Learning about diamonds can be confusing for consumers new to jewelry shopping. A helpful way to learn the basics is this guide to the basics of diamond quality.
Another source that can assist with this is the diamond education page of an online jewelry store. Good retailers will have a good quality page of this type, and it’s a good idea to check it out to learn all about the 4 Cs, just to brush up on the differences between diamond clarity grades, and see what diamond-related knowledge they bring to the table.
In addition to their unusual beauty, diamonds are the hardest naturally-occurring material on Earth. Diamonds have many particular characteristics that make them special, and how well these naturally occur or are carried out my the artisans in charge of them are grouped into a list generally called the 4 Cs.
Diamond cut is the most important factor of all. A poorly planned or executed cutting technique can permanently ruin a top-quality diamond, and conversely a lower quality diamond can be exponentially improved by cutting the stone very well. Cut is often confused with shape, the form into which the diamond is cut.
After cut comes color, which is something many people can learn to see within a few grades. Diamond color grades range from D-Z, but it’s rare to find fine jewelry utilizing anything beyond K color. After K color the quality steadily declines because these stones will have yellow or brownish tints. Of course, diamonds with very pronounced natural colors including bright yellows, pinks, and blues are the rarest of all and actually more valuable many types of white diamond.
The next of the four Cs is clarity, which is the evaluation of a diamond’s internal and external flaws. Generally speaking, flaws inside a stone are called inclusions while flaws on the surface are known as blemishes. However, for the purposes of grading, gemological labs refer to all diamond flaws as inclusions.
Carat weight is the trait most people can see and understand easily– it’s the unit of measure for the weight of a precious stone, and differences are visually detected simply by the size and/or number of diamonds. Diamonds of larger carat weights don’t get proportionally expensive with increased carat weight– they jump a lot in price from one carat to the next because finding large, good quality diamonds is less likely than finding small diamonds.