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Daimond 4c's

4Cs: A yardstick for diamonds

Jewelers often say that diamonds are like living creatures: having much in common, they all are unlike one another. Every diamond is special. But jewelry trade is a business where art combines with precise measurement and accurate calculation. Actually, every industry at some stage of development creates certain uniform standards. So did jewelry trade. Now jewelers have Universal Grading system and 4C standard, which has become globally accepted standard for evaluation of quality (and, respectively, cost) of diamonds.
4C stands for Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
Wherever a particular diamond is from - kimberlite pipes of Yakutia or South African diamond placers, 4C helps to determine how close this sparkling miracle is to perfection.

So, now jewelers can speak the same language when assessing quality – and price – of a diamond. Also, people who buy diamonds now know what exactly they are paying for.  Although, there are many factors that affect diamond's beauty and value.

Color: what you do (or doesn’t) see

When thinking of a diamond, we usually mean a colorless one. But natural diamonds aren’t only colorless. In fact, there are diamonds which ARE colored.
A shade of green or blue, yellow, pink, orange, red or black adds even more eye appeal to these precious stones. Called “colored fancies”, colored diamonds are extremely rare and expensive. They are classified according to intensity of their color; there also are other factors jewelers have to consider while evaluating these extraordinary diamonds.

Ordinary – if such a word is appropriate when speaking of these remarkable gems – diamonds are more or less colorless. Generally, the more transparent the diamond is, the higher its quality.

Natural diamonds come in a certain range of shades from truly colorless on the one side to off-white on the other. There is a special color scale, according to which diamonds are graded; it varies from D (colorless stones) to Z (dingy white or yellowish ones).  The difference between neighboring shades is so subtle, that it is invisible to an amateurish eye. That is why an expert uses a master diamond sample set and works under controlled lighting.

Carat: Weighting the beauty

Carat is a measure of weight, traditionally used by jewelers. This measure dates back to the ancient world. It appeared thanks to the fact that seeds of a carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) are always the same weight, namely 0.2 grams, or 200 milligrams. With the course of time word “carob” turned into “carat”, which still equals to 200 milligrams.

Weighting diamonds needs precision: weight of these stones is measured to the fifth decimal place. A small fraction of carat can affect cost of the diamond.

 Large diamonds are rare. Diamonds weighting more than 15 carats are considered large; those weighting more than a hundred or hundreds of carats are extraordinary rare and as a rule have their own names.  

That is why one bigger diamond is more expensive than a couple of smaller diamonds of the same weight.  And, of course, a four-carat diamond will cost definitely more than eight 0.5- carat stones of the same quality.

Clarity: Crystal clear means excellent

Natural diamonds often contain inclusions, and it is natural. They formed at great depth, under high pressure and temperature. Millions and even more than a billion years ago carbon turned into raw diamonds. So, inside a diamond there can be naturally occurring impurities, such as tiny quantities of other minerals, non-crystallized carbon, fractures of other substances that make a diamond not as transparent, as jewelers want it to be. They can be invisible to the naked eye, although their presence influence the way light is reflected and refracted inside the particular diamond.

To identify presence of impurities, and if there are any, to determine their nature, size and position in the stone, gemologists use a special magnifying glass (10x magnification) or even a microscope. The grade of clarity varies from F (Flawless) to I (Included). The best diamonds are called “clean diamonds”, or “diamond of the first water”.

Characteristics of clarity and inclusions, if any are reflected in a diagram.  Under Universal Grading system, the scale begins with the cleanest diamonds - VVS1 and ends with stones containing a lot of flaws and impurities - I3.

Cut: Excellence cut out of stone

Charm of a diamond greatly depends on its cut.
Cut is the factor considered to be most complex and difficult to analyze. What is more, it is the only factor out of the 4Cs that is influenced by a jeweler. A well-cut diamond may increase in quality or value – a smaller but better-cut diamond can cost more than the one bigger in size or of better color.

Cut is not only about shape; it actually determines how well a diamond's facets interact with light.

For the diamond to sparkle most beautifully, a jeweler must cut it according to specific parameters, carefully controlling angle and dimension of the cut. If cut too deep or too shallow, a diamond loses much of its brilliance and, consequently, value. If a diamond is well cut, it reflects light within itself, from one mirror-like facet to another and disperses it through the top of the stone.

Diamond Cut Scale for standard round diamonds includes 5 grades - from Excellent to Poor.

Although standard round diamonds are most common, there are many other ways to cut a diamond. Thanks to it, people will always admire this miracle called a diamond - created by Nature and polished by a jeweler.

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