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Diamonds are drops of eternity, some older than the stars in the sky. No two diamonds are the same and each stone has a unique story. These beautiful jewels, once believed to be magical talismans, were formed billions of years ago, close to the earth’s core under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. First unearthed in India, diamonds quickly became coveted commodities. To the ancient Hindus, they offered protection against evil, disease, and theft. In other cultures, emperors wore diamonds on the battlefield to ensure their glorious victories, while queens and concubines desired them as tokens of power. The Greeks saw diamonds as teardrops of the gods. The Romans thought the sparkly objects had splintered from the constellations.

Today, these precious gems are universally recognized as symbols of romance, commitment, undying love, wealth and exclusivity, (King Louis IX of France once pronounced that only persons of royal lineage could wear them) but few know the secrets behind choosing the perfect diamond. Before you go shopping for one, be sure to check out Fashionlines’ guide to the world of ice.


There are four keys ("4Cs") to selecting the perfect diamond: (C)ut, (C)arat, (C)olor, and (C)larity. According to De Beers (which is the single largest source of diamonds in the world), the 4Cs are used to clarify the rarity of diamonds. As it turns out, “diamonds with the combination of the highest 4C ratings are rarer, and consequently, more expensive.” People often speculate as to which one of these criteria is more important than the rest. The answer is none. The customer's budget, reason for buying and preferred setting combine to determine the most appropriate 4C combination(s) under those circumstances.

A beautifully executed cut will bring out the natural fire burning within the diamond. The light entering the stone will bounce off the facets, eventually bursting out as radiant luster. When comparing different pieces, hold them to the light and watch how the light dances inside the gem. The right diamond must reflect the colors of the rainbow. When choosing a jewel look at various cuts like, emerald, round, oval, princess, and marquis, and try to pick one that shines with natural luminosity.

Many mistakenly believe that the word carat refers to a gemstone’s dimensions. To the contrary, carat is a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Since sizable stones are rare in nature, they are also expensive. For example, a two-carat diamond is always more costly than two one-carat diamonds of comparable cut, color, and clarity. Depending on its cut, a sparkler can look larger or smaller than its mass, so make sure to consider multiple variables before making a purchase.

Diamonds come in a rainbow of colors (ranging from pink to amber), but the white ones are by far the most popular. In the category of white diamonds, there are approximately 20 different shades of color, categorized alphabetically between the letters D and Z -- in descending order of desirability. Though discriminating the subtle differences between these classifications without a magnifier is exceptionally difficult, color certainly plays into the gem’s overall glow.

Though diamonds are icons of perfection, stones are rarely flawless. Small imperfections, caused by minute minerals trapped inside, significantly reduce the value of a gem. These flaws are often invisible to the naked eye, so before saying ‘I do’ ask your jeweler about the clarity of the stone you are considering. When doing so, remember that FI/IF denotes an immaculate formation, while the VVS1 and VVS2 stamps indicate the existence of microscopic spots. Following these classifications are (in descending order of cachet), VS1-VS2, SI1-SI2, and I1-I2-I3.

The price of a diamond is determined by a complex equation with 4 variables, but ultimately the value of a jewel that was created by God to outlast Father Time can not be measured by a mere price tag. Like the individual wearing it, each diamond has a unique character, story and destiny, so carry it proudly.

Remember, if a diamond is forever, then forever is a diamond.




The Spoonmaker’s Diamond:

Located at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, the pear shaped Spoonmaker’s Diamond weighs a whopping 86 carats. According to the official records, the pride of the imperial treasury was accidentally discovered in a dumpster in its uncut form. The poor vagrant who made this stunning discovery bartered his find to a spoonmaker for three wooden spoons (hence the name). Later acquired by a jeweler, the diamond was cut and polished. Finally revealed in all its beauty, the fame of the dazzling gem quickly spread within the impenetrable walls of the capital, eventually reaching the Grand Vizier, Koprulu Ahmet Pasha. The Vizier informed Sultan Mehmed IV of the astounding treasure, who decreed its immediate acquisition.



Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s infamous love affair may not have lasted forever, but the legend of the 69-carat dazzler he gave her probably will. Cut from its original size of 244 carats by famed jeweler Harry Winston, the spectacular piece was first bought by the house of Cartier. On the day following the diamond’s initial acquisition, film star Burton dropped an undisclosed sum to bring the diamond home to his violet-eyed beloved. Ten years later, after the iconic duo’s marriage fell apart (for the second time) Elizabeth auctioned off the Taylor-Burton. As it would have happened in a movie, the gorgeous heroin donated the robust proceeds of the sale to a hospital in Botswana.

The Hope Diamond:

Never has a diamond left such ruin in its path as the Hope Diamond. The beheading of Mary Antoinette at the guillotine marked the beginning of this sapphire-blue sparkler’s murky fate. Later, a number of individuals who had come into contact with the cursed stone met terrible fates like untimely death, murder, and suicide. Perhaps one of the best known owners of the Hope, Mrs. Evelyn Walsh (who was convinced that the bad luck of the gem had a reverse effect on her) suffered through the early deaths of her brother, son, and daughter. In light of the dubious powers of the bauble, Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., where its deadly beauty has since been contained.


“He who owns the Koh-i-Noor (mountain of light) rules the world.” As the prophecy would suggest, the struggle for the Koh-i-Noor was unprecedented. Great men aching for even greater power yearned to possess this spellbinding diamond. First owned by the Rajah of Malwa, the stone changed hands (or should we say heads) when Nadir Shah invaded India. According to a popular myth, Nadir Shah was informed that the Rajah kept his prized possession hidden in his turban. Armed with this knowledge, Nadir Shah suggested to his defeated rival that they exchange headgear as a customary sign of mutual respect. Unable to refuse this peace offer, the Rajah surrendered his 186-carat dazzler. Immediately thereafter, the Shah took the precious treasure back to Persia, where the Koh-i-Noor remained until the British Empire annexed Punjab in 1949.





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