Defining a Perfect Diamond
The 4Cs and their importance:
A diamond has four important attributes which determine its appearance as well as its value. And these attributes, also known as parameters, vary to give diamonds their own identity in terms of cut, colour, clarity and carat (the 4Cs).
This is where most of us wonder if two diamonds are exactly alike. And the answer is no. According to the grades given by international grading laboratories like GIA and IGI, they may appear to be the same but there will always be a minor difference in colour or clarity.
The colour and clarity of a diamond are its inherent properties and are part of the stone since its formation. On the other hand, the cut and carat depends on the way it is shaped from the rough stone.
Let’s look into what the 4Cs mean and how a variation in each of these parameters can make a diamond different from another:
Diamonds are generally colourless and not white, as most people believe. The coloured ones are called fancy diamonds. These fancy rocks are best suited for any kind of contemporary jewellery or for that matter, even on some classic pieces.
The classic engagement rings mostly use colourless diamonds but coloured diamonds on such pieces are not uncommon. However, their worth, if not more, is as much as that of a clear diamond.
Diamonds are graded on a colour scale, starting with D and ending with Z. Stones under the first letter have no colour at all while the ones under Z have a tinge of yellow colour. As the scale ascends to reach the last letter, the amount of colour in the stone increases.
Diamonds are formed over millions of years under the earth and so it is natural for them to have certain blemishes and inclusions. The first term refers to the marks on the surface of the stone while the second one refers to imperfections or gaps within the rock.
Only a small percentage of diamonds are devoid of both and such stones are the most expensive ones. It may be possible to get rid of the blemishes to some extent but that is not the case with the inclusions.
The inclusions are graded on a scale that starts with FL (Flawless) and ends with I (Included). Stones under the last grade are usually of poor quality and are hardly purchased to be set on ornaments.
A diamond’s cut is what defines its shine, fire and scintillation. The best diamonds are the ones that are precisely cut, keeping in mind the perfect symmetry. Here the symmetrical arrangement of the facets is important.
Diamond cuts have evolved over decades and a good example of this would be the Old European Cut. It is now known as the Round Modern Cut, both of which have either 57 or 58 facets. The former was a popular cut in the 1900s.
Another key factor is the stone’s polish, which determines its brilliance. A bad polish will only give you a dull diamond, even though it may have been cut to perfection. Sometimes, the polishing process itself causes surface scratches which can dull the brightness of the stone.
It is also important to know that polishing cannot lessen the inclusions within the stone but only alter its external appearance.
The unit used to determine the weight of a diamond is known as carat. Some people could be confused and think that it has something to do with ‘karat’, but no; the second term refers to the purity of gold. While the price of a diamond is determined using all the 4Cs, it is mainly the change in the carat that affects the pricing.
Hence, while purchasing a diamond, the price difference between a 0.99 carat stone and a 1.00 carat stone is quite a bit even though there is hardly any difference in weight.
Even though the most perfect diamond would be a flawless, colourless and perfectly cut diamond. However, people also choose diamonds with some colour if they have to set the stone on a coloured metal.
Also, those who are not particular about slight inclusions, tend to select stones with very minute ones. So it safe to say that a perfect diamond is what really suits our need.
The diamond cut is the most important among the 4Cs of a diamond. This does not imply that the other …