The Seven Cs of Diamonds
The diamond industry assesses and categorizes diamonds using the '4 Cs' – Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carats. When you're about to purchase your first diamond, you have to know the '4 Cs', but you should also know about the types of certifications out there, as well as the kind of company you wish to purchase from.
Unfortunately, there are sales people who are willing to take advantage of inexperienced diamond buyers. We sadly see people with diamonds who have been "taken" at other jewelers and have paid far more for an inferior diamond. Sometimes these sales people know, and sometimes they don't really know what they're selling and are just trying to make the best sale.
When you make your appointment at Washington Diamond, you are promised undivided attention from a knowledgeable and trustworthy diamond expert - not just a sales person. We guarantee that you'll feel confident about your purchase. You can rest assured that you are in fact getting what you're paying for while still receiving a great value.
1. Cut (How Well Cut)
Learn about the cut of a diamond ...
Cut deals with a diamond's proportions and angles, which determine how much it sparkles. Cut is different from shape (such as round, princess, oval, etc.). There are five cut grades, ranging from ideal to poor.
A properly-cut diamond will refract the light that enters it and return it through the top to produce the highly-desired sparkle. If the diamond is too shallow or too deep, some light will escape through the bottom, giving a shadowy appearance when viewed from the top.
2. Cut ( Diamond Shapes)
View Diamond Shapes
3. Carat Weight
Carat measures a diamond's weight, not its size as it is often confused. Five carats is equal to one metric gram, or, one carat is equal to 200 milligrams. The heavier the diamond, the greater its value. Small stones of high color and clarity are easier to find than larger ones, so you will notice them more often in jewelry stores.
Heavier stones, however, are harder to find, leading to greater value and use of supply and demand principles. Based strictly on weight, diamonds are incredibly valuable. The heavier the diamond, the rarer and the more valuable it is. Washington Diamond specializes in superior-quality, GIA-certified diamonds of all weights, ranging from one-half carat and up for engagement rings.
The standard color-grading scale from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) assigns alphabetical letters to indicate color quality; these qualities range from colorless to increasing tints of yellow that you can see unaided. Color is the most important factor to a diamond’s value.
The color-grading scale developed by GIA is the most widely accepted in the world. The letter "D" is the purest value, representing a total lack of color, or a "colorless" stone. As you move down the scale (and the alphabet) through to near colorless, or “Z” (a faint yellow or brown), you will see an increase in the tint of yellow, visible with the unaided eye.
As a diamond's tint increases, its value decreases. Diamonds beyond "Z" that have color are classified as "fancy," or "fashion" jewelry. These are the blues, pinks, reds, etc. A diamond can't be color graded face-up because the brilliancy (the return of light to the eye by the facets) and the dispersion (spectral colors) confuse the eye.
Therefore, color grading is done face-down on a white card or tray. For proper illumination, a color-corrected fluorescent light, free of ultraviolet rays should be used. This light is roughly equivalent to North daylight. Diamonds that are colorless to near colorless are the best to use in jewelry (Colors D-J).
If you are looking for a rarer diamond, get a diamond that is colorless (D-F). If you prefer to get a larger diamond for the same budget, get a near colorless stone (G-J).
Clarity refers to how many inclusions, or spots and flaws, are in a stone. Generally speaking, fewer inclusions means a more valuable diamond, but flaws don't necessarily reduce a diamond's beauty, especially if they can’t be seen by the naked eye.
The majority of diamonds do contain some flaws, and most are inclusions of other minerals, created during crystal growth.
The system for grading clarity established and implemented by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is accepted by all diamond trading centers as the standard for diamond grading. It assesses diamond clarity according to size, position, color, and number of inclusions or flaws present.
Diamond grading reports are issued by independent gemological laboratories. While there are several grading laboratories, Washington Diamond sells diamonds that are graded only by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA - GIA.edu).
It is our opinion that GIA has the most accurate and valuable standards that ensure proper quality in a diamond. A grading report recognizes quality characteristics identified in a uniform laboratory environment, which allows you to gauge and compare quality and value.
Unfortunately, there are a number of scams, and unfair practices used by dealers that make finding the right diamond more challenging. The gift of a diamond is a significant and personal experience. Shopping for a diamond should be too. It is important to use the internet as a research tool and to read reviews about the diamond dealer you are planning to buy from.
However, the only way to buy a diamond with confidence is through personal consultation with a respected diamond specialist. During your consultation, your personal diamond specialist should provide you with education and guidance you need and show you how each diamond is graded and priced. Don’t hesitate to ask for the GIA certificate for any diamond you plan to buy. A respected dealer that you can trust will be able to provide all of the information that you need.