The 4 C’S of Diamonds



I am asked on a fairly regular basis what the 4 C’s of Diamonds are. The short answer is Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight. But what are these 4 different things. Starting with Cut, it refers to the shape of the Diamond. They come in many different Shapes, Round Brilliant, Marquee which is pointed on both ends, Emerald which is Oblong, Oval, Pear which resembles a tear drop, Baguette which is a long slender Oblong,Trillion which is triangular, and Princess which is square. Clarity refers to how clear the Diamond is. The Clarity rankings go from Flawless to what is known as an I-3. These rankings have to do with any carbon deposits, or internal flaws. A flawless stone is a Diamond that under 10 x power on a Microscope shows no internal flaws or what is known as inclusions, or carbon deposits. From here the grades move down to VVS-1, VVS-2, to VS-1, VS-2, to SI-1 – SI-3 to I-1 – I-3. All of these grades refer to the amount of flaws and carbon deposits found in the stone. Your average Mall jewelry shop carries stones in VS-2 down to I-3. There is nothing wrong with these stones until you get into the I-1 – I-3 grade. When looking at a Diamond for possible purchase always ask your jeweler if they can show the stone under a microscope. That way you will be able to see any problems in the stone and possibly any flaws that were hidden under the prongs holding the stone in its setting. If a microscope is not available find another jeweler. Color tells us how white a Diamond is. The color spectrum starts with the color D and goes down to L or below. A, (D) colored stone is considered colorless, Everything under this starts to get a white color . The ideal Color of course is D, but very few of us can afford a D color stone. If you find a Diamond in the F – H color you will have beautiful stone. Anything under H color is considered to be a white colored stone. For those of us who would like a colored Diamond there are Yellow, Blue, Black, and Champagne colors but these stones can be very expensive. Carat weight tells use how large the Diamond is. A full carat has what’s  known  as 100 points. So if you are purchasing a half carat Diamond, it would have 50 points, understanding this you will be able to easily determine the size of Diamond you are looking at. Now let’s talk about brilliance. Brilliance is part of what helps to make up the price of a Diamond. Brilliance has to do directly with the quality of the cut of your Diamond, not the cut shape but the  skill of the Diamond cutter. Almost 65 % of the price of a Diamond has to do with the quality of the cut. The next time that you are out to a dress party look at the Diamonds being worn and you will be able to tell who’s Diamond were cut well and whose were not, just by the brilliant reflections in the ambient light. When you are Diamond shopping ask the jeweler if you may see the Diamond in natural light and not under the pin point lights in the store. This will tell you how brilliant the Diamond really is. Diamond shapes also have a lot to do with the brilliance of a stone. The Round Brilliant is the most reflective of all Diamonds, and the Marquee the least. The cut shape of Diamonds also has lot to do with the price of a particular stone. The Round takes the least amount time to cut & the Princess the most. In order to cut a princess shape Diamond the cutter must cut away all 4 sides of a Round stone to make it square, therefore a Princess cut will be the most expensive. We have looked at all of the factors that make up the 4 Cs, what we have to look at now is the fact that your brain cannot remember what it has seen from Diamond to Diamond. Unlike colored gem stones were your brain remembers, Diamonds trick our brains and do not let us remember. So With this information at hand, when shopping for a Diamond, pay attention, stick to your budget, and have a great time.












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