LEARN ABOUT THE 4CS
The 4Cs of diamond quality is a language jewelers everywhere use to describe the attributes of a diamond, that when taken together, help to determine its overall quality. Quality is ultimately tied to price, so it’s crucial that you learn the 4Cs so that you understand what you’re buying:
Why the 4Cs matter
When the diamond 4Cs were introduced in the mid-20th century, for the first time ever the world had a universal standard for judging the quality of a diamond and a transparent way of determining its value. The 4Cs also became a tool for people to understand why they might want to buy one diamond over another, when it was often hard to discern differences between two different diamonds with the naked eye
Diamond Carat Size
1- carat size is the unit of measurement used to indicate the weight of a diamond. Since 1913 carat weight has been measured compared to the metric system with one carat equaling 0.2 grams. One carat weighs 1/5 of a gram and is divided into 100 points, so a diamond weighing 1.07 ct. is referred to as "one carat and seven points."
There is no linear link between the weight of the diamond (carat) and its price. As most rough diamonds that are mined are either too small or have an inferior quality to produce diamonds that are used in the jewelry market it can take up to one million rough diamonds to produce one single one carat diamond. Due to the rarity of larger , high quality diamonds a one carat diamond can often by 4 to 6 times the price of a half carat diamond.
2- Clarity refers to the presence of imperfections (usually natural) in a diamond. All diamonds contain some degree of imperfection, and are graded using a diamond clarity scale that runs from FL (meaning flawless) to I (meaning easily visible imperfections).
It has an impact on the resulting brilliance and shine of diamonds as well as the overall physical appearance. Several imperfections can also be found in diamonds and this includes specks and surface defects. Some of these imperfections naturally occur while some occur during the cutting procedure. As a matter of fact, a completely flawless diamond is extremely rare and obviously expensive.
Diamond clarity is expressed in the following terms:
Common inclusions and blemishes, as they are represented on the GIA diamond plot, are illustrated below. GIA uses the color green for surface blemishes, and red for internal inclusions. Sometimes the nature of the inclusion (if it reaches the surface, for example) calls for the use of both green and red. The color black is used to convey extra facets.
GIA Inclusion Plotting Symbols
3- The diamond colour has a big impact on its appearance. Due to the many prismatic facets a colourless diamond will have much more "fire" ( will reflect more light ) . If colour is present in the diamond this ability to reflect light will be reduced.
This is the main reason why the most valuable diamonds have little to no detectable colour.
Diamond are graded under very precise viewing conditions and often compared to diamond of a known color grade to ensure very few differences within a color grade.
A diamond absent of color is grade ‘D’ and the more color that is present in the diamond, the further along the alphabet it’s grade travels. Diamond with grade ‘Z’ will have a light yellow or brown tint, and therefore will not reflect light as well as a colorless diamond.
Fancy colored diamond, although most are irradiated and color enhanced, do not follow this grading scale, and often are more valuable because when naturally colored they are extremely rare. The most common color grades are G through I, as they are more abundant in nature, and much more affordable.
Although diamonds of these grades does have a hint of color, it generally isn’t visible to the naked and untrained eye.
Likewise, diamond graded J through M may have a very faint hue of yellow, but with the right jewelry piece and diamond cut, the color may look less obvious (although it barely is to begin with). White gold or platinum settings usually require higher grade color diamond, whereas a yellow gold setting takes away from the yellow tint of a lower grade diamond.
Diamond Colour Chart
The diamond colour scale begins at D (colourless) and ends at Z (light yellow)
D and E Colours are considered 'Exceptional White + ( D) and Exceptional White ( E). To the naked eye, any colour above (I ) Colour can be considered Colourless. I and J Colours carry a slight trace of colour ( generally a slight yellowish tint ).
Any colour below J has a Clear trace of colour ( a non negligible yellow tint ).
It is imperative to have comparison brilliants in order to grade colours visually. It is important to have the low ( or high ) end of each colour, in order to match the diamond in question to its right colour. It is also important to compare diamonds under 'white light' and against white background, in order to be accurate.
4- the diamond cut that determines the stone's facets, proportions and its ability to reflect light. An expertly cut diamond will have a high brilliance or sparkle. Even if the other characteristics are near perfect a poor cut can result in a dull , shineless diamond. The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than on any other factor.
Cut does not only refer to the diamonds shape but to the proportions, symmetry and polish of the diamond.
The Diamond Cut Has Three Primary Effects On The Diamonds Appearance:
When light shines on a diamond approximately 20% immediately reflects off the surface. The rest enter the diamond and depending on the cut is reflected back to the surface and creates the brilliance, fire or sparkle. With poorly cut diamonds the lights leaves the diamond at the bottom.
Polish And SymmetryPolish and symmetry are two important aspects of the diamond cut. The polish describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, and the symmetry refers to alignment of the facets. With poor polish, the surface of a facet can become dull, and may create blurred or dulled sparkle.
It may also constantly look like it needs to be cleaned. With poor symmetry, light can be misdirected as it enters and exits the diamond.