Treasured for centuries, diamonds are still the most popular precious stone for all types of jewelry, such as diamond engagement rings and diamond wedding ring sets. Diamonds come in all different sizes, shapes, prices, and quality - how do you know which diamond is a good quality diamond? All you need to keep in mind are four main characteristics: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight, otherwise known as the "Four C's." Knowing how to recognize fine diamond from these four characteristics can help you find the best diamond that fits your budget.
The highest quality diamond color is white, or colorless, and very expensive. All white diamonds have slight tints of yellow or color, so the less amounts of color a diamond has, the more expensive. Diamond color is graded from D - Z (colorless to light yellow). Most diamonds tend to fall in the G - J range. For white diamonds, the amount of color tints in a diamond determines the quality of a diamond's color.
However, diamonds can also naturally come in intense yellow, pink, red, champagne, black, blue, and other colors, which are rarer with some costing more than white diamonds. Colored diamonds are becoming increasingly more popular over the past couple of years as more and more celebrities buy colored diamonds. Although naturally colored diamonds do exist, some diamonds are color treated or enhanced through a process using irradiation or heat, costing less than a natural diamond. Colored diamonds have less research on white diamonds, so when considering a colored diamond, check to see if the color is natural or synthetic.
The number, size, and location of inclusions, or flaws, inside and outside of diamonds determine the clarity. Every natural diamond has internal flaws or inclusions. It also includes any external imperfections on the stone. Diamond clarity is graded with the following terms:
Most diamond engagement rings, diamond stud earrings, and other jewelry with center diamonds will have a VS - SI rating. While a diamond's clarity is very important, the location of the inclusions has more importance on quality than the number of flaws because they can affect the durability, which can lead to cracking or chipping. Most natural flaws are invisible to the naked eye.
The diamond cut generally refers to the style and craftsmanship of how the gemstone was cut, affecting how it sparkles. The following characteristics determine the quality of diamond cuts: depth, width, symmetry, proportions, and polish. Remember, diamonds found in the earth look more like rocks you see on the ground. Diamond cutters form them into shapes, such as round or rectangle, and then cut facets on the sides in a way that reflects the most light in appealing designs. Note: diamond shapes are different from diamond cuts.
Diamonds come in a variety of cuts with new ones coming up over time from master diamond cutters. Some of them include brilliant cut (commonly associated with round diamonds), princess cut, asscher cut, baguette, and emerald cut diamonds.
The cut is the most important of the four C's since the precision with which a diamond is cut directly reflects the beauty of the stone. A perfect diamond can become a low grade stone if cut too shallowly, got chipped, designed poorly, etc., which would add flaws on the outside and/or decrease the sparkle. When looking at a diamond's cut quality, see how many inclusions it has on the inside and outside, craftsmanship of how the diamond was shaped, and how much light it reflects.
Diamond Carat (abbreviated as "CT") refers to its size and reflects the price and people's preferences more so than its quality. Generally, as the carat weight increases, the price increases. The price becomes exponentially higher for 1 ct diamonds and higher. However, diamonds of smaller sizes can be more precious than a larger diamond depending on the four C's, but the differences has to be pretty significant.
When shopping for diamond engagement rings, diamond wedding bands, diamond stud earrings, and other diamond jewelry, remember the four C's of diamonds - Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. You will feel more confident in knowing how to identify high quality diamonds from poor quality ones and buy the best diamond that fits your budget.
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