What to look for when shopping for a diamond:
When shopping for a diamond, look for the Four C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat.
Cut - Refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman makes when transforming a rough diamond into a polished diamond. A well-cut diamond will reflect light internally from one mirror-like facet to another, dispersing it through the top of the stone. In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets and then ‘leaks’ out from the sides or bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye. Less light reflected back to the eye means less brilliance. Many people confuse the ‘cut’ of a diamond with the ‘shape’ of the diamond. Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the stone (round, square, emerald, marquise, etc.) whereas the cut refers to the reflective quality of the diamond,
Color - Colorless is the most desirable and the most difficult to find. Most diamonds on the market will have hints of color. Diamonds are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of American (GIA) ranging from D (colorless) to Z (the worst). Grades D-F are considered “colorless”; G-I “near colorless”; J-M have a yellow tint that is considered a ‘warm’ glow. You should never buy a diamond below an M, Almost all diamonds show a trace of fire. Fire is the diamonds ability to refract and disperse white light into all colors of the rainbow.
|E – H||Almost no color|
|I – J||Very dull color|
|K – L||Slight color|
|M – R||Progressive color|
|S – Z||A lot of color|
Clarity – A term that refers to the measurement of the diamond’s flaws, or inclusions that are seen in the diamond. These tiny flaws are formed by minerals, air bubbles, scratches or fractures while the diamond is forming in the earth. The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable and beautiful it is. Clarity levels begin with Flawless and move down to Included:
- Flawless (F) – no Internal or external inclusions.
- Internally Flawless (IF) – no internal inclusions, slight external inclusions.
- Very Very Slightly Included (WS1 & WS2) – minute inclusions that are very difficult to detect under a 10x magnification, even by an experienced diamond grader.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2) - minute inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under lOx magnification.
- Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) – invisible to the naked eye, yet easily seen by an experienced diamond grader under 10x magnification.
- Included (I1-I3) – inclusions are visible to the naked eye and affect brilliance.