The 4C’s of Diamond Quality
There is no other gemstone quite like a diamond. It is found in the most remote places on earth, and the fact that it forms at all is something of a miracle. It takes about one ton of rock to recover less than half a carat of rough, making diamond one of the rarest and most desired gemstones in the world. A diamond is a testament of endurance and strength – and not surprisingly, the ultimate symbol of love.
Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. Yet all diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. These features are called 4Cs.
The color scale extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless, truly colorless diamonds are actually very rare. Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with tints of yellow or brown.
Color grades are determined by comparing each diamond to a master set. Each letter grade representing a range of color and is a measure of how noticeable a color is.
The clarity scale includes eleven clarity grades ranging from Flawless to I3.
Because diamonds form under tremendous heat and pressure, it is extremely rare to find a diamond that lacks any internal and external characteristics. These characteristics are a by-product of its formation and help gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and identify individual stones.
The cut scale ranges from Excellent to Poor. A polished diamond’s beauty lies in its complex relationship with light: how light strikes the surface, how much enters the diamond, and how, and in what form light returns to your eye.
The result is a magnificent display of three attributes. Brightness is the combination of all white light reflecting from the surface and interior of a diamond. Fire describes the “flares” of color emitted from a diamond. Scintillation describes the flashes of light you see when the diamond, the light, or the observer moves.
A polished diamond’s proportions affect its light performance, which in turn affects its beauty and overall appeal. Diamonds with fine proportions, symmetry, and polish optimize their interaction with light, and have increased brightness, fire, and scintillation.
One carat equals 200 milligrams in weight. For diamonds under one carat, each carat is divided into 100 points – similar to pennies in a dollar. 0.75 ct = 75 points, ½ ct = 50 points.
Beauty and Its Beholder
The 4Cs provide a way to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds, but numbers alone can’t describe a diamond’ mysterious and captivating beauty – for that, you’ll have to visit Vernon Jewelers to see one for yourself.