Diamond Cut: This determines a diamond's brilliance. A well-cut diamond reflects light beautifully.
Among the revered 4Cs, the cut stands distinct as the factor most directly shaped by human hands, while nature bestows the other three. The diamond's cut, a testament to the polisher's expertise, profoundly amplifies its radiance and allure. As such, ensuring optimal proportions is paramount.
The cut of a diamond is pivotal in harnessing light's magic in the following ways: With precise proportions, light dances internally, reflecting from facet to facet, and then brilliantly shines through the diamond's top, delivering unparalleled sparkle. A diamond cut too deeply allows some light to escape via the opposite side of the pavilion. Conversely, a shallow cut causes light to exit through the pavilion before achieving its radiant reflection.
Diamond Colour: Diamonds are graded from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow).
Diamond colour is a marvel entirely crafted by nature. Each diamond boasts a unique hue resulting from its distinct chemical composition. The spectrum begins with pristine colourlessness, progressing to enchanting fancy colours like blue, pink, and the exceptionally rare red. For the prevalent white diamonds, the presence of chemicals like nitrogen plays a pivotal role: the less colour a diamond exhibits, the less nitrogen it contains. Diamond colours are graded on a D-Z scale. Those that are chemically pure and structurally flawless fall within the D-F range, commonly referred to as "colorless". Not only are D-F diamonds a rarity, but their unmatched purity also commands a premium price.
- A diamond's yellow tint intensifies with increasing nitrogen in its carbon structure.
- A diamond's value is largely determined by its absence of hue.
- The colour of a diamond significantly influences its price point
Diamond Clarity: Refers to the natural inclusions in a diamond
Virtually every diamond harbors tiny mineral traces, known as inclusions, often imperceptible without magnification. A diamond's rarity—and thus its value—is inversely proportional to the number of these inclusions: the fewer there are, the more precious the stone becomes. The term 'clarity' describes the degree to which a diamond is free from these inclusions, serving as a key indicator in assessing its worth.
In the realm of diamonds, clarity grades offer insight into the presence of inclusions. Here's a brief overview of common clarity grades:
• F (Flawless): These diamonds show no inclusions under 10x magnification. They're incredibly rare and highly valued.
• IF (Internally Flawless): Diamonds with this grade have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification, but they might have some surface imperfections.
• VVS (Very, Very Slightly Included): These diamonds have minuscule inclusions that are exceedingly challenging to detect under 10x magnification.
• VS (Very Slightly Included): Diamonds in this category have minor inclusions, which are challenging (but not impossible) to see under 10x magnification.
• SI (Slightly Included): These diamonds have noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification, which may or may not be visible to the naked eye.
Carat: The weight and size of the diamond.
Like all precious gemstones, a diamond's weight is denoted in carats. The term "carat" traces its roots to the seeds of the carob tree, which historically served as a natural weight benchmark for diamonds. Over time, this system was standardized, setting one carat equivalent to 0.2 grams. Furthermore, a carat is subdivided into 100 "points." Thus, a diamond weighing 25 points is referenced as a quarter-carat or 0.25-carat.
Additional points on carat weight:
Perception vs. Reality: Carat weight can sometimes be deceptive. Two diamonds that both weigh 1 carat might appear different in size depending on how they're cut. A shallower diamond might appear larger than a deeper one, even if they have the same carat weight.
Price Jumps: As diamonds increase in carat weight, their price per carat often jumps significantly, especially at popular milestone weights like 1.0 or 2.0 carats. Thus, a 0.99-carat diamond might be substantially less expensive than a 1.01-carat diamond.
Balancing Act: Carat weight often interacts with clarity, cut, and colour. A larger diamond might more readily show inclusions or imperfections, so some buyers opt for a slightly smaller, better-quality diamond over a larger one with visible flaws.
Practical Considerations: While a larger carat weight might seem more impressive, practical considerations, such as the wearer's lifestyle or the setting of the jewellery, can influence the best choice in carat weight.