclusion Photography
Piqué are tiny black spots caused by undigested carbon inclusions (natts) within diamonds. pyrrhotite and pentlandite. Black material found within internal fracture planes can also be crystallographic inclusions of graphite. Black or dark material found within a diamond's internal fracture planes can also be particles or crystallographic inclusions of graphite.
Microscopic Carbon Picque Inclusions
Hexagonal Platelet Inclusion in Trillion Cut Diamond
All of the microscopic diamond carbon inclusion photography on this page was generously contributed by the AGSL gemological testing laboratory in Las Vegas. Cloud Inclusion Photos
Diamond Internal Cloud Inclusion Photography
Cloud Inclusions (Cld) within a diamond are caused by a tightly packed grouping of tiny pinpoints that resemble clouds or cloudiness. Nevada. which can leave their own types of unique inclusions. Clouds (Cld) A dense grouping of tiny pinpoints that create a cloudy zone which may not resolve as individual pinpoints at 10X Magnification. and is reproduced with their permission. Internal cloud inclusions may not resolve as pinpoints at 10X
.Carbon piqué inclusions are sometimes removed by diamond enhancements such as laser drilling.
.Magnification. These pinpoint cloud inclusions can have a dramatic effect on the clarity and brilliance of a faceted diamond as they interfere with the refraction of light within the stone.
Diamond Cloud Inclusion under UV Light.
Cloud Inclusion under Long-Wave Light.
Cloud Inclusion under Fluorescent Light.
Feather Inclusion Photos
Internal Diamond Feather Inclusion Photography
Feather inclusions (Ftr) are caused by cleavage planes or internal stress fractures that have the appearance of wispy feathers. Common around included crystals.
. Feather inclusions are common around included crystals such as garnet. which cause internal stress fractures during crystal growth. Feather inclusions can be accompanied by internal graining and/or twinning wisp inclusions.Feathers (Ftr) Cleavage planes or internal stress fractures that have the appearance of feathers.
Feather inclusions caused by stress fractures around included garnet crystal.
This is especially true if the fracture breeches the stone's surface.
. and the stress inclusion occurs along the gem's natural cleavage plane. making it susceptible to fracturing when exposed to thermal or physical shock. diamonds with significant stress fractures and feather should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner as this could cause the diamond to shatter.Pronounced stress fractures and feather inclusions can potentially weaken the stone. As a result.
Grain Center (GrCnt) A concentrated area of crystal growth that can appear light or dark. and haze within a cut diamond.
. Grain Center Inclusion Photos
Internal Grain Center Diamond Inclusion Photography
Internal Grain Center (IntGr) inclusions (aka internal graining) are caused by irregular diamond crystal growth which creates internal distortions. waviness.
Internal Trigons Grain Center Inclusions
when a tube or tunnel is generated in the crystalizing diamond by an internal cavity that was once liquid filled. Growth Tube Inclusion Photos
Internal Growth Tubes Inclusion Photography
Internal Growth Tube inclusions are natural Imperfections that are created during diamond formation. when a tube is generated by a formerly liquid filled cavity.Growth Tubes Imperfection formed during crystal growth.
Comet-Like Growth Tube Inclusions under UV Light
Green chrome diopside Inclusion within a Diamond
. spinel. or silica. calcite. calcite. olivine. spinel. diopside. silica or other gem stone inclusions. Included Crystals Inclusion Photos
Internal Included Crystals in Diamond
Included Crystal inclusions are whole crystals or tiny included gem fragments of undigested crystals such as garnet. diopside. iron oxides. olivine. iron oxides.Included Crystals (Xtl) Included and undigested gemstones or fragments of garnet.
Garnet Inclusions within Diamond
Garnet fragment on Diamond Girdle
Grossularite Garnet Inclusions in Diamond
Internal Graining (IntGr) Irregular crystal growth causing internal distortions, waviness, and/or haze. Can be accompanied by internal strain. Internal Graining Inclusion Photos
Internal Graining Diamond Inclusion Photography
Internal Graining (IntGr) inclusions are caused by irregular crystal growth which creates internal distortions, waviness, or haze. Internal Graining imperfections may be accompanied by internal strain such as feather Inclusions.
Internal Graining with Cloud Inclusion
With internal laser-drilling inclusions. and where pathway does not breach the cut diamond's surface. Internal Laser Drilling Inclusion Photos
Internal Laser Drilling (LDH) Inclusion Photography
Internal Laser Drilling (LDH) inclusions are man-made internal flaws that resulted from laser-drilling that was done to remove large piquŽ carbon inclusions in a rough stone.Internal Laser Drilling (LDH) Internal pathway caused by laser-drilling to remove large inclusions. the drilled passage may not breach the cut diamond's surface.
. Needle Inclusion Photos
Needle Inclusion Photography
Internal Needles (Ndl) or needle inclusions are naturally occurring rutile-like needle shaped inclusions within the diamond.Needles (Ndl) Rutile-like needle-shaped inclusions.
Large groupings of small pinpoints can create a cloud inclusion effect. or Pinpoint Inclusions are minute included crystals within the diamond that appear white under magnification.Pinpoints (Pp) Minute crystals within the diamond that appear white. Large groupings of small pinpoints can create a cloud effect. Pinpoint Inclusion Photos
Pinpoints (Pp) Inclusion Photography
Internal Pinpoints (Pp).
Twinning Wisp Inclusion Photos
Twinning Wisps Inclusion Photography
Twinning Wisp inclusions are naturally-occurring structural defects with a diamond. resulting from crystal twining during the growth process.Twinning Wisps Inclusions and defects resulting from crystal-twining during crystal growth. Twinning Wisp inclusions can be accompanied by internal graining and/or strain feathers. Can be accompanied by graining and strain.
Odds & Ends: Microscopic Diamond Inclusion Beauty Photos
Microscopic Diamond Inclusion Photography
This is an assortment of spectacular diamond-inclusion photography taken by Joe Vanells.
. showing the strange and beautiful world of microscopic diamond inclusions.
Natural Comet Inclusion
Darkfield Illumination of Feather and Maltese Cloud
Tabular Reflection in Diamond
Included Garnet Twins within Diamond
Included Dalmatian Garnet
Octahedron Inclusion with Angular Strain Feathers
Cloud Inclusion Under UV Light
Strain Feather 'Crashing Wave' Daimond Inclusion
Knot diamond inclusions can potentially be the cause of man-made drag-line inclusions. Knot Inclusion Photos
Photography of Diamond Inclusion Knots
Knot inclusions are naturally occurring external inclusions or imperfections that penetrate the surface (convex).
. appearing as a raised area.Natural External Diamond Inclusions or Blemishes
Knots An inclusion that penetrates the surface. appearing as a raised area on the diamond's surface.
and were not fully removed during the stone's cutting or polishing process.
.Indented Natural (IndN) A naturally occurring indentation in the crystal that was not removed during cutting or polishing. Indented Natural Inclusion Photos
Indented Natural (IndN) Diamond Inclusion Photography
Indented Natural (IndN) inclusions (indented naturals) are external imperfections that are caused by naturally-occurring recessed (concave) indentations that penetrate the surface of a rough diamond.
The lizard-skin effect is caused by an orange-peel texture.
.Lizard Skin A bumpy or wavy 'orange-peel' textured pattern on the polished surface of a diamond. made up of a bumpy or wavy pattern on the polished surface of a diamond. Lizard Skin Inclusion Photos
Lizard Skin Diamond Surface Blemish Photography
A "lizard skin" surface blemish is a man-made external diamond imperfection that is created during polishing.
and remain visible on the surface of a polished stone.Natural (N) A raised portion of the rough diamond's original surface structure that remains visible on the surface of a polished stone. Natural Inclusion Photos
Natural Diamond Inclusion Photography
Natural inclusions (aka Naturals) are naturally-occurring raised portions of the rough diamond's original surface structure that were not removed during the polishing process.
Surface Graining Inclusion Photos
Diamond Surface Graining (SGr) Photography
Surface Graining (SGr) is a natural imperfection or inclusion that creates visible surface lines which are caused by irregular crystallization during diamond formation.Pits Dislodged pinpoint inclusions at the surface.
. Surface Graining (SGr) Visible surface lines caused by irregular crystallization during formation.
Bruising (Br) A percussion mark or hole caused by impact and surrounded by tiny feathers.
.Human Caused Surface Blemishes
Abrasion (Abr) A tightly grouped series of nicks along the sharp edge of facet junctions. Bearded Girdle (BG) Fine cracks. creating a whitish fuzzy edge as opposed to a sharp edge. chips. fringing. or feathers along the outer edge of girdle.
or when abrasive material is caught by an included crystal such as garnet during the polishing of a diamond. Drag Line Photos
Diamond Surface Drag Lines Photography
Drag Lines are human-caused surface imperfections and blemishes that are created when a loose rough particle is dragged along the surface. Chips Damage usually occurring on the sharp edge of a facet. or caught by a included crystal. Drag Lines Created when a rough particle is dragged along the surface. Cavities (Cv) An indentation resulting from a feather or damage during polishing. the overheating of a facet causes a burn mark.
.Burn Marks Created during polishing. during cutting and/or polishing the diamond.
and remove cloudiness.
.Extra Facet (EF) An asymmetrical and irregularly placed facet that is not part of the original faceting scheme. Filled Fracture Photos
Internal Fracture Filling Inclusion Photography
Fracture-filling Inclusions are man-made diamond enhancements that are the result of natural cleavage-plane stress fractures or feathers which have been artificially filled with molten glass to enhance clarity. This microscopic photograph shows the telltale orange or pink flash of a filled fracture enhancement within a cut diamond. Filled Fractures Fractures or feathers that have been artificially filled to enhance clarity.
marking. or inscribing the external surface of a cut diamond. markings. Laser Etching Photos
Diamond Laser Etching Inscription Photography
Laser etching inclusions are surface blemishes and imperfections that are created when careless or inadvertent markings or inscriptions are made while laser etching.Laser Etching or Markings Careless or inadvertent laser etchings.
. and inscriptions.
Polish Lines (PL) Fine parallel surface groves resulting from the polishing process. Polish Marks (PM) Also known as "Wheel Marks.
Diamond Enhancements: Laser Drilling & Fracture Filling
. Scratch (S) A fine whitish line that can be curved or straight." whitish film on the surface of a facet caused by excessive heat during polishing.
© AGS Lab
Diamonds that have been altered or enhanced by Fracture Filling and/or Laser Drilling should always be labeled and their "improvements" identified to the potential consumer. much like you would repair a crack in a car's windshield glass. Such diamonds are sometimes then branded as "fracture filled diamonds. A trained gemologist should be able to identify most traditional "enhancements" made to a particular stone. altered.© AGS Lab
Telltale Signs of Fracture Filling .Diamond Chemistry
| Optical Properties of Diamond
| Diamond Enhancement
Diamond "enhancements" are specific treatments performed on cut.
There are also heating treatments to improve a white diamond's color grade.
Unfilled Fractures around Garnet Inclusion . but not necessarily increase its value. in accordance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for the gem trade." Reputable filling companies will always use filling agents which show an orange or pink flash of color when viewed under a microscope with certain controlled lighting conditions. or removed by employing several invasive techniques from fracture filling to laser drilling. which are designed to improve the visual or gemological characteristics of the stone. Minor diamond inclusions or surface imperfections which are not visible to the naked eye ("VVS1" to "SI2") can be disguised. These techniques do not eliminate the imperfection.
Diamond Fracture Filling
Diamond clarity is sometimes improved and enhanced by filling tiny fractures or feathers with molten glass. but instead attempt to hide their visual effect. polished natural diamonds. or treatments to give a fancy color to a off-white diamond.
Due to its low melting-point. The drilling process leave tiny telltale shafts or tunnels that are visible under high magnification (see photos below). and both the GIA and AGS will issue grades for laser drilled diamonds.© AfricaGems.
Laser Drilling of Diamonds
Laser drilling involves the use of a laser to burn a tunnel or hole down to any dark carbon inclusions or piquŽ."
Diamond Color Treatment
Color enhancement of diamonds in done to increase the color intensity of so-called "fancy" colored diamonds.com
Radiation treatments are completely safe.There should always be a significant price discount for any diamond that has been fracture-filled. the heat generated by a blowtorch used to work on settings can cause damage to the filling material. in part because the treatment isn't permanent.© AfricaGems.
Color Enhanced Diamonds . The final clarity grade will be the grade that is assigned after treatment. so that the jeweler can use greater care while working on the piece. According to Fred Cuellar in his book How to Buy a Diamond.
