Is My Diamond Forever?
From diamond engagement rings to diamond earrings, purchasing diamond jewelry is a major investment. Your diamond purchase may become a timeless family heirloom your loved ones will treasure for generations to come. A GIA certified diamond is evaluated using the four “C’s”: carat, color, clarity and cut. GIA is considered to be one of the strictest grading standards. While some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, these minute differences can have a major impact on price and value. Understanding the four C’s will ensure you make a smart diamond investment.
The most well known of the four C’s, “carat” is the unit of measurement for a diamond’s weight. The term is derived from the carob seed, which diamond traders originally used to measure a diamond’s value. Today, one carat equals 0.2 grams, approximately the weight of a paper clip. While carat is often confused with size, it’s truly a weight measurement. In most cases, the greater the carat, the larger the diamond. However, it’s important to note that the shape and type of gemstone can affect a diamond’s perceived size. Additionally, higher carats do not always mean the diamond is of greater value; color, clarity and cut also affect a diamond’s price. A one-carat diamond could be worth more than a 1.5-carat diamond if the one-carat is superior in color, clarity and cut.
Don’t be confused by this measurement; this C actually measures the absence of color in a diamond. The less color, the better the diamond. Diamond graders use “master stones” in natural light for comparison and grading purposes. Colorless diamonds are graded D, E or F; near-colorless diamonds are graded G, H, I or J; slightly tinted diamonds are graded K, L, M or N; very light yellow diamonds are graded O, P, or Q; light yellow diamonds are graded R, S, or T; yellow diamonds are graded U, V or W; and light fancy diamonds are graded X, Y or Z. The higher the letter in the alphabet, the better the grader.
Clarity is graded on a scale with measurements ranging from “flawless” (virtually no imperfections) to “included” (imperfections heavily included). “Pure” diamonds are flawless or internally flawless; these diamonds are exceedingly rare and expensive. VVS-1 and VVS-2 grade diamonds have very, very small inclusions; VS-1 and VS-2 diamond have very small inclusions; SI-1 and SI-2 diamonds have small inclusions; and I-1, I-2 and I-3 diamonds are heavily included. Diamond clarity grading is done using a 10X magnifying glass; the final grade is determined by how easy it is for the grader to see inclusions and blemishes.
Want your diamond to sparkle brilliantly in the light? This magical sparkle that catches your eye is all thanks to a diamond’s cut measurement. Cut evaluates the diamond’s angles and brilliance, including workmanship quality, proportion and facet arrangement. Diamond cut grades range from “excellent” to “poor.” Be careful not to confuse the “cut” measurement with a diamond’s actual shape (e.g. round, princess, oval, pear, heart, cushion, etc.) – these are two different things!