Special Diamonds

Special Diamonds

All diamonds are precious and one-of-a-kind. Some diamonds are rarer and more special than others. And then there are diamonds that are exceptionally rare, they are called SPECIALS. Let me explain you which characteristics a diamond requires in order to be labeled as a ‘Special’.

There is only 1 category higher ranked than the ‘Specials Diamonds’ in terms of rarity and value: the Famous Diamonds (for example the Hope Diamond, the Millennium Star and the Koh-i-Noor). Those diamonds became known for example because they belonged to a famous person or because they appeared in a century’s old painting. Famous diamonds are ‘hors category’, often incomparable, priceless and unsellable…

The most valuable & crucial parameter to determine which diamonds are exceptional (‘special’) is the weight of a diamond, expressed in carat.

One carat equals to 0.2 gram. The word "carat" comes from the "carob" seed, the original unit of measure for diamond traders. As the carat of a diamond increases, the diamond's price increases at an exponential rate because the rarity goes up like this. Fewer than one in one million mined rough diamonds are large enough to produce a polished 1 carat diamond.

So, as carat weight increases, diamonds become more exceptional and special. To give an example: the price of a 3.00 ct diamond with G colour, VS2 clarity and VG cut, is currently the eightfold of a 1.00 ct diamond with the same characteristics. Carat can therefore be seen as one of the key parameters to define a ‘special’ diamond.

Sometimes, diamond sizes can have a cultural connotation. For example, in China, the number 8 is considered as a lucky number that will bring fortune. An engagement ring with a diamond carat weight of 8,88 is therefore considered as ‘luck for the rest of your life’.

But it’s not only size that matters…also a fancy red pear shaped diamond of only 2ct can be considered as a unique gemstone. In order of (debatable) importance: the colour, clarity, cut and shape also contribute to the overall value.

Colour is probably the most important factor after size. There are two categories of diamond colours that one can distinguish. The first one is the colourless diamonds (a) and secondly there are fancy coloured diamonds (b).

(a The colour of colourless diamonds can go from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). Less than 1% of the diamonds are colourless, which make them very rare.  As one would predict, a truly colourless stone will carry a premium price.

 (b) Besides colourless diamonds, there are also ‘fancy colours’ of which the colour shade can vary from faint to intense. Natural fancy diamonds are very exclusive and rare, even rarer than colourless diamonds. A true natural colour diamond has been gifted to us by nature and can be found in a variety of colours, from pink to yellow to brown and even red. Fancy coloured diamonds are only to be found in very limited areas. The cause for the colour in coloured diamonds varies from colour to colour. For instance, yellow diamonds owe their cheerful hue to the presence of nitrogen. Blue diamonds, on the other hand, contain boron, which causes a blue colour. The cause of pink and red diamonds' remarkable colour is unknown for certain, though speculations state that they are variations of the result of fractures in the crystal lattice. The rarer the colour, and the more intensely the colour shows, the higher the value. Yellow and brown diamonds are most commonly found, while red, blue, and green diamonds are among the rarest of all fancy colours. Similarly, diamonds with lighter colour intensity levels such as faint, very light, light, fancy light, and fancy are more common than diamonds with the richer intensities of  fancy intense, fancy vivid, and fancy deep, and thus less in value.

Clarity – As diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). Clarity grading goes from LC (loupe clean) or IF (internally flawless) to I3 (included). The higher graded on the clarity scale, the more precious and special, and the higher the price. Diamonds become increasingly rare when considering higher clarity gradings. Only about 20% of all diamonds mined have a clarity rating high enough for the diamond to be considered appropriate for use as a gemstone; the other 80% are relegated to industrial use. Of that top 20%, a significant portion contains an inclusion or inclusions that are visible to the naked eye upon close inspection. Those that do not have a visible inclusion when the gem is examined approximately 6 inches from the naked eye are known as "eye-clean", although visible inclusions can sometimes be hidden under the setting in a piece of jewellery. The most expensive gem diamonds fall within the VS and SI grades with FL, IF, and even VVS stones commanding significant premiums. FL and IF stones are sometimes referred to as "museum quality" or "investment grade" to denote their rarity.

Cut – A perfect cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. Cut grading can go from fair to excellent. A triple excellent cut diamond that scores the highest grade possible on cut, polish and symmetry, can be considered as an ‘ideal cut diamond’.

Shape – The most common diamond shape is the round diamond. Besides the round diamonds, there are also other shapes possible. These are referred to as ‘fancy cuts’:

  • The cushion cut, for example, is also known as the ‘pillow-cut’ and has rounded corners and larger facets to increase the brilliance.
  • A heart shaped diamond is the symbol for love.
  • The pear-cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end.
  • The emerald cut has a special pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance.

A combination of above mentioned factors defines the value of a diamond. A 10ct round diamond with D colour, IF clarity and 3EX cut can be seen as SPECIAL for example due to its rareness and exceptional beauty. Because of the size, the perfect white colour and the lack of impurities these diamonds will be very wanted.

But also a matching couple of diamonds can be very exceptional since the rarity plays even more if you need 2 identic diamonds for example to use in earrings.

As you understand it’s not exact science. And last but not least, it is the end consumer/buyer who determines the demand and the price which can be extracted from these “Special Diamonds”.

BAUNAT: a reference for special diamonds

BAUNAT is part of a very selective group of diamantairs that have direct access to these special collector items. Partly via its shareholders, some of them more than 100 years in the diamond trading business, partly because of its worldwide network in the diamond trade…

Because of this ability to purchase these diamonds at the very source, BAUNAT is able to offer these one-of-a-kind special diamonds to her customers worldwide.

Please contact our experts via info@baunat.com for more information.

Author: Steven Boelens

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