Browsing for an engagement ring, let alone a loose diamond can be a rather daunting task especially with unfamiliar diamond jargons being flung at you. Not to worry, by the end of this article, you’ll be an expert at understanding perplexing diamond jargons.
“The 4Cs” are the “A-B-Cs” of the diamond world; the basics you’ll have to master before effectively purchasing your diamond with ease. In no particular order, they respectively stand for: Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut.
Out of “The 4Cs” you will probably be most familiar with the term “Carat”. Carat is most commonly known as the unit that indicates the size of the diamond. However, Carat actually refers to the weight of the diamond and not how large the stone is.
Pro-tip: Although Carat weight is an element of consideration when buying a diamond, the overall appearance and brilliance should carry more importance. For example, a 1.5 Carat diamond with a bad cut will not draw as much attention as a 1 Carat diamond with an excellent cut.
A diamond is graded flawless by a gemologist when it is deemed inclusion and blemish-free.
- Inclusions are small imperfections within the diamond that are created due to the extreme pressure and heat the diamond is exposed to while forming.
- Blemishes are flaws found on the outside surface of a diamond. Very few blemishes are caused naturally, most blemishes are caused by the mishandling of the diamond while it is being cut and polished.
Clarity is graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) under a 30x magnification, using the following scale:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
- VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
- SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
- SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
- I1 (Inclusions 1)
- I2 (Inclusions 2)
- I3 (Inclusions 3)
The size, location and darkness of a diamond’s blemishes and inclusions can interfere with light as it passes through the diamond. When this happens, the diamond will look dull, which will take away even the brilliance of an excellent cut diamond.
Traditional “white” diamonds are graded in terms of how colourless it appears to be. The GIA grades diamond Colour based on a scale from D to Z, with D being colourless and Z containing noticeable brown or yellow tint.
The pricing between two diamonds of adjacent colours can be significant even when the naked eye can’t tell them apart. The most critical aspect with a diamond’s Colour is its relation to its setting. You would also like to make sure that it is clear of any tinting that might take away the brilliance of the diamond.
A diamond’s Cut can mean two things:
Firstly, it refers to the quality of a diamond’s angles, proportions, symmetrical facets, brilliance, fire, scintillation and finishing details. The GIA grade for diamond Cut ranges from excellent to poor. A diamond cut with the right proportions will have light bounce off from the top, rather than leaking through the bottoms or sides. Therefore a diamond with an excellent Cut will look brighter and more brilliant than a diamond with a poor Cut.
Secondly, it could also refer to the shape of the diamond. Besides the classic round Cut, the more commonly known fancy Cut diamonds are princess, cushion, marquise, oval and even pear.