A diamond is graded on four gradings scales, colour, clarity, carat weight and cut. These metrics are used to assess each diamond on a microscopic level. First created by GIA in the 1940 the scale is now widely adopted as a world wide standard for grading diamonds and gemstones. With so many variables it can be hard to identify which of the 4c’s is the most important. Here we list the most important to the ones that will save you money.
A diamonds cut is commonly mistaken for the shape. The cut refers to the diamond angles, proportions and facets. A diamond with the same colour, carat weight and clarity can look significantly different if it’s not cut correctly. The cut is what give the diamonds brilliance and shine. The diamond cut is graded using the metrics, excellent, very good, good, fair, poor. Look for diamonds that have an excellent to very good cut grade as they display excellent brilliance and fire, aka sparkle in the stone. Avoid those diamonds that are marketed “triple excellent” or “hearts and arrows” Any well cut diamond will display hearts and arrows, the only difference is you will pay a premium for it. A perfectly cut diamond will hide any inclusions and bring about spectacular shine. It is the cut that makes all the difference.
Diamonds graded VVS1 – SI1 showcase some inclusions however are wallet friendly. Unless you have an endless budget stick to diamonds in this range to get value for money. As jewellers we want to see inclusions in a diamond. This proves it’s a natural and not a fake. As consumers you don’t want to see these inclusions visible to the naked eye. Each diamond is graded using a microscope, unless you are walking around with a magnification glass looking at your ring, having a diamond with inclusions are welcomed. Be aware of stones that look milky or cloudy to the naked eye as this reduces the stones brilliance and fire. D
A diamond colour is graded from D-Z. With D – F being colourless G – J being near colourless. Seek a diamond that is white or colourless as the stone will appear white and bright. Diamonds beyond J-Z tend to have more yellow or brown in their colouring. You will only tell the difference when you put a diamond of a higher colour next to that of a lower colour. The lower will appear more yellow. A diamond in the G-J range will still look white and bright however will also be cheaper than one of a higher colour grade.
Diamonds are graded by carat weight. Most often jewellery is set in 0.10, 0.25,0.50, 0.75, 1.00 carats. As soon as a diamond weights 1.00 the price will significantly jump and subsequently every half carat there after a dramatic price increase. When rough diamonds are mined, a cutter will determine the highest price per carat a diamond. More often than not a diamond made be cut with more inclusions or higher colour grade to meet a higher carat weight. Buying an underweight diamond is where you may save money in the wrong place. It is best to choose something that is lower in colour and clarity rather than carat weight.
Always remember that a diamond is graded under a microscope with many of their flaws undetected to the naked eye. Inclusions in a diamond are normal and encouraged to prove their origin. While a white or colourless diamond will still provide great brilliance to a stone. A underweight diamond will only reduce the value and replacement cost. The cut however is the most important C of them all, if a diamond is not cut perfectly, that spectacular sparkle will simply be non existent.