DIAMONDS THE 4 C'S
Every diamond is essentially a tiny miracle. Like a snowflake, no two are exactly alike. During the middle of the 20th century, a standard was created by which diamonds could be judged. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the original classifications and now those standards are globally accepted for describing diamonds regarding their Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.
The GIA's color-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard. The D to Z scale represents diamonds in the normal color range. The letter D represents colorless, and continues to the letter Z with increasing tints of yellow or brown color. Diamonds that fall outside of this range are considered Fancy Colors. Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of color appearance. Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions. Subtle differences in color can be invisible to the untrained eye, but can make a very big difference in price. Most indviduals are able to easily discern color after the color grade of L.
Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Collectively called "clarity characteristics", diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3). The clarity grade is influenced by the type, size, location, and amount of inclusions within a given diamond. The higher the clarity grade, the more rare the diamond is and therefore more valuable. Inclusions are not all bad, and like fingerprints they can be used to identify your diamond.
Cut is the most misunderstood of the 4 C's. Cut is not the shape of the diamond. Cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationship between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. The proportions ultimately affect the diamond's interaction with light, thereby affecting its brilliancy. The better the cut, the more brilliant the diamond. A poorly cut diamond, either too deep or too shallow, will show little brilliance.
The most obvious of the 4 C's is carat weight. Carat is the measurement of a diamond's weight. Each carat is divided into 100 points. The larger the carat weight, the more rare and valuable the diamond. A diamond's physical appearance is influenced both by its carat weight and how well its cut. The quality of its craftsmanship has a significant impact on the look of the diamond. Poorly crafted diamonds, cut larger to retain carat weight, will not sparkle as much as a smaller, well cut diamond.