About Diamonds, the Mineral and Its Cut
Qualities of the Mineral - Diamond
The diamond is the ultimate gemstone, possessing few weaknesses and many strengths.
It is well known that the diamond is the hardest substance found in nature, and it is four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby).
But even as hard as it is, it is not impervious to damage.
Diamonds have four directions of cleavage, meaning that if they receive a sharp blow in one of these directions they will cleave, or split.
A skilled diamond setter or jeweler will prevent any of these directions from being in a vulnerable position that could be struck once the diamond is mounted in a ring.
As a gemstone, a diamond's single flaw (perfect cleavage) is far outweighed by the sum of its positive qualities.
It has a broad color range, high refraction, high dispersion or fire, very low reactivity to chemicals, rarity, and is extremely hard and durable.
In terms of physical properties, a diamond is the ultimate in several ways:
The diamond is a perfect "10", defining the peak of the hardness scale.
Clarity: Diamonds are transparent over a larger range of wavelengths (from the ultraviolet into the far infrared) than any other substance
Diamonds conduct heat better than any element (five times better than the second best element, Silver)
Diamonds have the highest melting point (3820 degrees Kelvin)
The atoms of diamonds are packed closer together than atoms of any other substance
The Cut Diamond
In order to maximize the refraction of light in a diamond, many measurements and calculations must be performed for its cut.
Facets must be cut at exactly the right angles relative to one another; the top and bottom halves of the stone must have the proper depth relative to each other; the table, or flat surface on the top, must be the correct size, relative to the overall size of the stone.
The facets on the top (crown) and bottom (pavilion) must align correctly with each other.
The narrow rim of a diamond that separates the crown from the pavilion, the girdle is the largest diameter of any part of the stone.
Upper portion of a cut stone, above the girdle
Lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle
Width of the diamond as measured through the girdle
Large, flat top facet of a diamond
Tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the pavilion
Height of a tone, from the culet to the table.
Before choosing your diamond, the "four Cs" of diamonds – Clarity, Color,
Carat and Cut need to be understood. And keep in mind the fifth "C" - the all-important Certificate.
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