DIAMONDS: A CLOSER LOOK

Choosing a diamond goes beyond personal taste and preference. Each stone is unique, and its character is revealed in the 4 Cs: Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

CARAT WEIGHT

Diamonds, as well as other stones, are weighed in metric carats. 1 Carat = 200 milligrams. A Carat is divided into 100 points. (For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats.)

Precision in weighing a diamond is important because even a fraction of a carat can make a huge difference in cost.

COLOR

The rule of thumb when it comes to colorL the less color a diamond has, the higher its value

Most diamonds used in fine jewelry are colorless or almost colorless, sometimes with hints of yellow or brown.

The color-grading scale begins with letter D (colorless) all the way to Z (light yellow or brown). Every letter grade has a specifically defined range of color.

CLARITY

Diamonds, which are formed deep inside the earth, usually have unique marks: internal ones (called inclusions), and external ones (called blemishes).

Clarity in a diamond is all about the absence if inclusions and blemishes. A diamond without these marketings is rare and therefore affects its value.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has 11 Clarity Grades:

  • Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

CUT

Cut is the factor that determines a diamond’s real allure. When contemplating cut, there are three attributes to consider: brilliance (the light reflected from the surface and interior), fire (the flares of colors from the diamond), and scintillation (the flashes of light).

Look for a diamond with good proportion, symmetry, and polish so it has optimal interaction with light.

The GIA came up with a Diamond Cut Grading System, which goes from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, to Poor.

Most diamond jewelry uses the round brilliant shape (which has 57 or 58 facets). There are also other shapes like marquise, pear, oval and emerald cuts. Other popular fancy cuts are hearts, cushions, and triangles.