A diamond’s carat, colour, clarity and cut determine it’s value and beauty. To make sure you get your money’s worth it’s important to understand the principles of the 4 C’s. The combination creates a unique, one of a kind diamond.
The diamond’s weight and overall size determine the carat. Often the price of diamonds increases parallel to the carat weight. A grand diamond might highlight it’s other three C’s, but also potential flaws. Don’t let the size of a diamond be your only criteria: small diamonds can be just as precious, especially as an expression of genuine love.
The carat weight may not accurately reflect a diamond’s size, therefore it’s important to also pay attention to the distance across the top of the diamond and the cut grade. A perfectly cut diamond reflects the light out of the top, which makes it look bigger.
The ideal carat weight for a diamond ring depends on three factors:
Of the 4 C’s, the cut contributes the most to a diamond’s beauty and brilliance. A diamond’s cut is pure craftsmanship and requires thorough training and patience; it’s not an essential quality of the stone itself. The cut has three effects on appearance: brilliance, fire and scintillation.
The objectively measured light performance determines the cut grade of a diamond:
White diamonds come in different shades from perfectly colourless to warm white. The value of a white diamond is determined by the lack of colour, while with fancy coloured diamonds it’s the opposite. The most common colour is yellow and the most rare – and therefore most expensive – are blue and pink.
The white diamond’s GIA’s colour-grading scale is based on the absence of colour: the less colour, the higher the grade and value of the diamond. Diamonds are assigned a letter grade based on the amount of yellow present in the diamond. Diamonds with grade J or better are near colourless or actual colourless. The yellow tints are due to impurities, caused during the formation.
The value of a fancy coloured diamond is determined by the rarity and saturation or depth of the colour. A fancy yellow diamond is the most common coloured diamond, while a blue, green or pink one is rare. Grading coloured diamonds is more difficult than white diamonds, as each colour may have different levels of saturation. Vow takes great care in selecting only the highest quality in fancy coloured diamonds.
Both bright white and fancy coloured diamonds might show a dash of brown or grey. This is not visible to the eye, yet it influences price and sparkling. Vow pays great attention to these little details.
Nearly every diamond has microscopic natural imperfections. They blend into the diamond’s colour and have a relatively low impact on the diamond’s value and appearance.
The variety of imperfections is subdivided in different levels from flawless (FL), internally flawless (IF), very very slightly included (VVS1 & VVS2), very slightly included (VS1 & VS2), slightly included (SI1 & SI2) to included (I1, I2 & I3). Flawless or internally flawless diamonds are extremely rare and therefore come with a much higher cost.