4 C's of Diamonds |
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. These are called The Four C's -- Cut,
Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
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 popular shapes include Round, Oval, Square, Princess, Emerald, Baguette,
and Marquise cuts. Many specialty shapes are also available.
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.
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. These "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 may be quite valuable.
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, effect its value. Clarity
levels begin with Flawless (F & IF) and move down to Very Very Slight (VVS1
& 2), Very Slight (VS1 & 2), Slightly Included (SL1 & 2), and
Included (I1, 2 & 3).
No internal or external flaws
Internally Flawless: No internal flaws
||Very, Very Slightly Included:
Very difficult to see inclusions with 10x magnification
||Very Slightly Included:
Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye
||Slightly Included: Inclusions
are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided
I2, I3 Diamonds
Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye
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 diamonds 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.
Rarity & Beauty: All gem-quality diamonds are rare,
taking billions of years for nature to form them. The journey from the mine to
you is long and arduous. While the four C's information helps you to identify
the quality of the diamond you are purchasing, it is the combination of these
four characteristics which determine a diamond's rarity. If you imagine a
four-sided pyramid, with each side being a diamond characteristic -- the more
readily available diamonds form the base of the pyramid while the rarest
diamonds are at the top. Keep this pyramid in mind when you are selecting your
diamond. Your selection of characteristics will determine rarity and value. And
remember -- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A diamond can only be truly
perfect if you think it is beautifully perfect for you.
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