-Elaine B Jewelry's-
the what's what of diamonds
You probably know that diamonds are often considered the most valuable and sought-after stones on the planet. One of the main reasons being, diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. Its name actually comes from the Greek word “adamas,” which means “invincible” or “unbreakable.” In addition, they’re SPARKLY! Polished diamonds can refract and reflect light to sparkle with a particular brilliance that has captivated the minds of people for a millennia.
Today, we’re talking all about diamonds!
Diving Into Diamonds! A quick summary.
-Diamonds have been bought, sold, and adorned by royalty since 400 BCE.
-Europeans didn't start wearing diamonds until the 1400s.
-Diamond is a mineral made of a single element: carbon.
-Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with light yellow tints, although salt & pepper diamonds are celebrated for their natural and earthy beauty.
-We source a variety of diamonds including natural clear, natural salt and pepper, lab-created and heirloom.
-A diamond’s value can be based on its own unique combination of the Four C’s. The Four C’s include: cut, color, clarity, and carat.
History of Diamonds
So how did the craze for diamonds come about? Special attention for this sparkling stone began in India where diamonds could actually be gathered from rivers and streams. As early as 400 BCE diamonds were being bought, sold, and adorned by royalty. However, it wasn’t until the 1400s that Europeans were seen sparkling in these new gems.
The first known diamond engagement ring belonged to Mary of Burgundy. Her fiancé, the Archduke of Maximillian of Austria, gifted it to her in 1477. The largest diamond ever found was a whopping 3,106 carats (621 grams). The diamond was discovered in South Africa’s Premier mine in 1905. From this, the gem got a royal treatment- a 530 carat pear shaped diamond was cut from the stone and is now set in the Royal Sceptre (part of the Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London).
The Royal Sceptre shown in Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Portrait.
The diamond is said to represent clarity and strength. It was once thought to be an antidote to poison and ward against plague. Diamonds were also believed to be a vessel for longevity, strength, beauty, and happiness. These qualities are what make diamonds a popular choice for marriage proposals.
In addition, De Beers, a famous diamond jeweler, released an ad campaign in 1947 that changed engagement rings forever. Their slogan, “a diamond is forever” was and is still revolutionary and relevant. De Beers highly romanticized the diamond- creating parallels between the gem and true love. Their highly convincing ads created a strong desire for diamonds in engagement rings.
We love how this engagement tradition has evolved overtime to include other stones like sapphires, salt & pepper diamonds, and more!^De Beers famous marketing campaign from 1947.^EBJ's very own alternative engagement rings.
Mined straight from the earth’s crust and made entirely of carbon, natural diamonds have a wide range of color and clarity. (You may be familiar with the Four C’s, we’ll get into that later.) Some natural diamonds are perfectly clear and white, while others are full of texture and color. Black, white, and gray “inclusions” are usually bits of trapped carbon present in the diamond. You can find natural diamonds in all forms - traditionally cut or untouched and raw.
Recycled diamonds are also a type of natural diamond. As the name suggests, recycled diamonds are reused natural diamonds, often coming from heirloom jewelry. We do many custom projects at EBJ that involve heirloom stones. We’ve used diamonds passed down from a grandmother’s necklace, a mother’s diamond earrings, and even stones from a father’s cuff links. In addition, we source recycled diamonds as a holistic way to use natural diamonds in our jewelry. You can see recycled diamonds in our alternative engagement rings and wedding bands.
Let’s talk about Lab Diamonds with a metaphor… You could fly to Antarctica and chip off a piece of an iceberg to keep your drink cold. Or, you can simply make it at home in your freezer with purified water to achieve the same result. By chemical composition, it’s still ice. However, at home, you can avoid a lot of the added costs and environmental impact. The same rings true with lab diamonds vs natural diamonds. Lab grown diamonds present the newest, most technologically advanced and sustainable alternative to mined diamonds available in today’s market.
So, how are they made?
As the name suggests, they are grown in a lab using extreme pressure and heat (HPHT) or a carbon vapor deposition process (CVD). These techniques simulate the exact way natural diamonds are formed. Each lab diamond is seeded by a thin slice of diamond that holds the atomic blue print. Carbon is then added to plasma at 10,000 degrees. Atom by atom, the diamond lattice forms.
We source lab diamonds that are made right here in the USA. They are sustainably grown above ground. All of the lab diamonds we use are certified and purchased from a vendor who follows internationally recognized environmental standards. As you can probably imagine, lab diamonds avoid the vast human & environmental toll that mining natural diamonds creates. Plus, they still have all the sparkle and bling!
Salt & Pepper Diamonds
On the other hand, not all diamonds are clear and white. At EBJ, we also celebrate salt & pepper diamonds- which contain all sorts of trapped carbon inclusions. We think it adds to their story and gives them character!
So, what exactly is a salt & pepper diamond?
Once only used for industrial purposes, these diamonds have become an alternative jewelry staple. With all the perks of a natural diamond, these stones are hard, durable, and incredibly beautiful. Salt and Pepper diamonds are full of inclusions: black, white and gray speckles that swirl like galaxies inside the stone’s structure. The sparkle and luster are irresistible as the stone catches the light in the most spectacular ways! Because they are more ethical and holistically mined, this is a stone anyone can feel good about wearing.
If you’ve been eyeing a colored stone for your next piece of jewelry, we highly recommend going with a salt & pepper.
What's All The "C" Talk About?
If you’ve ever shopped for a diamond, you’ve heard of the Four C’s. Each C standing for: cut, color, clarity, and carat. The C evaluation, or value factors, breaks down the value of a gemstone based on a combination of its features.
As with other gemstones, diamonds with certain qualities are rarer- and more expensive- than diamonds that lack them. Without a systematic way to evaluate and discuss these factors, there’d be no way to compare one diamond to another.
When the Four C’s are used together, they describe the quality of a finished diamond, which is directly related to its value. Often a diamond has one value factor that stands out more than the others. For example, colorless diamonds are scarce- most have tints of yellow or brown. So, a colorless diamond has a higher color rating than a diamond that’s light yellow. By the Four C’s, a colorless diamond is more valuable than one with a slight tint of color. The same idea also applies to cut, clarity, and carat.
The terms described by the Four C’s are very precise and well understood. They’ve become an international language among jewelry lovers and professionals alike to describe diamonds.
Diamonds at EBJ
As you can see, we celebrate all sorts of diamonds at EBJ- from natural to lab created, clear to salt and pepper. We’ve got a cut, color, clarity, and carat for everyone.
No matter the type of diamond you choose, know that we’ll put special emphasis on ethical sourcing. We work hard to approach each project with intention and care. One way we do this is by using your heirloom stones in our custom jewelry pieces. We also use recycled, lab-grown, and salt and pepper diamonds- three of the most holistic options.
Stop in today and chat with a jeweler about all your diamond questions and needs! They’ll have all the answers to find the perfect stone for your next project.
Check out our custom gallery here.
Shop All Diamond Jewelry here.