An understanding of the four 'C's' may provide clearer information to help you chose and purchase your diamond with more confidence.
The four 'C's' are: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat-Weight
For a diamond to display its true brilliancy and sparkle (scintillation) the stone must be cut and polished in such a fashion that the facets allow the maximum amount of light entering the diamond to be internally reflected and refracted before being dispersed back through the upper face (table) of the stone.
The round briliant cut diamond is by far the most popular choice of diamond shape at present.
The oval cut diamond may be considered as an elongated brilliant cut diamond. Traditionally it is set with two smaller diamonds to either side.
Is the most popular non-round diamond. It is a square or rectangular cut diamond with pointed corners.
Emerald cut diamonds may be square or rectangular, but differ from Princess cut as the corners are tapered, and the pavillion (underside) has a faceted cut.
The Asscher cut diamond is nearly identical to the Emerald cut except that it is square, with a total depth which is typically greater.
A cross between a Round cut and an Emerald cut, the Radiant cut diamond is either square or rectangular in shape.
Marquise cut diamonds are essentially twice as long as they are wide, with tapering points at either end.
These diamonds may be considered as a 'fusion' between Oval and Marquise cuts, with one border being rounded, and the other tapering to a point.
Diamonds are created naturally in a wide variation of colours, but it is generally accepted that, in the world of fine jewellery, diamonds in the 'white' range are the most sought after, with a colourless stone being the highest grade.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond body colour from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow):
Very Light Yellow:
The differences between these grades are incredibly subtle and take a trained eye to detect accurately!
The clarity of a diamond is determined by the size, number and location of flaws or inclusions within the stone when viewed under 10x magnification.
The GIA grades clarity from flawless to imperfect/included 3 (see chart above for pictorial representation).
Internally Flawless, minor surface blemishes
VVS1 and VVS2:
Very Very Slightly Included
VS1 and VS2:
Very Slightly Included
SI1 and SI2:
The 'weight' of a diamond is measured in carats. As the carat weight of a diamond increases, so does its rarity; this will be reflected in the price.
One carat is composed of 100 'points'.
For example a diamond of 60 points weighs 0.60 carat and a diamond of 250 points weighs 2.50 carats.
So, the cost of a diamond is not only dependant on the size (carat-weight) of the diamond, but also on the diamond's natural qualities of colour and clarity. Finally the craftsman's skill in achieving the optimum cut allows the true beauty of any diamond to be revealled.