Learning about diamonds can be intimidating and complicated to understand. We’re here to help you make an informed lifetime decision! Choosing the perfect diamond can seem overwhelming, but everything a beginner needs to know is broken down into the four C’s: Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color.
The Universal Method for Assessing the Quality of Any Diamond, Anywhere. The 4Cs, Created by GIA. The International Diamond Grading System™.
The "cut" is one of the most important (if not the most important) components to a particular stone’s overall beauty and value. In an ideally cut stone, the light enters the stone, hits the critical angles from facet to facet and is reflected back out only through the crown (top of the stone), to your eye. Creating brilliance and sparkle! The cut measures the diamonds light return and sparkle. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep, light leaks out the bottom or the sides of the stone, causing the stone to appear dark or dead.
A diamond color grade refers to the "lack of color" there is in the stone. Closely behind Cut, Color is next in line of importance. The GIA grades a diamonds color on a scale beginning with D (colorless) to Z (Light Yellow). The further you move down the alphabet, the more hint of color you will see in a stone. Majority of stones have a tint of color though it may be difficult to recognize to the untrained eye. The more colorless the stone is, the more rare and expensive it is. Diamonds in the D-to-F range are considered “Colorless”, and therefore are the most expensive. Diamonds in the G-to-I range are considered “Near Colorless” and are often less expensive. Diamonds with J color and beyond are considered to have “Noticeable Color”.
A diamond’s Clarity grade is determined by the number, size, and location of the imperfections that are located within a diamond. Inclusions are internal flaws within the stone and blemishes are external flaws on the stone. Since all diamonds and their imperfections are different, it is up to the purchaser to determine which imperfection they feel comfortable with. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder! It is most important to purchase an “eye clean” stone, which means that to the naked eye you cannot see any imperfections, meaning the light passing through is not effected. These stones are usually VS1,VS2, SI1 and sometimes a good SI2. Often times an inclusion can be hidden once mounted by a prong.
Carat is the weight of the diamond, which also affects the size. A higher carat means the diamond has a higher weight and is therefore more rare and valuable. But you want to make sure it hasn’t just been cut for added weight. Sometimes diamonds are cut to be bottom heavy or “spready” on top to increase the carat weight. While it will be heavier, it won’t necessarily be as beautiful as it could be.