Diamond 4C’s Education

Diamonds are graded and categorized through its different characteristics in the diamond industry. Any diamond is graded on the basis of 4C’S.

4c's of diamonds

When a person or a family buys a diamond, it occupies a special place in their heart as one of the most beautiful choices they have ever made for someone they love. A diamond is not just a stone; it is the bearer of the best memories, countless feelings, and emotions, and more than anything, it reminds the person wearing- that they own the giver’s heart, forever. When a diamond is worth such unsaid and unheard passion, sentiment, and excitement, it has to be perfect for you to cherish. Then you must know what are the properties of a diamond that make it exemplary and flawless. 

Majorly, diamonds are assessed based on 4 characteristics- CUT, COLOR, CLARITY, and CARAT. Every consumer should be aware of how these 4 characteristics contribute to both physical appearance and chemical properties. Let us take a closer look at this one by one. 

The most authentic and popular Lab-Grown IGI, AGS, and GIA provide diamond-cut gradings. They use the same predefined certification standards- overall symmetry and proportion, a reflection of rainbow light, a reflection of white light, weight compared to its face-up size, polish, and finally, its light performance.

Lab Diamonds

CUT

Cut of a diamond refers to the overall proportioned surfaces of a diamond. One might wonder how do the surfaces of a diamond contribute to a diamond’s beauty and brilliance. A diamond’s surface determines its positioning and its ability to create brilliance regarding its potential to be more or less luminous accordingly. A diamond’s symmetry, proportion, and polish greatly determine its properties in being a brilliant cut. For example, the ratio of the diamond’s diameter in comparison to its depth. Ideally, a well-cut diamond is supposed to reflect the white light, thus creating a unique sparkle. Structural proportions of a diamond include

4c's Of diamond

The grading of a cut is performed under laboratory conditions as the differences are not visible to the unaided eye and is thus, only possible to trained professionals. For common people, even a shallow cut diamond would seem perfect in all of its senses.

The difference between Diamond Cut and Diamond Shape is very Starck and evident. While Diamond Cut assesses the light performance or brilliance of a diamond based on its facets’ physical properties, a Diamond Shape refers to the appearance of a diamond and its outline.

In the present times, many varieties of fancy cuts have emerged like the Modified Brilliants; Step Cuts; Mixed Cuts; and Rose and Mogul cuts. Out of these, the Modified Brilliants are the most popular ones as the standard round cut diamonds can be modified into desired shapes and sizes and hence are picked by most customers.

Cut
In this case, light passes through the diamond and refracts towards the downward direction from the pavilion angle of the diamond In this case, light passes through the diamond and refracts towards the opposite direction from the pavilion angle of the diamond. In this case however, light passes through the diamond and reflects towards the upward direction to the crown angle of the diamond.

Now, which diamond cut is the best? Undoubtedly a well-cut diamond is the best and the most popular cut for the above stated reasons. The GIA Cut scale comprises 5 Grades ranging from excellent to poor

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR

COLOR

The Diamond Color is considered to be a significant factor in determining the rarity, value, and price of the diamond. Naturally occurring diamonds come in various colors, including orange, yellow, pink, gray, blue, brown, white, red, and even black. The grading and pricing of these colored diamonds operate very differently.

 Conventionally, the more the diamond advances towards ‘colorlessness’, it also makes progress on the grading scale. The hypothesis could explain that a diamond devoid of any physical and chemical impurities does not have any hue or color and is entirely transparent. But this statement is also not true in all its sense; a diamond can never be perfect- it embraces its imperfections and impurities, and thus, every diamond has its unique identity. Thus, the colorfulness of a diamond does not make it any less of a diamond. The proportion is what makes a difference.

In fact, red diamonds are the rarest of all diamonds. Then what is the importance of diamond color? Diamond color holds its importance because colorless diamonds have the highest demand in the diamond market. Colorless diamonds are also very rare as it is scarce to find a diamond without any impurities. Hence, they are pricey and hold a greater value on the grading scale. The grading scale provided by GIA is used as the standard in the whole diamond industry. 

According to this, the more a diamond is colorless, the higher is its per-carat price. There is a huge price hike on the colorless diamonds because they are extremely rare. The grading starts from D, which denotes ‘Colorless,’ and reaches out till Z, which stands for light yellow. Diamond color is assessed on an electric colorimeter scale. The diamonds are turned table-down with the pavilion facing upward and magnified 10X on a loupe- a magnifying glass used by jewelers. They grade the diamond by comparing it with a master diamond of every set, which exhibits the least color of the specific set. At present, the GIA has assigned 5 sub-grades of diamond colors, in which all the grades from D-Z are allocated their respective sub-grades in the following arrangement.

