The 4 Cs of Diamond Grading
A diamond is forever – as your investment should be! Although you don’t have to be an expert on diamonds to make a purchase, it is always good to know the basics about what how diamonds are graded, and what that means for you. Diamond grading is based on the famous “4 Cs”- Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat.
Cut and Color
The CUT, not only refers to the shape, but also to the proportions of how a diamond is cut. The size and the placement of its many reflective facets, or surfaces, also play a large part in the grading. The balance of the diamond’s overall proportions can greatly affect how the stone reflects light. Diamonds can be found in all different shapes, the most popular being round, princess, emerald, oval, baguette, and marquise.
The COLOR of a diamond is based on a scale that runs from D to Z. With the exception of some fancy colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. The letters D through F means that the diamond is colorless, G to J near colorless, K-M faint yellow, and N to Z light yellow. Completely colorless diamonds are very rare. When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors can be many different colors such as blue, brilliant yellow, red, green, pink, and violet. Since these diamonds are rare, they are quite desirable and may be valuable
Clarity and Carat
The CLARITY of a diamond is measured by the existence, or absence, of visible flaws.
Tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions can alter the brilliance of a diamond, which can affect its value. Clarity levels begin with Flawless (FL & IF) and move down to Very Very Slight (VVS1 & 2), Very Slight (VS1 & 2), Slightly Included (SI1 & 2) and Included (I1, 2 & 3).
A diamond’s weight is measured in CARATS. One Carat, the traditional unit of measurement of diamonds, is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear a weight of a diamond referred to as points. A point is like a penny in a dollar, 100 points equals 1 carat. For example, if a diamond were 50 points, it would equal 0.50 carat or a half of a carat. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different sizes, depending on their depth and proportions. Larger sized diamonds of rare gem quality are much more valuable.