Category Archives: Diamonds 101

A Memorable Year in the World of Diamonds

Want to know all that we were talking about when it comes to diamonds this year?   Take a look at our top 5 most popular blog posts for 2015.

Is the trend of diamond Man-Gagement Rings really going to catch on?

An in-depth look at the fabulous diamonds cut from the famous Cullinan Diamond.

A breakdown of the four diamond types.

A look at the most famous of the rarest of colour diamonds, the red ones.

The most unlikely of the diamond jewelry designers, surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

Diamond Pointers

Sounding like a diamond expert can be a lot easier with a few basic terms.   The 4 C’s, Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat are the basics which we’ve discussed at length in previous blog posts.  But another piece of terminology that diamond pros use are “points” or “pointers”.

hancock

When diamond experts refer to diamonds, they will call it a certain number pointer like “a 50 pointer” or “a 75 pointer”.   This number does not refer to the amount of different flat surfaces (also known as facets) on a diamond.   The number relates to the amount of carats in a diamond.   From a mathematic standpoint, 1 carat equals 100 points.   So if someone calls a diamond a “50 pointer” they are saying the diamond is half a carat.

As discussed previously, the amount of carats does not refer to the size of a diamond, but to the weight of a diamond.   One carat equals 1/142nd of an ounce or 1/5th of a gram.

As discussed previously, carat weight is not the key component of a diamond.   The diamond’s cut has a lot to do with how it sparkles.   The diamond’s color, whether a white diamond or a fancy color diamond relates to it’s beauty.   The diamond’s clarity relates to whether it has any cracks or inclusions within the stone.   It is these four factors combined that dictate a diamond’s true value.

So you may never become a diamantaire with your own personal loupe in your back pocket, but you can at least sound like one.

Record Setting Diamond Tender For Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto celebrated their 30th anniversary with a record-setting diamond tender earlier this month.   Featuring 54 rare pink and red diamonds, sales from the tender were the highest per-carat in the company’s history.

Rio tinto

Leading up to the tender, industry experts were practically salivating as the lots included four Fancy Red diamonds, the most the company has ever offered at once.   In their three-decade long history, they have only had 13 of these Fancy Red gems available at tenders and only three of these rare stones have ever been above 1 carat in size.

argyle cardinal

The clear favourite among the red diamonds was the 1.21-carat radiant-cut Argyle Cardinal.   The heavily bid upon stone was purchased by Glen Bakker Jewels, however, details on the amount of the sale have not been released.

Red diamonds are among the rarest of the colour diamond world.  Red diamonds get their colour from defects in the interior structure of the stone called the crystal lattice.  They are mostly found in the Argyle Mine of Australia and Brazil and make up less than 0.1% of the diamonds recovered around the world.

hancock

The most famous red diamond is arguably the Hancock Red, named after famed color diamond collector Warren Hancock.   Rumour has it that Hancock purchased the stone for $13,500 in 1956.   It was sold at auction by Christie’s in 1987 for $880,000 or a massive $926,000 per carat.   That per carat price was a record for diamonds that lasted for 20 years.

 

 

The Ultra-Rare Purple Diamonds

Purple Rain

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Prince’s seminal album Purple Rain, we decided to look at some purple diamonds.

Among the most rare of all color diamonds, purple diamonds are most commonly thought to be caused by intense pressure put on the stone mixed with the fact that trace amounts of hydrogen were introduced as the diamond was formed millions of years ago.   However, some gemologists believe that since purple is a mix of blue and red, these color diamonds were caused by an introduction of boron within the structure as well as some inherent defects in the crystal lattice structure of the stone.  Purple diamonds are generally found in Australia but there have been instances of purple diamonds found in places such as Russia, South America and North America.

The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is the largest and most famous purple diamond ever recovered in history.   The confirmed facts about the stone are that it is heart-shaped, weighs in at 7.34 carats and has a clarity of I-1.

royalpurpleheartdiamond

In the picture of the Royal Purple Heart diamond, it appears to be more blue than purple.   However, British gemologist Michael Hing upon inspecting the stone in 2002 said “The stone has diagonal surface graining that is clearly visible to the naked eye on the table facet if you look at it under a glancing light.”

Hing went on to say that “It is not as blue as in your photo, it’s more purple than lilac.”

The second most famous purple diamond is the Supreme Purple Heart.   Even less is known about this stone.  Despite it’s name, actually has a round brilliant cut.   The diamond is believed to have been found in the Amazon Basin of South America, weighs between 2 and 5 carats and appears to have a purple color from one angle and a red color from another angle.

If you would like to check out a purple diamond for yourself, here is a look at some of our personal favourites here at Ouroboro Diamonds of Rare Colour:

A 0.15-carat Fancy Purplish-Pink Pear-Cut Diamond

Purple1

A 0.17-carat Fancy Purplish-Pink Princess-Cut Diamond

Purple2

A 0.51-carat Fancy Intense Purplish-Pink Emerald-Cut Diamond

Purple3

 

 

Graff Vivid Yellow Heading To Auction

Graff-Vivid-Yellow

Headlining Sotheby’s upcoming “Spring Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels” auction is a 100.09 carat yellow diamond called the Graff Vivid Yellow.

Industry experts believe the yellow diamond could sell for as much as $25 million at the May 13th auction.  The stone’s colouring is considered to be similar to that of a daffodil and is among the largest vivid yellow diamonds in the world.

The diamond, which weighed in at 190 carats in the rough, was originally named the “Dream Diamond”.   Graff bought that stone in 2005 in Kimberley, South Africa and had it cut and polished and then changed to its current name.

The last yellow diamond of this magnitude to go up for auction was the Sun Drop Diamond which went under the hammer in 2011.   The pear-shaped stone weighed in at 110 carats and sold for just over $12.25 million.

