LEARN ALL ABOUT THE 4Cs
All diamonds are not created equal. Educating yourself before shopping for a diamond will help you select a diamond that best suits your personal budget and style.
Diamonds are graded by "The 4Cs" to compare their quality. This grading system rates four characteristics of a diamond: cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Cut refers to the reflective qualities of a diamond. A diamond’s cut is different than its shape, which refers to the outward appearance.
Cut provides brilliance to the diamond, making it the most important of the 4Cs of diamonds.
The cut plays an important role in determing a diamond's brilliance. A good cut allows light to travel through it easily, adding to its sparkle. Light can leak out through the bottom or side of a diamond that is not cut properly, cutting down its brilliance.
The ideal diamond cut has maximum brilliance, creating fire or dispersion. Fair and poor quality diamonds reflect very little proportion of light that enters them. These diamonds are cut in order to increase carat weight above all the other considerations.
Color refers to both the absence and presence of color in the diamond. Color in a diamond is the result of a diamond’s composition and does not change.
Colorless diamonds allow light to travel through them and emit more fire and sparkle. A diamond with color can block light from travelling through it. The less color, the rarer the stone is.
Jewelers grade the color of diamonds from D for the colorless diamonds to Z as traces of light yellow or brown are found in the diamond. Diamonds ranking between D and F are considered the most desirable and valuable.
Fancy colored diamonds are highly sought after due to the rarity of colored stones. Unlike white diamonds, the more color the stone has the rarer it is.
Diamond clarity refers to the blemishes and inclusions of a diamond. As diamonds are made in nature, most are not free of flaws. Most inclusions are visible only under magnification of the loupe of a jeweler.
There are usually two kinds of flaws found in diamonds – inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are naturally occurring internal flaws that include cracks, air bubbles, and mineral deposits. Most blemishes occur at the time of cutting.
The fewer inclusions in a diamond, the better brilliance and clarity it has. Fewer inclusions also mean higher prices.
Diamonds that are VS and VVS grades are high in terms of appearance and value. Less expensive options include SI2 and SI1 where inclusions may not be seen by the naked eye.
A diamond’s weight is measured in carats. Every carat is divided into 100 points. A carat weight is not of any use without considering the other components of the 4Cs: clarity, color, and cut. Large diamonds are not very valuable if they lack purity, better grade color, and brilliance. Carat weight alone is a poor measure of a diamond's worth.
Remember high carat weight does not necessarily mean a larger looking diamond. Diamonds of the same weight can differ on a basis of other factors like cut that influences perceived size. Large diamonds may be more expensive by price per carat as they are rare and much in demand compared to small diamonds even of the same quality.