Various characteristics of diamonds are graded and categorized by the diamond industry. Learning about diamonds is first learning about the "four Cs" of diamonds which are considered the most important grades and categories:
Don't confuse the diamond's "cut" with the diamond's "shape."
Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the diamond, (such as round, pear and princess "square"). When a diamond jeweler (or a diamond certificate) says "cut," that's a reference to the diamond's reflective qualities, not the shape.
Diamond cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs, so it is important to understand how this quality affects the properties and values of a diamond. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.
However, the variance in the proportions between an Ideal Cut and a Poor Cut can be difficult to discern by the casual observer.
Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are:
Fair & Poor
At NBDiamonds we pride ourselves in sourcing for our core ranges only a minimum of very good cut diamonds in our ready made jewellery and in our loose diamond collections. However, if you are looking for a price budget then we can source good/fair cuts to fit your specific budget.
NBDiamonds offer a full range of round, princess, radiants, pear, oval, marquise, baguettes, tapered baguettes and other fancy shaped diamonds. Contact us for more details.
Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes.'
Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.
Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight, they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterised as minor
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3)
At NBDiamonds we strive to offer as many variations as possible. In our loose diamond collections we offer Vs2, Si1, Si2, I1 and I2 qualities. In our ready made jewellery pieces we offer Si1/2 quality in our core range. However, we can produce any item in a VS or higher quality, or in a I1/I2 quality. So please contact us for your requirements and we will guide you through the process.
Diamond Colour Actually Means Lack of Colour
The diamond colour evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of colour. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA's D-to-Z (D as best) diamond colour-grading system measures the degree of colourlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones stones of established colour value.
Many of these colour distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.
At NBDiamonds we grade our diamonds using the strictest scales and feel the best value for money lies within the F-H colour category. Our core range of loose diamonds varies from F-K colours. Our jewellery collections range from F-I colours. Also, at special requests we can source certified diamonds to cover the full spectrum of colours and qualities to fit any specific enquiry. Please be in touch and contact us with your requests and requirements.
Diamond Carat Weight
Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams.
Each carat can be subdivided into 100 'points.' This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its 'points' alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a 'twenty-five pointer.' Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as 'one point oh eight carats.'
All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight, because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable. But two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond: Clarity, Colour and Cut.
It's important to remember that a diamond's value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.
NBDiamonds offers a range of loose diamond sizes between 0.01pts-4.00ct in round diamonds. We also offer princess cuts and different shapes from 0.05pts-2.00ct.
What are Conflict Diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, particularly in central and western Africa. The United Nations (UN) defines conflict diamonds as "...diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council." These diamonds are sometimes referred to as "blood diamonds."
Conflict diamonds captured the world's attention during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world's diamond production. Illicit rough diamonds have also been used by rebels to fund conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville). Today, the flow of conflict diamonds has been reduced to considerably less than 1%.
There are three diamond producing countries that account for this small percentage. Firstly, the Republic of Congo has been suspended from participation in the Kimberley Process owing to areas of non-compliance. Secondly, Liberia and the Ivory Coast are under United Nations Security Council Resolutions to prohibit the extraction and trading of diamonds. Despite both the Republic of Congo and Liberia benefiting from internationally recognized peace agreements, diamonds from these countries may be referred to as "conflict diamonds".
Eliminating Conflict Diamonds
In July 2000, the global diamond industry made clear to the international community its zero tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. Dedicated to eradicating the trade in conflict diamonds, it worked closely with the United Nations, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada to create the Kimberley Process Certification System. This system was formally adopted in 2003 and guards against conflict diamonds entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. The diamond industry also adopted a voluntary System of Warranties to assure consumers that their diamonds are from sources free of conflict.
Today 71 governments have enshrined into their national law the Kimberley Process Certification System, and now more than 99% of the world's diamonds are from conflict free sources. However, even one conflict diamond is one too many. The diamond industry continues to work with governments, NGOs and the UN to strengthen the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties.
While diamonds have been used to fund conflict, the problem is not the diamonds themselves but the rebels who exploit diamonds (along with other natural resources) to achieve their illicit goals. The vast majority of diamonds come from countries at peace. These countries have been able to invest the revenue from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for the good of the communities in which diamonds are found. These countries include Australia, Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania.
Today, more than 99% of the world's diamonds are now from conflict free sources and are officially traded under the UN mandated Kimberley Process.
At NBDiamonds all our diamonds are sourced from legitimate purposes and guaranteed to be conflict-free.
What Are Man Made Diamonds?
Man made diamonds, also known as engineered or cultured diamonds, are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop when they form in the mantle, beneath the Earth’s crust. These man made diamonds consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Since they are made of the same material as natural diamonds, they exhibit the same optical and chemical properties.
Our lab grown diamonds are now readily available in a variety of colourless ranges. Cultured diamonds are also available in fancy colours that are considered very rare in nature, including popular hues of vivid fancy yellow. Fancy coloured lab diamonds sell at comparatively reasonable prices compared to their natural coloured diamonds counterparts.
How Are Lab Diamonds Made?
Our lab created diamonds are grown from the tiny carbon seeds of pre-existing diamonds. Advanced technology – either extreme pressure and heat or a special deposition process known as CVD – mimics the natural method of diamond formation. Some lab diamonds grown through deposition may also undergo pressure and heat treatment after they are grown. Lab grown fancy coloured diamonds are formed when small amounts of specific trace elements are present during the growth phase of the diamond, just like in nature. In both white and fancy coloured lab diamonds, the exact composition of trace elements may differ from their natural diamond counterparts. Lab diamonds can only be distinguished from natural diamonds using specialized equipment that can detect the minor differences in trace elements and crystal growth.
There has been a debate over the years on how the diamond industry will cope with lab grown diamonds.
At NBDiamonds we see this over taking the cheaper end of the market, and we will advise our clients to offer these to customers as an alternative to natural diamonds when they are on a tight budget. As times get tougher and people find themselves more strapped for cash, we feel clients who have a champagne taste, but can't afford it will find these a decent alternative. For this reason, we have decided to provide our clients another channel to make sure they don't lose that sale.