The 4 C’s of Diamonds
Carat is the measurement of a diamond’s weight. A carat is equal to 100 points. Large diamonds are rare and have a greater value per carat.
Letters of the alphabet represent the Color grading of a diamond. Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum but the most popular color remains white. Colorless diamonds are very rare. Diamonds are graded by color and given designations dependant on how far they deviate from the purest white. Colorless stones are graded D. Color grading continues down through the alphabet with each letter designating a more yellow tint. Common colors grades are E, F, G, H and I. Colorful diamonds, known as fancies, are valued for their depth of color just as white diamonds are valued for their lack of color. Fancies come in many color ranges from red to canary yellow to blue, green and brown.
A diamond’s Clarity is affected by any external irregularities and internal imperfections created by nature when the diamond was formed. Imperfections such as spots, bubbles or lines are called inclusions. Inclusions interfere with the passage of light through the stone, diminishing the sparkle and value of the diamond. Clarity is graded on a scale ranging from Flawless (FL or IF) to Imperfect (I). Other Clarity grades that fall in between include the following: VVS Very Very Slightly Included; VS Very Slightly Included and SI Slightly Included. To be graded flawless, a diamond must have no inclusions visible to a trained eye under a 10x magnification in good light, whereas, a diamond graded Imperfect has inclusions visible to the eye.
Each diamond is cut according to an exact mathematical formula. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed to yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer. This reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond. A poorly cut diamond will actually loose light and appears dull. The widest circumference of a diamond is known as the girdle. Above the girdle of a brilliant cut diamond are 32 facets plus the table, the largest and the topmost facet. Below the girdle are 24 facets plus the cutlet, or point. Cut is also used to describe the shape of a diamond. In addition to the round brilliant, other popular cuts include emerald, teardrop or pear, oval and princess.