The 4 C’s of Diamonds
Luxury never really interested me in my life, but on the contrary, I always appreciated modesty. I think that money can be spent on much smarter and more essential things in life, but no matter that you may never even buy a diamond, I really want to share with you some of the essential things about diamonds. When one diamond (1 CT) is said to be, this stone weighs 0.2 grams, i.e. 200 mil-ligrams. So, just a fifth of a gram. In the case of precious metals (platinum, gold, silver, etc.), when referring to carat, the content of that precious metal in the alloy is meant (for example, the gold of 14 K is 585, which means that 58.5% of the gold is in the alloy, the remaining 41.5% are some other metals, e.g., copper), while when the diamond or some other gemstone means caratage, it is thought of the weight of that stone. You’re probably wondering what the price of such a stone is of one carat and how much it actually is. The cost of a diamond depends on four parameters: 1) caratage (weight), 2) color, 3) clarity, 4) cut. When we think of the color of a diamond, it means a transparent color, practically colorless and transparent. With this standard transparent color, there is a scale that begins with the letter D and ends with the letter Z. These are the following colors:
D, E, F G, H, I, J K, L, M N, O, P, Q, R S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.
Color-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard. Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of color appearance. Letter D, representing colorless, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle as to be invisible to the untrained eye. But these slight differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.
Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’
Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.
- Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
People usually mix the cut and shape.
The most popular diamond shapes are: round, oval, marquise, pear, princess, emerald, cushion, radiant, asscher and heart. The round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape, representing approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. Due to the mechanics of its shape, the round diamond is generally superior to fancy shapes at the proper reflection of light, maximizing potential brightness.
Cut refers not to a diamond’s shape (e.g. round, oval, pear, etc.) but to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than any other factor. Though extremely difficult to analyze and quantify, diamond cut has three primary effects on appearance: brilliance (the brightness created by the combination of all the white light reflections from the surface and the inside of a polished diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the visible spectrum, seen as flashes of color), and scintillation (the flashes of light and dark, or sparkle, when a diamond or light source is moved). When a diamond is fashioned from a rough stone, the cutter must balance optimal cut against maximum yield (cutting the diamond to maintain as much carat weight from the rough stone as possible).
Cut grade is assigned by the GIA using the following scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, poor.