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Everything You Need To Know About The Four C’s

When making any purchase, having enough information is crucial. However, when making a once in a lifetime purchase like an engagement ring, you need to be an educated buyer. At Adiamor, we want our customers to make smart purchases. To help our busy customers who are also very much in a hurry, we’ve put together this guide to the four c’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat.

Cut Is King

The single most important factor in buying diamonds is the cut. However, cut is not the shape of the diamond as most people initially think. Diamond cut actually refers to the quality of cutting the raw, mined diamond into its final form. Essentially, the higher quality the diamond’s cut, the higher quality (and therefore, the more expensive) the diamond. The highest quality cut is affinity, then the rankings move to excellent, very good, good, and then fair. For customers looking for the most value, choose a cut rated “very good” or “good.” Customers looking for the most fire and brilliance should choose “excellent” or better.

Some Clarity on Diamond Clarity

All diamonds have internal characteristics, just like a fingerprint. Diamond clarity refers to these internal markings, also known as blemishes. Diamonds that are “eye clean” contain no blemishes that can be seen by the naked eye. These “eye clean” diamonds therefore offer customers the most value. However, these diamonds may still show markings under 10x magnification. When searching for the highest quality diamond, the best clarity rating is flawless followed by by internally flawless then very very slightly included (VVSI). Diamonds rated as slightly included are inspected by gemologists to be certain they are eye clean before they are placed into engagement rings.

four c's diamond color
Diamond color is an important aspect of the four c’s

Diamond Color

Although fancy colored diamonds are rare and valuable, most customers are after a sparkling diamond that is actually colorless. Colorless diamonds are the most rare, and therefore the most expensive. These diamonds are graded D through F. However, near colorless diamonds in the range of G to J offer great value. When mounted in a custom engagement ring, a near colorless diamond will appear virtually colorless.

The All Important Carat Weight

Carat weight refers to the actual size of the diamond. Carats are a unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. Additionally, each carat is divided into 100 points; this means a half-carat diamond can be referred to as a “50 pointer.” When determining which size diamond is right for your ring, consider the ring setting and diamond shape along with personal preference. Many customers find a one carat diamond is the ideal size for modest engagement ring. Customers looking for larger center stones tend to enjoy diamonds that are at least 2 carats.

For a more in depth learning experience, visit the Diamond Education center today!

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What to Look for in the Cut of a Diamond

When it comes to the four Cs of diamond buying (cut, color, clarity, and carat), most people seem to feel that size is the most important aspect of the selection process. However, it is the cut of the diamond that can have an effect on each of the other points of consideration. For example, a large table (the flat surface on top of the stone) can showcase even the most minute inclusions. And that’s just one way the cut is important to the overall quality of the stone. So before you settle on a diamond, think about how different cuts can affect the overall purchase.

The first thing to know is that there are various facets of a stone that will differ from cut to cut. The portions of a diamond that are important are the table, the crown (the height of the top portion of the diamond), and the pavilion (the depth of the bottom portion of the stone). The girdle (where the crown and pavilion meet) and the cutlet (the small surface on the very bottom of the stone) also play a role in both the brilliance and overall quality of the stone, but they’re not as important (unless they are badly bungled). The exact measurements of these portions of the stone are going to determine whether or not it sparkles, displays flaws, exhibits color, and so on, so you need to consider which cuts emphasize different traits.

An emerald-cut diamond, for example, tends to have the largest table, meaning it requires an exceptionally flawless stone to pull off. The same goes for an asscher cut. If the clarity or color is off, it will be more pronounced in these cuts. Round cuts, on the other hand, tend to exhibit the most brilliance, but this can be reduced if the stone is cut too shallow (as in, a small pavilion depth). Pear- and heart-shaped diamonds, while unique, may reflect light strangely because they are not entirely symmetrical. And cushion, oval, and marquise cuts simply aren’t very deep, but they tend to be less expensive because they contain fewer carats.

So regardless of the cut you choose, it will have an impact on the beauty of your stone. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should discount certain cuts because of the potential for problems, it just signifies a need to take care when choosing the cut of your stone. Just be sure to look for any flaws that may be more apparent due to a particular shape.

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How are Diamonds Cut?

