Diamonds are precious stones, each with its own unique characteristics. No two are alike. The primary characteristics of a diamond in determining value are its color, carat weight, cut, and the clarity of the diamond. These are commonly referred to as the 4 Cs.
Personal taste will dictate which characteristics are most important as you analyze your options. Seeing diamonds in person will help illsutrate the differences, especially when placed side by side. Kimball's Jewelers invites you to stop by and learn more about diamonds in person. We will take the time to show you the unique characteristics of diamonds and help find the perfect diamond for your budget.
Carat weight is a huge driving force with regard to price because there are simply not as many large diamonds in the world. Thus an increase in carat weight will result in a direct increase in price.With the 4 Cs operating on a sliding scale, there are infinite combinations of cut, color, clarity and carat weight that can be leveraged to find the perfect diamond for the price you want.
The clarity of a diamond can also be a topic of debate. Purists will strive for perfection and put an emphasis on the clarity, or lack of inclusions, within the diamond. Others feel that these invisible-to-the-eye imperfections are like a birthmark or mole, and these individual character marks should be embraced.
Color is another topic of contention. "Colorless" diamonds in the D, E and F categories are the most expensive, but individual taste will dictate just how far down the alphabet you want to go. The color scale goes from D-Z, D being completely colorless and Z being very yellow. A Z diamond, however, should not be confused with a "fancy yellow" or "canary" diamond, which is an entirely different grade of natural yellow diamonds that are also very desirable.
Lastly, many individuals favor brilliance over all others, which is mostly the result of a fine cut. The amount of sparkle, fire and brilliance demonstrated by the diamond as it interacts with the ambient light is a very desirable trait for a diamond. Quite frankly, it's what makes a diamond unique from all other gemstones!
Contact one of our friendly jewelry professionals if you'd like to continue the discussion. We're here to help and have been doing so since 1933. We look forward to earning your business.
The 4 Cs : Cut
Of all the 4 Cs, cut has the greatest effect on a diamond's beauty. A good cut will result in diamond that sparkles with brilliance. Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently. This ability can be released and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy.
Cut is often confused with the shape of a diamond. Shape is largely a matter of personal preference and is limited only by the skill and creativity of the craftsman. The 10 most common shapes are emerald, round, princess, cushion, heart, pear, marquise, oval, radiant, and asscher. Round, Oval, Cushion, Pear, Marquise and Heart diamonds are considered brilliant cuts because of their unique symmetry and ability to sparkle.
The 4 Cs : Color
A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare. Most diamonds possess varying degrees of yellow or brown, and small, subtle differences in color can make a substantial difference in value. If a diamond is well cut, the diamond's refraction and dispersion often will disguise certain degrees of coloration. Unless a diamond is a fancy color (or any color other than colorless to light yellow or brown), the American Gem Society Color Grading System places it on a 0 to 10 scale, 0 being colorless. To accurately and consistently grade color, an American Gem Society experienced grader will utilize special lighting to compare the diamond being graded to a set of American Gem Society Master Color Comparison Diamonds. These diamonds have met exacting standards of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
The 4 Cs : Clarity
Clarity is the evaluation of a diamond's internal and external characteristics. The fewer inclusions or blemishes, the more desirable the diamond. Inclusions are internal, that is, inside the diamond. Crystals are merely minerals trapped inside the diamond; feathers are breaks in the diamond. Blemishes are usually very small and are only on the surface of the diamond. To locate these tiny characteristics, an American Gem Society member jeweler will use a binocular microscope that magnifies the diamond 10 times. Then, from an evaluation of the size, location, nature, number, and color of all the inclusions and blemishes, a clarity grade from 0-10 will be assigned – 0 being flawless or internally flawless.
The 4 Cs : Carat
The standard used to measure diamond weight is the carat. A carat equals 1/5 of a gram (or 1/142 of an ounce). Each carat is further divided into points, each point representing 1/100 of a carat. While weight may be the least important of the four Cs in determining value, it may be the easiest of the four Cs to gauge accurately and is the most objective.
As diamonds increase in size, their cost tends to increase exponentially. Thus, a one-carat diamond may cost more than twice as much as a one-half-carat stone of equal quality. However, weight does not always enhance the value of a diamond. In fact, when a diamond is improperly cut, added weight may serve only to reduce its brilliance. For these reasons, you should consult with an American Gem Society titleholder regarding the question of carat weight.