Classifing diamonds apart fom other gemstones

Hello,

I saw described a designation being made between diamonds [ essentially making them a distinct unique class of mineral in language / vs all other gemstones.] When discussing diamonds, the language in the discussion about diamonds always called them diamond but not gemstones. Rather an implication “soft” comparison was implied between gemstones and diamonds. If a diamond was under consideration the world diamond was always used. Discussion of gemstones never included language using the word diamond.

Well I hope this is at least somewhat clear. And if so how common or on the other end of the spectrum, how particular is such a parsing of this sort.

Thank you,

Andy

The word “Diamond” in nearly every language evokes a level of description and lexiconic status, singularly. Such words or brand names like Coke-cola are the result of strong advertising and marketing campaigns.

The masses will most-likely visualize a brilliant-cut diamond in their mind, when the word is spoken. The same is less likely when other gemstones are discussed with the exception of the big three colored stones, maybe.

To show how impactful the word is for example; about a month ago, when a technological break-through was announced regarding a new “low pressure” process to grow diamonds in just three hours, the media immediately posted things like this:

What is not being said up front, is that the process was developed using a modified version of the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), to improve methods for the diamond coating industry, versus a large crystalline growth technique for the gem trade. Although, that will be just a matter of time before it is adapted to produce lab-grown diamonds for our industry.

Another article for the process is here:

https://www.science.org/content/article/diamonds-grown-without-extreme-pressures.

1 Like

Hello Troy,

Thank you. Similarly, I have seen lexicon that makes a demarcation between a Lapidary and a Diamond cutter. So then, could a Lapidary person / group / comapny be a gemstone cutter / polisher that includes diamonds or is the use of the nomenclature “diamond cutter” indicate a person / group /company that only work with diamonds and likewise, a Lapidary cuts / polishes gemstones other than diamonds or are diamonds a gemstone a Lapidary does or could work with?

Thank you,

Andy

Hi Andrew,

Good questions. One lexicon can differ from another.

Merriam-Webster states what you quoted:

“…of precious stones usually other than diamonds.”

Oxford has a more generic term:

“a person who cuts, polishes, or engraves gems.”

And it would best to leave Wikipedia outside of the evidence bag… :slight_smile:

In context, these dictionary definitions are wrought with basic terms and are without sustance. They understand the concept, but do not go beyond the generic syntax.

I can only speak from my experience, here.

I don’t think I would be able to jump into the diamond cutting world without some sort of apprenticeship under my belt. I am learning how to facet colored gems (on my own), but a diamond cutter is a specialized role, who probably started out as a lapidarist.

The whole diamond industry is a specialization. It all comes back to the money train.

However, a loose diamond, like any other loose gemstone, does not become whole until it is mounted in a wedding band, pendant, set of earrings, etc. or on its way to the collector. It is just a faceted stone. The cutter and dealer still rely on the other parts of the industry, to move the faceted stone and get it to the Auctioneer or broker, or to the Bench Jeweler, Goldsmith, Silversmith, or other Metalsmith to set it into a piece of jewelry that was designed and fabricated for it.

Sure there are some differences when diamond specialization and the “other” gemstone specializations are juxtaposed. Nonetheless, they are all part of the whole machine and no less important than the other. IMHO.

Cheers!

Troy

2 Likes

I agree with you that when speaking about diamonds, what you have found is true.

I also think that the “Diamond” Trade is what sets them apart from colored stones. I’m a colored stone “gem” guy, specializing in Ruby/Sapphire. “Diamond” people are busy enough and concentrated on their craft and trade. Personally, diamonds IMO are an industrial commodity with no real value other than their incredible hardness for abrasives which, in itself makes them incredibly valuable. I’m sure some would call me biased, oh well. Of course, as a mineral, a giant diamond is rare and unique to any gemologist… and would intrigue me too because of the mineral aspect. So, when
De Beers®
took it upon themselves to make it “Forever” and “A girls best friend”, the biggest marketing foray in history commenced.

I have been to Chantaburi several times, the gemstone capital of the world. Great trip, and nary a diamond in sight. Diamonds are also “colored” stones/gems. I’ve mined sapphire and hunted minerals for over 30 years. I’m a rockhound but get to go to the field less now but am raring to do it again.

