Buying diamonds is not easy. Also for the ones who are buying it for the first time may not know what qualities and things to check when buying diamonds. In this guide we will give you the required information to properly evaluate diamonds quality and value to buy it with confidence. Once you read this complete diamond 4C's guide then you can use it for your advantages to buy a diamond engagement ring or wedding ring of your choice within your budget.
4Cs are the four major attributes that help in understanding the quality of a diamond. You’ve probably heard about the 4Cs of a diamond, and you may even know that it stands for diamond cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Let's take a closer look into the individual 4Cs: Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity – are the universal language of the diamond. Understanding this language will help you understand your diamond. We like to think that there are actually FIVE Cs. We believe that the Care of your diamond is just as important as the others.
Cut is the only diamond component not influenced by nature, and the quality of the cut reveals the diamond's natural sparkle, scintillation and overall brilliance. Of all the 4Cs, diamond cut has the greatest effect on a diamond’s beauty. In determining the quality of the cut, the diamond grader evaluates the cutter’s skill in the fashioning of the diamond. The more precise the diamond is cut, the more captivating the diamond is to the eye. The cut of a diamond greatly determines its brilliance. A cut grade is based on a collection of measurements and observations that determine the relationship between a diamond's light performance, dimensions and finish. Most gemologists consider cut the most important diamond characteristic. High quality diamonds are cut to strict proportions. As a result, they are extremely bright and beautiful. If the cut on a high-quality diamond is fair or poor, then the diamond lacks brilliance.
Determining a diamond's cut grade, goes beyond simple measurements of width and depth. Using a proportion analyzing device, a three-dimensional model is created to determine the diamond's proportions and angles. The relationships between the various dimensions greatly affect light's reaction once it enters and exits the diamond. Sophisticated computer software and hardware allows light tracing to measure the levels of brightness, fire and scintillation.
Polish and Symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. Polish grade describes the quality of the diamond's facet surface and symmetry grade refers to facet alignment. Diamonds with a poor polish are dull. Diamonds with poor symmetry leak light, which results in light rays escaping through the pavilion (lower half of the stone). Light is not reflected back to the viewer's eye, limiting a diamond's sparkle.
Per the GIA diamond system, diamond cuts are graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.
This is the factor that has the most effect on diamond price. The color of gem-quality diamonds occurs in many hues, and a slight difference in color can cause a huge difference in budget. Although naturally - diamonds come in various colors, the ideal "white" diamond is a colorless diamond. Most commonly, diamonds have delicate hints of yellow and brown, and the degree of appearance of yellow color in the diamond is measured by the color diamond chart.
The scale divides the color of the diamond into groups of shades, from D to Z. While D to F are the grades of colorless diamonds, S to Z are grades of diamonds with light yellow shades. It is important to note that the differences between the grades of color are very subtle, and determined by a professional examination of a trained eye, and they can lead to great differences in the pricing of the diamond.
Beyond the Z grade, lies a scale of fancy color grades for fancy color diamonds. This scaled starts with light color and ends with fancy dark color, according the type of color of the examined diamond. These colors are diversified: red, orange, green, brown, blue etc. and diamonds can include more than one color. While "white" diamonds get a higher grade as they possess less color, the fancy color diamonds get a higher grading as their colors are more vivid and have stronger tones of hues.
Clarity is a measure of the tiny natural imperfections - or lack thereof - that exist in most every diamond. Diamonds can have internal characteristics known as inclusions or external characteristics known as blemishes. Diamonds without inclusions or blemishes are rare; however, most characteristics can only be seen with magnification.
Diamonds are created in a long and complex process, occurring in the depth of the earth. During this process, most of the diamonds get natural "birthmarks". Diamonds can have internal characteristics known as inclusions or external characteristics known as blemishes. Both inclusions and blemishes, also known as feathers or clouds.
Those common irregularities are the result of the penetration of other minerals than Carbon into the diamond's structure. The foreign minerals are locked inside the diamond and damage the reflection of light within the diamond. As a diamond lacks these irregularities, it's clarity grade is higher.
The clarity grading is performed by a trained professional by using a 10X magnification with a good lighting. The clarity scale varies from Flawless to I-3 (included). The less imperfections seen with 10X magnification, the more rare and valuable is the graded diamond. This chart below grades clarity, from VVS to I clarity.
The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into several categories and grades. The clarity categories and grades are:
|FL||Flawless||Free from all inclusions or blemishes.|
|IF||Internally Flawless||No inclusions visible at 10x magnification|
|VVS1||Very Very Small inclusion #1||Inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x.|
|VVS2||Very Very Small inclusion #2||Inclusions that are very difficult to locate at 10x.|
|VS1||Very Small Inclusion #1||Minor inclusions that are difficult to locate at 10x.|
|VS2||Very Small Inclusion #2||Minor inclusions that are somewhat difficult to locate at 10x.|
|SI1||Small Inclusion #1||Noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x.|
|SI2||Small Inclusion #2||Noticeable inclusions that are very easy to locate at 10x. Some inclusions may be seen with the unaided eye.|
|SI3||Small Inclusion #3||Noticeable inclusions that are extremely easy to locate at 10X. Some inclusions may be seen with the unaided eye.|
|I1||Included #1||Obvious inclusions. Somewhat easy to locate with the unaided eye.|
|I2||Included #2||Obvious inclusions. Easy to locate with the unaided eye.|
|I3||Included #3||Obvious inclusions. Very easy to locate with the unaided eye.|
The final aspect of grading a diamond is the carat. Carat is a metric unit of weight in the gemstone industry. Carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram or “5 carats in a 1 gram.” The term “points” is a decimal fraction of a carat. A point is equal to .01 (1/100th) of a carat. Just as 1 dollar is equal to 100 cents, 1 carat equals 100 points.
1 Carat = 100 Points = 200 milligrams
Carat is the most visible C amongst all the 4cs of diamond. Generally speaking, larger stones are rarer than smaller stones of the same quality, and the carat of the diamond is actually the reason why diamonds are rare and expensive, because to produce 1.00ct it takes about 250 tons of rock mining. This is why the 1 carat, 20 stone cluster ring is less expensive than a 1 carat solitaire of the same quality. The size at which a gemstone increases significantly in price varies with the availability.
Carat weight and the physical size of a stone vary between species of gemstones. For example, a carat round diamond is 6.5 millimeters in diameter, but a 1 carat ruby is 5.5 to 6.0 millimeters in diameter. This is because rubies are denser and typically cut heavier than a diamond. So, a 1.5 carat stone may be needed to replace the mounting of a 1 carat diamond. Physical measurements rather than carat weight should be used to match size.