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Diamonds - An Expression of Love

Perhaps it is because this gemstone is the most durable of all the gemstones that the diamond is the ultimate symbol of enduring love. Or, maybe it is because of its incomparable beauty and value that makes it so special. Whatever the reason, this gemstone is the centerpiece of love. Diamond engagement rings are the tradition and that is just the beginning. There are a variety of styles that celebrate all of life’s major milestones with diamond rings.

Diamond Ring: Details

Many millions of years ago, intense pressure and heat caused the formation of diamond ore. Volcanic eruptions forced these particles to the surface making them ready for mining. Once the ore is mined, about 250 tons of it is needed to get a one carat stone. Not all of the ore is usable because of cracks or other flaws, so much is cut away, cut in to the best shape for what is there and faceted and polished to a brilliant shine. Diamonds go through a lot before they are set in a beautiful ring to be given to that special someone.

The Four Cs for Choosing a Diamond engagement ring

Diamond Color

Color- Color actually refers to the lack of color in diamond grading, however it can refer to actual colored diamonds as well. The most desired and traditional diamond coloring is referred to as colorless (effectively clear and often referred to as white diamonds). When looking at diamond engagement rings, anniversary rings, or wedding rings, that is what to look for. Diamond color is rated from D to Z with D being the highest color grade a diamond can receive. A D colored diamond is absolutely colorless. These diamonds are the most expensive as they are the most desired. Jewelry quality diamonds generally do not delve lower in the alphabet than the letter J, which denotes that the diamond is near colorless, but a slight warmth in tone may be detected.

Color Grade Color Explanation
D Grade D diamonds are absolutely colorless. They are extremely rare and the most coveted of all color grades.
E, F Diamonds that receive a diamond color grade of an E or an F are rare. They are considered colorless. Only minute traces of color can be detected in these diamonds by an expert gemologist.
G, H Diamonds that receive a G or H grade are near colorless. The small amount of color is nearly undetectable. They are high quality diamonds with exceptional value.
I, J Diamonds rated I or J are an excellent value. Still radiant, these diamonds feature a slight warmth.

Now, there are some stones that are colored and very valuable such as champagne, black, chocolate, pink and even blue(Remember the Hope Diamond?). But whatever the color of the diamond, a quality gemstone should still be clear and translucent in clarity.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity- This is also known as the quality. Tiny bits of black carbon can speckle the stone. These tiny bits are organic, and if visible to the naked eye, can mar the stone's beauty. In addition, some stones feature internal air bubbles or cracks. These are called inclusions and are created when the gemstone forms. The nicest stones have either no inclusions or inclusions not visible with the naked eye. If a magnifying glass is necessary to see the flaw, it has a decent clarity. Generally, diamonds are judged using a jeweler's loupe, which magnifies the stone ten times. There are roughly five different categories for diamond grading, ranging from flawless to included. Price is influenced, as it is with color, cut and carat, by the diamond's clarity. Below, you'll find the clarity grades as set by the Gemological Institute of America or G.I.A.

Clarity Grade Clarity Explanation
Flawless FL and IF - Flawless and internally flawless diamonds are exactly that. Flawless diamonds feature no imperfections internally or on the finish under magnification to the trained eye. They are the most rare and expensive diamond clarity. Internally flawless diamonds feature no inclusions yet may feature minuscule imperfections along the surface only detectable to a trained eye under 10x magnification.
Very, Very Slightly Included VVS-1 and VVS-2 - Inclusions are difficult to see even to the trained eye with 10x magnification. VVS-1 diamonds may feature only one small inclusion whereas a VVS-2 diamond may feature two or three small inclusions. These diamonds are of excellent quality and appear flawless.
Very Slightly Included VS-1 and VS-2 - Inclusions are not visible to even the educated eye without the aid of magnification. The inclusions are much smaller and there are fewer of them. An excellent diamond value.
Slightly Included S-1, S-2, S-3 - These diamonds feature slight inclusions that may be visible to the eye and are visible through 10x magnification with a loupe. These diamonds are a good value with S-1 being more refined than S-2 and S-3.
Imperfect or Included 1-1, I-2, I-3 - These diamonds feature inclusions visible to the naked eye with grade 1-3 being the most included or imperfect.

Diamond Cut

Cut- The cut is the shape of the stone and is really a matter of preference. When looking at diamond engagement rings, it is important to have an idea of what the intended likes. Diamonds can be cut in a myriad of ways from marquise, round brilliant, emerald, pear or teardrop, princess or trillion cut. Some ring styles may feature additional accent stones in a round or baguette cut. Once you decide on a cut, it is important to know the facts - or facets. For instance, a round brilliant cut one carat diamond will cost more than a one carat princess cut diamond. This is because when taking the rough diamond for a princess cut, around 50 to 60% of the original crystal is maintained. With the round brilliant cut, there is much more lost. Then, there are also certain cuts chosen more for certain occasions. For instance, diamond anniversary rings are traditionally made up of several marquise or round brilliant cut stones. But, recently, the simple yet alluring channel set round brilliant or princess cut bands have become popular. When looking for a diamond Ring, there are a variety of styles and cuts for all types.

