You should start by watching this very interesting 10 min. video from GIA about the 4Cs, along with following a diamond through GIA’s Gemological Laboratory.
Click here and a small pop up window will show you the video.
Diamond grading uses 4 factors to determine a diamond’s value and they are the main components of a diamond grading report….
1) Diamond Cut
2) Diamond Color
3) Diamond Clarity
4) Diamond Carat Weight
Normally, diamond grading is done everyday by people who are trained professionals but don’t let scare you off. Understanding these diamond grading factors will help you in comparing different diamonds from different sources…. these are the essentials of how to buy a diamond.
Diamond color, diamond clarity, and diamond carat weight are pretty straight forward and are relatively easy to understand.
Diamond cut however is much more complex because there are so many variables involved. These variables are directly responsible if a diamond looks alive or dead!
Diamond Cut- For me, this is the most important factor! I’ll try and keep it simple and cover the most common things that you can encounter.
Diamond Color- Placing the diamond along a scale of 23 diamond color categories that will indicate body color… there are also treatments done to improve the color or completely change the diamond to a fancy color.
Diamond Clarity- Placing the diamond along a scale of 11 diamond clarity categories that will describe how “clean” a stone is…. be aware however that there are some treatments that can be done to certain diamonds resulting in an apparent better clarity.
Grading at 10X magnification. Image credits: http://beyond4cs.com/clarity/
Diamond Carat Weight- Diamond carat weight is directly used in how much you will pay… see how you can use a strategy to avoid some price jumps.
Diamond Grading EXPLAINED
#1- The 4Cs of diamond grading will set the price of a diamond.
If you want to stay within a price range but you must have a 1.00ct. diamond then the other 3Cs will have to be moved lower in order to meet the price target.
I’ve seen some people proud of the fact that they had a 1.00ct. diamond but it looked like a yellowish big piece of cracked ice. The fact that it was a 1.00ct. diamond was the only good thing that you could say about it!
And I’ve seen other people that have a VVS1, D diamond but it was so small that you needed a magnifying glass just to see it…. the problem was that both of these diamonds cost about the same price!
#2- There are some additional “C”s that are sometimes mentioned in conjunction with the basic 4Cs.
Cost- always a big consideration, but like I said, cost will be determined by your choice of your diamond’s 4Cs.
Cert- short for certification this refers to the diamond grading report which has become a requirement when buying a diamond today!
Company- of course the company you deal with is an important element… it goes back to the “trust” factor which is essential in any successful transaction.
Confidence- this comes with doing your homework before you buy!
Appraising for a diamond’s value.
#3- Here is a bit of information about GIA Diamonds.
Below you will find a little survey where you can register your opinion of your minimum acceptable quality in each of the 4Cs. We would all love to have the top qualities!…. but please just think about the lowest of each of the 4Cs that you would accept.
This will only take 15 seconds to complete! After making and then submitting your choices, you will be taken to a page to view what others have also chosen as their minimums…. it’s kind of fun to see!