Cut, Color, Clarity, & Carat ... these are the main four components that make up buying a diamond. We will discuss in detail each one of these to help you make the most informed decision possible. This basic knowledge will not only unlock the mystery of a diamond's quality, it will help you understand diamond's value and price.
It's all about the CUT ...
A diamond's cut unleashes its light. Diamond are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle. Cut is often mistaken as the diamond's shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but a diamonds cut grade is actually how well a diamond's facets interact with light.
A diamond's cut is crucial to the stone's final beauty and value. And of all the diamonds 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze. We look at three major components when analyzing a diamond's cut grade: brightness, fire, & scintillation.
BRIGHTNESS: internal and external white light reflected form a diamond.
FIRE: the scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow.
SCINTILLATION: the amount of sparkle a diamond produces,and the pattern of light and dark areas cased by reflections within the diamond.
A polished diamond’s proportions affect its light performance, which in turn affects its beauty and overall appeal. Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish optimize their interaction with light, and have increased brightness, fire, and scintillation.
Grading the color of a diamond is based on the absence of color.
Color grades are determined by comparing each diamond to a master set. A diamond’s color is most accurately determined when it is not mounted in a setting. One reason for this is that the setting can introduce tints of its own color into the diamond.
Note the image to the left. You can see the color grading chart which ranges from "D-Z."
Diamonds also come in colors such as blue, pink, purple, red, green, orange, brown and yellow. These are commonly referred to as ‘fancy’ colored diamonds. These diamonds, if natural in color, are even rarer and can command very high prices
Just as a diamond's color is graded on the absence of color, the diamond's clarity is graded on the absence of inclusions & blemishes.
A diamond's clarity is based on two factors
Internal characteristics: inclusions and/or
External characteristics: blemishes.
Evaluating a diamond's clarity involves the number, size, relief and position of the characteristics; as well as, how they affect the overall appearance of the diamond.
Carat weight refers to the diamond's size. Carat weight is how much a diamond weighs. The carat weight directly correlates to price of the diamond. This happens because the supply is low (larger = rarer) and demand is high (larger = more popular.)
1 carat = 200 milligrams
1 point = 0.01 carat = 1/100 of a carat
Diamond of equal weight are not necessarily the same size. Different proportions and depths will result in different size and weight combinations. Two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond which we previously discussed (4Cs: clarity, color, and cut.)
It is very important to remember that a diamond's value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.