A Guide to Diamonds
Diamonds, with their mesmerising sparkle and timeless elegance, have captivated humanity for centuries. These remarkable gems, formed deep within the Earth's mantle, are not only symbols of luxury and love but also marvels of natural formation. Understanding the value and quality of diamonds is crucial for anyone interested in purchasing these precious stones, whether for investment, as a gift, or for a special occasion like an engagement.
The core aspects of diamond evaluation, commonly known as the 4Cs - Clarity, Colour, Cut, and Carat have been established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and are today globally accepted standards for assessing a diamond's quality and value.
The 4Cs of Diamonds
Colour in diamonds refers to their lack of colour, with the most valuable diamonds being near colourless. This characteristic is assessed based on the hue, tone, and saturation of the diamond, with colour grades D, E, and F being the highest quality, denoting excellent whites. Larger diamonds tend to show colour more easily.
Diamonds are graded under controlled conditions for accurate comparison. Some diamonds exhibit fluorescence under UV light, which can affect their colour quality. Fancy coloured diamonds, such as red, green, purple, orange, pink, blue, yellow, black, and champagne, are valued based on the intensity and vividness of their colour, with the rarer colours being more valuable.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions and blemishes in a diamond, formed during its development deep within the earth under extreme heat and pressure. These unique 'birthmarks' can be internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). While every diamond has imperfections, those with fewer inclusions are considered more valuable due to their rarity. Under 10x magnification, no diamond is completely flawless, though some are close, categorised as 'Flawless' and are exceptionally rare.
Our diamond selection ranges from 'Internally Flawless' (no visible inclusions under 10x magnification) to VVS1 and VVS2 (minute inclusions hard to detect at 10x magnification), and VS1 and VS2 (inclusions very difficult to see at 10x magnification).
The cut of a diamond significantly influences how it interacts with light, affecting its brightness, fire (colour reflections), and scintillation (sparkles). A well-cut diamond can refract light in stunning ways, enhancing its fire, brilliance, and scintillation.
The cut also affects the diamond's overall appearance, including its colour and clarity. Ideal cuts maximise light reflection and sparkle, while poorly cut diamonds, either too deep or too shallow, lose light and appear less brilliant. Diamond cutters aim to minimise flaws and maximise the stone's potential.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats, with one metric carat equalling 0.20 grams. This standard was originally based on the weight of a carob seed. Diamond weight can also be expressed in points, with one carat being equivalent to 100 points (e.g., 0.50 carats is 50 points). Larger diamonds are more valuable when other quality factors are equal.
A single diamond of 1.00 carat is more valuable than four 0.25 carat diamonds combined. Slight differences in weight can significantly affect value, especially at 'magic numbers' like 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.00 carats, etc., with larger stones being rarer and more valuable.