Natural Fancy Diamonds .© AGS Lab
Laser Drilling Tubes . followed by acid washing to remove the coloring agent.© AGS Lab
The laser-drilling treatment is considered permanent. These enhancements are achieved using low levels of radiation (irradiation). It is therefor essential to inform anyone working on a setting where the diamond has been fracture-filled. Reputable filling companies will often provide repeat treatments if heat causes damage to the filling.
Signs of Laser Drilling . Diamonds treated with HTHP have their molecular altered so that intense. referred to as the HTHP process. "One out of every three diamonds sold in the United States is laser-drilled. "vivid" blue and yellow colors result. and the GIA will not even grade a fracture-filled diamond. and the diamonds are tested to ensure that no trace levels of radiation remain. or subjecting the diamond to intense pressure and temperature.
Once the desired temperature had been achieved. the crucible and its contents were rapidly cooled by immersing them into cold water.© AGS Labs
Synthetic Yellow Chatham Diamond . With Moissan's process. This abrupt cooling caused the rapid shrinkage of the molten iron crucible.Tracy Hall for the General Electric Company.com The process of creating man-made diamonds (aka cultured diamonds. or carbon to an extremely high temperature (4000º C) in a cast iron crucible. The first practical commercial application of Moissan's process was developed in 1954. and the Chemical Vapor Deposition or "CVD" method.
Synthetic Diamond under Fluorescent . Using an electric furnace constructed with blocks of lime. yet they have the identical carbon-based chemical properties of natural diamond. the intense heat would render the crucible and its carbon contents into a molten liquid mass. The process. there are two main processes for creating lab diamonds: the High-Temperature High-Pressure or "HTHP" method. These man-made synthetic diamonds are a laboratory-grown simulation of the natural gemstone.© AGS Labs
Today. lab diamonds) was first conceived by French chemist Henri Moissan in 1892. and has been steadily improved upon throughout the last 50 years. by H. which created enough pressure to crystallize the molten carbon into tiny diamond fragments. tiny fragments of synthetic diamond were created by heating charcoal. Although synthetic diamonds were originally conceived as a substitute for natural industrial-grade diamonds. high-pressure) "belt press" process was used for synthesizing industrial-grade diamonds. known as the HTHP (high-temperature.
. they are increasingly used in fine jewelry as their quality increases.Synthetic Diamonds & Man-Made Diamond Simulants
| Cubic Zirconia
The First Synthetic Diamonds
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones.
Unlike their natural diamond counterparts. and Moissanite in 1998. which attracts the gas to the substrate.
Synthetic Diamond Color & Optics
Unlike natural diamond which can occur in completely colorless form. making the stone appear yellowish. Synthetic diamonds can also be treated with the HTHP process to alter the optical properties of the stones. Magalux. colorless synthetic sapphire (aka Diamondite) was a popular diamond simulant. With the advent of Cubic Zirconia in the mid 1970's. the HTHP diamond's growth process can take 7 to 10 days to complete. produced using the Verneuil (flame-fusion) Process. hardness. synthetic diamonds may contain small inclusions. The vaporized carbon gases are energized using microwave energy. or "simulate" the appearance of natural diamonds. Using Chemical Vapor Deposition. Java Gem. Fabulite Synthetic Rutile (1946-1955) Diamothyst. Synthetic diamonds can be detected using infrared. and a combination of heat and pressure are applied to the seed in a process that attempts to replicate the natural conditions for diamond-formation. Diamondite. most of these lesser simulants fell by the wayside. In the late 1940's Diamondite gave way to Synthetic Rutile which was popular until the advent of YAG in the early 1970's. or by measuring UV fluorescence with a DiamondView tester. Lustergem. most synthetic diamonds will have a slightly yellowish hue due to nitrogen impurities that are dispersed through out the crystal lattice structure during the growth phase. and a combination of heat and pressure are applied while a vaporized carbon-plasma that is combined with hydrogen is applied. Like natural diamond. making them difficult to differentiate from natural diamonds. also known as "GE POL. or X-ray spectroscopy. These impurities absorb the blue end of the light spectrum. Titangem Synthetic Sapphire (1900-1947) Diamondette. Rutania. ranging in clarity from IF to SI or I.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
The "Chemical Vapor Deposition" (CVD) method was developed during the 1980s. Thrilliant Synthetic Spinel (1920-1947) Corundolite. the diamond's entire growth process takes several days to complete. ultraviolet.
Synthetic Diamond Manufacturers
In the early 1900's. but are not a carbonbased compound having a natural diamond's crystalline structure. refractive index.
Diamond "simulants. A diamond seed is placed into a growth camber. a seed or substrate material is placed into the growth camber. Radient Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) (1970-1975) Diamone." also known as "simulated diamonds" or "fake diamonds" are man-made gemstones that look like. Rainbow Diamond. light dispersion. and surface luster as its natural diamond counterpart. specific gravity. Phianite Gadolinium Gallium Garnet (GGG) (1972-1975) Strontium Titanate (ST) (1955 . A cultured synthetic diamond will have the identical cleavage. Jourado Diamond.1970) Diagem. Diamonite. or "deposited" onto the substrate in successive layers. Common diamond simulants include:
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) (1976-) Czarite. With CVD. Diamonte.High-Temperature High-Pressure (HTHP)
The "High-Temperature High-Pressure" (HTHP) technique.' or six-anvil 'cubic press' to create the necessary pressure. Diamonaire. Diamond Essence." uses a four-anvil 'tetrahedral press. and uses a lowerpressure growth environment than the earlier HTHP method.
).com Chatham Created Diamonds Chatham Gems is a San Francisco based company that grows only fancy-colored diamonds in colors ranging from champagne and canary yellow to pink and midnight blue. carbonate fluid solution that is similar to diamond-bearing metamorphic rock. Gemesis only grows fancy-colored diamonds. with clarity grades from IF to SI. while diamond has a hardness of 10. princess. and stones are cut to order. Ltd.25 carats to 1 carat. inc.3 on the Mohs scale.25 carats is laser inscribed with the company name and serial number. Apollo Diamond's cut stones are available in round brilliant.Apollo Diamond. Massachusetts grows colorless (D to M) diamonds.
| Cubic Zirconia
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. Apollo Diamonds are cut and polished in sizes ranging from . which they claim is the closest thing to mother nature. Tairus produces rough sizes from . The toughness of Cubic Zirconia is rated as good. in Boston. Chatham's pricing ranges from $6.com To the average consumer. Tairus Created Gems are sold exclusively through Tairus Thailand Co.apollodiamond. www. of Bangkok Thailand. While a synthetic diamond is a man-made recreation of an actual carbon-based diamond. and like Chatham. and some fancy colored diamonds. and rose cuts. www.30 carats to 3 carats. and CZ has a hardness of only 8. using a proprietary variation of the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technique. and each cut stone is laser inscribed with the Apollo company logo and serial number. Cubic Zirconia (CZ) is the most familiar type of diamond simulant on the market. and each stone is laser inscribed with the company name and serial number.com Gemesis Cultured Diamonds Gemesis is located in Sarasota.chatham.500 to $9.gemesis. Florida. emerald.500 per carat (2004 est. The Split Sphere system crystalizes the carbon seed in an alkaline. Cubic Zirconia (Zirconium Oxide ZrO2) has a completely different chemical structure.
. www. To insure easy identification as a man-made product.com Tairus Created Gems Tairus Created Gems is a Russian company that grows fancy-colored diamonds in their proprietary "Split Sphere" system.. each Gemesis cut stone over .
170. CZ vs Diamond .80 to 2. CZ typically luminesces a greenish yellow color Refractive Index: Cubic Zirconia refractive index of 1.
Photos: Larry P Kelley
Identifying Cubic Zirconia
A trained gemologist will easily be able to distinguish a natural diamond from a synthetic CZ diamond. while a Cubic Zirconia will repel grease. although D-colorless versions are more expensive to produce.417 Thermal Conductivity: CZ is a thermal insulator. When holding the crown or table of a stone close to your eye while squinting.
Using Visual Optics To Detect CZ
The Hodgkinson "Visual Optics" technique was developed in the mid-1970s by Alan Hodgkinson as a method of detecting natural diamonds and diamond simulants. natural diamond is a thermal conductor Weight: Cubic Zirconia is heavier than diamond in a given size
Another method for distinguishing Cubic Zirconia from diamond is to mark the stone with a grease pencil or felt-tipped pen. candle." but this name was never used outside of the Soviet Union (USSR).17 refractive index (RI) of Cubic Zirconia is lower than a diamond's 2. The 1. You can also Inspect the facet edges with a 10x loupe to look for any chipping or slightly rounded (not sharp) facet edges that are telltale signs of Cubic Zirconia. Due to their low cost and consistency. the greater dispersive power. most natural diamonds have some inclusions Color: CZ can take on a gray tone when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods
CZ vs Diamond . a CZ is optically flawless. etc.Detectable to the Naked Eye
Light Dispersion: Greater prismatic effect of CZ creates an abnormally high amount of fire Lack of Flaws: CZ is virtually flawless.In 1973.2.800 . or "prismatic" effect of CZ creates an abnormally high amount of fire when compared to natural diamond.
. For instance.Detectable With Testing
Fluorescence : Under shortwave UV light. or colorless (white) versions. but there are visual differences that can be detected with the untrained eye. Unlike most natural diamonds. Once the mixture has cooled. Natural diamonds attract grease. and CZs can be made in any "color grade. Cubic Zirconia can be made in both colored. Zirconium oxide powder is heated. The original name for cubic zirconia was "Jewel Fianit.) in a totally dark room. you would look towards a single pinpoint of light (pen flashlight. CZ color-grading sets are used to do a comparative color analysis of natural diamonds. The patterns will be very different for each type of stone (see samples below). then gradually allowed to cool in the crucible. Soviet scientists at the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow perfected the technique of manufacturing cubic zirconia via the "Skull Crucible" process (photo below left). the outer shell is broken off (photo below right) and the interior core of the "run" is used to make the final cut stones. Diamond's RI is 2. You must be at least 10 feet from the light source when observing.41 (RI).
Moissanite. Diamond is isotropic (singly refractive) with a refractive index (RI) of 2. sharply focused pattern seen in natural diamond is caused by secondary reflections due to a diamond's high refractive index. The refraction patterns are distinctly different from material to material.044. is classified as an element rather than a compound. Hodgkinson's 'Visual Optics' Detection The Hodgkinson technique (aka Visual Optics) was discovered by Alan Hodgkinson with Gem-A in the mid-1970s as a method for differentiating natural diamond from colorless gemstones and simulants. Moissanite has a hardness of 9. manufactured by C3 and Cree Research. rendering a thermal conductivity test ineffective. Henri Moissan (above. left) who won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his discovery of a new mineral (moissanite6H) found within meteorite fragments of the ancient Barringer meteor crater (above.417. Moissanite has a very high dispersion index of 0. Synthetic Moissanite has a thermal conductivity that is very similar to diamond. candle. Colorless synthetic Moissanite has the appearance of colorless diamond and is more difficult to detect than CZ. you look at a single point of light (pen flashlight. while Cubic Zirconia's pattern will be diffused.
Due to the anisotropic (doubly refractive) quality of Moissanite. was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998. A significantly larger pattern will be visible in Moissanite due to its similarly high RI. found only in iron-nickel meteorites.060. Moissanite is doubly refractive and the refractive index of Moissanite is 2.104 as compared to CZ at 0. when examining the gem through the kite facets. Moissanite was named after French chemist Dr. while diamond has a hardness of 10.65 to 2. being caused by primary reflections bouncing off of the inside surface of the pavilion. CZ's has a low RI compared to Moissanite or diamond.
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones.670. The Toughness of Moissanite is Excellent. By holding the table or crown very close to your eye while squinting.69. Moissanite has an RI of 2.com Gem-grade Moissanite (Silicon Carbide or Carborundum). etc. a doubled image of the opposite facet edges will be visible.25 on the Mohs scale. center) near Winslow. Arizona.A small.
.) in a dark room. and diamond at 0.
Moissanite is double refractive (anisotropic) while a natural diamond is singly refractive (isotropic). diamond is singly refractive Refractive Index: Moissanite has a refractive index of 2.
