Learn the 4 Cs: A Diamond Buying Guide
As each diamond is entirely unique in its characteristics, where does one begin when making a selection? The ideal place to start is the industry-standard grading system referred to as the four Cs of diamond quality, developed by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These four Cs refer to a diamond’s colour, clarity, cut and carat weight.
A diamond’s colour is graded on a scale from completely colourless to light yellow. Although transitions between each grade may seem subtle, even the difference of one grade can make a profound change to the quality and value of a diamond. At Ion & Pirrone, we source and incorporate only the highest colour grades into our exquisite designs, ranging from colourless to near colourless.
Natural diamonds form over billions of years from carbon sources deep under the earth’s surface. As carbon atoms arrange themselves into the highly organised structure of a diamond, some minor flaws can form. These ‘birthmarks’ can include external blemishes and interior inclusions that affect the diamond’s refraction and reflection of light. The smaller and fewer in numbers these inclusions are, the higher the gemstone’s quality will be. The diamond grading system utilises a diamond clarity chart for classification, which ranges from Flawless to Included.
FL – IF: Flawless & Internal Flawless
Diamonds in this category are extremely rare and coveted, with no internal or external inclusions can be seen at 10x magnification.
VVS1 – VVS2: Very, Very Slight Inclusions
These diamonds have miniscule inclusions that are very difficult to view at 10x magnification, with no flaws visible to the naked eye.
VS1 – VS2: Very Slight Inclusions
These diamonds have very slight inclusions under 10x magnification, with no flaws visible to the naked eye.
SI1 – SI2: Slight Inclusions
These diamonds have inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification and may sometimes be slightly visible to the naked eye.
I1 – I2: Imperfect Inclusions / Included
These diamonds show inclusions to the naked eye, even without the aid of magnification.
The cut of a diamond is one of the most important aspects to consider when selecting a diamond, as its individual proportions, facets and finish can either trap or free its true sparkle and brilliance. Too shallow, and light will escape from the sides of the gemstone and result in a dim overall appearance. Too deep, and light will escape from the bottom, creating a dark centre when viewed from above. An expertly cut diamond will refract the highest possible amount of light through the top surfaces of the gemstone for maximum scintillation, brightness and fire. The diamond cut grading system categorises each diamond’s cut ranging through Excellent, Very Good, Good and Poor. We incorporate and recommend only the highest grade cuts.
Diamond Carat Weight
Perhaps the most widely known of the four Cs is a diamond’s carat weight, which refers to the precisely measured size of a diamond. One metric carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams and can be split into 100 ‘points’. If a diamond is less than one carat in weight, it will typically be referred to in points, i.e. a 30 point diamond will weigh 0.3 of a carat, or 0.06 grams. If a diamond’s weight is above one carat, it will be referred to as a decimal carat figure. The weight characteristic is essential in the valuation of a diamond, with the other Cs also playing a crucial part. The value of a 25 point brilliant with top grade cut, colour and clarity, for example, may be similar to a much larger diamond with lower cut, colour and clarity grades.
Verifying a GIA Report
Many of the feature diamonds that we supply and incorporate into our distinctive pieces are certified by the Gemological Institute of America. Verification of your diamond’s GIA report can be completed via the GIA Report Check page.
We would recommend visiting the Ion & Pirrone boutique to experience our complete diamond jewellery collections with the expert guidance of our experienced in-store gemmologists.