For most people, buying a diamond is a new experience, but that doesn't mean it should be overwhelming. Understanding a diamond's quality characteristics is straightforward and simple.
4C represents Color, Clarity, Cutting and Carat. The 4Cs are the shared common attributes used by different grading institutes, to determine the quality and value of each diamond. Therefore, it is crucial to know the 4Cs before buying a diamond.
Carat is the weighting unit of a diamond, as below:
1 carat = 0.2 grams = 0.007 oz.
Bigger diamonds are rarer, as such, the value per carat will also be higher. For example, the value of a 1 carat diamond would be much higher than the total of two 0.5 carat diamonds.
The weight of a diamond affects its size, although the same weight may lead to different sizes, the following table shows the approximate size to weight ratio:
Clarity refers to the inclusion and blemishes of a diamond; the level of clarity is determined by the number, size, place, whether it is obvious and the general effect of those inclusions and blemishes to the appearance of a diamond. Since diamonds are formed naturally, the formation process would usually include some other substances which lead to so called crystals, feathers inside a diamond. Better clarity gives a higher value of a diamond.
The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.
No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only 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 10× magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Each diamond's inclusions are unique to that diamond, with no two diamonds displaying the exact same inclusions. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamond grading reports include graphic illustrations of inclusions found in diamonds. These graphic illustrations match the inclusions actually found in the diamonds, providing each diamond with its own "diamond fingerprint".
It refers to the level of colorless of a diamond. The rating is from D to Z. For D color, the best color level, representing colorless and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown, as shown below:
Color and clarity are born naturally with a diamond; however, on the other hand, Cutting is determined by the craftsmanship the diamond receives, which is an important factor to lead the diamond to sparkling perfection. The cutting factor involves complex determination, as a value factor, though, it refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish.
Due to the importance of cut, a range of cut grades between well cut and poorly cut diamonds has been developed. The AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratory), HRD (Antwerp Diamond High Council) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America) use different standards when grading a diamond’s cut, and at present only allocate a Cut Grade to round diamonds.
Fluorescence is the reaction of some diamonds to exposure of UV lighting. Generally it has been understood that fluorescence makes clear diamonds appear as cloudy and yellow tinted diamonds appear as clear when subject to UV lighting. Under normal lighting conditions fluorescence is not detectable. However, the presence or absence of fluorescence has had only minor importance in the purchasing decisions of most diamond buyers. This is because of the following:
• Fluorescence is only detectable under UV lighting;
• Under UV lighting even trained gemologists are unable to consistently agree on the effects of fluorescence and;
• Some buyers prefer the aesthetic effect of fluorescence.
Our suggestion is that buyers who are able to purchase colorless or near-colorless diamonds at reduced prices because of the presence of fluorescence, should seriously consider this option.