They've been celebrated by Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and many others, and it will be a long time before they are usurped by any other gem when it comes to quality and prestige.
While the uninitiated may not know a rare gem from a cubic zirconia, anyone who knows anything about these gems can tell the difference between a quality gem and a poor quality one at a glance.
Here are the things you should know before making a purchase.
Color When it comes to buying diamonds, experts will tell you that there are four important things to look at.
The 4 C's, which are called: color, cut, clarity, and carat.
Let's start with color, which is one of the first things even someone who knows little about jewelry will notice.
It's important to have realistic expectations.
While a colorless jewel is the most sought after, it is extremely rare and you aren't likely to come across one in your search.
Therefore, you should be looking to minimize tint as much as possible.
Clarity Did you know that the overwhelming majority of diamonds don't even make it to jewelry? Most of them are sold off to industry, where they are used for their hardness properties in everything from CD players to manufacturing drills.
Those that are deemed worthy of selling for jewelry are already going to meet a certain minimum standard when it comes to clarity, but you're not going to find one that is completely flawless.
Therefore, experts grade them according to a scale based on several characteristics.
You should familiarize yourself with both the grades and the characteristics if you want to make an informed choice.
Cut The basics behind a cut are purely aesthetic, with many jewelry store owners even creating specialized custom cuts to go along with a marketing campaign.
Still, that doesn't mean that the concept of cut is entirely subjective.
Depending on how diamonds are cut, it can have a dramatic effect on their brilliance.
The way the light flashes off the jewel plays a major role in how it is perceived and that has a lot to do with its shape.
Carat The "carat" is merely a measurement of weight when it comes to diamonds and other jewels.
You don't have to be as concerned with this as you would when buying gold, as these jewels are not combined with other materials to fill out a hardness specification.
Diamonds are hard enough on their own.