Perhaps you’ve heard or read about rough diamonds (or raw diamonds, as some people call them). If you’re wondering how these stones are different from the ones regularly sold in the jewelry store, read on. Let’s see what rough diamonds are, how you can identify them, and whether you can buy a rough diamond.
What Are Rough Diamonds?
Rough diamonds are stones that have not undergone any treatment after they were found in the earth. In general, diamonds sold in jewelry stores have been cut to make them faceted and give them a certain shape, and then they have also been polished. Rough diamonds, on the other hand, are uncut and unpolished, and they have not been altered in any way after they were mined.
How to Identify Rough Diamonds?
Rough diamonds look like transparent stones that are either colorless or tinted in yellowish or brownish color. Actually, a very small percentage of rough diamonds are as colorless as the diamonds you can see in the jewelry store; most natural diamonds are tinted, and this is why the few white ones are so valuable.
You may read or hear about a lot of different methods to identify a real diamond. The reality is, however, that most of them are unreliable. There are many minerals that look like diamond and have very similar physical characteristics, and unless you are in an area where diamonds are mined, or you are a gemologist, you can never be sure that the transparent stone you’ve just found is the real thing.
The best and quickest way to identify a rough diamond is to test it with a portable diamond tester. This device works by passing electricity or heat through the stone to detect its electrical or heat conductivity. If you don’t have such a device and want to see if a stone you’ve found is a diamond, you can always go to a jewelry store and ask to have the stone tested (the service will usually cost you a small fee).
Can You Buy Rough Diamonds?
A lot of jewelry stores have begun to offer rough diamonds in addition to the cut and polished stones they sell. You can buy an uncut diamond either loose or mounted in a piece of jewelry.
So why buy an unpolished and uncut stone? For one thing, rough diamonds are much cheaper than cut and faceted stones of similar color and clarity. And let’s not forget that a rough stone will stand out when worn, as people are used to seeing mostly polished gems in jewelry.
The downside to buying a rough diamond is that its brilliance and sparkle will be much lower than those of a cut stone. Why is that? When a jeweler cuts a diamond, he or she shapes its facets so that the light entering it will be reflected by the stone’s walls, thus making the diamond look more brilliant and sparkly. This effect is not present in uncut stones.
So, when deciding whether to buy a rough diamond, weigh its nonstandard look and low price against the relative lack of brilliance, and decide what is more important to you.