Diamonds are graded using the 4C’s grading system to determine quality. The cut, color, clarity and carat. The 4C’s makes each diamond unique. No two diamonds are exactly alike. Before purchasing a diamond it is important that you familiarize yourself with the 4C’s cut. The cut grade indicates whether the diamond was cut to maximize sparkle. When we speak of cut we are more interested in the proportions of the diamond as opposed to its shape (Round Brilliant, Marquise, Pear, Princess, etc.) The most popular diamond cut shape is the round. Other cut shapes including princess, marquise, oval, emerald, pear, radiant, heart, cushion and asscher are considered fancy cut.
Depth refers to the distance of the diamond from the culet to the table when viewed from the side.
Color grade refers to the whiteness of the diamond or its lack of color. Diamonds come naturally in different colors. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) rates the body color in white diamonds from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Color is easily detectable by the eye.
There are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.
Beginning with K diamonds, color (usually a yellow tint) is more easily detected by the naked eye.
|Very Light Color||
Diamonds in the N-R color range have an easily seen yellow or brown tint, but are much less expensive than higher grades.
S-Z diamonds have too much color for a white diamond.
The clarity of a diamond is determined by the amount inclusions found within the diamond and the location of flaws, or blemishes, in the diamond when viewed under 10 power (10x) magnification. Most diamonds contain very tiny inclusions. The fewer the inclusions, the more beautiful the diamond will be.
GIA DIAMOND CLARITY SCALE
|FL||Flawless:No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.||Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.|
|IF||Internally Flawless:No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.||FL and IF diamonds appear identical unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader. Less than 3% of jewelry quality diamonds are rated IF.|
|Very, Very Slightly Included:Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.||VVS1 inclusions are typically only visible from the pavillion, while VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown. In each, the inclusions are invisible to the eye, appearing identical to the higher grades unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader.|
|Very Slightly Included:Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.||Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Perhaps 1 in 100 untrained observers can detect VS2 inclusions with the naked eye, on close inspection under ideal conditions.|
|Slightly Included:Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.||SI1 is the lowest grade with flaws often invisible to the naked eye. SI2 inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye, although they will require close inspection.|
|Included:Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.||
I1 diamonds have inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.
This is the weight of a diamond measured in carats. As the carat weight of a diamond increases so does its rarity and therefore its price. One carat is divided into 100 "points," so that a diamond of 75 points weights .75 carats. The carat-weight of a diamond is the easiest measurement to determine. Most importantly, two diamonds can be of equal carat-weight, but their value can differ greatly due to their cut, color, and clarity.
Diamond Carat Size Chart
Diamond price increases with diamond carat weight, because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable. It's important to remember that a diamond's value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.
A regular professional cleaning is a good idea. Not only does it keep your jewelry looking its best, it also ensures that a trained professional takes a look at it at least once a year, allowing for the earliest possible detection of wear or damage. For diamonds, use a soft-bristled non-metallic brush and a mild ammonia and water solution. Gently scrub away any grime, especially around the prongs or setting where buildup is likely. Even a clean looking diamond often has a thin layer of skin oil and will shine better after a cleaning. Avoid touching the diamond as much as possible.