Cutting a Rough Diamond
. detailed and sharply focused pattern caused by secondary reflections will be seen when observing a diamond. although it can be easily cleaved or fractured due to its defined cleavage planes. Prior to this time. creating the "Table Cut. A similarly sharp. but significantly larger pattern will be visible in Moissanite due to its high RI.670. due to its high refractive index." and the rough stone must be cut with the grain. diamond has a "grain. Cubic Zirconia's pattern will be more diffused. You can also Inspect the facet edges with a 10x loupe to look for any chipping or slightly rounded or soft (not sharp) edges that are telltale signs of Simulants. The first improvements on nature's design involved a polishing of the crystal faces.A small. Table Cut diamonds appeared black to the eye.Detectable to the Naked Eye
Dispersion Pattern: Secondary patterns of dispersion due to double refraction Color: Moissanite has a slight yellow color and does not come in grades better than 'J' Lack of Flaws: Moissanite is virtually flawless. Diamond's RI is 2." As further refinement progressed. rather than against it.Detectable With Testing
Double Refraction: Moissanite is double refractive. which was called the "Point Cut. diamonds were used in their natural octahedral state.
Diamonds: Modern Diamond Cutting
Diamond Cutting Background
One of the hardest substances on earth. one half of the crystal would be cut off. caused by primary reflections from the pavilion and CZ's low RI. The Modern Round Brilliant cut (below) is the culmination of several hundred years of experimentation and development. diamonds were valued primarily for their luster and hardness. Moissanite vs Diamond . Diamond cutting can be traced back to the late Middle Ages. Like wood. only a diamond is hard enough to cut other diamonds." At the time. most diamonds have some inclusions
Moissanite vs Diamond .
Cleaving: Cleaving refers to splitting a stone along its grain by striking it. the "blocker" or "lapper" will cut the first 18 main facets. rounding the rough diamond into a conical shape." Faceting: To facet a round brilliant. Sawing: A stone-cutting saw is a thin disk made of phosphor bronze. then pressing it against a revolving cast iron disk. or shatter the stone. An octahedron can be cut into one or two Round Brilliants but a square Princess cut will result in the least amount of waste due to the square shape of the stone. on a scaife.Cutting a raw diamond into a faceted and polished gem-quality stone is a multi-step process.Modern Round Brilliant Diamond
. a diamond can be cleaved in four directions parallel to each of the four octahedron crystal faces. This step is also referred to as "rounding. Asymmetrical crystals such as macles are used primarily for fancy cuts.
Diamonds: Ideal Cut . A rough stone is cleaved if there are conspicuous defects and/or inclusions which would prevent it from being made into a single gemstone. The natural shape of the rough stone will also be a major factor in deciding how to cut the stone. Cleavage is the tendency of crystalline materials to split along defined cleavage plane. While the rough stone rotates on the diamond lathe. The cutting (also called "placing") and polishing of each facet is accomplished by attaching the stone to a dop stick with cement. Cubic shapes are ideal for a square Princess or Radiant cut. The steps are: Marking Cleaving Sawing Bruting (Girdling) Faceting Marking: A rough stone is marked prior to cleaving or sawing to determine the direction of the grain and cleavage. It can take several hours for the saw blade to cut through a 1k rough diamond. or lap that has been "charged" with diamond dust. Cleaving is a critical step as a mistake by the "cleaver" could fracture. During this faceting stage the angles of each facet must be cut to an exacting standard in order to yield maximum brilliancy. then a "brillianteer" will cut and polish the remaining 40 facets. Bruting: The rough is placed in a chuck on a lathe. Each step is critical to the final outcome. and bypass any inclusions or imperfections. eliminate waste. and maintain symmetry. a second diamond mounted on a dop is pressed against it. High-tech computerized helium and oxygen analyzers are now used to evaluate a stone prior to cutting. Due to its atomic structure. As the saw blade rotates it continues to pickup or "recharge" itself with diamond dust which is the cutting agent.
com When deciding how to cut a rough diamond.
Standard (Premium) Cut
Rough Material Loss Finished Stones Cutting Time Crown Symmetry
Greater Loss Lower Carat Weight 2 to 4 Days Ideal
Higher Yield Higher Carat Weight 1 to 2 Days Shallow Crown
. elimination of any inclusions. and the amount of internal inclusions will play an important part in the decisions as to how to maximize yield. it may be better to aim for a higher carat weight utilizing a "Standard" cut. An octehedral rough diamond will yield two round brilliant cut stones (see diagram below).Ideal Cut vs Standard Cut Diamond
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. The clarity of the stone. cut proportions. If. the rough stone has some coloration and/or is heavily included. a cutter must make a cost-benefit analysis as to how to maximize the cut stone's value. but in order to do this. on the other hand. compromises would have to be made. it would be cost effective to sacrifice some carat weight in order to finish with two "Ideal" cuts. The objective is always to maximize carat weight.
Reconciling Cut & Weight Retention
If the rough stone has a colorless D through F rating and has very few inclusions.weight retention. This is accomplished by reconciling three key factors .
etc. This is primarily due to the fact that this cut has yet to be improved on for two reasons: 1.Pavilion Symmetry Girdle Symmetry
Deep Pavilion Thick Girdle
When dealing with a near-perfect (or flawless) stone the cut that is generally preferred is the classic "round brilliant" cut.
The Modern Round Brilliant Cut
The modern "Round Brilliant Cut" (below) was developed by Belgian diamond-cutter Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919.
In the diagram of a "Round Cut" diamond (above and below). The round brilliant cut is beneficial when the crystal is an octahedron. 16 "upper girdle" facets. 16 "lower girdle" facets. and 2." Even with modern techniques. it is the best cut for showcasing a high-quality stone's fire and brilliance. This cut is also known as the "Tolkowsky Cut" and "Tolkowsky Brilliant. 8 "kite" facets. "Premium Cut" or "Modern Round Brilliant" (Tolkowsky Round Brilliant) diamond as shown in the diagrams above would have the following basic proportions according to the AGS:
. hearts. 1 "culet" facet on the bottom. 8 "pavilion" facets.
An "Ideal Cut". as two stones could be cut from one crystal. The round brilliant cut was a partial solution to this problem. This is why it is very rare to see flawless stones cut into fancy cuts such as emeralds. and one "table" facet on the top of the stone for a total of 58 facets. the cutting and polishing of a diamonds resulted in a loss of as much as 50% of the stone's total weight. you will see that there are 8 "star" facets. it is the most efficient cut for maximizing yield.
Table Size: 53% to 57% of the diameter Total Depth: 58% to 63% of diameter Crown Angle: 34 to 35." (Scandinavian standard.N.5% to 43. Other variations of the MRB include the "Ideal Brilliant". or Scandinavian Diamond Nomenclature) diamond cut has a table width of 57. more brilliance and fire.
.' and there has been numerous attempts to improve on this tried-and-true formula with the introduction of new signature diamond cuts that claim to have a higher light return.5% Girdle Thickness: medium to slightly thick Culet: pointed. the "Parker Brilliant" invented in 1951. H&A Viewer. When all three parameters are in perfect harmony the diamond is given a "Triple 0" or "Triple Ideal" grading. invented in 1929.. Each parameter is given a 'grade' from 0 (Ideal) to 10 (Poor). and facet angles will yield a perfect 'Hearts & Arrows' Diamond pattern when viewed through a H&A Viewer. and Proportions. several groups have used computer models and specialized scopes to design new diamond cuts. crown height of 14. As with all human endeavors. Eppler & Scan D. etc. facet ratios. Since then. there is a constant attempt to 'build a better mousetrap.N.
AGS Triple Ideal or 'Triple 0' Grade
The AGSL grades a diamond's cut quality using three parameters: Polish. The "Scan D.5%.6% and overall height of 57. Ideal Scope.5 degrees Pavilion Depth: 42. gem labs will use a variety of equipment such as a BrilliantScope.
To quantify a diamond's cut quality.7%. crown height of 14. and the "Eulitz Brilliant" invented in 1972. and overall height of 57. Symmetry. and crown/pavilion angles. The AGSL grades a diamond's symmetry and proportions according to where facets intersect. A perfect blending of facet symmetry. Sarin Diamension and/or FireTrace.7%. but does not measure or quantify relative facet angles and/or individual facet ratios. very small to small In the 1970s.4%. or Feinschliff der Praxis) with a table width of 56%.
Variations on the Tolkowsky Brilliant (diagram below) are the "Eppler" (European Practical Fine Cut. Bruce Harding developed new mathematical models for gem design.
Every conceivable cutting theory is tried. with the two largest stones. cut corners and a small table. and entrepreneurs . Popular in Art Deco jewelry of the period. and it still survives in some form today. (more facets. the Asscher diamond cut has a squarish octagonal shape with a step cut.
Diamonds: Patented Signature Diamond Cuts
Notable Patented & Proprietary Diamond Cuts
Since the early 1900s there has been a proliferation of elaborate diamond cuts that have been developed by master gem cutters.nl
. or the widely marketed Leo cut which is a modified round-brilliant sold by Leo Schachter Diamonds. less facets. it is put in front of the ultimate arbiter of quality . One thing is for sure . www. Some have gone on to become household names such as the Asscher cut. and number of facets. The cut has a deep pavilion and a high crown. scientists. and the culet is square. mathematicians. cut proportions. but at the end of the day it may simply come down to consumer preference and/or marketing. etc.) and when suitably scrutinized by the gem trade.asscher.Producers split hairs over cut angle. and their modest brilliance and light return.106 carat Cullinan Diamond into eleven gem stones.like Einstein's theory of relativity. Tolkowsky came up with a "brilliant" idea almost 90 years ago.the consumer. The Asscher brothers cut the famous 3.
Asscher Cut The Asscher Cut was developed by Abraham and Joseph Asscher of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company of Amsterdam in 1902. but some like the Barion Cut have disappeared into obscurity. the Cullinan 1 and Cullinan 2 being set into the crown and sceptre of the British Crown Jewels. Here is a collection of just a few of the many "signature" diamond cuts that have been produced over the last 100 years.each trying to improve on the tried-and-true Old European cuts.
merged with the jewelry firm Asprey. forming a square shape when viewed from the top. It is sold exclusively through the 270 year old firm of Garrard & Company in London. Barocut stones are also sold in tapered shapes. www. and its patent has expired. The Context Cut consists of two back-to-back pyramids (an octahedron). creating a unique 'flower petal' pattern surrounding the cutlet. Garrard & Co. with star-shaped cross facets cut diagonally into the pavilion. The Context Cut is used to cut colored gemstones by Julius Petsch of Idar-Oberstein. to become Asprey & Garrard. Marce Tolkowsky. The Context Cut design was based on an earlier patented design by Bernd Munsteiner from the early 1960s. not including the 16 girdle facets. Barocut diamonds are promoted and sold exclusively through the Baroka Creations catalog. modified rectangular (baguette) cut that was developed by Baroka Creations. The name "Barion" or "Barion cut" was never trademarked. In 1998. and in all diamond colors and/or clarity grades.de
Eternal Cut The Eternal Cut diamond was designed and patented by master Israeli diamond cutter.baroka. www. The Context Cut follows a rough diamond crystal's natural octahedral shape. or to increase light-dispersion. parting ways in 2002 to again become Garrard. www. The Barion square cut diamond has a 4-fold mirror-image symmetry. and was the forerunner to the princess cut. and a total of 81 facets.freiesleben. 23 more than a modern Round Brilliant cut. Inc. nephew to the inventor of the Modern Round Brilliant cut. The Eternal Cut is being sold exclusively at Garrard's main London store and Harvey Nichols stores in Great Britain.garrard.
Barocut The Barocut® diamond cut is a patented. The cut has a total of 8 facets plus a girdle. and a 'softer' briliance than a traditional round brilliant cut. or the company website. of New York in 2000. The Barocut is also called a "two heart diamond" due to the illusion of two mirrored hearts meeting at the culet. A Barocut diamond has a total of 77 facets. Ulrich Freiesleben of Germany in the early 1980s then patented and trademarked in 1997. Gabi Tolkowsky.com
. The Eternal Cut has a total of 81 facets. Germany.The Barion square cut (aka Barion square cushion cut) was invented by Basil Watermeyer of South Africa in 1971. The cutting process requires a high-quality rough. 81 facets on the cut corner (cushion) version. adding up to 50% to the cost when compared to a Round Brilliant cut diamond. The Barocut is available in sizes from 20 points to 3 carats. and creates a high amount of waste.com
Context Cut The Context Cut is a square cut that was developed by Dr.
designed to maximize the brilliance and color of diamonds while increasing their yield. the Gabrielle Cut is available in carre. and pear shapes. and the cut was named after the Flanders region of Belgium (Antwerp) where the cut was first preformed in 1987. 8 more facets than the Round Brilliant cut's 58.Flanders Brilliant Cut The Flanders Brilliant Cut (aka Fire Brilliant) is a modified Radiant or Princess cut with truncated corners that form an octagon with brilliant faceting. off-color stones. The Flower Cut is actually a series of five fancy cut shapes: the Dahlia.gabriellediamonds. The Zinnia is a round fancy shape with 73 facets. Unveiled at the Las Vegas Gem Show in 2001. emerald. (aka Leo Schachter Diamond). LLC. angular shapes. that is suited to a relatively flat rough. The Sunflower has 43 facets in unusual. maximizing the amount of light returned back as scintillation. The Fire-Rose is a hexagonal shape designed to produce higher yields. The Flower Cuts were never patented or trademarked by De Beers in order to increase their popularity and use.
