After choosing a diamond for the one you love, or for yourself, you should leave knowing that you made the best decision. At Dianna Rae, our diamond experts are here to help you learn about the characteristics that determine a diamond’s quality. You’ll discover what each characteristic means, how to look at them individually, and how they work together to determine the diamond’s value. Both natural and lab-grown diamonds undergo the same rigorous grading processing using the Four Cs. Learn more about the Four Cs below.
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UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR CS OF DIAMOND QUALITY
You may know that the Four Cs represent cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. This knowledge is a universal guide to understanding a diamond’s specific qualities. A quick search online will tell you that the Four Cs are most important to consider when buying a diamond.
Having an understanding of the Four Cs is important as a buyer, but don’t just stop there! The connection between a diamond’s grading report and its value is answered in how the diamond appears to the naked eye. Comparing diamonds in person will help you make an informed decision so that you’re choosing qualities that are most important to you and to your budget.
A diamond’s beauty relies heavily on its quality of cut. Cut determines a diamond’s proportions and how well the diamond’s facets interact with light. When a diamond is cut with perfect symmetry, the light is reflected out of the top of the diamond. If a diamond is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom of the diamond; if it is cut too deep, the light escapes out of the diamond’s side. Poorly cut diamonds may appear dull, while ideal cut diamonds with perfect symmetry have incredible brightness, fire, and sparkle.
A standard round brilliant diamond has 58 facets. Cutting styles, or shapes, other than the round brilliant are called fancy cuts. The most commonly known are the marquise, princess, pear, oval, heart, radiant, cushion, and emerald cut.
A diamond’s color occurs in a range from colorless to light yellow or light brown. Today, the GIA® Color Scale, often referred to as the “D-to-Z scale”, is the most widely used diamond color-grading system in the world. It describes the color range from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow, brown, or gray). Each letter represents a range of color based on a combination of tone and saturation — this combination measures how noticeable a color is. Within this normal color scale, colorless diamonds are most rare, making them the most valuable. Subtle color differences in a diamond can vastly affect its value.
A diamond’s clarity is determined by its absence of inclusions and blemishes. The difference between inclusions and blemishes is based on their locations on or within the diamond. A blemish is limited to the diamond’s surface; whereas an inclusion may extend from the surface to the diamond’s interior or may be enclosed within the diamond.
Like the other Four Cs, rarity and value are related; diamonds with fewer clarity characteristics are more rare, and therefore more valuable. However, most clarity characteristics can only be seen under 10X magnification. A diamond grading report alone won’t determine how a diamond’s inclusions or blemishes will distract from the stone’s brilliance and beauty. When comparing two diamonds with the same clarity grading, one may be more appealing to you than the other.
Some people may think carat refers to the size of the diamond. Actually, carat refers to the weight of the diamond, not the size. Two 1 carat diamonds may be quite different in size depending on the shape and cut of the diamond. Carat weight should always be considered when purchasing a diamond; however, one should not discount the overall appearance and brilliance of the diamond. For instance, a poorly cut 2-carat diamond will not sparkle and shine as brightly as a 1 carat diamond with exceptional cut, color, and clarity.
Shape, or cutting style, is another important factor to consider when choosing a diamond. Cutting styles other than the round brilliant cut are called fancy cuts. Fancy cuts include radiant, pear, princess, oval, marquise, emerald, cushion, and more.
Each diamond shape is uniquely beautiful and should be chosen based on personal preference and style. Light reflects off of the many surfaces, or facets, of a diamond. Each diamond cut has a different number and pattern of facets, affecting how the light will be reflected back out and producing brilliance and sparkle. This gives each shape its own identity and beauty.