As your local Ottawa based Diamond Experts, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about diamonds so you can confidently “add to cart,” or better yet, meet with us in store to start your own diamond journey!
Keep scrolling to learn all about diamonds!
What is a Diamond?
There’s so much talk about diamonds, sometimes we forget to start with the basics! Diamonds are among nature’s most precious and beautiful creations, most formed more than a billion years ago, deep in the earth's mantle.
Diamond forms under high temperature and pressure conditions that exist only about 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface. Diamond’s carbon atoms are bonded in essentially the same way in all directions. Another mineral, graphite, also contains only carbon, but its formation process and crystal structure are very different. Graphite is so soft that you can write with it, while diamond is so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond!
Aside from natural earth mined diamonds, it is common for people to explore fancy coloured and lab created diamonds.
Large, vivid, fancy colour diamonds are extremely rare and valuable. The most famous of these gems have made headlines around the world by fetching astronomical prices at auction. This can lead one to believe that fancy colour diamonds are an unattainable market. Luckily, this is far from true, as not all stones command such high prices. This is good news for Ottawa gem lovers who want to discover the astonishing world of fancy colour diamonds - especially those looking for coloured diamond engagement rings!
Only 1 in every 10,000 diamonds has what is considered to be a “fancy colour.” Typically, a colourless diamond’s value depends on its grading amongst the 4C’s: clarity, colour, cut, and carat weight. When it comes to colourless diamonds in GIA’s D-to-Z colour range, they usually decrease in value as the colour becomes more obvious. However, just the opposite happens with fancy colour diamonds. Their value generally increases with the strength and purity of their colour.
Since fancy colour diamonds come in all colours (and hues!) of the rainbow, there is always one suitable for each individual. To understand the true variety of colours, one should compare the shades available in natural colour diamonds with the palette of a painter - there isn’t a colour that doesn’t exist! Aside from the misconception that diamonds are colourless, people also think of colour diamonds as unaffordable. This may be the case for fancy intense or vivid colour diamonds. However, there are always other options! Pink and blue diamonds, for example, are extremely rare. But by accepting a modifying colour, such as grey mixed in blue diamonds, can make them much more affordable to the general public. Brown and grey diamonds are more common, thus the addition of a secondary tone reduces the price dramatically.
Lab grown diamonds (also known as lab created diamonds, man made diamonds, engineered diamonds, and cultured diamonds) are grown in highly controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop when they form in the mantle, beneath the Earth’s crust. These lab-created diamonds consist of actual carbon atoms arranged in the characteristic diamond crystal structure. Since they are made of the same material as natural diamonds, they exhibit the same optical and chemical properties.
The 4C’s: Diamond Quality Factors
One of the first things most people learn about diamonds is that not all diamonds are created equal. In fact, every diamond is unique. Diamonds come in many sizes, shapes, colours, and with various internal characteristics.
All polished diamonds are valuable. That value is based on a combination of factors. Rarity is one of those factors. Diamonds with certain qualities are more rare - and more valuable - than diamonds that lack them.
Diamond professionals use the grading system developed by GIA in the 1950s, which established the use of four important factors to describe and classify diamonds: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight. These are known as the 4Cs. When used together, they describe the quality of a finished diamond. The value of a finished diamond is based on this combination.
1) Clarity: Clarity grades assess the number, size, relief, and position of inclusions and blemishes.
2) Colour: The less colour, the higher the grade. Even the slightest hint can make a dramatic difference in value.
3) Cut: Cut (proportions, symmetry, and polish) is a measure of how a diamond’s facets interact with light.
4) Carat Weight: Rarity means larger diamonds of the same quality are worth more per carat.
Diamond Shapes: What Diamond Shapes are There?
Diamond shape refers to the geometric appearance of a diamond. Diamond shapes are categorized into two groups: round diamonds and fancy shape diamonds. Round diamonds, also known as round brilliant cuts, are the most traditional diamond shape. Fancy shape diamonds refer to any diamond that is not a round brilliant. Every diamond shape has its own attributes and cut specifications, which also play a large factor in the overall look of the stone.
Purchasing Your Diamond at HOWARD Fine Jewellers
Purchasing a diamond is a significant investment with much to consider. Working with a Diamond Broker can not only make the process easier, but more beneficial for you! For example, most people wouldn’t consider buying a house without using a real estate agent, yet many people don’t realize this same option exists for purchasing a diamond! As diamond dealers with over 50 years of experience, HOWARD specializes in finding the perfect loose diamond for you. With a team of GIA Graduate Gemologists on site, we search worldwide to source your dream diamond. We also carry a curated selection of loose diamonds at our boutique in an assortment of sizes, shapes, and prices.
Why purchase from HOWARD?
By choosing to purchase with HOWARD, you gain access to decades of diamond expertise. Every diamond is unique, and there is more to a diamond’s beauty than what can be calculated with a formula or marked on a grading scale. We work with each client to achieve their vision, searching through thousands of diamonds from around the world to find the perfect stone that shines brightest.
At HOWARD we are Diamond & Coloured Gemstone Brokers! Our on-site gemological laboratory is equipped with a full-time GIA accredited gemologist who sources the best value diamonds and precious gemstones on the international market! It’s our passion to work with you throughout the entire process, ensuring we’ve found options that best meet your requirements and budget.
Eco-Conscious and Lab Grown Diamonds
At HOWARD, we will help you find the perfect diamond that fits your ideals. If you are considering alternatives such as Canadian-mined, Estate, or Lab Grown diamonds, we are happy to discuss any concerns or questions you may have, and explore all of the options to find the right choice for you. As long-time lovers and buyers of estate jewellery, HOWARD has an assortment of loose estate diamonds as well as vintage rings to choose from in our boutique
We are also happy to redesign your family heirlooms, reusing the diamonds to create a beautiful new piece of jewellery with a touch of history, or restoring it to enjoy the piece for another generation.