For most people, buying a diamond is a new experience, but that doesn’t mean it should be overwhelming. Understanding a diamond’s quality characteristics is straightforward and simple. At 220.127.116.11/~goldbuyerok, our certified gemologist knows the ins and outs of all things diamond: cut, color, carat and clarity. Of the Four C’s, the two that gemologists can discern more than those with a naked eye are clarity and cut.
Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds. Many of these imperfections are microscopic, and do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any discernible way.
Clarity simply refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in all but the finest diamonds. These imperfections are referred to by a variety of technical names, including blemishes and inclusions. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Because these imperfections tend to be microscopic, they do not generally affect a diamond’s beauty in any discernible way.
FL, IF: Flawless, Internally Flawless: No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. Very rare.
VVS1, VVs2: Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2: Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
SI1, SI2: Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1: Included: This grade of diamonds will have minor inclusions that may be visible to the unaided eye.
I2: I2 clarity: The diamond has an eye visible inclusion that significantly detracts from the beauty of the diamond, or could potentially endanger the stone.
I3: I3 clarity: The diamond has an eye visible inclusion that detracts from the beauty of the diamond and endangers the diamond.
Anatomy of a Diamond
Diameter: The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
Table: This is the large, flat top facet of a diamond.
Crown: The upper portion of a cut gemstone, above the girdle.
Girdle: The narrow rim of a diamond that separates the crown from the pavilion. It is the largest diameter to any part of the stone.
Pavilion: The lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle. It is sometimes referred to as the base.
Culet: The tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the pavilion, which is the portion of a cut gem below the girdle.
Depth: The height of a gemstone, from the culet to the table.
Cut is a diamond’s most important characteristic. It has the greatest overall influence on a diamond’s beauty and determines what we generally think of as “sparkle”. A diamond’s cut is crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.
When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond, the “table”. If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.
To evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light is determined by how well the diamond can create desirable visual effects such as:
- Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
- Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
- Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Cut grade also takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to its diameter, its girdle thickness (which affects its durability), the symmetry of its facet arrangement and the quality of polish on those facets.
The typical range for diamond cut ranges from ideal to poor:
Ideal Cut: This cut, only applicable to round diamonds, is intended to maximize brilliance and has the added benefit of creating a great deal of dispersion or ‘fire’ as well.
Excellent:This cut is intended to provide maximum brilliance and fire for all diamond shapes.
Very Good: These diamonds reflect most of the light that enters them, creating a good deal of brilliance. In many cases many of the parameters of diamonds in this range will overlap with certain parameters of diamonds in the Ideal or Excellent ranges.
Good: Diamonds that reflect much of the light that enters them are considered good cut. Their proportions fall outside of the preferred range because the cutter has chosen to create the largest possible diamond from the original rough crystal, rather than cutting extra weight off to create a smaller Excellent quality diamond.
Fair/Poor: A diamond graded as fair or poor reflects only a small proportion of the light that enters it. Typically these diamonds have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most other considerations.