While diamonds may look similar, there are some “small” qualities and differences that make each diamond unique.
This is why a system of grading diamonds was invented. This system has become the universal standard for evaluating a diamond’s quality.
The diamond 4cs are Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Each of these factors contributes to a diamond’s value and beauty.
Color is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a diamond. The color of a diamond depends on the presence of other minerals that were trapped inside its carbon when it was formed, millions of years ago.
Almost unnoticeable differences in color between two stones can make a difference in their value of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That’s why it’s important to understand the GIA color scale, which grading professionals use to assess a diamond.
When a diamond is graded, professional diamond graders compare it with master stones – a set of diamonds that represent each position on the GIA D-to-Z color grading scale. Then, they assign the test diamond a color grade between one of the master stones that is lighter and the other that is darker than the diamond.
Diamond clarity is one of the main characteristics of a diamond that grades how clean it is from inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws). These imperfections result directly from the enormous pressure and heat that diamonds go through as they form.
Inclusions are formed by foreign materials that get caught in the diamond growth process and can include bubbles, crystals, carbon spots, feathers, clouds, pinpoints, cracks, abrasions or other impurities. These marks can help gemologists identify and grade a diamond, as well as add to its uniqueness.
Clarity is typically graded using a plot, which shows the position of any visible flaws in a diamond, as well as the number and severity of these inclusions. However, this is not always accurate; some inclusions may be too minor to be seen on the plot but still impact the diamond’s Clarity Grade.
The cut of a diamond is a critical factor in the overall appearance and luster of a diamond. A poor-cut diamond will appear dull, whereas an excellent cut will sparkle and be luminous.
There are many factors that go into evaluating a diamond’s cut. These include facet shapes and angles, girdle width, culet size, polish and symmetry.
A well-cut diamond maximizes the amount of light that reaches each pavilion (section of a stone that is cut away from the center), thus maximizing luster and brilliance. It also reflects more of the incident light back into the crown and table.
A diamond’s cut grade is a rating that considers all of these factors. The highest cut grade is considered excellent, which means that the diamond is perfectly balanced and has ideal facet angles.
Carat weight, or ct, is one of the 4C’s of a Diamonds that affects its value. It’s a unit of measurement that’s typically equal to 200 milligrams (approximately 0.2 grams), rounded to the hundredths place.
The word “carat” comes from the seeds of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), which were used as a standard weight for weighing gems before modern scales were developed. Until 1907, these seeds were the only standard unit for evaluating gemstones, but they were found to vary widely in mass.
Today, a diamond’s carat weight is measured on highly accurate and calibrated digital scales that can measure extremely small weights. It’s important to note that while carat weight increases as the diamond gets larger, it doesn’t increase linearly.