I’ve heard of the 4 C’s of diamonds, what are they and why are they relevant? As a customer you want to educate yourself as much as possible so you can purchase the right diamond you want, but also so you pay the right price for a quality diamonds. It can be tough and a little complicated, so it never hurts to work with a certified gemologist.
Carat Weight- All diamonds and other gemstones are weighed by carats (abbreviated as “ct.”), one carat is about the weight of small paper clip, or 0.2 grams. 1 Carat = 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounce. The weight of the diamond and the price per carat determines the price of a diamond. Weight is measured to the thousandth of a ct. and rounded to the nearest hundredth. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. So a 1.25 ct. diamond would be “one point two five carats.”
Color- is another important factor in determining the value of a diamond, the closer the diamond approaches colorlessness (the less color) the higher the value. The only exceptions are the colored diamonds like pink, purple. A diamond with the color of “D”, “E”, “F” is colorless and likely more expensive, whereas on with color of “M” “N” “O” there is more yellow in color, which detracts in value.
Clarity- Diamonds are created within the earth, they’re a stone, and so some contain unique “birthmarks” called inclusions, which are internal birthmarks and blemishes, external birthmarks. The fewer the birthmarks, the higher in value they are, typically. The GIA created an international measurement system to rate the inclusions and blemishes from flawless (FL) to diamonds with more prominent inclusions (I3). Below is the scale from the GIA website:
Flawless (FL)- No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Internally Flawless (IF)- No inclusions and only minor blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)- Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under a 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)- Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor
Slightly Included (S1 and S2)- Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using a 10x magnification
Imperfect (I1, I2 and I3)- Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Cut- 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 the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved).
As a value factor, though, 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. (Courtesy of the GIA website)
There are many different shapes to diamonds, here are some of the more popular shapes:
If I know what the 4 C’s are, how does that help me buy a diamond? Good question. Knowing the 4 C’s of diamonds, allows you to shop with confidence. By dealing with a certified Gemologist, like ones on our staff, it allows you to better understand the factors that impact the diamonds value and shop with more confidence.