Do you have no idea what determines the value of a diamond or know nothing about them? Not to worry, Gold and Diamond Source has a new diamond education page designed to guide you on the basics of diamonds and help you make a educated and informed decision.
Each diamond is unique and rare, taking billions of years for nature to form them. Each reflects the story of its 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 4C’s.
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 and strength- and not surprisingly, the ultimate symbol of love.
When you think of the cut, you probably think of the shape of the diamond. You are partially correct. While cut does refer to shape, it also refers to the proportions of how the diamond is actually cut. Diamonds are cut into many different shapes, reflecting not only popular taste but the proportions and quality of the rough diamond. The most popular shapes include Round, Princess Cut, Cushion, Oval, Emerald, Heart Shape, and Marquise cuts. Many specialty shapes are also available.
A diamond’s overall proportions, as well as the size and placement of its many reflective surfaces or facets, also play a large part in “cut.” The consistency and balance of these can greatly affect how the stone captures light and reflects it back to the eye.
With the exception of some fancy colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. The color scale for transparent diamonds runs from D-F (colorless), G-J (near colorless), K-L (faint yellow), to Z (light yellow). Completely colorless diamonds are rare.
When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors range from blue to brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and may be quite valuable.
A diamond’s clarity is measured by the existence, or absence, of visible flaws. Tiny surface blemishes or internal inclusions — even those seen only under magnification with a jeweler’s loupe — can alter the brilliance of the diamond and, thus, effect its value. Clarity levels begin with Flawless (F & IF) and move down to Very Very Slight (VVS1 & 2), Very Slight (VS1 & 2), Slightly Included (SI1 & 2), and Included (I1, I2 & I3).
The size of a diamond is measured, not by its dimensions, but by weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measure for diamonds, is equal to approximately 0.2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a diamond referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat; therefore, a 75-point diamond equals 0.75 carat. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size, depending on their depth and proportions. Because they are quite rare, larger diamonds of gem quality are much more valuable.