Diamonds are the most precious and desired of all gemstones. When cut and faceted, they have an ability to reflect light to a mesmerizing degree, and they capture both attention and hearts with their characteristic shimmer. Symbolic of romance, love, commitment and luxury, they figure prominently in many types of jewelry, including diamond solitaire jewelry.
Characteristics of a Diamond
Diamonds are made of carbon. They develop when pure carbon atoms in the ground are exposed to intense heat and pressure over billions of years. Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones; they are also the hardest natural substance on Earth. Consequently, they are durable and long lasting, associated with lifelong or eternal commitments such as marriage and frequently passed down from one generation to the next. In addition to the most commonly seen white hue, diamonds come all colors of the rainbow, including chocolate, pink, green and yellow.
Characteristics of a Diamond Solitaire
A diamond solitaire is simply a piece of jewelry featuring a single, or solitary, diamond. For example, a diamond solitaire ring consists of a band made of some type of precious metal, such as platinum or gold, and a lone diamond, which is secured in a setting and mounted at the top of the band. A diamond solitaire necklace features a single diamond suspended from, or set on, a chain. Diamond solitaire earrings feature one diamond per earring. This style of jewelry emphasizes the beauty of individual diamonds.
History of Diamond Solitaire Rings
Perhaps the most common type of diamond solitaire jewelry is the diamond solitaire ring. Diamond solitaire rings are traditionally presented to symbolize engagements. Diamond engagement rings became popular during the Victorian era due to the recent discovery of diamond mines in Africa as well as increased wealth because of the Industrial Revolution. Rings featuring large clusters of diamonds were popular, but Tiffany and Co. introduced a new and long-lasting trend in 1886 with the six-prong diamond solitaire engagement ring, for which the company is still known.
Diamond or Diamond Solitaire Jewelry Selection
Before selecting or purchasing a diamond or piece of diamond solitaire jewelry, it is important to understand the “Four C’s.” These are cut, clarity, color and carat weight. A diamond’s cut helps to determine its brilliance. Diamonds are available in numerous types of cuts, including emerald cut, princess cut, round cut and pear cut. Clarity refers to the presence, or lack, of inner flaws or inclusions within a diamond; the fewer that are present, the clearer and more brilliant the diamond. Color is a consideration because diamonds are available in virtually every color of the rainbow. So deciding preference is important; of course, colorless diamonds are the most desirable because they reflect the most light. Finally, carat weight refers to the size of a diamond.
Types of Diamond Settings
All diamonds must be set if they are to be featured in a diamond solitaire ring or any other type of jewelry. Settings are made of metals such as platinum, gold and silver. They function to hold diamonds securely and in one place. Diamonds are placed on numerous types of settings. For example, a prong setting consists of a metal basket into which the diamond is placed, and it features tiny metal prongs that are bent down and pressed against the diamond to keep it secure. A bezel setting is a metal frame that surrounds the entire perimeter of the diamond. A tension setting is most often used in diamond solitaire rings; a diamond is placed in the opening in the ring’s band and held firmly in place by the band’s tension.
References and ResourcesThe Diamond Buying Guide: Diamond FAQ
Circa1930s.com: The History of Engagement Rings
The Diamond Buying Guide: Diamond Grading, Grades