CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Eternal Classic: Why White Diamonds Will Never Go Out of Style

It's no secret that the popularity of fancy-colored diamond jewelry and diamond estate jewelry has skyrocketed in the 21st century with their record-smashing sales and auction records. Diamonds have always been classic, especially with the introduction of different diamond shape, cut and clarity options. The introduction of fancy colored diamonds has also made a significant  impact. Colored diamond jewelry rings have taken the industry by storm, representing virtually the entire color spectrum - from shades of canary yellow to rosy and fancy pink diamond hues and even black diamonds and red diamonds. 

Yet, consumers and jewelers alike continue to return to the classic white diamond time after time. Here's a closer look at why this ubiquitous symbol of eternity, purity, and luxury remains timeless despite these colorful trends in fancy-colored diamonds.

 

Looking to add white diamond jewelry to your collection? Shop our selection at M.S. Rau today.
Tiffany & Co. Asscher-Cut Diamond Ring, 20.10 Carats

What is a white diamond?

Authentic white diamonds are those that look milky white, not the colorless diamond it's often mistaken for. Microscopic inclusive in the diamond scatter the light passing through, giving off a milky white color that produces an illuminating white diamond. From stunning antique jewelry necklaces to dazzling antique types of brooches, white diamonds have served as both focal points and glimmering accent jewels for centuries within the world of fine jewelry. So, are white diamonds real diamonds, and how do they differ from other colored diamond stones? A white sapphire, a yellow diamond, and a natural diamond with hints of yellow gold can all look similar. Diamonds that fall within the Gemological Institute of America's D-to-Z color scale are often dubbed "white diamonds," but this variety of diamonds is not white at all - it is a class of colorless diamonds. Hues of these diamonds can range from truly colorless, like a pure drop of water, to containing tinges of pale yellow gold, light brown, or shades of gray. A colorless white diamond and a yellow diamond are both highly sought after for their unique and beautiful qualities. Even if there are slight tones of grey or a yellowish diamond color, the stone can still be considered "colorless."

 

White diamonds are a popular choice for those in the market for antique jewelry, from antique necklaces to antique engagement rings. The closer a natural diamond comes to being classified as "colorless," the more expensive it is. In this case, the rarity of a pure, colorless diamond's hue directly affects its value. Colorless stones are loved for their purity, elegance, and traditional nature. Curious about other types of stones? Learn more about semi precious stones and their history.

 
Harry Winston Diamond Brooch By Jaques Timey

Harry Winston Diamond Brooch By Jaques Timey

 

Colored Diamonds

Many diamonds fall outside the GIA's D-to-Z color range exhibiting distinct colors. You can find a D color diamond, K color, and other ranges within the scale. The gemological conditions required to produce these distinctly-hued gemstones are quite rare. Whether you go for a red diamond, a canary diamond, or stunning black diamonds, all of these unique colors are highly sought after. Because this "perfect storm" measures up to a monumental feat of nature, natural and real colored diamonds are scarce and highly prized by collectors and the fine jewelry industry. The fancy blue diamond is also considered one of the rarest and most famous diamonds ever.
 
Multi-Color Diamond Cocktail Ring

 

Multi-Color Diamond Cocktail Ring
 

White Diamonds Versus Colorless Diamonds

Determining the body color grade of a fancy white diamond stone is no easy task, and several factors make this ordeal especially challenging. A true white natural diamond is not color graded according to the GIA's D-to-Z color scale. Why? Because they are not colorless, they are white. As a body color, white does not appear in the color spectrum — white is the sum of all the spectrum’s colors. The presence of sub-microscopic inclusions in these cut diamonds scatter light passing through the gem, lending a translucent, milky white face-up appearance. Natural White diamonds are occasionally described as “opalescent” due to the flashes of color sometimes captured when these cut diamonds are viewed face up. Rarely, these diamonds are reminiscent of white opals, but with a weaker play-of-color. Much like the famed Golconda diamond, technically “white” diamonds are very rarely submitted to the Gemological Institute of America. The few that this institution examines tend to hail from the Panna mine in India, making them exceedingly rare finds for shoppers and gemologists alike.
 

The History of Diamond Engagement Rings

White and colorless stones are pervasive treasures of engagement rings and commitment jewelry. The sentimental Victorians — the first generation to emphasize the importance of true love and affection in marriage — popularized the use of these diamonds in engagement rings in America, England, and across Europe in the 19th century. Often crafted to resemble flowers, these ornate designs mixed diamonds with other gemstones, enamels, and precious metals and were colloquially dubbed “posey rings.” Diamond engagement rings of the Edwardian era continued to follow in the Victorians’ design footsteps, pairing diamonds with many other jewels and gemstones commonly mounted in intricate filigree settings.
 
Three-Stone Diamond Ring, 4.87 Carats

Three-Stone Diamond Ring, 4.87 Carats

 

But the history of diamonds sealing marriage proposals goes back centuries further. Many anthropologists and historians believe the custom of grooms-to-be presenting their prospective fiancées with a diamond engagement ring dates to ancient Rome. In the ancient Roman world, it was fashionable for married women to don rings adorned with diamonds and other gemstones attached to small keys symbolizing their husband’s legal "ownership" in marriage. This is likely the first inkling of the key-and-lock tropes omnipresent on Valentine’s Day and in more saccharine motifs of commitment jewelry. During the high Middle Ages, diamond engagement rings — among other luxurious jewels — were sought-after by European aristocracy and nobility. Archduke Maximilian of Austria may have sparked this trend when he commissioned the first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477.

 

Looking for a stunning diamond engagement ring for your special someone?
Shop our full collection of gemstone rings today.

 
Fast-forward to the 20th century and 1947, when famed diamond retailer De Beers launched its  classic ad campaign slogan, which claimed that “a diamond is forever.” This historic campaign spurred even more sales of diamond engagement rings, aligning with the boom of single men returning to America after World War II to settle down, get married, and have kids. De Beers’ slogan implied not only a diamond’s natural durability as the strongest carbon-based substance in existence but also imprinted a message in the American psyche conveying that marriage is forever. In the 1950s, the diamond’s purity and eye-catching sparkle were elevated to symbolize the depth of a man’s commitment to his spouse in practically all corners of the globe. Plus, a diamond wedding band or a diamond pendant is a classic piece of jewelry, making it the perfect stone for everyday wear.
 

Whether you desire a red diamond, yellow diamond, or black diamond, fancy colored diamonds are ideal for trending styles. However, white or colorless diamonds are always timeless and classic. Browse M.S. Rau’s stunning selection of classic white and colorless diamonds and antique ring collection today featuring the incredible Tiffany Golconda ring, and find your perfect token of love and devotion.

 

References:

"What Is a White Diamond?" Gemological Institute of America. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/what-is-white-diamond/

"The History of the Diamond as an Engagement Ring." American Gem Society. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.americangemsociety.org/page/diamondasengagement

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