The 4 C's
Each diamond has its own unique story. Like a snowflake no two are the same. A diamond’s beauty, rarity and value are largely due to a unique combination of the 4 C’s: cut, clarity, colour and carat weight. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) established the “4 C’s” and the International Diamond Grading System™ – to this day, the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality.
A diamond’s sparkle and brilliance, the way it reflects and refracts light is largely down to its cut. Although cut is often thought of as the actual shape of the diamond (round, emerald, oval), a diamond’s cut is really about the stone’s polish and symmetry and the accurate alignment of its facet junctions. Out of the 4 C’s cut is the part that requires human intervention. It takes skilled artisans to fashion a stone to perfect proportions to unlock a stone’s inner beauty. An exceptionally well cut stone is full of life, with excellent brilliance, fire and scintillation.
When it comes to most diamonds, colour actually refers to how close a diamond comes to colourlessness or how exceptionally white the stone is. Like a drop of pure water, a structurally and chemically perfect diamond has no colour, and is more rare in nature. The universally accepted diamond colour scale begins at ‘D’ (colourless) and runs through to ‘Z’ (yellow/brown).
Clarity characteristics make each diamond rare and unique, like a snowflake or a fingerprint: each diamond has its own unique clarity birthmark that identifies it as both natural and individual. A flawless diamond is extremely rare in nature – most diamonds have small impurities or inclusions. The size, number, location and relief of the inclusions play a significant role in determining the stone’s overall clarity grade. The fewer clarity characteristics, the more clear, beautiful and rare a diamond will be.
Diamonds and gemstones are weighed in metric carats. One carat is equal to one fifth of a gram or 200 milligrams, about the weight of a paperclip. A carat can be further subdivided into 100 points, where 1 point is equal to 0.01 carat. Carat weight is the measure of a diamond’s weight not its size. Two diamonds with equal carat weights could differ in their dimensions: one diamond may look considerably larger than the other. How large or small a diamond is is due to a combination of its carat weight, cut and shape.