Diamond Guide: Diamond Types, Cuts & Quality
If you are looking to buy a diamond ring or necklace, the first thing you should know is that there are different types of diamonds. They come in various colors, shapes, and sizes but the internal characteristics determine the value. The four factors commonly referred to as the 4Cs, which heavily define a diamond are:
The color, or lack thereof, is a significant component in placing value to a diamond. The Gemological Institute of America is the body responsible for diamond certification. It has developed a grade from color with D representing colorless. To ensure the grading is done efficiently, the color of the diamond is compared to master stones whose color is established.
The usual color of diamonds ranges from colorless, through light yellow to brown. Among these, the colorless diamonds are scarce, and therefore, more valuable compared to the others. On the scale, the diamonds from N onwards have a tint which is slightly above faint, making it visible to the naked eye.
Colored diamonds representing each part of the rainbow are also available. The rarest of the colors are red, blue and green.
The clarity of a diamond is affected by internal flaws and dents and scratches found on the surface of the stone. These irregularities, no matter how small, have an impact on the quality, hence the value of the diamond in question. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare, and this serves to command the top prices in the jewel industry.
The following is a gauge of the amount of flaws which are present in a diamond:
FL- These are the diamonds which are completely flawless.
IF- This defines the diamonds which are internally flawless.
VVS1 and VVS2- There terms are used to refer to diamonds which have very minimal flaws. In these stones, the inclusions are only visible through a microscope with a magnifying power of ten.
For the VVS1, the flaws are visible from the bottom of the diamond while visible from the top for the VVS2 diamond.
VS1- VS2- The flaws in these diamonds are also visible under a microscope, though it takes some time to focus on them.
Flaws in the SI1-SI2 category are readily visible under a microscope.
In the I1-I3 diamond group, the flaws are readily visible with the naked eye.
Despite the negative influence on the diamond’s value, the flaws are vital in the identification of an individual stone. They also help gemologists to distinguish them from imitations.
In diamond preparation, the cut refers to the polish and the proportions. The most expensive diamonds are the polished ones which proportional and symmetrical.
The proportion determines the behavior of light once it has entered the diamond. If it enters through the top and leaves through the lower facets, the diamond has a dull appearance. However, different proportions make the light reflect back to your eye. This has the effect of making the stone appear bright and colorful.
The term ‘cut’ is also used to refer to the style of the diamond. These various styles include heart cut diamonds and baguette cut diamonds. These patterns and designed increase the options available to buyers; and are also done to achieve the best fit of the rock on the design of a ring or necklace.
On the scale, the high cut grade is excellent. Then followed by very good, good, fair and poor.
Like many other items, weight defines the value of a piece of diamond. The unit for measuring the weight of diamond is metric carat (ct). One metric carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams. The carat is further divided into 100 points.
Fractions of a carat have a great influence on the price of the rock, especially if the diamond is of high quality.
Unlike other commodities, the value of the diamond is not directly proportional to the weight. This is because there are many factors on which the price of the diamond depends. An example is that larger diamonds are more scarce than small diamonds. As a result, they have a higher value per carat. This makes it more expensive to buy one diamond weighing two carats, than buying two diamonds each weighing one ct.
These four factors which are discussed above combine to form the ultimate diamond guide: inclusive of the various diamond types, cuts and eventually, the quality.