The Four Cs
Diamond grading is based on the characteristics of the 4 Cs: Colour, Carat, Cut and Clarity. These are important for determining the quality and worth of the diamond.
The ‘ideal’ diamond is completely colourless. Although all diamonds appear to be white, a complete lack of colour is very rare. Most diamonds have a tint of yellow or brown caused by trace elements trapped inside the diamond while in formation.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) more than 60 years ago defined a very precise scale of colour grading which is widely used in the diamond industry today.
Colour grading, as defined by the GIA, is classified by letters of the alphabet, the best being D, E and F in the colourless category, continuing through G, H, I and J in the near colourless, K, L, M in the faint yellow category and right down to N - Z where a tint of yellow is visible.
Fancy colours such as yellow, pink, blue, green and champagne are graded differently, where the intensity of the hue is an asset and will command a higher valuation. Red is the most rare colour found in diamonds.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not its diameter. Each carat is divided into one hundred points and is equivalent to 0.2 grams. It is important to understand that the carat weight alone does not determine the value of a diamond as two diamonds of equal size can have different values depending on their quality.
The cut of a diamond, its proportions and symmetry are of extreme importance for the beauty of the diamond. A 'too shallow' or 'too deep' cut is a poorly cut diamond and will allow light to escape through the pavilion or sides, which affects the diamond’s brilliance and beauty.
The 'perfect cut' diamond lets the light enter the stone and reflect it back to the viewer's eyes in an explosion of fire (the dispersion of light creating the rainbow colours effect), brilliance (the overall light reflected from a diamond), life (the movement of light within a diamond) and sparkle.
The diamond Cut is the only factor determined by man, as Colour, Clarity and Carat are dictated by nature. Therefore, working with skilled master craftsmen is crucial as it will have a significant influence on the beauty of the diamond when cut and polished.
At VanLeles Diamonds we handpick only the most beautifully cut diamonds for our clients.
It is very rare to find a diamond that doesn't have any natural markings. Inclusions occur as diamonds are formed, over millions or billions of years under extreme heat and pressure deep within the earth's core.
Inclusions give diamonds their character and do not diminish their beauty. We like to call these inclusions the diamond's DNA.
The clarity of a diamond is assessed by examining inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external imperfections). Diamonds are graded according to the number, size, position, colour and visibility of inclusions or blemishes under ten-power magnification or microscope.
DIAMOND CLARITY GRADES:
- Flawless (FL)
No inclusions and no blemishes.
- Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions and only minor surface blemishes
- Very Very Slight (VVS1 & VVS2)
Very, very, slight inclusions
- Very Slight (VS1 & VS2)
Very, slight inclusions
- Slight Inclusions (SI1 & SI2)
- Inclusions (I1, I2 & I3)
Chemical Composition: C, Crystalized carbon under extreme pressure and temparature
Crystal System: Isometric (cubic)
Specific Gravity: 3.417- 3.55
Refractive index: 2.417- 2.419
Mohs. Scale of harness: 10
The word diamond comes from the Greek 'adamas', meaning unconquerable. The hardest transparent mineral known to mankind and also the world's most exquisite, cherished and sought after gemstone. Yet it has the simplest chemical composition: carbon.
Created by nature over 3 billion years ago the exact origin is today still a mystery.
Throughout history diamonds have been admired by kings and queens and worn as a symbol of invincibility, strength and love.
In the 15th century, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to his then fiancée, Mary of Burgundy, and the first diamond engagement ring was written into the history books. Since then the diamond has held its place for generations as the most symbolic gift of love.