Today's guest post comes from Jessica Carter, a new jewelry blogger & self proclaimed diamond expert. Read more articles by Jessica at her blog, Diamond Clarity.
There is a quite a bit of obsession with the 4 C’s in the jewelry and fashion worlds. The 4 C’s – Clarity, Cut, Color, and Carat weight mostly applies to diamonds, although it also can be used to judge other gemstones as well. But, most people haven’t a clue as to what these mean, so they are usually at the jeweler’s mercy when it comes to selecting both engagement rings and wedding rings. So, for those who would like to be prepared when they go picking engagement and wedding rings, here is a citizen’s guide to the 4 C’s.
The first of the 4 C’s is Clarity. Diamond Clarity is probably the most important if the 4 C’s because most a diamond’s price is based on it. Clarity refers to the number of flaws – or inclusions – on a diamond. Every diamond has inclusions - it is an unavoidable part of the process that creates them. Diamond clarity is graded on a scale that runs from Flawless - to I3 – Included Level 3, with VVS, VS and SI levels in between that represent different levels of flaws. Most jewelers push for FL or IF (internally Flawless) diamonds, but VS, VVS grade diamonds and SI diamonds can be used in engagement and wedding rings because the inclusions present are invisible without a microscope.
The next of the 4 C’s is a diamond’s Cut, which refers to how a diamond’s proportions, polish and symmetry affect its ability to reflect, sparkle and disperse light. The terms associated with these abilities are Brilliance, Scintillation and Fire. Like diamond Clarity, diamond Cut has a grading scale, this one ranges from Excellent or Ideal to Poor.
Diamond Color refers to the any coloration in a diamond. Diamond color runs on a scale from D to Z, with D being the ideal colorless diamonds and Z diamonds being yellow or brownish. Typically, color is only noticeable from I onward, but the color is so slight that these diamond can be used in an engagement or wedding ring. It should be noted that there are diamonds which are deep shades of other colors, such as blue, pink and red, but these diamonds’ colors are graded on different scale that runs from C1 to C7 and called Fancy Colored Diamonds.
Finally, there is the Carat weight. The carat weight of a diamond refers to how much the diamond weighs, but not its actual size. The weight affects price as a heavier diamond has more stone to it, and thus a higher price tag. However, one thing to keep in mind is that a heavier diamond may not but cut as well as a lower carat diamond and thus not be as high quality of diamond.