Diamonds

By diamond dealer Karen Høgskilde.

NATURAL DIAMONDS.

A journey from the depths of the Earth.
From carbon ……. to diamond.
Known as “the unconquerable”, from the Greek word “adamas” the diamond is indeed the hardest natural known mineral on earth. Although it is decidedly rare, it actually consists of one of the most common building blocks of the material world – carbon.

Diamond is made up solely of carbon atom, which form short and stable bonds. What makes diamond so hard is its three-dimensional crystalline structure. Crystallization occurs in extreme conditions – under exceptionally high pressure and high temperatures. Such conditions are only found at a depth of more than 150 kilometres under the earth’s surface.

Thanks to its hardness, a diamond is able to travel through the earth’s crust to the surface by being pushed up with the volcanic rock in which it was imbedded. Varieties of this rock are kimberlite or lamproite. Kimberlite or blue ground is named after the South African city of Kimberley. The diamond-bearing rock remains in volcanic pipes, from which they can be extracted through mining.

Diamonds sometimes are released through erosion from the kimberlite or lamproite in which they are embedded. Flowing water brings them to rivers, where they then may sink to the riverbed or continue on to the river mouth, beaches and oceans.

It has been estimated that the kimberlites discovered in Africa originate from the time, 70 to 150 million years ago, when a great rupture in the earth’s crust occurred causing the continents to separate.

Beautiful and fascinating.
To the untrained eye, a rough diamond appears like dull, broken glass, but into the hands of expert craftsmen it is transformed into a stunning jewel. The uncut stone is first studied to ascertain what gems can be extracted, and then it may be split along its natural grain, or sawn mechanically or with a laser beam. The diamond is then bruted, with a girdle cut at a point which separates the upper crown from the lower pavilion. Then, depending on the shape, the facets are polished, proving the finished stone with its own unique character.

The most common cut for a diamond is the round brilliant. A brilliant has a total of 57 facets: the table (the large central facet), 32 facets on the crown (the upper part of the brilliant) and 24 facets on the pavilion, (the lower part of the brilliant, ending in a point, or culet). There are many other cuts too, such as the marquise, emerald, pear, oval, baguette, heart, princess and more. In recent years we have seen an ever-increasing number of new cuts coming on to the market.

The Four Cs.
The criteria by which diamonds typically are evaluated are known as the four Cs, namely carat, clarity, colour and cut. It is the interplay between them that will decide the stone’s actual value.

Carat
Caratage is a measurement of weight. One carat is equal to 0,2 grams.

Clarity
Clarity essentially refers to the degree to which inclusions in a stone are absent. Inclusions typically are minerals or fractures in a diamond. Clarity is generally graded from Loupe Clean (LC or Flawless (FL), through VVS to VS, SI and Piqué.

Colour
Most gem diamonds fall in a colour range that stretches from colourless to near colourless with hints of yellow and brown. Sometimes the colours will be intense, and these are known as fancy coloured diamonds. Non-fancy colour diamonds are generally graded on a scale ranging from D (colourless) to Z, with D colour stones being more valuable.

Cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportion of the facets of the polished diamond. When these are arranged precisely, and the polish is good, the fire and the brilliance visible in the diamond will be at its maximum. Cut also refers to the shape of a diamond.

Mining and diamond producing countries.
Extinct volcanoes, riverbeds and sandy coastal areas are combed exhaustively. In order to extract a single carat, or 0,2 grams of diamond, an average of 250 tons of rock, sand and ground has to be moved. This is what is meant by a rare find.

The only supplier of diamond until the 18th Century was India. In 1730 the first diamonds were discovered in Brazil, which meant an expansion of the market. During the second half of the 19th Century, the first diamonds in South Africa were found. The largest producers today are Botswana, Russia and Canada.

Conflict diamonds and the Kimberley Process.
Conflict diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

99,8% of all diamonds mined, manufactured and sold are conflict free, but even one diamond supporting conflict is one too many.

The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is part of the industry’s best practice requirements and has already had a significant effect in reducing the trade in conflict diamonds from 4% to less than 0,2%

The Kimberley Process was instigated in 2003 to help the trade in conflict diamonds. Supported by the industry, mandated by the UN and internationally agreed by Governments, it aims to protect consumer confidence in each of our businesses.

The Kimberley Process ensures that rough diamonds are:
– Exported and imported with a government-validated Kimberley Process certificate stating the diamonds are conflict-free.
– Transported between signatory countries in a sealed and tamper-proof container.
– Sold with a statement from the seller on all invoices guaranteeing that the diamonds being sold are conflict-free.

DTC Sightholders are committed to giving you the confidence that every diamond we sell is backed up with the highest possible integrity, and contractually obliged to commit to the DTC Diamond Best Practice Principles, which are:

For:

Diamonds from legitimate sources
Highest industry ethics
Compliance with local and international Working standards
Fair treatment and dignity of individuals
Full disclosure of simulants, Synthetics and treated diamonds
Environmental best practice.

Against:

conflict diamonds
child labour
unsafe practices and illegal conduct
practices that harm the health and Welfare of the individual
misrepresentation

Remember the good that diamonds do:

The diamond industry around the world directly employs around ten million people and contributes a great deal to the societies and communities where it operates.

“The diamond industry is vital to the Southern African economy.” Nelson Mandela.

Karen Høgskilde

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: