Diamond Cut, Clarity, Color, Explained
You might ask yourself why do I need to know all of this? Well the more you know when you go to buy a diamond the less likely it will be for some jewelry store to cheat you. You should have all the information you need to understand what you are investing money in. If you were to go and buy a car you would be going to all the websites you could to gather the information on the car you might buy. Well buying a diamond is no different, you need to gather all the information you can before you set out on your diamond buying venture.
F -Flawless Free from all inclusions or blemishes.
IF- Internally Flawless No inclusions visible at 10x magnification
VVS1 -Very Very Slightly Included #1 inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x
VVS2- Very Very slightly Included #2 inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x
VS1 -Very slightly included #1 inclusions that are very difficult to locate at 10x
VS2 -very slightly included #2 minor inclusions that are somewhat difficult to locate at 10x
SI1 -Slightly included #1 Noticeable inclusions that are very easy to locate at 10x
SI2- Slightly included #2 noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x
I1- Included #1 obvious inclusions somewhat easy to locate with the unaided eye
I2 -Included #2 Obvious inclusions easy to locate with the unaided eye.
I3- Included #3 Obvious inclusions very easy to locate with the unaided eye.
Diamond Color one of the 4c’s
Describes the amount of color the diamond has. This can range from colorless to yellow with slight tints of yellow, gray or brown. Colors can also range from intense yellow to brown, blue, green, pink and red. These fancy colors are rare and more valuable.
GIA COLOR-COMMERCIAL GRADING
D, E, F, G, H, I COLORLESS (WHITE)
J, K, L NEAR COLORLESS (WHITE)
M FAINT YELLOW
N, O, P, Q, R VERY LIGHT YELLOW
S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z LIGHT YELLOW
Parts of the Diamond
CROWN (top) The crown consists of a large flat area on top called the table, and a number of facets. As the diamond catches the light, the job of the crown is to split the light entering the diamond into white light, which gives the stone its brilliance, and colored light, which gives it fire, or dispersion.
GIRDLE (middle) The girdle is the thin, unpolished band around the widest part of the diamond. The girdle protects function the edge of the stone from chipping (even though diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, it can be chipped!)
PAVILION (bottom) The pavilion has the most important job, which is to reflect the light that passes through the crown back into your eyes. Think of it as a cone lined with mirrors. The light enters the diamond through the crown, splits into white and colored light, bounces off the facets of the pavilion back up through the crown, where you see it as sparkle! But to achieve the maximum sparkle — that magic combination of brilliance and fire — the diamond must be well cut and cut in the proper proportions. The table, symmetry of the facets, the thickness of the girdle, and the pavilion must all work together to make the diamond sparkle.
TABLE The size of the table, as a percentage of the crown, is important because it determines the amount of brilliance, or white light, the diamond will reflect. For example, if the table is 60% of the diameter of the crown, 60% of the light you see will be brilliance and 40% will be fire or dispersion. Avoid a diamond with a table area of 65% or higher. It will give the diamond too much brilliance, and not enough fire–and the diamond will look fuzzy or foggy.
FACETS The typical diamond has 58 facets, 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion. On a well-proportioned stone, these facets will be uniform and symmetrical. If they are not, the diamond’s ability to refract and reflect light will suffer.
GIRDLE You don’t want a diamond with a girdle that’s too thin, or one that’s too thick — you want one that’s just right! The whole purpose of the girdle is to protect the edge of the stone from chipping. A girdle that’s too thin doesn’t give enough protection. A girdle that’s too thick does protect against chipping, but it doesn’t look so good. So you want a diamond with a medium girdle, neither too thin nor too thick. How do you tell? Look at the diamond from the side. If it looks like there’s a white chalk line around the middle of the stone, the girdle is too thick. If you don’t see any girdle at all with the naked eye, look at the same area of the stone with a 10X loupe. If you can’t see a girdle with the loupe, it’s too thin.
PAVILION The job of the pavilion is most important of all: to reflect light. The light enters the diamond through the table and the facets of the crown passes through the diamond and refracted back by the facets of the pavilion. Here’s the important part: The angle of the pavilion for a round diamond must be between 40-41.5 degrees. 40.75 degrees is perfect. For marquise, pear, and ovals, the perfect angle is 40 degrees, but an acceptable range is 39.25–40.75 degrees. For emerald and rectangular cuts, perfect is 45.05 and an acceptable range is 43.3-46.8 degrees. If the pavilion angle is not exactly right it will not reflect the light properly, and the diamond won’t have the sparkle it should.
CROWN ANGLE The angle of the crown is also important, but it doesn’t have to be quite as precise as the pavilion angle. The angle of the crown should be 32-35 degrees. If it’s smaller than 32 degrees, the diamond is what we call spread-cut.
CULET Finally, at the very bottom of the diamond–the base of the pavilion–there may be a small facet called the culet. If this facet is too large, when you look straight down through the table it will look like the diamond has a hole in the middle. Make sure the stone has no culet or a very small culet.
Types Of Diamond Treatment
Some diamonds may be treated to improve their appearance. Since these treatments improve the clarity of the diamond, some jewelers refer to them as clarity enhancement.
One type of treatment – fracture filling – conceals cracks in diamonds by filling them with a foreign substance. This filling may not be permanent and jewelers should tell you if the diamond you’re considering has been fracture-filled.
Another treating – of diamonds that have black inclusions or pots is Lasering. A laser beam is aimed at the inclusion. Acid is then forced through a tiny tunnel made by the laser beam to remove the inclusion. Lasering is permanent and a laser-drilled stone does not require special care. While a laser-drilled diamond may appear as beautiful as a comparable untreated stone, it may not be as valuable. That’s because an untreated stone of the same quality is rarer and more valuable. Jewelers should tell you whether the diamond you’re considering has been laser-drilled.