Diamond – noun, often attribute
- Native crystalline carbon that is the hardest known mineral, that is usually nearly colorless, that when transparent and free from flaws is highly valued as a precious stone, and that is used industrially especially as an abrasive.
This is the dictionary definition of a diamond. But what makes a diamond so rare and expensive? How does one diamond differ from another? The answers to all these questions are within a system created by the GIA for describing diamonds, a system known across the world as “The Four C’s.”
It doesn't take a genius to guess what the four c’s stand for, but we will help you out. Pay attention, there's a quiz at the end (kidding). The Four C’s; cut, color, clarity and carat, define the attributes of a diamond. Here are some helpful facts about the Four C’s that will help guide you when shopping for your next diamond.
The cut of a diamond is the most important of the 4Cs. Without a good cut, the diamond simply does not sparkle. If a diamond doesn't sparkle, is it even a diamond? We’ll come back to that question later. According to the official GIA website, “A diamond’s cut is crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.”
A diamond is made up of tiny “mirrors” known as facets. These facets bounce light back and forth, causing the diamond to sparkle and shine when exposed to light. The GIA created a grading system to grade a diamond on how much or how little it sparkles under light. This is very important because the more a diamond sparkles, the better quality it is, therefore making it more expensive than a diamond with a lower grade cut.
The grades include excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. The grade is typically determined by three factors. The first factor, brightness, is internal and external white light reflected from a diamond. The second, fire, is the scattering of white life into all the colors of the rainbow and the third, scintillation, is the amount of sparkle a diamond produces and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamonds. These factors, or lack thereof, determine the cut of the diamond, therefore determining the value of the diamond.
Imagine a life where everything is black and white. Seems boring right? Color adds flair to almost anything. Except diamonds. The less color a diamond has the more expensive and rarer it is. Luckily, the GIA has a color grading system to help determine just how colorless and rare a diamond is.
According to the GIA, “D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones of established color value.” You may be confused as to why the scale starts with D instead of A. This is because inaccurate grading scales in the past started and ended with A-C. When the GIA created the new system, they didn't want any affiliation with previous inaccurate systems, therefore starting theirs with the letter D.
D-F diamonds are considered colorless and are the most expensive. G-J are considered near colorless diamonds, K-M are considered faint diamonds, N-R are considered very light diamonds, S-W are considered light diamonds and X-Y are considered faint diamonds. The lower the grade the diamond has, the more of a yellowish, brownish color it is.
A flawless diamond obviously sounds perfect in theory, but it is not always within the buyer’s budget. Let’s be honest, most inclusions in a diamond can't even be seen with the naked eye so don't panic if a flawless diamond isn't within your budget. Most diamonds have some degree of inclusions, or any material that is trapped inside a diamond during formation. “Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone,” according to the GIA.
The GIA clarity scale has 6 different categories and 11 specifics grades. The categories include flawless, internally flawless, very, very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included and included. Flawless means there is no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification. Each category after flawless, offers more and more visible inclusions, leading all the way to an included diamond which means inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification.
Just like most things in life, a perfect diamond does not exist. A diamond with absolutely zero inclusions or blemishes does not exist. Thankfully, the GIA created yet another accurate and easy scale to let you know just how imperfect your diamond could be.
This one is self-explanatory. Even if you don't know much about diamonds, you've more than likely heard a diamonds weight be referred to as “carat” weight. Most people are quick to assume a diamonds carat weight is the most important factor in determining the value of a diamond. That would make sense if you weren't educated on the Four C’s. Luckily, since reading this article, you're a pro and understand that a diamonds value is determined by much more than just its carat weight. A 3-carat stone with poor cut, quality and color, will be worth significantly less than a 1-carat stone with a better cut, quality and color.
As a buyer, it is important to stay within your budget. No need to miss a meal or even worse, an arm or a leg, to gift your loved one a diamond. They wouldn't want you to break the bank either. But it is important to consider all these factors before making the big purchase.
Remember earlier when I mentioned a diamond simply isn't a diamond unless it sparkles and shines. That’s not entirely true. A diamond that rates low on all the scales, is still a diamond even if it doesn't necessarily catch the eye. That’d just the thing though. Why spend money on a diamond that doesn't have the breathtaking and special attributes a diamond is supposed to have. Even if you must save a little longer, buying a diamond that grades well on the GIA scales for cut, color, clarity and carat is worth it and your loved one will be thankful you did.
For any questions or concerns about King of Jewelry’s policy on selling diamonds, please feel free to schedule a consultation, give us a phone call or message us through any of our social media accounts.