4 C’s OF DIAMONDS
THE NITTY-GRITTY: -All of the 4 C’s of Diamonds play a role in a diamonds beauty Above all we suggest Cut quality as the most important. Followed by color, clarity and carat. Cut determines the Life & Sparkle of the diamond, the rest complement each other and give the overall effect. To get a great value you need to play with the variables. Starting off with I color and SI1 Clarity. Vendors such as James Allen and Blue Nile have great tools to filter out specific fields to pin point what we are looking for. Options like this beautiful budget stone .90 J color SI2 or this dazzling si1 H color 1.50 . Allow me to guide you to a smooth, risk free diamond purchase.
Feel free to dig deeper and Please don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice. Buying online will net you a 20-45% savings. from traditional retail stores. 4 C’s of diamonds| Save Money Buying Your Engagement Ring by Learning.
4 C’s of Diamonds- DIAMOND CUT
The Diamond cut is the quality the breathes life into the stone. The allure and beauty comes from the diamonds fire, sparkle and brilliance. By far the most important C in the 4 C’s of Diamonds. A well Cut Diamond not only helps the fire and brilliance of the diamond but also all other factors. A beautifully flashy diamond will appear larger, make inclusions(imperfections) hard to see and also hide a lower color better. A well cut diamond will also make sure the dimensions are ideal in proportion. This means a one carat will look like a one carat. If the cut is poor, this can be because shape is off, bottom heavy, causing the diamond to appear smaller from top view. These are the major components that attribute to the Cut grade.
via GIA “
The major components, from top to bottom, are the crown, girdle and pavilion. A round brilliant cut diamond has 57 or 58 facets, the 58th being a tiny flat facet at the bottom of the pavilion that’s known as the culet. The large, flat facet on the top is the table. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. It is important to note that a wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light and how attractive the diamond is to the person viewing it.
“Cut is King”
An important wording to point out ” wide range of proportion combinations are possible”. Sometimes the most ideal numbers don’t add up once you add up all the angles and attributes. Each stone is different. This especially holds true to Fancy shapes(anything other than a round diamond)
Here is a photo example of a Princess Cut. This was found in Blue Nile. Both are a 1.01 carat. One diamond is too deep with a large table. The other perfect proportions, giving it an excellent shine and sparkle. Can you tell which is the better cut?
Can you also tell the left is larger than the right even though they weigh the same! To be precise, measurements on the left are 5.65 x 5.61 x 3.88 mm vs the right 5.32 x 5.14 x 4.11 mm.
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Round diamonds are the easiest to buy regarding CUT. Gia offers a cut grade only for Round Diamonds. All Other Shapes like Princess, Emerald Cushion don’t have an official cut grade. You have to evaluate the stone by eye and various elements such as table and depth percentages. If this is confusing, please contact me here so I can guide you.
James Allen, Blue Nile and Brian Gavin all have their signature line of cuts. If you are buying round you may not need to go there, however for any shape such as Princess, Cushion, etc. It’s not a bad idea to look. Pricing is fair for the quality.
Brain Gavin has its Signature Diamonds Cut Line which often come with a AGS Diamond Certificate. Its the only certificate focusing on light performance of a diamond. Brian Gavin is a master diamond cutter that is known for the best cuts. I Highly recommend a Fancy Shape Diamond(Princess,Cushion, Emerald, Oval ETC) to have a AGS Certificate.
James Allen doesn’t have a signature series but that doesn’t matter. In there filters for diamond search, you can put AGS diamond certificate. This means any fancy shape diamond with a grade of O (ideal) means its a brilliant light dazzling diamond.
Your Fancy Shape Diamond(any diamond other than round) wont display a cut grade, you must click on AGS diamond certificate picture and read.
See sample below
A signature series is nice because it takes the guess work out of it. But not always necessary to find a beautiful diamond. In the end you must gauge price with attributes. I give my clients options for the top 3 diamond providers so they can compare offerings. Each company has their strengths.
Diamond Carat is considered 2nd in importance in the 4 C’s of Diamonds. Costumers usually default to this because size is easily visible to the human eye. While color and clarity is hard to see. Its the obvious aspect that adds expense as there really isn’t a way around it. Size cost money. A 0.95 carat vs a 1 carat diamond has a large price jump. Each fraction can make a large difference in cost.
