The 4 C’s
BUYING A DIAMOND
The most important step in buying a diamond is to choose one that appeals to you personally. While it is key to understand the technical aspects of diamonds, it is most important to fall in love with your diamond.
Diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to man. The four factors that determine the value of a diamond is known as the ‘Four Cs’.
Carat weight measures a diamond’s weight and size. Originally, the weight of a diamond was measured against the weight of the Carob seed, from here the name ‘carat’ originated. One carat is equal to 100 points. Examples are: a half carat is a 50-pointer and a three quarter carat is referred to as a 75-point diamond.
Clarity refers to the inclusions which naturally occur in diamonds.
Characteristics such as internal spots or lines are called inclusions. Although these marks make each diamond unique, the fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond.
Diamond Grading Laboratories use an internationally standardised scale to indicate the clarity of a diamond. All clarity grades refer to inclusions visible under 10X magnification, thus a diamond with slight inclusions may still look clear to the naked eye.
The following terms are used in certificates issued when grading a diamond’s clarity: (inclusions under 10 power magnification)
F – Flawless
IF – Internally Flawless
VVS1 – Very very slightly included 1
VVS2 – Very very slightly included 2
VS1 – Very slightly included 1
VS2 – Very slightly included 2
SI1 – Slightly included 1
SI2 – Slightly included 2
SI3 – Slightly included 3
I1 – Included 1
I2 – Included 2
I3 – Included 3
Colour of a diamond refers to how colourless the diamond is.
Laboratories use an international scale to determine colour in a diamond. The Chart below illustrates the colour scale from colourless to the yellow diamonds:
Diamonds also come in a spectrum of very prominent majestic colours, known as ‘fancies’ and are valued for their depth of colour. These are exceptionally rare and valuable.
Cut is used to describe the shape of a diamond. Each diamond is cut to very exacting standards. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed to yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer.
This reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond’s cut. A poorly cut diamond will lose light and appear dull.
A diamond grading laboratory will indicate the specifications of the stone on all diamond certificates.