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The 4 C's That Make Or Don't Make A Diamond-00-6410

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By Author: tate
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Carat
Refers to the weight of a diamond. Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 points. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or 3/4 carat diamond. A 1-carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a half-carat diamond, right? Wrong. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, which places them at the rarest level of the Diamond Quality Pyramid, a 1-carat diamond will cost more than twice a 1/2-carat diamond (assuming color, clarity and cut remain constant). Cut and mounting can make a diamond appear larger (or smaller) than its actual weight.

CLARITY
Refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. To view inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying loupe. This tool allows jewelers to see a diamond at 10x its actual size so that inclusions are easier to see. The position ...
... of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

The clarity scale, ranging from F (Flawless) to Included (I3), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x. Some inclusions can be hidden by a mounting, thus having little effect on the beauty of a [fashion jewelry] diamond. An inclusion in the middle or top of a diamond could impact the dispersion of light, sometimes making the diamond less brilliant. The greater a diamond's clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and rare it is—and the higher it is on the Diamond Quality Pyramid, the more the diamond will cost.

COLOR
Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless. Diamonds range in color from icy winter whites to warm summer whites. Diamonds [fashion jewelry] are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which ranges from D (colorless) to Z. Warmer colored diamonds (K-Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Icy winter whites (D-J) look stunning set in white gold or platinum. Diamonds that fall below J will have a faint yellow tint that can be clearly seen. The lower down the diamond color scale the more color will be visable and less expensive. This color is not to be confused with the Z+ category. The Z+ category is for fancy colored diamonds, such as fancy yellow diamonds.

Color differences are very subtle and it is very difficult to see the difference between, say, an E and an F. Therefore, colors are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy. Truly colorless stones, graded D, treasured for their rarity, are highest on the Diamond Quality Pyramid. Color, however, ultimately comes down to personal taste.

CUT
Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond. Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another, disperse, and reflect it through the top of the stone. This results in a display of brilliance and fire, thereby placing well-cut diamonds higher on the Diamond Quality Pyramid than deep or shallow-cut diamonds. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately, value.
Cut also refers to shape—round, square, pear, or heart for example. Since a round diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all the light that enters, it is the most brilliant of all diamond shapes and follows specific proportional guidelines. Ask a jeweler to find out more about these guidelines. Non-round shapes, also known as fancy shapes, will have their own guidelines to be considered well-cut

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