ALL ABOUT THE 4 C´S

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Diamonds are a symbol of eternity, purity, love and fidelity. Perfect in structure the diamond is also referred to as the ‘King of Gems’. Why not give the love of your life something that is as precious and rare as a diamond. We want this to be the perfect gift for your loved one so we have listed the essentials for you below.

Lets’ start with the 4C’s.. What was that again? The four C’s ? Carat, C,…? The so-called 4 C’s are the core description of a diamond. Everybody who thinks about buying a diamond should know these. Estenza herby explains you the internationally recognized cachets.

Diamonds are graded in these four categories: The 4 C’s – Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity. We have listed them below in order of importance.

Cut:

A cut refers to a diamond’s reflective qualities. The cut is the most important factor in determining value. A well-cut diamond perfectly reflects light and hence has more – as the experts call it – ‘fire’ or ‘brilliance’. A diamonds’ shape as well as its polish and symmetry affect its ability to reflect light; hence a diamonds’ cut is all about maximizing its beauty- brilliance (amount of light reflected back to the viewer), fire (split of light into rainbow colors) and scintillation (glittering of the reflected light in the diamond). So a better cut directly translates to better sparkle or shine in the diamond.

Do not confuse a diamond CUT with a diamond SHAPE.

A diamond cut ranges from ‘Super Ideal’ to ‘good’. A super ideal is the highest cut grade. These ranges are based on a set of proportions as determined by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in terms of diameter, girdle, crown, table, depth, pavilion and culet for the diamond. It is best to stay away from stones with proportions below the ideal standards. A certified stone should have these details listed in the certificate.

Color:

The color of a diamond is graded in terms of how colorless or ‘white’ a diamond is. Grades of color range from D to Z. They are based on the amounts of yellow that appear when they are viewed face down through the pavilion on a white diamond color card using a full spectrum daylight equivalent florescent light.

  • D-F – colorless, most valuable and desirable due to their rarity
  • G-I  – Looks colorless to the naked and untrained eye
  • J-M – Very faint yellow starts to appear
  • N-R – Very light yellow starts to appear
  • S-Z – Shows signs of being yellow

When a diamond is color graded it is compared to a set of Master Stones. Master stones are a set of real diamonds that display a range of known colors. This helps diamond graders distinguish the colors in stones which is otherwise extremely difficult to do. Most of the retailers now carry a similar set with CZ (zircon) diamonds that are created to show the actual colors as you would see in a real diamond. This can be used in the store to compare your diamond against the Master set.

Another important thing to remember is that ‘fluorescence’ can affect the color of a diamond. If a diamond has fluorescence that means that it changes color when exposed to ultraviolet light.

So some diamonds that have blue fluorescence can appear whiter or more colorless under a UV light.

Similarly diamonds that have yellow fluorescence can appear even more yellow under UV or some other lighting conditions.

Clarity:

Every diamond is unique and has its natural characteristics, the so-called inclusions. Fewer the inclusions- the better and more valuable the diamonds are.

The clarity in a diamond is affected by natural flaws or inclusions in or on the stone. Internal imperfections can be carbon, air bubbles, cracks inside the diamond or other foreign materials in the stone. External imperfections can be in terms of chips, scratches or poor polish.

The size, color and position of these imperfections determine how visible they are to the naked eye. They also obstruct light refraction hence making the diamond less brilliant. The larger the inclusion in a diamond the worse is its ability to reflect the light.

A diamonds’ clarity is graded from FL (flawless) to I3 (imperfections). The various grades are explained below.

  • F- Flawless. This stone has no imperfections under 10x magnification. These are truly flawless diamonds and are extremely rare.
  • IF- Internally Flawless. This diamond has no inclusions under 10x magnification but could possibly have very minor possible blemishes.
  • VVS1/ VVS2- These are very very slightly included. These inclusions are very hard to see even under 10x magnification
  • VS1/ VS2- Very slightly included. This diamond has some inclusions that can be seen under 10x with some effort.
  • SI1/ SI2- These diamonds are slightly included. These have some inclusions or impurities and can be seen under 10x magnification. These can also be visible to the naked eye. However you can find diamonds that are eye-clean, i.e. diamonds that are included but not visible to the naked eye.
  • I1/I2/I3- These diamonds have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. These inclusions can affect the brilliance of the diamonds due to their size and placement in the diamonds.

Carat:

This is basically the weight of the diamond. Diamond weight is divided into ct’s or points. One carat is divided into 100 points, hence 0.25ct is equivalent to 25 points. The more carat weight the more valuable the diamond is. Here we think it is important to talk about “Magic Weights”. These are carat weights that once reached signify a price increase. The ‘magic’ carat weights are:

  • 1/2ct
  • 3/4ct
  •  1ct
  • 1.5ct
  • 2ct

Diamonds that weigh just below the magic weights are called ‘under-sizes’. Choosing a diamond that is just below the magic weight can result in a significant price reduction. It is also important to remember that carat weights are a measure of weight and not strictly size. So a 0.95ct and 1.00ct could possibly appear to be the same ‘size’ when compared next to each other, though they are not the same in weight.

Different diamond and grading labs all have their own grading systems. All grading systems rely on human judgment hence it is possible that you could get different grading for the same stone. However some agencies such as GIA and AGS are considered to be stricter with their grading and hence command a premium while purchasing diamonds graded by them.

With this knowledge we hope you feel confident going out and purchasing your perfect diamond.

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