Do you know a quality diamond when you see one?

Learn more about the four C’s when it comes to assessing a diamond’s quality.

One of the most luxurious precious stones on the planet and admired worldwide, the diamond has become a symbol of love, appreciation and in some cases, wealth. Whether it’s an engagement ring, a tennis bracelet or a pair of sparkling earrings, there is no denying the allure of a diamond. If you’re making a decision about purchasing a diamond for your loved one, remember it’s symbolism behind it and the kindness behind the gesture that counts. A common misapprehension when it comes to a diamond is that the size determines the quality and price. While it is a factor, it is the combination of the ‘four c’s’ that make up the overall quality of a diamond.

Colour

Unless you’re purchasing a canary yellow or pink champagne diamond, a diamond is graded on the ‘whiteness’ of the colour. This is one factor we do not recommend compromising on, as an off-coloured diamond can be seen clearly on a big rock. The colour is graded from D to Z (D being colourless and Z being light yellow). The most common, excellent quality diamonds range from J upwards, and can be purchased from jewellery manufacturers or stores. The colour is one of the most important factors because it is more noticeable than the clarity when looking at it with the naked eye.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond refers to the imperfections or as it’s known in the industry, ‘inclusions’. Like the colour grading, the clarity is measured in letters ranging from FL to I3, however, there is no logical hierarchy in the ratings.

Here is a list of clarity ratings from the highest quality (Flawless) to the lowest quality (Obvious Inclusions):

  • FL – Flawless
  • IF – Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 – Very slightly included
  • VVS2 – Very slightly included
  • VS1 – Very slightly included
  • VS2 – Very slightly included
  • SI1 – Slightly Included
  • SI2 – Slightly Included
  • I1 – Included
  • I2 – Included
  • I3 – Obvious Inclusions

While nearly all diamonds have some type of an inclusion, it only becomes an issue if you can see it with the naked eye. Diamonds graded SI1 and better can be almost guaranteed to be eye clean and this the area of diamond clarity that we focus on.

Cut

Of the Four Cs no other characteristic has a bigger impact on a diamond’s appearance. Put simply, a diamond’s cut grade is an objective measurement of a diamond’s light performance, or, what we generally think of as, a sparkle. When a diamond is cut in the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond, which Gemologists refer to as ‘the table’. If the stone is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the sides. One thing we never compromise on is the CUT of the diamond.

Carat

One of the terms almost everyone is aware of is carat; however, not many know exactly what it refers to. The common misconception is that it refers to size (length and width). A carat measurement actually refers to the diamond’s weight and the heavier it is, the bigger the diamond. Carats are measured on quite a vast numerical scale – the world’s smallest diamond weighs 0.0003 and the biggest weighs 530.2. The most common sizes for engagement rings are from 0.6 to 1 carat. If all the other 4 C’s are the same then, the bigger the carat, the more expensive the diamond.

For more information about diamond quality, do not hesitate to contact the experts – Hope Diamonds.