Key to the Diamond Quality Pyramid
To establish a diamond's quality, jewelers examine each of the 4Cs
-- cut, clarity, carat weight and color. The combination of the 4Cs determines
the value of a particular diamond. For example, a colorless diamond is at the
top of the Diamond Quality Pyramid in color ... but if it lacks clarity, is
small, or not well cut, it will be of a lower value. The finest stones possess
the rarest quality in each of the 4Cs, and are the most valuable.
Strive for a stone that offers the best combination of the 4Cs.
Knowing a diamond's place in the Diamond Quality Pyramid will help you to make
an informed decision. Ultimately, you'll discover the unique combination of the
4Cs that makes a particular diamond the right choice for you. Its beauty and
brilliance will capture the true sentiment of the occasion.
The Larger a Diamond, the More Rare
Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature, which
places them at the rarest level of the Diamond Quality Pyramid. What also makes
a bigger diamond so desirable is that it shows off a stone's fine color and
cut, and therefore its brilliance, to its best advantage.
A diamond's size is measured in carat weight, and each carat is
equal to 100 points. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-point diamond or a
3/4 carat stone.
While larger diamonds are highly prized, diamonds of equal size may
vary widely in value and brilliance, depending on their qualities of clarity,
cut, and color.
The Purer a Diamond, the More Brilliant
The greater a diamond's clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and
rare it is -- and the higher it is on the Diamond Quality Pyramid.
Virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics,
yet many are invisible to the naked eye. Under the scrutiny of a jeweler's
10x-magnifying loupe or microscope, natural phenomena -- called inclusions --
may be seen. These are nature's birthmarks, and they may look like tiny
crystals, clouds, or feathers.
Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such
inclusions. Flawless stones are at the peak of the Diamond Quality Pyramid and
are treasured for their rarity and beauty. Diamonds with very, very small
inclusions are graded as VVS1 or VVS2. The larger the inclusion, the lower the
grade and the less rare the diamond. Inclusions that can be seen with the naked
eye are graded I1 or I3.
The number, color, type, size and position of surface and internal
birthmarks affect a diamond's value. Major inclusions can interfere with the
path of light that travels through a diamond, diminishing its brilliance and
sparkle and therefore its value.
The More Pure the Color in a Diamond, the More Rare
Diamonds are graded by color, starting at D and continuing through
the alphabet. Truly colorless stones, graded D, treasured for their rarity and
value, are highest on the Diamond Quality Pyramid.
While many diamonds appear colorless, they may actually have subtle
yellow or brown tones and these color grades include P and Q. Although still
beautiful, they will be less rare and therefore less valuable. To appreciate
the simple beauty of each individual stone, you should compare diamonds side by
side with a jeweler.
"Fancy" diamonds -- in well defined colors that include red, pink,
blue, green and canary yellow -- are highly prized and particularly rare.
H I J
O P Q R
T U V W X Y Z
Very Light Yellow
The Better Cut a Diamond, the More Brilliant
A well cut or faceted diamond, regardless of its shape,
scintillates with fire and light -- offering the greatest brilliance and value.
While nature determines a diamond's clarity, carat weight and
color, the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release its fire, sparkle
and beauty. When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light will reflect from
one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone,
resulting in a display of brilliance and fire.
Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light that
spills through the side or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less
brilliant and beautiful -- and certainly less valuable -- than well cut
diamonds higher on the Diamond Quality Pyramid.
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