Here is a 4 C’s of Diamonds buying tip:
What I love about different styled engagement rings is you can dress it up and give it a larger appearance. If you have a certain budget, it may have more impact to buy a .80 with a beautiful halo diamond engagement ring than a one carat on a solitaire band. The halo engagement ring will give the diamond a larger appearance. This may not be important to some and your significant other may prefer a solitaire. But if she likes size and its an expectation, a halo engagement ring may be best. Also some stones such as an Emerald has a larger appearance. However, refer to my buying guide to see the disadvantages of Emeralds. I hope my guide can help you improve that size by much more by showing you to buy correctly and spread your budget.
SAMPLE IMAGE OF BLUE NILE’S RECENTLY PURCHASED.
CLICK IMAGE TO VISIT SECTION FOR IDEAS.
A certain trick of the trade regarding 4 C’s of Diamonds is depending on the diamonds cut, a 1 carat may be smaller than another one carat. What do I mean? Let me explain. If a diamond is bottom heavy- too deep in shape. The top of the stone will shrink in millimeter. same goes for a diamond that is shallow, as a result appearing wider. This is why cut grade is important even when evaluating carat size.
Notice the L/W/D ratio circled. The top Princess is measuring 5.63-5.62mm versus the inferior cut stone below measuring 5.23-5.14mm. Both Weight about the same.
The more closely a diamond approaches colorless, the less color, the more they are valued. As a tip found in my diamond color guide, you will see the sweet spot for value is in between H-J color. In terms of hierarchy in the 4 C’s of Diamonds, I consider it 3rd in importance. See below for a sample chart.
Especially relevant, a Diamond color under M is not recommended. In the illustration below you will see samples of color. HOWEVER, when the diamond is facing up that color is harder to see. Consequently, this is why I love that H-J color. Again see my Color guide for tips best colors depending on what diamond shape you are buying. See this example of a J Color Diamond mounted below. Learn how Diamond Florescence can improve your J color diamond.
DO YOU SEE A LOT OF COLOR?
Below is a color chart showing color illustrations.
Most noteworthy, remember Color starts from the tip of the stone towards the face. Different shapes can effect diamond color. A round diamond hides color very well. In contrast when buying a Pear shape or Emerald, you must choose a higher color. See images below for example. For recommendations per shape regarding color, visit my Color page for deeper info.
In terms of hierarchy in the 4 C’s of Diamonds, I consider it last. High clarity isn’t needed and You wont be able to see a difference between VS1 or higher. Only get a higher quality if there is a good deal. Each Diamond is unique. A diamond has a fingerprint unique only to itself. Hence, Clarity refers to their birthmarks/flaws. Either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). The grade refers to the absence or presence of inclusion(flaw). In conclusion, Flawless is so rare some jewelers have never encountered one. So don’t think you need a flawless stone. Find a deeper discussion on clarity Here. As stated I find SI1 to be the sweet spot for value and quality. It’s possible to find a SI2 diamond that’s eye clean with great attribute. Those are stones worth evaluating and rarely an I1 can be found that’s a great stone.
Below are descriptions of each clarity grade:
- Flawless (FL) – No inclusions and blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
Here is a Diamond Clarity Scale illustrating the different grades. Save Money Buying Your Engagement Ring buy staying in the SI1 range. SI2 can work as long as the diamond is eye clean.
Below is an example of what the size of a inclusion can look like and what grade it can be given. Furthermore, know that location of the inclusion doesn’t matter, rather its size.
Sample 1 has 4 examples of grading done. The pink marks illustrate imperfections. Sample 2 has more flaws but the same grade. How can that be? Let me explain. The biggest flaw found on a diamond is usually what gives its clarity grade. I find this important to bring up because as you start shopping you will notice stones that have more inclusions than others but have the same grade. Some Inclusions have different sizes, color and shapes. Some are clear and some are black, some twirl and engulf the stone like clouds. If you are buying and want to have value SI1 is the way to go. Almost always have a beautiful look that’s eye clean. VS1 is great and as you can see here you wont see the difference unless you are trained to view it under a loupe.
4 C’s of Diamonds REAL LIFE SAMPLE OF ABOVE CHART
As you can see some Inclusions(diamond flaws) are white and are deeper or off centered causing them to not be as noticeable. Further proving the point that not all SI1 Diamond grades are the same. This is again why I only recommend vendors such as James Allen, Blue Nile & Brian Gavin that have proven track records of thousands of happy clients and real images and video of their diamonds in regular lighting magnified so you can judge and evaluate more accurately.
click on the image above to visit James Allen and learn more.
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Save Money Buying Your Engagement Ring by choosing an SI1 Clarity.
MOST IMPORTANTLY- Save Money Buying Your Engagement Ring and use trusted vendors that use GIA grading reports or AGS Diamond Certificates to grade the 4 C’s of Diamonds. Do not buy a diamond unless GIA or AGS certified.