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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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How do Diamonds Get Their Color?

How do naturally colored diamonds end up with some of the many amazing hues that we attempt to recreate in much more common colorless stones? In truth, there are a number of factors that must fall into place in order for the Earth to create these colorful treasures
naturally. Here’s a brief overview of the conditions necessary to create these fancy gemstones.

You probably know that diamonds are created by carbon that is both heated and compressed, then pushed to the surface of the Earth (or close to it), resulting in the colorless stones that are the bread and butter of the diamond industry. However, no diamond is perfect, and it is the impurities in the stone that can cause coloration. This works in a couple of ways. First, carbon is rarely found in a completely undiluted state. Often there are other elements in the vicinity that can lead to slight discoloration in the finished product, which is why colorless diamonds are so desirable.

However, even rarer than completely colorless diamonds are those that display the intense color indicative of mass amounts of some other element in the environment. Boron, for example, will lead to rare blue hues in diamonds while nitrogen will produce the much more common yellows and browns. Radiation will produce a green color (uh, kryptonite, anyone?) and unusual stresses that trap electrons in the stone are thought to result in pink or reddish hues. But that’s not all there is to it.

Flaws within the stone can magnify or even cause coloration because of the way light entering the stone is refracted. For this reason, a stone that is already colored may be more appealing with a flaw since it can greatly enhance the color, pushing it into the class of a “fancy colored diamond”, which makes it exponentially more valuable.

It’s pretty interesting that the impurities and flaws in diamonds can actually add to their value, but remember that they have to achieve fancy color status in order to be worth more. If the color is pale in a stone, it will hold a low value since it is neither colorless nor saturated (making it one of the most common geological blunders). So before you buy a rare colored stone, make sure it meets proper standards of rarity so that you get a diamond that is as valuable as it is desirable.

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How do Diamonds Get Their Color?

Diamonds that are naturally colored undergo a very interesting process. As you probably know, the creation of a single diamond is a concentrated and particular process. The formation of diamond crystals from carbon matter is thought to take millions of years, and scientists now know that these precious stones are actually formed in the upper mantle of the Earth, so far below the surface that we actually can’t reach them. So they may grow in fits and spurts over the course of hundreds of millions of years or they may only take weeks to form under the intense heat and pressure. In any case, they find their way into the upper layers of the Earth’s crust through a process of underground volcanic eruptions, the likes of which have not been seen, well, ever (at least not by man). This is why diamonds are a rare and finite commodity.

But what makes them colorful (or colorless)? While the main component necessary for diamonds to form is carbon, there are often other elements at play that can radically affect the composition of a crystal. A natural stone that only contains carbon will be perfectly colorless. But when nitrogen is added to the mix, for example, you’ll end up with a yellow diamond. And the presence of boron will produce bluish tones. Almost any color can be created under the right set of elemental circumstances. However, there are a number of other factors that also come into play.

Inclusions can dramatically enhance color. While they are considered undesirable in colorless stones (and noted as flaws), they can actually add depth and intensity to a diamond that already has some color. The most brilliant tones are produced as a side effect of an inclusion. Then there are environmental factors that come into play. For example, more intense heat and pressure can exacerbate the process, which is why colored stones can range from pale to extremely saturated tints. Radiation in the immediate environment can cause a diamond to take on a greenish hue, and in the case of pink diamonds, the coloration is thought to be the result of intense stresses on the stone during formation that cause electrons to refract light at the red end of the spectrum.

Because the circumstances required to alter colorless diamonds is so precise, it’s no wonder that these stones are so precious and valuable. They make up only a small percentage of diamonds that reach the retail market every year, and like anything rare, they can be quite expensive. For this reason, most people still prefer the tried and true colorless or nearly colorless stones that are recognized around the globe as diamonds.

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Diamond Fluorescence Explained

All of us are inspired by the beauty of diamonds. These rare stones, mined from the very depths of the earth, are visually compelling. In general, diamonds are often considered devoid of intrinsic color. Their clarity is seen as the epitome of perfection.

This is not a casual observation of the uninformed, but the sight of a well cut diamond set in an appropriate reflecting natural light that instills awe into most observers.

The diamond is capable of a magnificent spectral display, due to natural scientific refraction of white light into its constituent ‘rainbow’ colors. In addition to this refraction, and the resulting myriad of color, there is another component: Fluorescence.

Color is just color right?

Well, sort of. Diamonds come in few colors; all of them are transparent so the refraction of light is maintained through the yellow/blue-tints found in some stones. In general diamonds are white (i.e. colorless). Regardless of their actual color, diamonds have fluorescent qualities.

Fluorescence is a means by which the energy from an electromagnetic wave (i.e. light, in this discussion) is stored in a substance (i.e. a diamond) and re-transmitted at a different frequency. In layman’s terms, this means light hits a diamond and is re-emitted as a different light. This re-emitted light is called fluorescence.

In diamonds the fluorescent emission is rated by examining experts and a part of the grading process. The internationally accepted grades are: inert, faint, medium, strong, very strong.

These grading are self-explanatory but it is important to know these facts before fluorescence is considered as a purchase criteria;

· Diamonds do not all fluoresce. In fact only 35% do

· Of the 35%, most are blue-fluorescent (97%)

· Of the 3% that are not blue-fluorescent, green/Yellow/Red are potential colors, but many shades in-between are possible. These are rare and expensive stones. Professional advice should be sought when purchasing these stones as some can produce a milky (and unattractive) view when viewed under certain lights. These are named “overblues” and although rare, are not sought after.

· Strong blue fluorescence has the effect of yellow cancellation, so these stones produce a much more desirable visual spectrum. Yellow tinted stones which can fluoresce in blue can make an otherwise less attractive yellow diamond into a very pleasing gemstone.

Choose carefully…

Many fluorescent diamonds, especially when mounted in jewelry, exhibit dullness or cloudiness when viewed in certain background lights. When examining such stones, varying light sources including sunlight should be used, before a purchase is made.

Diamond fluorescence is a complex science, but in the world of diamonds, a fairly straightforward quality grading process. At the end of the day, the ‘eye is in the beholder” – but note that the highly fluorescent diamond is not necessarily the best!

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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.