Diamonds come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. Thus, some are better than others. Learn to understand general diamond quality, how diamond weight is determined, and how the cut of a gemstone can impact how much light is reflected, as well as the roles color and clarity have in a diamond’s appearance. To do so, we use the 4Cs of Diamonds.
What Are the 4Cs of Diamonds?
The 4Cs of diamonds are carat, cut, color, and clarity as determined by Gemological Institute of America (GIA) founder Robert Shipley. This globally accepted standard was developed in the early 1940s and is still used today by jewelers. By using the 4Cs, the experts at Hannoush Jewelers in Upstate New York will offer their best expertise and guidance when it comes to selecting the perfect diamond for any occasion while also helping our customers understand how and why prized diamonds are so special.
To figure out the weight of a diamond, jewelers use a unit of measurement called carats.
Jewelers weigh the diamond on a scale, measuring the gemstone in grams. The weight is then divided by 0.2 to find out the carat.
A diamond that weighs .5 grams is given a carat weight of 2.5. The greater the carat weight, the rarer and more valuable the diamond becomes.
Some people want the largest diamond available to them, while others are focused on choosing a diamond that looks great in a ring, earring, or necklace setting.
If carat size is a priority, the experts at Hannoush Jewelers can help you determine the proper carat size to fit your budget and or jewelry setting.
Many of our engagement rings can fit diamonds up to 5 carats, but each ring has different size constraints based on the size and the type of setting.
Prong settings can be manipulated to fit virtually any size diamond, but tension-set diamonds and bezel-set diamonds have more limitations on size.
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The term “cut” is often confused with diamond “shape” when referring to shapes like round brilliant or princess cut.
The quality of the proportions and symmetry of a diamond is how the cut is determined.
A diamond’s proportions make a considerable difference in how brightly it will shine.
An “ideal cut” allows the maximum amount of light to return through the top of the diamond.
Also taken into consideration for the cut are the depth, table size, crown height and angle, girdle thickness, and more.
After a rough diamond is mined, it is evaluated to determine its best possible cut so that the maximum clarity, color, and carat weight is maintained.
There are numerous cut grades used for diamonds, including: · Excellent: The rarest cut grade and reflects the most light. · Very good: This cut grade reflects nearly as much light as an excellent cut grade, but for a lower price. · Good: Reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, but not as much as a very good cut grade. · Fair: This cut grade may appear dull or even glassy and is very inexpensive.
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Color is one of the more noticeable attributes of a diamond and has a heavy impact on the price of the gemstone.
The way diamonds are graded on color is a scale that ranges from D (best grade) to Z (worst grade). If a diamond is graded as a D, it means it is a colorless diamond and holds a lot of value.
If rated with Z, there is noticeable color — sometimes a yellowish tint — to the stone. The appearance of a color or tint will reduce the value and quality of the diamond.
To determine the color of the diamond, experts at Hannoush Jewelers will turn the diamond face-down on a white background in a well-lit room.
This process will make the color more apparent and help the jeweler to determine the color grade.
But some diamonds that are naturally colored — like champagne, red, or blue, which can lead to an increase in price.
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Diamonds are composed of mostly carbon.
During the heating process, other elements become trapped inside, giving each diamond its own unique fingerprint.
These inclusions help identify the clarity of the diamond and give it that amazing see-through finish.
Diamond graders use a 10x magnification lens to view diamonds so that the clarity can be determined.
Looking through this magnifying lens allows the jeweler to determine the clarity grade based on what they see.
A poor grade can indicate if a diamond is prone to chipping, cracking, or shattering.
Diamond clarity has multiple levels, including:
· Flawless (FL): Inclusions or blemishes are not visible to a skilled grader and are very expensive. · Internally Flawless (IF): There are no inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader. · Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see. · Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are clearly visible but can be characterized as minor. · Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader. · Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious and may affect transparency and brilliance.