Have you ever wondered how it is that jewelers go about cutting the hardest substance on Earth? In case you didn’t know, there is a scientific hardness scale (Mohs Hardness Scale) used to rank the relative hardness of any substance. Diamonds are at the top, beating out even metal alloys. So how do we cut them? There have been a number of techniques utilized throughout history, some of them workable but unbelievably risky. And today, of course, we have new and improved methods that allow more people than ever to enjoy these precious gems in a cut and polished state.

Originally, diamonds were cut with a chisel and mallet, a process known as cleaving. Jewelers took a gamble with every cut. Because they had to look for a weakness in the stone in order to make a cut (and the technique could be considered imprecise at best), there was always the chance that the diamond would be irreparably damaged in the process. The idea was to create smaller stones without (or with less) flaws, but who knows how many truly spectacular gems were ruined through this method?

Ancient jewelers also utilized other diamonds in the cutting process, a method that is still used today (although in a more refined form). But while the original practice involved lubricating one diamond and grinding it against another (positive barbarity!), a more modern iteration of the technique, developed in the 1400s, involved using an instrument called a scaif. This polishing wheel requires a combination of diamond dust and oil to refine a stone that is held in a sort of padded vice called a dop. This allows the jeweler to polish the stone more precisely. So far, it’s a lot better than the chisel method.

However, there was still one innovation to come: the diamond saw. This handy tool came into being in the 20th century as a way to cut hard or brittle materials such as stone, brick, glass, and of course, diamonds. The idea behind it is similar to the scaif, only it is much more efficient. The scaif is a cast-iron wheel which either has diamonds embedded in it or requires that diamond dust and oil be added by hand. The saw, on the other hand, consists of a steel blade with diamond dust bonded to the teeth, which makes for a smaller, more exact tool that cuts better and faster.

While the process for cutting diamonds has improved over the centuries, many techniques that were used in the past are still practiced today. And they will likely continue to be utilized in the creation of beautiful diamond jewelry until the day that a harder substance is found to revolutionize the cutting process. Don’t hold your breath.

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The 4 C’s of Diamonds

When most people think about diamonds, they also think of “The 4 C’s.” The 4 C’s are the measuring tools used to determine the quality of a diamond. The GIA developed the 4C’s in order to be able to objectively compare these unique and beautiful stones. The 4C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat are described below. It is important to understand the different parts that make the whole, as each portion contributes to the value of the diamond, and helps you understand what to look for when purchasing a diamond.

CUT –The shine and brilliance of a diamond depends on the cut. The cutting and polishing of the facets effect the way light is reflected. The value of the cut is determined by how well light enters and is then dispersed. The grade is a reflection on how well the diamond cutter measured his cuts to present the best light reflection. It’s what makes the diamond sparkle and is often the most important element. It is important to note that “Cut” does not refer to the shape of the diamond.

COLOR – Diamonds come in all kinds of colors, but usually one is referring to white diamonds. The best color rating is actually no color at all. Colorless diamonds allow light to pass through them more easily, ranging from colorless to light yellow. The subtle differences effect the value of the diamond due to the color’s effect on light dispersion. The diamond is viewed facedown using a light that is equivalent to daylight. The color presented is measured against the GIA’s color grading scale to determine how much yellow is in the diamond as compared to a set of master stones. The scale ranges from D to Z. D is the highest rating, having no color. E and F also fall into the colorless category, being colorless to the naked eye. The G to J range includes a hint of color and are near colorless. J to M includes diamonds that you can see faint color with the naked eye.

CLARITY – Clarity refers to flaws viewed at 10x magnification. The scale ranges from Flawless to Imperfect 3. Diamonds sometimes have blemishes (on the surface) and usually do have inclusions (internal small flaws,) which interfere with light dispersion through the diamond. The fewer imperfections, the better the grade, and the more beautiful the diamond. The size, number, position, nature, and color of the various imperfections all effect the Clarity grade. These various imperfections were actually caused by nature in the diamond’s creation. Diamonds are almost completely made out of carbon. However, other minerals or small bits of carbon can be trapped while the carbon is cooling.

CARAT – Carats are the weight of the diamond. Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in metric carats. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. A 50-point diamond weight 0.50 carats.