Colour
Grade Subgrade/Description
D, E, and F Colorless
G, H, I, and J Near Colorless
K, L, and M Faint Yellow
N, O, P, Q, and R Very Light Yellow
S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z Light Yellow

Diamonds become extremely expensive, the more they reach to the colorless grades. What customers need to know is that the color difference is so virtually minute that it can only be observed under a microscopic vision. Even if the slightest of color difference bothers one, they can always resort to a much cheaper and equally effective choice of buying diamonds the grades F, G, H, and I. Statistically, almost 68% of customers choose diamonds of these grades. 

On the other hand, the assessment of colored diamonds is very different from the grading system of white and yellow diamonds. Diamond colors apart from white and yellow are termed as ‘Fancy Color Diamonds.’ This grading system is similar to that of other colored gemstones’ assessment of characteristics and dominance of a particular color, rather than just the presence of a particular color. For example, a red diamond can be categorized as Red, Orangish-Red, and Reddish Orange. The same is applied to the rest of the colors. 

Some things customers should keep in mind regarding the color of a diamond

  1. It isn’t easy to assess color after the diamond is set on a piece of jewelry because the color is influenced by the color of the jewelry, compared to that in common light settings.
  2. Color plays a greater visible factor in large diamonds or diamonds with large carat weight. This is one of the reasons small diamonds are a more preferred choice than large ones. 
  3. The Cut of a diamond is very important in determining its color. In a well-cut diamond, light passes through it and reflects on shorter ray-paths with greater intensity, making the diamond appear less colored. On the other hand, if the diamond cut is shallow or deep, the light rays become concentrated at the bottom, giving it an exaggerated look from the top. 
  4. As mentioned earlier, the color difference is minuscule that it is almost invisible for an unaided eye. So, resorting to a lesser grade would not make a very huge difference in the overall appearance but will surely make a difference in the budget. Grade Subgrade/Description D, E, and F Colorless G, H, I, and J Near Colorless K, L, and M Faint Yellow N, O, P, Q, and R Very Light Yellow S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z Light Yellow 
  5. Finally, yellow diamonds are no less of diamonds so if you have a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a right which really contrasts or goes well with yellow more than white, you should definitely choose it over the other.

CLARITY

Clarity of a diamond refers to the presence of minor imperfections both inside and outside the diamond. Mundanely, diamond is a mineral that is mined from the earth’s mantle and possesses its earthly characteristics in all the three- solid, liquid, and gaseous states, both on the interior and exterior physical parts of the diamond. 

When we say that a diamond can never be devoid of any imperfections, it is because of many factors, and this is one of them. These deformities are instituted during the prolonged geological processes of formation of diamonds. 

Imperfections in diamonds are classified into two broad groups- Inclusions and Blemishes. The only major difference between these categories is that things that are found inside the diamond are termed as inclusions. For example, clouds, feathers, included minerals or crystals, knots, cavities, internal graining, grain centers to name a few. On the other hand, blemishes largely constitute the flaws present on the surface of the diamond. These include polish lines, abrasions, scratches, chips, breaks, grain boundaries, dark/light spots, and many more.

 In present times, use of the word ‘flaw’ is substituted with the term ‘internal characteristics’ to define the inclusions and blemishes, in the diamond industry. But, if diamonds are naturally inclusive of these internal characteristics, then how do they impact the quality of diamond? Well, the answer is not so complex. Diamonds are more or less always assessed by their brilliance or their capability of reflecting light. But the presence of inclusions or blemishes interfere with the patch of light, making the light refract, rather than reflect. Hence, the diamond’s overall brilliance is tampered and heavily influencing its quality. 

Thus, it is the job of gem cutters to cut a diamond so that its inclusions and blemishes are not visible from the diamond table. While the position of an inclusion is an important yet uncontrollable factor, the role of gem cutters plays a very crucial role. A well-cut diamond also ensures that the clarity of diamond is well-preserved. In this grading too, diamonds are magnified at 10X power and then graded with dark field illumination. One important thing to understand is that, when a diamond is termed ‘eye-clean’ it means that the inclusions or the blemishes are too minute that they cannot be noticed with an unaided eye. 

