The 4 C’s of Diamond Quality
Of all the 4 C’s, cut has the greatest effect on a diamond’s beauty. In determining the quality of the cut, the grader evaluates the cutter’s skill in the fashioning of the diamond; technology assesses the diamond’s light performance.
Gem-quality diamonds occur in many hues. In the range from colourless to light yellow or light brown, diamonds are compared to Master Colour-Comparison Diamonds under controlled conditions. Colourless diamonds are the rarest. Other natural colours are known as fancy — their colour grading is unique.
Diamonds can have internal characteristics known as inclusions or external characteristics known as blemishes. When grading clarity, the grader uses magnification and specific lighting and considers the effect these characteristics have on the diamonds appearance and/or durability. Diamonds without inclusions or blemishes are rare; however, most characteristics can only be seen with magnification.
This is the diamond’s physical weight measured in metric carats. One carat equals 1/5 gram and is subdivided into 100 points. Carat weight is the most objective of the 4 Cs. It involves no estimates, comparisons, or judgments.
Savvy Shopping Tips
Choosing a diamond is a very personal decision. While not everyone will share the same opinion, most people will get more enjoyment from a high-quality diamond than from a low-quality one, regardless of size.
What quality diamond should you buy? If you can afford the biggest and the best, then certainly you should buy the biggest and the best. However, beautiful diamonds are available to fit most budgets.
Diamond grades and prices are based mostly on rarity factors — the more exceptional the diamond, the higher the price. Large diamonds are more rare than small ones, colourless diamonds are more rare than those with a yellow tint, and flawless diamonds are more rare than those with inclusions.
However, of the 4 Cs, it is a diamond’s cut that can make you fall in love with a particular gem. A diamond can be flawless and colourless, but it will not be beautiful if it does not dance with light. It’s up to the skill of the cutter to produce a diamond with a balance between weight retention and dazzling performance.
Be sure to see a selection of diamonds and choose the diamond that is most beautiful to you. The information on a grading report is helpful for identification, but it takes a knowledgeable professional to explain this information to you in a way that explains the diamond’s value.