The Gabrielle Diamond The Gabrielle® Cut is a modified brilliant cut (triple brilliant cut) that was created by DeBeers desinger/consultant Gabriel Tolkowsky in 2000. The Flanders Brilliant has 33 crown facets and 28 pavilion facets for a total of 61 facets.com
Leo Cut The Leo® Diamond. Other than the traditional round brilliant shape. which is 47 more than a traditional 'Tolkowsky' round brilliant cut. marquise. www. oval.com www. adding greater brilliance and fire than standard brilliant cuts. The cut is distributed by the National Diamond Syndicate (NDS) of Chicago.flanders-cuts. The Flower Cuts employ unconventional cutting angles and dimensions. 48 of which are clustered around the culet to increase fire. Sunflower and Zinnia cut.com
Flower Cut The 'Flower Cut' series was created by Gabi Tolkowsky in 1986. heart.nationaldiamond. www. Fire-Rose. The Flanders Fire-Brilliant was developed by Flanders Cut International of Antwerp in 1983. The Leo diamond cut has a total of 66 facets. is a patented symmetrical round cut created by Leo Schachter Diamonds. The Marigold is an octagon shape with 73 facets. who was commissioned by De Beers to create new cuts as a way of marketing unusual. Marigold. The Dahlia is a 12 sided oval shape with 63 facets. the Gabrielle has a total of 105 facets.
and a total of has 50 facets. RCDC launched the 'Original Radiant Cut' diamond brand In 2002. small table.com
Quadrillion Cut The Quadrillion® Cut (aka Squarillion Cut) is a modified square princess cut that was developed by Israel Itzkowitz and Betzalel Ambar in the late 1970s. Bez Ambar
Radiant Cut The Radiant Cut is a modified emerald cut shape that was developed. eternity bands. www.The Leo diamond cut is the first to be certified for fire and brilliance as measured by a 'BrillianceScope. and three-stone rings. Upon the expiration of the patent. The Lucida diamond cut is marketed as a wedding cut. The Lucida diamond cut is a modified square or rectangular (Marquise) cut with truncated corners. sold in solitaire engagement/wedding bands. www.com
Lucida Cut The Lucida (TM) Cut is a patented diamond cut that was created by Tiffany & Company in 1999. Prior to the Quadrillion. and was patented and trademarked by Bez Ambar Jewelers of Los Angeles in 1980. patented and trademarked by Henry Grossbard of the Radiant Cut Diamond Company (RCDC) in 1977.diamondaires. There are a total of 49 facets. www. brilliant-style faceted pavilion (similar to a Cushion Cut). square shaped diamonds were stepcut limiting their brilliance." The Leo Diamond is marketed through the Kay Jeweler chain.' and each diamond comes with a "Return of Light Certificate. The Quadrillion was the result of three years of optical research to create a square diamond cut that can claim a similar brilliance to a round diamond. a highstep crown (similar to the Asscher Cut). the Radiant Cut became a fully accepted diamond shape in the jewelry business.radiantcut.com
. and all Original Radiant Cut diamonds weigh at least 0.70 carats and come with a GIA Certificate and an "Original Radiant Cut Diamond Certificate" guarantying that the stone meets the ideal proportions as designed by Henry Grossbard. The Lucida is sold exclusively through Tiffany's retail chain. The pavilion is similar to a Barion cut. and the table is a bowed out rectangle. It was the first emerald shaped diamond cut to have brilliance and fire similar to that of a round brilliant diamond.tiffany. There are 25 crown facets and 36 pavilion facets for a total of 61 facets (not including 8 girdle facets).
Point Cut . Starburst Cuts are mounted and sold directly through Cartier. but the pavilion is completely different. right) was created by cutting off some of the top half of the point cut's octahedron to create a table. of New York in 1978. the precursor for the "design" of the first faceted diamond lay within the rough stone itself.early 1300s
The "point cut" (below left) is one of the first symmetrically faceted diamond cuts. From this point forward it was a race to see who could design the perfect faceted cut which would bring out the maximum fire. With the realization that only a diamond could cut another diamond. Old eight. Since the day that humans first discovered 'adamas' (diamonds).The Starburst Cut was patented and trademarked by the Louis Glick Diamond Corp. and light return from the stone. and the Trilliant is now a generic term for a triangular brilliant cut. The Trilliant trademark has since lapsed. Trillian. The Trilliant has the Schoenflies point group symmetry of a round brilliant.
. but at each stage of advancement the pioneers of 'brillianting' diamonds have made great strides in bringing out the magic that is inherent in these gifts from nature. There are 49 crown facets and 40 pavilion facets. There are two variations of this cut: the Curved cut used for solitary stones. Nieman Marcus and Tiffany. Harry Winston.
Old European Gem Cuts: Point. for a total of 89 kite and star shaped facets. Trillion) is a triangular cut designed and trademarked by the Henry Meyer Diamond Company of New York in 1962. fire. reworked into the shape of a trillion (triangle). The point cut design is dictated by the natural shape of an octahedral rough diamond. craftsmen have attempted to "improve" on nature. The starburst faceting pattern is designed to focus color near the top of a stone. making the hue of fancy yellow diamonds more intense. and the career of the "diamantaire" (diamond cutter/polisher) was born. Old Mine Cut
Evolution of the Faceted Diamond & Colored Gem
Article Copyright © 2008 AllAboutGemstones. with weight losses in the fifty percent range.com The faceting of diamonds has come a long way in the last 700 years. The crown of the Starburst Cut is similar to that of the radiant cut. The Starburst cut is especially suitable for a octahedral rough. Still. The Trilliant cut gives a high brilliance. The Starburst cut was created to bring out the highest amount of color to fancy yellow diamonds. and Uncurved cut used for accent stones. but that has not always been easy as these little chunks of elemental carbon are harder that anything that could be found to cut them. and scintillation when cut to the correct proportions. The "table cut" (below. and the natural octahedral symmetry of the rough stone's closed isometric form. www.com
Trilliant Cut The Trilliant Cut (aka Trielle. The Trilliant Cut has a total of 31 facets. brilliance. The pavilion has two differently sized sets triangular facets with a large triangular table. this led to the invention of the first gem cutting machines (precursor to the "lap" or "Facetron") in the 1300s.
The "briolette cut" is a modified "double Dutch rose cut" with one of the hemispheres being elongated.
Invented in the late 14th century. and eight pavilion facets. it has a cushioned or rounded girdle shape. the "old single cut" (aka "old eight cut") diamond has the addition of corner facets to create an octagonal girdle. Also called the "cushion cut".1700s
The "old mine" cut is the earliest form of the "brilliant cut" diamond." and the Full Holland cut. The single cut may or may not have a culet at the bottom.
The "senaille cut" is a rose cut with irregular or non-symmetrical faceting.1500s
Invented in the mid 16th century. eight bezel or crown facets." "Dutch cut. The Rose cut can form a single hemisphere for a total of 24 facets or it can be two back-to-back hemispheres (Double Dutch rose) forming a total of 48 facets. The briolette cut was designed primarily for use in a pendant or as a dangling bauble in a crown. resulting in a smaller table. the "rose cut" is also known by the the "Antwerp rose. The briolette was the precursor to the "pendeloque cut" which is a pear-shaped modification of the round brilliant cut. an octagonal table.
Rose & Briolette Cut.Single Cut .
Old Mine Cut . The crown is typically tall." "crowned rose cut. This Old Mine cut is basically square with gently rounded corners and "brilliant" style facets. The culet is usually large enough to be visible when viewed through the table.
. and an octagon-shaped table for a total of 17 facets (18 if a culet is used).
The Modern Round Brilliant Cut . the cutting and polishing of a diamonds resulted in a loss of as much as 50% of the stone's total weight. a heavy crown. the old European diamond has a circular girdle. eight facets at the pavilion." Even with modern techniques. The Old European diamond cut has a very small table. as two stones can be cut from one crystal with a minimum amount of waste. The round brilliant cut was a partial solution to this problem.1800s
The "Old European" cut was the forerunner of the modern round brilliant cut. Like the modern round brilliant.
As with its predecessor the "point cut" over 600 years earlier. The eight cut is similar to the "single cut" in that there are eight four-sided trapezoidal facets at the crown. This cut is also known as the "Tolkowsky Cut" and "Tolkowsky brilliant.1900s
The "modern round brilliant cut" (below) was developed by Belgian diamond-cutter Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919.Old European Cut . and very tall overall depth.
Eight Cut & Swiss Cut
The "eight cut" is primarily used for small stones when a brilliant cut would be impractical. the Modern Round Brilliant cut is beneficial when the crystal is an octahedron (diagram above).
16 isosceles triangle facets on the crown and 16 facets on the pavilion. there is usually a substantial mark-up in the retail sale price of diamonds.com The trade in gem-grade rough diamonds is primarily controlled by the De Beers.
The Diamond Trade: The 'Diamond Pipeline'
Rough Diamond Producers
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. silver or platinum.
. Trans Hex. thereby controlling and stabilizing prices. color and quality. for sorting and resale. Unlike precious metals such as gold. which combines ("aggregating") supplies of rough diamonds from multiple sources into one wholesale market (#2). Kimberley and Windhoek. Rio Tinto. There is a limited market for the resale of diamonds that are less than "investment grade. BHP Billiton and a hand-full of other companies which use their cartel power to control the supply of diamonds on the wholesale market (diamond pipeline). with a total of 33 facets (34 if a culet is used). The rough stones are separated into 16. then divided by human or automated sorters into individual lots called "boxes. Gaborone. Both the eight cut Swiss cut are still used today for small very diamonds and gems (smaller than 2mm carat weight) as would be used in pavé settings.000 categories based on size.A "Swiss cut" is a compromise between an eight cut and a brilliant cut."
The 'Diamond Pipeline'
Rough diamonds are sent directly from De Beers mining operations in Africa (#1)." The DTC is part of the DeBeers Group supply-chain known as the Central Selling Organization (CSO). or secondary mining producers in Canada and Russia to De Beers' Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London.
determining the quantity and quality that each site-holder will receive. Once the diamonds are set into jewelry.000 to $2. Russia and elswhere. China. or to jewelry manufacturers (#5) around the world. while large stones are primarily cut in Antwerp. through their Diamond Promotion Service (DPS) and Diamond Information Centres (DIC) marketing divisions. (see DeBeers' Adiamondisforever. De Beers is also facing increasing pressure from the manufactures of synthetic diamonds.20 carats or less) in Mumbai (Bombay) and Surat. De Beers (DTC) sets the price of each box in advance. Both traders and manufacturers may sell diamonds "upstream" and "downstream" through the diamond pipeline . Other major cutting centers are located in Johannesburg. where De Beers sells the "boxes" to its select group ("supplier of choice") of 125 "sightholders" (#3) or diamond manufacturers.com website). The diamonds are then re-sold from the cutting and polishing (manufacturing) centers to wholesalers (Diamond Bourses). diamonds have underperformed since 1987 when compared to the "luxury goods" market or global GDP. The sightholder then transports the box of rough diamonds back to diamantaire firms (cutting and polishing factories) located around the world (#4). Rough diamonds are cut in various geographic regions according to tradition and the skill-sets of the labor force. and Thailand. Additionally.000 USD. Ramat Gan. De Beers. As a reaction to their decrease in market share. cutters.De Beers Sightholders
The DTC holds a sale called a "site" or "sight" ten times per year in London and Johannesburg. and independent diamond producers in Canada. has launched an aggressive branding and marketing campaign. A 'sight' can have a value of between $500.
De Beers and the Future
De Beers' (CSO's) control over the wholesale diamond market has diminished due to increased market penetration. they are sold to retailers or direct to the customer. Many Sightholders are also cutters. and New York. which are increasing in popularity and consumer acceptance. reclaiming their "A Diamond Is Forever" moniker.
