- Posted May 1, 2013 by
Guide To The Four Cs of Diamonds by Genesis Rare Diamonds
In the world of diamonds, there are four basic areas for evaluation which are commonly-known as “The Four C's” – cut, clarity, colour and carats. The Four C's are perhaps the most well-known standards for diamond buyers who are in the market for a stone that meets their specifications.
There are a number of different diamond cut shapes, including round, oval, marquise, pear, heart, emerald, princess, trillium, radiant and cushion.
The cut of a diamond will be graded as one of the following:
• Poor Cut;
• Fair Cut;
• Good Cut;
• Very Good Cut; and
• Ideal Cut.
Pre-cut, diamonds have little shimmer – the stone can even resemble a piece of rock salt! The shape and style of the cut dramatically impact the diamond's brilliance. Each stone is cut to maximise carat weight, eliminate flaws, while optimising the shimmer and depth, which is determined by factors such as the cut angles, pavilion angle and depth, crown height and so forth.
In a well-cut diamond, the light is reflected through the body of the diamond and the reflection emerges from the top of the stone, known as the table. Improper cuts will not reflect light in an optimal manner, so instead of bouncing around inside the stone and emerging from the top to create a dynamic, brilliant sparkle, the light will escape through the sides or bottom of the diamond. This results in less brilliance, poor depth and less sparkle.
Diamond clarity refers to the flaws that are present inside the stone, called blemishes and inclusions. Air bubbles, mineral deposits and cracks are examples of inclusions, whereas chips and scratches are an example of a blemish.
Some flaws are visible to the naked eye and these stones receive a lower clarity grading, whereas some flaws are only visible under high magnification and these are considered to be of higher value.
Clarity grades are as follows:
• F (Flawless) – This is the rarest and most valuable grade. There are no flaws present.
• IF (Internally Flawless) – This is the second rarest and also a very valuable grade. There are external flaws, but no internal flaws.
• VVSI and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included 1 and 2) – These rare diamonds have very tiny inclusions that are difficult to detect under 10x magnification.
• VS1 and VS2 ( Very Slightly Included 1 and 2) – This diamond is a bit more imperfect, with small inclusions that are relatively difficult to detect under 10x magnification.
• SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included 1 and 2) – This diamond has more visible inclusions, which are visible under 10x magnification.
• I1, I2 and I3 (Included 1, 2 and 3) – These diamonds feature visible inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.
Just like in colourless diamonds, natural colour diamonds vary in terms of clarity. Though unlike colourless diamonds, naturally-formed colour diamonds with lower clarity often have an extremely brilliant, deep colouration which can compensate for the clarity shortcomings.
Notably, inclusions can also serve as a “fingerprint” of your diamond. Diamond mapping is the process of documenting the flaws in your diamond. Diamond maps are included as part of the certification process.
Diamond colour refers to the unique colouration of the stone. Colourless diamonds are the most desirable and valuable of the so-called “white” diamonds. Colourless diamonds with a yellow or blue tinge are considered to be of lesser value, as they reflect light in a less effective manner.
Natural coloured diamonds are in a slightly different category. Diamonds come in an array of different colours, including red, orange, brown, yellow, olive, green, blue, white, grey, black, purple and pink. Of natural coloured diamonds, red are considered the most rare and valuable, followed by blue, then pink and yellow.
There are several intensities among coloured diamonds, with the pale, light coloured diamonds being more commonplace and less valuable and vivid, deeply coloured stones rarer and more valuable. The grades for colour intensity are Light, Fancy, Intense and Vivid.
See our related article on diamond colour to learn more about the many natural colours of diamonds and the differences between real and “fake” diamonds.
Diamond Carat Weight
Carats are the units of measurement used to weigh diamonds. The greater the weight, the more valuable the stone is, as the larger the stone, the less common it is.
Notably, the carat weight must be evaluated in combination with the other factors. For instance, some jewelers will cut a diamond with a large, wide table to give the appearance of a larger stone, but the pavilion is much shallower and this results in less sparkle and less brilliance.
Therefore, it's essential to consider the weight of the stone relative to the other grading qualities. Diamond shoppers must also evaluate the size of the individual stones within a multi-stone piece of jewelry. Shoppers may be deceived in spending top dollar for a 2-carat diamond ring; but a single 2-carat stone is going to be significantly more valuable than multiple stones with a combined weight of 2 carats.
There is no significant variation among colourless or “white” diamonds and naturally coloured diamonds when it comes to carat weight.
Genesis Rare Diamonds
Genesis Rare Diamonds specialises in natural coloured diamonds which adhere to the most stringent guidelines when it comes to The Four C's. Genesis Rare Diamonds feature brilliant cuts in an array of different styles,
In some diamond buying guides, there's actually a fifth “C” and that stands for “certificate.” A diamond certificate is an essential consideration, whether you're buying a diamond for daily wear or wish to purchase an investment diamond.