Diamond Grading Information
All diamond experts use the four C’s to grade and determine the quality of diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. The overall diamond rating depends on a combination of the top for gem characteristics. The final result in gem cutting is dependent on the quality of rough mined diamonds. Higher quality rough diamond is ideal to create a high-quality cut diamond.
The most valuable classic types of diamonds tend to have the least amount of color. In nature, it would be extremely rare for a diamond to be completely colorless. Diamonds are given a letter grade to classify their color. On one end of the spectrum, a color rating of D would be a colorless diamond. Colors D, E, F are the highest rated colors on the diamond spectrum. The next best level of color ratings with very slight diamond coloration are G, H, I. This range of diamonds are most often sold in finished jewelry. These diamonds are more affordable than the higher grades while their color variations are still virtually impossible to detect with the naked eye. On the other end of the spectrum color rating a Z is a light yellow or brown. Some diamonds are influenced by other minerals in the development process and result in colorful hues from reds, blues, pinks, purples, greens and browns. Those special colors increase the value of a diamond.
Clarity measures the visible flaws (inclusions) inherent in natural diamonds. Visible flaws is defined by natural internal imperfections and/or surface scratches which are visible either with or without magnification. Any flaw can change the brightness and sparkle of any diamond and will impact a diamond’s value.
FL: Flawless, no internal imperfections or scratches
IF: Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections
WS1, WS2: Very, Very Slightly Included. Imperfections are difficult to see under magnification
VS1, VS2: Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are rarely visible without magnification
SI1, SI2: Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible when magnified under 10x magnification and may be visible without magnification.
I1, I2, I3: Included: Inclusions are visible without magnification
How a diamond is cut will affect the diamonds overall appearance. The height and depth of the diamond, along with the placement of each individual facet during the process defines the cut. The ideal cut will allow light to enter, bounce inside the diamond across the facets and reflect right back out again. This gives the diamond that brightness and sparkle. When a diamond is too shallow or too deep the light can’t bounce back out and create that glimmer we want from our diamonds. Diamonds with ideal cuts are preferred in jewelry making for both main stones and accent stones to give our jewelry a radiant reflection of light.
Carat weight refers to the size of a diamond. Carats are sometimes referred to as points at 100 points per carat, so a 50 point diamond is the same as a .50 or ½ carat. The larger diamonds are more rare than smaller diamonds. Larger diamonds will have a higher value based on how rare that size is.
Overall, the value and in turn the cost, of a diamond is based on a combination of all four of these characteristics.
When reviewing diamond grading characteristics and cost when deciding what you want in your diamond, keep in mind diamonds in the G,H,I color scale with slight yellow characteristics those characteristics will be unnoticeable to the naked eye. The color won’t be apparent next to other diamonds of the same color grade either. Consider choosing this color of diamond to keep costs lower without compromising the look of your jewelry.
There are times when a well-made diamond cut can make up for certain inclusions and improve the sparkle. Round cut diamonds are often used in jewelry and accents because of the ability for that cut to reflect light well and brighten the look of your jewelry minimizing the impact of some inclusions. Choosing diamonds with inclusions and a great cut can still look amazing in your jewelry especially since the imperfections aren’t really noticeable.
If you ever have questions about the diamonds used in any of our settings, feel free and reach out! We’re happy to assist and answer any questions you might have. Contact us anytime with your questions.