. and retailers . India cuts the vast majority of small stones (.000. to take advantage of market fluctuations. Tel Aviv. and the breakaway from CSO's cartel by the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia.
and about half of the polished diamonds. KPCS originated in May 2000 during a meeting of South African diamond producing states in Kimberley. NY . the WDC has observers from the governments of Belgium.
Diamond Industry Trade Organizations
World Diamond Council The World Diamond Council (aka: International Diamond Council) was established by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) to find ways to reduce the number of conflict diamonds entering the diamond market. Belgium but there are also Diamond Bourses in Israel. heavily guarded geographic area surrounded by three main streets. and Shanghai. and India (2007). Asia. the DTC has developed new inscription technologies to "invisibly" mark the table facet of polished diamonds with a "Forevermark" trademark. the European Union and the United Nations to rid the diamond Industry of conflict diamonds. Hoveniersstraat. Moscow. South Africa. The Kimberley Process The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme or KPCS is designed to prevent conflict diamonds (aka "blood diamonds") entering into the mainstream rough diamond market . The HRD Certificates Department was founded in 1976 to meet an increased demand for quality diamond certificates . Israel and South Africa and works with 35 independent Governments. traders and manufacturer/producers.Forevermark Diamonds
As a way of staving off the onslaught of secondary diamond markets. As of 2006. Forevermark diamonds will be available through sightholder/retailers in the U. London. The largest diamond trading center in the world is located in Antwerp. Within Antwerp's diamond district. The Council has approximately 70 members representing jewelers. and preventing the inherent product misidentification that will follow. and the city is the hub of the global diamond trading industry (diamanthandel). Hong Kong.
The Diamond Trade: Diamond Bourses of Antwerp
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. The Diamond High Council (HRD) The HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant) Diamond High Council is a non-profit industry organization designed to promote and represent the Antwerp diamond trade.S. This mark is only visible via a point-of-sale electronic viewer.
. or commodities exchange similar to the NYSE. Europe. also known as the "World Diamond Center" or Diamantenzentrum. The research arm of the HRD works in conjunction with Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerpen (Antwerp University RUCA) to increase the diamond knowledge-base. China. Diamond Bourses are basically trading exchanges for loose. and will com with a certificate of authenticity.. and Rijfstraat. bond.com The word "Bourse" refers to a private stock. Schupstraat. some 1. Almost 85% of the world's rough diamonds. are sold in Antwerp every year.500 diamond dealers (diamantbedrijven) are ensconced in small. In addition to its members. cut and uncut diamonds. The Council began in July 2000 after a joint meeting of the WFDB and its international headquarters are in New York City. De Beers is hoping that the combination of branding and security will increase consumer demand.
friendship and trust . Members of the Diamond Bourses operate within a system based on mutual trust and each member pledges to uphold the traditions and principles of consideration.
In Antwerp's 'Diamond Center' (Diamantenzentrum) today. These first trading exchanges mainly dealt with the wholesaling of cut stones.
Beurs voor Diamanthandel . Most transactions conducted within the Bourses done with cash and a handshake. and both are still in operation today. there are around 4000 diamond-cutters (diamantaire) working in the several-square-block diamond district. Around $16+ billion in polished diamonds pass through Antwerp's diamond bourses each year. ethics and morality. which was established in the same year that the 1930 World Expo was held in Antwerp. bisected by Hoveniersstraat street. the Antwerpsche Diamantkring was reopened. an by-laws that govern business practices. and disputes are handled by an internal arbitration process. uncut diamonds was the Antwerpsche Diamantkring (Antwerp Diamond Ring) .Antwerp's Diamond District
Two of the oldest Diamond Bourse (Bourse van de diamant or diamantenbšrsen) in Antwerp were the 'Diamond Club of Antwerp' (Diamantclub van Antwerpen—at Pelikaanstraat 62. Control over the diamond trade is maintained through the WFDB's Constitution containing a series of rules. and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) was founded in 1947. founded in 1893—and the Beurs voor Diamanthande (at Pelikaanstraat 78) founded in 1904 . Both bourse were founded by Hasidim diamantairs. After the liberation. making it the largest diamond-trading center in the world .Photo: Wiki Public
The first trading exchange to deal exclusively with rough. regulations. and repatriation of Antwerp following the end of WWII.
The Diamond High Council (HRD)
Gauteng (Premier Diamond Mine).' After the devastating Zulu defeat.' 'Gauteng. The Boers resisted British encroachments into their territory until the Second 'Anglo' Boer War (1899— 1902). They settled in the 'Cape of Good Hope' on Africa's southern most tip. but 3000 Zulus were killed in what became known as the 'Battle of Blood River. there was a mass exodus (the Great Trek) northward to 'Northern Cape. the Zule's King Dingane agreed to a treaty allowing the Voortrekkers to settle in what would be called the Natalia Republic or Boer republics. coming for
.' During the 1830s and 1840s. The research arm of the HRD works in conjunction with Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerpen (Antwerp University RUCA) to increase the diamond knowledge-base. There was not a single Boer fatality. and this eventually lead to all-out war. Afrikaners (aka Boers or farmers) were religious refugees from the Netherlands and other parts of northern Europe during the mid 1600s to late 1700s. and fully annexed the Cape Colony in 1806 .' 'Limpopo. Afrikaners who participated in the migration northward became known as the 'Trekboer' or Voortrekkers.
Diamonds and the British
The Second Wave of Europeans Needing a stopping-off point on the sea-route to Australia and India. ending with the inclusion of all Boer territories into British colonies. under the Treaty of Vereeniging. The First Boer War (1880—1881) began with the Transvaal (Limpopo) Boers declaring independence from Great Britain. and Limpopo (Venetia Diamond Mine). or German Protestant backgrounds. which at the time was administered by the 'Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie' or 'Dutch East India Company. Flemish.
The Diamond Trade: History & Culture of the Key Players
Article Copyright © 2006 AllAboutGemstones. who were in search of the "quiet sweet life.' and the 'Orange Free State' provinces to escape hostilities with the native 'Xhosa tribe' from which Nelson Mandela decended.com
Diamonds and the Afrikaners
The Afrikaners & British Diamonds and the Jews The Hindustani Diamond Cutters The African Nationals The Americans
Photos: Public Domain
The Boers Historically. The HRD Certificates Department was founded in 1976 to meet an increased demand for quality diamond certificates .The HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant) Diamond High Council is a non-profit industry organization designed to promote and represent the Antwerp diamond trade. This led to a new wave of emigrants and adventurer-seekers from England." Three of South Africa's richest diamond mines are in Northern Cape (Kimberley Diamond Mine). with 10. The Voortrekkers had to contend with the native Zulu tribe over land they wished to settle on. most with Dutch Calvinist.000 Zulu warriors attacking 470 Boer settlers. England seized the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch East India Company in 1797.
' Cecil Rhodes died a single man with no children and. D. Rhodes made several aborted attempt to gain control over Barnato's interest in Kimberley Central Mine. Cullinan
. and in 1910 the 'Union of South Africa' was created. In exchange. and J. Amid all of this turmoil and chaos. Domain
Thomas M. Barnato died several years later.
Photo: Pub." In 1906. he was able to build a monopolistic empire through skill and cunning. A. Domain
Barney Barnato During the same period that Cecil Rhodes was building De Beers Consolidated Mines. De Beer. Rhodes started out selling ice cream to the diamond-diggers and service workers. mysteriously falling overboard on a ship passage back to England. The African nation of Rhodesia was named after him (now the Republic of Zimbabwe). N. but was eventually successful in convincing Barnato to merge with De Beers.. self-government was restored. no heirs to his empire. and later selling steam-powered water pumps to drain the open-pit mines of Kimberley. a curious discovery was being made along the banks of the Orange River.
Photo: Pub. One of the richest men in the world. Cecil Rhodes' De Beers empire was started on a farm owned by two Boer settlers and brothers. Barnato was given appointed to 'life governor' and temporary controlling interest in De Beers . As founder of De Beers.. With the help of the Rothschild bank in London. Around 1873 the De Beer brothers sold out to a group of mining syndicates who later merged with Cecil Rhodes' pumping company to form 'De Beers Consolidated Mines. although Rhodes did not start out with an interest in diamonds. Domain
Cecil Rhodes Cecil Rhodes (1853—1902) is the undisputed father of the modern diamond industry. diamond speculator and fellow Englishman named Barney Barnato (1852—1897) was buying up pieces of the Big Hole in Kimberley to form the Kimberley Central Mine. a prospector. in Northern Cape. As a young lad from England.
Photo: Pub. he began his business interests in South Africa by servicing the "ant hill" of humanity that was descending on Kimberley during the diamond rush of the late 1800s.the "mineral revolution. De Beers and Kimberley Central were the two largest mining interests in South Africa at the time.
Sir Thomas Major Cullinan (1860—1936) was the founder of one of Africa's richest diamond mines, the 'Premier Diamond Mine,' 30 kilometers east of Pretoria, in Gauteng province, South Africa. Although Cullinan was already a successful building contractor in Johannesburg, he was also an amateur geologist who had heard about alluvial diamonds being found along a stream near the old 'Cornelis Minnaar Farm' in upper Gauteng. Cullinan was interested in purchasing the farm, which had already changed hands several times, but the present owner, Willem Prinsloo (who had purchased the land for £570 in 1861) was not interested in selling. Shortly after the close Anglo Boer War (1898—1902), Willem Prinsloo's widow agreed to sell the land to Cullinan for £52,000, and the 'Transvaal Premier Diamond Mining Company LTD' was officially registered on the December 1, 1902 . On January 25th 1905, a 3,106 carat diamond was found at the mine, which remains the largest diamond ever found in the world. When news of Premier's success hit the board room of De Beers, several aborted attempts were made to purchase the mine, but Cullinan had no intention of selling . In 1914, WW1 broke out in Europe, and diamond prices began to spiral. Layoffs at the mine caused enough friction that by August, mining operations were suspended. The Premier Mine had resumed production by January 1916, but in need of cash, Cullinan sold a major stake in the mine to the Transvaal government. Frank Oats, who was now the chairman of De Beers, was able to convince the Transvaal government to sell its controlling interest in 1917, and De Beers once again enjoyed a monopoly on South African diamonds.
Diamonds and the Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Hasidic Jews
There is perhaps no other ethnic group that is so inextricably intertwined with the diamond trade, than the jews. In an odd twist of fate, it may be Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama's discovery of a searoute to India around Africa's Cape of Good Hope in 1488, that set the stage for the Jewish/diamond connection. Da Gama's discovery opened up a direct diamond-trading route from India's Malabar Coast and the island of Borneo, to Portugal and on the Netherlands. With Lisbon now at the forefront of the European diamond trade, many Portuguese Sephardi businessmen opened cutting houses, and quickly gained a dominant roll in the diamond-polishing industry. The Sephardi were Jews who originated from Spain and Portugal (the Iberian Peninsula), many practicing a secret adherence to Judaism known as "Crypto-Judaism," while professing other faiths. Jews who practiced their religion in the open were expelled from Spain and Portugal, when the Catholic Monarchs issued the "Alhambra Decree" in 1492 (1497 for Portugal), fleeing to Morocco, the Ottoman Empire, Antwerp and Amsterdam. When the first Jewish emigrants (Ashkenazi) came to Antwerp in the 1200s, they were welcomed, but when the Black Plague swept across Antwerp in the mid 1300s, the Jews were one of the scapegoats. Although Amsterdam's Dutch were relatively tolerant when it came to religious freedom, in 1585 Antwerp came under Spanish rule, and the Jews (this time Sephardic), were once again the focus of scrutiny. With the Spanish Inquisition in high gear, Jews were now persecuted for conducting trade with the Ottoman Empire, or for being 'pseudo-Christian.' In the 1600s, wealthy Jewish diamond-traders now living in the Netherlands, financed the 'Dutch East India Company' and its exploration of new trade routes to India, but the British were beginning to see opportunity in the diamond trade, creating new competition for the Jewish/Dutch. Prior to being granted 'civil equality' in 1796, Amsterdam's Jews were not allowed to join trade guilds, leaving the unregulated diamond industry as one of the only means of employment. By the late 18th century, many of Amsterdam's Jews were working in the diamond trade, and many of these 'Sephardi refugees' had maintained connections with Portuguese traders who now had a monopoly on the trade of raw diamonds from India. By the early 1700s, India's mines were nearing exhaustion, but a new discovery in Brazil helped to reinvigorate the diamond trade. By this time, British naval superiority proved to be a great advantage, and the 'British East India Company' was born. The European center for the diamond trade now began to move away from Amsterdam, as Jewish traders set up shop in London. The cut stones were sold to the nobility and royalty of Europe, using the Hofjude (Court Jews) as purchasing agents to select the stones from the London diamond merchants.
