Why Diamond Quality Matters: How to Make the Right Choice
When you’re buying diamonds, it’s essential to assess them according to a the set criteria that determines diamond quality. There are two global institutes that use extensively accurate methods for diamond certification. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the European Gemological Institute (EGI). Both are specialised in the newest research and technology. Take a look at their websites for more information. To make it easier for you, we have gathered together the basics of diamond grading assessment. Refer to this as a beginners guide. This is no replacement for a professional certification from either of these two international institutes.
The main criteria for diamond quality, The Four Cs was developed by the GIA during the 1940’s and 50’s. Since its inception, it has grown in popularity because it’s simple and easy to remember. The Four Cs are carats, clarity, colour and cut.
Carat: Diamonds are weighed using metric carats. Different sized diamonds may weigh different amounts due to the density of the rock. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, this is about the same weight as a paper clip. Commonly, these carats are measured in points, with 100 points per carat. And therefore a 40 point diamond weighs 0.40 carats. This is a universal standard of weighing diamonds and measuring diamond quality across the world.
Clarity: Most diamonds when they are formed in the earth, are pushing together with pressure, during this process – flaws form. Clarity and diamond quality is measured by number of flaws. It’s extremely rare to find diamonds without flaws, so this therefore increases their value significantly. The rating is from flawless (FL) to obvious inclusions (I3) The flawless rating is not a common one and indeed, most jewellers will never see a flawless diamond in their lifetime.
Cut: Is the measurement of the fire, brilliance and scintillation of a diamond. This is typically measured by the mathematical perfection of the facets that are cut into the surface of the diamond. For example the diamond quality of a round cut brilliant wouldn’t nearly be so impressive if it weren’t cut with such precision with its 58 facets. Different cuts are given to more scintillation and brilliance. One of the more brilliant is the round brilliant cut. Recently, the GIA introduced a system for grading round brilliant cuts from D to Z.
Colour: Diamonds are measured in terms of how much colour or colourlessness they have. Often there is a very minuscule difference between these two factors and indeed it’s hard to tell the difference in diamond quality. Generally, the diamonds that are sold in stores or online are colourless or near colourless with a slight hint of brown or yellow. The grading system runs from D (colourless) to Z (presence of colour). Outside of this spectrum of grading, there is the odd occurrence of pink and blue diamonds which are so rare, they are classified on an individual basis.