What Is the Difference Between a Diamond and a Diamond Solitaire?

As far as jewelry, diamonds are still more prized than most crystals and gemstones. When properly cut and faceted, they're mesmerizing; not to mention the way they symbolize love, commitment and luxury.

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 and are the hardest natural substance on Earth. Consequently, they're durable and long lasting—no wonder they're associated with marriage. They're frequently passed down from one generation to the next. Commonly available in a white hue, diamonds can also be found in a variety of colors, including pink, green, yellow and even black.

Characteristics of a Diamond Solitaire

A diamond solitaire is simply a piece of jewelry featuring a single, or solitary, diamond—like a ring with a precious platinum or gold band and a lone diamond 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.

Choosing Diamonds

Before making any big decisions, it's important to understand the four Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, color and carat weight.

  • Cut: A diamond’s cut helps to determine its brilliance. Classic cuts include emerald, princess, round and pear.
  • Clarity: Refers to the presence, or lack, of inner flaws, inclusions and other cracks within; the fewer the flaws, the clearer and more brilliant the diamond.
  • Color: Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they reflect the most light, but that doesn't necessarily make them the most valuable.
  • Carat weight: Refers to the size of a diamond.

Types of Diamond Settings

Ring settings can be almost as critical as the diamond. Settings can be made from any metal, but gold, white gold and platinum are considered classic choices. The setting holds the diamond in place.

  • Prong setting: Consists of tiny metal prongs bent down and pressed against the diamond to keep it secure.
  • Bezel setting: A metal frame that surrounds the entire edge of the diamond.
  • Tension setting: The diamond is held firmly in place by the metal band’s tension. Most often used in diamond solitaire rings.

History of Diamond Solitaire Rings

The diamond ring is considered the traditional engagement ring. This originated during the Victorian era after the 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 & 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.

Layering jewelry may be in fashion for the time being, but a diamond solitaire engagement ring will stand the test of time and always stand out in a crowd.