“Named in celebration of the Roman goddess of Love, the Graff Venus is the largest D Flawless heart shape diamond in the world.”
This is a recent announcement from Graff Diamonds, which proclaimed its creation to be perfectly faceted and entirely symmetrical. Graff claims it took over 18 months to analyze, cut and polish the magnificent type IIa 118.78ct diamond from a 357ct rough diamond.
The Venus came from the Letseng mine in Lesotho, a location which Graff must be in love with because two other incredible diamonds mined from the Letseng were also cut into heart shapes by their team. Weighing 196 and 184 carats respectively, Graff gemologists believed the two could be a matching pair. They were right. After analyzing, cutting and polishing, the team created two matching diamonds exceeding 50cts from two separate stones. Believing in the perfect love story, the company offered the diamonds as earrings so the pair would always be together. That makes a gem of a love story.
With diamonds so large and perfectly shaped, some people may think they are not natural. We recently wrote how natural diamonds are getting bigger, possibly because there have been changes in the way kimberlite ore is processed. Kimberlite, volcanic rock that contains diamonds, is the most common source of diamonds, though finding the ore doesn’t guarantee finding diamonds. Discovering diamonds is still rare. In fact, few kimberlite pipes yield enough diamonds to be worth the effort of mining – which is why diamond hearts of this size are so exceptional, and why not-so-unusual synthetic diamonds are on the rise.
Diamonds are unique among gemstones because they are composed of a single element (carbon), while virtually all other gems contain multiple elements including significant amounts of oxides. The infrared spectrum of diamond is equally unique and can be used to easily confirm that a stone is actually a diamond.
High-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds formed by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), techniques have improved to the point that these products are nearly indistinguishable from natural diamonds. In fact, synthetic diamond creation technology has improved so much that these products are nearly indistinguishable from natural diamonds without the help of Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy.
FT-IR spectroscopy produces an infrared absorption spectrum that represents a ﬁngerprint of the sample, with absorption peaks which correspond to the frequencies of vibrations between the bonds of the atoms making up the material. Infrared spectroscopy can often detect the presence or absence of trace compounds that may be due to either the natural or synthetic process that created a specific gemstone. FT-IR is one of the ways to detect Type IIa diamonds, which have almost no nitrogen impurity peaks in the infrared spectrum. (FT-IR is also useful in classifying different types of jade, rubies, and sapphires.)
If you are interested learning more about diamond analysis by FT-IR spectroscopy, read the Analysis of Diamonds by FT-IR Spectroscopy application note. If you want to learn more about FT-IR spectroscopy, we have many free resources on our website. Just visit our online FTIR Spectroscopy Academy for videos, white papers, application notes, and infographics about various FTIR applications, FAQs, basic education, and sample handling techniques.
If you are thinking about buying diamonds for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, you’ll have to decide if both your love and your wallet are worthy of a natural diamond or a synthetic diamond. The Venus — being a colorless D Type IIa diamond, attributed to only the top one to two per cent of diamonds in the world — will command a record-breaking price. So you may want to stick with diamonds available at your local jewelry store.