The Four C's
Your Other Considerations
Whether for an engagement, wedding, anniversary or for an investment, buying a diamond is one of the largest purchases of a lifetime. We know how important it is to understand what you are buying. This guide to buying diamonds makes the four C's simple, so that after reading it you will be better informed to select the diamond that is perfect for you.
Cut: Many people think shape and cut are the same. Shape is the geometric design of the diamond-how it appears from the top. Depending upon the shape of the diamond, the proportions in its anatomy delivers light distribution. The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. Cut is the interrelations between the proportions, dimensions and finish that measure levels of brightness, fire and scintillation - the face up appearance of a diamond. Most gemologists consider cut the most important characteristic. Even a diamond with excellent color and clarity will have no brilliance with a poor cut.
Color: When light passes through a diamond, it divides into a light spectrum consisting of all the colors of the rainbow. Each of these colors is flashed as the light hits and reflects from each facet in the diamond. Just as when looking through colored glass, color in a diamond will diminish the spectrum of color emitted. The less color in a diamond, the more colorful the fire and the better the color grade. Internally Flawless - No internal flaws. Very rare and beautiful diamonds which are quite expensive.
D-F : Colorless: perfect or almost perfect color.
G-J : Near colorless: good to very good color, and this diamond may "face up" colorless when mounted, especially in white gold or platinum.
K-M : Light but noticeable yellow or brown tint. Not recommended for larger diamond stone purchases, especially in engagement rings.
Clarity: Diamond is the hardest natural substance known. Diamonds that are perfectly clear are rare and the most sought after, thus the most expensive. Diamonds are formed deep in the crust of the earth under intense pressure and temperature. As a result, most diamonds have inclusions, scratches, trace minerals or other tiny characteristics that are trapped inside as the diamond is forming. The clarity grade scale has been formulated depending upon the type, location and number of inclusions found in a diamond.
Diamonds are graded under 10X magnification. We recommend that you select an eye clean diamond-one that has no visible inclusions. The inclusions, although present in the diamond, are not visible to the naked eye. Paired with the anything above or equal to the G-J grade in the color scale would be a perfect bet.
VVS1, VVS2 - Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification.
VS1, VS2 - Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are typically not visible to the unaided eye.
SI1, SI2 - Slightly Included: Inclusions are typically visible under 10x magnification .
I1 - Included: an I1 clarity diamond will have a visible flaw which can be seen with the naked eye, but there should only be one major flaw which is not too obvious.
I2, I3 - Included: These diamonds will have inclusions visible to the naked eye, from the black inclusions to white inclusions, feathers and cracks.
Carat Weight: Carat weight is the unit of measurement of the weight of the diamond. The value of a diamond increases with respect to the carat weight because when diamonds are mined large gems are discovered much less often than small ones. Diamond prices rise exponentially with carat weight. A 2.00-carat diamond is always worth more than two 1.00-carat diamonds of the same quality.
Round Brilliant: The round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular shape. Nearly 100 years ago diamond cutters perfected the proportions of the cut to optimize the fire and brilliance in a round diamond. A round diamond will typically give you more flexibility in balancing cut, clarity and color grades while still getting the brilliance and fire you want to see.
Princess: The princess cut diamond is second most popular shape. Its brilliance and unique cut make it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. Princess cut diamonds can vary in how square or rectangular they are. For a square princess cut diamond, look for length to width ratio between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer a more rectangular diamond look for length to width ratios greater than 1.10.
Emerald: The rectangular facets on the pavilion of the emerald cut diamond create a unique optical appearance and clear open table that highlight the clarity of the diamond. That makes it easier to see any imperfection in the diamond. The length to width ratio determines how rectangular the diamond is. A length to width ratio of 1.30 to 1.40 is considered to be ideal for an emerald cut diamond.
Ascher: The asscher cut diamond is nearly identical to the emerald cut diamond, except that it is square. Since the pavilion facets are rectangular, the visibility of inclusions are clearly seen as the diamond is wide open at the top. As with the princess cut diamond, look for length to width ratio between 1 and 1.05.
Marquise: Due to its appearance, people often refer to the marquise as diamond´ cut. The shape of the marquise diamond can maximize carat weight. It looks beautiful when accented with side stones and is often used as the center diamond in engagement rings. The length of a marquise diamond makes fingers appear long and slender. An ideal cut marquise diamond has length to with ratios between 1.75 and 2.25.
Oval: The oval diamond has beautiful brilliance that is similar to a round diamond. Ovals diamonds are quite popular as their length accentuates long slender fingers. For the most traditional oval diamonds look for a length to width ratio of 1.33 and 1.66.
Radiant: A radiant cut diamond is like the princess cut diamond with the corners trimmed. Unlike the princess cut diamond that has corners, the radiant cut diamond has edges that make it popular and versatile for jewelry. It is often used in an engagement ring and is especially beautiful when highlighted with side stones. For a radiant cut diamond that is square, look for length to width ratio between 1 and 1.05. For a more rectangular diamond look for length to width ratios greater than 1.10.
Pear: The pear cut diamond is also called the teardrop due to its single point and rounded end. For the most traditional look a pear cut diamond should have a length to width ratio between 1.45 to 1.75.
Heart: The heart is the universal symbol of love. The unique look of the heart shape diamond makes it a distinctive look for diamond jewelry. Ideal length to width ratios for heart diamonds are between .90 and 1.10.
Cushion: The cushion cut diamond has been popular for more than 100 years. The cushion cut diamond looks like a square with rounded edges and corners. Cushion cut diamonds have bigger facets to increase their brilliance. These large facets highlight the diamonds clarity. For a cushion cut diamond that is square look for a length to width ratio of 1 and 1.05. For a more rectangular look seek 1.15 or greater.
What are clarity enhanced diamonds?
Clarity enhanced diamonds have undergone treatment to remove visible imperfections. In the clarity enhancement process microscopic amounts of material similar to a diamond are inserted into the flaws.
Light then flows freely through the diamond eliminating the imperfection from view. This process is virtually undetectable, but greatly increases the beauty of the stone.
Treatment allows us to own a diamond that appears to be of a higher quality, and there is nothing wrong with buying a treated diamond if the treatment is disclosed. As with any knowledgeable, reputable jeweler, The Castle Jewelry always discloses information on any treated diamond we sell.
GIA standards set the guidelines for diamond grading
A diamond certification shows the characteristics of the diamond with all the factors of the four C's. It also lists the date of certification and certification number.
During the certification process many kinds of equipments are used to determine the characteristics of a diamond.
While GIA sets the standards there are many other certification authorities such as EGL, IGI and AGS.
Are all diamonds certified?
Although every diamond can be certified it is not practical to do so. Diamond certification is costly. Adding that cost to a smaller diamond or one of lesser value will only increase the sale price of the diamond.
You will receive a diamond appraisal with your Castle engagement ring purchase that is prepared by our GIA Graduate Gemologist in Residence.
Appraisals list the specifics and value of the diamond and are widely accepted by insurance companies when insuring your jewelry. Send it to your insurance company to establish coverage, and it will ensure that in the case of loss, theft, or damage your insurance company will give you replacement.
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