Diamond Basics: The 4 Cs
You can Google information about diamonds and the 4 Cs, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of detail.
Rather than write a lengthy section on technical terms that you don’t need to know to get a gorgeous diamond, I’m going to highlight the main points.
Don’t worry if it seems confusing. It’s the job of the professional to demystify the process of selecting a diamond. We can guide you in selecting the perfect diamond based on your desired budget, ideal carat size and quality.
The diamond industry uses the 4 Cs – cut, clarity, color & carat – to determine a diamond’s beauty and value…
4 Cs: Cut
This is the way that the diamond is physically cut to create its fire and brilliance. GIA has calculated the cut results for 38.5 million proportion sets based on the assessment of seven components.
The first three — Brightness, Fire, and Scintillation — are appearance-based aspects. The remaining four — Weight Ratio, Durability, Polish, and Symmetry — are related to a diamond’s design and craftsmanship.
The “cut” of a diamond is often mistaken for the “shape” of a diamond. This is different. Below are various diamond shapes to choose from.
4 Cs: Clarity
The clarity determines how perfect the diamond itself is — whether it has any flaws, blemishes, or other features that affect the beauty. Clarity is measured by abbreviations and acronyms like FL (flawless), VVS1 & VVS2 (very, very slight inclusions), SI1 & SI2 (slight inclusions), and I1, I2 & I3 (inclusions that are visible to the naked eye). Each level of flaws has its own range.
Diamonds of equal clarity grade do not look equally the same. Inclusions can be white clouds or dark bits of carbon. Certain inclusions are harder to see than others even if they have the same clarity grade.
4 Cs: Color
Diamonds can range in color from being slightly yellow to completely colorless. Colorless diamonds are the rarest and therefore more valuable. Color is graded with a letter system from D through Z, with D being the best (Colorless) and Z being very noticeably yellow. Most often, jewelers will suggest you don’t go past a J color to keep her diamond in the Near Colorless category.
4 Cs: Carat
Carat is the weight of the diamond, which also affects the size. A higher carat means the diamond has a higher weight and is therefore more rare and valuable. But you want to make sure it hasn’t just been cut for added weight. Sometimes diamonds are cut to be bottom heavy or “spready” on top to increase the carat weight. While it will be heavier, it won’t necessarily be as beautiful as it could be.
Diamonds are typically accompanied by a grade report, which is issued by an independent gemological association such as GIA or EGL. This will formally list all the characteristics of your chosen diamond.
You’ll see a lot of diamonds at various prices and not know why each one costs what it does. Many people come to us fixated on a specific grade, but your fiancé won’t be wearing the certificate on her finger. All she is going to see is whether or not it’s gorgeous.
It is important for customers to know that the purpose of a diamond certificate is to identify and describe the diamond. That’s all! Many customers feel that the certificate is a guarantee or warranty – It is not. Even the disclosure on certificates states: “This certificate is NOT an appraisal, guarantee, or warranty.”
The color and clarity are the opinion of the lab at that time. Color and clarity results can differ based on when or who grades the diamond. This is why the same diamond can go to the same lab and receive different grades. Dimensions alone will not tell you if a diamond is bright or pretty. This is why you cannot rely solely on the certificate to determine how gorgeous a diamond is.
Let Vanessa Nicole be your guide. Vanessa Nicole Jewels crafts stunning, custom-made wedding bands and engagement rings for couples around the globe. Every ring we make is truly one of a kind, designed exclusively for each client. Contact Vanessa today to learn more about your options!
Or Call Vanessa At (619) 800-0134
Hi, I’m Vanessa Nicole – master diamond setter and author of the best-selling book, The Perfect Custom Engagement Ring. My educational engagement ring videos have amassed nearly half a million views on YouTube, so be sure to check those out if you need design inspiration for your ring. When I’m not playing with diamonds, you can find me tickling my twin boys, or kicking back watching a movie with my awesome husband (my teenage sweetheart).
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Vanessa Nicole Jewels specializes in micro pavé engagement rings, bringing award winning talent to those who desire the highest quality engagement ring experience for their life partner. The benefits of a micro pavé engagement ring are obvious. However, such a stunning ring is only more breathtaking and built to last when it is custom made by a professional jewelry studio rather than a mass production wholesaler.
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