Introduction to Diamonds
The 4 C’s
Clarity, Color, Carat, Cut
Diamond value is generally decided by a combination of the 4 Cs which are Clarity, Color, Carat, and Cut. For any specific stone the combination of these 4 Cs will determine the rarity and the value. Though you may have thought carat carries the most weight when deciding value, that actually falls on color. A pure white D color diamond is quite rare and can influence the price of a large, clear stone dramatically.
In this section we will shed light on these four categories, what you can look for, and how it will affect the cost of a diamond. Keep in mind that the combined values of each of these categories can dramatically change the overall cost of the diamond. It is important to think of these factors in relation to the other Cs of the same stone rather than on their own.
To understand clarity it is important to note that diamonds are carbon. Anything in the interior of a diamond is also carbon. Carbon inclusions come in different styles from small black spots (pique) to long white lines (feathers). How many inclusions there are, the type of inclusion and where they are located determine the clarity grading. Most of our diamonds are considered “eye clean” meaning no visible inclusions and must be located with a 10x (power) jewelers loupe magnifying 20/20 vision.
Quite a few of our old European cut diamonds will be in the near colorless or faint yellow range. The chart provided is an exaggeration of color. A diamond that is rated a K, L or even M in color will have slight warmth to it but will often appear white to the eye. Old European or old Mine cut diamonds appear whiter due to the faceting structure and refraction of light. We love the original warm antique diamonds for their historic beauty and scintillation. People often ask us why there are not more old European cut diamonds available in the colorless range. Simply, as technology and innovation of diamond cutting evolved during the 1940’s and 1950’s there was a demand for the newest cut. Many of the old cut stone were re-faceted and resold as modern round brilliants.
Carat is the actual physical weight of the diamond. To determine the weight of a diamond you can weigh the loose diamond by placing it on the scale. If a diamond is mounted you can determine the approximate carat weight is calculated by measurements. Diamonds get exponential more rare as the size increases which also means the value in exponentially higher too.
Most people think of the definition of cut as being the shape of the diamond for example: round brilliant, emerald, oval or radiant. This is the most commonly known definition of cut. The second cut reference is based on the proportion of the diamond. The way light refracts into and out of the stone. Most of Filigree Jewelers diamonds are old mine or old European cut diamonds. These vintage and antique diamonds do not fall under the parameter of modern round brilliant cut standards. The faceting structure is different. Old mine cut and old European cut diamonds have a sparkling effect and dance under light. Round brilliants have a sharper and more angular refraction of light.