“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” once said Marilyn Monroe. She was right, but she could have been more precise and specified De Beers diamonds, a name that in itself embodies excellence and craftsmanship.
De Beers was established in 1888 after a British adventurer bought the land where South Africa’s first diamonds were found. More than 130 years later, the expert group pursues its mission of bringing a natural miracle to light.
Predating dinosaurs, the precious stones are truly of miraculous origins: they formed naturally during the Earth’s earliest tectonic shifts. They are made of carbon—the hardest known mineral—organized into a crystalline lattice structure. Of particular interest is the fact that less than 1% of the world’s diamonds are worthy of becoming De Beers Forevermark-inscribed diamonds. While this signature inscription certifies that the gem is beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced, the name Forevermark is also a nod to De Beers’ revolutionary “A diamond is forever.”
“The now iconic ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ line was introduced in 1947, says Charles Stanley, president, De Beers Brands North America. It changed the way the world felt about diamonds and remains the central, defining principle of our brand. It extends from the feelings that are captured in our diamond jewelry designs and passed along to future generations to the contemporary vows of love and commitment we celebrate. It also encompasses our pledge to contribute to a brighter Forever through our actions.”
PRIDE AND PROVENANCE
At the core of De Beers are diamonds mined in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Canada according to the highest sustainability standards. Back in 2005, the company launched its Best Practice Principles for the whole diamond industry to uphold. Today, its Building Forever 2030 Goals go even further with 12 precise objectives and 4 clear pillars.
“These pillars include leading ethical practices, partnering for thriving communities, protecting the natural world, and accelerating equal opportunity. As the world’s leading diamond company, and in partnership with the countries where we operate, it’s our responsibility to protect the natural world and improve the lives of people along a diamond’s journey. Building Forever is our blueprint for creating a positive and sustainable impact that will endure well beyond the discovery of our last diamond—it’s at the heart of everything we do,” says Stanley.
Once liberated from the depths of the earth, diamonds continue their incredible voyage. In their rough form, each is assessed by experienced sorters. Colour, shape, and size are among the characteristics that they evaluate to ascertain their potential. This is the first step in a very long and exacting selection process.
Having been separated from lesser gems, the chosen diamonds are brought to life through cutting, one of the famous four Cs, the main criteria that are used to grade diamonds. Then comes polishing, which brings out two other Cs: colour and clarity. Incidentally, cutting and polishing are meant to magnify a diamond’s beauty, not its carat weight, the fourth C.
“The four Cs are a great starting point when searching for your perfect diamond,” explains Stacy Nordlund, director of education at De Beers North America. However, there are additional criteria that aren’t included on a grading report, such as the transparency of the diamond and the effects of placement of clarity characteristics that can greatly affect the light performance and durability of the diamond and should be carefully considered. At De Beers Forevermark, we look at all of these things and more when individually selecting diamonds for our jewelry collections.
“That being said, of the four Cs, cut could arguably be considered the most important. It takes patience, skill, and experience for a diamond cutter to sculpt a perfectly proportioned diamond. Inaccuracy affects its refraction (its internal light), and this can make all the difference between a beautiful diamond with superior light performance or one cut for weight retention, which means a larger but less beautiful diamond.”
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Once polished, diamonds are sent to the De Beers Group Institute of Diamonds where gemologists grade them and verify that each one is truly worthy to carry the De Beers Forevermark inscription. That process comprises a minimum of 17 checks and counterchecks. Experts use sophisticated equipment to scan the gems for authenticity, weight, and symmetry, and their naked eyes for colour categorization and inclusions (flaws) that would compromise their brilliance.
At last, the De Beers Forevermark diamonds are ready for consumers! But which ones are the most popular?
“Historically, the round brilliant diamond, a timeless choice that will never go out of style, is the most popular shape,” says Nordlund. “While it has accounted for as much as 90% of engagement rings in years past, today’s couples want something unique, and fancy shapes (square, cushion, oval, and heart) from our exclusive De Beers Forevermark’s Black Label Collection are coveted. These diamonds feature perfect proportions of the facets with a symmetrical heart-and-arrow pattern that makes them sparkle like no other.”
Loose diamonds can be set in a piece of jewelry of one’s choosing or in a finished piece of jewelry sold through an authorized jeweller, but whatever one’s choice, De Beers Forevermark diamonds are always forever!