Earth’s hardest natural stone, the diamond is almost 150 times harder than corundum (ruby and sapphire), which is the second hardest. Diamonds occur naturally in colorless, pink, blue, green, yellow, brown and black tints. Diamond is the birthstone for April, a birthstone for August, and is associated with the astrology sign Aries. It is a modern gift for the 10th, 20th (yellow/golden diamond), 30th, 60th, 70th, and 75th wedding anniversary.
If you’ve shopped around for diamonds, you’ve no doubt heard of the 4 Cs: Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color. These are the major factors by which the value of a diamond is determined. Simply put, the higher the carat weight of the diamond and the better the quality of Cut, Clarity, and Color, the more valuable the diamond is. Ideally cut, flawless, colorless diamonds are extremely rare and expensive, so when you choose a diamond, you will most likely be weighing the factors that are most important to you. If you want your diamond to be as perfect as possible, you may have to go a little smaller. If you want a bigger diamond, it may have more inclusions, a lower color grade, a lesser cut, or a combination of any of these. Below is a table to illustrate the grading system.
|Very Very Slightly Included||G
|Very Slightly Included||K
|Very Light Yellow|
Keep in mind that the clarity of a diamond is determined by what can be seen at 10x magnification. The inclusions (minute spots of non-crystallized carbon, garnet or other gemstones, fractures, irregular crystal growth, etc.) in diamonds with clarity grades up to VS2 cannot be seen with the naked eye, and even a diamond with clarity grade SI1 may still be “eye clean”. Also keep in mind that depending on the color of the metal used for the diamond’s setting, some people might even prefer a faint yellow diamond over a colorless one. Please note: as I mentioned earlier, diamonds occur in a variety of colors – so not all types of diamonds are subject to the “colorless” grade. There are some intensely colored diamonds (the bright yellow ones, for example) that are very valuable.
Always remove your diamond jewelry before swimming, bathing, showering, or doing the dishes. It is also best to take it off while applying body lotions, sunscreens, perfumes, etc. and while working with household chemicals.
Steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are usually ok, though harsh detergents should always be avoided.
To clean, use a tiny bit of bleach-free liquid dish soap on a soft sponge in warm water, or use a water and baking soda solution (1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup of water should do the trick) on a soft sponge. If necessary, brush gently with an old, SOFT toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with water until all traces of soap or baking soda are gone. Air dry, or carefully dry with a soft cloth.