Diamonds are like snowflakes. Each one has its own individual nuances and no two diamonds are exactly the same. This can present a challenge when it comes to streamlining a pricing scale and analyzing each stone’s unique traits. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Gemological Institute of America created the globally accepted standard used to describe diamonds. Not only did this unify pricing structure, but it became a universal language used to help customers understand exactly what they are purchasing. These traits are known as the 4Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Many consider a diamond’s cut to be the pinnacle of its beauty. The more symmetrical and precise the cut, the more captivating the gem will be. A common misconception is that a diamond’s cut is its shape (round, cushion, oval etc), but a diamond’s cut grade is actually how well a stone is able to transmit light and sparkle. The facets that are evaluated for a diamond’s cut are brightness, fire, and scintillation.
The term “color” actually refers to a diamond’s lack of color. The more absent color is, the higher a diamond’s value. Diamonds range from being completely colorless to having a light yellowish or brown tint and are graded D-Z with D being colorless and Z having tint. When it comes to pricing, many of these letter distinctions are invisible to the naked eye, but they can play a huge role in determining a diamond’s quality and price.
Since diamonds are a result of carbon being exposed to high levels of heat and pressure in the depths of the earth, they can often display a variety of internal characteristics (referred to as inclusions) and external characteristics (known as blemishes). A diamond’s clarity simply means its absence of these qualities. The GIA clarity scale is divided into six categories: flawless, internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included.
We hear the term “carat” frequently when discussing diamonds, but often times people are confused about its meaning. A diamond’s carat, refers to a measurement of how much it weights. A metric carat is defined as 200mg. This is a very meticulous scale as each carat is subsequently divided into 100 points that allow precise measurements to be taken to the hundredth decimal point. When a diamond is greater than one carat, it is often expressed in carats and decimals. For instance, a 1.03 carat stone would be described as “one point oh three carats.”
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