are four main criterions that a diamond is judged by, the Four
C's - Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. All these combined lend to
the value and brilliance of a diamond. Certification of a diamond
is a way that one can be absolutely sure they are getting what
Carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram, and is the standard unit used
to weigh diamonds. One carat is divided into 100 parts called points:
1ct. = 100 points. Diamond value increases exponentially with size;
a 1ct diamond costs more than twice the amount of a 1/2ct of the
same quality. This is because crystals large enough to cut
a big diamond from are relatively rare whereas the crystals from
which ¼ carats
are cut are more abundant.
Certain weights also cost a little more, such as
a full 1.00ct as opposed to a 0.91ct or a full 0.75ct as opposed to a 0.66ct.
This is just something to consider if you're looking for ways to achieve a certain
look while keeping an eye on your budget.
we refer to cut, we are referring to the size, arrangement, and
precision of the stone's facets and the stone's proportions. For
round diamonds, a certain set of dimensions has created which will
optimize brilliance and dispersion. In an ideal cut diamond, all
light that enters is reflected back out through the top and to
your eye. This makes the brightest possible diamond. If the diamond
is cut poorly the stone will appear dark, because light is entering
the diamond and "leaking" out in directions going away
from the viewer's eye. For other fancy shapes and styles, such
as the princess cut, the industry has not yet agreed on an ideal
set of proportions.
Ideal cut usually refers to a diamond's table and
depth percentages. If a diamond measures just outside the range of ideal proportions,
it is premium cut. Why aren't all diamonds ideal cut? Because to cut an ideal
diamond from a rough crystal means losing more of the rough crystal than if the
diamond is cut to keep as much weight as possible.
Diamonds are also graded on their symmetry and
the precision of their polish. A "triple 0" Ideal has ideal proportions,
symmetry and polish. A "hearts and arrows" ideal has these and it displays
an optical pattern when looked at through a special scope because it also has
an ideal crown angle. There is also a variety of branded diamonds with their
own super ideal cuts. You can see that the details of cutting can be precise
to a staggering degree. If this intrigues you, we can meet your needs. If this
seems overwhelming, don't worry about it. The most important thing is to find
a stone that appeals to you.
often confuse the effects of color and cut, thinking that the whiter
a diamond is, the more it will sparkle. In fact, sparkle is wholly
determined by cut.
Color is the measure of a diamond's body color.
Diamonds are made of carbon, so in their purest state they are colorless. Most
diamonds have trace elements, such as nitrogen, which impart tints of color,
usually yellow or brown. The more color a diamond displays, the lower its value,
until it shows enough saturated color to be called "fancy colored".
The color grading scale starts at D and progresses through the alphabet to Z.
D indicates that a diamond is colorless, with D, E, and F appearing colorless
to most people. G, H, I and J are considered near colorless and still appear
white. By K, L and M the tinge of color can be seen and below that are shades
of light yellow and brown. A diamond beyond Z becomes fancy.
diamond crystals grow, much like any crystals, their growth can
be interrupted or they can trap other particles or minerals inside
themselves as they grow. Practically all diamonds contain some
type of internal characteristics. It is the overall impression
of the size, nature, number, and placement of these inclusions
that determine the diamond's clarity grade. An experienced grader
will use 10x magnification when judging clarity.
At the top of
the clarity scale are Flawless FL and Internally Flawless IF (internally
flawless might have surface scratches)
indicates there are absolutely no inclusions in a stone. This type
of stone is extremely rare, and is quite expensive for that reason.
flawless) indicates that inclusions only appear on the outside
of the stone.
VVS1-VVS2 (Very, very slightly included) indicates that the inclusions
are minute and extremely difficult to find.
VS1-VS2 (Very slightly included) indicates that
the inclusions are minor and somewhat difficult to
SI1-SI2 (Slightly included) indicates that the
inclusions are relatively easy to find, but only under
10x magnification. We sell many SI stones, but they
are not all equal so we're always careful to make sure
that the inclusion doesn't run straight to the edge
or break the surface of the stone. At that point, the
diamond will have an area of weakness.
I1-I3 (Imperfect or included) indicates that
the inclusion is visible to the naked eye. At I2, beauty
or durability is compromised and at I3, both beauty
and durability are compromised.
people are surprised to hear that diamonds can be broken and in
fact, it's not so hard to do if the diamond already has internal
breaks that reach the surface. A sharp impact at a fragile point
is all it takes. You can decide if the presence of inclusions bothers
you or not, but if they can't be seen with the naked eye they don't
affect the beauty of the diamond, only the price.
is one more aspect to buying a loose diamond: the unofficial fifth "C" of
certification. We use the language of diamond grading so that we
are all speaking in the same terms, but as you can imagine, it's
important to know who has graded the diamonds you are considering.
Independent gemological laboratories are the absolute best source.
Once they have graded a diamond they produce a certificate listing
all the diamond's grades and characteristics. An independent lab
is important because they have no interest in the final sale of
the stones they grade. Also, if different stores show diamonds
graded by the same laboratory, people will know the same standards
have been applied to each stone. We buy diamonds with certificates
from one of three laboratories, and each lab has a certain character
associated with it.
Gem Society) is the most descriptive of the three major laboratories.
Along with color, clarity, measurements and a diagram of the diamond's
inclusions, they provide a diagram with the exact angles and percentages
for the diamond. Diamonds certified by AGS do tend to cost a little
Institute of America) grades many stones and has a solid reputation.
Their certificates don't offer as much information as AGS, but
they are the industry standard.
Gemological Laboratory) is known and recognized worldwide on a
similar level to the above named laboratories.
said that, there is one advantage to buying an uncertified diamond,
and that is cost. Uncertified diamonds cost less because no one
had to pay for a certificate. So how do you know for sure that
you're getting what you paid for? A bit of knowledge, a look in
the microscope, and a certificate go a long way. But ultimately,
pick a jeweler you trust. Go back