Buying a diamond takes many different factors into account.
Most of us understand the basics – Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat, what many don’t know is how minor variations can make the difference between getting a good diamond and getting a great diamond.
Cutting style is categorized into three basic types: Step-cut, brilliant-cut, and mixed-cut. The difference among theses three types is the faceting arrangement of each style. Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into polished diamonds. Nature determines so much about a diamond, but it takes a master cutter to reveal the stone’s true brilliance, fire and ultimate beauty.
Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror; like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. This results in a display of brilliance and fire. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow loose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately, value.
Cut also refers to the shape of a diamond-round, marquise, pear, or heart shaped. Since a round diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all that enters, it is the most brilliant of all diamond shapes. Cut and cutting style work in harmony to create a Diamond’s brilliance..
When light enters a diamond, it is reflected and refracted out. If there is anything disrupting the flow of light in the diamond, such as an inclusion, proportion of light will be lost. As a result brilliance could be diminished. The number of inclusions can determine the degree of brilliance.
Inclusions, which are sometimes referred to as "Nature’s Fingerprints", are usually not visible to the naked eye unless magnified.
Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemologist Institute of America (GIA). The clarity scale, ranging from FL (flawless) to include (me), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10 as. The position of inclusion can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable.
What’s the difference between VVS1 and VVS2? Or SI1 and SI2. The numbers represent levels with in each grade. The I’s will be cleaner (have fewer or smaller inclusions) than the 2’s. This allows for more specific categories. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like crystals, clouds or feathers.
To view inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying loupe. This tool allows jewelers to see a diamonds at 10x its actual size. Even with a loupe, inclusions in the VVS (Very,Very Slightly Included) to VS (Very Slight Included) range can be very difficult to find.
The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond, you may not notice a significantly difference between a VS1 and a VS2. However, you should consider the number, size, brightness nature and position of the inclusions.
Some inclusions can be hidden by a mounting, thus having little effect on the beauty of a beauty. An inclusion in the middle or top of a diamond could impact the dispersion of light, sometimes making the diamond less brilliant.
The best colour for a diamond is no colour. Because it is the totally colourless diamond that acts as a prism, allowing light to pass effortlessly through the diamond and be transformed into rainbows of colour. To give a woman the purest white dia mond is to show your true colours as well.
The colour grading scale goes from totally colourless to light yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle, as can be seen by the number of grades within any one category.
Diamonds are graded on a colour scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which ranges from D (colourless) to Z.
Colour difference are very subtle and it is very difficulty to see the difference between, say, an E and an F. Therefore, colours are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy.
Truly colourless stones (d) are extremely rare and consequently extremely valuable, yet colour ultimately comes down to personal taste. Ask a jeweler to show you a verity of colour preference.
Nature has also created diamonds in intense shades of blue, green, yellow orange, pink or the rarest of them all red. These diamonds are called ‘coloured Fancies’ and are extremely rare and highly treasured.
Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight. Sometimes, you might think a larger diamond appears more brilliant than a smaller one. This is because light must travel a greater distance through a larger diamond. The result is a prism effect that your eye registers as more brilliance and fire. One carat is divided into 100 "points" so that a diamond of 75 points weights .75 carats.
Size is the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond. However, two diamonds of equal size can have very unequal values, depending on their quality. Also, diamonds of high quality can be found in all size ranges. Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature and therefore more valuable.