No two diamonds are exactly alike! This is one of nature’s miracles and God’s master craftsmanship.
We hear about diamond shapes being round, emerald, princess or pear but a diamond’s cut is a more important consideration because a cut determines how the diamond interacts with light. The brilliance of diamonds is dependent on how the rock is cut.
1) The Cut
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the premier group which classifies the value of a diamond. According to its website, ‘a diamond’s cut is crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.’
An excellent cut has an even pattern of bright and dark areas, its symmetry is more precise and the brightness, fire (scattering of white light) and scintillation (sparkle) are evenly done. As these factors diminish, the scales also go from excellent to poor. ‘A well-cut diamond will direct more light through the crown.’
GIA’s diamond cut grade also takes into account the ‘design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to its diameter, its girdle thickness (which affects its durability), the symmetry of its facet arrangement, and the quality of polish on those facets.’
2) The Clarity
Another factor to look at is Clarity. There are two considerations to a diamond’s clarity. The internal characteristic is called an inclusion (intrinsic impurities in the atomic level) and its external characteristic is called blemishes (occurs when the diamond is cut and polished). No diamond is perfectly pure but the closest to purity a diamond is, the more valuable it is.
GIA scales the clarity in six categories: flawless, internally flawless, very, very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included.
A ‘flawless’ diamond has no inclusions and no blemishes visible under magnification. An ‘internally flawless’ diamond has no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. ‘Very, very slightly included’ ones have inclusions that are so slight and difficult to see even by a skilled grader. ‘Very slightly included’ is more common in wedding and engagement rings. ‘Slightly included’ has inclusions that are noticeable and included has obvious inclusions, which may affect transparency and brilliance.
10x magnification is required to see any inclusion or blemish. Find a good jeweler who can provide you with tools to see where inclusions lie.
3) The Color
In terms of color, a diamond may be classified according to its lack of color. GIA says, ‘a chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master stones of established color value.’
This means that if your diamond has tints of color in it, the farther it is from the high color grade. They can go from colorless (D-F) to near colorless (G-J) to faint (K-M) to very light (N-R) and light (S-Z). Again, to the untrained eye, this color grade may look the same so you need to have a trusted jeweler who can issue you a diamond that is certified by the GIA.
What about colored stones? These are not included in the colorlessness scale and stones that have strong tints of brown or yellow are outside the scale. ‘Colored diamonds’ are often laboratory-produced. However, the infamous blue diamond gets its hue from the formation of the diamond absorbing yellow light thus reflecting a blue tint. It is rare and costs millions of dollars.
You will be able to find good diamonds when you look at the right places and more often than not, you will come across the right people who can give you value for your money’s worth.