Photo: Pub. Domain
The Pshevorsk Hasidic Dynasty Hasidic Judaism was founded by Polish (now Ukrainian) Rabbi 'Ba'al Shem Tov', aka 'Israel ben Eliezer' (1698—1760) in a time when European Jews were facing increasing hostility and pressure from the "Cossacks' Uprising" in Ukraine. The Hasidic movement is a sub-group of the theologically conservative Haredi or Charedi Judaism, aka Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. The movement was seen as a way of turning inward towards a 'deeper spiritualism and mysticism.' Hasidism spread westward, making its way to western Europe in the 1800s. The Hasidic movement in Antwerp began with Rabbi Moshe of Pshevorsk, who authored 'Ohr Pnei Moshe' in 1805 . The Pshevorsk is a small sub-Hasidic movement based in Antwerp, Belgium, with their hub at the study hall (beth midrash), 'Beth Yitzchok' at Mercatorstraat 56. With the discovery of vast diamond reserves in South Africa during the late 1800s, concern over a glut in the diamond market spread throughout London's diamond merchants. A group of wealthy Jewish dealers pooled their resources to form "the syndicate," which was created to soak up all of the excess capacity being created by South Africa. Today, Antwerp and London's diamond trade is largely controlled by the Hasidic Jewish community, although Indian influence is on the rise in recent years. Many of these Hasidic entrepreneurs are nameless by choice, preferring to maintain their anonymity, but they have been the driving force behind the multi-billion dollar diamond industry for hundreds of years.
Photo: Pub. Domain
Alfred Beit Alfred Beit (1853—1906) was born into a prominent Jewish family in Hamburg, Germany. Beit worked for the diamond firm of Jules Porges and Co. in Amsterdam before emigrating to 'Cape Colony' in 1875 during the Kimberley diamond-rush . Beit was part of a group of financiers, including Cecil Rhodes, who gained control of the diamond-mining claims in the Central Mine, Dutoitspan Mine, and De Beers Mine, thereby 'consolodating' the South African mining industry. becoming a 'life-governor' of De Beers Consolidated Mines. He was also the director of the Beira Railway Company, British South Africa Company, Rand Mines, and the Rhodesia Railways. Beit, along with partner Cecil Rhodes, financed the 1895 'Jameson Raid' which was an attempt to trigger an unsuccessful coup in the South African Republic of Transvaal. The Royal School of Mines, at the Imperial College London has a large memorial to Beit, in recognition of the Beit trust's bequeathment to the university, and to educational institutions in Britain, Germany South Africa, and Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).
Photo: Pub. Domain
Sir Ernest Oppenheimer Ernest Oppenheimer (1880—1957) was born in Friedberg, Germany to a large Jewish family, and with several brothers working for "the syndicate," Ernest was well positioned for his future vocation. He began his career at age 17, working for the diamond brokerage firm, Dunkelsbuhler & Company in London. Oppenheimer created the concept of "single-channel marketing" over 100 years ago, by funneling the world's supply of diamonds through a single clearing house. Oppenheimer gained control of Namibia's diamond mines, forming the Anglo American mining conglomerate. This gave him the financing and power to gain the chairmanship of De Beers. Today, Oppenheimer's Anglo American operates a fleet of diamond recovery ships off the coast of Namibia and South Africa under the umbrella of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited (DBCM), and Central Holdings Limited (CHL), an Oppenheimer family holding company, and in partnership with Namdeb.
Photo: Pub. Domain
Nicky Oppenheimer Ernest's grandson, Nicky Oppenheimer (born 1945) studied philosophy at Oxford as a young man, and is now the chairman of the De Beers Diamond Mining Company and its subsidiary Diamond Trading Company. The Oppenheimer family and Anglo American maintains a 45% stake in De Beers today. Africa's richest man, and #134 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people, Nicky Oppenheimer is worth an estimated $4.5 billion. Under new legislation, passed by the African National Congress, Nicky Oppenheimer was forced to sell a 26% share of De Beers to the South African 'Black Economic Empowerment' group (BEE). This was the first major ownership change for De Beers in over a century. Of the legislation Oppenheimer said: "De Beers is here to make a profit, but we must benefit the people and communities where we operate."
Photo: Pub. Domain
Lev Leviev The Lev Leviev Group, created by Israeli national, Lev Leviev (born 1956 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan) is the worlds largest cutter and polisher (diamantaire) of rough diamonds, with factories in Armenia, India, Israel, and the Ukraine. The Lev Leviev Group also owns mining interests in Namibia's offshore dredging operations. Through his personal relationship to Vladimir Putin and other Russian heads of
The Hindustani Diamond Cutters
Photo: dnavin." and the "king of bling" by Forbes magazine . founder of the House of Graff in the heart of London's posh New Bond Street. in 1992. and one of the most successful diamond merchants in modern history. to Larry Ellison. ALROSA produces 100% of Russia's rough diamond output and approximately 20% of the world's rough diamonds ." a compendium and history of his most famous jewels.5 billion (#278 Forbes List). Dubai. All House of Graff stones have a laser-inscribed girdle with the 'Graff' logo and GIA number.5 billion dollars . House of Graff is also located on London's Sloane Street. now called ALROSA (Almazy-Rossii-Sakha) .). Monte Carlo. found on August 22. and the largest rough unearthed in this century. 2006 at the Letseng diamond mine in the tiny Kingdom of Lesotho in the center of the Republic of South Africa. Russia. Graff's net worth is estimated at 2. with his wife and their nine children.
Photo: Pub. One of his most notable acquisitions was the 603 carat "Lesotho Promise diamond. Graff has co-authored (with Vanessa von Zitzewitz) "The Most Fabulous Jewels in the World. which gives him access to some of the finest uncut diamonds coming out of South Africa. Hotel de Paris' salon privé in Paris. Laurence Graff was born into a Jewish orthodox family in London's poorer 'East End' district. By circumventing the De Beers supply chain. Mr. a DeBeers sightholder in Johannesburg. Leviev's net-worth is estimated at $2. to purchasing a 51% stake in Safdico (South African Diamond Corp. selling to the rich and famous from Elizabeth Taylor and Donald Trump. formed by Decree 158C of the Russian Federation. Lev Leviev has formed a partnership with the ex Soviet state-owned diamond firm. and on board the luxury residential ship The World ResidenSea. Lesotho Promise is the 15th largest diamond ever found. Tretiakovsky Proezd in Moscow." the Leviev Group has found willing partners in several countries including Angola's ASCORP after De Beers' exit in 2001. from wholesale and retail. New York's Madison Avenue. Alrosa now sells direct to cutting factories throughout Russia. Lev Leviev lives in B'nei Brak.state. Graff's strategy of "vertically integration" has been to control every angle of the diamond pipeline. which are now owned by Lev Leviev.com
Gujarat's Indian Diamantaires
. Using this model of "local control. and has satellite locations in Wafi City. It will ultimately be cut into an estimated 20 or so 'D-flawless' stones ranging from 75 carats to 1 carat in size. Graff has been dubbed the "king of diamonds. Domain
Laurence Graff Laurence Graff (1938—) is a DeBeers sightholder. Raised by his grandparents. Israel.
above). and Surat's 'Special Economic Zone' . polishes. they were able to gain an increasingly larger share of the wholesale diamond trade." The Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai. and Vijaydimon are family owned operations run by Jains with the common surnames of Jhavari. Sanghavi Exports. or "thunderbolt. with $1. Dilip Mehta of Mumbai. It is estimated that India cuts. M. and is currently a Senior Partner and head of the UAE division. displacing the Hasidim as the dominant force in the industry ." The Indians would go on to enjoy a singular reign over the diamond-rich dominion—known as Hindustan—for another two thousand years. Venus Jewels. Gujarat. Navinchandra & Co (board of directors . the Indians would not be giving up their rightful heritage as diamantaires. a minister to the Indian king. D. and to develop an "understanding of the world market. Gitanjali Gems. The brothers. both college dropouts. Chandragupta.Diamonds made their first reluctant appearance in human history over 2400 years ago. and the DTC has demonstrated Gujarat's power in the diamond cutting/polishing arena by increasing India's take of its 125 sightholder contracts to nearly 50 in 2006. and De Beers India. Jainism is an ancient Indian religious sect believing in the 'Jain' philosophy. This vast fortune is shared by some 300 to 500 Gujaratis families from Palanpur on the GujaratRajasthan border . to elevate quality standards.
. improve perceptions. The Indo Argyle Diamond Council (IADC) formed in 1994 as a consortium of Indian jewelry manufacturers and cutting houses. Mumbai. Much of India's diamond trade is controlled by a handful of wealthy families in Gujarat. and Israelis didn't want to work with . Suresh & Co. The Indian communities' share has grown to around 60%. (HDC). Mehta.
Photo: rosyblue. Gitanjali Gems is one of the largest manufacturers of diamonds and diamond jewelry in India. The Sanskrit word for 'diamond' was vajra. India (born 1949).
Photo: Pub. By slowly developing markets. based upon eternal. and Shah. started out thirty years ago by purchasing cheaper stones that the Dutch Hasidim. Shree Ramkrishna Exports. Harshad Mehta ("Diamond King of the world") is one of the founders of Rosy Blue. and although India's famous "Diamonds of Golconda" were mined-out hundreds of years ago. are headed and staffed by Mehta family members. universal truths. Companies like Bhavani Gems. and were written about in an ancient Sanskrit manuscript called the "The Lesson of Profit" Arthasastra (c. is the CEO of the 'Rosy Blue Group' which is currently one of the world's largest diamond companies. is the newest addition to India's arsenal of global marketing tools to promote exports.7 billion in annual sales . and exports several billion dollars worth of gems per year. with diamond cutting factories located in Borivali. from Hong Kong to Israel. 320 BC) by Kautiliya. Of the $26 billion per year diamond revenues that flow through Antwerp. Domain
Bharat & Vijay Shah Bharat and Vijay Shah came from a family of jewelers going back three generations.com
Dilip Mehta Indian diamantaire. propelling their twin companies. the Hindustan Diamond Company Ltd. Several other divisions of the Rosy Blue Group. heighten awareness of ethical business practices.
many of the ex-colonial nations of Sub-Saharan Africa are starting to emerge as powerful and legitimate forces in the diamond industry.Vijaydimon (Belgium) and B Vijaykumar (India) . succeeded his father (Laurent-Désiré Kabila) as president the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) after his assassination in January 2001. Bombay. Singapore. and the United States.000 workers. and enjoys broad support. Botswana is a relatively wealthy African country. with one of the fastest per-capita income growth rates in the world. On a somewhat darker note.W. created a program for capacity-building of 'small and medium-sized enterprise' (SME) development. At the age of 29. working in cooperation with the government of Sierra Leone. In a post-conflict reconstruction effort. only hinting at their possibility in 2007 or 2008. Surat. and Tel Aviv. Palanpur. Kabbah. Thailand. the 'United Nations Industrial Development Orginization' (UNIDO). The company has cutting factories in Antwerp. China. The last democratic election in Angola was in 1992.
Diamonds and the Americans
Photo: Pub. is receiving broad support from the South Africa. Kabila. president José Eduardo dos Santos is preventing democratic elections from taking place. Botswana has held regular elections and has been one of the more stable governments in southern Africa. President Festus Mogae was elected for a second term in 2004. the political situation in Angola has begun to normalize. Domain
Diamonds and the African Nationals
Photos: Public Domain
Kabila. Angola and from mining magnates. employing 22. Bangkok. who was a major general in the army. Vijaydimon also purchases rough diamonds from Canada's Diavik Mine and Argyle (Rio Tinto) and Russia . After winning a disicive re-election victory in 2006. all who have signed multi-million dollar trade deals. Vijaydimon is a DTC sightholder with offices in Belgium. is making great strides in stabilizing the country after years of strife. dos Santos. Joseph Kabila (above. both domestically and internationally. Ayer & Son
. Hong Kong. The president of Sierra Leone. Mandela. India. and the end to South African apartheid in 1994. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. left). into a global position with nearly $1 Billion a year in sales. After years of fighting between the PMLA and UNITA. UAE. & Mogae Starting with Botswana's independence in 1966.
purchased diamonds. and Tiffany seized on the opportunity. Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman. Tiffany & Young. Domain
Hollywood in 1949 Coming just on the heels of the immortal "a diamond is forever" campaign. After attending Chicago Musical College. Ayer in 1938.72 carat cushion-cut diamond (one of the "Diamonds of Golconda") was mounted by Tiffany." was the co-founder of Tiffany & Co. specializing in one-of-a-kind baubles for New York's newly-minted industrialists and 'robber-barons.' which was adapted to film in 1953.W. After the French revolution in 1799. and from the Spanish Crown Jewels . The movie version featured Marilyn Monroe's famous rendition of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.
