The 4 C’s

(cut, color, clarity and carat weight)

CUT- It’s All in the Cut
The precision with which a diamond is cut is a critical factor in releasing its “fire” and “brilliance”. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light. It is the only factor of the 4 C’s that man can control.

The facets, or prisms, of the diamond should be placed in exact geometric relation to each other. The culet, or point, should be in the exact center of the bottom of the diamond. Plus, the diamond needs to be well polished. This symmetry is crucial for light entering the diamond to be reflected back to your eye as brilliance. If these geometric proportions are compromised, the beauty and brilliance of the diamond are sacrificed.

To achieve a diamond’s truly dazzling radiance, it must be well cut!

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How A Diamond Handles
Light
It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.
Well Cut
Light is reflected from one facet to another and then disperses through the top of the diamond.
Too Deep
Light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion.
Too Shallow
Light passes through the pavilion before it can be reflected.

COLOR – Acquiring an Eye for Color
Although most gem-quality diamonds when seen alone appear to be colorless to the untrained eye, there are subtle differences in shade. Color in diamonds results from traces of other elements which mix with carbon during the diamond’s formation. Diamonds with no traces of body color are extremely rare.

To determine a diamond’s true color, the diamond is viewed table down under balanced white light. It is compared to diamonds in a “Master Set” whose colors have been predetermined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Our diamonds are color graded using a master set and a special diamond light developed for color grading. The color grade is then assigned according to the diamond’s color relative to the “Master Set”. The grade is represented by a letter ranging from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow). The further down in the alphabet the diamond is, the more yellow it appears. A range of several grades makes up a descriptive color category.

Gemological Institute of America Diamond Color Grading Scale

DEF GHIJ KLM NOPQR STUVWXYZ
COLORLESS NEAR COLORLESS FAINT YELLOW VERY LIGHT YELLOW LIGHT YELLOW

 

CLARITY – Distinguishing Clarity
Most diamonds develop natural “inclusions” (crystals, feathers, etc.) during their formation deep within the earth.

Diamond clarity is determined by the position, color, number, and/or nature and size of these inclusions. The fewer the inclusions, the rarer the diamond and the greater the value. Flawless and internally flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare. The term “flawless” is a highly restricted one. Under Federal Trade Commission rules, a diamond can only be deemed flawless when no internal or external imperfections are visible to a professional eye under 10-power magnification using a binocular microscope in good light. While inclusions may not affect the beauty of a diamond, they do affect its value and price.

Our diamonds are graded for clarity using the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Clarity Grading Scale.

Gemological Institute of America Clarity Grading Scale

FL flawless
IF internally flawless – minor surface blemishes
VVS1 very, very small inclusions; extremely difficult to locate
VVS2 very, very small inclusions
VS1 very small inclusions; characteristics difficult to locate
VS2 very small inclusions
SI1 noticeable small inclusions; somewhat easy to locate
SI2 easily noticed small inclusions

VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE

I1 eye-visible inclusions
I2 obvious eye-visible inclusions
I3 lacks transparency and contains dark inclusions easily visible to the naked eye; may affect durability

 

CARAT WEIGHT – Determining Carat Weight
Of the 4 C’s, carat weight is the simplest factor used to determine the value of a diamond. As with all precious gems, the weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. One carat equals one-fifth of a gram or 1/142 of an ounce. One carat is divided into 100 points, so a diamond weighing 3/4 carat has 75 points of 0.75 carats.

As diamonds increase in value, their price per carat usually increases geometrically, not arithmetically. Thus, a two-carat diamond will usually be more than double the price of a one-carat diamond of the same quality.

Diamonds are accurately weighed on a calibrated scale when they are loose, or free from any mounting.

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