The 4C's - Quality of a diamond

Diamonds is symbolically connected with fidelity, wisdom, light, clarity, energy and vitality.
It symbolizes the relationship between opposites; black and white, small / big, life / death and not least the relationship between man and woman, masculine and feminine energy. It is thus very well chosen to embellish engagement and wedding rings. The diamond is also a symbol of the pure soul. It stimulates concentration, gives clarity, insight and makes light penetrate everywhere. This also applies to the relationship between two lovers.



GOOD TO KNOW ABOUT DIAMONDS

For a non-skilled person, it may initially be difficult to see if one diamond is more beautiful than the other, and at the same time it is also difficult to understand the relatively large price difference. However, when you know what professionals call "the 4 C's," one would better understand the exciting world of diamonds. Diamonds are classified and priced internationally after the 4 C's: Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut.


1. CARAT
Carat is a weight unit, unlike the gold carat, which is a title of holdings.
(Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity.) A diamond of 1.00 carat weighs exactly 0.20 grams. Large diamonds are rare and expensive - for example, a brilliant-cut diamond of 1.00 carat is much more expensive than ten brilliant-cut diamonds on every 0.10 carat of the same quality.



Because even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in cost, precision is crucial. In the diamond industry, weight is often measured to the hundred thousandths of a carat, and rounded to a hundredth of a carat. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals.


2. COLOR
Diamonds are found in nature in many colors, but are most often found with a yellow or brownish color tint. The color range ranges from Exceptional White + to yellow, with a big price difference. Diamonds color is classified with names like River (Exceptional White +), Top Wesselton, Wesselton, Top Crystal, Crystal, etc.


Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color, the higher their value. (The exception to this is fancy-color diamonds, such as pinks and blues, which lie outside this color range.) Most diamonds found in jewelry stores run from colorless to near-colorless, with slight hints of yellow or brown.




Color-grading scale for diamonds begins with the letter D, representing the exceptional white +, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or near-colorless. Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of color appearance. Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.

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.

Colored diamonds
Color intensity, the deepness or richness of color, is the most important consideration when purchasing a colored diamond. The more intense the color, the rarer and more valuable the diamond will be. All of our colored diamonds possess natural color and are never exposed to artificial coloring techniques such as dyeing or irradiation.




Because the white diamond is the most widely recognized diamond color, the existence of “fancy color diamonds” may come as a surprise to some. While most mined diamonds have a yellow or brown tint, white diamonds are most commonly seen in stores because they are rarer, and thus more desirable? Outside of the normal white, yellow, and brown diamond color range, there exist a variety of fancy color diamond options such as pink diamonds, champagne diamonds, yellow diamonds, red diamonds, and chocolate diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America’s D to Z scale is commonly used to grade the color of diamonds that fall within the normal color range, ranging from the stellar D grade of completely colorless to a Z grade of a pale yellow diamond or brown.

For diamonds, rarity equates to value. With diamonds of the normal color range, value is based on the lack of color, because colorless diamonds are the rarest. With fancy color diamonds, rarity, and thus value, increases with color intensity, purity, and rarity.

On GIA colored diamond reports, colored diamonds are graded in order of increasing color strength from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, and Fancy to Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid and Fancy Deep. Fancy Vivid and Fancy Deep generally command the highest prices.

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Dark
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Deep




3. CLARITY
There are often small natural ambiguities in diamonds. If the ambiguities can not be seen by a trained eye in a 10-fold magnification, it is internationally decided that the diamond is called lupren. Blurreds are classified with names such as VVSI (very, very narrow inclusions), VSI, Si and Piquerede stones, where the blurreds can be seen without magnification. Less ambiguities generally do not affect the beauty of the stone, whereas larger inclusions can block and interfere with the path of light through the diamond, thereby losing the brilliance.

Because diamonds formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). 

Practically all diamonds contain naturally occurring internal characteristics called inclusions. The size, nature, location and amount of inclusions determine a stone's clarity grade and affect its cost. Clarity is determined using 10X magnification. By definition, if something is not visible at 10X, it does not effect the clarity.




Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System™, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).

Every diamond is unique. None is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification, though some come close. Known as Flawless diamonds, these are exceptionally rare.


4. CUT
The grinding, as opposed to the other C's, is the ability of man to reproduce the beauty of the diamond, is very crucial. A wrong relationship in the stone's proportions or errors in the stone's symmetry can destroy the fire and the brilliance of the diamond. There are many abrasive shapes. The brillant grinding with 57 facets is the most famous and the grinding shape that gives the diamond its optimal shine.

The traditional 58 facets in a round brilliant diamond, each precisely cut and defined, are as small as two millimeters in diameter. But without this precision, a diamond wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful. The allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else.

Though extremely difficult to analyze or quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved).

An understanding of diamond cut begins with the shape of a diamond. The standard round brilliant is the shape used in most diamond jewelry. All others are known as fancy shapes. Traditional fancy shapes include the marquise, pear, oval and emerald cuts. Hearts, cushions, triangles and a variety of others are also gaining popularity in diamond jewelry.

As a value factor, cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. For example, look at a side view of the standard round brilliant. The major components, from top to bottom, are the crown, girdle and pavilion. A round brilliant cut diamond has 57 or 58 facets, the 58th being a tiny flat facet at the bottom of the pavilion that’s known as the culet. The large, flat facet on the top is the table. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone ’s interaction with light.


SHAPES
 


    
    

 

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.

The princess cut diamond, first created in 1980, is the most popular fancy diamond shape, especially for engagement rings. Like round cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds are a good choice for their flexibility in working in almost any style of ring.

Because the oval diamond is a modified brilliant-cut (like virtually all round cut diamonds), the two diamond shapes possess a similar fire and brilliance.
However, oval cut diamonds have the added advantage of an elongated shape, which can create the illusion of greater size.

The marquise cut diamond is a football-shaped, modified brilliant-cut. Because the marquise diamond is long and narrow, it can also create the illusion of greater size. Carat for carat, the marquise diamond has one of the largest surface areas of any diamond shape, making it a good choice when trying to maximize perceived size. 

The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end. Ideally, a pear shaped diamond should possess excellent or very good symmetry. The point should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left side of the diamond) should form uniform, symmetrical curves.

The cushion cut diamond combines a square cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow (hence the name). This classic cut has been around for almost 200 years, and for the first century of its existence was the most popular diamond shape (similar to round cut today). Refinements in cut have led to a recent resurgence in popularity.

The unique look of the emerald cut diamond is due to the step cuts of its pavilion and its large, open table. Instead of the sparkle of a brilliant-cut, emerald cut diamonds produce a hall-of-mirrors effect, with the interplay of light and dark planes. Often, inclusion or body color are easier to see in an emerald cut diamond.


The asscher cut diamond was first produced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, an is a forerunner to the emerald cut. The asscher cut diamond is similar to the emerald cut, but in a square shape with larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table. This combination often produces more brilliance than the emerald cut.

The radiant cut diamond is the first rectangular cut to have a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion, creating a vibrant and lively diamond. The modified square shape is a nice bridge between a cushion and a princess cut, and for that reason looks beautiful set with both rounded or square cornered diamonds.

The modified brilliant-cut heart shaped diamond is a unique and unmistakable symbol of love, popular in solitaire pendants as well as rings. Heart shaped diamonds less than .50 carats may not be a good choice, since the heart shape is more difficult to perceive in smaller diamonds, especially after they are set in prongs.


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