How To Pick The Perfect Diamond

The 4 C's

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Carat:    
  
   
  
    
  
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    Carat refers to a diamond’s weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measurement for diamonds, is approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a diamond referred to in points. One carat is equivalent to 100 points, so a 75-point diamond is equal to 0.75 carats. Because they are rarer, larger diamonds have greater value per carat, so the price of a diamond rises exponentially to its size.

Carat: 

Carat refers to a diamond’s weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measurement for diamonds, is approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a diamond referred to in points. One carat is equivalent to 100 points, so a 75-point diamond is equal to 0.75 carats. Because they are rarer, larger diamonds have greater value per carat, so the price of a diamond rises exponentially to its size.

Clarity:    
  
   
  
    
  
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    A diamond’s clarity is measured by the existence or absence of visible flaws. Tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions, even those seen only under magnification, can alter the brilliance of the diamond and thus affect its value. Clarity levels begin with flawless (FL, IF), followed by very, very slight (VVS1, VVS2), very slight (VS1, VS2), slightly included (SI1, SI2), and included (I1, I2, and I3).   Flawless (FL):  No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification, very rare.   Internally Flawless (IF):  No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.   Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2):  Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.   Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2):  Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor.   Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2):  Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.   Included (I1, I2, and I3):  Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.

Clarity: 

A diamond’s clarity is measured by the existence or absence of visible flaws. Tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions, even those seen only under magnification, can alter the brilliance of the diamond and thus affect its value. Clarity levels begin with flawless (FL, IF), followed by very, very slight (VVS1, VVS2), very slight (VS1, VS2), slightly included (SI1, SI2), and included (I1, I2, and I3).

Flawless (FL): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification, very rare.

Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor.

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.

Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance.

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    One factor that determines the value of a diamond is its color. With the exception of fancy-colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless, completely colorless diamonds are very rare. The diamond color scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). A diamond’s color is determined by a manual process of comparing the diamond to a master set. Each letter grade represents a range of color and is a measurement of how noticeable a color is. When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors range from blue and brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and typically more valuable.

Color: 

One factor that determines the value of a diamond is its color. With the exception of fancy-colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless, completely colorless diamonds are very rare. The diamond color scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). A diamond’s color is determined by a manual process of comparing the diamond to a master set. Each letter grade represents a range of color and is a measurement of how noticeable a color is. When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors range from blue and brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and typically more valuable.

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    A diamond’s overall proportions, as well as the size and position of its facets, make up the cut. The consistency and balance of these can greatly affect how the stone captures light and reflects it back to the eye .  When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light enters the diamond and is returned through the top of the diamond .  If a diamond is too shallow, light will escape from the bottom of the stone. If it is cut too deep, light will escape from the pavilion. Studies have been conducted to find the optimum proportions of a diamond’s cut so that it has the greatest amount of sparkle. If its cut falls within these parameters, it is considered an ideal cut.  Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish optimize their interaction with light and have increased brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.      Look for  brilliance  – the effect of all the diamond’s internal and external reflections of white light. This is best observed under diffused lighting. Well-cut diamonds are brighter than poorly fashioned ones, even if they’re of equivalent size, color and clarity. Poor polish and symmetry causes brightness and fire to diminish.  Look for red, blue, yellow or orange flashes as you rock and tilt it under store spotlights. This is called  fire . It’s caused when white light traveling through the diamond is dispersed into its rainbow of spectral colors.  Look for  sparkle  – the spots of light that flash when the diamond, you or the light source moves.  Look for  scintillation  – a combination of sparkle and pattern. In an attractive diamond, the reflections should appear fairly even and balanced in size.

Cut: 

A diamond’s overall proportions, as well as the size and position of its facets, make up the cut. The consistency and balance of these can greatly affect how the stone captures light and reflects it back to the eye. When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light enters the diamond and is returned through the top of the diamond. If a diamond is too shallow, light will escape from the bottom of the stone. If it is cut too deep, light will escape from the pavilion. Studies have been conducted to find the optimum proportions of a diamond’s cut so that it has the greatest amount of sparkle. If its cut falls within these parameters, it is considered an ideal cut. Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish optimize their interaction with light and have increased brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.

 

Look for brilliance – the effect of all the diamond’s internal and external reflections of white light. This is best observed under diffused lighting. Well-cut diamonds are brighter than poorly fashioned ones, even if they’re of equivalent size, color and clarity. Poor polish and symmetry causes brightness and fire to diminish.

Look for red, blue, yellow or orange flashes as you rock and tilt it under store spotlights. This is called fire. It’s caused when white light traveling through the diamond is dispersed into its rainbow of spectral colors.

Look for sparkle – the spots of light that flash when the diamond, you or the light source moves.

Look for scintillation – a combination of sparkle and pattern. In an attractive diamond, the reflections should appear fairly even and balanced in size.