The value of a diamond is determined by it’s weight and quality. These elements are often referred to as the “4C’s”. The 4 C’s are the diamond’s Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carat Weight. These elements combined determine the value and cost of a diamond. In addition to the 4 C’s, there are many other factors that affect the price of diamonds. A good diamond education is essential. It will help you to understand why a diamond costs what it costs.
The best diamond for a client is usually one that is a balance of all the quality elements. Unless your budget is unlimited, it is not necessary to be at the very top of each area of the grading standards. A good diamond education will help you select a diamond that will be a great balance in the diamond grades for the budget you have available
Of all the 4 C’s, cut has the greatest effect on a diamond’s beauty. Two diamonds of the same size, colour and clarity will look vastly different to the eye if cut differently – one may look brilliant and bright, the other dull and drab. The better quality the cut the more brilliance and beauty the diamond will have.
A truly colourless diamond is extremely rare. Most diamonds possess varying degrees of colour creating substantial differences in value. The highest grade for a diamond with absolutely no colour is D and letter grades are assigned alphabetically all the way to Z. An ‘icy white’ diamond is typically D, E or F. However, some people like the ‘warmth’ of a I, J or K colour.
The clarity of a diamond is the third of the Four C’s. Clarity is a measure of the diamond’s freedom from external marks or internal flaws. Internal flaws, known as inclusions, may present themselves as tiny white points, dark dots or feathery cracks within the body of the gem.
Clarity is determined by the number, placement and size of any inclusions visible from the top face of the diamond. The diamond is viewed with a 10x power microscope and rated by the standard GIA scale.
An F1 diamond is flawless, while IF diamonds have only minor surface blemishes visible under magnification. If a diamond has small, difficult to see inclusions, the stone will merit a VVS1, VVS2, VS1 or VS2 rating. SI1 and SI2 diamonds have inclusions that are easy to spot under magnification, while diamonds rated I1, I2 or I3 have inclusions that are noticeable by the naked eye.
the term ‘carat’ actually refers to the weight of the diamond. This term comes from the days when early gem traders would use carob seeds (as they were generally very uniform in weight) as the counterweights in their balance scales. The modern metric ‘carat’ weight was introduced in 1913 to create a universally accepted way of measuring diamonds. The traditional unit of measure, One Carat, is approximately 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points, just like there are 100 pennies in £1. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat, therefore a 75-point diamond equals 0.75 carat. Due to its weight and size, the larger the diamond, the rarer and more valuable it tends to be. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size.