Diamond Buying Guide
Being a big monetary investment, diamond should not be purchased without a proper research of its vast and complex world. It may look or sound easy to buy a diamond, but the process involves an extensive research on the various nitty-gritty of diamond. Imagine entering a renowned diamond store where you are confronted with hundreds of diamonds and the salesperson asks you what type of diamond are you looking for! If you do not have the necessary knowledge that would narrow down your search from the hundreds of choices before you, you are in the soup.
A well informed individual can purchase a diamond easily, than an individual who has no clue on what the 4C’s of a diamond are. The 4Cs, Colour, Clarity, Carat and Cut are literally the four gears which will steer you towards the perfect diamond-the diamond of your dreams. However, it is also good to know her expectations. Knowing her choice of colour, clarity, carat and cut will further give you the much needed confidence in your purchase.
The 4C’s of Diamond: In the dictionary of diamond, the term ‘4C’ is basically an abbreviation of the four terms, carat, colour, clarity and cut which together guides us during our diamond buying journey. They are tools to help us differentiate between the different types of diamond or what makes one diamond so different from the other or what makes one more expensive than the other. Before commencing your diamond buying journey it is essential to get into the details of the 4Cs.
Cut: Of all the 4C’s, cut has the greatest influence on the diamond’s quality and beauty. Diamond’s beauty depends on the quality or in other terms the precision of the cut. The more detailed or accurate the cut, the more stunning the diamond. Cut is often confused with the shape of the diamond. By a diamond’s cut we do not mean the shape, but rather the proportion, symmetry and polish of the diamond. No two diamonds have the same type of cut. It depends on the diamond cutter to give the best possible polish, facet and shape to the diamond he is cutting. The brilliance, fire and scintillation are the three major effects, the cut has on a diamond.
A well cut diamond allows the light to enter the table and to the pavilion where light reflection occurs from one side to the other, before eventually reflecting back through the table and to the eyes of the viewer. A poorly cut diamond on the other hand leaks the light which reaches the facets from either the sides or the bottom of the diamond instead of allowing the light to reflect back to the eye of the observer. Hence, cut is a major factor in deciding the stunning beauty of the diamond.
Diamond’s cut is generally graded as, Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor and this categorization help an individual to distinguish the cut and quality of one diamond from the other.
Colour: After cut, colour is the most important feature which one needs to know when choosing a diamond. In nature, diamonds appear in a huge range of colours. However, when we speak of a diamond’s colour we generally refer to the presence or absence of colour in a white diamond which is traditionally the most valued ones. Colour is important to consider as a white diamond may have traces of such colours as gray, yellow or brown. This occurrence of colour in a diamond is natural as it is due to the presence of some elements in them. The less the colour present in the diamond, the more the diamond value. This is because in a diamond with less body colour, more light will be allowed to pass which makes way for more fire, brilliance and scintillation.
The diamond industry has adopted the GIA color scale which has today went on to become the most widely followed scale in the market.
GIA Diamond Grading Scale:
|Very Light Yellow
Though not much can be differentiated between the D to J diamonds on the colour scale, one can easily notice a yellow tinge beyond ‘J’ even with the naked eye. Diamonds which are within the range of D-F are the most sought after. They are not just expensive, but also pretty rare.
The so called coloured diamonds are categorised as fancy colour diamonds which do not comply to any grading rules. They are also very much rare and expensive. They come in a huge spectrum of colours.
Of all the 4Cs carat weight is the easiest to understand. Carat is not the size but the weight of the diamond. Carat weight does not in any way determine the size of the diamond. A diamond may look big in size, but weigh less. Carats are basically divided as .100 points which is equal to one carat. Therefore, one point equals 0.1 carat or 1/100 carat. If a jewelry comprises of more one diamond, all the stones are measured together and not individually. Hence, by ‘carat total weight’ it implies the total weight of all the diamonds contain in a jewelry piece.
The price of the diamond soars as the carat weight increases. However, this does not mean that two diamonds with the same carat weight will have the same price. The price will vary owing to the three other factors, colour, cut and clarity. Though there is not much difference between a 1.1 carat and 1.2 carat diamond in terms of the size, the cost may vary vastly. Hence, opting for a slightly lesser carat than the intended carat will save you hundreds of dollars.
In nature diamonds do not occur in their perfect form. They come with their own set of flaws which in the diamond dictionary are known as ‘inclusions’, ‘blemishes’, ‘fingerprints’ or ‘birthmarks’. In fact, diamond without any flaws are extremely difficult to find. It is the responsibility of the diamond cutter to cut and polish the diamond in such a way that the inclusions and blemishes do not appear prominently. Clarity refers to the amount of flaws or imperfections present in a diamond. The value of a diamond increases with the decrease in the number of inclusions. This is because diamonds with numerous flaws will have less fire, brilliance and scintillation as the very inclusions or blemishes pose as a hindrance to all the light passing through the diamond. Most of these flaws cannot be discerned with the naked eye. They appear vivid under magnification.
|Very Slightly Included
|Very Slightly Included
|VVS1 | VVS2
|VS1 | VS2
|SI1 | SI2
|I1| I2 | I3
Enhancement: In addition to the 4Cs one must also have the required knowledge to judge enhanced diamonds and natural diamonds. Technology has advanced at such a fast space that various treatments have come up which can enhance the gemological traits of a natural diamond. Diamonds that are enhanced has undergone certain treatments which alter the natural look of the diamond to an artificially improved one. If you decide to purchase an enhanced diamond, make sure you know the type of treatment that has been used and how it affects the value of the diamond. Some of the treatments used for enhancement are laser treatment, fracture filling, the HPHT treatment, etc.