The Four C's of diamond quality
Every diamond is one of a kind, and each has specific qualities that determine its value.
Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. The Four C's of Diamond Quality - the universal method for assessing the quality of a diamond, created by GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Why is this important? The Four C's were created so diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and so you know exactly what you are purchasing.
Diamond color actually means lack of color. The diamond color evaluation is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, and consequently, a higher value. The grading system ranges from D-to-Z with D being colorless and Z being light yellow.
When we source diamonds for our custom clients and the Viviana Langhoff Collection, we typically stay within the F-H color range (colorless-near colorless) unless requested otherwise.
Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes’. If you are trying to determine what is the best clarity for a diamond, remember that no diamond is perfectly pure. But the closer it comes to purity, the better its clarity. The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.
-Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
-Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
-Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
-Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
-Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
-Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality. Knowing what diamond clarity truly means helps you understand the factors that contribute to diamond quality and price.
When we source diamonds for custom clients and the Viviana Langhoff Collection, we typically stay within the VS1-SI1 clarity range (very slightly included - slightly included) unless requested otherwise.
Diamonds are known for their ability to transmit light and sparkle intensely. Although we think of a diamonds cut as its shape, a diamonds cut actually means how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Each diamond is cut so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond. Achieving the best cut for a diamond reflects in the stones beauty and value. A diamond's cut is evaluated by it's proportions and how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable effects, such as:
-Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
-Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
-Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Diamond carat weight measures a diamond's apparent size. To put it simply, a diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond weighs (universally measured in milligrams). A diamonds price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on the three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Color, Clarity, and Cut.
Still have questions about diamonds and the Four C's? Stop by the shop or contact us!
Charts + information via GIA