Diamond Education

The Four Cs

The 4Cs are: Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut.
 
Color

The degree of the color of a diamond is crucial since it determines whether a diamond sparkles brilliantly and has a crucial role in setting its price. If a diamond is colorless, it has a high value because the largest amount of refraction of light is possible and gives the diamond its sparkle.
Did you know a diamond is also a prism – it breaks light down into the colors of the rainbow and reflects it back to the eye.
Diamonds that have some yellow or brown do not absorb light as well and do not allow light to reflect as well, either. As a result, the diamond's brilliance is much lower.
In regular, or white diamonds, there is an almost universally accepted way of grading – by using the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) color scale. The highest color grade is D. A diamond with a D-grade has no color and thus is very valuable because the percentage of such mined diamonds is very low. From D, the color grade goes down the alphabet, according to the light yellow or brown color, and goes down to Z (see diagram below).
The grades D, E, F are considered the very best and, therefore, fetch high prices. The colors S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, are light yellow or brown shades.
The most valuable diamonds are in the color grade D to I.

Cut

The precision of a diamonds cut and light coming from symmetrical facets determines the brilliance. A perfect cut is critical because it allows light to enter the stone through the table (the top flat part of the diamond) and return to the pavilion (the lower angled part) where it is completely reflected back through the table and explodes light. A bad cut does not allow light to be reflected completely, so the stone does not have as much fire, brilliance and sparkle.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond relates to whether it has inclusions, or flaws, inside it and on its surface. Inevitably, the majority of diamonds have inclusions from when they were formed deep underground billions of years ago. A diamond with inclusions fetches a lower price because the clarity is reduced. Scratches, or blemishes, on the exterior or surface of a diamond also have an effect on the clarity.
There are six generally accepted levels of clarity.
 
F - Flawless. The diamond does not have any flaws either inside or on its exterior.

IF - IF is Internally Flawless. The stones does not have any flaws inside it, but may have some surface scratches. Such diamonds are extremely rare and, consequently, are the most expensive.

VVS1-VVS2 - VVS stands for Very Very Slightly Included of which there are two grades. The diamond has tiny inclusions which are difficult to detect without a 10x magnification by a trained gemologist.

VS1-VS2 - Very Slightly Included also has two grades. These are so small that they can only be seen with difficulty using 10x magnification.

SI1-SI3 - Slightly Included, and there are two grades. This size of inclusion can be more easily seen using 10x magnification.

I1-3 - At the bottom of the scale, there are inclusions which are sufficiently large to be seen using 10x magnification and even by the naked eye.

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