Diamonds 101: The 4Cs
Diamond Buying 101: The Four Cs
Wonder of Nature
There is no other gemstone quite like a diamond. It is found in the most remote places on earth, and the fact that it forms at all is something of a miracle. It takes about one ton of rock to recover less than half a carat of rough, making diamond one of the rarest and most desired gemstones in the world. A diamond is a testament of endurance of strength – and not surprisingly, the ultimate symbol of love.
Treasure of Time
Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of it's arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. Yet, all diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. These features are called the 4Cs.
The GIA Color Scale extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).
Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless, truly colorless diamonds are actually very rare. Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with tints of yellow or brown.
Color grades are determined by comparing each diamond to a master set. Each letter grade represents a range of color and is a measure of how noticeable a color is.
Fluorescence – Some diamonds can emit a visible light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, but fluorescence is not a factor in determining color or clarity grades. However, a description of its strength and color is provided on GIA reports as an additional identifying characteristic.
The GIA Clarity Scale includes eleven clarity grades ranging from Flawless to I3.
Because diamonds form under tremendous heat and pressure, it is extremely rare to find a diamond that lacks any internal and external characteristics. These characteristics are a by-product of its formation and hep gemologists separate natural diamonds from laboratory-grown diamonds, simulants, and identify individual stones.
The GIA Cut Scale ranges from Excellent to Poor.
A polished diamond’s beauty lies in its complex relationship with light. The magnificent display you see if made up of three attributes: Brightness is the combination of all white light reflecting from the surface and interior of a diamond. Fire describes the “flares” of color emitted from a diamond. Scintillation describes the pattern of light and dark areas and the sparkle you see when the diamond, the light or the observer moves.
A diamond’s proportions affect its light performance, which in turn affects its beauty and overall appeal. Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish optimize their interaction with light, and have increased brightness, fire and scintillation.
GIA assesses these factors for standard round brilliant diamonds in the D-to-Z color range.
One carat equals 200 milligrams in weight.
For diamonds under one carat, each carat is divided into 100 points – similar to pennies in a dollar. 0.75 carat = 75 points, ½ carat = 50 points.
Beauty and Its Beholder
The 4Cs provide a way to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds, but numbers alone can’t describe a diamond’s mysterious and captivating beauty – for that, you’ll have to visit Stall & Kessler’s Diamond Center to see one for yourself!