The value of any given diamond, along with its beauty and rarity can be determined by what are known as the ‘four C’s’ of diamonds.
This term refers to the colour, clarity, carat and cut of the stone, which when considered in accordance with one another can facilitate an accurate valuation.
This is precisely why it is often the case that two diamond rings which look largely identical on the surface may in fact have two entirely different values. When looking to purchase diamonds – particularly those of a higher value – it is important to understand the specifics of the four Cs in order to both ask the right questions and carry out your own assessments of quality and value.
Contrary to popular belief, diamonds exist in a wide variety of colours – it’s just that the overwhelming majority of diamonds brought to market tend to be colourless. The international diamond industry now uses a standardised colour scale when trading diamonds, known as the Gemmological Institute of America scale of colour, or GIA for short. The GIA scale utilises letters of the alphabet, beginning at D and going all the way to Z. While D-graded diamonds are completely colourless and extremely rare, Z-diamonds have a light yellow colour.
The differences from one grade to the next can be extremely subtle in some instances and can only be detected with intensive inspection. Though not necessarily considered as rare and valuable as truly colourless diamonds, coloured diamonds are nonetheless extremely fashionable and sought-after in their own right.
The clarity scale for diamonds is likewise set by the Gemmological Institute of America, though the International Confederation of Jewellery Silverware and Diamonds (CIBJO) scale is also routinely used. Clarity is determined in accordance with ‘inclusions’ within the diamond – fewer inclusions mean diamonds of greater clarity and thus stones of greater value. In contrast to how it may appear on the surface, genuinely flawless diamonds and even those with very few inclusions are extremely rare to say the least. The overwhelming majority of diamonds feature an array of naturally occurring flaws and are far from perfect.
Inclusions can manifest in the form of imperfections that look like tiny feathers, clouds or crystals within the diamond. More often than not, the way in which a diamond is set or mounted can be approached strategically in order to effectively hide most common imperfections. There are even instances in which imperfections can be extremely desirable, though are unlikely to beneficially affect the value of the diamond. The GIA clarity scale has six categories – Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) and Included (I1, I2, and I3).
Diamond measurements are recorded in accordance with their weight rather than their size, using the carat scale. In metric terms, one carat is defined as 200 milligrams. Every carat can be divided into one 100 ‘points’ in order to allow for extremely specific and accurate measurements/valuations. If any given diamond is below one carat, it will usually be described using points, rather than carats.
More often than not, items of jewellery featuring more than one diamond are measured by way of total carat weight, as opposed to each diamond being appraised and noted separately. Unsurprisingly, the price of any given diamond will increase significantly as carat weight increases. However, one diamond with a higher carat weight than another diamond will not necessarily have a higher value, as the other three Cs (colour, clarity and cut) must also be taken into account.
The final C refers to the cut of the diamond, which essentially means the way in which the diamond is proportioned and finished. Rough diamonds generally look nothing like the finished article, but must instead be painstakingly cut, polished and finished by exquisitely skilled experts. Diamond polishers create tiny flat surfaces on the stone known as facets, which in conjunction with one another reflect and disperse light to create the true brilliance of a stunningly finished diamond.
There are various different ways in which diamonds can be cut – to hide imperfections, to be divided into smaller diamonds or to be kept as large and heavy as possible for maximum monetary value. Quality of cut takes into account everything from quality of polishing to proportion to shape to symmetry and more – all of which can have an enormous impact on the overall value and rarity of the stone.
If you would like more information about diamonds call Miriam now on 07775 712853 to book your free consultation.