When buying online, it's important to understand the quality of the stones you are purchasing. Subtle variations in color, cut and clarity can cause significant differences in a diamond’s value. This cheat sheet will not only unlock the mystery of a diamond’s quality, it will help you understand a diamond’s value and price.
In most diamonds, the term actually refers to the absence of color. The less color in the stone, the more desirable and valuable it is. Some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, but directly impact the overall quality and price of the stone. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value.
Measures the amount, size and placement of internal ‘inclusions,’ and external ‘blemishes.’ Grades run from ‘Flawless,’ with virtually no imperfections, to ‘Included,’ which contain a significant number of imperfections. Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality.
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Not a reference to a diamond’s shape, but to the proportion and arrangement of its facets and the quality of workmanship. The amount of brilliance, sparkle and fire in a diamond is determined by cut. Grades range from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor.’
Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Refers to a diamond’s weight. Generally speaking, the higher the carat weight, the more expensive the stone. Two diamonds of equal carat weight, however, can have very different quality and price when the other three Cs are considered. Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.
Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’
No matter how beautiful a diamond may look you simply cannot see its true quality. The 4Cs of diamond quality will provide you with the information you need to know the diamond’s actual quality.
Diamonds are remarkably durable, resist scratching (except by other diamonds) and maintain their brilliance over time. But diamonds aren’t indestructible. They can be chipped by a sharp blow, become loose or lost in a weakened setting, or be damaged by contact with other diamonds. Wear diamond jewelry with care. Store it in padded boxes or soft bags separate from other jewelry. Clean your jewelry by wiping it with a lint-free cloth or with warm water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush, or by dipping it briefly in a commercial cleaning solution. Have your diamond jewelry periodically cleaned and its setting examined by a professional jeweler to maintain its beauty and integrity over time.
Diamonds are the hardest material on Earth, and has been known since antiquity as a “Stone of Invincibility,” bringing victory, superior strength, fortitude and courage to its wearer. It is associated with lightning and fearlessness, and for its properties of protection. It is a symbol of wealth and manifesting abundance in one’s life, an amplifier of energies, goals and intent, and is highly effective in magnifying the vibrations of other crystals for healing. It is particularly beneficial set in gold and worn on the left arm.
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Motion Graphic by Midori Imani.