Diamond Education Center
All your questions about diamond clarity and more answered
A carat is a unit of weight used in the diamond trade that equals 200 milligrams. Larger, heavier diamonds are much more rare and expensive than smaller ones. Therefore, the cost per carat of a 4 carat diamond might be 10 times that of an otherwise comparable half carat. When selecting the best carat weight, take into consideration your partner’s taste, style, finger size, the type of band or setting and your budget.
Diamonds are rated according to their clarity or the size and color of flaws, or inclusions. Flawless and nearly flawless diamonds, with a clarity grade between FL and VVS2, are considered particularly rare and are, consequently, expensive. Inclusions can hinder how the diamond reflects light, reducing the brilliance and prismatic effect of color in a diamond. VVS and VS grades have tiny inclusions that may be seen only by a trained professional under magnification of ten times the actual size. An SI clarity implies that the diamond contains inclusions but it is still clean to the human eye. I1-I3 diamonds contain inclusions that may include larger clouds or feathers. They may be visible to the unaided eye, and may exhibit lower brilliance and transparency.
The levels of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale can be divided into colorless, near colorless, faint yellow, very light yellow, and light yellow ranges. Each letter on the scale represents a narrow color range, not a specific point. Diamonds in the normal color range (D-Z) are graded based on their lack of color.
The D - F grades are considered colorless. D and E diamonds have virtually no color, and an F has a nearly undetectable amount of color that shows only in the face down position. The differences between these grades are actually very slight. In fact, they are almost indistinguishable in diamonds smaller than 0.25ct.
G - J grade diamonds are near-colorless. They have slight traces of color that aren't noticeable to untrained eyes when the stones are mounted. These diamonds are popular because they hide their color well while being lower priced than D – F grade stones.
Diamonds graded between K and M are faint yellow. When they are mounted, small stones look almost colorless, but larger stones show a faint hint of yellow.
The N - R grades are considered very light yellow. They appear very light yellow even when they are mounted in jewelry.
Diamonds that are between S and Z are light yellow. They show substantial color face-up or face-down, loose or mounted.
Once a diamond goes beyond the Z color range, it's classified as Fancy Light yellow, which causes its price to rise. Sometimes, a rough diamond with color in the X to Z range can be cut to achieve a fancy color designation.
Here are some suggestions for choosing the perfect color:
- Diamonds between F and H are the best value. Face-up they are clear and there is no hint of yellow.
- D and E color is fantastic, but the D color is exceptionally rare, and, as such, the largest price jump in the color range occurs here.
- I and J color diamonds are beautiful and nearly colorless once they are placed in a setting. If size is your priority, these color grades will get you there without compromise.
- If size is a must and clarity is stretched to the max, then a diamond in the L to N range will still have beautiful sparkle and appeal with a light hint of color.
The term cut refers to the geometric proportions of a gemstone. The cut of a gemstone is one of the most important factors in determining how much sparkle a gemstone produces. Once the diamond’s shape has been determined, facets are cut. Each facet refracts light like a prism to produce the stone’s fire and brilliance. Diamonds are cut to reflect as much light as possible. The ideally cut diamond possesses good symmetry. Of course, diamonds must also have excellent polish and high luster.
Here is the diamond cut grading scale:
- Very Good
- Fair & Poor
Beyond the 4 C’s
Impact of Other Factors
Two diamonds with identical color, cut, clarity and carat weight can have over 1,560 different value classifications. If you take into account other important factors, such as florescence and symmetry, there are over 20,000 different diamond value classifications, each with its own market price. Even within these classifications, there may be additional sub-classifications such as borderline colors, position of an inclusion within a diamond and grading subjectivity.
Diamonds with high fluorescence exhibit a bluish glow in many different types of lighting. This can dramatically reduce the value and appeal of a diamond.
Type of Imperfection
There are several types of imperfections such as carbon, feather and whisp imperfections. All imperfections fall into two primary categories: white imperfections and black imperfections. White or transparent imperfections are far more desirable than black or opaque imperfections.
Size and Location of Imperfection
Imperfections can occur anywhere in a diamond. The most desirable imperfection is located on the edge or side of the diamond and can be easily hidden under a prong.
Internal Brilliance/Fire of Stone
Each individual diamond can exhibit a fabulous amount of brilliance based on the extent to which it refracts light. This is determined by the depth and table of diamond.
Symmetry refers to the exactness of the shape and arrangement of facets, or cut surfaces. Most well-cut diamonds have 58 facets and it is important that facets are shaped correctly, centered and properly aligned.
Diamonds are extremely small for how valuable they are. Believe it or not, cutting a diamond at the wrong angle can throw off important ratios and make a large stone seem much smaller than it actually is. Even if size is not your top priority, you should be sure to get a well-cut diamond with proper ratios so your jewels look as good as they cost.
The most common choice for affordable jewelry is sterling silver. This is because of the metal’s combination of cost effectiveness and relative shine. Silver has a similar look to platinum and white gold to the naked eye but it lacks the prestige of the more precious metals.
Gold can be manufactured in many colors but the two most popular are white and yellow. Yellow gold and white gold have very similar strength and malleability. The purity of gold is measured in karats. Pure gold is 24-karat or 100 percent gold, 18-karat is 75 percent gold, 14-karat is 58.5 percent gold while 10-karat gold is 41.7 percent gold and 58.3 percent alloy.
The price of gold jewelry is dependent upon the purity of the gold used and the weight. When the karat purity of yellow gold jewelry is high, the yellow color is brighter, raising the value of the jewelry.
Platinum ranks among the rarest of metals. Even in this pure state, platinum contains five other metals –iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium and ruthenium. Ten tons of raw ore yield one ounce of platinum. For every 15 to 20 ounces of gold extracted, only a single ounce of palladium, the key component in platinum, is mined.
Unlike gold, which is too soft in its purest form, platinum is used in jewelry at 90-95% purity. Like gold, it is tarnish and rust resistant.
Diamond Jewelry in Canada
Canada has a rich history in the diamond jewelry industry. From east to west you can find many cities that have made they mark on the Canadian jewelry city map.