Diamonds – Understanding the Four C’s

Similar to the cut of a diamond, it’s color will either increase or decrease it’s sparkle and fire. Obviously, diamond with less color will reflect more light than those with a light yellow or brown hue. This, along with the fact that nature provides us with less of these colorless diamond, makes them more valuable and sought after.

Once again seeing the need for a universal system, the GIA developed the diamond color grading scale, using the letters D-Z, which is most widely accepted today. Diamond are graded under very precise viewing conditions and often compared to diamond of a known color grade to ensure very few differences within a color grade. A diamond absent of color is grade ‘D’ and the more color that is present in the diamond, the further along the alphabet it’s grade travels. Diamond with grade ‘Z’ will have a light 鉑金對戒 yellow or brown tint, and therefore will not reflect light as well as a colorless diamond. Fancy colored diamond, although most are irradiated and color enhanced, do not follow this grading scale, and often are more valuable because when naturally colored they are extremely rare.

The most common color grades are G through I, as they are more abundant in nature, and much more affordable. Although diamond of these grades do have a hint of color, it generally isn’t visible to the naked and untrained eye. Likewise, diamond graded J through M may have a very faint hue of yellow, but with the right jewelry piece and diamond cut, the color may look less obvious (although it barely is to begin with). White gold or platinum settings usually require higher grade diamond, whereas a yellow gold setting takes away from the yellow tint of a lower grade diamond.

According to the GIA, “diamond clarity refers to the absence of internal inclusions or external blemishes.” Of all diamond characteristics, clarity may be the one with the greatest impact on a diamond’s value, since flawless diamond are so rare. Natural diamond are created deep within the earth under extreme pressure, so it’s not surprising that nearly all diamond have minor flaws. There are two types of flaws – blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes are external flaws found on the surface of a diamond, and include chips, nicks, and scratches, most of which occur during the cutting process. Inclusions are internal flaws such as bubbles, cracks, or other minerals within the center of the diamond.

GIA developed a universal diamond clarity grading scale consisting of 11 grades. Diamond are graded under 10x magnification, so most of the flaws that affect the clarity grade are barely visible to the naked eye. In addition to the number, size, and severity of the inclusions, the position and color of the the inclusion are also considered when grading the clarity of a diamond. Since no two diamond are alike, the characteristics of a diamond and it’s inclusions make it entirely unique, and are sometimes used, like fingerprints, to identify individual diamond.