In a time not too long ago, before the mid-20th century, there were no true, universal standards for diamond quality. Until GIA brought the 4Cs onto the map, decisions about diamonds and engagement rings were far more of a gamble. Using four unique categories, shoppers are now able to distinguish between gemstones and understand more about their value before investing. The same method is used across the globe, making these descriptive standards the holy grail of diamond purchases. The categories are as follows: |
Color When you first picture a diamond, you may not think of color. Aren't they all white and brilliant? Although sometimes difficult to detect with the human eye, these gemstones can often have tints of color that reduce their value or price. As such, the color scale is used to measure the degree of colorlessness of a diamond. Using a D-to-Z scale, D represents the most ideal color.
Clarity Due to the way diamonds are naturally produced, where carbon deep within the earth is subjected to immense heat and pressure, there are natural inclusions or blemishes that can appear, as a result. When these flaws are within the stone, they are referred to as inclusions. Externally, they are referred to as blemishes. For grading purposes, the examiner will look at the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, using their expertise to determine the overall effect this has on the individual stone's appearance. The closer it is to flawless, the higher its value. The categories include flawless; internally flawless; very, very slightly included; very slightly included; slightly included; and included. There are subsections within these divisions, leaving 11 total specific grades, and this is an overall way to determine the value of engagement rings when the time comes.
Cut Of all the factors, cut has one of the greatest impacts on the way your stone will reflect light and produce jaw-dropping sparkle. While you might initially think cut refers to the shape, whether it's cushion cut or princess cut, it actually refers to how well the facets interact with light. As such, workmanship is incredibly important in delivering well-cut diamonds. The scale includes excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. As for how this is determined, experts look at brightness, fire, and scintillation. This will greatly impact how engagement rings catch your eye.
Carat This may be one of the first characteristics shoppers, or soon to be engaged fiancées, think about. We're talking about size and weight. One metric carat is equal to 200 milligrams. While typically thought of on a 0-5 scale, there are actually 100 'points' between each carat to allow for extremely precise measurement. Aside from the other factors, the price of engagement rings increases as carat weight increases. This isn't to say two diamonds of the same weight are equal in price, because you always have to consider the other 3Cs.
Understanding the value and measurement for diamonds can greatly impact the purchasing process. When you walk into your choice jewelry store, always inquire about these standards and make sure your stone stacks up to your expectations.
To learn more about their options for engagement rings, Ann Arbor residents should visit http://www.lewisjewelers.com/.
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