Diamond Grading 4Every diamond is unique, and choosing the right diamond is a personal decision. People with the same budget may make completely different choices, depending on personal preferences. There are a variety of factors that affect diamond price, which is why it is important to focus on the factors that are most important to you. Focusing on what is most important to you will help you choose a diamond that is beautiful and meets or exceeds your personal standards without breaking your budget.
All diamonds undergo laboratory certification prior to sale, which gives an independent judgment of the characteristics of each diamond. This certification, called a dossier or grading report, verifies the characteristics and value of each diamond. GIA certified diamonds are among those with the most accurate dossiers because GIA is an independent laboratory that is not owned in whole or in part by diamond companies or retailers, which frees this non-profit organization from bias and influence. Additionally, GIA developed the four C's of diamond rating, which is the standard that is used universally today.
The Four C's of Diamond Grading
Clarity describes how clean a diamond is from imperfections, called inclusions. There are 11 grades of clarity, with the highest being flawless. A flawless diamond is clean from inclusions. A diamond may be described as internally flawless if it contains small external inclusions that can only be seen with a microscope. Very very slight inclusions, or VVS1 and VVS2, are terms used to describe diamonds that contain slight inclusions only visible by an expert when using a microscope. Very slight inclusion diamonds, referred to as VS1 and VS2 may contain inclusions that are rarely visible with the naked eye and easily visible with a 10x magnifying loupe. Slight inclusions are often visible with the naked eye and easily visible with a 10x magnifying loupe. Industrial diamonds contain inclusions that are easily visible with the naked eye.
Carat weight determines the size of a diamond, although the shape also affects the appearance of size. Diamond price charts are typically divided by carat weight and the prices of round diamonds and fancier shapes are different. The carat historically takes its name from the carob seed, which was a uniform weight used by early gem traders as a counterbalance for their scales.
Colored diamonds are more expensive than traditional diamonds. There are a variety of colors available, including red, pink, blue and other colors. Because of their uniqueness compared to the typical diamond colors, many people are willing to pay premium prices to have a diamond that is truly special. Lighter colored variations are less expensive than the more intensely colored diamonds. Depending on their budgets, many people sacrifice clarity or carat size in order to have a more unique gem that still fits into their price range.
Cut is a very important characteristic that many people overlook. No matter what the clarity, carat weight or color of a diamond, a poorly cut diamond will not sparkle as much or look as good as a diamond that is well-cut. Although cut affects price less than the other three C's, it is a very important factor. For those who want a great looking diamond that is still affordable, the best recommendation is to sacrifice slightly on the first three C's if necessary in order to get a diamond that is well cut.Posted October 26, 2011