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About Diamonds

Learn the 4 C'S about Diamonds - Cut, Color, Clarity & Carat Weight

About Diamond Cut

Cut or make refers to the shape of a diamond and its mathematical proportions. Diamonds are cut into numerous shapes, depending upon the nature of the rough stone.

The next aspect of cut is the quality of the proportions. Cut, more than any other quality aspect, gives the diamond its sparkle. A diamond gets its brilliance and scintillation by cutting and polishing the diamond facets to allow the maximum amount of light that enters through its top to be reflected and dispersed back. When all the angles are correct, the light that enters is dispersed back through the diamonds top bezel facets. When a stone is cut too shallow or too deep, light that enters through the top is allowed to escape through the bottom pavilion facets and does not allow the maximum beauty of the diamond to be realized.

A diamond cutter spends years mastering his craft, learning how best to cut a rough diamond to achieve the ultimate cut with the fewest imperfections and the least loss of carat weight. The better the cut, the more valuable the diamond.
 
Ideal Cut
Mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky was the first to discover the exact angles to which a diamond must be cut in order to produce maximum brilliance. In an Ideal Cut, all of the light that enters the stone refracts internally from 57 to 58 precisely placed facets and disperses through the top of the diamond, producing fire and brilliance. Only a round brilliant cut diamond can achieve the proven mathematical proportions and symmetry of an Ideal Cut.

Very Good Cut
A Very Good Cut is close to an Ideal Cut, with only slight variations in its measurements. It may achieve Ideal Cut proportions but vary in its polish or symmetry rating. Hence, a Very Good Cut diamond still creates remarkable brilliance and luster, often reflecting back the maximum amount of light if its table and depth percentages match those of an Ideal Cut.

Good Cut
A Good Cut diamond is well proportioned and reflects back a good amount of light.

Inferior Cut
Many diamonds are "spread†in their cut to increase carat weight when cutting from the original rough. Although you may end up with a diamond that appears larger, your sacrifice will be brilliance and fire.

Too Deep
When cut too deep, a diamond loses light out of the bottom, leaving the center of the diamond dark in appearance.

Too Shallow
When cut too shallow, a diamond loses light out of the bottom, reducing brilliance and giving the stone a dark, glassy appearance.

A diamond's cut is graded by several measurements. Its depth percentage, a measurement of the height vs. the width of the stone and its table percentage, a measurement of the diameter of the top facet of the stone vs. the stone's average width, are two key factors in determining the quality of a diamond’s cut.

Diamond Color

Diamond color grades start at D and continue through the alphabet. Truly colorless stones, graded D, are extremely rare and very valuable. The closer a diamond is to being colorless, the rarer and more valuable it is. Diamonds were formed under intense heat and pressure, and traces of other elements incorporated into their atomic structure account for the variances in color. A single change in color grade can significantly affect a diamond's value. It is the lack of color, or whiteness in a diamond that allows the light to pass effortlessly through the stone and disperse that beauty back to the observer.

While many diamonds appear colorless, or white, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that can be detected when comparing diamonds side by side.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to how many flaws, or inclusions, are in the diamond. In most cases, clarity has very little to do with the beauty of the diamonds; rather, it affects how the diamond looks under the microscope. To determine a diamond's clarity grade, it must be examined under 10x magnification. Whatever minute inclusions there may be make every diamond unique. These are nature's fingerprints and in most cases do not mar the diamond's beauty nor endanger its durability. Without high magnification, these flaws are invisible. However, the fewer inclusions, the rarer your diamond will be. Generally, if a diamond is SI-2 or above, it is flawless to the naked eye. If there is even a tiny inclusion visible to the unaided eye, the stone is usually graded an I-1.
 

FL & IF
Diamonds that reveal no flaws on the surface or internally. These are the rarest and most beautiful gems treasured for their absolute purity.

VVS1 or VVS2
Diamonds with minute inclusions absolutely invisible to the naked eye. Only through careful inspection with a microscope can these tiny inclusions be accurately pinpointed. The brilliance of the stone does not suffer in this category.

VS1 or VS2
Diamonds with tiny inclusions difficult to locate. Only a trained eye looking through a 10X loupe can pinpoint the inclusions in this category. The inclusions are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.

SI1 - SI3
Diamonds with inclusions easily identified through a loupe. Finding flaws in this category with the naked eye is difficult. The gems in this category maintain their integrity, depending on the location of the inclusions. They are an attractive choice when working within a fixed budget without sacrificing beauty or value.

I1 - I3
Diamonds with inclusions that may or may not be easily seen by the naked eye. The flaws on the stones in this category will have some effect on the brilliance of your diamond.

Carat Weight

Diamonds are measured in carats, a small unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. A gem stone's carat weight should not be confused with the "karat" weight of gold, which is actually a measurement of purity rather than weight. Each carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, a half-carat stone may be referred to as a "50-pointer," a quarter carat, "25-points," etc. Carat is the easiest of the 4 C's to determine because of the use of sophisticated measuring equipment. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight might vary greatly in value depending upon their cut, color and clarity. This is important because when mounted, one diamond may appear larger than another, although they actually weigh the same.

Because larger diamonds are rare, they have a greater value per carat then smaller stone of the same quality. For example, a 1.00 carat diamond may cost you $300.00 were as 2 diamonds weighing 0.50 carat each for a combined weight of 1.00 would cost maybe 1/3 or about $100.00 for the same quality but smaller in size.