Diamond Education

The 4 C's

Diamond Anatomy

Cut Clarity Color & Carat

Quality of Individual Diamond

What goes into the pricing equation for Natural Diamonds, Cut + Clarity + Color + Carat = Quality of the Diamond and directly impacts the pricing of each diamond.

Understanding the 4 C’s of Diamonds Shopping

 

Clarity

 

Diamond Clarity Refers to the Absence of Inclusions and Blemishes.

The assessment of small imperfections on the surface and internally is Clarity. The surface flaws are called blemishes while the internal defects are known as inclusions.  Diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades.

 

Diamond Clarity Descriptions
  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification,  About 6% of all diamond sales are FL or IF graded Diamonds.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification. About 6% of all diamond sales are FL or IF graded Diamonds.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor.  Majority of Diamond Engagement Ring center stones sold are either VS1, VS2 or SI1.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.  Majority of Diamond Engagement Ring center stones sold are either VS1, VS2 or SI1.
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.

Cut

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.

Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

A diamond’s cut is crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.

To determine the cut grade of the standard round brilliant diamond – the shape that dominates the majority of diamond jewelry – GIA calculates the proportions of those facets that influence the diamond’s face-up appearance. These proportions allow GIA to evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects such as:

  • Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
  • Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
  • Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Diamond Cut Descriptions
  • Excellent – This rare cut represents roughly the top 3% of diamond cut quality. It reflects most light that enters the diamond.
  • Very Good – This cut represents roughly the top 15% of diamond cut quality. It reflects nearly as much light as the Excellent cut, but for a lower price.
  • Good – This cut represents roughly the top 25% of diamond cut quality. It reflects most light that enters, but not as much as a Very Good cut grade.
  • Fair/Poor – Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond cut quality. These diamonds tend to appear dull or glassy.   Generally our team will steer customers away from diamonds graded as such.

 

Color

GIA grades diamonds on a scale of D (colorless) through Z (light color). All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of color. True fancy colored diamonds (such as yellows, pinks, and blues) are graded on a separate color scale.  If comparing Diamond Certificates, GIA is the standard, while many other jewelers will sell you lab graded diamonds with certificates not from GIA, typically those are not graded on the same level as GIA graded diamonds.  When buying from a mall store, just be aware many times they will say their diamonds are certified – if not GIA certified may not be worth the same as a Diamond with a GIA Certificate.

Diamond Color Descriptions

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Carat (Size)

Diamond Carat Weight Measures a Diamond’s Apparent Size.  Often this C is misunderstood, as “size”.   When comparing diamond carat “sizes”, how a diamond looks, one must take into consideration how the diamond was cut.  A high-carat diamond with a poor cut make look smaller, due to a deeper cut, than a diamond with a smaller carat weight and a better cut.  Review our buying tips concerning diamond carat size chart and our expert tips to help you choose the best diamond carat weight for your desires.

Buying Tips – To maximize your budget:  “Buy Shy”, Select a diamond with carat weight slightly below the whole and half carat sizes.  Example, instead of a 2 carat diamond, consider purchasing a 1.9 carat diamond.  Visually, there’s little difference between a 0.99 carat diamond and one that weighs a full carat. But the price differences between the two can be significant.

Diamond Sizing Descriptions

Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’