Diamonds 101

Posted on December 08, 2011 by Barbara Polinsky | 1 Comment

Every diamond is as unique as the individual that wears it and weighing the pros and cons of a particular stone can be confusing. Here's a quick overview of the 4C's 
The most identifiable of the four C's and the only grade that humans actually play a role in influencing. The cut of a diamond does not only refer to the shape but the facet design, finish and proportions of the diamond. A diamond that is well cut will radiate light and brilliance because the facet angles are optimum. Vintage diamonds can be an exception to this rule.

The color of a diamond refers to the hue and saturation of the intensity or lack of color in a diamond. Color is graded in shades of yellow, brown and gray and comes from different levels of nitrogen below the surface of the earth; little to no nitrogen produces colorless diamonds. High levels of nitrogen produce yellow and brown hues. Color is graded in letter classifications from colorless (D-E-F), near colorless (G-H-I-J) and degrees of yellow and brown (K to Z). Some of the most rare colors occur in fancy, vivid shades of yellow, pink and even blue.

Clarity refers to the natural inclusions within diamonds.  Mostly foreign bodies, inclusions happen during the development of the diamond and are sometimes present on the outside of the stone as external scratches or blemishes. Inclusions can take different forms and shapes. The grading of a diamond's clarity is determined by the number, size and location of these inclusions. There are eleven grades within five classifications ranging from Flawless and Internally Flawless (FL-IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1-VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1-VS2), Slightly Included (SI1-SI2) and Included (I1-I2-I3).  Stones are graded under 10X magnification.  Inclusions graded VS2 and better cannot be detected with the naked eye. SI1 and SI2 can appear "eye clean" as well, depending on where the inclusions are in the stone.


A carat is a unit of measurement that is 1/5th of a gram and is measured in whole and decimal units to the hundredth and is expressed as "points" or fractions.  A half carat stone would be expressed as .50 or 50 points.  The larger the diamond the more rare and therefore more valuable.

Ever wonder about the difference between carat and karat? See our article Karats, Carats & Carrots  and view our collection of diamond rings here.




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Posted in 4c's, carat, certification, certs, clarity, color, cut, diamonds, gemological institute of america, gia



1 Response

Stephen Clark
Stephen Clark

March 22, 2014

This is a really informative post. I never knew the detail that went into evaluating diamonds for jewelry. I’ll bookmark this page for future reference!

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