Facts About Diamonds

The word alone conjures up a thousand images: rare, precious, desirable, beautiful, sparkling tokens of love. Created deep within the core of the earth more than 3 billion years ago and brought to the surface by volcanic eruption, most of the diamonds sparkling on fingers today are more than 100 million years old!

History of Diamonds

Even before these magnificent creations of nature were mined in profusion toward the end of the 19th century, they were a source of fascination and value to early man. The Romans thought diamonds were splinters from falling stars while the Greeks regarded the sparkling gems as tears of the gods. It is a derivation of the Greek word "Adamas," meaning unconquerable, that gave the diamond its name.

Rare and fascinating, mysterious and magical, the diamond has ignited fires of war and romantic passion throughout history. The diamond claimed its place as the primary token of love toward the end of the 15th century when Austrian Archduke Maximilian gave the first diamond engagement ring to his betrothed. It was placed on the fourth finger of her left hand because that finger was believed to course with the vein of love that passed directly to the heart. Five centuries later, the diamond remains one of the most luxurious and desirable gifts for any romantic and celebratory occasion, a gem whose purity and brilliance symbolizes lasting love.

What Makes a Diamond Special?

  • Beauty
    The colorless beauty and inner fire of the diamond has made this precious gem prized for centuries. Each stone's complex characteristics cannot be duplicated and no two diamonds can ever be the same. Each stone, like its owner, is endowed with a personality and character uniquely its own.
  • Durability
    A diamond is one of the hardest substances known to man, making it resistant to scratching and deterioration. When cared for properly, diamond jewelry can be worn every day and passed on as a heirloom to for many generations.
  • Purity
    Although new resources for diamonds are being explored and discovered, the supply of these gems remains limited. This is understandable once you learn that more than 250 tons of ore need to be blasted, crushed and processed to yield just one carat of rough diamond. Further, only 20 percent of all rough diamonds are suitable for gem cutting.
  • Enduring Value
    Like many precious products, diamond prices fluctuate. But it is important to know that these sparkling gemstones still retain value after years of being worn and enjoyed.

Diamond Value - 6Cs

There are six factors that determine the value of a diamond, collectively known here at Snyder Jewelers as the 6Cs. The combination of the 6Cs determines each diamond's value. Master these important facts and you are prepared to make your purchase.

  • Carat
    This word for the measurement of a diamond's weight is derived from the carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams and there are 142 carats to an ounce. Carats are further divided into points. There are 100 points in a carat. A half-carat diamond may be referred to as a 50-point stone (about 100 milligrams). Because large diamonds are rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.
  • Color
    Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, but the most popular gems are white. Truly colorless, icy-white diamonds are extremely rare and therefore the most costly. Stones are graded by color and given designations dependent on how far they deviate from the purest white. Colorless stones are graded D. Color grading continues down through the alphabet, with each letter designating a yellower tint. The best way to see the true color of a diamond is by looking at it against a white surface. Although the great majority of diamonds come in shades of white, the gems also come in a spectrum of majestic colors, from red and canary yellow to blue, green and brown. These colorful diamonds, known as fancies, are valued for their depth of color, just as white diamonds are valued for their lack of color.
  • Clarity
    A diamond's clarity is affected by any external irregularities and internal imperfections created by nature when the diamond was formed. Imperfections such as spots, bubbles or lines are called inclusions. Although these marks make each stone unique, the fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the stone. Inclusions can interfere with the passage of light through the stone, diminishing the sparkle and value of the diamond. According to the quality analysis system of the Gemological Institute of America, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from flawless (FL or IF) to imperfect (I). To be graded flawless, a diamond must have no inclusions visible to a trained eye under a 10x magnification in good light.
  • Cut
    Each diamond is cut according to an exact mathematical formula. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed to yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer. This reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond. A poorly-cut diamond will actually loose light and appear dull. The widest circumference of a diamond is known as the girdle. Above the girdle of a brilliant cut diamond are 32 facets plus the table, the largest and the topmost facet. Below the girdle are 24 facets plus the cutlet, or point. Cut is also used to describe the shape of a diamond. In addition to the round brilliant, other popular cuts include emerald, marquis, pear, oval and square.
  •  Confidence
    We will keep you within the price range you are Comfortable with. We will never try to "sell you up." At Snyder Jewelers we buy direct from some of the largest diamond cutters in the world. We are and always have been committed to “Truth in Pricing.”  You will not be given unrealistic high prices to start with and then have to dicker to get the price down. We will price it fairly to start with!  No Games!!!  Our customers often tell us that our regular prices are generally below the competitions sale prices at 30 to 50% off.  You can buy with the Confidence that you have made a wise, educated decision. 
  • Craftsmanship
    Our number one concern when purchasing or producing our jewelry is Quality! This is the "Sixth C", because no one wears a diamond without a mounting of some kind. Our wedding bands are die struck (a process that makes the rings from a solid sheet of metal which insures the highest quality.) The manufacturers that Snyder Jewelers uses are recognized as the finest in the industry. We also custom design, repair, restore and manufacture jewelry in our store. Our goldsmiths and master jewelers are experts with a minimum of 30 years experience. All of this is to provide you with the finest quality and craftsmanship possible.