In addition, cuts are graded on a scale of ideal to poor in light refraction. When a diamond is cut ideally, regardless of which style of cut is chosen, the light is properly reflected through the stone creating sparkle or brilliance. A diamond that is either cut too shallow or too deep does not sparkle the way it should because much of the light is lost. Cut is often considered the most important of the Four C's, as a poorly cut perfectly colorless, flawless diamond may not sparkle or shine the way a mediocre diamond with an ideal cut would. The cut can fully determine a gemstone's beauty.

- Ideal cut: The ideal cut represents the top 3% of diamond quality. These stones reflect nearly all light that enters the diamond. Ideal cuts are the most rare and expensive cut.

- Very good cut: Very good cuts are the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Very good cut diamonds reflect almost all of the light that enters, are more common that ideal cuts and are an excellent value as the differences between ideal and VGC is undetectable to all but the trained eye.

- Good cut: The top 25%; these stones reflect most of the light that enters and are much less expensive.

- Fair cut: Fair cut diamonds are the top 35% of diamond cut quality. Though the name denotes something less than impressive, fair cut diamonds are still quality stones.

- Poor cut: Poor cut diamonds feature an improper cut for the stone and/or are either cut too narrow, wide, deep or shallow to allow an adequate transference of light.

Diamond Carat

Carat- This denotes the weight of the gemstone. ¼, ½, 1 carat and up- the sky is the limit depending on the budget. Obviously the larger the single stone, the more expensive. Pieces with multiple gemstones like 3 stone diamond rings are given a total carat weight- a one carat weight ring means each stone is a 1/3 carat. Earrings are done the same way, so a set of one carat solitaire diamond earrings would feature two half carat diamond studs.

Smaller stones and certain settings making choosing diamond clarity easier. For instance, eternity bands and channel set diamond anniversary rings feature smaller diamonds generally secured in settings that don't showcase the whole gemstone the way a tall prong set stone would be. Smaller stones and certain settings can make extremely high clarity diamonds less important because inclusions are more difficult to see. So, if there are many small stones, focus on color, cut and total carat weight.

Diamond Ring Occasions

When a man proposes to the love of his life, tradition dictates that he give her a diamond engagement rings. An engagement ring is traditionally worn on the left hand to symbolize the journey towards marriage. While most engagement rings feature diamonds, some deviate from tradition with different gemstones. In fact, Princess Diana's engagement ring featured both blue sapphires and diamonds.

When choosing a diamond wedding ring, try to fine a style that compliments the engagement ring as both are generally worn together. The wedding band is worn closer to the knuckle, and closer to the heart and the engagement ring on the outside. Some wedding and engagement rings are designed to slip into one another, creating the final ring display. The meaning behind this implies that one is not whole without the one we love.
Another choice for diamond wedding ring is the bridal set. Many choose to purchase bridal sets which either include an engagement ring and wedding ring or the ladies two rings and the gentleman's ring or rings. This ensures the two fit together flawlessly. Diamond wedding bands are a nice complement to the solitaire. Even the groom can wear diamonds in his wedding ring. The marriage has begun and the anniversaries start.

There is a ring style for these occasions as well and the anniversary ring can be worn on the right hand, along with the wedding band or in place of the wedding ring. Of course, to celebrate life as a couple, 3 stone diamond rings represent the past, present and future of the relationship. This makes a great gift on milestone occasions such as a wedding, birth or anniversary.

Diamond Wedding Rands: Cleaning and Maintenance

A great thing about diamond wedding bands and other special pieces is that they are extremely easy to clean and maintain. The diamond ranks a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness which means that it is the most durable mineral on the planet. Its durability makes it an excellent gemstone for rings since this type of jewelry takes some of the roughest treatment. The only real maintenance they require is regular cleanings and occasional checks to make sure the prongs and settings are still intact and tight.

Cleaning diamond rings is simple. All that is necessary is to soak the pieces in warm soapy water and a scrub with a toothbrush. For a more thorough cleaning, it is safe to put diamond wedding rings and other pieces in an ultrasonic cleaner. This machine is heated, soapy and uses agitation to knock the dirt off the ring. A blast from a steamer is also safe. This gemstone is so strong that unless there is a huge flaw, it can take the heat and the cleaning solutions.

Whatever the occasion or the reason, a diamond rings is a true statement of ever-lasting love because a diamond lasts forever. They are gemstones to be worn and to be cherished for the memories they hold inside their brilliant sparkle.