Buying a diamond is a very personal experience. Diamonds can be purchased to signify love, mark significant accomplishments, or commemorate milestones in one’s life. They can be gifts for loved ones or bought as a treat for yourself. No matter the reason, buying a diamond shouldn’t be a mysterious or daunting process. The more you know, the more confident you will feel when making your diamond jewelry choices. Take a moment to learn more about the 4 C’s and the role they play in making your diamond jewelry unique.
The shape of the diamond is often confused with the cut. While round brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular, others – known as fancy shapes – each offer something unique. More traditional fancy shapes include the oval and emerald cuts, while cushion, radiant, and trillion cuts are also gaining popularity. Select the shape that resonates with you and your style, and you can’t go wrong!
The cut of a diamond is the biggest factor in determining its brilliance or sparkle. Each of the above shapes will be cut differently, but each is beautiful in its own way. Before a diamond is cut, each raw stone is studied intensely. The location of any inclusions or flaws, the natural coloration, and the original shape of the rough diamond are taken into consideration when deciding how to proceed. The diamond’s facets are then mapped out and it is cut in a way that maximizes size, shape, and clarity. For optimal scintillation, you will want a diamond that is cut well – neither too shallow nor too deep. Proportions, symmetry, and polish all work together with a stone’s natural beauty to create the well-known fire and brilliance that only a diamond can deliver.
Diamonds are graded based on the absence of any color present. Flawlessly structured and chemically pure diamonds have no color tone and are rated as a D color, the most valuable. The scale runs alphabetically from there to Z (light yellow). The exceptions to this scale are fancy color diamonds, which includes pink, green, and blue diamonds, among others.
Just as perfectly structured diamonds are colorless, they are also free of any inclusions or blemishes. However, this is exceedingly rare to find in nature, and almost all diamonds have some small imperfections. You can think of these almost as birthmarks, as these inclusions, located internally, or blemishes, present on the exterior of the diamond, are created during the high-temperature and high-pressure birth of diamonds deep inside the earth. In regards to clarity, diamonds are ranked from Flawless to Included 3 and these classifications take the number and type of imperfections present in each unique stone.
Flawless: No internal or external flaws.
Internally Flawless: No internal flaws.
VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds
Very, Very Slightly included: Very difficult to see inclusions with 10x magnification.
VS1, VS2 Diamonds
Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification to a skilled grader.
SI1, SI2 Diamonds
Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye.
I1, I2, I3 Diamonds
Included: Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye.
A carat is the unit of weight – not size – by which diamonds and other gemstones are measured, although the two are related. One metric “carat” is equal to 0.20 grams or 0.007 of an ounce. To give you some context, that’s about the same as a paperclip. Often, carat weight is further divided into points; one carat is 100 points, so a 75-point diamond weighs 0.75 carats and a 1.07 carat diamond might be expressed as “one point oh seven carats.” All else being equal, a diamond that weighs more than another will come with a higher price tag, but two diamonds of equal weight can have vastly different values depending on their respective cuts, clarities, and colors.