When evaluating a diamond, we often look at the 4 C’s – cut, color, clarity and carat.
The 4C’s together determine a diamond’s value and price. We will look at each in turn; hopefully helping you better understand how to buy a diamond.
A diamond’s cut is crucial to its aesthetic value. Diamonds are appealing because of their sparkle. This sparkle is determined by the way the diamond is cut. The ‘cut’ determines the way the diamond will reflect light.
The different cuts are: ideal, very good, good, fair and poor.
– Ideal Cut: is the best type because it reflects nearly all the light that enters it
– Very Good Cut: reflects most of the light that enters
– Good Cut: will still yield a good diamond but is significantly ‘less brighter’ than an ideal or very good cut
– Poor Cut: most of the light is lost because the diamond is too shallow, narrow or wide
We recommend always selecting and ideal or very good cut simply because it will make the diamond look like a diamond.
The second of the aesthetic factors is color. After the sparkle, you examine a diamonds color, specifically lack of. Because the ‘whiter’ a diamond, the better it is.
D: absolutely colorless
E, F: colorless
G, H: color only detected when placed next to a better color
I, J: slightly warm tone, almost colorless
K – Z: noticeable color
The clarity of a diamond refers to the natural imperfections in it – often too tiny to be visible to the naked eye. When people talk of blemishes and inclusions, they’re often referring to these imperfections.
The clarity scale goes from FL – I3:
(very rare) Flawless: no imperfections
Internally Flawless: no internal imperfections
VVS1, VVS2 Very Very Slightly Included: a superior quality diamond with very very difficult to see imperfections even under the microscope
VS1, VS2 Very Slightly Included: need some sort of aid to see imperfections
SI1, SI2 Slightly Included: still a good value diamond where the imperfections may or may not be seen to the naked eye
I1, I2 Inclusions visible to the eye
Try to select a diamond where there are no imperfections obviously visible. However this doesn’t have to be a FL or IF, it can even be a SI1 of very good quality.
Diamonds are measured in carats; which is unit of their weight. A diamond of the highest carat may not be the largest if it has a shallow or narrow cut or if it has a smaller top. Therefore it is important to take cut and measurement into account when buying a diamond on its own or to have it set in a piece of jewelry.