Shiny, sparkling and brilliant. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the beauty of a diamond. But these simple words do not really describe the complicated process that is used to determine the value of a diamond.
The Four C’s of Diamond Quality
It is the mission The Gemology Institute of America (GIA) to ensure that every diamond they touch meets a finite list of criteria. In order for the GIA to ensure the quality and value of a diamond, they utilize a combination of 4 unique attributes to determine its overall value.
How is color determined?
In order for a diamond to achieve the highest quality color rating – a D class stone- meaning the diamond must be colorless.
What does that mean for a stone to be colorless? A colorless diamond means the stone has no hue to it. An easy way to imagine this is to think of a pure drop of water. In order to evaluate a stone’s color-grading, a GIA technician carefully compares the stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions. Upon review, the stone will be marked with a class rating ranging from D-Z.
What exactly is clarity?
Clarity refers to the number of natural inclusions a diamond has. During formation the diamond is exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth, this intense pressure causes the diamond to form inclusions or what some would call blemishes.
How is clarity determined? By evaluating the stone, gemologist carefully determines how the number, size, nature, and position of these characteristics affect the quality of the stone. The closer the stone is to pure ( little inclusions/blemishes) the higher the value.
Why does the cut matter?
Often synonymous with the shape of a diamond, there are a lot of misconceptions people have when it comes to determining a diamond’s cut. While diamonds come in a variety of shape ( round, square, oval, emerald, etc.) only round diamonds have a cut, polish and symmetry grade. Fancy shapes (all shapes excluding the round) only have a polish and symmetry grade.
What is a cut grade? The cut grade of the diamond refers to the way a diamond’s facets interact with light. Crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value, the cut of the diamond is both complex and technically difficult to analyze.
Ensuring your stone is a cut above the rest. In order for the GIA to evaluate how successfully a diamond’s facets interact with the light they use the following benchmarks:
Fire- The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow.
Brightness– Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
Scintillation– The amount of sparkle a diamond produces and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the stone.
Once these characteristics are carefully evaluated the diamond will receive a grade of either Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor for cut, polish, and symmetry in round diamonds. For fancy shape diamonds, they will grade only upon polish and symmetry. If you are looking to purchase the epitome of perfection be sure to pick a diamond with an Excellent or Very Good grade report for these quality factors.
What is carat weight?
Diamonds are sold by the carat ( indicated by ct.) that stands for a unit of weight. The word ” carat” comes from the “carob” seed which was the original unit of measurement for diamond traders in the old days. To get a frame of reference in today’s world, you can think of a carat like this: A carat is equal to 0.2 grams, which is about the weight of a small paper clip.
How do carats influence price? Diamonds are measured with an electronic micro-balance scale. A diamond is usually weighed and measured to the fifth decimal place to guarantee precision. Once a diamond is weighed for carat weight, a price is determined based upon the weight. The higher the carat weight, the higher the price.
Size matters too
Is a carat the same as diamond size?
The short answer to this question is “no”. Though the actual size of the stone does influence the weight of the carats, it is not the same thing. Carat refers to weight while size refers to the actual physical size including the width, length, and shape of a diamond when it is being evaluated by a diamond seller.
Magic Size Increase the Price
Diamond experts tell us that there are ‘magic sizes” that increase the price when purchasing diamonds. Diamonds that weigh .50 carats could be priced twice as much as a diamond that weighs in at .25. But this is largely up to the diamond distributor and the company who sells the diamond. Remember other factors do influence price as well including the color, clarity, and cut. If you have your diamond mounted onto an elegant setting, the price will be prorated accordingly.
How We Can Help
If this seems complicated, don’t worry. That’s where we come in. At The Diamond Reserve, we take the guesswork out of the buying process. All of our wholesale diamonds are GIA certified so that you are assured of getting the highest quality possible for your engagement or special occasion ring.
Check out our fine diamonds on our site and contact us at 720-560-3458 for a free consultation.
Your perfect diamond is just a phone call away.