. A 19. and a series of diamond-related slogans were introduced into the American lexicon." after here charecter. Prince Esterhazy of Hungary. De Beers and the diamond industry got another shot in the arm. In 1948 the famous "A diamond is forever" slogan was introduced.54 carat 'The Tiffany Diamond. Jule Styne (born Julius Kerwin Stein) was born in London.' During the 1800s."A diamond is forever" is the legendary saying that was created by America's first advertising agency. With financial shockwaves caused by the French economy's collapse in 1847. The Great Depression had taken a heavy toll on luxury goods during the 1930s. the son of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine.
Photo: Pub. Styne wrote the score for the 1949 Broadway musical 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. was originally a 'fancy goods' emporium. the values of ostentatious gems and jewelry dropped precipitously.' at the flagship store on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Styne moved to Hollywood where he began a collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn. for resale in America. Harry Frederick Oppenheimer enlisted the help of N. Ayer & Son. which started out as 'Tiffany & Young' of New York City in 1837. Charles Tiffany. One of Tiffany's most notable diamond acquisitions was a 287. and the diamond industry was particularly hard hit. The stone was cut in Paris.' The stone was set into a garish jewelry piece called "Bird on a Rock. this time from playwriter. The 'Tiffany & Co.W. The Tiffany is still selling luxury jewelry in their trademarked 'Tiffany Blue Box.
Photo: Pub. and featuring the memorable scene in which Holly gazes longingly into Tiffany's window display. producing the 128.42 carat rough flawless-yellow diamond from the 'Compagnie Français de Diamant du Cap' (Kimberley mine) in 1877. the public's tolerance towards nobility was at a low point. who was known for his jewelry expertise.' brand was catapulted into the stratosphere by the 1961 movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's. Domain
Charles Lewis Tiffany Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812—1902). De Beers president. aka "the King of Diamonds. N." by Jean Schlumberger in the 1960s. gems and jewelry from the estates of the European aristocracy. and the subsequent overthrowing of King Louis-Philippe of France in 1848. Jule Styne. and sold to Nanaline Duke (now in the Doris Duke Collection).' staring Audrey Hepburn. located at 259 Broadway. Tiffany was able to purchase significant gems from such renowned estates as: the 'jewel-mad' Duke of Brunswick. Lorelei receives a diamond tiara from her suitor.
" there would be no "diamond trade. as writer Charles Leavitt takes us through the dark underbelly of the diamond trade. but not least. and their willingness to purchase the concept of "foreverness.Photo: © Warner Bros. certificate of authenticity. In a preemptive strike against any negative publicity that the movie would generate. Leavitt weaves a tale of Sierra Leone's impoverished "diamond diggers. the glamor is laid bare. 2006
Hollywood in 2006 Blood Diamond is the latest incarnation of Hollywood's fascination with diamond. appraisal report. we have the faceless American consumer. This time.
The Consumer Last. Through interviews with human-rights organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Global Witness. or "cert" may be your only assurance that you are getting exactly what you paid for."
Diamond Grading: Diamond Certificates (Certs)
Gemological Laboratory Certification
Why do you need a laboratory certification for your diamond? Although it may seem like a needless expense. grading report. the unsung hero in the diamond trade." and the terrible working conditions that these workers must endure. Diamonds are tested for
. a diamond certificates. Were it not for intrepid consumers. the World Diamond Council placed ten full-page ads in newspapers around the county.
Although even a lay-person may be able to tell the difference between a triple-zero diamond and a cheap. Appraisal Reports. color. and Attestations of Origin.not only for resale.' GIA's world headquarters are located in Carlsbad. there is very little (visible) difference between a FL stone and a IF or VVS-1 stone . Certificates of Authenticity. clarity. shape and cut of a stone. Bangkok. Dubai and Hong Kong.
A GIA (Gemological Institute of America) report provides detailed information about the dimensions. GIA reports also cover any treatments or enhancements that have been done. The IGI offers Identification Reports. and is the largest independent gem certification and appraisal institute in the United States. tone.other than the price. California. Toronto. founded in 1975. carat weight. but for insurance appraisal as well. Shipley in 1931. Antwerp. Tokyo. Mumbai. the same year that Shipley published his groundbreaking book titled 'Gemology.
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) is the oldest institute of its kind in Antwerp. and of corse.
The GIA was founded by Robert M.the basics (cut dimensions and proportions. If you are purchasing an "investment grade" diamond it is essential to have a detailed cert from a reputable gemological laboratory that specializes in diamonds . Although GIA's diamond grading methodology is the industry standard they are also known for their "colored stone grading system" used to quantify the hue. with operations in New York City. wether the stone is natural or synthetic. and saturation of a colored stone. poorly cut SI-3 grade stone. and carat weight) and they are also tested for traces of gem enhancement. and wether they are synthetic. with offices around the globe. which can be substantially different.
. Los Angeles.
Cut. color. weight. origin (colored gems).
. and finish. All diamonds are examined anonymously. as well as quantifying the standard parameters of Clarity. the sorting of rough diamonds.
HRD Antwerp Diamond Certificate
The certificates department of HRD Antwerp in Antwerpen.The IGI lab grades diamonds as well as colored gemstones along several basic criteria which include: shape and cut. mesurments. clarity. Carat Weight. and Fluorescence. HRD's refined Cut Grading system measures each of the three parameters (proportions. HRD also offers gemelogical training and continuing education courses in diamond grading. and the graders can not know the identity of the owner.
HRD uses the "Hearts and Arrows" measuring system which was developed by HRD Antwerp scientists. polish and symmetry) using a scale ranging from Excellent to Fair. with "Triple Excellent" being the highest overall designation. jewellery design and gemology. Color. Belgium issues quality reports for loose (unmounted) polished diamonds according to ISO 17025 international standards for gemelogical testing laboratories. Shape.
Each parameter is given a 'grade' from 0 (Ideal) to 10 (Poor). and Proportions. In 2004 AGS added a new category referred to as "Light Performance" but to retained the "Triple Zero" monicker for diamonds with a perfect score. vs. mathematicians. and s ratings." and "Proportions" was renamed "Proportion Factors.
The AGSL was the first gem lab to grade a diamond's cut quality using three parameters: Polish. HRD uses complex watermarking to prevent copying or falsifying their reports. The mission of the AGS is to increase consumer awareness. creator of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). as opposed to GIA's vvs. and does not evaluate other types of colored gemstones.com The American Gem Society was founded in 1934 by Robert M. A diamond's clarity is also graded on a simple numeric scale from 0 to 10. 'Polish' and 'Symmetry' were merged into one category called "Finish. The AGS Gemological Laboratories was established in 1996 to provide state-of-the-art diamond grading and appraisal services to the jewelry industry. as well as the most comprehensive system for grading the all-important 'cut' parameters. AGS is considered the premier diamond-grading laboratory. the HRD lab also uses state-of-the-art technology to test for subtle and hard to recognize enhancements such as HPHT.As well as testing for synthetic diamonds. 2005 can be viewed online.
Diamond Grading AGS Diamond Quality Report (DQD)
AGS Gemological Laboratory Background
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. along with a consortium of independent jewelers. but rather a comprehensive quality evaluation.
. and to set a higher standard of business ethics and professional practices in the jewelry industry. referred to as a "Diamond Quality Document" or "DQD. certificates issued after January 1. To insure the security of their documents. An AGS report." The AGS Cut Grading system was developed through of years of research by gemologists. and optical physicists. The AGS Diamond Quality Document uses a unique and proprietary 0 to 10 grading system that is simpler for the consumer to understand than the GIA's grading nomenclature. Symmetry. having the most rigid grading standards. AGS grades diamond color on a numeric sliding scale that is similar to GIA's alphabetical scale." is not an appraisal of monetary value. The AGS specializes in diamond testing and evaluation. Today. and gives you the option of having your diamond returned in a tamper-proof sealed container to insure that a given certificate and the accompanying diamond belong together. Shipley. Aditionally.
AGS uses the "Light Performance" designation to quantify 'light return' by using a ray-tracing software program to follow the path of light rays as they travel through the diamond.Cut Grade: Finish.
. In 2004 AGS added a new category that is referred to as "Light Performance. 'Polish' and 'Symmetry' were merged into one category called "Finish. and Proportions." The AGS Cut grading system was developed through years of research by gemologists. mathematicians. dispersion. The ray-tracing program measures the quantity of the light being returned to the viewer by quantifying brightness." and "Proportions" was renamed "Proportion Factors. and optical physicists. Symmetry. leakage and light spread. Proportions & Light Performance
The AGSL was the first gem lab to grade a diamond's cut quality using three parameters: Polish." but to retained the "Triple Zero" monicker for diamonds with a perfect score. Each parameter is given a numeric grade from 0 (Ideal) to 10 (Poor). contrast.
and individual facet ratios. in conjunction with proprietary AGS mapping software (similar to a Sarin or OGI scan) to create the line diagram shown on the report (above). relative facet angles."
Each AGS grading document is marked with a hologram (dark circle at lower right of report) and watermarking or embossing to prevent fraudulent duplication.5.5 (GIA Equivalent: K to M) Very Light .0 to 7.
.5 to 3.5 to Fancy (GIA Equivalent: S to Z)
As of 2003. AGS uses a 3D-scan of the actual diamond. In the upper left corner of the document there is a unique AGS reference number that can be used when contacting AGS with questions about your report.0 (GIA Equivalent: D to F) Near Colorless .0 (GIA Equivalent: N to R) Light . The AGSL grades a diamond's symmetry and proportions according to the accuracy of crown/pavilion angles.
AGS Diamond Grading System
On the inside fold of an AGS Diamond Quality grading report there is a legend explaining the unique AGS nomenclature with comparisons to GIA's grading system. where facets intersect with each-other.
AGS Diamond Color Saturation Designations
Colorless . When all three parameters are in perfect harmony the diamond is given a "Triple 0" or "Triple Ideal" grading.1.5 to 4." or "ideal" rating.0 to 1.3.0 (GIA Equivalent: G to J) Faint . all measured in three spacial dimensions. as well as the symbols used to identify inclusion or internal flaw types that are 'mapped' and marked on the 'Proportions' diagram.7.' meaning "not significant or important enough to be worth considering.AGS Triple Ideal or 'Triple 0' Grade
The gold-standard for a diamond's AGS cut-grade is the "triple zero. the 'inert' and/or 'faint' fluorescence designations (lower left corner of document) have been replaced by a single term 'negligible.
These diamond extraction methods vary depending on how the minerals are deposited within the earth. Artisanal Mining Hard Rock Mining Marine Mining Open Pit Mining Placer Mining
Hard-Rock Diamond Mining The term "hard-rock mining" (top of page. while a shaft is
. and ore bodies that are in situ. OctoNus Software. and OGI Systems. India and Israel. the stability of the material that surrounds that desired gem or mineral. unmounted diamonds. 5. 4. Pricing for a diamond grading report is based on carat weight." or a by a vertical "shaft.
Accessing the underground ore is achieved via a horizontal passageway called a "decline." A decline is a spiral (corkscrew) tunnel which circles the ore deposit. princess.
Diamonds: Gem & Diamond Mining Technology
Photos: Public Domain
Diamond & Gem Mining . 3. minerals.42 Carat D. Additionally. which are used by non-contact measuring-device manufacturers such as Sarin Technologies. left) refers to various techniques used to extract gems. and the peripheral damage that will be done to the surrounding environment. the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).com Diamonds and other precious and semi-precious gemstones are extracted from the earth using five basic mining techniques. The principle methods of diamond extraction are:
1. AGS offers laser inscription services as well.
Obtaining an AGS Report
AGS is a 'trade-industry' testing laboratory that will only evaluate diamonds sent from jewelers or manufacturers. Flawless
Other Services Supplied by AGS
The AGS will soon be entering into an alliance/partnership with one of the premier testing labs of colored gemstones. The AGS supplies 'facet arrangement' templates corresponding to their cutgrading system. and octagon step-cut diamonds. Dubai. so that the cutter can improve the light performance of their cut stones. through AGS offices in Antwerp.Extraction Methods
Article Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. AGSL reports will also grade cut quality for emerald. 2. and will soon be offering cut evaluations for other fancy shapes. and can only be accessed by tunneling underground and creating underground "rooms" or "stopes" that are supported by timber pillars or standing rock.Triple-0 Round Brilliant Setting
'American Star Diamond' 13. As of 2005. AGS will only evaluate loose. AGS will also provide analysis of a manufacturers 'cut performance' by analyzing a sample stone's Sarin file.
