The Famous 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity & Carat
You’ve heard about them, but what do they mean? Does cut refer to the shape of a diamond? What s the best color? What does Clarity mean? Is Carat weight the most important consideration?
Choosing Karat Weight
If you thought that Cut refers to the shape of a diamond, you thought wrong. But do not despair, this is a common point of confusion that many people have about diamonds.
The Best Color
The best color you can choose for a diamond is “colorless”. When a diamond is totally devoid of color, it will act as a prism which allows the maximum of light to pass though, resulting in a virtual rainbow of brilliant color. Diamonds found in nature range from colorless to slightly yellow, to brown. The color grading system uses the letters in the alphabet ranging from “D” – which stands for the most colorless, therefore the most valuable, all the way to “Z” which has the most color within the normal range. A diamond’s color is best determined by having your jeweler show it to you under controlled lighting and comparing it to the Gemological Institute of America’s scale, which is based on a set of diamonds in the known colors.
Here’s What You Need To Know
The Cut of a diamond actually refers to the expertise with which a diamond os cut. Most diamonds, regardless of size or shape, are cut with 58 facets, which allow the reflection of light that results in the sparkle of a diamond. A Master Cutter will cut a diamond in such a way that will maximize the amount of light reflected, increasing the sparkle. Thus, the better the Cut – or “make”, the better the sparkle.
A Word About Fancy Color Diamonds
These are unique, intensely colored diamonds such as yellow or blue that are not graded on the same scale as colorless diamonds.
Choosing Karat Weight
A diamond’s size* is referred to by its carat weight. Carat is not to be confused with Karat, which is the standard of measure for the purity of gold, and has no relationship to diamonds. A carat is a unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. One carat is divided into 100 points, so that a diamond of 50 points weighs .5 carats, and a diamond of 175 points weighs 1.75 carats. Although a large diamond is considered desirable, a true connoisseur recognizes that one must consider all the 4 Cs – and that a smaller diamond of a higher clarity and color may be more valuable than a larger one of a lesser grade of clarity or color.
The Grades of Clarity
The best grade you can give a diamond is an “FL” which stands for Flawless – a truly rare condition of nature. A diamond’s clarity refers to the quantity, size and position of natural inclusions that occur inside a diamond. The fewer and less noticeable the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond. Diamonds are inspected for flaws, or inclusions, under a 10x magnification, and are graded as follows:
For more information about the 4 Cs, visit these sites: Gemological Institute of America and the EGL USA Gemological Laboratory.
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