The 4 C's are your best and simplest guides to buying diamonds. They are easy to understand and use. Once you know them, it will be so easy to choose your piece of diamond jewelry with complete confidence.
The color of diamonds is the most characteristic feature and the most important as well; the color strikes the human eye most strongly. The color of a diamond can vary appreciably, ranging from totally colorless to a yellow, grey or brown shade. Rare fancy colored diamonds are also found, and include blue, pink, red, green, yellow and brown even to black diamonds. The rarest color accruing in nature is red, followed by green, blue, purple and brown. Colored diamonds are called fancy, and because of their rarity they hold a great value, especially when the color displays an intense saturation. The most valuable diamonds however are the completely colorless stones. The most common naturally occurring diamonds are with a slight to obvious yellow saturation. The individual colors are classified by a system of diamond grading.
Of all the 4 C's, cut is the factor most directly influenced by human, the other three are created naturally. The cut or make of diamond will dramatically influence its fire, brilliance and sparkle.
Diamonds are cut in many shapes; there are marquise, baguette, pear, heart, oval and emerald-cut. Among them is the classic round brilliant cut.
It's the result of the practical experience craftsmanship of the cutter or the polisher's skills that determines how the fullbeauty, maximum brilliance and total light reflection are released.
Only when precisely calculated facets and angles are used in the brilliant cut, the stone reach its greatest possible attractiveness. Until few years ago, the quality factor of the cut was given little importance.
The grading and valuation of diamonds was restricted only to color and clarity. Faults in proportion and symmetry, were not taken into consideration in evaluation. Today, the value of a stone with poor quality cut differs of a well cut stone.
The internal imperfections occurred during the growth process of the diamonds in the interior of the earth are called inclusions. Clarity is the term used to specify the level to which the diamond you purchase is free of these natural inclusions under ten times magnification. A classification of clarity is recognized to express the number and size of inclusions in a diamond.
Almost all diamonds contain very small inclusions; most of them are not able to be seen to the naked eye and require magnification to become visible. They are the nature fingerprints and make every diamond unique. The fewer they are, the rarer and more precious the stone.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. The word carat originates from a naturally occurring unit of weight, the seed of the carob tree. Diamonds were traditionally weighed against these seeds until the system was standardized, and one carat was set at 0.2 grams (5 carats =1 gram). The carat is subdivided into tenth and hundredth.