Diamonds are one of the most loved and coveted precious stones in the world. A diamond is called a woman’s best friend and the reasons for the same are very obvious. A woman who owns a diamond would love to flaunt it making her the object of envy of all around her. But how well do we know this stone that we love so much? Diamonds come in various shapes, colours and sizes. The market is full of artificial rocks flaunted in the name of the diamond. Jewelers who are experts in gemstones can study the stone and appraise its value, however, when you are paying such an exorbitant price, it is assuring and very important that you know more about its characteristics and quality of the diamond before buying it.
Professional jewellers and gem experts use a grading system known as the 4Cs to appraise the value of the diamond. Let us take a look these and also familiarize ourselves with the characteristics of this crystal. The 4Cs that decide the quality of a diamond are :
The perfect diamond is one that is colourless. Even a slight hint of colour can make a lot of difference to the quality of the diamond. Sometimes tinges of yellow or brown appear in the gem which reduces its quality and worth as these are blemishes in the stone. Natural coloured diamonds are found in all shades of the rainbow. The white, red, blue and green diamonds are known to be the rarest and the ultimate among coloured diamonds. Yellow is the most commonly occurring colour in diamonds. Most of the times these colour variations or blemishes are so minute that they are not visible to the naked eye however it makes a huge difference in the worth of the diamond. The most common colour grading scale used for diamonds is a 23- grade scale as mentioned below.
- Colorless (graded from D-F)
- Near Colorless ( from G-J)
- Faint ( from K-M)
- Very Light ( from N-R)
- Light ( fromS-Z)
For a layman, the best way of finding if there is any hint of colour is by taking a white paper and placing the diamond face down on it. The room needs to be well lit this will allow any hues or shades to be more visible. Having said this let me add here that the surrounding of the stone and the metal that is used to set the stone in also affects its colour and hues.
- CARAT (weight)
Of the 4Cs, Carat is the most objective as it is the weight of the stone itself. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Carat weight delineations used for diamonds like one quarter, one half etc. ; however diamond weight is best described using the decimal system as it helps to give the exact weight. Here again, we can see that stores round off the decimals to show additional weight. For example, a one-carat diamond maybe a 0.59-carat weight stone or it could also be a 0.95-carat weight stone. Considering all other factors are equal there definitely would be a vast difference in the values of the two stones. Also, carat weight can be misleading at times. A diamond with a smaller carat weight would be more expensive its colour, clarity and cut are superior.
Clarity is a significant aspect of the diamond and needs to be understood before buying a diamond. A high clarity or flawless diamond has minimal or no imperfections. There are no, blemishes or imperfections, chipping or aberrations on its surface which can be seen by the naked eye. Diamonds of high clarity are rare. Diamonds with higher clarity are more brilliant and are not prone to chipping, shattering or cracking. A diamond is examined under 10X magnification to grade its clarity. The clarity scale of 11 grades is as follows:
- Flawless (F)
- Internally Flawless(IF)
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
- Very Slightly Included (VSI and VS2)
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
- Included (I1, I2 and I3)
While choosing a diamond as a layman look to see if there are any of the externally visible signs mentioned above that reduces the clarity of the diamond affecting its value adversely. You can also ask for the assistance of the jewellers to check under 10X magnification.
This quality of the diamond has a lot of importance as it can add to the beauty of the stone. Light interacts with every angle and side of a well-cut stone to give it the most astonishing dazzle and brilliance. A diamond that has a well-cut quality will be longer lasting and appealing than one with an inferior cut quality. Optical effects that will enhance the appearance of a well-cut diamond. Do not confuse the shape of a diamond with the Cut of a diamond. A 10 point cut quality scale that has been defined to understand the quality of the diamond from this aspect is as below:
- Ideal Cut (0)
- Excellent Cut (1)
- Very Good Cut (2)
- Good Cut (3 to 4)
- Fair Cut (5 to 7)
- Poor Cut (8 to 10)
Now that you know the importance of the 4Cs, please ensure that while choosing a diamond you are keeping in mind that it’s not only the sparkle and size that matters. Ensure that you are checking it indoors and also outdoors in the natural light. The best way to judge the diamond’s performance by seeing it yourself.