The 4 C’s of Diamonds
So, now you want to buy diamond jewelry. Do you know about the 4 C’s? If not, you may not have the knowledge you need to buy diamond jewelry. I suggest taking some time reading the following content on how to buy a diamond and the 4 C’s. This is just a basic overview, and you can expect more content coming soon. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email, I will be happy to help in any way I can.
Diamonds are very valuable, therefore pricing needs to be precisely determined. Very slight differences in grade or weight can make big differences in price. The 4 C’s can help consumers gauge and determine the price of a diamond.
4 C’s–Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat
The highest color is D, which is colorless, and then it goes down to OPQ, and anything below that is not commonly used in jewelry. Of course, there are always exceptions. For example black diamonds were popular recently. Don’t forget that diamonds do come in many shades of colors. Those with distinct, attractive natural tints are called fancy colors. The most rare are Blue and Red. A little more common are yellow diamonds, also known as canary diamonds.
Note, what many buyers see as the “color” of a diamond is really a combination of body-color, brilliance and dispersion, which are key elements that can help you explain color, cutting, and beauty to your eyes. Each is affected by both the basic nature of the diamond crystal, and the cutting proportions chosen by the diamond cutter. (The white reflections of the diamond are brilliance, while color reflections are dispersion or fire.)
Clarity is the degree to which a diamond is free of blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes are external while inclusions are internal.
The highest clarity is IF – Internally Flawless. GIA used to issue F – flawless in clarity in its report, which means that the surface is also flawless. However, diamonds often do get scratched, therefore they stop giving the Flawless grade, in case the diamond gets a scratch after the certification.
Here is the clarity scale:
IF (internally flawless)
VVS1 (very very slightly included 1)
VVS2 (very very slightly included 2)
VS1 (very slightly included 1)
VS2 (very slightly included 2)
SI1 (slightly included 1)
SI2 (slightly included 2), (some use SI3)
I1 (imperfect 1)
I2 (imperfect 2)
I3 (imperfect 3)
anything lower then I3 would be considered as industrial quality, and not appropriate for jewelry.
Cut is the human contribution to the stone’s beauty. The mass public undervalued a diamond’s cut until recently. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and have realized the importance of the cut. Cut consists of style and make. Style is the basic pattern of the facet arrangement and the shape of the stone. Make is the proportion and finish. Proportions are the key to beauty. (Recent years GIA report has the grading of the cut.) I will be posting some pictures and more detailed descriptions in the coming days.
Last but not least is Carat. Diamond weight is measured to the nearest one-thousandth of a metric carat, rounded to the one-hundredth of a carat, or a point. Loose diamonds can be weighed on scale, while mounted weight can be estimated fairly accurately.