The modern GIA grading scale is divided into six categories, further subdivided into eleven grades

Clarity
Category Flawless Internally Flawless Very Very Slightly Included Very Slightly Included Slightly Included Included
Grade FL IF VVS1 / VVS2 VS1/VS2 SI1/SI2 I1/I2/I3

Factors affecting the assessment and grading of the Clarity of a Diamond

1) Position- The position of inclusions or blemishes is a very important factor in determining a diamond’s clarity. For example, when inclusion is directly under the diamond table or close to the pavilion facet reflects multiple times around the stone, this type of inclusion is named ‘reflector.’ Thus, reflectors play a significant impact on the clarity of a diamond. On the other hand, when inclusions are present under the crown facets or near the girdle stone. The same is the condition with blemishes like large feathers, knots, etc. The position of the inclusions or the blemishes and their existence can lead to moderate risk of breakage. These are graded in the Inclusions category. 

2) Size- The factor of size operates in an inversely proportional method. Larger the constituent’s size, the more it is noticeable under the magnification and thus placed under lower clarity grade. The lower the characteristic, the higher the clarity grade. 

3) Number- The number of characteristics also functions in a similar mode. The more the elements, the lower the clarity grade. However, this assessment is based on how readily they are visible rather than the actual number of characteristics. 

4) Nature- The nature of the characteristics determines its presence as internal or otherwise external. An internal characteristic of a diamond may be classified as a bruise, cavity, crystal, cleavage, chip, cloud, feather, grain center, indented natural, internal graining, needle, laser drill hole, knot, pinpoint, needle, a twinning wisp, or pinpoint. On the other hand, an external characteristic of a diamond may be classified as abrasion, natural, nick, pit, polish lines, polish mark, scratch, surface graining, or extra facet. Furthermore, nature also determines the breakage of a diamond along with its other factors. 

5) Color and Relief- The Color and relief of the characteristic measure the diamond’s contrast. Relief considerably affects the diamond’s clarity as colored inclusions without exception show higher contrast and thus are easily visible.

Diamonds become increasingly rare as clarity increases. Only about 20% of all diamonds mined have a clarity rating high enough for the diamond to be considered appropriate for use as a gemstone; the other 80% are relegated to industrial use. Also, approximately 1 in 3 diamonds are treated or enhanced using different techniques to improve the diamond’s natural clarity. These include laser drilling, fracture filling, and HPHT techniques

CARAT

carat

Carat weight or mass (ct) is a unit of measurement of the weight of a gemstone. The use of Ct as a unit is limited to gemstones and is also prevalent in other forms of jewels such as pearls. The contemporary metric carat, adopted in 1907, demarcates that 1 carat is precisely equal to 200 mg or 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points, which means

1 carat= 100 points

Three-Quarter Carat= 75 points

Half Carat= 50 points

Quarter Carat= 25 points

As the carat increases, the price also increases. Why does the price increase? Because the more colossal a diamond is, the rarer it is to be naturally found. As a matter of fact only one in a million diamonds are large enough to produce a finished 1-carat diamond. But, a very noteworthy remark is that two diamonds of the same weight or carat have their prices. And the major reason is that the grading and assessment of a diamond is not just its substantial weight. The Cut, Color, and Clarity of a diamond also play a crucial role in determining its worth in pricing and perfection. Also, despite the same carat weight, diamonds might still appear different in the actual size. Here, the difference emerges based on the precise and the proportional Cut of the diamonds. 

A deeply cut diamond has a greater proportion of its total weight “hidden” in the depth, resulting in a smaller diameter than a well-cut diamond. These differences are usually small but noticeable. A well-cut diamond may even have a slightly lower carat weight than a deeply cut diamond, yet still have a larger diameter, making it appear larger in size.

Diamond Carat Size is also determined by its overall appearance because of its approximate size, measure, Crown area, or total surface area. For example, the longer shapes like oval, marquise, pearl, and emerald appear larger than the round and oval shapes. As a consumer, one can always explore the Carat Total Weight (CTTW), which is the measurement of all the diamonds in any given piece combined. 

Despite all of this, it is not true that the larger diamond is more perfect and more expensive. As already said, differences in color and clarity can make a small diamond much more valuable than a large one. So, one must be well aware of all the 4 Cs of the diamond, the choice of ornament they want the diamond to adore, and their own personal preference. Because a diamond is nevertheless perfect in all the senses, it is just our own intricate and exotic relish in the diamond that makes it exemplary and perfect.

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