When selecting the perfect diamond, there are four different components to consider. Cut, color, carat and clarity; otherwise known as the Four C’s of Diamond Quality. The interaction of these characteristics creates the end result of beauty and value. Even changing just one of these four components can dramatically affect the diamonds visual appearance and price.
Each of the 4 C’s has its own level of importance to the wearer and owner of the diamond.
Importance of Diamond Cut
The Cut of a diamond is arguably the most important of the 4Cs, as it has the biggest impact on a diamond’s beauty and sparkle. This aspect is very complex, but incredibly crucial to the diamond’s value and appearance. When cut to exacting proportions, a diamond will sparkle and return light unlike anything else. How a diamond is cut has a direct impact on the three main effects of its appearance:
BRILLIANCE : Brightness created from a combination of reflected white lights
FIRE : Flashes of spectacular color seen through all aspects of the diamond
SCINTILLATION : Areas of light and dark that reflect when the diamond is moved
Importance of Diamond Color
The color, or in actuality the lack of color, is another factor to examine when selecting a diamond. While it is often difficult to make subtle distinctions in color with the naked eye, these different grades have a significant impact on value and quality. The less body color a diamond has the more desirable and rare it becomes.
Importance of Diamond Clarity
Diamonds are formed deep within the earth as a result of intense heat and pressure. As a result of this natural process, most diamonds possess slight imperfections on their surface (blemishes) or inside the diamond (inclusions). These characteristics can be seen as the diamond’s fingerprint or birthmark because they make each diamond unique from the next. Diamonds without inclusions or blemishes are rare, and most characteristics can only be viewed under magnification.
Carat Weight of a Diamond
Most people think of a carat in terms of the size of the diamond, but it is actually based on weight. The weight of a diamond is traditionally measured in terms of carat, a unit of weight with 1 carat equaling .20 grams. Each carat is divided into 100 points, allowing for a very precise measurement of the diamond. For instance a diamond that weighs .50 carat may be referred to as a “half-carat” or a “fifty-pointer”.
Two diamonds of equal carat weight will have significantly different costs because of the other factors: cut, color and clarity. As a diamond increases in size and carat weight, the price will increase at an increasing rate because larger diamonds are more rare and thus more valuable.