They are infamous. Ethereal. Controversial. They have started wars and sealed epic, sweeping romances. They star in Hollywood movies; they inspire elaborate heists. And according to some sources, they are a girl’s best friend.
I’m talking, of course, about diamonds.
But why, oh why, are diamonds so valuable? What makes us drool over their hypnotic shine? What sets one diamond apart from the rest, and relegates others to a middle market jeweler?
It all comes down to the four C’s: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.
Let me break it down.
This is how the diamond has been shaped – hewn from a lump of rock to something which traps and emanates light. The more precise and calculated the cut, the more the diamond sparkles.
Which, you know, is kind of the point. No one wants a dull diamond on their finger.
Almost all diamonds have flaws, from external blemishes to something called inclusions. An inclusion is essentially something trapped inside the diamond, for example, tiny fragments of another mineral. Too many impurities and the diamond can change color or lose clarity. Maybe still pretty but not the knock-out diamonds we know and love.
Diamonds range in color from clear to yellow to light brown. I don’t have to tell you which is the more attractive end of that spectrum. In fact, truly colorless diamonds are incredibly rare.
Red, pink, and blue diamonds, meanwhile, are known as ‘fancy’. They are graded on a different system to the classic clear sparklers.
Just how heavy is that diamond? One carat is 1/5 of a gram and is divided into 100 points. The heavier the diamond, the better, with the ultimate dream being the need to weight-train to wear your jewels.
Obviously, perfection is the ideal: a flawless, beautifully cut, clear, heavy diamond. I’m sure you can guess how rare and expensive those are.
Still, for the judicious looking for a diamond which you don’t need to steal from a vault, there are other options. VVS diamonds, for example, represent the grade right below flawless. They look and feel completely flawless, with only the barest imperfections which can only be seen with the help of a microscope. VVS stands for ‘Very, Very Slightly’ included, which I guess is gemologists’ way of saying 99.99% perfect.
They’re still expensive, obviously. Again: kind of the point of diamonds. What else do you expect for the universal symbol of wealth and high value? And you won’t find VVS diamonds by wandering into any old jewelry shop. You’ll need to do your research on the finest stores, find a trusted online or in-person retailer, and for extra reassurance make sure to insist on a lab report from the American Gem Society.
After all, diamonds are forever. Isn’t that how the saying goes?