The 4C's of Diamonds
In order to best utilise a diamonds material properties a number of different diamond cuts have been developed. A diamond cut is perhaps the most important of the 4c's and this quality affects the properties and value of a diamond. The precision of the facets of a diamond also determines the beauty of a stone.
A diamond cutter must consider several factors including the shape and the size of the diamond when choosing a cut. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance. When a diamond is cut to maximise brilliance this may reduce its size, as more of the stone has to be cut away.
The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. A diamond's cut is then evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones where the symmetry and proportions most closely match the particular "ideal" used to benchmark
A diamonds colour is one of the key qualities to its evaluation. Most diamonds appear icy white but many may also have hints of colour. The diamond colour scale was devised by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) around the mid 1950’s. The GIA proposed to start at D as the highest quality and most colourless diamond available due to the diamond dealers already using A, B & C to bring a standard to the industry. The diamond colour scale is from D - Z.
- D, E - Exceptional White
- F, G - Rare White
- H - White
- I, J - Slightly Tinted White
- K, L - Tinted White
- M - Z - Tinted Coloured
Truly rare exceptional diamonds can also sometimes be found in "fancy" colours such as pink, blue, green, yellow. brown, orange and very rarely red.
Which Colour Grade Should I Choose?
Diamonds graded D through G are naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity. Such diamonds are a treat for the eyes. You can however still obtain very good diamonds that are graded slightly less than colourless. At Sheenashona would recommend our clients to buy "I" and above and only drop below this if the price or carat are the key drivers to the purchase.
A diamond’s clarity is one of the key qualities which has a direct effect of its beauty and price. When we speak of a diamond's clarity we are referring to the presence of identifying blemishes and inclusions in the stone. Inclusions refer to internal flaws and blemishes refer to surface flaws, however for the purposes of grading diamonds all flaws are called "inclusions". As diamonds are a natural product created by nature it is no surprise that most diamonds have flaws. Inclusions include flaws such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals found in the diamond. Blemishes include scratches, pits, and chips with some blemishes occurring during the cutting processes. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than those with less clarity because they are rarer. A diamond is said to be flawless if under 10-power magnification no internal or external flaws are visible.
All diamonds receive a clarity rating based on the industry standard from FL (flawless) to I3 ( heavily included) as outlined below:
- F Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
- IF Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
- VVS1-VVS2 Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemmologist.
- VS1-VS2 Very Slightly Included. Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
- SI1-SI2 Slightly Included. Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification.
- I1 I2 I3 Inclusions visible to the naked eye
Which Clarity Grade Should I Choose?
While Flawless diamonds are the rarest, a diamond does not have to be flawless to be stunning. In fact, until you drop to the "I" grade, a diamond's clarity grade has an impact on the diamond's value, not on the unmagnified diamond's appearance. Diamonds with VVS and VS grades are excellent choices for both value and appearance. More affordable and still a great choice are those diamonds which gemmologists call "eye-clean"-diamonds with no inclusions visible to the naked eye. These diamonds are SI1 and SI2 and their flaws cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. The carat weight alone does not determine a diamonds value as two stones of equal weight can vary widely in price because of the colour, clarity and cut.
What Carat Size Diamond Should I Buy?
- Firstly determine your budget and what comfortably you would like to spend.
- Pick the shape & setting you prefer. The setting may be influenced on how you wish to wear the ring i.e. with others. If this is the case you may wish to choose a “wed” fit setting.
- Once you have chosen the shape & setting then look at the colour & inclusions. Of course the whiter the better however inclusions are less visible in a brilliant round cut in comparison to say an emerald cut.
- Finally choose your carat size which is really about striking a balance between size and quality. If you think it would be preferable to select a larger diamond and you are working within a budget, you can still find a larger diamond of excellent quality by selecting one which is graded slightly lower in terms of colour and clarity. Shop our diamond collection