Facts About Diamonds
There are four criteria when determining a diamond’s quality and therefore its value. Throughout the world, the diamond industry refers to these criteria as the 4 C’s: Carat, Cut, Colour and Clarity.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. One carat (Crt.) equals 1/5th of a gram. A carat is divided in 100 points so that a diamond of 50 points equals 1/2 a carat. The larger diamonds are much rarer and their value increases with size.
Although size or carat is an important criteria in order to determine the value of a stone, two stones of the equal weight may vary considerably in value depending on the cut, colour and clarity of the stones.
The classic diamond is, to most people, a round gem of sparkling white brilliance with a kaleidoscope of dazzling facets to entice the eye. Yes and no.
The traditional round brilliant diamond, though the most popular diamond shape of all, is hardly the whole story. By the diamond cutter’s art these crystals are carved into gems of spectacular and whimsical beauty.
A cutter’s skill will produce a diamond of the greatest size with the fewest flaws and the most brilliance. The most popular diamond cuts include princess, oval, emerald and others.
The shape of things to come in diamonds has already produced other fanciful and innovative styles such as the flower, cloverleaf, triangle and kite. Nor does it stop there. Some cuts are variations on standard shapes, others spin off the natural crystal formation of the stone, and still others take the idea of shape to revolutionary new heights. Individuality and taste determine the fashion, and the magic of the gem cutter transforms each stone into a unique work of art.
It is commonly believed that most diamonds are white, although strictly we should say colourless. This is incorrect, most diamonds actually show at least a trace of body colour, and many are quite deeply coloured.
Is White Best?
It’s really a matter of personal preference. Because De Beers promote white as being the most expensive colour for diamonds, most people blindly believe that white is best, and some even believe that yellow is bad! While it is generally true that colourless diamonds are more expensive than tinted diamonds, it is not true that they are better, just that there is a difference. Many distinctly yellow diamonds are very bright, sparkling, attractive and desirable.
When we speak of a diamond’s clarity, we are referring to the presence of identifying characteristics on (blemishes) and within (inclusions) the stone. If you think about the incredible amount of pressure it takes to create a diamond and the fact that natural diamonds are not grown in a sterile laboratory, it’s no surprise that most diamonds have flaws.
Basically there are two types of flaws: inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions refer to internal flaws and blemishes refer to surface flaws. Inclusions include flaws such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals found in the diamond. Blemishes include scratches, pits, and chips. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than those with less clarity because they are rarer.
How are diamonds graded for clarity?
Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification. Grades range from Flawless (diamonds which are completely free of blemishes and inclusions), to Included 3 (diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and inclusions that are visible to the naked eye).