Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat are the four universal determinants of
what makes a quality diamond. The C’s help to determine a diamond’s
value and is a good measure of price. It is important to note that no one
variable outweighs the other. Each one is equal in importance of determining
the quality of a particular diamond. The 4 C’s distinguish the
rare from the rarer, the pretty from the exquisite, and the expensive
from the ultimately unaffordable.
Cut is the term used to determine the angles and proportions of a diamond.
A well-cut diamond will contain mirror-like facets that will reflect
light from one panel to another and disperse and reflect it through
the top of
the stone. The cut has a tremendous affect on the sparkle of the diamond.
A well-cut diamond is neither too shallow, nor too deep, which would
allow light to leak through the side or bottom. The extra time put
perfection results in a great amount of brilliance and fire.
The cut can also be referred to the shape of the diamond. The most
common shapes of diamonds are: round, princess, pear, heart, emerald,
oval and marquise. The
round cuts are the most brilliant because of the symmetrical shape, which
allows it to capture all the light that enters.
Color is the term used to determine to which degree a diamond is colorless.
Diamonds come in a wide range of colors that vary from white and yellow,
to dark brown. There are also colored diamonds that are black, pink and even
red. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a color scale
on which diamonds are measured. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z.
The more colorless the diamond, the more expensive it is. Color is very hard
to determine because it is so subtle. This is why they are carefully compared
to a master set under very controlled lighting conditions.
The term clarity refers to the presence of inclusions found in a diamond. Inclusions
may appear to look like feathers, clouds or crystals. This is how we know that
diamonds were formed in the earth. Grades of clarity are determined by the
number, size, location and type of inclusions a diamond contains. They are
based on a clarity scale ranging from F (flawless) to I (inclusions). The ratings
are based on the visibility of inclusions under a 10x magnification. In nature,
there are very few diamonds that are found without inclusions. Those found
flawless are very rare and highly priced.
The term carat is used to determine the weight of the diamond. One carat is
equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be broken up into 100 “points.” For
example, a .75-carat diamond is the same as 75 points or 3/4-carat diamond.
Most people are aware of the fact that the higher the carat, the heavier
the diamond, therefore, the higher the cost. What they don’t usually
know is that since larger diamonds are typically harder to find in nature,
the cost of a single 1-carat diamond would cost much more than two 1/2- carat
diamonds of the same quality.