THE 4C’S OF DIAMONDS
CARATS ARE THE UNIT IN WHICH A DIAMOND IS WEIGHED
One carat is equal to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. Carat weight is the prime factor that determines the value of a diamond. Larger diamonds are undoubtedly costlier than smaller diamonds of equal quality. Using carats makes expressing diamond weight easier as compared to milligrams. Instead of giving three different labels to diamonds weighing 200 milligrams, 201 milligrams and 202 milligrams, a jeweler can simply refer to all three as one-carat diamonds. Carat weight offers a simpler method for fitting diamonds into the same category.
One should not forget that a high carat weight does not necessarily mean a visibly larger diamond. Even diamonds of the same weight can differ on a basis of other factors, especially with cuts that influence perceived size. Large diamonds are rare and much more in demand than smaller diamonds of the same quality. The price of a one-carat solitaire diamond ring is more than a ring with smaller diamonds that add up to the same carat weight. Comparing one diamond to another is not effective unless you compare diamonds that are similar in every other feature. When comparing the value of different diamonds, divide the cost of each diamond by its carat weight to find its price per carat. This will give you the cost of each diamond as though it was exactly one carat, allowing you to compare other factors to price.
BLEMISHES AND INCLUSIONS DEFINE THE QUALITY OF A DIAMOND
Diamond clarity regards the characteristics of a diamond, including any blemishes and inclusions. If you consider the pressure under which a diamond is grown, you will not be surprised to find that most diamonds are not entirely flawless.
There are two kinds of characteristics found in diamonds – blemishes and inclusions. Inclusions are naturally occurring internal flaws that are found in diamonds including fractures, air bubbles, or mineral growths. On the other hand, most blemishes occur during the cutting process. The diamonds that have less blemishes and inclusions are considered more valuable when compared to those that have more characteristics.
On a basis of clarity, grades are given to diamonds under loupe magnification. These grades vary from the ones that do not have blemishes or inclusions to those that do. There are different grades given to a diamond like F, IF, VVS1-VVS2, SI1-SI2 and I1-I2-I3. Diamond’s clarity grade is proof of the identity of the diamond.
GIA certificates consist of a diamond’s inclusion plot as two diamonds with the same grades can have very different characteristics. The plot of the GIA certificate ensures the worth of the diamond you are planning to buy. It gives assurance that the diamond you are receiving is the one you have paid for. If you are in a fix about what clarity grade you should choose, flawless is the best and rarest clarity grade.
Diamonds that are VVS (Very, Very Slightly included) and VS grades are great in terms of appearance and value. You can also invest in less expensive options such as SI (Slightly Included) diamonds where inclusions can still not be seen by the naked eye.
COLOR IS THE RESULT OF A DIAMOND’S CHEMICAL COMPOSITION
When a jeweler talks about the diamond’s color, he is referring to the absence or presence of color in the diamond. Color is a result of a diamond’s atomic composition and does not change with time. Colorless diamonds allow light to travel through them as compared to the colored diamonds. Colorless diamonds also emit more fire and sparkle. The environment and processes through which diamonds form are both critical in the resulting color. The most expensive diamonds come in fancy colors such as red or blue.
For grading the color of diamonds, jewelers refer to GIA’s color scale. Diamonds without a trace of color are rated D and the alphabetical rating drops down as low as Z for diamonds with traces of light yellow or brown color. Diamonds graded from D to F are amongst the most desirable and valuable. These diamonds are a delight for diamond lovers due to their rarity and unbeatable shine. Nevertheless, if you have a low budget, you can also find good diamonds with lower grades. These diamonds are not technically colorless but show no color to untrained eye. If a diamond becomes saturated with enough color to pass a rating of Z, it is considered to have fancy color and its value begins to rise again.
Consider the setting of a diamond before choosing the color grade that you want. If the setting for your diamond is platinum or white gold, go for color grades D through I to compliment the white color of the setting. If you want to get it fitted in yellow gold, slightly lower grade diamonds can also look great. While you will find a faint yellow tint in diamonds that are graded from J to M, the color can be camouflaged by choosing a complimentary yellow setting for the stone. Many people prefer the warm glow given by diamonds with low color ratings.
Fluorescence is found in diamonds while they are exposed to ultraviolet light such as sunshine. Under most lighting conditions, this effect will not be noticed without technical equipment. Some people would rather have diamonds without this effect while others specifically look for it. It is all about aesthetics and your personal preference.
A GREAT CUT PROVIDES BRILLIANCE TO THE DIAMOND
People often confuse diamond shape with diamond cut. The overall outline of a diamond refers to its shape. When diamond jewelers use the word “cut” they are referring to the facet arrangement crafted onto the diamond, not their shape. The quality of a diamond’s cut is crucial to how well it shines. A great cut provides brilliance to the diamond. The finish and facet angles on any diamond let you determine the diamond’s ability to handle light, which directly results in its brilliance. When a diamond has an excellent cut, light travels through it easily, adding to its spark. The light that passes through the diamond because of cut is alone responsible for making the diamond shine and increases its desirability. If a diamond is not cut properly, light that enters through the table facet leaks out from the bottom or sides, reducing its overall brilliance.
Using modern technology, gemologists have been able to calculate the exact angles for a shape and facet pattern to maximize brilliance. Many gemologists believe the best diamond cuts are made by following calculated formulas that allow the most amount of light to leave the diamond back out through the crown facets. The formula is in the proportions of the diamond, especially in the context of how depth compares to diameter. Every single facet must be at an exact angle to reflect light properly at another facet. If you are buying diamonds without GIA certificates, invest some time finding the knowledge to identify better cuts.
When every facet is directly and properly angled in conjunction with all other facets, the cut is considered “ideal”. The variation in proportion between a poorly cut stone and an ideal cut can be difficult for any casual observer to find. As cut is important, you can make use of different grading methods for determining the cut of a specific diamond. Selection of cut grade is based on a person’s preference. To select the best diamond, one needs to be acquainted with the different cut grades.
“Ideal” cuts allow for maximum brilliance and the exact table size of these diamonds work in the best possible way to create fire or dispersion. With ideal cut diamonds, you can be sure of having the finest return of money invested. The light performance is the best it can possibly be, and the shine will last for generations. This category is only for round shape diamonds. “Premium” cuts are also equivalent to ideal cuts in round diamonds, but their price is slightly lower.
“Very Good” diamond cuts reflect light very well, providing a great amount of brilliance to the diamonds. Diamonds with a “Good” cut reflect most of the light that passes through them. The proportions of these diamonds are outside the perfect range. Diamonds that fall under this category will allow you to save money without compromising on the size and quality of the diamond. “Fair” and “Poor” cut diamonds proportionally reflect very little light that enters. These diamonds are cut to keep carat weight as high as possible above all other considerations.