Everything You Need To Know About Diamond 4Cs
A constant fluctuation and increase in the price of diamonds are noticeable now and then. Every small change equals a tremendous amount of dollars spent by the consumers. Therefore, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) established a universal grading system. It is popularly known as the 4Cs of a diamond.
Within two years, GIA was able to present diamond certificates, documenting all 4Cs of a diamond. In addition, GIA created a standardized grading system intending to generalize the qualities and attributes of diamonds globally.
The Grading System For Diamonds
As stated by GIA, “the key to understanding a diamond and its value is to understand the four attributes that all diamonds share: color, clarity, cut and carat weight.”
The gemological institutes are the objective diamond graders for determining the attributes and qualities of a diamond. Besides GIA, the American Gem Society (AGS) serves as a consistent entity recommended for gaining diamond certificates.
The 4Cs of diamonds are Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. The four attributes hold power to capture the quality and beauty of diamonds. It can be done while comparing them against each other. Each of the quality factors is carefully examined and evaluated. The four components are carefully graded by professionals consistently. It allows customers to assess and review their diamonds.
Despite the universal terminology and grading system, the evaluations may vary by lab entity. However, having a foundational understanding of the critical qualities is imperative for any customer. It helps them to make the right choice and prevents them from overspending on diamonds.
Disintegrating The 4Cs Of Diamonds
A high cut quality with a balanced color and clarity grade looks like a sound choice. Remember the following tips when evaluating and buying diamonds for any occasion.
- Make sure not to compromise on the cut quality of the diamond you choose.
- Eye clean diamonds are always a better choice compared to high clarity diamonds.
- Lower color and clarity grades on your selected diamonds may suit the correct jewelry settings.
- The size of your diamond is not related to its carat weight.
Now it’s time to understand the 4Cs in further detail!
Compared to all the 4Cs, the cut quality has the most significant effect on a diamond’s elegance. Precise cuts are meant to be most captivating for customers. It includes several factors. It can be the number and size of facets, the depth, or the shape of the diamonds.
The cut quality determines a cutter’s fine craftsmanship, masks inclusions, and determines the fire and brilliance it holds within. Hence, a good cut quality must encompass the following aspects:
- Symmetrical facets
Cut quality grading given on the scale based on their symmetry, cut, and polish is:
- Very Good
There is a negligible increment in price when improving diamond cuts. Hence, an excellent cut-graded diamond of eye-clean quality is highly recommended.
Color Grade Of The Diamonds
Gem-quality diamonds have a different range of hues, with colorless diamonds being the rarest kind. The range of color may vary from colorless to light yellow and even golden brown. Some fancy shades may include red, blue, and pink. Their grading system is, however, different from the colorless diamonds. Being distinct from colorless diamonds, they don’t appear on the diamond grading chart.
Ironically, the color of diamonds refers to the lack of color in its truest sense. The GIA grading system grades color alphabetically from D to Z. D is purely colorless and lucid, whereas Z has the most noticeable tint. Therefore, a critical aspect of diamonds is to understand if it appears colorless to its setting. It must be free of any tint that interferes with the white or colored light reflections.
You cannot differentiate between adjacent color-graded diamonds via the naked eye. However, a significant difference in price point may be noticeable. The diamond must not distract the viewers from the brilliance and spark of the diamond cut. Hence, G color graded diamond is considered to be the best value for money. If the mounting is done on a yellow or rose gold setting, you may go a notch down to grade H and save some money.
Diamonds are created under intense heat and pressure from the earth’s surface. So naturally, diamonds are bound to have specific internal characteristics – inclusions and external factors or blemishes. Clarity refers to the ability to hide inclusions or blemishes on or within a particular diamond. However, it doesn’t necessarily indicate higher clarity diamonds are superior and a better investment.
Identifying blemishes and inclusions is usually impossible via the naked eye. It can be challenging to identify diamonds of two different clarity grades. For instance, VVS2 and SI1, unless seen under a loupe, specialized for a gemologist. As per the GIA, the clarity grades for diamonds are listed as follows:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
- VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
- SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
- SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
- I1 (Inclusions 1)
- I2 (Inclusions 2)
The inclusions in any eye-clean diamond are negligible. Gemologist usually uses 10x magnification to observe such blemishes. Coming to the price point, 1 carat of an eye-clean diamond is quite an affordable option. It is therefore recommended to get eye-clean diamonds over high clarity diamonds. Usually, SI1 serves as an excellent eye-clean diamond at affordable rates.
Carat Weight Of Diamonds
The carat weight comes last on the GIA grading system. It indicates the physical weight relative to the size of a diamond. It is measured in metric carats. It is the most objective grade amongst the 4Cs. One carat weight of a diamond equals 1/5 grams subdivided by 100 points.
A common misconception is that a higher carat weight is equivalent to a larger size of a diamond. However, it may not be the case. Instead, the diamond cut seems to have a considerable effect on it. Diamond weight is a crucial factor since the pricing is done based on carat weight. Hence, certain calculated risks are to be taken on your part to get the best quality diamond in your budget.
The diamond weight is undoubtedly an essential buying factor. Nonetheless, its overall appearance and brilliance carry more importance. Hence, the trick is to manipulate the carat weight you want to buy. For example, suppose you want to get a 1-carat diamond. Then, instead of the whole number, opt for 0,95 carat. Likewise, look for a 1.90-carat weight diamond instead of 2 carats.
Balancing The 4Cs Of A Diamond
Each of the four attributes contributes to the overall beauty and uniqueness of each diamond. Hence, a diamond must be considered in its entirety. The naked eye is resistant to differentiating the visible characteristics of diamonds. It, therefore, becomes essential to understand the impact the 4Cs have on each other.
Listing The 4Cs Of Diamonds In Terms Of Their Importance
Up first is the cut quality of a diamond. It readily impacts the appearance and overall beauty of the diamond. You may either opt for a brilliant cut with an exceptional fire to it. However, you may then have to tone down on its clarity and color a bit. This combination may ensure an eye-clean diamond with good cut quality at your desired price range.
Coming second to cut quality is the color grade of diamonds. Make sure to choose a colorless diamond or a hue that is colorless to the naked eye. For tinted diamonds, it must not overshadow the overall setting of the jewelry. The chosen color should by no means distract or interfere with the reflections from the diamond.
As always, the clarity of the diamond must not be compromised entirely. Instead, an eye-clean diamond can do the trick and save some dollars for you. Likewise, the blemishes and inclusions should not be distracting the brilliance and fire the diamond holds within.
You can always weigh upon the carat weight when buying diamonds. However, weighing down on the carat can get you a stunning diamond with quality cut and color at a price that fits your budget. Hence, toning down on the carat weight won’t do any harm to your diamond quality.
Are you keeping all the fundamentals in mind? Remember, a diamond must be seen in its totality. Therefore, consider all four qualities when buying or evaluating diamonds.
Ideally, there could be a best-grade diamond available. It would be a D color grade diamond with flawless clarity and excellent cut on the desired carat weight. It may be the perfect diamond in the world. But, keep in mind, it is the most expensive diamond too.
Realistically speaking, a G color grade diamond with SI1 clarity with Excellent cut quality should fit your budget. You can buy it at any carat weight of choice. It may, however, not contain any additional fluorescence at the desired amount.
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