Diamonds are a lot easier to buy then color gemstones and can be easily categorize by the standard 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, carat weight). I added one more “C” as certificate because it is very relevant when determining how much a diamond cost should be. Summary of the “The Diamond’s 5Cs” is provided below:
When rating the color of a diamond, jewelers commonly use the letters D through Z. The rating D represents a diamond that is colorless through to the rating Z which has a yellow or brownish hue. As a rule, the closer a diamond is to colorless, the more valuable and rare it is.
- D, E, F – colorless
- G, H, I, J – near colorless
- K, L, M – faint yellow or brown
- N, O, P, Q, R – very light yellow or brown
- S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z – light yellow or brown
Though the white color diamonds are the most popular, there are more rare diamonds that have strong “other” colors which are known as fancy diamonds. The hues of these diamonds can compete with any color gemstones. These diamonds come in different colors including very rare red, pink, canary yellow, blue and green and are all highly prized.
An important aspect of the allure of diamonds is the way they sparkle. The sparkle is a result of how a stone is cut – its symmetry, polish, durability, and proportion of its parts – which in turn, determines how light travels through the stone and back to your eye.
The brilliance and shine we see in a well cut diamond are the result of light being refracted off the facets and through out the stone, and exiting through the table or top part of the diamond. A stone that is cut to “ideal” proportions will allow the most light possible to exit through the table of the diamond resulting in the breathtaking brilliance and shimmer. When a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep, a significant amount of light exits through the sides and bottom of the stone resulting in a lack of brilliance and scintillation. There are also different types of diamond cuts and shown below. The most popular is of course the classical round brilliant which are the “ideal” way how a diamond should be cut.
Clarity is an indication of a diamond’s purity. Diamonds frequently have inclusions, or small flaws, air bubbles, scratches or other minerals inside the diamond. The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable and beautiful it is.
The scale for grading diamond’s clarity is:
- Flawless – These diamonds do not have any inclusions and are considered to be perfect.
- Internally Flawless – These diamonds may have very minor blemishes on the outside surface of the stone.
- VVS1, VVS2 – These diamonds have very, very small inclusions.
- VS1, VS2 – These diamonds have very small inclusions.
- SI1, SI2, SI3 – These diamonds have small inclusions.
- I1, I2, I3 – These diamonds have flaws which can be seen with the human eye.
Carats refer to the size of the diamond. Each carat has one hundred points. The carat weight refers to the mass of a diamond.
For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can be referred to as a 50-point diamond. But bigger isn’t necessarily better. A two-carat diamond that is cut poorly is not nearly as beautiful as a smaller diamond cut by a skilled diamond artisan. A large carat weight diamond also be cut well, but have poor color and clarity, which again will reduce the price compare to cleaner smaller diamond.
While a diamond can be the ultimate symbol of love, it also represents an investment in time, energy and money. You need to feel confident in the integrity of your stone. Many jewelry consumers are now relying on a more precise document that evaluates the true value of gems — the diamond certificate.
A diamond certificate is a printed report based on a gemological analysis of a specific stone. It is prepared in an independent laboratory by certified gemologists.
The certificate will state your diamond’s 4Cs: color, clarity, cut, carat weight. It will describe the diamond’s shape, measurements, table and depth percentages and grade the polish and symmetry. It should also comment on characteristics like fluorescence, internal graining and imperfections. Often the certificate may estimate the replacement value of the stone for insurance purposes. Finally, the certificate should include a detailed sketch of the diamond.
The most premium certificates in the diamond market is GIA and therefore are priced more then other certificates. Other certificate companies are also equally respected and rank the following – HRD, IGI, EGL, etc.
Also, if you are feeling lazy in reading the above post and would like to watch a video regarding how the 4Cs are determine and certified you can watch the following YouTube video:
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