The word diamond comes from
the Greek ‘Adamas’ meaning indestructible and is the hardest of all natural
Romantic in history and
symbolic of love, our fascination with diamonds appears to date back as early
as the fourth century BC when they were mined in the ancient diamond fields of India.
At that time, they were adorned by only the extreme wealthiest in society, eventually,
with the trade of spices, etc they made their way westwards to Europe and were
popularised among the wealthy elite from the 1400’s. The modern story of
diamonds really only starts with the discovery of the South African deposits in
1866 and by 1900 de Beers controlled 90% of the world’s diamond markets and with
the development of modern and efficient mining techniques diamonds became more
widely available, by the late 20th Century as just about anybody
could own one.
Due to their durability,
ability to take a high polish and their symbolism diamonds have been popular in
engagement rings since the late 19th and early 20th
Centuries, although betrothal rings themselves have thought to have been around
since Roman times. The solitaire is the design most associated with engagement,
popularised by Tiffany who came up with the design for the modern solitaire
ring in the late 19th Century, simple and classic, this clawed
design allowed light to flow through the diamond and showing it off to its best,
this design has changed little over the years and remains the most sought after
at auction. In 1947 de Beers came up with the
slogan ‘Diamonds are Forever’, this marketing along with the popularity of
displaying diamonds in Hollywood from the 1930s (think Marylin Monroe ‘Diamonds
are a girl’s best friend’) helped romanticize diamonds as a symbol of the depth of a man’s commitment to the
woman he loves in practically all corners of the world.
Diamonds cuts have progressed from the simple table cut to
the rose cut to the old mine and European cuts to the modern brilliant cut which
is the most popular today with its 58
facets engineered to reflect as much light as possible back to the viewer.
Other popular modern cuts are the emerald cut or princess cut with their clean
lines which give a contemporary look, the marquise cut is very elegant giving
length to the finger, my personal favourite are the older cuts, they are
chunkier, hand cut stones which are unique in character; the old mine cut with
its slightly ‘cushion’ shape and the old European cut which is more circular.
The quality of a diamond is as important as the cut, colour
and clarity being the most important aspects which affect price with quality of
cut to a lesser extent. Colour ranges from completely colourless ‘D’ through to
‘M’ with a strong tint of yellow, with mid – range ‘H’ and ‘I’ colours remaining
popular colours at auction as they are affordable with an almost imperceptible
colour tint, clarity ranges from ‘Internally flawless’ to ‘included’ with VS
(very slightly included) – SI1 (slightly included) being affordable and
As always, we have a selection of solitaire and other diamond
rings at O’Reilly’s this month;
A DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, the princess cut
diamond mounted in platinum. Together with GIA certificate stating the diamond
to weigh 1.51 ct, H colour, SI1 clarity, size N
A DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, the brilliant cut diamond mounted in white
gold. Estimated; weight of diamond; 4.36 ct, colour and clarity; J – K, VS1,
A DIAMOND THREE STONE RING, the brilliant cut diamonds mounted in 18ct
white gold. Estimated; weight of diamonds; 4.98 ct, colour and clarity; I – J,
VS2, size N
A DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, the marquise cut diamond mounted in white
gold. Estimated; weight of diamond; 1.08 ct, colour and clarity; F/G, VS/SI
A DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, the brilliant cut diamond mounted in gold.
Estimated; weight of diamond; 3.22 ct, colour and clarity; J, VS
Lot 266; A DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, the old marquise cut diamond mounted in white metal. Together with GIA certificate stating the diamond to be; 2.30 ct, D colour, VS2 clarity
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