The diamond “trade”, if you’d like to have a great read from through the ancient Buddhist ages and into the modern “diamond cutters” of NYC, pick this up, it’s a gem, haha. “The Diamond Cutter” at Amazon.com.

And further…

Diamonds meet all the criteria to be classified as gemstones - they are durable, rare, and beautiful minerals that occur naturally. While diamonds have their own unique properties as crystallized carbon, they are considered a subset of the broader category of gemstones.

Key Points

  • A gemstone is defined as a precious stone that possesses beauty, durability, and rarity. Diamonds fulfill these requirements to be considered gem-quality stones.
  • Diamonds are first and foremost minerals, being naturally occurring inorganic solids with a definite chemical composition (pure carbon) and an ordered internal structure.
  • Once a diamond is cut and polished, it becomes a gem. The 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat) are used to evaluate the quality and value of diamonds as gems.
  • While diamonds have distinct properties from other gemstones in terms of their composition and formation, they are still classified under the broader umbrella term “gemstones” along with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.
  • Colored diamonds, despite being composed of carbon, are considered fancy colored diamonds rather than colored gemstones due to their unique composition and rarity.

So in summary, while diamonds have their own special characteristics, they are undoubtedly considered precious gemstones from a gemological perspective.

1 Like

Thank you for the post.

Perhaps the “global” classification of chemistry into Inorganic [Ionic Bonds / “non living”] and Organic [ Covalent bonds / “living”] no longer applies as it seemed to have “once upon a time” but, to the extent it still does, the bonding of the Carbon atoms in diamond are Covalent e.g. as are the bonds of DNA… Having said, a common bond type in us, is an Ionic one - salt - Sodium Chloride.

One of the main things that sets apart Diamonds from other Gemstones is that there are agreed upon qualities for the grading of Diamonds. This is not so for other Gemstones. There are scales for grading other Gemstones used by some, but not all. Some use a D - A scale. Some use an A - AAA scale. Some try to apply the complex scale for grading Diamonds to colored Gemstones, but it is all open to personal interpretation.

Yes,to an extent: [a] but that is looking like it is at best, to get much more elaborate because of the so far - commonly called- lab diamonds. [b] it is my understanding [and it has been awhile since I have checked on this - but my guess is that all that is needed - a periodic check] that the only diamond cut / shape where all of cut has been worked out to give maximum light performance is the “round brilliant” [ I guess ? inclusive of other “enhancements” to the cut] as you, I trust, have seen. on reports a note that parts of the grading are done based on the round brilliant.

I am definitely not a Diamond specialist. I was speaking only to the difficulty of consistency in grading color gemstones. As for lab-grown Diamonds, one of the reasons I have heard of by stores that sell exclusively lab-grown Diamonds, is that they are not “Blood Diamonds” or “Conflict Diamonds” that have resulted in the murder of numerous Africans for mining rights. Another reason I have heard is that mining Diamonds is destructive to the earth and the ecology. That is probably true of color Gemstones as well. The only lab-grown stones I have had are Ametrine and Citrine, since they are so hard to find in nature. Heat treated Amethyst produces orange or brown Citrine but rarely yellow.

I have seen a few lab- diamond company briefs that use “truly” renewable energy- solar-life plants use- for the tremendous amount of energy that is used to synthesize their diamonds[ via large energy use endothermic reactions]. Even so, were these facilities, solar energy facilities and machinery they both use made "ecologically? As was the land the factory and solar facilities that they
were built on / built “ecological” ?

Those are interesting questions that I will leave to any ecologists or factory designers we may have on the panel. I can only respond to the topic of why Diamond specialists may not also be specialists in Color Gemstones and visa-versa. I only work with color Gemstones.

Here’s an interesting tangent. While falling into a rabbit hole on how to classify color in gemstones… came across this linked resource in the IGS article:

Gemstone Color Measurements and Specifications - Gem Society by Dr. Arem.

Eventually, this led me to one of his presentations, where he categorizes nearly all diamonds and every other gem as being colored. I found this quite interesting.