John Cordova (Vice President of Human Resources, Robbins Bros.) gives expert video advice on: What is a diamond?; Why are diamonds so special?; What's the best advice for a couple buying an engagement ring? and more...
What is a diamond?
A diamond is an extremely special and unique gemstone. First of all, it's very simply carbon that's hardened to a degree that makes it the hardest substance known to man. It's very heat resistant, and it disperses heat very well. It's scratch resistant. It is used in industry all over the world, and it also is used to represent the feelings of one person to another. So diamonds are the most unique gemstone anywhere that anyone can find.
Why are diamonds so special?
Truthfully, from the beginning of time, diamonds have been considered special. The Greeks called them "tears of the gods." They named them adamas, which means unconquerable. They knew something about diamonds back then without any technology that they knew they were special. Today, they're the symbol of everything that represents two people's relationship. Today, a diamond can get me out of the 'dog house.' Today, a diamond can cause her to cry in a good way. It symbolizes when she's in a crowd of friends, the way I feel about her. Diamonds, when you look at them, speak for themselves. There's no other gemstone, that exhibits fire, brilliance and scintillation like a diamond does. There's no other gemstone that you can wear while you're driving down the street and the glare from that gemstone affects somebody in the crosswalk or in the car next to you. There's just nothing like a diamond. It's a symbol of passion, its a symbol of love, its a symbol of commitment and its something that you just can't match. So, diamonds are not just a girl's best friend, I assume, a man's best friend too.
What's the best advice for a couple buying an engagement ring?
The most important advice that we can give someone before they purchase their engagement ring is to make sure they find a jeweller they trust, that's got experience in the business, that specializes in engagement rings and wedding sets. Then, when they go in, that they get all the technical out of the way and they end up choosing a diamond by buying with their eyes and not with their ears. Quite simply what that means is being able to have a selection of diamonds that compare one to another under the proper conditions. The right lighting, using the right microscope and then choosing a diamond not based on its ratings and price alone or what the salesperson tells you, but choosing a diamond because it jumps out at you. It makes your heart sing and it feels like something that represents your relationship - that she can wear forever and ever. That's quite simple, that's quite simply the advice I give.
What are the 'Four C's' of a diamond?
The ‘Four C's' of a diamond are cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, and together these ‘Four C's' determine the value of a diamond.
How are diamonds sized?
Diamonds are sized by carat weight. The carat weight is an actual weight on a scale. One carat is equal to one fifth of one gram. However, diamonds are also sized based on millimetre. Sometimes, you can get a diamond that weighs one carat that looks bigger or looks smaller. It's based on the preference of the guest.
Can a diamond break?
A diamond can break, absolutely. It's the hardest substance known to man, but that doesn't mean that it can't chip, crack, or break. In some cases when diamonds are cut, initially, by hitting it and cleaving it, you hit along certain grain lines and the diamond tends to break. Yes, it can break.
Can a diamond be chipped?
A diamond can chip. When you strike a diamond at just the right angle, along a cleavage line, then a diamond could absolutely chip. If you store diamonds loose, with other diamonds in the same jewelry container, they can actually rub up against each other and that can cause chipping and breakage as well.
Can a diamond be burned?
Again, diamonds are extremely hard, but at the right temperature and under the right source of heat, such as a jeweler's torch, a diamond actually can burn. Remember, it's carbon, similar to charcoal. So yes, absolutely it can burn.
Do diamonds go up in value?
Unlike commodities, diamonds don't have steep rises and falls in value. One buys a diamond for the symbolism that it represents in a relationship and for the appreciation value. If over time a diamond's value goes up, that's an added benefit for the diamond. However, I wouldn't recommend buying a diamond as an investment.
What are 'treated diamonds'?
Treated diamonds are diamonds that have been treated or altered from their natural state. It's conventional wisdom that the cutting of the diamond is the only thing that man does to unleash its actual beauty. Treated diamonds take them a step further. A treated diamond can be treated to enhance its clarity, to change its color and to give it an appearance that isn't altogether from nature.
Where do most diamonds come from geographically?
Most diamonds by carat weight come from the country of Australia. Australia is your largest producer of diamonds overall per carat, but fine quality, or gem quality diamonds, the leading producing nations really change between South Africa, Russia, even Canada is now a major producer of top quality, gem quality diamonds.
Do any diamonds come from the Americas?
Diamonds actually do come from the Americas. In Arkansas we found diamonds, in Colorado we found diamonds and in Canada. Canada is becoming one of the largest producers of fine quality diamonds in the world.
What are 'conflict diamonds'?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds mined in regions on the African continent that are in conflict. What generally happens is the warring factions go into a diamond producing area, take over the area and force labour to produce diamonds. Those diamonds are then sold on the market to fund their revolutionary activities.
Are conflict diamonds still sold in the US?
The United States is part of an international or worldwide effort to reduce the number of conflict diamonds anywhere. If there are conflict diamonds in the United States, the percentages are so small, and most customers will not run into that. Can you absolutely say that 100% of the United States is conflict diamond free? No, no one can say that.
What are 'fancy colored' diamonds?
Fancy colored diamonds are diamonds that exhibit an extreme intensity of body saturation in a color that is outside of the colorless range. There are pink diamonds. There are green diamonds. There are blue diamonds. In fact, diamonds come in every single color of the rainbow. The rarest color is red, and only a handful of red diamond have ever been found in the history of the diamond mining business.
Are fancy colored diamonds popular today?
Fancy colored diamonds are very popular today. It started with celebrities in Hollywood choosing to buy fancy colored diamonds (folks like Jennifer Lopez, with her pink diamond), and that has really spread into the public, and many customers are coming in asking for different fancy colored diamonds. The most popular colors that our guests are asking for are the pink diamonds and the intense yellow diamonds (canaries).