The process of selecting a diamond may seem overwhelming. But knowing the four C’s – Carat, Color, Clarity, Cut – will help you understand the characteristics of a diamond and make a perfect diamond purchase.
One carat equals to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. Carat weight is the prime factor that determines the weight of a diamond. Larger diamonds are undoubtedly costlier. Measuring carats makes expressing diamond weight easier as compared to milligrams. Instead of giving three labels to diamonds: 200, 211 and 220 milligrams, utilizing the carat measurement offers one category which is easier for the consumer to understand and compare.
Keep in mind, a higher carat weight does not necessarily give you a larger looking diamond. The cut of the diamond is a large factor in the appearance of the diamond’s size. Large diamonds are rare and are preferred over smaller diamonds of the same quality. The price of a one-carat solitaire diamond ring is more than a ring with smaller diamonds making up the same carat weight. Diamond comparison is not effective until you compare the diamonds of similar features and qualities. When comparing the value of different diamond, divide the cost of each diamond by the carat weight to determine its price per carat.
When the jeweler refers to the color of the diamond, he is speaking to the presence or absence of the diamond’s color. The color of a diamond is the result of a diamond’s composition and does not change with time. Colorless diamonds allow light to travel through them as compared to colored diamonds. Therefore, colorless diamonds emit more fire and sparkle. The whiter the diamond, the higher value it will have.
When grading the color of diamonds, jewelers refer to the GIA color scale. The scale runs from a colorless D grade through a darker Z grade, which can be yellow or even brown. Diamonds graded from D through F are amongst the most desirable and valuable stones. These diamonds are a delight for diamond lovers. Nevertheless, if you have a smaller budget, you can still find good quality diamonds within the lower grades beyond F.
Consider the setting of the diamond before choosing the grade of a diamond. If the setting for your diamond is platinum or white gold, go for higher color grades. If your setting is yellow gold, a slightly lower grade diamond can also look fabulous. While you will find faint yellow hints in the diamonds that are graded from J to M, the color can be camouflaged by choosing the right setting for the stone. Many people prefer the warm glow given by low color diamonds.
Fluorescence is found in diamonds when exposed to ultraviolet light with long waves. Under most lighting conditions, this effect cannot be seen by the naked eye. Some people prefer diamonds without this effect, while others look for it. It is all about the aesthetics.
The characteristics of a diamond, including the blemishes and inclusions is referred to as a diamond’s clarity. Diamonds are not produced in sterile laboratory, rather they occur naturally. If you consider the pressure when a diamond is created, you will not be surprised to learn that most diamonds are not free of flaws.
Typically diamonds have two flaws – blemishes and inclusions. Inclusions are naturally occurring internal flaws that are found in diamonds including cracks, air bubbles, and minerals. Blemishes, however are man made and occur during the cutting process. The diamonds that have less blemishes and inclusions are considered more valuable.
Clarity is based on grades given to diamonds under loupe magnification. These grades vary from ones that do not have blemishes or inclusions to those that have many. There are different grades given to a diamond such as F, IF, VVS1-VVS2, SI1-SI2 and I1-I2-I3. A diamond’s clarity grade is proof of the identity of the diamond.
No two diamonds are alike and the GIA certificate provides an individual inclusion plot, which ensures the worth of the diamond you are planning to buy. This gives you the assurance that the diamond you are purchasing is the one you have paid for. If you are uncertain about what clarity grade to choose, flawless is the best.
Diamonds that are VS and VVS grades are wonderful in terms of appearance and value. A less expensive investment would be SI1 and SI2, where inclusions will not be seen by the naked eye.
People often confuse diamond shape with diamond cut. The shape of the diamond is the outward appearance. When the diamond jewelers use the word cut, they are referring to reflective qualities of the diamond not their shape. Quality of diamond cut is a crucial part of 4Cs of diamonds. A great cut provides brilliance to the diamond. Finish and angles of all the diamonds lets you determine the diamond’s ability to handle light that results in its brilliance.