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Diamond Education

 

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THE 4Cs

The 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond.

  • Diamond Color
  • Diamond Clarity
  • Diamond Cut
  • Diamond Carat Weight

 

 

DIAMOND COLOR

Diamonds come in a variety of colors, some of them highly prized (pinks, blues, even yellow). However in a white diamond, the presence of a yellow tint will lower the price of a diamond. The less body color in a white diamond, the more true color it will reflect, and thus the greater its value. The 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.

 

 

DIAMOND CLARITY

Diamond Clarity Refers to the absence of inclusions & blemishes. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes.'

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.

  • Flawless (FL)
    No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
    No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • 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
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
    Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3)
    Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

 

 

 

DIAMOND CUT

Cut refers not to a diamond's shape (e.g. round, oval, pear, etc.) but to a diamond's proportions, symmetry and polish. The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than any other factor. Though extremely difficult to analyze and quantify, diamond cut has three primary effects on appearance: brilliance (the brightness created by the combination of all the white light reflections from the surface and the inside of a polished diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the visible spectrum, seen as flashes of color), and scintillation (the flashes of light and dark, or sparkle, when a diamond or light source is moved). When a diamond is fashioned from a rough stone, the cutter must balance optimal cut (and therefore appearance) against maximum yield (cutting the diamond to maintain as much carat weight from the rough stone as possible). Because many customers are willing to pay more for a larger, fair-cut cut diamond than for a slightly smaller, well-cut diamond, there is pressure on the cutter to sacrifice appearance for weight. This is why the Cut grade is so important; it allows the purchaser to identify those stones that were cut Fair to Poor in an effort to gain carat weight.
 
 
 

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

GIA's diamond cut grade also takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to its diameter, its girdle thickness (which affects its durability), the symmetry of its facet arrangement, and the quality of polish on those facets.

The GIA Diamond Cut Scale for standard round brilliant diamonds in the D-to-Z diamond color range contains 5 grades ranging from Excellent to Poor.

 

 

 

DIAMOND CARAT WEIGHT

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.'