The Four Characteristics of Diamond


Why Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

Diamonds were first discovered in the Galcond region of India around 600BC. From the very first man was fascinated by the hardest of all known Gemstones (Diamond is 7 times harder than Sapphire, the second hardest Gemstone). The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars that had fallen to Earth. The very word "Diamond" comes from the Greek word "Adamas" meaning unconquerable. In the early days Diamonds were worn by men as a symbol of great strength, courage and invincibility. It wasn't until 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a Diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy that the tradition of Diamond engagement rings was born. The lady wears the ring on the third finger of the left hand due to the ancient Egyptian belief that the vein of love ran from the heart to the top of the third finger. Diamonds are also being used in many modern wedding and eternity rings.

Diamonds, the most fascinating of all gem stones, were formed millions of years ago deep inside the Earth's crust under great heat and pressure. They are the hardest natural substances known to man. Although two diamonds may be of equal size they may be of two very different values. There are 4 characteristics that determine a diamond's beauty and value. They are: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat weight.

The weight of a diamond is measured in Carats. One Carat is divided into 100 points, so for example a diamond of 0.50 Carats is 50 points.


Diamonds come in a range of natural colours from totally colourless, which are very rare and very valuable, to light yellow with various colour shadings in between. Diamonds also occur in 'fancy' colours such as pink, blue and green which are extremely rare and command a high price.

FL/IL = Flawless/internally flawless
VVS = Very, very small inclusions
VS = Very small inclusions
SI = Small inclusions
I = Inclusions

Most diamonds contain tiny inclusions that make each diamond unique. These inclusions maybe other minerals that have been trapped in the crystallisation process or they might be bits of carbon that haven't fully crystallised. Even though inclusions neither mar the diamond's beauty nor endanger its durability the fewer and smaller they are the more the diamond will sparkle and the more valuable it is likely to be.

Of all the four characteristics that determine a diamond's value, cut is the one most directly influenced by man. When cut to perfect proportions a diamond is better able to handle light, creating more brilliance and sparkle to the naked eye and consequently commanding a higher value. Diamonds are cut into many shapes, the most popular of which are round brilliant, princess, heart, marquise, pear, emerald and oval.