The Four C's |
Most anyone who has ever read something, or talked to someone, about assessing the quality of diamonds has heard about the four c's - Color, Clarity Cut and Carat. These four basic criteria are the ones by which a diamond's worth is determined.
Gemology institutions, such as DGI located in the Israeli diamond exchange complex, offer diamond appraisal services. The different types of reports available, such as certificates, mini-certs and cert-cards, all contain data describing the four C's and why the diamond received the grades it did for each variant. These figures all add up to determine a bottom line assessed value for the diamond. Color A diamond's value rises the closer it is to being colorless. Color grading starts at "D" due to historical reasons, namely a grading system introduced in the 1930's by which diamonds were graded A,B or C. This is why near colorless diamonds are graded D,E and F. "White" diamonds are graded G,H,I and J. Color grades from k to Z are for tinted diamonds, usually yellow or yellowish brown. As diamonds are graded further from D their value decreases, but the value of diamonds graded very far down the alphabet may begin to rise again because they are no longer considered tinted but rather as possessing a fancy color.
Clarity A diamonds clarity is determined by its size as opposed to the number of inclusions inside it. Inclusions are anything that may interfere with light passing and being reflected in the diamond (things such as a trace of a mineral, a fracture or a void). There are numerous clarity grades. A flawless diamond is one in which no inclusions can be spotted by an expert in ideal conditions at X10 magnification. In describing clarity grading the letters V,S and I are used. In this manner a diamond with clarity just bellow flawless will be graded VVSI1 (very, very small inclusions One), then VVSI2, VSI1, VSI2, SI1 and SI2. The inclusions of I1 and I2 diamonds are visible to the naked eye.
Cut A diamond's cut is the hardest of the four C's to grade. It is impossible to describe, even very briefly, the ins and outs of the different cuts and their ideal proportions. Naturally expert gemologists, the ones at leading gemology institutions such asDGI for example, are well versed in assesing the quality of a diamond's cut, how the stones cut affects its brightness, whether the stone's cutter opted for a less than ideal cut just in order to preserve better carat weight etc.
Carat This "C" is the most straight forward one, it signifies a diamonds weight, one carat is 200mg (or one fifth of a gram). Smaller diamonds cost less per carat, larger diamonds will cost much more per carat (even several times more for diamonds in the full carat scale).
Related Articles -