Diamonds: 4 c's & More
Cut: The Most important of the 4 c's
Not to be confused with shape, let us explain...
This is the most important characteristic when it comes to value and grade of a stone, and is the greatest overall influence on the beauty of the stone. This is the determining factor for the sparkle of the stone, which adds value even to the untrained eye!
We recommend using a good portion of your buget on a diamond on the cut grade; Very good or excellent are the
Shape can easily be confused with cut, "cut" simply put is the grade of how well the diamond is cut within proper diamond proportions.
Carat Weight: not to be confused with "size"
Carat is the most misunderstood of the 4Cs. It actually refers to a diamond's weight, not its size. The size is referred to in a different unit of measurement, by milometers (mm).
A metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat can be subdivided into 100 points. This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. So you will often hear a jewellery professional refer to a diamond in points, example: 0.25ct would be said as 25 points.
Consider cut and carat together; a larger carat diamond with a poor cut grade can appear smaller than a smaller diamond with a higher cut grade.
A trick to maximize your budget, "Buy Shy," which means selecting a carat weight slightly below the whole and half carat marks. For example, instead of a 2.0-carat diamond, consider buying a 1.9-carat weight. This will save a considerable amount of money and the slight size difference will never be noticed.
All else being equal, price increases with carat weight, because large diamonds are more rare and more desirable. Two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on the three other 4C's.
Some tipsfrom the experts when picking a diamond
If a large carat weight is important to you, yet you're working within a strict budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, SI1-SI2 clarity, and an I or J colour grade.
Diamond prices jump at the full-, half- and quarter- carat weights. Diamonds just below these weights cost significantly less, and, because carat weight is distributed across the entirety of the diamond, small size differences are almost impossible to detect.
Keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1.5-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8
The colour evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of colour. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA's D-Z colour grading system measures the degree of colourlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master-stones of establishing colour value.
Clarity is measured by the number and size of the inclusions (also known as imperfections).
Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. The process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called "inclusions" and external characeristics called "blemishes".
When a diamond grader evaluates clarity it involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics. Also, how these affect the overall appearence of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher the value.
Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality. This is why expert and accurate assessment of clarity is extremely important.
What Clarity Grade Is Right For Me?
- Select an "eye-clean" diamond - one that has no imperfections visible to the unaided-eye through the crown. An excellent value, diamonds of this clarity are much less expensive than flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF) diamonds, which are extremely rare and command higher prices.
- Frequently, imperfections in diamonds graded slightly included (SI) are not visible to the unaided eye, making them an excellent value. If you're considering a diamond with an SI clarity grade, call to speak to a diamond and jewellery consultant who will review the diamond to ensure the imperfections are not visible to the unaided eye.
A diamond certificate, also called a diamond grading report, is a report created by a team of gemologists. There are many different companies that offer this service in and outside Canada. The most common companies you will hear of are GIA (Gemological Institute of America), EGL (European Gemological Institute), Gem Scan (a Canadian company) and many more.
The diamond is evaluated, measured, and scrutinized using trained eyes, a jeweler’s loupe, a microscope, and other industry tools. A completed certificate includes an analysis of the diamond’s dimensions, clarity, colour, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics. Many round diamonds will also include a cut grade on the report.
Not every diamond will come with a certification. Now this does not mean that it is a conflict diamond, it just means that it has not been through many hands and given a written grade. Ultimately the choice to get a certified diamond is up to the customer.