This week I spent my days at the Gemological Association in London, participating in their accredited diamond grading course.
The course was really interesting. It was practical and involved loads of diamonds! I studied well over 100 stones myself and also learnt about many more wonderful gems.
Below is some of the equipment used to inspect diamonds. A x10 loop, stone tweezers and a stone cloth. It's really important that all diamonds are super clean and free from dust and hair as these can look like inclusions.
One of my favourite parts of the course was learning about 'uncut' diamonds and how the gem looks in its raw state. They had some great examples - my favourite is below. An Octohedron diamond still in the rock that it travel to the surface in.
Whilst learning about uncut stones we discussed The Kimberley Process - the world's efforts to stop the flow of conflict diamonds into the market. Responsible retailers must understand this battle in order to help customers buy ethically sourced diamonds.
The week has been intense and, of course, finished with an exam! I had to examine 14 stones - some 'fakes' and the rest 'real' or 'treated'. If I missed a fake it's an automatic fail.
I think the exam went well so I'm feeling hopeful. It's now a six week wait to find out if I passed!