We are on the brim of the wedding season. Future brides are in anticipation of their weddings, but it all started out with a wonderful proposal that included an engagement ring. It doesn’t matter about the size of the diamond. All that matters is that you or your fiancé followed the 4 Cs when buying the diamond ring. The 4 C’s for diamonds are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight.
The diamond cut
Sometimes there is confusion between diamond “cut” and with diamond “shape.” Shape is a facet from the general outward appearance of the diamond; whereas, cut is a reference to the diamond’s reflective qualities. The quality of the cut does make a difference in how a diamond looks.
The diamond cut is a very important category of the four Cs because the quality affects the properties and values of a diamond. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance which is the brightness and sparkle. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light or fire of the diamond.
Basically there are two types of flaws: inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions refer to internal flaws and blemishes refer to surface flaws. In the diamond grades listed below, you’ll note that none of the grades include the term “blemish” — for the purposes of grading diamonds. The clarity grading system, developed by the GIA, has been used throughout the industry as well as by other diamond grading agencies.
- Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
- IF, Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
- VVS1-VVS2, Very, Very slightly Included (two grades): Minute inclusions are very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist.
- VS1-VS2, Very Slightly Included (two grades): Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
- SI1-SI2, Slightly Included (two grades): Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification.
- I1-I2-I3, Included (three grades): Inclusions visible under 10x magnification as to the human eye.
The diamond clarity
Clarity is the next of the 4 Cs. Categorizing these is by marks on and inside the diamond. One of the natural marks in the diamonds is called inclusions. These include flaws that are mineral composites that are layered while the diamond is forming in the ground. Another clarity characteristic is called blemishes. These include scratches, pits, and chips. Some blemishes occur during the cutting processes. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than those with less clarity because they are rarer.
The diamond color
The next guide to buying a diamond is the color of the diamond. Diamonds range in many colors even including clear diamonds. While many diamonds appear colorless or white, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that sometime can be seen by the naked eye. To even gauge it put side by side another diamond. So always ask the sales person to compare the true color of the diamond. Diamonds graded D through F is naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity. The whiter a diamonds colors the greater its value.
The chart of the GIA industry standard on how to grade color can be found on their website.
The diamond carat
The last of the 4 Cs is carat. It is taken from the carob seed that was used in ancient times to balance scales. These little seeds are uniform in shape and weight even in this day and age. These seeds cannot be detected more than three one-thousandths of a difference between them. Sometimes people mistake “carat” weight with “karat”, the method of determining the purity of gold.
The 4 C’s are basic in buying your diamond but you should also remember to determine your budget before going into a store. You do not want to get “wrapped up” in the experience. See this more as an investment so you also can be comfortable with the purchase. Another point is to shop around different jewelry stores even the internet can help with this. Shopping around can give you the same diamond. It can vary in price and save you money at the end of the day by doing research and leg work. Also, remember what sort of setting will hold the diamond. You’ll have to be sure that the setting you choose is made to fit the carat weight of your diamond. Another way you can save money is to buy a smaller diamond for the setting and always upgrade the diamond later because some settings can hold different sizes. Always remember the sales person’s job is to help you so ask all the questions you need. Even comeback if you are not ready to purchase at the time. Do not buy a diamond until you feel comfortable with your investment because it is an obligation.