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  Diamond Education              

  The 4C's                                           

Every diamond has unique characteristics. Until the middle of the 20th century, there wasn't any standard that could identify the different qualities in a diamond. By the 1950's GIA (Gemological Institute of America) created an international system of grading diamonds, describing a diamond by its carat weight, color, clarity & cut. Today, the 4C's are recognized around the world as a way to asses the properties of a diamond.


Carat Weight

Diamonds are measured by their weight. A 1 carat diamond is equal to 1/5 of a gram & is subdivided into 100 points, therefore a 1 carat diamond is equal to 100 points, or a 1/2 carat diamond is equal to 0.50Ct.The larger a diamond is, the more it weighs & the more it is desirable & rare.
                                                           
Carat weight is not the only property that determines the price of a diamond, however the combination of all 4C's  would give its value.


Color

Every diamond has a certain color. Rare are those that are completely colorless, or without any hue, therefore higher in value.Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z. D being colorless to Z being yellow.
                                             
When a diamond is graded for color, it is compared next to a master stone color scale. The difference between one color & another (from one letter on the scale & another) is extremely subtle, however the value can be higher or lower depending on how white or yellow a diamond is.


Clarity

Diamonds are made of pure carbon, & are the result of tremendous heat & pressure from deep underground. As a result of this pressure, a diamond can have several characteristics within it, such as inclusions, flaws, blemishes, etc.
A flawless diamond is very rare & expensive. A scale has been developed identifying the type, size & location of flaws.
                                                  
All diamonds are examined under a 10x magnification.

  • FL (Flawless)
              No flaws & blemishes visible under magnification.

  • IF (Internally flawless)
              No flaws visible under magnification.

  • VVS1 & VVS2 (very very slight inclusions)
              Difficult to see flaws under magnification.

  • VS! & VS2 (very slight inclusions)
              Very minor flaws are seen under magnification.

  • Si1 & Si2 (small inclusions)
              small flaws are seen under magnification.

  • I1, I2 & I3
             Obvious flaws can be seen even without magnification.


Diamond Cut

What gives a diamond its brilliance & beauty is its cut. A diamond is cut sometimes thick or thin, or a proper cut.
                                                           
The ideal or proper cut of a diamond is determined by certain proportions, symmetry, & polish that the facets of a diamond have to have, in order to give it its maximum brilliance, therefore increasing its value. As you can see in the diagram above, only a properly or ideal cut diamond will reflect light to its maximum ability & give it the brilliance & beauty. A shallow or deep cut diamond is not as brilliant, & therefore not as valuable as an ideal cut diamond.


All of these combinations of Carat Weight, Color, Clarity, & Cut makes up the value in a diamond.
It is important while shopping for diamonds to understand these features, & ask questions to the sales person to clarify & explain about the diamonds that the jewelry you are intending to buy.