Diamond Grading System

Diamond Grading System

4Cs Chart

Contrary to what some people think, all diamonds are not the same!  Sure we all know they come in different sizes and shapes, but what makes one diamond better than another?  We figure this out through Diamond Grading and the 4 C’s.  The 4 C’s were created in the mid-20th century by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) as a universal language for diamond quality.  This allowed consumers to be confident in any diamond they would purchase.  Every diamond is as unique as the person wearing it, and like snowflakes (which are coming to Cincinnati soon) no two are alike.  Each of the 4 C’s focuses in on a specific feature of a diamond, and they collectively determine its value.4 C's Diamond Grading Scale

Color

The first of the 4 C’s is Color.  When grading based on color, it’s actually a reference to the lack of color.  The less color, the higher quality the diamond.  The scale that measures this ranges from D to Z.  D is colorless, and progressing towards Z more color is present.  To the untrained eye, these distinctions may be difficult to see, but these distinctions make the difference in quality and price.  You may be wondering, what about diamonds that are intended to have color?  The scale actually goes beyond Z for those.

Clarity

The next C is Clarity.  Clarity references the absence of inclusions (internal characteristics) and blemishes (external characteristics.)  Natural diamonds are formed when carbon is exposed to incredible heat and pressure, which can create these inclusions or blemishes.  There are several things to look for when assessing clarity, all of which affect the overall appearance of the diamond.  The ratings for clarity are as follows:

  • Flawless (FL)-This indicates that there are no visible inclusions under 10x magnification
  • VVS1 and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Inclusions)
  • VS1 and VS2 (Very slightly Inclusions)
  • SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included)
  • I1, I2 and I3 (Included)

Cut

C number three is Cut.  It may seem that Cut references the shape, but it actually is referring to how well its facets interact with light.  Grading cut is a difficult task and critical in determining value.  The table of the stone, the crown, the girdle, the pavilion and the culet are looked at to determine this.  The factors for grading include:

  • Brightness (internal and external white light reflected from that diamond)
  • Fire (The scattering of white light into all colors of the rainbow
  • Scintillation (the amount of sparkle that diamond produces, and pattern of light and dark areas cause by reflections within the diamond)

The grading scale for cut is simple (ironic right?)  The best you can receive is excellent, moving down to very good, good, fair and poor.

Carat Weight

Last but not least, Carat Weight.  This is a pretty straightforward C, being the actual weight of the diamond.  A carat is defined as 200 milligrams.  A carat is subdivided into 100 points.  For example: a ¼ carat diamond could also be referred to as 25 points, a ½ carat being 50 points, etc…  Due to the fact that all stones are cut with difference depths and measurements, actual weight is the only way to determine the size of the stone.  *A tip to keep in mind when diamond shopping: .95ct and 1.00ct diamonds can have no visual size different, but the price difference may be significant.

Diamonds Rock and the fifth C: Cost

The 4 C’s will determine how a diamond will be priced.  At Diamonds Rock, we consider there to be a 5th C: Cost.  At Diamonds Rock our diamonds are certified by several different grading companies, along with internally certified GIA graduates.  We look to provide you with the best diamonds, at the best price.  On top of this, we want to give you exactly what you want.  This is why we work with many of our clients to build custom jewelry.  We hope to see you in our showroom, so that we can prove it!

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