The 4 C What?Most people know that carat stands for size, but size isn't everything. There's also cut, color, and clarity - 3 important aspects that you hear about, but don't really understand. Before you buy a diamond, let us help with a little clarification. Now you can finally know what those jewelers are really saying.
If you're looking for perfection, you won't find it unless you're willing to pay a hefty sum. Every diamond has some imperfection, the key is how many there are and to what extent do they affect the look? That's what clarity measures: the number and nature of inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws).
|F||Flawless||Free from all inclusions or blemishes|
|IF||Internally flawless||No inclusions visible at 10x magnification|
|VVS1, VVS2||Very very slightly included||Inclusions extremely difficult to find at 10x|
|VS1, VS2||Very slightly included||Inclusions difficult to find at 10x|
|SI1, SI2||Slightly included||Noticeable inclusions easy to find at 10x|
|I1, I2, I3||Included||Obvious inclusions|
To impress, try to find a diamond that is eye-clean, or one that has no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye.
No, we're not talking about color like the blue diamond in Titanic. Though diamonds can come in every color of the rainbow, those types with exceptional color are dubbed "fancy."
When it comes to diamonds, color generally refers to the natural body color or tint. This can range anywhere from colorless (or white) to a light yellow.
Color is represented by a lettered scale:
A "D" diamond is absolutely colorless, which is extremely rare.
"E" - "I" are colorless to near-colorless.
A diamond's color is noticeable only when compared to diamonds of a higher grade. "Z" is the worst coloring.
As the letters go through the alphabet, the yellow tint is more defined.
Cut is often mistaken for shape, but don't let the name fool you. What cut really means is the number and placement of facets on the stone. The cut reflects a diamond's symmetry and polish. So why is this important? It is what determines the brilliance of your diamond. Even with a pure color and flawless clarity, a diamond will look dull and lifeless without a good cut. There are several different types of cut:
Ideal - Reflects nearly all the light.
Very good - Reflects almost as much as the ideal, but for less money.
Good - Reflects most light.
Fair - Still a quality gem, but not as brilliant as a good cut.
Poor - Loses most of the light out through the bottom.
In the diamond business, carat weight, or size, matters a lot. Don't confuse it with karat, which refers to gold. When you talk about carat weight (ct), you're talking about diamond size. There are 100 points (think of 100 cents in $1) and 200mg in a carat. A diamond that weighs 25 points is 1/4ct and weighs 50mg.
But don't be fooled. Even though size matters, it can go either way on the scale. Diamonds are sold by carat weight because larger carat sizes are rarer. But it's certainly not the most important aspect. You always need to consider your personality and what looks best with the jewelry and wearer overall. If you're active or don't usually wear jewelry, a larger carat could get nicked or become awkward to wear.
Round Cut | The round, or brilliant, cut is the most popular shape today. It will typically give more flexibility when balancing cut, color, and clarity.
Princess Cut | The princess is most popular when it comes to non-round diamonds. They vary in length and width, but beware of color showing in the corners with a lower-grade color.
Emerald Cut | This shape highlights the clarity of your diamond. Its facets are rectangular to create a unique optical appearance.
Asscher Cut | Like the emerald, though the asscher is square.
Marquise Cut | The marquise maximizes carat weight for a larger-looking diamond. It's beautiful with round or pear-shaped side stones and makes fingers appear long and slender.
Oval Cut | Similar to a round diamond in the brilliance and, like the marquise, their shape also accents long and slender fingers.
Radiant Cut | Versatile when it comes to choosing side stones for a ring.
Heart Shape | A beautiful choice for any diamond jewelry. Color may be visible in the corners.
Pear Shape | Also known as a teardrop, this can also accent slim fingers.
Cushion | Also known as pillow-cut, these shapes accent cut and brilliance while the large facets highlight clarity.
For a Long-lasting Beauty
Your diamond can remain beautiful and usable for many years. You just need to know how to make that happen. Keep these care tips in mind.
Diamonds, the hardest substance on earth, are resistant to heat or scratching and can only be cut by another diamond. However, an extremely hard blow can chip it, so be mindful.
Constant exposure to sweat or household chemicals can cause the diamond to dull.
You can clean your diamond yourself with a solution of 1 part ammonia and 6 parts water. Scrub it gently with a soft brush to loosen dirt and increase brilliance.
Why the Certificate?
Before a diamond is sold, it is scrutinized and evaluated by trained jewelers. This certificate, when complete, includes the jewelers' analysis of the diamond's dimensions, clarity, polish, color, symmetry, and other aspects. Basically, it's a way to prove that your diamond is a quality gemstone and that you made a fantastic choice.