Know your Diamonds
Going to buy that precious rock but don’t know which one is worth it? We will tell you how to judge those dazzlers!
Diamond professionals use a special set of four value factors to describe and classify diamonds:
Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carat weight. These are known as the 4 Cs.They have become an international language that jewellery professionals can use to describe and evaluate diamonds. When used together, they describe the quality of the finished diamond, which is directly proportional to its value. Each diamond’s value is based on its unique combination of the 4Cs. Sometimes, a diamond has one value factor that stands out because it’s so rare.
Clarity is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes.
The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, colour or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.
People outside the diamond trade often misunderstand the relationship between diamonds and colour. Many people think of diamonds as colourless. In reality, truly colourless diamonds are quite rare! Most diamonds used in jewellery are nearly colourless with yellow or brown tints – most often light yellow.
Colour-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless, and continues with increasing presence of colour to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown. The more colourless the diamond, the higher the value!
Cut is the factor that fuels a diamond’s fire, sparkle and brilliance. People often think of diamond cut as shape. Round is the shape used in most diamond jewellery. All other shapes are known as fancy shapes. Traditional fancy shapes include the marquise, pear, oval and rectangle. Hearts, triangles and a variety of others are also gaining popularity in diamond jewellery.
As a value factor, though, cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish!
Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip! (Psst.. Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity.)
Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less.
Because even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in cost, precision is crucial.