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Diamonds and the 4 C’s

Diamonds and the 4 C's

Diamonds and the 4 C’s

Throughout the ages diamonds have been considered an icon of strength, royalty, wealth and the enduring symbol of love and romance! It has been one of the most coveted gems in history.  Uncut diamonds adorned the suits of armor of great Knights; cut diamonds have adorned the crowns of Kings & Queens for ages. Additionally, diamonds are the birthstone for April and the traditional 60th Anniversary gift!

Four factors, known as the 4-C’s affect the value of every diamond.

        1. Color
        2. Clarity
        3. Cut
        4. Carat Weight

The most important thing to know about a diamonds color in general, is the less color a diamond has the more valuable it is. A diamonds color has a great impact on cost.  The higher up on the color scale the greater the value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master-stones of established color value. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently a higher value.

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades. A diamond’s 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. As a Graduate Gemologist we evaluate a diamond’s clarity by determining the number, size, relief, nature and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the appearance of the stone. If you are trying to determine what is the best clarity for a diamond, the closer it comes to purity, the better its clarity!

The proportions and finish of a polished diamond are its cut or make.  Cut can also mean shape as in emerald cut or marquise cut. Proportions are the size and angle relationships to between facets and different parts of the stone.  Finish includes polish and details, of facet shape and placement.  Cut affects both the weight yield from rough and the optical efficiency of the polished stone; the more successful the cutter is in balancing these considerations, the more valuable the stone will be.  The brilliance of a diamond or brightness refers to the white light that is reflected back to the eye from the diamond. If a diamond is cut to the most exacting standards and has the most desirable dimensions you will see the maximum possible light, so the cut of a diamond impacts the brilliance significantly!

Carat Weight
To put it simply, diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond weighs.  A metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams.  Each carat is subdivided into 100 points. This allows precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. Don’t confuse carat with karat as in “14K gold”, which refers to golds purity.  It’s also important to remember that a diamond’s value is determined using all of the 4Cs, and not just carat weight.

It is Diamond Month here at ShopHQ! So we’re kicking it off with a series of blog posts focused on diamonds written by our guest blogger – Melissa Miner, a G.I.A Graduate Gemologist. Visit the blog weekly in April to learn about diamonds and what makes them so unique and sought after.

Melissa Miner
Melissa Miner - Graduate Gemologist, G.I.A

Melissa Miner is a Graduate Gemologist from the G.I.A, one of the most recognized titles in the diamond industry. They are trusted experts for accurately identifying and grading the unique characteristics of diamonds and colored gemstones. Melissa has logged over 20,000 hours of live TV in the home shopping industry! She has a broad product category adeptness, but her favorite is the jewelry category presenting exquisite gemstones and diamonds.

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