The clarity of a diamond is determined by its quantity of inclusions and blemishes. Because diamonds are produced as a result of carbon’s exposure to the heat and pressure deep inside the earth, some damage is bound to occur. Damage on the inside of the diamond is called an inclusion, where damage on the surface of the diamond is called a blemish. A diamond’s clarity is graded then by its number of imperfections, the size of them, their relief, nature, and position. How they impact the stone’s appearance factors into a diamond’s grade. 

Inclusions are caused during the formation of a diamond. Crystals get trapped inside of the diamond, and as they grow, the diamond’s atomic structure can be compromised. The less inclusions and blemishes a diamond has, the more it is worth. The growth of a diamond takes billions of years, so as one might imagine, it is extremely rare that they are mined in perfect condition. However, to the naked eye, these imperfections are often invisible. On the other hand, blemishes can be caused both by natural conditions and human interaction with the diamond. It is more often than a diamond’s blemish is caused by its external environment during the cutting and polishing stages than by natural forces during its formation. External flaws include scratches, extra facets, fracture, fingerprints, and nicks, as well as indents and carbon marks from natural causes. 

As mentioned, a diamond’s clarity has five determining factors, based on its inclusions and blemishes. The first determining factor for the clarity grade of a diamond is the size of the imperfections. Overall, the bigger an inclusion or blemish, the lower score a diamond will earn on the clarity scale. This size of an imperfection is evaluated relative to the size of the stone, meaning a bigger imperfection on a smaller stone will have a greater impact. This can also impact the durability of the diamond. 

The nature of an inclusion is another determining factor of a diamond’s clarity, which refers to the depth of the inclusion or blemish relative to the size of the diamond. 

The number of inclusions is the third factor on which a diamond’s clarity is graded; they are judged based on their numerical occurrence as well as their visibility. 

The location of imperfections also plays a role in a diamond’s clarity grade. The closer an inclusion to the center of a diamond, the more significantly the diamond is affected by it, thereby lowering its clarity grade. Inclusions close to the girdle are also problematic, though they are harder to see. If they are too close to the surface, the risk of damage increases. As well, inclusions close to the pavilion tend to affect the diamond’s ability to reflect light and can even act as mirrors, which is not ideal for a diamond’s brilliance. 

When a diamond has characteristics that contrast with the the host diamond, that is called its relief. A diamond’s relief impacts its clarity grade. Depending on how much the relief is noticeable, which can include color differentiation, its grade is thereby determined. 

Diamond clarity has six grades, eleven grades in total including the subgrades. The first is Flawless (FL), which means the diamond has no inclusions or blemishes at 10x magnification. This is extremely rare. The second grade is Internally Flawless (IF). An Internally Flawless diamond has no inclusions at 10x magnification, and only miniscule surface imperfections, or blemishes. A Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS) diamond has tiny inclusions that are hard to spot with 10x magnification. This category has subcategories as well. VVS1 diamonds have a higher clarity than VVS2 diamonds. Next on the clarity scale is Very Slightly Included (VS) diamonds, which have small inclusions that range from difficult to fairly easy to see under 10x magnification. Sometimes, they are even visible with no magnification. This category also has two subcategories: VS1 and VS2. 

The fifth clarity grade is Slightly Included (SI), where the inclusions are noticeable, particularly to a trained grader, under 10x magnification. Two subgrades are included in this category, SI1 and SI2. The final grade is Included (I). Their inclusions are completely visible to a trained grader at 10x magnification, and are typically also easily visible without any magnification. Often, their inclusions can affect the diamond’s durability. There are three subgrades within this grade, include I1, I2, and I3. At I3 grade, inclusions are large and noticeable, affecting the diamond’s brilliance and at times putting the structure of the diamond in jeopardy. 


Found deep within the earth, not even the extreme dangers of mining can keep people away from the obscure chunks of precious stone that have been considered of utmost value since even the most ancient civilizations. These precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and jade, are an undying symbol of wealth and luxury.