Where Can I Buy a Diamond?

Because expertise in the grading, selection and sale of diamonds takes years of training, always buy a diamond from a retailer you can trust. Snyder Jewelers is a professional jeweler that is established in the community and has an excellent reputation for integrity and service. Our customers are our Friends, neighbors, Church families, fellow Rotarians, etc.  At Snyder’s we do not believe in “selling”, our philosophy is to assist our friends and neighbors in making the best choice possible for them! Let us show you a selection of diamonds, we will explain the subtle differences in grade and value. Use our knowledge and expertise to guide you in choosing the perfect diamond for a lifetime of wearing pleasure.

Ask if the diamond you are purchasing has been treated or altered in any way. Diamonds can be colored, tinted, coated, irradiated or heated to improve their appearance. Inclusions are sometimes removed with lasers and fractures filled with a plastic-like compound. Some of these procedures are not permanent. For example, the epoxies used in fracture-filled diamonds can melt away if the stone is heated. As a professional and trustworthy jeweler, we will let you know if a diamond's natural appearance has been altered.

We are a member of the Jewelers of America, the national association for retail jewelers. We will not only help you with this purchase but we will be there in the future to answer your questions and help you with your purchases, repairs, and custom design.

Unique Diamond Facts

The diamond acquired its unique status as the ultimate gift of love as far back as the fifteenth century. It was said that Cupid's arrows were tipped with diamonds, which had a magic that nothing else could equal.

Through the centuries, rings have perpetuated the talismanic role of the diamond. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, every ring that was set with a precious stone was not so much a piece of jewelry, but an amulet that conveyed the magic powers of the stone upon the wearer.

Centuries ago, it was also believed that diamonds protected from harm and actually brought luck and success to the wearer, counteracting the effects of unfortunate astrological events and endowing the wearer with charm and the ability to attract others. Plato wrote about diamonds as living beings, embodying celestial spirits.

Monarchs competed with one another for the possession of renowned gems, using them as instruments of diplomacy. They wore them as symbols of status by sewing them into clothing or used them as a sign of power, by decorating their swords and scabbards.

As the diamond is considered an awe-inspiring "symbol" in our culture, it was equally wondrous in ancient times. Though what we know about diamonds belongs more to legend than to fact, the tales exemplify the power of the diamond. In India, they were sometimes set in the eyes of Hindu statues.

Diamonds were first mined in India over 4,000 years ago, and the modern mining industry began with discoveries in South Africa in the late 19th century. Today, the top seven diamond producing countries, accounting for 80 percent of the world's rough diamond supply, are Botswana, Russia, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Australia and Zaire. Diamonds are also mined in Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Central African Republic, Tanzania, China, Indonesia and India. Diamonds are cut in many countries, but the major cutting centers are in New York, Antwerp, Tel Aviv and Bombay.

What many people don't know about diamonds is that they were formed under immense heat and pressure hundreds of miles below sea level. After 100 million years of formation, volcanic explosions forced them upwards exposing their natural beauty to the world.

Diamond Terms You Should Know

Just like the infinite range of diamond qualities and colors, there are many different shapes and setting techniques offered by today's designers. Here is a mini-glossary of the most important ones.

  • Baguette
    This refers to a rectangular-shaped small diamond that is often used to enhance the setting of a larger stone.
  • Bezel setting
    A diamond is completely surrounded by a precious metal border in this setting technique that resembles a picture frame.
  • Channel setting
    Popular for mounting rows of small, uniformly-sized stones, this setting technique uses two strips of metal to hold the stones at the sides. Used for round, baguette and square-cut stones, the channel setting resembles a railroad track with the diamonds in the center.
  • Fancy cut
    A diamond cut in any shape other than round. Fancy cuts include such shapes as baguette, emerald, triangle, pear, princess, oval and marquis.
  • Pavé setting
    A setting technique for small diamonds in which the stones are set so closely together that no metal shows. A pavé surface appears to be paved with diamonds.
  • Solitaire
    The mounting of a single gemstone.
  • Tiffany setting
    A four or six prong setting using long, slender prongs to hold the stone.

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