Open pit mines are typically used when mineral deposits are found close to the surface or along defined kimberlite pipes. Laborers who work in artisanal diamond mining are called "diamond diggers" (below left).Photo: USGS
Alluvial Diamond . Small "pit lakes" tend to form at the bottom of open-pit mines as a result of groundwater intrusion. with the middle size being a candidate for final sorting. therefore. and have a specific gravity that is higher than that of common minerals. Horizontal mining employs the use of Seabed Crawlers (remotely controlled. or sort material according to size. running adjacent to the ore. or pans. also known as "open-cast mining" (top of page. they tend to concentrate in alluvial deposits in the same way that gold placers develop. Gems are separated from waste material using various sifting and sorting techniques such as cone screens. Artisanal Mining Artisanal diamond mining (aka "small-scale mining") involves nothing more that digging and sifting through mud or gravel river-bank alluvial deposits (above. also known as "sand-bank mining" (top of page. right) with bare hands. right) is used for extracting diamonds and minerals from alluvial. Open Pit Mining Open-pit diamond mining. While on board. Excavation is accomplished using water pressure (hydraulic mining). Placer Mining Placer diamond mining. Diamonds and most gemstones are hard.vertical tunnel used for ore haulage. Artisanal diamond mining is a form of "subsistence based" non-mechanized mining that is used in poorer countries throughout the world. A decline is typically used for mining personnel. the gravels are separated and sorted into three sizes. mechanized surface excavating equipment. and or colluvial secondary deposits. gravel. which concentrate the heavier gems at the bottom. CAT-tracked underwater mining vehicles) move across the sea floor pumping gravel up to an offshore vessel. eluvial. center) is a method of extracting rock and minerals from the earth by removal from a machine-dug open pit or burrow. at a maximum depth of 500 feet. and access to the ore.Smithsonian Museum
Open pit mining is used when the surface material (overburden) covering the deposit is relatively thin and/or the desired minerals are imbedded within structurally unstable earth (cinder.
. Marine diamond mining employs both "vertical" and "horizontal" techniques to extract diamonds from offshore placer deposits.
Diamonds in Kimberlite Matrix . box screens. machinery. shovels. or sand) that is unsuitable for tunneling. or hand digging (artisanal mining). and is a derivative form of open-cast mining used to extract minerals from the surface of the earth without the use of tunneling. highly resistant to weathering. Marine Mining Marine mining technology only became commercially viable in the early 1990s. Vertical marine mining uses a 6 to 7 meter diameter drill head to cut into the seabed and suck up the diamond bearing material from the sea bed. rock or sedimentary soil. or large conical sieves.
Artisanal diamond mining is used throughout west Africa. and Liberia. left). left) or "yellow-ground" kimberlite and can be found worldwide. After their formation. diamonds are carried to the surface of the earth by volcanic activity. Kimberlites are found as "dikes" and "volcanic pipes" which underlie and are the source for rare and relatively small volcanoes or "maars" (above. yet only about 1 in every 200 kimberlite pipes contain gem-quality diamonds. phlogopite. Most kimberlite is called "blue-ground" kimberlite (above. garnet. and upper mantle rock.
. and diamonds approaches the earth's surface it begins to form an underground structure (pipe) that is shaped like a champagne-flute.North Cape" below). It is also used extensivly in Angola. serpentine. Kimberlite occurs in the zone of the Earth's crust in vertical structures known as kimberlite pipes (above. right). pyroxene.
Diamonds: Diamond Geology
Diamond Geology & Kimberlites
Kimberlite Pipes Diamonds form at a depth greater than 93 miles (150 kilometers) beneath the earth's surface. The name "Kimberlite" was derived from the South African town of Kimberly where the first diamonds were found in this type of rock conglomeration (see section on "Kimberley . As this molten mixture of magma (molten rock). with a variety of trace minerals. Kimberlite pipes are the most significant source of diamonds. minerals. the Congo (DROC).
Kimberlite is a diamondiferous igneous-rock matrix composed of carbonate. Diamond bearing kimberlite in some parts of South Africa is black in color (above. These pipes are called "kimberlites" or "kimberlite pipes" (see diagram below). olivine. Kimberlite pipes can lie directly underneath shallow lakes formed in the inactive volcanic calderas or craters. rock fragments. Many kimberlite pipes also produce alluvial diamond placer deposits. in conflict zones where mechanized mining is impractical and unsafe. right). Artisanal diamond mining accounts for 90% of Sierra Leone's diamond exports and is the country's second largest employer after subsistence farming.
Breccia is a rock composed of angular fragments of several minerals or rocks in a matrix. The world's largest known gem quality alluvial diamond deposits are located along the Namib Desert coastline of southwestern Africa. These dried 'lakes' receive river water during seasonal flooding which transports large amounts of sediment held in suspension. and tectonic breccia.Photo: Public Domain
Lamproite Pipes Lamproite pipes produce diamonds to a lesser extent than kimberlite pipes. There are several types of breccia which are categorized based on their geological origin. Alluvial (Placer) Diamond Deposits The location of alluvial (secondary or placer) diamond deposits is controlled by the surrounding topography. including: hydrothermal breccia." and along the Orange River near Alexander Bay. igneous breccia. The Argyle pipe is a diatreme.
The alluvial terrace gravels (below. This results in a martini-glass shaped diamondiferous deposit as opposed to kimberlite's champagne flute shape. except that boiling water and volatile compounds contained in the magma act corrosively on the overlying rock. left) and marine gravels of the south-western coastline of Africa represent the some of the world's largest placer diamond deposits. The Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia is one of the first commercial open-cast diamond mines that is dug along an olivine lamproite pipe. usually from kimberlite deposits. or "cementing material.
Alluvial Diamonds from Africa . Diamondiferous material tends to concentrate in and around 'oxbow lakes. impact breccia. sedimentary breccia. or breccia-filled volcanic pipe that is formed by gas or volatile explosive magma which has breached the surface to form a "tuff" (consolidated volcanic ash) cone.Photo: Public Domain
Diamonds in Kimberlite Matrix . Alluvial diamond deposits are usually located within river terrace gravels that have been transported from their location of origin.Open Pit Mine . resulting in a broader cone of eviscerated rock at the surface." that may be similar. or different in composition to the fragments themselves. known as the Sperrgebiet or "forbidden territory. Lamproite pipes are created in a similar manner to kimberlite pipes.' which are created by abandoned river meanders.
8 million to 10. but were not deposited on land. Alluvial diamond mining in Angola takes place along a meandering stretch of the Cuango River floodplain which is also along the south-western coastline of Africa.
Diamond Mines of the World: Active Diamond Mines
List of Active Diamond Mines
All Contents Copyright © 2009 AllAboutGemstones. carried from their primary origination point on the Kaapvaal Craton.8k.9k and 101. potholes.Namibia's placer diamond deposits are between 40 and 80 million years old. Diamonds in marine areas are typically trapped in bedrock depressions such as gullies. from olivine lamproites formed during the Cretaceous or Permo-Triassic period. depressions. Westward draining river systems transported these diamonds to Africa's continental coastline for final deposition within on-shore marine terrace gravels.000 years ago). made their way to the sea bed just offshore. channels or other trapsites for diamondiferous deposits. in central South Africa and Botswana.Photo: Wiki
Diamond-Bearing 'Diamondiferous' Gravel
Many of these alluvial diamond deposits occur in Pleistocene and Holocene successions (1. Some of the largest and highest gemquality diamonds produced from alluvial placer diamond mining have come from this region. The diamonds within these deposits were transported from deeply-eroded diamondiferous kimberlites or. including Angola's two largest diamonds at 105. to a lesser extent. Diamonds that were transported downstream.com
Alluvial Terrace Gravels .
These lists also contains new project explorations. 1. There are also several African nations with ongoing off-shore dredging/vacuming operations. map Jwaneng Diamond Mine: (place of small stones) richest mine in world. So Africa. Diavik Diamond Mine: The Diavik diamond mine is located in the NWT. 75% De Beers ownership. 2. mining industry inside news. the Kimberley Open Pits closed in 2005. Argyle Diamond Mine: Largest producer in world. 1. 3. Kimberlite pipe. map Koidu-Sefadu Mines: Subsistence digging in alluvium pits west of Koidu. map
North West Territories (NWT)
Congo (DROC or RDC) Lesotho Namibia
1. Israel. 2. De Beers / Botswana. Luzamba Diamond Mine: Angola's largest alluvial mine. and any relevant geographic data. map Williamson Diamond Mine: (aka Mwadui mine) Open Pit mine. Owned by Endiama (40%) & Trans Hex (35%). 4. 75% De Beers ownership.DeBeers/Botswana. map
. 3. map Ekati Diamond Mine: Canada's first diamond mining operation.closed. map Orange River (Daberas) Mines: Orange River alluvium. mostly industrial grade. 1.Currently there are eleven major 'diamond producing' nations.De Beers / Botswana. map Elizabeth Bay Mine: Open-cast mine in Namib desert. South Kalimantan
1. 1. MIBA. 3. and a host of other counties with operational and/or historic alluvial. 1. open pit. links to satellite images of the mines (where available). map Koffiefontein Diamond Mine: The Koffiefontein mine opened in 1870. map
Cempaka/Riam Kanan. 75% De Beers ownership map Murowa Diamond Mine: Open Pit & Underground mine. map Letseng Diamond Mine: Open-cast mine in Maluti Mountains 70 km from Mokhotlong. 4. Odebrecht (50%). map Fucauma Diamond Mine: Newly constructed. map River Ranch Diamond Mine: Open Pit & Underground mine. 1. 2. Namdeb. map The Oaks Diamond Mine: In Limpopo province. 3. map Koidu Open Pit Mines: Kimberlite open-pit mines just south of Koidu. 2. map Magna Egoli Mine: Largest mechanized mine in Sierra Leone. mining operator info. produces over 40% of world's gem-quality diamonds. and hard rock diamond mines.
| Inactive Mines
| Future Exploration
| Mining Companies
1. map Forminière Diamond Mine: Alluvial mine located on the River Tshikapa. map Orapa Diamond Mine: (resting place for lions) Largest/oldest of four . map Marine Mining: Namco Mining operates a dredging fleet off the west coast of Namibia. 6. Luarica Diamond Mine: Owned by Endiama (38%) & Trans Hex (32%). 3. Trans Hex. 1. map Letlhakane Diamond Mine: ("little reeds") second oldest of four . Lubilash) Alluvial river mines in Kasaï. map Damtshaa Diamond Mine: (water for a tortoise) New open pit mine. map Finsch Diamond Mine: Finsch is an open-pit mine near Lime Acres. 4. located in NWT. De Beers operated. map Venetia Diamond Mine: Limpopo. map Baken Diamond Mine: Located along Orange River in North Cape. De Beers/Botswana. 7. 5. 2. 1. Endiama (50%). in Kasaï . map Bakwanga Mine: (aka Bushimaïe. Catoca Diamond Mine: Fourth largest diamond mine in world. Waldman Resources. Rio Tinto. south of Lüderitz. 2. Closed in 2006. 2. map Kimberley Diamond Mine: Started in 1871. Cempaka Diamond Mines: Alluvials mined by indigenous artisanal Kalimantan miners. map Cullinan Diamond Mine: Open Pit/Hard Rock diamond mine owned by De Beers. Namdeb Namib Gov. Open-pit mine De Beers operated. 2.
. Panna Diamond Mine: Alluvial mine in state of Madhya Pradesh.India
1. Jubilee. 4. Aikhal GOK Mine: Three open-pit kimberlite pipe mines: Aikhal. Mirna Mine: Largest diamond deposit in Russia and one of the largest in the world. map Jubilee (Yubileinaya) Mine: Newer open-pit kimberlite mine near Udachny. map Anabar GOK Mine: The norther most location of Russia's diomond mines. 3. Alrosa. 2. map Udachnaya (Udachny) Pipe Mine: One of the deepest diamond mines in the world. 5. and Sytykan. map