Diamond Quality and the Four C
Although we personally do not sell diamond jewelry, we know diamonds are an important part of every wedding and we want you to be able to make educated decisions so we are providing some useful information. As well I encourage you to check out these very reputable diamond jewelry suppliers; Blue Nile, Ice, Diamonds International, Fine Jewelers, and Jewelry Television. You can find links to their pages at the top and bottom of our page.
The Quality of Diamonds
A diamond is one of the largest purchases made, next to a house and car. It is important to get both quality and value for your money. It is very important to understand exactly what you are purchasing. Although two diamonds may appear very similar they can have very different values and qualities.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a system for grading diamonds, commonly known as the four c’s. This system, when used accurately and completely, is the best way to assure the quality and value of a diamond. If you want to be certain the diamond you are purchasing meets the GIA which is the industry standard, then purchase a GIA certified diamond. There are many other grading systems used to represent diamond quality. However it is the GIA that is recognized in the diamond industry. An important note – the GIA is a non profit organization so they do not care where you purchase your diamond.
Many believe carat is the measurement of size. It is not! Carat is the measurement of weight, relative to size. A one carat diamond is divided into 100 points. Two diamonds of equal quality can have vastly different values depending on their cut, color and clarity.
In order to determine Carat weight the diamond must be loose. Some jewelers are known for estimating the carat weight, so for example they will sell a ring as a 1/2 carat when actually it may be just shy of a 1/2 carat. However the cost will also be significantly less, so you truly are getting what you paid for. This is why when you are purchasing a diamond it is important to ask ample questions and understand what you are buying, so you pay accordingly.
The shape of the diamond is related to the cut – round, marquise, pear, oval, princess, emerald, oval, or heart are some common cuts. Contrary to popular belief fancy cuts do not cost more, they actually often cost less then a round cut.
When a gemologist talks about cut she/he is referring to the quality of proportions. Sometimes diamonds are not cut as well as they could be. Some diamond cutters will choose to forego some of the diamonds beauty to obtain a larger carat weight. The cut of the diamond is the most important aspect relating to the quality of the diamond. The cut is what gives the diamond its brilliance and sparkle. A high quality diamond will have correctly cut angles, the light will enter and be dispersed back through the diamonds top faucets.
If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep the light which enters at the top will be able to escape through the bottom so the maximum beauty of the diamond is not seen. The reason these type of stones is even on the market is simply cost. These diamonds can be found for a fraction of what a well proportioned diamond will cost.
Now that said, some people have more restrictive bugets than others and it is just fine to buy one of these diamonds as long as you are aware of what you are buying. However always remember if what you are being told sounds too good to be true, and appears to be way out of line from the rest of the diamonds you’ve seen on the market, then you’ll want to do some checking and be sure of what you are buying.
Nature provides diamonds in almost every color of the rainbow. However, the diamonds most sought after are in the white range. Color plays an important role in determining the overall beauty of the diamond. Color starts with the letter D, being the whitest, or best, and goes down the letter Z, being more yellowish. Although the chart is seen by a layman as white versus yellow. It really is not this at all it really relates to light versus dark. A white diamond will appear crisp and brilliant with lots of sparkle. A yellow diamond won’t look yellow, it will look darker and will not have anywhere near the brilliance of a white diamond. You do not need to be a gemologist to see these differences. The next time your out looking at diamonds ask to see one of each so you can compare yourself and know what your looking for.
Very seldom does clarity have anything to do with the beauty of the diamonds. Clarity is more related to how the diamond looks when under the microscope. A diamonds clarity grade, is determined when the loose diamond is placed under 10x magnification by a gemologist. The minute inclusions there are what make every diamond unique. These inclusions are known as nature’s fingerprints. They very seldom affect thediamond’s beauty or its durability. These flaws can only be seen under high magnification, they are completely invisible to the naked eye.
An SI-1 or above diamond is flawless to the naked eye. In an emerald, princess, or any of the radient cuts the equivelant rating is VS-2. If there is even a tiny inclusion visible to the unaided eye, the stone is graded accordingly as an SI-2 or I-1. Clarity grading can only occur with a loose stone. It is very easy to conceal small flaws by setting the diamond correctly. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as this is represented accurately and you pay according.
So now you’ve got the goods on how diamonds are graded. We strongly recommend you purchase your diamonds only from reputable sources. We discourage buying diamonds from auction houses, online auctions such as ebay. It’s fine to purchase a diamond this way if you are willing to take the risks associated with it. Your engagement ring and wedding rings are meant to be a once in a life time purchase so why not purchase from a jeweler known for its quality and standards.There are hundreds, even thousands of reputable jewelers to choose from. We can recommend Blue Nile, Ice, Diamonds International, and Jewelry Television. If you would like to check these jewelers out you can find their links at the top of our page.
Happy diamond shopping!