Throughout history, jewels have been passed through the hands of royalty and socialites alike, sometimes even gifted from one to the next. Their monetary value reaches such exorbitant heights because of the demand of these jewels among the rich, royal, and famous. The following seven pieces of jewelry are some of the most expensive throughout all of time.

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive jewelry looked like? What kind of stone, what kind of piece (necklace? Ring? Bracelet?) What follows are the most expensive and rare jewelry pieces sold for.

1. The Hope Diamond — $250 million

close up image of the hope diamond

The most expensive and perhaps the most famous jewel in the world is a 45.52 carat blue stone known as the Hope Diamond. Experts think its unusual blue coloring comes from impurities caused by trace amounts of boron atoms.

Aside from its magical look, legends about the diamond’s bad luck and curses have created the opposite effect, making it a jewel that has been highly sought after throughout history. These legends may have been stimulated by the strange luminescence in the diamond. It’s trace amounts of boron leave the stone glowing a startling red when removed from all light sources.

Before it became the Hope Diamond, this stone was even larger than it is now. It is thought to have come from the Golkonda mines in Southern India. In 1666, it was bought by a French gem merchant named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and named the Tavernier Blue. Not too long after, it was cut and renamed the French Blue, under which name it was sold in 1668 by Tavernier to King Louis XIV.

In 1792, the French Blue was stolen from the royal family and cut again. The largest section of what remained of the diamond was named Hope upon its appearance in a London banking family’s gem collection in 1839. Their last name was Hope. From then it had several owners, but was eventually sold to a young socialite millionaire from Washington named Evelyn Walsh McLean in 1911. When she died (after undergoing many tragedies that are said to have come from the diamond’s curse), it was sold to another gem merchant named Harry Winston in 1949. He toured it for years before donating it to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in 1958, where it still remains on exhibit.

2. Peacock Brooch — $100 million

the peacock brooch by graff diamondsThe Peacock Brooch made by Graff Diamonds may not have quite as much history as the Hope Diamond, but its value is roughly $100 million nonetheless. It was first released in 2013 at the TEFAF art fair in the Netherlands. The brooch, shaped like a peacock with fanned feathers, contains a total of 120.81 carats and over 1,300 stones in white, yellow, blue, and orange diamonds. A very rare, dark blue pear-shaped diamond sits at the center, and alone totals 20.02 carats.

Graff Diamonds was founded in 1960 by Lawrence Graff. Now the company is a multinational jeweler whose home base is in London. All jewelry that comes from Graff follows the Kimberly Process, an ethics model that does not allow the buying or use diamonds that would perpetuate human suffering or conflict. Graff has a number of other pricey jewels on the market, including the Wittelsback-Graff Diamond valued at $80 million and the Graff Pink valued at $46.2 million.

The whereabouts and ownership of the Peacock Brooch are not public at this time.

3.Pink Star — $71.2 million

image of the pink star diamond ring
The Pink Star diamond is 59.6 carats, though it was originally cut from a 132.5 carat rough diamond. It was mined by a renowned, international corporation of diamond miners, De Beers, in 1999 from South Africa. After 20 months of cutting, the Pink Star took its current shape. The Gemology Institute of America has graded this stone as the largest Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid pink diamond known to this day.

Before it became the Pink Star, this rare gem was known as the Steinmetz Pink, where it was displayed at the Smithsonian Institute as part of its exhibit, “The Splendor of Diamonds.” In 2017, it was auctioned at $71.2 million to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises in Hong Kong.

4. Oppenheimer Blue – $57.5 million

picture of the diamond called Oppenheimer BlueNamed after Phillip Oppenheimer, the Oppenheimer Blue weighs 14.62 carats. It is a vivid blue diamond with an emerald cut. This diamond holds nearly the same record as the Pink Star: it has been named the largest Fancy Vivid blue diamond by the Gemological Institute of America. In 2016, it auctioned at $57.5 million to a party not released to the public.

The history of the Oppenheimer diamond is largely a mystery, other than the fact that it was mined somewhere in South Africa, likely sometime in the early 20th century. Further details are unknown because it is thought to have come from one of De Beers’ mines, and that company has closed its archives.

