Here are some Diamond facts you should be aware of:
Regarded for their exquisite beauty and the timeless qualities of love and devotion that they represent, diamonds have fascinated mankind throughout the centuries. The most precious and enduring of all gemstones, diamonds were formed billions of years ago, deep within the earth. Only a small number survive the journey to the earth’s surface; fewer still are of a quality that can be made into a precious piece of jewelry.
Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed using metric carats with one carat weighing about the same as a small paper clip, or 0.2 grams. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points which means that a diamond of 50 points weighs 0.50 carats. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on the other three characteristics of a diamond’s 4Cs: Carat weight, CLARITY, COLOR, and CUT. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less.
Because even a fraction of a carat can represent a considerable difference in cost when purchasing diamonds, exact precision is crucial. In the diamond industry, weight is measured to a thousandth of a carat and rounded to the nearest hundredth. Each hundredth is called a point (a 0.25 ct. diamond would be called a “twenty-five pointer”). Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. (For instance, a 1.08 ct. stone would be described as “one point oh eight carats,” or “one oh eight.”)
The Color of the Diamond
Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color, the higher the value. Most diamonds found in jewelry stores run from colorless to near-colorless with slight hints of yellow or brown.
The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z. Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.
Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye. But these slight color differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.
Diamond Clarity OR the absence of internal inclusions or external blemishes
Most diamonds contain unique birthmarks called inclusion (internal) and blemishes (external). Diamonds with very few birthmarks are rare and, of course, rarity affects a diamond’s value. Using the International Diamond Grading System™, created by GIA, diamonds are given a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with more prominent inclusions (I3).
Every diamond is unique. But none are absolutely perfect even though some come close, even under 10x power magnifier.
The Gia Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most readily available diamonds falling into the VS or SI categories. In determining a clarity grade, GIA considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10x magnification.
- Flawless (FL)
No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions and only minor blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
Inclusions are clearly visible under 10× magnification but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Imperfect (I1, I2, and I3)
Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Cut of the diamond brings out fire and brilliance
It seems miraculous that the traditional 58 tiny facets in a diamond, each precisely cut and sharply defined, may be only two millimeters in diameter. But without this precision, a diamond wouldn’t be near as beautiful as it is. Without a doubt, the allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else.
Though extremely difficult to analyze, the cut of a diamond has three attributes: brightness (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the light flashes – or sparkle – when a diamond moves).
An understanding of diamond cut begins with the shape of a diamond, with the standard round brilliant dominating the majority of diamond jewelry. All other diamond shapes are known as fancy shapes or fancy cuts and include the marquise, pear, oval, and emerald cuts. Hearts, cushions, triangles, and a variety of other new shapes are also gaining popularity in many forms of diamond jewelry.