The Four Cs: What YOU Need to Know About Diamond Quality!
For centuries, diamonds have been thought of as the pinnacle of quality and beauty in the world of fine jewelry. With their traditionally colorless sparkle, they are a classic companion to any piece of jewelry, clothing, or skin tone. But as beloved as this gemstone may be, not every diamond is equal. A few rare diamonds may boast perfect qualities, but many fail to live up to the standard that most people think of when they imagine the stone. So if you are a lover of diamonds (like us!), then we want to educate you so that you can invest in the highest quality diamond at the best price.
The first "C" of diamonds is color--or rather, the lack-thereof! The higher quality a diamond is, the less color that is present in the stone. As you can see in the GIA Color Grading chart below, the diamonds labeled D-F are the most sought after stones due to their colorless attributes, while the stones labeled S-Z represent light yellow diamonds that are rather undesirable. Most of the differences within the same categories are rather undetectable to the naked eye, which is why it is crucial to get help from a certified professional when both buying or appraising a diamond.
The next "C" in the lineup is the clarity scale, which evaluates how many inclusions are within a diamond, and whether or not their position affects the overall look of the diamond. FL stands for "flawless", meaning that a diamond has no visible blemishes or inclusions when observed under 10x magnification. IF means that a diamond is "internally flawless", and thus lacks any inclusions when studied under 10x magnification. But even though these categories are included on the scale, it should be noted that only 0.5% of diamonds in the world can be considered flawless or internally flawless.
Moving on, VVSI stands for "very, very slight inclusions," VSI translates to "very slight inclusions", and SI means simply "slight inclusions". These middle categories of diamonds are what you should look for in a stone, as they are relatively similar to the naked eye, though can vary in price depending on how slight the inclusions actually are. Diamonds in the final category, "included", have so many inclusions that it tends to look dirty or damaged, and thus should be avoided if possible.
The third scale to measure a diamond is the cut. Now when we say cut, we are referring to the way the diamond interacts with light, not the shape (i.e.: princess cut, cushion cut, etc.) of the stone. Every aspect of the cut can affect the quality of a diamond, so creating a gem that boasts vibrant brightness, dazzling fire, and eye-catching scintillation is a job that takes a great amount of skill. As you can see in the diagram below, the difference between a shallow or deep cut and an ideal cut diamond will drastically change the look of the stone, even if it is the same color, clarity, and carat size. So as you are looking for a
diamond, try to find a stone that is either in the good or
excellent category in order to make the most of the other
The final "c" of diamonds is the carat, which measures how much the diamond weighs. Though larger diamonds are obviously more rare, and thus tend to be more expensive, a diamond that is of the same size as another may not be the same price if it is lacking in cut, clarity, or color. Therefore, keep all four of the "c's" in mind when shopping for a diamond, as there is more to a stone than the carat value, and a higher quality diamond may be worth compromising on size. But if carat size is the most important thing to you, then consult with your jeweler to find a diamond that meets your desires!