The month of May will see another significant yellow diamond up for sale as the Asian auction house Luxeford will be having a Fine Jewels auction featuring a 34.46 carat Fancy Intense yellow diamond.  The yellow stone is set on a 41-centimetre necklace that features 67.30 carats of white diamonds.   Pre-sale estimates suggest the piece should sell for $1.8 million but no one would be surprised it reached the $2 million range.

34.46 carat

Yellow diamonds get their colour when nitrogen molecules are trapped within the stone while it is forming.   These molecules give the diamond the ability to absorb blue light making the stone appear yellow.   The more nitrogen introduced, the deeper the colour yellow appears.

Colour diamonds have been all the rage at fine auctions of late as “The Orange” sold for almost double the original estimates at Christie’s November auction and “The Pink Star” sold for what would have been a record price for any gem stone when it sold for $83 million.    However, the buyer has since defaulted on the purchase and the stone is back in Sotheby’s collection.

 

The Future For Diamonds

Mir_Mine

For years, diamond industry experts have been predicting a doomsday for diamonds.    A time when the demand for the precious stones will be at an all-time high while a lack of active mines won’t be able to keep up with this demand.   That time looks like it could happen as soon as five years from today.

Currently, only 30 mines around the world have a substantial output of diamonds being recovered.   As these mines continue to age, the supply of stones coming out of them will only decrease.

Meanwhile, the demand for diamonds is growing partially thanks the increasing wealth of the middle-class in the most populous country in the world, China.   The increasing westernization in that country combined with the lack of homegrown diamond resources and increasing wealth means that millions who never cared for the precious stones have become willing buyers.

To combat the increasing demand for diamonds, some companies have started to transform their existing mines from open-pit operations to underground production.   The theory is that this changes will make it easier to find the remaining diamonds buried deep into the ground.   However, the process can take 7-10 years and becomes much more expensive to maintain on a daily basis.

The long-range future for diamonds could get better as new diamond mines in Africa, Russia and Canada are heading into production.   However, there are no guarantees about the quantity or quality of the stones that may be coming out of there.   There has also been talk from geologists about finding diamonds in the arctic circle, within the earth’s upper crust or from falling meteorites.    No word yet on whether any of these options will help fill the potential void in diamond production or if they are merely a (kimberlite) pipe dream.

With this combination of dwindling supply and increasing demand, both the price and value of diamonds should continue to increase in the future.  For colour diamonds, the increase could be even more dramatic.   In the last 10 years, the value for colour diamonds has gone up between 15 to 30 per cent year over year.   With this “diamond doomsday” looming closer, these numbers should only become dramatically higher in comparison.

 

The Top 5 Green Diamonds

The colour green is one of the rarest on the colour diamond spectrum and is the only one whose colour is caused by radiation.   The green colour is caused when a stone that has been bombarded with beta rays, gamma rays and neutrons over millions of years.   The more present of these external factors, the deeper the colour of green is within the stone.

1.  Dresden Green Diamond

dresden-green-diamond

The largest green diamond ever found on the planet is the Dresden Green, a 41 carat, type IIa flawless stone.  The diamond is named after the Saxony Capital in Germany and is assumed to have been found in the Kollur Mine of Indian in the early 1700s.

The first record of the pear-shaped, 41-carat green diamond is from 1725 when a London merchant sold the diamond to Frederick Augustus I in 1726 for £30,000. 40 years later, the stone was set into a large hat ornament surrounded by 413 other diamonds.   The famous stone remains in that same setting today.

2.  Gruosi Green Diamond

GruosiSm

The Gruosi Green is of South African origin and is a 25-carat, cushion-cut green diamond.  Fawaz Gruosi, founder of the Swiss luxury jewel company, De Grisogono, first purchased the diamond in it’s 100 carat rough form in 1998.

75 per cent of the original stone was cut from the Gruosi and the diamond now has an even-toned green colour not seen on the more famous Dresden Green diamond.  In its current setting, the Gruosi Green diamond centres a gold ring surrounded by 382 small black diamonds that weigh in at a total of seven carats.

3.  Ocean Dream Diamond

oceandream

The first blue-green diamond ever recovered, the Ocean Dream diamond is a 5.51-carat shield-shaped stone.   Few details are known about its origin, it was found in Central Africa and the diamond’s current owner is the New York based-Cora Diamond Corporation.

The Ocean Dream diamond was part of the famous Splendor of Diamonds Exhibition put on by the Smithsonian in 2005.   The collection also featured the famous diamonds The Pink Star, The Heart Of Eternity and The De Beers Millenium Star.

4.   The Orlov

250px-Orlow_(Diamant)

Considered blueish-green, The Orlov Diamond weighs in at 189.62 carats and has a shaped described as “half a chicken egg”.   Like the Dresden Green diamond, the Orlov was recovered from the Kollur Mine in India.   The date Orlov was actually found can no longer be confirmed, however, some records indicate that it was used as the eye of presiding deity in a second century Sri Ranganathaswamy Hindu Temple in India.

The diamond was stolen in the mid-17th century and ended up finding its way to Count Grigorievich Orlov of Russia.   His plan was to use this diamond to win back the affections of Catherine The Great.   Catherine did accept the stone and named it in the honour of Orlov.  The stone is now the centrepiece of the Imperial Sceptre, part of the collection of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin.

5.  The Ocean Paradise Diamond

220px-Ocean_Paradise_Diamond

Considered the cousin of the Ocean Dream Diamond, the Ocean Paradise Diamond is considered only the second blue-green diamond ever recovered.

The smallest stone on our list, the oval-cut Ocean Paradise Diamond weighs in at just 1.6 carats.   The diamond was found in 2012 in the famed diamond region of Brazil called Diamantinia, Minas Gerais.