Diamonds have a history of being the classic symbol of enduring love and for many will be one of the largest purchases made in their life.
Diamonds are graded and valued using a system referred to as "The Four C's" : cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. At Icewhitediamond.com, we recognize the importance of being able to make an informed decision regarding your diamond purchase and below is a guide that will assist you in understanding the four C's. Shape and certification are also important factors when considering a diamond purchase and are discussed at the end of this tutorial.
The cutter's responsibility is to transform the rough diamond crystal into a breathtaking gem. Many precise measurements go into creating a diamond and when the cutter achieves the proper proportions and finish, light will then refract into the diamond and is reflected from one facet to another and returns through the top of the diamond, resulting in a display of white light, rainbow coloured light, scintillation (sparkling when the diamond moves) and luster.
The standard rating for cut used by the Gemology Institute of America (GIA) and the diamond industry is Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.
The depth and width affects how light travels within the diamond and a poorly cut diamond will have dulled brilliance.
However, there are some grading features that are a direct cause of the cutting and polishing process, e.g.: scratching on the surface, bearding, nicks and polishing lines. These small characteristics are not significant in determining value as they can, in many cases, be polished away. It is important to note that the fewer and less obvious the inclusions present in the diamond, the more valuable the diamond becomes.
The method applied to determine the clarity of a diamond is a jeweller's loupe. This is a small magnifying glass used to view diamonds. It magnifies the object ten times, generally referred to as 10x the power of magnification. Any inclusions not detected under this power of magnification are considered to be non existent. Many laboratories will also use a power of ten microscopes with strong back lighting to accurately determine clarity.
Listed below is the grading scale used by the GIA and most other laboratories in the diamond industry.
Fluorescence is the light effect that some diamonds show when illuminated with an ultraviolet source. The fluorescence grades are nil, slight, medium and strong. In some instances when fluorescence is present in a diamond, it will improve the colour, but in most cases strong fluorescence is not desirable.
The colour grading system applied by the GIA and most industry standards uses the letters of the alphabet from D to Z, with D being colourless and Z having the most colour. J is considered to be the last of the white colours. Following is a diagram showing how a diamond's colour is graded. Diamond grades lower than J are not recommended by Icewhitediamond.com.
Diamonds are weighed most accurately when they are not mounted in a setting. The Gemological Institute of America will only grade diamonds that are not mounted. Each carat is divided into "points" described above, so a 1-carat diamond would have 100 points, ½ carat would have 75 points and so on.
Large diamonds are discovered much less frequently then small ones which will make large diamonds much more valuable. Diamond prices will rise significantly with carat weight.
Every diamond purchase from Icewhitediamond.com will be accompanied by a Diamond Certificate, also referred to as a grading report or dossier. The grading report is a complete evaluation of the diamond performed by qualified professionals and analyzes dimensions, clarity, cut, colour, finish, symmetry and other characteristics. There are many independent gemological laboratories that issue diamond certificates, including the following:
* It is important to remember that none of the four C's are mutually exclusive and that the cut, clarity, colour and carat weight must all be in balance in order to find the diamond that fits your particular budget. Please feel free to contact one of our diamond experts if you would like assistance with your diamond purchase.