Diamond Use in Ancient India

Diamonds have been known to mankind and used for a variety of reasons for centuries. Diamonds were considered to have metaphysical properties—believed to promote courage, strength and invincibility. Many different cultures have used this precious stone in various ways.

The Mahajanapada Empire (800 B.C.) of India used diamonds extensively in their society. They had their own unit of measurement for diamonds (tandula), and their own currency (rupaka). The use of diamonds was so wide spread, that for centuries India was the only place one could find diamonds. The empire had no banking system, so the citizens had to keep all of the currency they possessed with them. Wealthy citizens of this empire preferred to convert their wealth into diamonds, as it allowed them to better store their riches. This was the first instance diamonds were used as an investment!

This empire had a very spiritual culture, and hailed diamonds as a profound source of luck. Diamonds were considered talisman; protecting its owner from both fear and sorcery. The owner of a flawless diamond was considered blessed with wealth, livestock, good harvests, and a wife with many children.

The Mahajanapada Empire also utilized diamonds for their physical properties; using the gems in tool making, engraving, along with carving, cutting and shaping pearls and other gemstones.

Today’s society may value diamonds differently—in carats instead of tandula, and for different reasons than the Mahajanapada, but the diamond’s value remains the same. Its scarcity has kept the diamond market from being flooded and dropping the prices. The value of a diamond is globally recognized and is truly one of nature’s most powerful gifts.

Diamonds: Commodity vs. Brand

Up to the present day, diamonds have mostly been traded as if they were merely commodities. However, unlike ordinary commodities, gem diamonds are actually extremely difficult to compare and evaluate because tiny nuances of quality often create large differences in value.  What’s more, there is no commonly accepted and easily referenced index for pricing.

When diamonds are sold as commodities consumers face an “unfair” lack of information. They must learn to decode industry jargon like the 4C’s by relying solely on the expertise of sellers and other interested parties. This leads to buying decisions based on inaccuracies at best and outright fear at worst. And, that’s not good!

Branded products offer consumers the freedom and opportunity to purchase without fear. As The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond, Hearts On Fire promises consistency of quality at the diamond industry’s highest level.

Hearts On Fire diamonds are independently certified by the American Gem Society – the world’s leading independent authority for grading a diamond’s characteristics and performance. More importantly, the quality of each and every HOF diamond can be easily verified by consumers themselves using the simplest of gemological tools – the Proportion Scope.

As shoppers freely choose Hearts On Fire, the end result is popular acclaim that underscores trust in the brand for other consumers. This is the basis and value of real brand equity.

The Hearts On Fire Company does everything possible to build and sustain that brand equity.  We are fanatic about delivering the best products.  Along with our retail partners, we are equally dedicated to making sure that our brand promise and presentation stays clear and focused.

Don’t ever forget that true brand value is only achieved based on actual customer approval and satisfaction.  Since its inception 17 years ago, Hearts On Fire has become an iconic symbol of ultimate recognition precisely because of being warmly endorsed by consumer buying power.

The Spirit of de Grisogono

Black diamonds are some of the most rare and expensive diamonds in the world! Known for their bold, mysterious and alluring qualities, these types of diamonds are quite rare and coveted in the modern world. Most black diamonds are very small—large black diamonds are in fact made up of thousands if not millions of small black diamond crystals stuck together. This detail makes the Spirit of de Grisogono—the world’s largest cut black diamond, all the more impressive. Weighing in at 312.24 carats, the Spirit of de Grisogono is not only the world’s largest cut black diamond, but also the world’s 5th largest diamond over all. The 587 carat rough diamond was discovered several decades ago in alluvial deposits in the Central African Republic—it holds the record of the 18th largest rough diamond discovered thus far in history.

The rough diamond was purchased by Fawaz Gruosi, a famous Swiss jeweler. He asked the famous Swiss jeweler and cutter, De Grisogono to cut the diamond. De Grisogono was the first jeweler to specialize in black diamond jewelry, as well as the cutter of the Gruosi Diamond—the world’s largest heart shaped diamond. The planning and cutting process took over a year to complete, which was not surprising considering black diamonds are usually extremely difficult to work with, as the hardness of black diamonds are rarely evenly spread throughout the diamond. De Grisogono cut the Spirit of de Grisogono in a modified Old Moghul-style cut to best suit the shape of the rough diamond. The Old Moghul cut was prevalent in historic diamonds that typically originated in India, such as the Orlov diamond, the Taj-i-Mah diamond, and a number of diamonds in the Iranian Crown Jewels Collection.

Today, the Spirit of de Grisogono is set in a white gold mounting with 702 diamonds with a total carat weight of 36.69 carats. After the success and popularity of the Spirit of de Grisogono diamond, Gruosi and Grisogono have popularized a type of diamond previously rejected in the fine jewelry industry. The pair are responsible for the excitement and new reputation black diamonds have within the industry today!

What is an Ideal Cut Diamond?

The term “ideal” has often been used to describe only the best cut diamonds, but it’s also been confused and abused over the years.  After 300 years of experimentation and refinement of the round brilliant, experts now agree that there’s more than one simple way to describe cut.

