First, do not confuse diamond "cut' with "shape". Shape is the general outward appearance of the diamond, such as round, emerald or pear. When a diamond jeweler says "cut", that's a reference to the diamond's reflective qualities and not the shape. However, we've found that some "jewelers" don't know the difference between "cut" and "shape".
Diamond cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs so it is important to understand how this quality affects a diamond's properties and values. A good cut gives brilliance to a diamond, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of it. A diamond's angles and finish determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.
In grading, cut evaluates the cutter's skill in the fashioning of a diamond. Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently. This unique ability can be released and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy.
A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare. Most diamonds have varying degrees of yellow or brown and subtle color differences make a substantial difference in value. If a diamond is well-cut, the diamond's refraction and dispersion disguises certain degrees of coloration. Unless a diamond is a fancy color or any color other than colorless to light yellow or brown, most grades will range from D (the lease amount of color) to Z (the most color, usually brown).
Because a colorless diamond, like a clear window, allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, colorless diamonds emit more sparkle and fire. The formation process of a diamond ensures that only a few rare diamonds are truly colorless. Thus, the whiter a diamond's color is, the greater is its value.
Clarity is the evaluation of a diamond's internal and external characteristics. The fewer inclusions or blemishes, the more desirable the diamond is. Inclusions are internal or inside the diamond. Crystals are merely minerals inside the diamond. Feathers are breaks in the diamond. Blemishes are usually tiny and are only on the diamond’s surface.
To locate these, a grader uses a binocular microscope that magnifies the diamond ten times. Then, evaluating the size, location, nature, number, and color of all the inclusions and blemishes, a clarity grade from Flawless to Included will be given. The full clarity grading chart is Flawless (FL), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), Slightly Included (SI), and Included (I).
VVS, VS and SI ranges have two grades while Included range has three. It is within the included clarity range that the internal characteristics become visible to the naked eye. Some exceptions above that exist are called black inclusions.
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 1/100th 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 geometrically. Thus, a one-carat diamond may cost more than twice as much as a one-half carat stone of equal quality. Also, as previously stated, 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.
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