What is known is the history of the man whose name the diamond has taken. The Oppenheimer family has been renowned in the diamond business for more than a century. The diamond was named specifically for Sir Phillip Oppenheimer, who acquired the stone as a gift for his wife, though details about when that happened and how much was paid are also not known. He died in 1995, and the first transaction with this diamond took place in 1999. At this time, it weighed slightly more, at 14.71 carats.

5. L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace – $55 million

L’Incomparable Diamond displayedSet on a bed of 18k gold are 407.48 carats of diamonds that make up the L’Incomparable Diamond necklace. At its center is the largest Internally Flawless yellow diamond known, which is about the size of an egg. It is currently the most valuable necklace in the world, owned by Mouawad, a Swiss and Emirati luxury goods company, being sold for $55 million dollars as of 2013.

The large diamond at the center of the necklace has a bit an unusual history. A young girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo discovered it randomly in a pile of mining rubble roughly 30 years ago.

6. Blue Moon of Josephine – $48.4 million

This diamond was bought in 2014 by the convicted-felon fugitive Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung. He bought it for his seven-year-old daughter Josephine, after whom he named the stone. It is 12.03 carats and cost the felon $48.4 million, the most per carat a diamond of any color has ever sold for.

The Blue Moon of Josephine, discovered in 2014, is another diamond from the mines of South Africa. With a rare crystal blue color, when it was found in the rough by Petra Diamonds, it was 29.6 carats and hard to miss. Its current owner Lau became a felon that same year for bribing a former minister in Macau. He is not serving time in jail, and remains a fugitive, because Macau and Hong Kong do not have an extradition agreement.

7. The Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace – $27.4 million

Jadeite necklace jewelryNow owned by the Cartier Collection, this famous piece of jade jewelry made of 27 graduated jadeite beads, with a clasp of 18k yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds, has a notable history in royalty. Its previous owner, American socialite and heiress Barbara Hutton, was gifted the necklace by her father as a wedding gift for her marriage to Georgian Prince Alexis Mdivani in 1933. The necklace was specifically designed for Hutton and remained in the family for five decades, until Hutton’s death in 1979. Barbara Hutton was heiress to the retail tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth, which made her one of the wealthiest women in the world by age 21.

The necklace itself is an exceptional piece of jewelry due to the fact that such high quality jade usually can not yield beads more than 10mm in diameter due to the scarcity of jadeite boulders. With each bead of the necklace measuring over 15mm in diameter and all beads carved from the same boulder, the Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite necklace is a true rarity, hence its price.

Tennis bracelets have enjoyed enduring popularity for over twenty years. Viewed as an investment piece, they are popular amongst celebrities and royalty alike. Our definitive guide will help you understand what a tennis bracelet is, what to look for when purchasing one, as well as when and where to purchase the perfect diamond tennis bracelet.

What is a Tennis Bracelet?

A tennis bracelet is a flexible bracelet, usually made with platinum or gold metal featuring one or multiple rows of diamonds.

Origin Story: Why is it Called a ‘Tennis Bracelet?’

chris evert why is it called tennis bracelet illustration

The name came about in 1987 when tennis player Chris Evert lost a diamond bracelet during a match in the US Open. The match was postponed while she searched for her bracelet, a search that was televised around the world sparking a desire for the distinctive diamond bracelets which became known as ‘tennis bracelets’.

What to Look For In A Tennis Bracelet

Most designs contain a single row (or loop) of diamonds, but some styles include two or three rows of stones. The diamond cut is usually round, but occasionally emerald or princess cuts are used.

Different Types of Settings

There are three different types of settings to choose from: prong, channel and bezel. Each type of setting does its jobs of holding the diamonds securely in place on the bracelet, but as each setting differs slightly, the overall look and feel of a bracelet changes based on how the stone is held.

Does it really matter which setting is used? No–this something that comes down to personal preference. Here are the main types of settings:


In this setting, 3 or 4 prongs per diamond are used to hold the stone in place. It’s a popular choice as it is secure, but allows as much light as possible to pass through the diamond.


