Not all diamonds are created equal, and it is very important to keep this in mind when doing your diamond shopping. However, for beginners, it can be very overwhelming to choose a diamond. Luckily, diamond experts have created a grading system to help you judge the quality of the diamond. This system was put in place over 50 years ago to help standardize the industry and make things simpler for both diamond professionals and discerning customers. The system is called the diamond four C’s, and it uses four different features – color, clarity, cut, and carat weight – to judge the diamond.
Color – An high quality pure diamond will actually have an absence of color. In order for a diamond to be of true gem quality, it should not have any color. Diamond professionals use an alphabetical scale to grade the color of the diamonds. It ranges from D to Z, with D being the least colored a diamond can be, and Z being the most colored a diamond can be. This only applies to clear diamonds, not colored diamonds, which are judged on a different scale. Some sellers also use the term ‘fancy color’ diamonds, which refers to a brown or yellow diamond that is higher than a Z on the color scale and is thus sold with the intention of being a colored diamond instead of a clear one. However, there is no regulation of this term.
Clarity – As you might expect, this aspect of the grading scale refers to how clear a diamond is. Since diamonds are created below the earth from exposure to pressure and high temperatures, they develop unique characteristics. These are called inclusions when they are on the inside of the diamond and blemishes when they are on the outside. Ideally, a diamond should have as few of these as possible. The clarity grading scale ranges from flawless to included, with various points in between.
Cut – This scale refers to the diamond’s light reflectiveness and its facets. Many people confuse diamond shape and diamond cut, but the shape of the diamond (ie. round, pear, princess) actually doesn’t have anything to do with its cut on the four C’s scale. The cut of a diamond is determined after it is crafted and ready to be sold. It should be very symmetrical and have edges that are cut with exacting detail. This feature is very difficult for the average consumer to understand without further education, but the scale ranges from excellent to poor, with a total of five grades.
Carat Weight – This is the grading feature that diamond consumers tend to be the most familiar with. This measurement is simply how much a diamond weighs. A carat is a unit of measurement that indicates 200 milligrams, which can be subdivided into points. For example, you could have a diamond that is 1.25 carats. The carat is not dependent on the size – some of the largest carat diamonds look smaller than many of their lighter counterparts. The heavier a diamond is, the more expensive and sought after it will be
The value of a diamond is determined by a combination of these four features, and it is important to consider all of them equally when choosing a diamond. Many consumers tend to value the carat size over everything else, but the other factors are just as crucial. Next time you are shopping for a diamond, try asking your salesperson about the 4 C’s of each piece you are considering. Not only will you impress them with your knowledge, but you’ll likely also get a better quality diamond. Continue reading here if you want to check out the best places to buy diamonds. Our bottomline conclusion is that you can make great deals online but sometimes – and more rarely – also in your local brick and mortar store.