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Diamond Characteristics (4C's)

It's imperative you do a little homework to insure you get the best quality diamond for the best price. Like any large financial decision, arming yourself with some facts will make the end result much sweeter.

If you learn anything about diamonds at all, make sure it is the "Four C's." These should be the standard guiding principles for the average consumer. Even knowing the basics will help make the stressful process of shopping for a jewel less of a burden. A brief overview of the Four C’s:

1. Diamond Colour.  Not all diamonds are clear! In fact, diamonds have a range of many colours, from fancy more expensive ones of blue and pink, to regular diamonds of less value that appear yellow or brown. Aside from special fancy ones, it is true that the less colour one has, the better the rating. The "grades" run from D (mostly colourless) to Z (slightly yellow). The higher the grade the higher the value. However, a lower graded diamond doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a good gem. It is open to your personal perspective of what is beautiful!

2. Diamond Clarity. No diamond is perfect! The little flaws and blemishes can be what make one unique. Clarity refers to the “inclusions” in the gem, which are these flaws. They are birthmarks that are not generally visible to the naked eye. There are a range of different inclusions and they are graded on two scales. The first scale rates the gem from 0-10, with 0 being the fewest blemishes and 10 the most. Then they are grouped on a more complicated scale that measures the visibility of the inclusions. The range: (FL) Flawless, (IF) Internally Flawless, (VVS1 and VVS2) Very Very Slightly Included, (VS1 and VS2) Very Slightly Included, (SI1, SI2, and SI3) Slightly Included and the bottom grades of Included appear as (I1, I2, and I3).   

3. Diamond Cut. The cut of a diamond is where your personality shines! Each cut is a different shape, measurement, symmetry and interpretation of the original rough stone. Each cut displays light in a different way and some cuts are capable of certain settings and applications. Get to know these cuts to find out which one best reflects your unique style. The most popular cuts are: Asscher, Baguette, Cushion, Emerald, Heart, Marquise, Oval, Pear, Princess, Radiant, Round, and Trillion.

4. Diamond Carat. The carat weight of a diamond is where size counts! Larger diamonds in the rough are more difficult to find, therefore more expensive. A 1 carat diamond weighs 1/5 of a gram. It is important to consider size versus quality. An investment in a certified and high quality diamond that is .5 carat weight might mean more in the long run than buying a heavier diamond of less value. You will pay for the carat weight of a larger piece and the quality of a smaller. Prices tend to jump drastically at the 1 carat mark, regardless. The size you pick is completely dependent on the effect you want the stone to have, a larger piece that attracts attention or a smaller piece with a better pedigree.