About diamonds

About
Diamonds

Choosing a diamond is a celebration itself

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4 C's of diamonds

No two diamonds are exactly alike. Each one is unique. This is why over the years a universal standard for identifying diamonds has been set. The quality and value of a diamond is defined according to the 4 Cs: carat, colour, clarity and cut. At HRD Antwerp we are experts in analysing these characteristics, making sure consumers know exactly what kind of diamond they are buying.

Learn everything you need to know about the 4 Cs in our interactive showcase.

Diamond

Shape

A common misunderstanding is that the term 'diamond cut' also refers to the diamond's shape. Cut is what determines how well-cut your diamond is, whereas shape is the form into which it was cut. Diamonds can be cut into various shapes, the best-known of which is probably the round brilliant.

Round brilliant Round brilliant
Round brilliant
Oval Oval
Oval
Marquise Marquise
Marquise
Pear Pear
Pear
Heart Heart
Heart
Emerald Emerald
Emerald
Princess Princess
Princess
Radiant Radiant
Radiant
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Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are created by geological processes. They are formed at extremely high temperature and pressure at depths of hundreds of kilometres in the earth's mantle. Most diamonds found in nature are over 1 billion years old and extremely rare. In a typical mine, 100 tons of rock needs to be processed in order to find a diamond larger than 1 carat. It takes time and effort to enjoy these pure wonders of nature we cherish so dearly.

Types of diamonds

A diamond with a perfect crystal lattice made entirely of carbon would be completely colourless. In reality, however, all diamond crystals contain atomic impurities and structural imperfections. We call these 'colour centres' because they are responsible for the colour of a diamond. The most common atomic impurity in a diamond is nitrogen. Based on the presence of this atom in the diamond lattice, one can classify diamonds into two main groups. Type I diamonds contain a higher level of nitrogen, while type II diamonds contain practically no nitrogen.

Natural Diamond Grading Report

Lab Grown Diamonds

A laboratory grown diamond is man-made but features the same optical and physical properties as a natural diamond, including its chemical composition, refractive index and 4 Cs. The only difference is its point of origin: One is grown above ground, while the other is extracted from the ground. Laboratory grown diamonds can be produced by two methods. One is HPHT, under high pressure and high temperature; the other is CVD, chemical vapour deposition.

Lab Grown Diamond Grading Report

Treated Diamonds

Brown

Type I

Type I

Yellow
green

Type I

Type I

Yellow
orange

Type IIa
Type IaB

Type IIa<br>Type IaB

Colourless

Type IIa

Type IIa

Pink

Type IIb

Type IIb

Blue

General Electric (GE) developed the high pressure (HP) – high temperature (HT) colour treatment in the mid-nineties with the goal of changing the colour of 'lower quality' (read: light brown) diamonds. During this treatment, the stone is heated to temperatures of over 2100°C. To prevent the diamond from being transformed into graphite, this takes place at a very high, stabilising pressure. The brown colour in some types of diamonds (including type IIa) is associated with the presence of plastic deformation or defects in the crystal lattice. HPHT treatment changes these defects in the crystal lattice.

Consequently the cause of the colour disappears. The whole process often takes only a few minutes, but the diamond must then be cut to remove the mat, corroded surface and regain its sparkle. The final result of this treatment greatly depends on the initial properties of a diamond and its type. Today a brown, grey or light yellow diamond can be 'transformed' into a diamond ranging from intense yellow to greenish-yellow, pink, blue or colourless.

Treated Diamond Grading Report

Fancy Colour Diamonds

Diamonds can occur in all sorts of colours. If a diamond shows a colour other than light yellow or light brown in the face-up position, we call it a 'fancy colour diamond'. Many of these fancy diamonds are quite rare, especially the red, green, and blue ones.

Grading fancy colour diamonds is very complicated. They are mainly valued for the intensity and distribution of their colour, but cut and carat are also taken into consideration. Our expert gemologists analyse the diamond in detail in order to deliver an accurate Natural Diamond Colour Grading Reports.

Fancy colour diamonds
Natural Diamond Colour Grading Report
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