Diamonds are graded using a universal system, its color, clarity, cut, and carat-weight, generally known as the ‘Four Cs.’ Every diamond, no matter how huge or tiny, has a set of unique properties that define its value.
Clarity measures the percentage of natural inclusions or imperfections found in a diamond. The closer a diamond is to flawless, i.e., no inclusions visible by a jewelers loupe, the rarer it is and the higher its value. Most inclusions are not noticeable to the naked eye, so diamonds are examined under a 10x magnifying loupe to determine their clarity.
Clarity characteristics are usually divided into two categories:
- Inclusions: defects that occur naturally inside the diamond itself. These were grown miles below the surface when the diamond was formed under extreme heat and pressure.
- Blemishes: imperfections that occur on the surface of the diamond and occur during the cutting and polishing process.
A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, size, type, and position of the inclusions, such as tiny white points, dark dots, or fluffy cracks naturally found in the diamond. A diamond’s clarity is different and acts as a fingerprint. When choosing a diamond, you should select a clarity grade in which the inclusions are not visible without magnification. In other words, we recommend diamonds with a clarity grade of SI2 and up.
DIAMOND CLARITY SCALE:
F (Flawless): No inclusions or blemishes visible to a skilled gemologist under a 10x magnification loupe.
IF (Internally Flawless): No visible inclusions under a 10x magnification loupe, insignificant surface blemishes.
VVS1 – VVS2 (Very Very Slight Inclusions): Minute inclusions so small they are hardly visible under a 10x magnification loupe. Not visible to the naked eye.
VS1 – VS2 (Very Slight Inclusions): Minor inclusions that are visible under a 10x magnification loupe. Not visible to the naked eye.
SI1 – SI2
(Slight Inclusions): Noticeable inclusions are seen under a 10x magnification loupe. Not visible to the naked eye.
I1 – I2 – I3 (Included): Inclusions are large and noticeable to the naked eye. For this reason, Shimansky carries only FL to SI clarity diamonds.
Colour refers to the affection or avoidance of a yellow or brown shade in white diamonds. The nearer a diamond is to colorless, the more expensive and precious it is.
Most diamonds appear colorless to a novice eye, yet many have slight tones of yellow or brown, which affect its value. (The difference to this is fancy-colored diamonds, such as intense yellows, pinks, and blues, which rest outside the white diamond color range.)
The color of a diamond is graded on an alphabetic scale, beginning from D (colorless). Each letter grade has a clearly described range of color presentation that defines its value, and as you move down the scale, the color shade in the diamond improvements.
D: Absolutely colorless. The rarest and most valuable. Less than 1% of the diamonds mined worldwide are graded as color D.
E – F: Also considered colorless, even though it is the least spot of color that can only be detected by a specialist gemmologist. Less expensive than D, and more precious than G – H.
G – H: Near-colorless. To the eye, these diamonds seem clear and colorless, although they also carry flash traces of color. Less rare than E – F, but more precious than I – J.
I – J: Near-colorless with a faint glow of yellow not easily classified by the eye. Less rare than G – H, but more worthy than K – L.
K – L: Faint yellow color, visible to the eye. Less rare than I – J, but slightly more costly than M – N.
M – Z: Very light yellow, easily recognized by the eye. Least expensive of the diamond color grade.
Fancy Yellow: Rarer and more valuable than the colorless and near-colorless white diamonds. These diamonds hold nitrogen, which results in a yellow appearance. The more yellow the diamond is, the rarer and more expensive it is. Yellow diamonds are classified as Light Fancy Yellow, Fancy Yellow, and Intense Fancy Yellow.
A diamond’s cut is not just a classification of its shape, and it is the essential factor in deciding its fire, brilliance, and scintillation. While nature defines the color, clarity, and carat of stone, the cut is in the hands of the fellow diamond cutter.
Essentially, the cut of a diamond defines how moving light that enters the stone is refracted within and returned through the top of the diamond. Factors such as proportion, symmetry, and polish influence the quality of the diamond: the closer they are to perfect, the better the diamond will perform in terms of fire, brilliance, and scintillation.
A diamond cut to ideal proportion and symmetry will reflect the perfect balance of light through the top of the stone, while a poorly cut diamond will result in a loss of view, and hence sparkle, through the sides and bottom.
Excellent: ‘Excellent’ cut diamonds indicate the highest amount of brilliance and fire. It shows nearly all light that enters the diamond, generating exceptional sparkle and life.
Very good: ‘Very good’ cut diamond accurately reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, producing great fire and brilliance. Under normal lighting situations, appears very related to excellent cut, but for a lower price.
Good: Shows a majority of the light that enters the diamond for an above-average appearance. A great value compared to higher cut grades.
Fair/poor: Allows much of the light entering the diamond to emerge from the sides or bottom, reducing perceived fire and brilliance. More agreeable in diamonds weighing less than 0.75 carats, where differences in sparkle are more difficult to understand. The diamond may seem noticeably dull and lifeless, even to an untrained eye.
Carat introduces to the weight of a diamond and other gemstones. A carat is a unit of measure equal to 0.2gm or 200mg. In the diamond industry, size does include. Large diamonds are unusually found in nature, making them more precious than smaller diamonds of the same color and clarity.
This means that the price of a diamond will escalate exponentially as the carat size of the diamond rises. Beware that the size or carat weight of a diamond individually cannot be used to define its value. Factors such as color and clarity should also be examined. A large diamond with a deep color and clarity will be less expensive than a smaller diamond with extraordinary color and clarity.
Another common misunderstanding is that a 2-carat diamond will look twice the size of a 1-carat diamond. As the carat weight of a diamond is measured in volume and not physical size, a 2-carat diamond will not be twice the size of a 1.00-carat diamond, but it will be twice the weight.