Why Do Celebrities Choose Colored Diamonds?
So why do celebrities choose colored diamonds for their jewelry? Because they are rare, they are expensive and they can. Everybody wants to have something that nobody else has, especially if you are a celebrity and your image is everything.
So one of the best ways to make a statement that says ‘I’m hot, rich and fabulous’ is to have a few carats of unique colored diamond on your finger, hanging round your neck, dangling from your ears or other more exotic body part. So if you are a budding movie star or pop singer read on and find out all you will need to know when choosing yourself some serious bling.
Now we all know that diamonds are expensive right? But why do they cost so much? After all’s said and done they are just a form of carbon, a metastable allotrope of carbon to be more precise, which is a pretty common element on our beautiful planet. These sparkly lumps of rock that we value so much are formed in the Earth’s crust when material containing carbon is exposed to high pressure at a relatively low temperature in the lithospheric mantle or are found where a meteorite has struck. The diamonds formed in the mantle are forced up to the surface by volcanic eruptions originating deep within the Earth’s crust, forming small craters on the surface with volcanic pipes leading downward that contain the diamond-bearing rock.
So are they expensive because they are rare? Well they are not actually that rare. There were huge deposits discovered in the Kimberley region of South Africa during the 19th century and since then they have been extracted from mines in other parts of Africa, Australia, India, Canada, Russia and the USA. But unfortunately for us, most of the stones extracted are not gem quality, with only around 20% making the grade. The rest are used in industry, where diamond is prized for being one of the hardest naturally occurring substances in the world.
However, that still leaves a fairly large number of them coming into circulation in the jewelry trade each year. So what makes a fine gem quality diamond? In the gemstone trade, they are graded by carat, clarity, colour and cut. Carat, clarity and colour are determined by nature as the gemstone is being formed, but the cut is all down to the skill of the cutter. They are cut to bring out their natural beauty and sparkle, and a skilled diamond cutter can really increase the value of a stone by cutting it to its best advantage.
Another reason why you have to pay so much for a great diamond is that most of the world’s supply is controlled by just a few large companies, such as De Beers. These cartels are only too aware that if they flood the market with too many fine precious stones at any one time they will drive the price down. So only certain quantities are fed into the market each year and the rest are stashed in ‘diamond reserves’. There is also a complicated, expensive supply chain set up to deliver the jewelry you see in a shop window, which also helps to drive up the price that a consumer has to pay.
So if we now take into account the fact that out of the approximately 80,000 carats of rough diamonds that are mined each year, only about 0.001%’ or 1 in 10,000, are colored, we can start to see why these precious stones are so desirable and expensive.
There are simply not that many of them around and large, flawless, natural colored diamonds are even rarer. But even with the colored stones there is a hierarchy or ascending level of desirability. Some colors are more common than others and they are graded on the intensity, or ‘vivacity’ of the color they display. Also known as ‘fancy’ diamonds their color is graded from fancy intense to faint.
The color occurs naturally while the precious stone is being formed, due to certain chemicals being present or exposure to radiation from elements such as uranium, which is the case with green diamonds. So the presence of boron results in blue stones, nitrogen colours stones yellow and it is believed that it is manganese that leads to red or pink diamonds.
As well as their predominant color, they can also display a secondary color. There are 12 colors, more than 90 secondary hues, over 200 possible color combinations and 9 levels of intensity. If you are looking to purchase a colored diamond, you will also need to check if it is a natural gemstone, as there have been heat treatments developed that can alter the color.
So our hierarchy of desirability is:
Most common, therefore most affordable – brown, black and pale grey
Reasonably rare, a bit more expensive – orange, yellow
Rare, very expensive – pink
Very hard to find, outrageous amounts of money – green, violet, blue and red
Now the rarest of the rare is a red diamond and I will lay an even bet that most of you reading this do not own one or have ever seen any of your friends wearing one. If you do want to see what one looks like take yourself to American Museum of Natural History in New York and check out the Aurora Pyramid of Hope, which is a is a remarkable display that shows diamonds in practically every known natural colour, including the extremely rare red.
This rare red colour is caused by crystal lattice defects happening when the stone is being formed. Only a few dozen of these extremely rare red diamonds are known to be in existence today and, not surprisingly, they are all worth a great deal of money. The largest cut red diamond in the world is the 5.11 ct Moussaieff. This precious gemstone was once known by the name ‘red shield’ but now bears the name of its owners Moussaieff Jewellers Ltd.
Some famous specimens have set price records when put up for auction, such as the 0.95 ct Hancock Red which sold at over $926,000 per carat in 1987. In addition, a ring set with a 2.26 ct red stone was auctioned at Christies in 2007 and sold for something in the region of $1.15 million per carat.
So what are some of the celebrity colored stones that have hit the headlines? Probably one of the most famous is the 6.1 carat pink diamond engagement ring presented to Jennifer Lopez by Ben Affleck that was estimated to have set him back around $1 million.
Pink diamonds are still rare, but deposits discovered at the Argyle Mine in Western Australia have increased the supply and they now produce around 90% of the pink precious stones extracted in the world every year. The largest pink specimen in the world is the magnificent Darya-i-Nur, which is about 185 carats.
Another huge pink stone is expected to fetch more than £40 million when it goes up for auction at Sothebys in the autumn of 2013, which will break the current record of £29 million that the Graff pink diamond went for in 2010. Known as the Pink Star, this exquisite precious stone is 59.60 carats and is flawless.
It was mined in South Africa in 1999 by De Beers and took over two years to cut and polish. If purple is your color, Kobe Bryant, the US basketball player, proposed to his fiancée with an engagement ring set with a blinglicious 8 carat purple diamond.
Yellow diamonds are very popular with American Idol female singers. Both Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson sport large yellow sparklers on their engagement fingers. Carrie Underwood’s ring is believed to have cost around $150,000 and was presented to her by her hockey player fiancé Mike Fisher.
The ring was designed by Johnathan Arndt, who was also involved in the design of Kelly Clarkson’s yellow canary diamond ring. The supermodel, Heidi Klum, also used to wear an engagement ring set with a huge 10 carat yellow stone during her marriage to Seal.
Probably the most famous blue diamond in the world is The Hope Diamond, which many believe is cursed. It is currently kept at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC. Not only is it 45.53 carats, this unique precious stone displays deep blood red phosphorescence after it has been exposed to an ultraviolet light source.
In April 2013 another large, deep-blue stone, set in a ‘Trombino’ ring made by Bulgari, reached a record price when it was auctioned at Bonhams in London. This 5.30 carat stone sold for an astonishing $1.8 million per carat, eclipsing what was paid for the previous world record price of $1.68 million per carat for a blue diamond that was bought by Graff.
So if you have set your heart on owning an exquisite colored diamond you had better start saving. Of course there are smaller, more reasonably priced stones you could choose from, but I think that it would be far more fun to be given a huge engagement ring or a gorgeous necklace set with your favourite coloured diamond by some tall, dark handsome film star!
Argyle diamond image Rob Lavinsky Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Pink diamond engagement ring 1791 rings Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported
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