When it comes to the things we buy, making a wise investment is more important now than it has ever been. Here at Austins Fine Jewelry, we believe the same holds true for diamonds. We know that there is more to a diamond than meets the eye, and we believe our customers have the best information before purchasing. We would love to sit down with you personally, and help plan your unique diamond jewelry purchase.
Careful selection and purchase of such a treasured gemstone should be done with a complete understanding of the 4 C’s: cut, clarity, color and carat weight. These are the measures by which the entire diamond industry determines value.
The following information is provided in part by De Beers.
The 4 C’s
To establish a diamond’s quality, jewelers examine each of the 4Cs — cut, clarity, carat weight and color. The combination of the 4Cs determines the value of a particular diamond. For example, a colorless diamond is more valuable than an otherwise equal diamond with hints of brown … but if it lacks clarity, is small, or not well cut, it will be of a lower value. The finest stones possess the rarest quality in each of the 4Cs, and are the most valuable. Ultimately, you’ll discover the unique combination of the 4Cs that makes a particular diamond the right choice for you.
Large diamonds are found infrequently in nature, so it stands to reason that these rare specimens are considered more valuable. What also makes a bigger diamond so desirable is that it shows off a stone’s fine color and cut, and therefore its brilliance, to its best advantage. A diamond’s size is measured in carat weight, and each carat is equal to 100 points. Multiple terms may be used to express the same stone. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-point diamond or a 3/4 carat stone. While larger diamonds are highly prized, diamonds of equal size may vary widely in value and brilliance, depending on their qualities of clarity, cut, and color.
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 scrutiny of a jeweler’s 10x-magnifying loupe or microscope, natural phenomena — called inclusions — may be seen. These are nature’s birthmarks, and they may look like tiny crystals, clouds, or feathers. Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such inclusions. Flawless stones are at the peak of the Diamond Quality Pyramid and are treasured for their rarity and beauty. 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. Inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye are graded I1 to I3. The number, color, type, size and position of inclusions affect a diamond’s value.
Another measure by which diamonds are graded is by color. Truly colorless stones are Graded D. These are treasured for their rarity and value. While many diamonds appear colorless, they may actually have hints of yellow or brown. Although still beautiful, they will be less rare and therefore less valuable. To appreciate the simple beauty of each individual stone, you should compare diamonds side by side with a jeweler.
“Fancy” diamonds — in well defined colors that include red, pink, blue, green and canary yellow — are highly prized and particularly rare.
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.
How a Jeweler Can Help
A jeweler who’s a diamond expert can help you select the right stone. Trustworthy jewelers, who establish long-standing relationships with customers, take pride in finding quality diamonds for them. These experts are knowledgeable and accessible and they’re able to explain the 4Cs, as well as show you a selection of diamonds in a range of prices. While all diamonds are beautiful, only by comparing stones will you be able to appreciate what makes one more rare and valuable than another. When you view stones side by side, you’ll understand why diamonds that look similar at a casual glance are priced differently. Keep in mind that there are no “bargain” diamonds; there are only diamonds of different value, weight and brilliance. A trusted jeweler can help you choose a diamond shape that suits your personal taste. The classic Round Brilliant, Oval, Pear, Marquise, Princess, Heart and Emerald shapes are among the most beautiful and popular today.
When You Find the Right Diamond
Now that you understand why some diamonds are more rare than others, you can make an informed decision. Choose a beautiful stone that combines the qualities of the 4Cs you most value. Then you’re ready to give the most enduring gift of love. Born of the earth, reborn on the woman you love, this diamond is more than a precious gem and all that it symbolizes … it’s a piece of forever.