Diamonds are undoubtedly the most 2012 Luxury Shiny Wedding Shoes Christian Louboutin Multibrida 1 difficult precious stone to shop for. Their value and rarity puts them in a category of their own. For most of their history, diamonds have been out of the reach of the common man. Before huge mines were discovered in South Africa in the late nineteenth century, only the über rich could afford them. We’re talking about kings and queens. The discovery of Golcondas in Africa sent the price of diamonds spiraling downward, but not enough. Diamonds were not given as gifts by middle class Westerners until after the Second World War. Inspired by the romance of the Victorian white wedding and the tradition of giving betrothal rings, men of average means suddenly started shelling out big bucks for diamond engagement rings. About 9 billion dollars of diamonds are mined each year. Only about half of these stones are judged to be gem quality and are sold to consumers. The other half are used in industry. Unlike other precious stones and most precious metals, gem-quality diamonds are often sold at a substantial mark-up by retailer. There are many reasons for this. First and most importantly, gem-quality diamonds are hard to come by. Unlike most other stones and metals, the criterion for grading them is extremely rigid, and they have many industrial uses. They are also extremely difficult to cut and polish. It takes a master artisan hours to cut a diamond by hand. Some of the more intricate designs and cuts can take an entire day! As a result, a cut and polished stone is often worth about fifty percent more than a raw diamond. All together, the diamond industry accounts for over 50 billion dollars of retail jewelry sales per annum. Why Diamonds? Annual diamond sales dwarf those of the three other precious stones (ruby, emerald, sapphire) combined. But why? Why have diamonds captured the public’s imagination? Why do eighty percent of American women receive a diamond engagement ring Black Christian Louboutin Guerriere 120 Suede Ankle Boots? And do they really last forever Christian Loboutin Daffodile 160mm Multicolor Round Sequin Pumps? Let’s take the last question first. Yes, diamonds may actually last forever. As one of the hardest natural materials on earth, diamonds are nearly unbreakable. That is why they have survived for billions of years. According to carbon dating, most diamonds are between 1 and 3.3 billion years old. That means some stones are almost as old as the earth! Giving diamonds as engagement rings is a relatively new custom. It does not have much, if any, historical significance. Clever ad campaigns and lower prices were primarily responsible for the growth of the diamond industry in the twentieth century. Symbolically, the diamond has come to represent eternal love, beauty and clarity. How to Choose a Diamond As we mentioned, eight of ten married women receive a diamond engagement ring, which means that eight of ten married men had to go diamond shopping. The three-month salary rule says that men should spend a quarter of their annual earnings on a new diamond engagement ring. As you might imagine, this “rule” was created by diamond distributers. On average, a man should expect to spend between three and five thousand dollars on a one carat diamond engagement ring. Every man who shops for a ring should know the 4 Cs. This simple mnemonic device reminds us that clarity, cut, carat and color are the most important factors to consider when shopping for a diamond ring. Let us take a moment to review them individually. ClarityLike all precious stones, most diamonds have minor imperfections. But since they are graded on a much more rigid scale, these minor flaws can mean hundreds, even thousands of dollars in either direction. Small inclusions that prevent the passage of light often have a profound effect on the price of a stone. They are so common that flawless diamonds are often worth more than stones that are twice as heavy. CutEasily the most confusing of the four, the cut of a precious stone is often mistaken for its shape. Shapes like round, pear and oval are the most common, but each can be cut in different ways. It is up to the lapidary to choose a cut that will increase the brilliance of the stone and make it more luminous than it was before he started. Brilliant, marquise, princess and emerald are currently the most popular diamond cuts. CaratFinally, an easy one! Diamonds are measured by the carat, a simple unit of weight. More often than not, the larger a diamond is, the more expensive it will be. ColorDifferent colors and shades have fallen in and out of favor, but colorless stones have always been the most desirable. The reason for this is simple: the more color, the less the diamond will sparkle. A colorless stone with few inclusions will reflect all the color of the visible spectrum. When shopping for diamond jewelry, stick to your budget and take plenty of time to shop around before making the big choice.Jennifer Payne is a freelance writer who writes about fashion apparel such as diamond jewelry..