Four C's of a Diamond

Fine diamonds are among the most coveted of all gems. Their value, however, differs widely from one diamond to another. Experts evaluate every diamond for rarity and beauty, using four primary guidelines. When you start to look at diamonds, you will want to know the stats on each stone. Known as the Four C's -; cut, carat, clarity, and color -; this will help you compare diamonds against each other and control your budget. (See section on Certified Diamonds for information about certification of diamonds).

CUT:
When you think of the cut, you probably think of the shape of the diamond. You are partially correct. While cut does refer to shape, it also refers to the proportions of how the diamond is actually cut. Diamonds are cut into many different shapes, reflecting not only popular taste but the proportions and quality of the rough diamond. The most popularshapes are round, princess cut, and cushion cut. Many cuts are available including oval, emerald, heart, and marquise along with specialty cuts such as heart shaped diamonds. A diamond's overall proportions, as well as the size and placement of its many reflective surfaces or facets, also play a large part in "cut." The consistency and balance of these can greatly affect how the stone captures light and reflects it back to the eye.

Diamondcut

CARAT WEIGHT:

The size of a diamond is measured, not by its dimensions, but by weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measure for diamonds, is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a diamond referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat; therefore, a 75-point diamond equals 0.75 carat. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size, depending on their depth and proportions. Because they are quite rare, larger diamonds of gem quality are much more valuable.

Diamondcaret

CLARITY:

A diamond's clarity is measured by the existence, or absence, of visible flaws. Tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions -- even those seen only under magnification with a jeweler's loupe -- can alter the brilliance of the diamond and, thus, effects its value. Clarity levels begin with Flawless (F & IF) and move down to Very Very Slight (VVS1 & 2), Very Slight (VS1 & 2), Slightly Included (SI1 & 2), and Included (I1, 2 & 3).
 
FL, IF Diamonds Flawless: No internal or external flaws Internally Flawless: No internal flaws
VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10% magnification.
VS1, VS2 Diamonds Very Slightly included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye,
SI1, SI2 Diamonds Slightly included: Inclusions are visible under 10× magnification and may be visible to the unaided eye.
I1, I2, I3 Diamonds Included: Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye.

Four C's of a Diamond

Fine diamonds are among the most coveted of all gems. Their value, however, differs widely from one diamond to another. Experts evaluate every diamond for rarity and beauty, using four primary guidelines. When you start to look at diamonds, you will want to know the stats on each stone. Known as the Four C’s – cut, carat, clarity, and color – this will help you compare diamonds against each other and control your budget. (See section on Certified Diamonds for information about certification of diamonds).

Diamondcolor

COLOR:

With the exception of some fancy colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. The color scale for transparent diamonds runs from D-F (colorless), G-J (near colorless), K-L (faint yellow), to Z (light yellow). Completely colorless diamonds are rare.
When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. “Fancy" colors range from blue to brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and those with very saturated color may be quite valuable.

Gemstoneschart

Certified Diamonds:

Today, the majority of diamonds sold are certified diamonds. A certified, or ‘certed,’ diamond has been examined and graded by a gemological laboratory. The laboratory issues a report or certification that details the diamond’s specifics including its cut, color, weight (carat size), and clarity. (note: labs issue mini and full certs). A full certification includes a diagram of the stone showing where any inclusions are located. Some certified diamonds have a laser inscribed number on the diamond. 
 
An important point to keep in my mind, when looking at certified diamonds, is that not all grading laboratories are the same quality. They differ in standards. Additionally, there is a level of subjectivity that is inherent in grading diamonds. This is especially evident in the determination of the color and clarity. One of the most highly respected grading laboratories in the world is the Gemological Institute of America, GIA (www.GIA.edu). They are known for more rigorous standards than other labs. For example, when comparing a GIA “G” color certified diamond against what another lab considers a “G” color diamond, the GIA diamond will typically be whiter (better color).
 
The subjectivity of diamond grading is one factor. Another important point to know is that, arguably, not all grading laboratories are objective. Some large jewelry chains have their own labs that grade the diamonds sold in their stores. GIA is an independent lab and has no involvement in the sale of diamonds.
 
Choosing Your Diamond:

Every diamond has a character of its own so it is helpful to look at a number of stones before deciding. At Bella, we bring in a selection of stones tailored to your wants and your budget. Because of the high quality and impartiality of GIA’s certifications, it is an excellent idea to use a GIA stone as a benchmark to compare diamonds. When shopping for a diamond at Bella Design, we always provide GIA diamonds – even if you prefer a non-certified diamond or a diamond certified by another lab.  We find it helps you to compare and contrast diamonds so you feel confident and assured you are making the best choice.