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Diamond Quality Guide
Diamonds are not created equal. Every diamond is unique and they come in many sizes, shapes, colors, and various internal characteristics. Some have certain qualities that makes them rare from all others. The value of diamonds is based on combination of factors, and Rarity is one of those factors.
Jewelry professionals have used a systematic way to evaluate diamonds, compare them from each, and discuss their individual qualities. GIA or the Gemological Institute of America has developed a grading system in the 1950s that uses the color, cut, clarity, and carat weight, or simply called the 4C’s, as factors in evaluating diamonds.
The 4Cs describe the individual qualities of a diamond, and the value of an individual diamond is based on these qualities. The value of a finished diamond is based on this combination.
The value of a diamond is affected by its rarity. The rare the diamond is the higher the value it gives. For example in Color, those that have a clear, near-to colorless colors are paid higher than those with tints of yellow and brown. This is because Value and Rarity are both related to each other.
Subtle differences in color can affect the total value of a diamond. Even just a slight hint of color can give a huge impact to the value of the diamond.
Diamonds come in many colors. They can range from colorless to light yellow and brown. Colorless diamonds are considered the most rare so they are the most valuable. In the GIA color scale, those that have a grading of D to F are the colorless diamonds, those that are in G-J are near-colorless, while those in K-M are faint, and those graded in N-R are very light, and S-Z are light colored diamonds.
Clarity in diamonds is about the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds have internal features, called inclusions, and surface irregularities, called blemishes. Together, they’re called clarity characteristics.
Among other things, blemishes include scratches and nicks on a diamond’s surface. Inclusions are generally on the inside, and some might break the surface of the stone. Sometimes, tiny diamond or other mineral crystals are trapped inside a diamond when it forms. Depending on where they’re located, they might remain after the stone has been cut and polished, and they can affect a diamond’s appearance.
There are 11 clarity grades in the GIA clarity grading system. They are Flawless, Internally Flawless, two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included, two categories of Slightly Included, and three categories of Included.
The effect of a clarity characteristic on the clarity grade is based on its size, number, position, nature, and color or relief. Those diamonds that have less inclusions and blemishes get the most value.
The diamond cut means two things: the amount of light reflected back to the eyes through its facets, and the shape of the diamond.
A beautifully cut diamond that reflects light through its facets making it dazzle and shimmer gives us the “face up” appearance of the diamond. A diamond’s proportions determine how light performs when it enters the diamond. Diamonds with different proportions and good polish make better use of the light, and will be bright, colorful, and scintillating. A beautiful diamond looks the way it does because of three optical effects: white light reflections called brightness, flashes of color called fire, and areas of light and dark called scintillation.
The term “cut” also describes the shape of the diamond. Shapes other than the standard round brilliant are called fancy cuts. They’re sometimes called fancy shapes or fancies. They are the marquise, princess, pear, oval, heart, and emerald cut.
Diamond weights are stated in metric carats, abbreviated “ct.” One metric carat is two-tenths (0.2) of a gram—just over seven thousandths (0.007) of an ounce. One ounce contains almost 142 carats. A small paper clip weighs about a carat.
Over a carat, diamond weights are usually expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.03-carat stone, for example, would be described as “one point oh three carats,” or “one oh three.” Weights for diamonds that weigh under a carat are usually stated in points. A diamond that weighs 0.83 carat is said to weigh “eighty-three points,” or called an “eighty-three pointer.”
Carat weight also determines the size of the diamond, so the bigger the diamond, the higher the carat weight the higher the amount we will pay for it. Most of the time, carat weight is the most important thing in considering the value of your diamond. Because 1-carat diamond estimate price can reach up to $6,000, while a 2-carat diamond of similar quality might be worth $15,000, carat weight determines the price of the diamond.
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