Although he never used the word “ideal” in his proof of Diamond Design (1919), Marcel Tolkowsky argued that a very tight range of proportions – based on Table Percentage = 53%,  Crown Angles = 34.5 degrees, and Pavilion Angles = 40.75 degrees – produces optimal fire and brilliance in a finished gem diamond.

After teaching 1000’s of Graduate Gemologists about these “ideal” proportions for many years, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has not issued proportion-based cut grades on their diamond reports until a few years ago. They now offer a proportion-based grading system with five levels of cut quality – Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Their top two grades are the most prevalent.

For more than a decade, the American Gem Society (AGS) has endorsed the term “ideal” by adopting a consumer-friendly numeric scale of 0 – 10 (with “0” being Ideal) to quantify various factors affecting cutting quality on their lab’s Diamond Quality Documents. Their Zero Ideal Cut Grade is based on ideal light performance, ideal proportions, and ideal finish (which is ideal polish and ideal symmetry).  This top grade represents less than 3% of round brilliant diamonds in the marketplace.

There are diamonds that also exhibit extra “ideals” when viewed in various devices.  Some show ideal patterns of “optical symmetry” by allowing you to look directly at the diamond in specialized lighting environments. Others generate ideal computer-generated numbers, scales and guides that compare one diamond with another. But, diamond reports and viewing devices can only tell you so much. In the final analysis, I always recommend looking at any diamond you may consider owning. This is because diamonds are 3-D works of art, that can change their character considerably depending on lighting conditions and may look very different in reality than they do “on paper”.

Diamonds: Cost vs Value

The cost is what you actually pay for a diamond. The value is what your diamond is actually worth.

Remember, these two things are not always the same.  Your cost is never less and often higher than the real value, no matter what “discounts” you’ve been given.

With globally branded diamonds, such as Hearts On Fire, your cost is precisely equal to the value.  This is easily established by the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), because that is the value that is recognized by all professional appraisal standards.

The light return is the overall quantity of light that enters the diamond and is returned to the viewer’s eye. Any light that remains trapped inside the diamond (which makes it look dark) or that escapes out the bottom of the diamond (leakage) is NOT light return.

It should be noted that a well-designed and cut diamond also has higher quality of light return than a poorly cut diamond, because it is designed to capture and return the most intense overhead light. A poorly designed diamond, such as most dome-topped diamonds, will capture and return lower intensity ambient light.

The Beauty of Diamonds Brightness, Colorfulness and Sparkle

There are various devices on the market which claim to measure the beauty of diamonds.  In most cases the measurements are based on simple definitions of brilliance, fire and scintillation. They say that brilliance is equal to return of white light, fire is the return of colored light, and scintillation is the number of flashes of light.

Unfortunately, such simple assumptions are not exactly true.

Brilliance is NOT the return of white light; it is the total amount of reflected and refracted light, which can be affected by the body color of the diamond.  For example, a fancy, intense, yellow diamond returns virtually no white light to the observer, regardless of how well it is cut. The viewers mentioned above would rate an AGS “0” cut diamond of this color as having very low brilliance.

Fire is NOT the total amount of colored light; for much the same reason as stated above.  It is actually the balance of all the spectral colors emanating from a diamond that is most important.

Scintillation can NOT be captured in a static photo!!!  It is best defined as the play of color, which is a dynamic process (scientifically known as contrast brilliance) effected by placement of each and every facet in relation to all the others as well as movement of the diamond, light source and/or observer.

Most importantly, all researchers now agree that different lighting conditions and the position of the observer will dramatically affect all aspects of the beauty of a diamond.

Judging the beauty of a diamond does not have to be rocket science.  All you have to do is look at the diamond, twirl it in your hands, observe it in under various light sources and ask yourself… is it bright all over (total light return), is it colorful all over (full spectrum of colors), and does it sparkle like crazy?

If it does, then it has passed the most important test.

The 4B’s

When you are shopping for diamonds, everyone gives you the same information.  They all speak to you in a strange language unique to the diamond trade using letters to describe color, purity, and their own system of measures. They are merely describing a diamond’s characteristics. Namely the 4C’s – color, clarity, carat weight, and cost.

That’s right… every diamond, including rough diamonds, can be described in this way.  If you want the biggest possible diamond for your money, of a particular color and clarity, your best bet is to buy a piece of rough diamond.  It will be twice as big as any diamond that has already been cut.

This is pretty ironic because, what should be most important to you is precisely how that diamond is cut, yet cut is NOT one of the 4C’s.  Cut is not an inherent characteristic of a diamond. Cut is something we do to a diamond.

Cut is what transforms all the characteristics of diamond to benefit you.  That is why it is so important for you to consider the 4B’s when you buy a diamond. Cut is what actually makes a diamond look brighter, bolder, bigger and more beautiful.

Cut makes the color look better, the clarity look better, and makes the diamond shine brighter and look bigger for its size.  In fact, cut increases the value of a diamond.

