Choosing Your Diamonds

Diamonds

Diamond is the only gem made of a single element: carbon. Diamond is typically about 99.95 percent carbon. The other 0.05 percent can include one or more trace elements, which are atoms that aren’t part of a diamond’s essential chemistry. Some of them can influence its colour or shape.

Diamond professionals use a special set of four value factors to describe and classify diamonds: clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. These are known as the Four Cs. When used together, they describe the quality of a finished diamond, which is directly related to its value. Each diamond’s value is based on its own unique combination of the Four Cs. The Four Cs describe the qualities of a diamond in very precise terms.

Clarity

Diamonds have internal features, called inclusions, and surface irregularities, called blemishes. Together, they’re called clarity characteristics. Clarity is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes.

Among other things, blemishes include scratches and nicks on a diamond’s surface. Inclusions are on the inside, or they might extend into the interior from the surface of the stone.

Inclusions normally have more impact on a stone’s beauty and value than blemishes. That’s because many blemishes are relatively easy to remove.

Colour

Many people think of diamonds as colourless. In reality, truly colourless diamonds are quite rare. Most diamonds used in jewellery are nearly colourless with yellow or brown tints -most often light yellow. The variations in colour can be subtle.

Size makes a difference in a diamond’s colour- the bigger the diamond, the more obvious its colour. The differences in colour can be subtle, but they can cause dramatic variations in price.

Cut

A well-cut diamond can make light perform in breathtaking ways, resulting in a magnificent display of three important diamond attributes: brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

The standard round brilliant is by far the most popular diamond cut. It has 57 or 58 facets, depending on whether there’s a cult or not.

Carat Weight

Diamond weights are stated in metric carats, abbreviated ‘cts.’ One metric carat (abbreviated ’ct.’) is one-fifth (0.2000) of a gram-just over seven thousandths(0.007) of an ounce. One ounce contains almost 142 carats.

The metric carat is divided into 100 points. A point (pt) is one hundredth of a carat.

Large diamonds are more rare than small ones, so a large stone doesn’t just cost more. It also cost more per carat. A 1.00-ct. diamond weights the same as four 0.25-ct. diamonds. But even if all the other quality factors are equal, the larger diamond is worth much more than the sum of the four smaller diamonds.

Diamonds and Diamond Value-Diamond Essentials

GIA Gemological Institute of America