Diamond and Gems
Earth's beautiful creationsCombine the beautiful rocks and minerals formed below the surface of the earth with the stone cutting skill of a craftsman and you end up with a stunningly beautiful gem. And they can make a piece of jewellery glow just that little bit more by adding colour, fire and sparkle.
DIAMONDSThe world of diamonds can seem a bit of a minefield and quite overwhelming, particularly when looking at the various qualities. We've put together a concise overview about the 4C's (Cut, Clarity, Carat, Colour), certification and ethics in our Benchmark Standards that will hopefully clarify things for you. However do get in touch if you’re still a little unsure, we love talking about diamonds!
Here we are looking at the cuts and various shapes of diamonds:
CutsThe cut of a diamond refers to the angles and proportions of the stone and not the shape, which it can sometimes be confused with. The cuts are designed to make the most of a stone ensuring it has the best reflection of light and sparkle. This brilliance is known as the diamond's ‘fire’. There are many different cuts of stones, and we’ve highlighted a few here:
Brilliant cut: These are intended to maximize the facets in the stone at the ideal angles for internal refraction, resulting in the brightest diamond fire. The standard shape for brilliant cut diamonds is the classic round, which is the most common shape.
0.50ct round Brilliant Cut
From Westely to Sarah, platinum engagement ring
0.50ct round Brilliant Cut, pavé set diamonds
From Nael to Lucy, platinum engagement ring
Step cut: These are simple cuts into the stone that create a series of steps along its surface. This is mostly used with square and rectangular shaped stones, and while they do not sparkle as much they have a clean, elongated elegance about them.
Old cuts: When looking at Old cut diamonds, there’s almost a need for a 5th C for Character. Old cuts tend to be Cushion in shape, with more depth of character as they were cut by hand and everyone is individual. Now a days, the machinery and technology used means the cut of diamonds are perfect and uniform, with maximum sparkle, but maybe less individuality and character.
1ct Old Cut diamond, pavé set cognac diamonds
From Tim to Emma, 18ct yellow gold engagement ring
Rose Cut diamonds, various colours and sizes
Stacking rings, 18ct yellow gold
Rose cuts: These diamonds have flat bottoms and a domed faceted top. The most common shapes are cushion, oval, and pear shapes. The earliest versions were thin slivers with three, triangular-shaped facets. Over the years the number of facets increased to 24. Later versions featured a second tier of facets that culminated in a peak on the domed top, which added more sparkle.
Industrial diamonds: This isn’t strictly a cut, and to put it crudely these are diamonds that in the conventional sense haven’t ‘made the grade’. However we think they have an untouched unique gem quality which celebrates the beauty of things imperfect.
Industrial diamonds, various shapes and colours
From Joe to Victoria, 18ct yellow gold engagement ring
Various shapes and colours
ColoursMost people are aware that diamonds are ‘white’ in colour, with different grades of white - The whiter the diamond the higher the value.
There are also coloured diamonds. Some are heat treated in order to create the colour as natural coloured diamonds are rare and also of higher value. The more intense the colour, the rarer and higher the price. The most intense coloured diamonds are described as ‘Intense Fancy’ Most common natural colours are Pink, Yellow, Green and Browns. Red and blue are incredibly rare.
1ct Fancy Intense natural yellow diamond, pavé set diamonds, two step cut baguette diamonds
From Travis to Briana, Platinum Engagement ring
1ct Golden Brown centre diamond, pavé set natural Cognac diamonds
Reminiscence collection, 18ct yellow gold
ShapesThe most popular shape is Round Brilliant, which is the most widely available in different sizes and grades. There are many other beautiful shapes to explore; some may be of a higher value because they are less common and not so readily available.
1ct Cushion shape diamond, pave set smaller diamonds
From Sam to Carissa, platinum engagement ring
1ct Marquise shape diamond, pave set smaller diamonds
From Will to Kristina, platinum engagement ring
Variety of shapes
From left to right: Round, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Trillion, Cushion, Square Step cut, Square Princess cut, Square radiant cut, Square Emerald cut, Emerald Step cut, Emerald Radiant cut.
COLOURED GEMSThere are an unbelievable number of different types of semi precious and precious gemstones, as well as synthetic stones. There are an array of colours, shapes and sizes, too many to list here, however if you are looking for inspiration for a piece of jewellery visit Birthdays and Anniversaries page for details on birthstones, and stones that traditionally commemorate wedding anniversaries.
Precious or SyntheticPrecious: The most common coloured gems considered to be precious are coloured diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. It is often believed that diamonds are the most expensive of gemstones, however there are a few stones such as a high quality Ruby or Tanzanite which can in fact be more expensive than a diamond.
Semi precious: There are many semi-precious stone, some of the more familiar ones include, Amethyst, Garnets, Topaz, Aquamarine, Citrine, Peridot, Tourmaline etc.. These tend to be viewed as a lower value than precious stones, but in actual fact some semi-precious stones can be of a much higher value than precious if it is a particularly intense colour with high clarity and of a substantial size. For example, a Tsavorite green garnet could be more valuable than a mid-quality sapphire.
Amethist and orange garnet
Amethyst and diamond
Synthetic: A synthetic gem is a man-made material with essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure and optical and physical properties as the natural gem material. But they are the product of the laboratory, not nature.
For example, the composition and structure of a laboratory-grown synthetic ruby, is essentially the same as a natural ruby. The only identifying characteristics that differentiate the two are the natural inclusions and growth patterns you wouldn’t find in a lab-grown ruby.
DurabilityWhether semi precious or precious, there are soft and hard stones. Some are not as suitable for some types of jewellery such as engagement rings. These are vulnerable to knocks and worn everyday. Ones to be particularly aware of are: Emeralds, Opals, Pearls and Tanzanite. You may want to avoid them or we will advise on a suitable setting that will help to protect them.
QualityAs with diamonds there are different quality of coloured gems stones. Some can even be of a higher value than diamonds. The natural intensity of the colour, the clarity and size will have a bearing on the price and desirability.
Enhancements to natureAs with diamonds, some coloured gemstones stones are heat treated to enhance their colour. Beautiful intense natural coloured stones are rarer and therefore of a higher value.
Stones such as Emerald have natural flaws or inclusions that are visible, which form part of the natural structure and character of the stone. It is rare to find an emerald that doesn’t contain fissures. Sometimes the stones are ‘oiled’ to ‘remove’ these inclusions to give the appearance of a clearer stone.
This is a very brief overview but we hope it has been informative and removed some misconceptions. There is of course much more to tell you, so if you have any questions please get in touch.