Do you know that there are how many types of diamonds, and their individual characteristics? Well, not all diamonds are created equal, but when most people think about diamond differences, they only consider the 4C’s –cut, clarity, carat, color. For most of us, it’s a perfectly flawless, sparkling beautiful, and colorless stone glittering nicely in the light like nothing comparable on earth. This common perception is quite accurate – for one type of diamond. This incredibly amazing stone can vary greatly in its clarity, color, and carat, as well as shape. And, when cut, it can also have a variety of qualities imparted to it.
These important commercial terms obviously impact how it looks in the end product: either a diamond ring, pair of earrings, bracelet, or necklace that you’ve got your eyes on. Before you go shopping for diamonds, it’s best to get to know them a little better.
But the diamond classification system separates diamonds on their physical and chemical properties, as well as by evaluating the atomic makeup of diamonds. Only 20% of diamonds are used as gemstones to set diamond jewellery!
Okay, now you know what you need to know about the technical stuff, onto how most shoppers will classify different types of diamonds.
Most people in the market for diamonds will classify them according to the following basic names (or variations of them):
That’s fine from a standard buyer’s perspective.
However, those in the diamond business don’t talk about “types of diamonds” in these terms. When they classify diamonds, they do so on the basis of their physical and chemical attributes. This helps them assess how a diamond was formed, its authenticity, and whether it has been treated.
Type Ia diamonds: because nitrogen gathers in clusters in these stones, they have a yellowish tinge. This category has sub-sections based on the nature of the nitrogen aggregations. This is the most common type of diamond.
Type IIa diamonds: these diamonds have no nitrogen impurities and differing fluorescent properties. They often have strange shapes because of the high pressures they were formed under. They are the rarest and most valuable diamonds because of their amazing sparkle.
Type Ib diamonds: these are also quite rare and their main feature is that individual nitrogen atoms are scattered throughout the stone (rather than in clusters). This produces an intense yellow, orange, or brown color, in general.
Type IIb diamonds: another rare type of diamond with no nitrogen atoms. They do, however, contain boron in addition to its main carbon content. This means they conduct electricity and have a bluish or blue-gray tinge.
Read any write-up on diamonds and you are likely to come across the term 4Cs. What are 4Cs and how are they different from gemstone types? Most people think that the type of a diamond depends on its cut, colour, clarity, or carats. These features that make up the 4Cs are qualities of diamond grading. They are not the types of diamonds.
Round, cushion, emerald, princess, baguette, oval, marquise, trillion, etc. are some of the popular cuts used for shaping a diamond. Based on the colour, diamonds are graded alphabetically such as D – F (totally colourless), G – J (near colourless), K – M (with slight tints), N – R (very light yellow), and S – Z (very light yellow or brown). Similarly, these gems can be divided into different clarity grades such as FL (completely flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (very very slightly included), and VS1 and VS2. Stones of lower clarity come under the grades SI1, SI1, I1, I2, and I3.
As a buyer, collector, or investor, taking your diamond knowledge to the next level only has advantages. Knowing the different types gives you an upper hand to make informed choices. Being aware of both the physical and the chemical properties underlying their classification will help you invest in the right stones. Click here to know more on 4C's