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Diamonds have, for centuries been an essential object required to woo a girl. From the dynasties of the Maharajas of Baroda to the Queens of England, to the charm of Hollywood personalities, diamonds have always shown a flair to excite, enthral, admire and beautify.

Over the years, expert cutters and technology has made it possible to “get the best out of” the rough diamonds and these days diamonds are polished in a variety of shapes, and colours.

Diamonds are a pure form of carbon and 60% of the rough diamonds are mined in African countries of South Africa, Botswana and more recently Zimbabwe, the rest are mined in Canada and Russia. The rarest Pink diamonds almost exclusively originate from the Argyll mine in Australia which is now a dying mine. The phrase “blood diamonds” has recently been used to describe “diamond payments for arms” arising out of internal conflict in Africa but as the industry has recently been regulated, these diamonds have become a really small minority of the entire diamond production. The largest cutting centre for diamonds by far (almost 80%) is India, with the city of Surat known as the City of Diamonds these days. The finer, better diamonds are mostly cut in Israel, Afrcia, China and Russia. Anglo American and De Beers through the Diamond Trading Company are still in control of almost half of the worlds’ diamond production and channel the rough diamonds in a systemised manner through “sights” whereby each polisher avails of the rough diamonds they specialise in polishing.

Generally, the classical round shape diamond has always been a “real” diamond and although emeralds, ovals, pears, marquises and princess are recently being purchased in serious quantities, brilliant cut round diamonds are by far the choice of most brides to be, as this classical shape, with 59 facets bring out the maximum light in a diamond.

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Cut – People often confuse cut with the shape of the diamond, whereas the two are completely different, shapes being brilliant, ovals, pears etc and cut being the overall look of the individual diamond. In all reputed diamond grading reports like the GIA IGI and HRD, the certificate of a Brilliant cut shows the Cut of the diamond which varies between Excellent (being the best – Maximum light reflected) and Fair (being the worst – minimum light reflected).

Colour – is the common phenomenon noted to denote the “whiteness” of the diamond, and ranges from D to Z, and then fancy colours.

Clarity – denotes the imperfections in the diamond, ranging from Flawless to I3 (heavily flawed).

Carat – shows the weight of the diamond the word being derived from the Carob seeds which were used to weigh diamonds in olden times, and one carat is 0.2 grammes, so in order to buy a one gram diamond, one must purchase a 5 carat single diamond which ranges in value from £40,000 to £1m. This shows how rare and precious diamonds are. On the other hand, gold, which for some is more precious, is less than £40 a gram!!! The cheapest, smallest diamonds are £2000 per gram …

Cash – is the fifth C which is almost forgotten by brides to be. When buying a diamond, one (usually the groom) needs to strike a balance between the other 4C’s so that he is comfortable with the funds that he has allocated to the engagement and wedding ring. It must be sensible and reflected in the purchase. An ideal purchase for example, would be D-F colour VS2 or SI1 clarities with the above certificates showing a balance of colour and clarity with retained value.