The Four C's
There are four important factors that should be considered when purchasing diamond jewelry. These cr...
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The Four C's

There are four important factors that should be considered when purchasing diamond jewelry. These criteria are color, cut, clarity and carat.

The most desirable diamonds are those with no color because they allow the maximum amount of light to pass through the stone. Diamonds are graded on a color scale. Those with D, E and F have no color. Diamonds with very little color are classified as G, H and I. Diamonds with a slight yellow tint are classified as J, K and L while diamonds that are a dark shade of yellow are classified as P, Q, R,S, T, U, V, W and X. Z diamonds have colors other than white or yellow. These diamonds are often very expensive and rare.

It is important to keep in mind the brilliance and the sparkle of the diamond will often ride on the cut. Typical diamond cuts include marquise, princess, oval, heart, pear, round and emerald.

Diamonds are further classified according to weight in a measurement known as the carat. One carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams.

Diamond clarity is one of the four C’s to be considered when purchasing diamond jewelry. Clarity refers to the measure of flaws that can be found both on the inside and outside of the diamond. The fewer flaws a diamond has, the more valuable it is; therefore the higher the price tag is likely to be. In actuality, very few diamonds have no flaws at all. Usually; however, most flaws in diamonds cannot be seen with the naked eye. As a matter of fact, most diamond flaws require a magnification of at least 10 times in order to be seen. Since most diamond flaws cannot be seen by the naked eye clarity is often one of the last factors to be considered by purchasers of diamond jewelry.

In terms of clarity a perfect diamond is classified as FL or IF. This means either Flawless or Internally Flawless. If a diamond is graded as I, it will also contain a numerical rating as well; 1-3. An I-3 diamond is the worst. Diamonds can also be classified as V or S. V diamonds are very very slightly irregular while S diamonds are slightly irregular.

The GIA, or Gemological Institute of America ranks diamonds according to a grading system. In the system diamonds are ranked from flawless to imperfect. There are also several different grade ranges that fall between these two classifications. Obviously, a better ranking equates a more valuable and expensive diamond.

Inclusions can impact the clarity and the value of the diamond. Carbons are one of the most common inclusions found in diamonds. These are the small black dots that can be found on the surface of the diamond. Depending on the lighting, this inclusion may or may not be visible. Pinpoints are another common inclusion. These inclusions look like white dots on the diamond surface. Other inclusions are known as clouds because the cause portions of the diamond to appear cloudy.

In some cases flaws within a diamond can be either reduced or fixed using different enhancement treatments. Diamonds may be lasered or painted to remove inclusions such as carbons or pinpoints. Other times small holes may need to be drilled in the diamond to remove inclusions. The cracks in the diamond can then be filled in with another substance known as molten glass. It should be noted that enhancements may improve the appearance of a value but they also typically decrease the value. When a diamond certificate is provided it should indicate if enhancements were done and if so what they were. Always ask to see the certificate before you make a diamond purchase so you will know exactly what has been done to the diamond. It is important to be aware that some enhancements can also weaken the diamond and make it more prone to breakage.
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