A diamond is the hardest substance known to man and can
only be scratched by another diamond. Because it is so hard it is slightly
brittle and can chip if struck hard. There are extreme methods of treating
diamonds such as lasers and gamma ray bombardment that are used to change
their properties. Other than these extreme methods your diamond will never
change so it is important to know what you are buying.
The 4 C's
A diamonds value is determined by its rarity and the
craftsmanship used to fashion the finished diamond. The rarity is graded by
Clarity and Color, and Carat. The craftsmanship is graded by Cut.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. One carat is equal
to .2 grams. Diamond weight can be referred to by fractions ( 1/2 ct.) or
by percent (.50 ct.). When a diamond is referred to by percentage, you will
hear a .50 ct. diamond called a fifty point diamond. Because diamonds come
in all sizes and are very valuable using the percentage method to refer to a
diamond is more accurate. A .48 ct. diamond and a .52 ct. diamond are both
considered a 1/2 ct. It is important to understand that all diamonds that
weigh 1 ct. are not the same diameter. Because carat is only a measure of
A diamonds value increases disproportionately from the size
of the diamond. There are many more rough diamonds found that a 1/2 ct.
diamond could be cut from than a 1 ct. diamond. Diamond cutters always cut
the largest and finest diamond they can from a piece of rough diamond.
Therefore a diamond that weighs 1 ct. cost more that twice the price of a
1/2 ct. diamond. The price for large diamonds over 3 ct. sky rocket in
Clarity refers the the presence of inclusions or
imperfections in a diamond. Diamonds are formed deep beneath the surface of
the earth over millions of years. Because they are part of nature they are
never perfect. Diamonds will have irregularities in their crystal
structure. These irregularities will vary greatly in quantity, size, shape,
and color. Jewelers grade diamonds under a 10 power microscope. The more,
larger, and noticeable the inclusions in a diamond are the less the diamond
will be worth. Some diamonds will be flawless under 10 power. Some
diamonds will be so flawed that you will not be able to see through them.
The jewelry industry and the
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) have come up with a grading
system to quantify the extent a diamond is included.
Color refers the actual body color of a diamond and not the
colors that are reflected by the diamond. GIA has developed the following
system for quantifying the amount of color contained in a diamond.
D,E,F are colorless - G,H,I,J are near colorless - K
to W are light colored - X,Y,Z are fancy colored
Cut refers to the craftsmanship used to fashion a rough
diamond into a finished jewel. Diamonds are fashioned into many different
A rough diamond as it is found in the ground.
Diamonds after a craftsman (Diamond cutter) shapes
The brilliance a diamond shows is a property of the cut.
When cutting a diamond it is extremely important that the cutter fashions
the diamond to exacting proportions. The inside of the diamond than acts as
a series of mirrors that reflects all the light that enters the top of the
diamond back out the top. A diamond that is cut near perfectly can cover up
small inclusions and slight color. A diamond that is flawless and colorless
but cut poorly will look unattractive.
What diamond is the Best for Me?
have always said "buy the biggest and prettiest diamond you can afford". It
is that simple.
You may not care if a diamond has a little inclusion that
can be seen by young strong eyes or that the color is not perfect. You may
want a larger diamond. On the other hand you may want a smaller diamond
that is more perfect. There is no right answer for everyone