Diamonds and the 4 C’s

The 4 C’s are four variables that are used to calculate the value of a diamond:

Clarity

Clarity describes the clearness or purity of a diamond. This is determined by the number, size, nature, and location of the internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes) imperfections.

The clarity scale is broken down into the following grades:

Clarity Grade Description
F Flawless Free from all inclusions or surface blemishes at 10x magnification.
IF Internally Flawless Free from all inclusions at 10x magnification.
VVS1 Very Very Slightly Included 1 Inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
VVS2 Very Very Slightly Included 2 Inclusions that are very difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
VS1 Very Slightly Included 1 Minor inclusions that are difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
VS2 Very Slightly Included 2 Minor inclusions that are somewhat difficult to locate at 10x magnification.
SI1 Slightly Included 1 Noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x magnification.
SI2 Slightly Included 2 Noticeable inclusion that are very easy to locate at 10x magnification.
I1 Included 1 Obvious inclusions. Somewhat easy to locate with the unaided eye.
I2 Included 2 Obvious inclusions. Easy to locate with the unaided eye.
I3 Included 3 Obvious inclusions. Very easy to locate with the unaided eye.

The above clarity grading system is in accordance with the GIA – Gemological Institute of America.

It is important to note that the GIA grading system is not static, and has changed slowly over time.

Be aware! Two methods used to enhance the clarity grade given to a diamond are laser drilling and fracture filling. Laser drilling is the process in which a laser is used to drill a tiny hole into a diamond and the black of the imperfection is then removed. The second treatment is fracture filling. This method is not permanent and therefore not recommended. All clarity treated diamonds must be disclosed as such prior to sale.

Color

Color describes the amount of color the diamond contains. This can range from colorless to yellow with slight tints of yellow, gray or brown. Colors can also range from intense yellow to brown, blue, green, pink and red. These fancy colors are rare.

GIA Color – Commercial Grading
D,E,F,G,H,I Colorless (White)
J,K,L Near Colorless (White)
M Faint Yellow
N,O,P,Q,R Very Light Yellow
S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z Light Yellow

The color of the stone can be determined by using a set of master stones.

Cut

Cut refers to the proportions, finish, symmetry, and polish of the diamond. These factors determine the fire and brilliance of a diamond. Well cut diamonds sell at a premium and poorly cut diamonds sell at discounted prices.

Since the quality of the cut is directly responsible for the stone’s beauty, the precision with which the facets are arranged is of prime importance. They determine the amount of light reflected to the eye, called brilliance.

Without attention to quality cutting, light is lost and not returned to the eye.

Remember, beauty is in the cutting!

It is where the cutter truly expresses artistic skill, as the other 3 C’s are determined by nature alone.

Carat

Carat is the unit of weight for the diamond. A carat is further subdivided in 100 points ( 0.01 carat = l point ). One carat is equal to 0.20 grams. Value per carat increases with carat weight, because larger rough diamonds occur less frequently. In other words, 2 half-carat diamonds purchased together will not cost as much as 1 one-carat diamond, as the one-carat stone is more rare.