What is a diamond?
It is a mineral composed almost exclusively of carbon.
It is one of the rarest forms of one of the most common elements.
It is the hardest known substance.
It is one of the most transparent minerals, exceptionally bright and full of light when it is well cut.
It is so precious that men have literally moved mountains to find it.
Born in the depths of the Earth’s crust, diamonds rose to the surface through volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.
The diamond entered human history in India, around 400 A.C.
Initially it was appreciated above all for its incredible hardness; it became a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Only kings could have diamonds.
In the 14th century, the archduke of Austria gave the first engagement ring to Princess Mary of Burgundy. Only then did women begin to wear diamonds as a symbol of lasting love.
The custom of wearing the engagement (or wedding) ring on the ‘ring’ finger of the left hand seems to originate from the ancient belief that a vein runs from this finger directly to the heart.
It is true that the hardness of the diamond (the maximum on the Mohs scale) is a remarkable quality of this jewel, but other factors also allow it to be specially appreciated. The universally recognised criterion is that of the ‘four Cs’, from the initials which identify the four important parameters: the value of the diamond depends on each of these properties and on their combination.
CARATS (weight): As for all precious stones, the weight is expressed in carats. The carat derives from a natural unit of measure: carob seeds, which remarkably always have the same weight. In fact, diamonds were traditionally weighed using these seeds, until the system was standardised and it was set that one carat corresponded with 200 milligrams (1/5 of a gram).
While weighing the diamond in carats is purely an instrumental task, the other factors require the competence of qualified gemologists.
CLARITY: This refers to the internal and external characteristics of the diamond. The size and position of these determines its value depending on how much they interfere with the passage of light through the diamond. Although small inclusions (VVS, VS, SI) reduce the cost of the diamond, they do not alter its beauty or damage its value over time.
If the diamond does not have inclusions, seen through a 10x lens by an expert eye, it is defined pure (FL), which is to say that it is assigned the highest grade of purity.
COLOUR: Again the rarity determines the value. Totally colourless diamonds are very rare and are the highest grade of non-colouration. With the exception of some ‘fancy colours’ such as light blue, pink, purple or red, the rare uncoloured grade is the most precious. The various gradations, from absolute white towards yellow, are difficult to perceive with the naked eye. However, the expert eye of the gemologist will be able to identify them to attribute a value to the diamond in relation to its colour.
CUT: At the beginning of the century the art of diamond cutting became so refined that it was expressed in a precise mathematical formula. Brilliant cut diamonds should have 58 facets, each positioned at a precise angle to the others. The cutters use their incredible skill to reveal the full beauty that nature has created. A good cutter enables the maximum possible quantity of light to pass through the diamond, to allow the observer’s eye to see the gem in its full splendour.
The choice of a round brilliant cut, drop cut or emerald cut is above all a question of personal taste.
Diamonds with the best combination of the four Cs above are the rarest and consequently the most expensive, but none of the four Cs is superior to the others in terms of beauty.
Every diamond holds within it the story of its evolution; unique and unrepeatable.
Any gift is a symbol of the ideas, sentiments and personality of the giver: a diamond unites its symbolic significance with unequivocal aesthetic, concrete and eternal value.