The Diamond and the 4C’s
The word ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek word ‘Adamas’, meaning invincible. This is referring to their hardness, which makes them nearly imperishable. Diamonds are the hardest of all known minerals. Diamonds have long been the standard of beauty and value against which all other gems are measured. The beauty of a diamond lies in its ability to sparkle and disperse light from dozens of minute faces.We are all familiar with diamond engagement rings, but how did this tradition start? Folklore says that it began in 1477 when the powerful Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond ring to his bride-to-be, Mary of Burgundy. The tradition quickly spread and is responsible for a large portion of diamond sales nowadays.When choosing a diamond, there are a number of factors to bear in mind. Below is a brief guide to help you get the diamond or diamond jewelry that you’ve always wanted, with confidence. It can be easily remembered as the 4 C’s. – Carat weight Carat is the weight or size of the stone that you are looking for. The bigger the stone, the more expensive is generally the rule. The diamond is weighed in ‘carats’. A carat is made up of 100 cents or 100 points. One carat is approximately equal to 0.2 grams.
– Clarity The purity of the diamond. They come in different grades (with grade no.1 being the best,) they are:
- 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)
These grading represent the inclusions or natural characteristics in the stone. Since diamonds are natural products, no two stones are alike, for that matter no two inclusions are alike. The cleaner the diamond or fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the stone (all other factors being constant)
– Color Diamonds occur in almost all colors, from colorless to shades of yellow, brown, pink, blue, orange, green, grey, red and black. Generally the colorless diamonds are more expensive than the colored ones. At the same time the more intense the colors are the higher the price can be. The general rule of thumb is the rarer the color the more expensive the stone. The color grading of a stone are denoted by letters of the alphabet starting from D through to P and Q. It may also be referred to from ‘exceptional white’ going through to ‘tinted.’ In the UK, it is referred to as ‘finest white’ to ‘dark cape.’ Sometimes we can also find grading from 0+ to 16
– Cut This refers to both the shape of the stone as well as the finesse of the polishing itself. The different shapes can be, brilliant or round, heart shape, naiveté or marquise, pear or drop shapes, emerald cut, radiant cut, princess cut, oval shape, single cut or eight cuts, tapers, baguettes, briolette, kite shapes and even more as each day goes by as different cuts are developed and marketed. The finesse of the polishing itself depends on how well the polisher has positioned each one of the facets on the stone in order to bring out the best brilliance or light that is being reflected from the stone. Naturally the more lively the stone the more expensive it is. All or any one of the above factors can have a telling effect on the price of the stone. It is advisable to ask the jeweler to suggest the best possible combination to suit your budget. While making the decision you should ask the jeweler to justify his suggestion using the above points.