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Becoming a bit of a diamond nerd will impress your significant other when it comes time to make an investment in a beautiful diamond ring or pendant. You can get up to speed rather quickly in a basic diamond education, so don’t worry. You won’t be trapped for hours learning complex theories.
The value of the diamond is based on four main factors: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. By understanding the ins and outs of those four items, you will be able to pick a diamond that is rare and the most valuable from the bunch. Of course, you want the best there is, however your pocketbook may not. By understanding the four Cs, you can decide which C is the most important to you and therefore keep your finances intact.
- Diamond Cut
- Diamond Color
- Diamond Clarity
- Diamond Carat Weight
The Diamond Cut can refer to the shape of the diamond or how it was cut.
The Diamond Shapes are: Round Brilliant Cut, Princess Cut, Pear shape, Marquise Shape, Cushion Cut, Radiant, and Old Mine cut. The Old Mine Cut was a cut that was used years ago, but is now replaced with the Modern Round Brilliant cut. Round Brilliant Cut is the most popular shape and it will return the most brilliance in a diamond. Princess cuts are popular because it appears to be a larger diamond due to the top of the diamond being spread out on the edges. The Marquise shape gives that larger look also, although it is not quite as popular.
How well the diamond is cut will determine how well the diamond will sparkle. Its brilliance, or how much white light is re-directed back through the top of the diamond, is what gives it that desirable sparkle. "Ideal cut" refers to a round diamond when the proportions of a round brilliant cut are perfect and within a specific range. The term “ideal proportions” is referring to the table percentage, depth percentage, the finish of the diamond, and how well the facets are aligned. Hearts on Fire diamonds are considered "the most perfectly cut diamond in the world." Hearts on Fire cuts only a round Brilliant Cut and a Square Shape diamond named Dream. Ben David Jewelers carries the Hearts on Fire brand.
Ben David Jewelers also has our own Signature Diamond which is a diamond that is close to ideal proportions, allowing the diamond to sparkle and be more beautiful than an ordinary diamond. All of Ben David Signature Diamonds are Round.
Color is the 2nd C of the four Cs. Color is an important factor when it comes to the value of diamonds. The valuation scale will range from D and go all the way up to Z. The most valuable diamonds are going to be in the D-F range which is for the colorless diamonds.
The range of diamond colors of G-J are for the nearly colorless diamonds. They might have a color that the jeweler is able to see, but it wouldn’t be visible to the naked eye. The KLM section of the scale will be a little more color, and this goes one up until the letter Z. The higher the letter, the more yellowish/brown color the diamond has.
The letter Z is going to represent a yellow or brownish diamond. So where do all the diamonds go that are blue, green, red, violet and other colors? They are called Fancy Color diamonds. In a sense, they are off the charts. Up until recently, it was only the colorless diamonds that were in demand. Nowadays, people are clamoring for all sorts of colored diamonds, driving up the price of the once neglected gemstones.
When it comes to color, it is what you like that is important. If you go with a diamond that has a very slight color that is barely noticeable, it will cost far less than one rated a D. If you love colors then you can get diamonds in all colors of the rainbow. If you want only the very best, most desired diamonds then you will settle for nothing less than D Color diamonds.
Diamond Clarity, the third C in the four Cs, lets you know what kind of characteristics the diamond has. The diamonds with the least amount of markings are the more valuable diamonds. Internal characteristics found are called the “fingerprint of the diamond.”
The Clarity scale ranges from Flawless to I3. Here is how the scale breaks down:
- Flawless – When a 10x magnifying glass was used by the jeweler to inspect the diamond, not a single characteristic was visible. There were no markings detected inside or outside of the diamond.
- Internally Flawless – At 10x magnification there were no internal characteristics seen.
- VVS1 and VVS2 – This is the range of markings that are very, very slight. These are diamond characteristics that the trained eye has difficulty finding, but they were seen.
- VS1 and VS2 – When the diamond has minor markings then it will fall within this range.
- SI1 and SI2 – Characteristics in this range are recognizable under 10x magnification.
- I1, I2 and I3 – Markings in the diamond are easily recognizable. The diamonds in this range usually have a diminished brilliance due to these particular characteristics.
Only the I1 – I3 grade range of characteristics can be seen by the naked eye. The other diamond grades will be determined by a trained diamond grader using 10x magnification.
Diamond Carat Weight
Diamond Carat weight is the 4th C in the diamond grading four Cs. There are 200 milligrams that make up the metric carat. This carat weight is usually the only thing someone is concerned about before they are introduced to the other three Cs. This C is for the size or weight of the diamond. Of course, like any weight measure, the larger the carat number, the more that diamond weighs.
When determining the monetary value of a diamond, usually the higher carat diamond will fetch more than one with a smaller carat weight. An exception would be a diamond that is severely included which could make the weight not as important. So, when you are determining diamond value, remember that it cannot be done by carats alone. Larger diamonds do bring a higher price because they are rarer than smaller diamonds, but all of the four Cs are used in determining the value and market price of a diamond. So, just because a diamond is huge, doesn’t necessarily mean its price will be higher than one that is much smaller.
The weight of a diamond is written in decimals. Each carat is divided into 100 “points.” If you have a diamond that weights .55 carats then your jeweler might refer to it as a “fifty-five pointer.” A 2.10 diamond might be referred to as “two point ten carats.”
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