How Diamonds Are Valued ( The Four C’s)
While all diamonds are precious, those possessing the best combination of cut, clarity, carat weight and color -are the earth’s rarest, most valuable and most beautiful to the eye. The combination of the 4Cs determines the quality and value of a diamond and explains why some are rarer – and so more valuable – than others.The finest stones possess the rarest quality in each of the 4Cs and are the most valuable. Strive for a stone that offers the best combination of the 4Cs. The 4Cs relate to a diamond’s:
Diamond Cut, Color , Clarity, Carat Weight
The better any diamond scores on each of these four characteristics, the more valuable it will be. Ultimately, you will discover the unique combination of the 4Cs that makes a particular diamond the right choice for you.
The better cut a diamond, the more brilliant. A well cut or faceted diamond, regardless of its shape, scintillates with fire and light – offering the greatest brilliance and value.
While nature determines a diamond’s clarity, carat weight and color, the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release its fire, sparkle and beauty. When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire.
Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light that spills through the side or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less brilliant and beautiful – and certainly less valuable – than well cut diamonds. The better the quality of the cut, the better the stone will create brilliance and fire – and that helps determine the value of each stone.
Traditionally, a diamond is cut into the following variations: Round Brilliant, Oval, Marquise, Heart, Emerald, Pear, Princess, Asscher
The round brilliant is the most popular of all the polished diamond shapes. The oval is an adaptation of the round brilliant and appears larger than a round stone of the same carat weight. The marquise is the name given to the diamond shape that is long and pointed at both ends. The heart shape is perhaps the most romantic of what are known as the fancy shapes. The emerald cut diamond is rectangular, with facets on each of the sides and across the corners. 6. The pear shape is the English name for the French “pendeloque” which is related to our word pendant. The princess cut is a four-sided brilliant style square or rectangular shape diamond with corners that meet at 90-degree angles. The asscher cut is a square step-cut diamond with a deep pavilion, high crown, small table and cut corners similar to a square emerald cut (photo not shown).
The less color in a diamond, the more rare. Diamonds are graded by color, starting at D and moving through the alphabet to Z.
While most diamonds appear white, virtually all display barely perceptible tints of color. Evaluating a diamondÂ’s color is difficult for the untrained eye. We can help demonstrate this by showing you diamonds side by side.
Diamonds graded D, E, and F are more expensive because they are more rare. However, well-cut diamonds with a good clarity of all color grades can be equally dazzling, as it is the interplay of the 4Cs that determines each diamond’s unique beauty.
The greater a diamond’s clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and rare it is. Virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics, yet many are invisible to the naked eye. Under the microscope, natural phenomena – called inclusions – may be seen. These are natureÂ’s birthmarks, and they may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.
Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such inclusions. Diamonds with very, very small inclusions are graded as VVS1 or VVS2. The larger the inclusion, the lower the grade and the less rare the diamond.
The number, color, type, size and position of surface and internal birthmarks affect a diamond’s value. Major inclusions can interfere with the path of light that travels through a diamond, diminishing its brilliance and sparkle and therefore its value.
The larger a diamond, the more rare. Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature, which makes them rare. However, a large diamond is not necessarily a better or more valuable diamond. In fact, a smaller diamond may actually be more valuable than one with a greater carat weight if its cut, color and clarity are superior to that of the larger diamond. A diamond’s weight is the simplest of its characteristics to measure.
The carat is a unit of weight which derives from the carob seed. The pods of the carob, or locus tree, contain tiny seeds which are remarkably consistent in weight. These seeds were used by early gem traders to weigh their diamonds.