Two thin rows of metal hold the stone on either side (with the stones in the middle), and the diamonds fit tightly together.

Bezel (or Half Bezel)

Metal surrounds each of the stones. In the case of a half bezel, metal is only connected to two sides of the stone.

The Different Types of Metal

There are four main metal types and colors that are used for tennis bracelets: platinum, white gold, yellow gold and rose gold.

In choosing the type of material your bracelet is made from, the biggest considerations are color  and budget. Platinum–the most expensive of the metals–is silver in color, but that’s where the similarities to silver, the metal, end. Unlike silver, platinum is much more durable. It resists scratches and corrosion. It is also rarer, which is why it can be so pricey.

Yellow gold, rose gold and white gold are simply combinations of pure gold mixed with other metal alloys. In the case of rose gold, copper is used and mixed with yellow gold to give it its pink and rosy hue. In white gold,  gold is mixed with a metal like silver or nickel. Yellow gold is, similarly, pure gold mixed with metals like zinc or copper (but not enough to change its color, as with rose gold).

Choosing a metal is usually done in balancing style preferences with budget considerations.

When you see a number beside the type of gold, like 18kt gold, that indicates how much pure gold is used in the mixture of metals. The amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry is measured in karats, which is based on 24 parts per piece of jewelry.

For instance:

18kt gold means that 18 parts of 24 are pure gold (the rest of the weight is made up of the different metals discussed above). 18/24 = .75, or 75% gold.

Tennis Bracelet Stone: Diamonds and Others

There are often upwards of 50 small diamonds set in a tennis bracelet. The number of stones, as well as their small size, make certification impossible. This is why buying a tennis bracelet from a jeweler with a stellar reputation is so important.

When you evaluate the diamonds in the bracelet yourself, look for brilliance (or sparkle). The diamonds  should look clean–with no noticeable blemishes–and they should be white in color, not yellow.

For those who want the timeless style of a tennis bracelet, but cannot afford a several thousand-dollar piece, there are bracelets available that contain all the grace and elegance of a real tennis bracelet using simulated diamonds. A simulated diamond is a clear stone–usually cubic zirconia or moissanite, sometimes quartz–that has a similar appearance to diamonds, but different physical and chemical makeup.

Sizing Your Bracelet

A tennis bracelet should be loose enough that it can move freely, but not so loose that it can slide off. The general rule is that when you can fit one finger between the bracelet and your wrist, it is the perfect fit. It is typically worn on the left-wrist as most people are right-handed, which means that the bracelet is subject to less wear and tear.

The best way to measure is by wrapping a tape measure loosely around the person’s wrist (this can also be done with string or ribbon and measured against a ruler afterward.) If it is a surprise gift purchase, then look at the average size and go from there. 7 – 7.5 Inches is the most popular bracelet size for women.

When to Buy a Tennis Bracelet

lady wearing a tennis bracelet

Tennis bracelets are both a statement piece that draws attention and a stylish classic that will be passed on to future generations. This makes them a perfect gift to mark important milestones and annual celebrations in life.

Important Milestones

Graduation, from high school, college or medical school to celebrate a significant achievement

Wedding Day gift, from a husband to his bride to mark the start of an exciting journey

Birth of a baby, a much-anticipated event, a tennis bracelet is often given to honor the mother

Annual Celebrations

Birthdays, to mark a special day in the life of someone you love

Anniversaries, celebrating significant milestones such as a 10th wedding anniversary

Important Holidays, such as Christmas or Hanukkah

Valentine’s Day, let her know how you feel with a diamond tennis bracelet

Mother’s Day, moms are at the heart of every family, and a carefully chosen piece of jewelry lets her know how much you appreciate her

Where To Purchase A Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Diamond tennis bracelets are a stylish, timeless addition to any jewelry collection which is why they are often given for anniversaries, holidays and important milestones. Take time to have a look at the different types of tennis bracelets so that you can find the style and setting that you like best.