4C’s CUT, COLOR, CARAT & CLARITY
A diamond’s overall quality and appearance is determined by four factors: cut, color, carat and clarity (4C’s). Its brilliance lies in the amount of light that is reflected back to observer’s eyes. The light travels through the crown to the body of the stone and then reflects back through the top to the eye.A well cut stone creates an amazing spectrum of color while poorly cut pieces allow more light to pass through the side, resulting in reduced sparkle.
Diamond color ranges from colorless to slightly tinted. For distinguishing different color grades, the GIA uses the professional color scale from D to Z. Colorless diamonds range from D-F and they are usually the most expensive pieces. Diamonds that seem white range from G-I while diamonds beyond J include darker tint.
A unit used for measuring a diamond’s size is a carat and equals 0.2g or 100 points. However, the size is not the main factor when determining the price of a diamond. The same size diamonds may differ in price depending on their cut and color. Clarity indicates the presence of imperfections (inclusions) on and within a diamond. The fewer the inclusions, the higher is the clarity grading and the value of a diamond. Clarity grading ranges from Flawless and Internally Flawless (F/IF – without inclusions under 10x magnification), Very, Very Slight Inclusions (VVS1/ VVS2 – visible inclusions under 60x magnification), Slight Inclusions (SI1/SI2 – visible inclusions under 10x magnification), Included (I1- eye-visible inclusions), Included (I2/I3). While the last category I2/I3 is not recommended for any jewelry application, options I2, SI1 and SI2 can offer the best value, especially for individuals shopping on a budget.