Diamond Education

Diamond Anatomy & Cut Quality

When you’re shopping for a diamond, its brightness and sparkle will draw you to the jewelry counter, and keep you captivated long after you’ve made your diamond purchase. Achieving maximum brightness and sparkle requires excellent cutting technique, which is reflected in the diamond’s cut grade. Of the 4Cs, no other ‘C’ has more impact on a diamond’s appearance.
When people think of “cut,” they often think of the shape of a diamond rather than its cut quality. Cut is all about a diamond’s fire, sparkle, and brightness, and as a value factor, it refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish; those factors that determine the cut quality or the fourth ‘C.’

Understanding the 4 C's of Diamond Shopping

Clarity

Diamond Clarity Refers to the Absence of Inclusions and Blemishes

– Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification

– Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification

– Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

– Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor

– Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification

– Included (I1I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

Cut

A Diamond’s Cut Unleashes Its Light

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.

Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

– Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond

– Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow

– Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond

Color

Diamond Color Actually Means Lack of Color

Understanding what diamond color means helps in choosing the right diamond. Interestingly, the diamond color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones of established color value.

Carat (Weight)

Diamond Carat Weight Measures a Diamond’s Apparent Size

Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’