THE FOUR C's OF A DIAMOND
DEFINED BY CARAT, COLOR, CLARITY & CUT
THE WEIGHT OF A DIAMOND
Carat is a unit that describes the weight of a gemstone. The unit is expressed, or recorded, to the hundredths place. One carat is written 1.00ct. It is equal to one-fifth of a gram. Carat weight is a prime factor in determining what you are willing to spend. Heavier, larger diamonds are higher priced.
It should be noted that diamonds with the same Carat weight are not necessarily the same size. That is determined in millimeters. Even diamonds of the same Carat weight can differ in size according to measurements. Consider for a minute all the different cuts and shapes. The size appearance of a gemstone seen face up is based off the millimeter size of its AGD (average girdle diameter.)
OR NO COLOR
Color actually refers to the absence or presence of color in the diamond. Unless the diamond is fancy in color, it will appear colorless to light yellow. This is largely due to the Nitrogen atoms trapped within diamond's Carbon composition. A Colorless diamond has no Nitrogen impurities. Therefore, light can travel through the diamond without interference. Yet, diamonds with color sometimes show more spakle and fire due to their warm bodycolor. Again, a diamond's growth process is the deciding factor for it's Color. The more Colorless the diamond is, the purer the Carbon. The rarer the diamond.
When grading the Color of diamonds, jewelers refer to GIA’s Color Scale. It starts with D (Colorless) and extends to Z as traces of Light Yellow and Brown are found within. The image shows the five categories that Diamonds are assigned to by letter. Diamonds are priced according to these categories.
Also consider the setting for your diamond before choosing the diamond's color. If the setting for your diamond is platinum or white gold, lean towards a Colorless or Near Colorless diamond. If you prefer a yellow gold setting, diamonds on the further end of the color scale will also work for you.
INCLUSIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Diamond Clarity is defined by the amount of inclusions or clarity characteristics found in or on a diamond. Natural Diamonds are not produced in a sterile enviroment. They grow 90 to 120 miles beneath the earth. If you consider the pressure and heat that diamonds form in, it is hard for a diamond to be free of flaws.
Laboratories provide diamond plots (maps) of internal and external charateristics. This identifies the diamond just as your fingerprint identifies you. There are up to 34 different types of clarity characteristics. Diamonds containing less blemishes and inclusions are considered more valuable.
Six categories can be seen for Clarity grading. Those categories are Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, and Included. Within those categories are seperate grades still.
Inclusions are located under the microscope by a Gemologist. They then assigned a Clarity grade using a 10x magnification loupe. Just like Color, there are different grades and categories given to a diamond in order to price them. They are in the image provided.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT
This category is just for Round Diamonds. Fancy Shaped Diamonds do not receive a Cut grade. Unfortunately, people often confuse diamond shape or finish with diamond Cut. The Shape of a diamond is the outward appearance. The Finish of a diamond is the Polish and Symmetry. None of these are considered Cut. When a Gemologist uses the word Cut, they are referring to the dimensions and angles of the diamond. Cut breaks down all of this from facet to facet. The Cut plays a very large role in the Four Cs. A great Cut is the key to providing brilliance and sparkle to the diamond.
From Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds to Fancy Shaped Diamonds, the Cut and Finish determines how much light return the diamond gives you. The better Cut angles and percentages, the more light return.
Suppose a diamond is not cut properly. Light can enter through the table and leak out from pavilion. Or worse, fall straight through the stone cutting down its brilliance completely.
Cut is broken down into five classes:
Excellent Cut diamonds have maximum brilliance and light return. Excellent, or premium cuts are equivalent to Ideal cuts, but you will pay a bit more.
Very Good Cut diamonds return large amounts of light, providing a great amount of brilliance to the diamond. They are a great choice.
Good Cut diamonds return most of the light that passes through them, but you will see a minimal amount of light leakage.
Fair Cut diamonds have a small amount of light return. They are grayish in appearance and have a noticable amount of light leakage.
Poor diamond cuts have little to no light return. You often see large gray and black sections throughout the diamond face up.
The facets, angles, and dimensions can be seen here.