24 June 2019

What is a Loose Natural Diamond?


Loose natural diamonds are a hot commodity amongst those who understand the diamond trade. They are a wonderful asset, light, portable, easily secured in a safe, and instantly redeemable as their cash value in just about any country in the world. But what exactly is a natural loose diamond?

It Is Not a Rough Diamond

Often loose diamonds are confused with rough diamonds, but they are very different things. A diamond forms at great pressure, deep in the earth, usually in the vicinity of volcanic lava tubes – volcanoes are the perfect ‘kitchen’ for cooking up crystals of pure carbon, offering the right mixture of incredible heat and even more incredible pressure. Over the millennia, the volcano pushes the diamond-laden clay up towards the surface of the earth, or at least into the reach of diamond-hungry miners! Most often, the clay is very hard and dense, entrapping the diamonds in a vice-like grip – but this clay crumbles after a time of being exposed to sunlight and air, releasing the diamonds without harming them. At this stage, the diamonds are rough and, while they can strike beautiful rainbow glimmers of light in the right conditions, most of them look dull, greyish and indistinguishable from any other pebble lying on the ground.

But diamond miners know their stuff, and easily winnow out the rough diamonds from the dross, cleaning them, sorting them and sending them off to the cutters.

But They’re Still Not Quite There

The cleaned and sorted stones look a little more interesting than their dirtier selves, but they would still be called rough stones. Diamond cutters use all sorts of tools and gadgets to assess the rough stones, carefully noting any internal fractures and issues, and plotting out the best shape and size for each finished stone. Cutting used to be a manual process, with the cutter literally sweating over each action and practicing each blow before landing it. Today, it is all done very precisely by computer-controlled machines, with the cutter planning the cut, and uploading the details into the machines. Then the machines cut the stone into precise shapes, forming multiple facets and creating the glittering symmetrical gems that we know and love.

Now We Have Loose Natural Diamonds

So you can see, a natural diamond is one that was mined from the earth, rather than being grown in a laboratory. And loose simply means that it has not yet been set into a piece of jewelry, rather than uncut and still in its rough pebble formation. While an interested person can buy rough diamonds, it can be a bit of a gamble, and is frowned upon by the diamond industry authorities. Loose diamonds have been assessed, their flaws have been noted and accounted for, and the stone will have been certified by AGS or GIA, the two main diamond rating authorities in the USA. Rough diamonds could be concealing large and ugly flaws, they will not be certified as yet – although they should have a verifiable provenance of where they were mined – and they could turn out to be a complete waste of your money!

Loose diamonds, on the other hand, are known entities, certified and evaluated and guaranteed to be worth the money you spend on them. For more about these pretty investments, consult this loose diamonds buying guide.