The only diamond brand that offers perfectly cut diamonds throughout its collection, from the biggest to the smallest, is Hearts On Fire!

Diamond Price,Value, and Mark-ups

Diamond value is about quality, not price.  You may think you’ve found the “same diamond” on the Internet.  But, there are several questions you must ask to determine the true value of a diamond, such as the following:

  • What is truly “ideal”?
  • What are the stone’s full dimensions?
  • Which lab has certified the color and clarity and more importantly the cut grade?
  • How do you know that the diamond matches the certificate?

All these factors can make major differences in value. There are no miracles in the diamond business! All gem diamonds are evaluated the same way. Ethical guidelines of evaluation require that each diamond be graded “as if” it were cut to state-of-the-art standards. Hearts On Fire diamonds are cut to these standards. Many others are not. There is no premium for perfection! It is the basis upon which others are judged.

As for mark-ups, there is no “average mark-up” in jewelry stores.  Mark-ups vary widely depending on such factors as overhead, location, expertise, and product mix.  I can assure you that there are no miracles in the diamond business. Mark-ups are often the highest on low quality diamonds.

Higher quality diamonds – which have greater rarity and hold their value the best – command the highest prices in spite of relatively low mark-ups.  The key to buying diamonds is to buy what you like the best, so that you will enjoy it the most.

What is Diamond Cutting?

It’s well known that it takes a diamond to cut another diamond, because diamonds are the hardest substances in our world.  That is the scientific truth.  But, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Ordinarily we think that to cut is to stab, slash, slice, or wound. It is a process of removal. The fact is that cutting diamonds is more like splitting, sawing, lathing, sanding and polishing wood.  I like to think of these as finishing techniques – processes that add value.

Most rough diamond crystals are first split into two “workable” pieces. Traditionally, this was done with a hammer and blade in a process called cleaving. Cleaving is very much like spitting wood along its grain. A diamond is split along one of its “grains” parallel to the octahedral face by placing a blade in a pre-carved notch called a kerf and striking it as you would a wedge. Today, however, diamonds are typically sawn in two, with either a phosphor-bronze diamond-dust encrusted blade or with a pulsing laser beam.

Next, the diamond is shaped. This form of cutting is called bruting or girdling. This is done with the gem diamond centered on an eccentric-chucked lathe, which is then turned round by rubbing it against another diamond-topped cutting tool. Elliptical shapes like oval, pear and marquise are formed the same way by tapping the lathe off-center. Any straight-edged diamond – like emerald cut, square cut, and/or princess - is always shaped on a flat grinding wheel that is charged with diamond dust.

The final stage of diamond cutting is faceting.  All facets on a diamond are ground and polished on a flat cast iron wheel that is shaped like a record turntable and coated with super-fine diamond dust. Each facet is cut by placing it at the correct angle against the wheel with one of the diamond’s twelve grains held perpendicular to the spinning direction of the wheel. Only one of these 12 grains will cut well for each facet position. This is what separates diamond cutting from all other stone cutting.

A diamond will cut anything else, like butter, but it will only cut another diamond in very particular directions.

Just as with other industries there are varying levels of skill and craftsmanship employed in diamond cutting.  The highest degree of skill is in the total hand-crafting and finishing of the stone by a master cutter.  The cutter literally feels, sees, and judges how well every single facet is cutting, while semi-skilled cutters perform single operations over and over again at a high rate of speed. This is cutting the “old-fashioned” way.  It definitely yields the most beautiful results.  If you ask me, it’s the way all diamonds should be cut.

 

Millennium Star Diamond

The Millennium Star Diamond was named at the turn of the century in October 1999 behind the perception that millennia come and go, but diamonds are forever. The Millennium Star is the only diamond in the world that is both internally and externally flawless, with a total of 54 facets. Weighing 203.04 carats, it is the 10th largest diamond in the world and the second largest faceted D-flawless diamond, with a clarity grade of IF.

This diamond was found in the Mbuji-Mayi district of Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1990, and it was 777 carats! The discovery spurred a gold-rush type period of peaked interest in the area—all hoping to find a similar stone, although statistically the odds are such that no one will find another within the next few hundred years or so.

The origin of the diamond itself however, is shrouded in controversy. Although owners claim that the diamond was found in a small town in the Mbuji-Mayi district, the Millennium Star should not have lasted as long as it claimed to have in such a small town. Word spreads quickly in such a small town—especially about a diamond of this magnitude. Once word spread, the diamond would have surely been stolen, given the corruption in this town of Congo.

The 777 carat diamond was cut into three pieces, with the Millennium Star as the largest piece. It took over three years for the Steinmetz Diamond Group to cut the rough diamond. They used a laser to cut it perfectly, making the diamond so flawless that not one burn or scratch mark was visible on the facets of the diamond!

There was an attempted robbery of this iconic piece on November 7th, 2000—now known as the Millennium Dome Raid in Greenwich, London. The Metropolitan Police caught the robbers before they could escape.

The value of the stone itself has never been revealed, however the diamond is insured for 100 million pounds.