The infamous Four C’s … four factors that affect the value of every diamond.
This is the easiest “C” to understand. All diamonds are weighed in carats. The are 100 points to a carat (just like pennies to a dollar). The “carat” originates from the carob seed, which was used by early gem traders as very small, uniform means of measurements for their precious commodities.
The most important thing to remember about clarity is that it is judged under 10x magnification. There are inclusions (characteristics inside the stone) and blemishes (imperfections on the outside of a stone). Very subtle differences under the microscope can have a big impact on clarity (and a diamond’s value).
- FL – Flawless – no inclusions or blemishes under 10x.
- IF – Internally Flawless – no inclusions and only minute blemishes under 10x.
- VVS1/VVS2 – Very, very slightly included – minute inclusions extremely difficult to locate under 10x.
- VS1/VS2 – Very slightly included – minor inclusions difficult to locate under 10x.
- SI1/SI2 – Slightly included – noticeable inclusions somewhat easy to locate under 10x.
- I1/I2/I3 – Imperfect – obvious inclusions apparent face-up to the naked eye. They may also affect the stones appearance and durability.
The G.I.A. Color Scale runs alphabetically from “D” to “Z.” The further down the alphabet, the more yellow, brown or gray in the body color of the diamond.
There are also rare, “fancy” colored diamonds. They include intense yellow (beyond “Z”), blue, pink, and champagne. Even rarer are diamonds of green and red.
There are two aspects to the cut of a diamond. First of all, and most apparent, is the shape of the diamond. The most popular is the round, brilliant. Other brilliant cuts include pear shaped, marquise, oval, heart shape, trillion and princess cut. Emerald and baguette cuts are considered “step” cuts.
The other aspect is proportion. A well cut stone displays brilliance, fire and scintillation. Light that enters from the top of an ideal cut stone returns through the top. If a stone is too deep ( a “nail head”), light enters from the top but leaks out the side of the pavilion; too shallow (a “fish eye”), light enters from the top but exits through the bottom.
The term “ideal cut” is frequently tossed around in discussions about diamonds. There is absolutely no doubt that the beauty of a well-cut diamond by far exceeds that of one with a lesser cut.
However, as cautioned by William E. Boyajian the former president of the Gemological Institute of America (“The Loupe” – Summer 2001): “Above all, I hasten to advise all tradespeople and consumers not to assume there is–or ever will be–one “best-cut” in round brilliant diamonds. Research to date has shown that many different proportion combinations yield equally brilliant diamonds. The same may prove true for fire and scintillation. Scientific evidence notwithstanding, personal taste and appearance also must be taken into consideration by all parties seeking to fully understand and appreciate the subject of diamond cut.”
Confidence is the “Fifth C” to consider when you are ready to choose your diamond, see a reliable jeweler. We at Urban Jewelers are diamond experts and will be happy to explain the Four C’s to you. We will explain to you the difference between various qualities of diamonds and how these differences affect the price. Don’t expect to find any “bargains” in diamonds – quality has its price.
Urban Jewelers is an established jeweler prizing our good reputation. Because we know you are looking for quality when you are making one of your most important purchases please let us help you choose the best quality diamond.