The Diamond Solitaire Pendant isEvery Woman's Must Have
The diamond solitaire pendant is a timeless piece so understated in its simplicity that it is perfect for every occasion from the office to the opera to a day shopping to the most elegant gala. The solitaire pendant is the one essential piece for every woman's jewelry wardrobe.
The classic diamond solitaire pendant is available in a variety of shapes and sizes from the basic round brilliant cut to "wear your heart on your sleeve" heart shaped diamond.
The diamond solitaire pendant looks great on any woman, large or small, tall or short. Choosing the style that is right for you is simple. Look at our handy chart below to find the right pendant style for you!
- Women with a long swan like neck look terrific in simple 16" length lightweight chains such as cable or box chains.
- If your neck is somewhat thick or shorter go for a longer 18" chain to help give you the illusion of length.
The diamond solitaire pendant is one of the few pieces of jewelry that is as fashionable today as it was for the past hundred years and will be for next hundred years.
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Diamonds: From Mine to Store
Historically diamonds have had an aura of mystery and exclusivity surrounds them. This is largely due to their rarity, difficulty in mining and unparalleled beauty.
Diamonds are one of the rarest minerals known to man. Diamonds are formed over 900 million to 3 1/2 billion years. A natural process combining tremendous heat and enormous amounts of pressure to carbon squeezes and heats the carbon until the diamond crystal is formed. The diamond crystal is the densest naturally occurring substance known to man rating a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale of 1 to 10.
Diamonds are mined in relatively few places in the world. India was the world's only source for diamonds from the 4th century BCE until about 1600. In the early 18th century, diamonds were discovered in Brazil and in the 1870's, major sources were found in South Africa. These two finds were instrumental in increasing the number of diamonds on the market and thereby expanding the supply for these exceptional stones.
There are two methods for mining. The first is digging 75 miles into the earth's surface to reach formations called kimberlite pipes. These pipes look like hugely oversized carrots. The beauty of these carrots is that they are covered with diamonds! It takes years to mine a single kimberlite pipe and over 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed to yield one carat (0.2 grams) of raw diamond. After all that work, only 20% of the raw diamonds mined are suitable to cut and use in jewelry.
The second method of mining diamonds is around coastal areas where volcanic activity and erosion around kimberlite pipes brought the diamonds to the earth's surface. Although it may seem easier to mine diamonds this way, it is still a very time-consuming and tedious process. First pits must be dug to loosen the ore. Second, the diamonds must be separated from the worthless minerals. Third, all of the broken and crushed pieces of ore are placed in a washing pan. The washing pan is used to force the heavier minerals, like diamonds, to the bottom. The waste product that is left on top is discarded. Fourth, the heavier materials are then placed in cones and spun with heavy liquids to separate the materials by density again. Finally, the process is to separate the material by using either the human eye or an x-ray separator.
Whichever method of mining is used, the diamonds have only just begun their long journey. The next step for the diamond is, marking and grading, which we will discuss in Part II.
Diamonds must first be graded before continuing their journey. Only 20% of all diamonds mined are given the classification, gem-quality, and can be used in jewelry. If a diamond is given a gem-quality classification, its next stop is a cutting center. Most of the world's gem-quality diamonds are cut in Belgium, Israel, India and the United States.
First, the diamond is "Marked". Marking a diamond is done by examining the rough stone and determining the appropriate cut that will produce a diamond of the greatest beauty and highest value. The diamond's basic shape and the number of imperfections and where they are is critical when determining a diamonds mark. Perhaps the most important decision is finding the diamonds four points of cleavage. Cleavage is similar to finding the grain of wood. The points of cleavage decide where and how a diamond may be cut. Once the points of cleavage have been determined, the Marker marks the point on the diamond that is to be cleaved or sawed.
Highly skilled cutters called, Cleavers, use a blade and hammer and with one strong and (hopefully) accurate hit on one of the diamond's four points of cleavage, split the diamond. Many diamonds have too many "stress points" for normal cleaving and must be sawn apart very slowly and very carefully by a Sawyer.
If the stone is being cut into a round shape, and 75% of diamonds sold are round cut, the next step is called girdling. This step creates the center of the cut stone that separates the crown (top) and pavilion (bottom) halves of the diamond.
After the girdler, the diamond goes to the blocker. The blocker specializes in creating the top 18 facets on round brilliant-cut diamonds. The blocker then sends the diamond to a brillianteer. The brillianteer is responsible for cutting the remaining facets. Each stage of cutting requires an enormous amount of skill and talent. Each angle of each facet must be cut to exact specifications in order to coax the maximum brilliancy and light from the diamond.
Once the cutters are done, the diamond must be polished. But how do you polish the hardest substance known to man? Polishers use a very fine abrasive made of diamonds and very very gently polish the diamond to bring out its natural light and fire.
After this long journey from Africa or Asia to Europe, the Middle East or North America, the diamond is ready to be sent to a jeweler and set in a ring, necklace, bracelet, earring or pendant. Not surprisingly, this also requires many highly skilled and trained professionals to ensure that the diamond is set safely and attractively in its new home. Please keep your eye out for future articles about jewelry making.
It takes many people many years to bring you your perfect diamond. So the next time you are admiring your diamond, remember that your stone is millions of years old and has undergone a long and difficult journey to reach you.