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Simply read our easy to follow Diamond Guide below:
The Four Cs
The most brilliant example of Earth's forces at work, the diamond has fascinated all realms of society from royalty, celebrity and scientists alike.
Leading geologists, physicists and cultural observers have covered every facet from its formation, to its economic, regal and social roles. In our guide, we'll offer a glimpse into the quality of diamonds and how stones are cut to make the multifaceted jewellery we see today.
Grading the quality of diamonds requires a trained jeweller to evaluate it in terms of its carat weight, colour, clarity and cut.
The carat weight of a diamond is measured with an electronic balance (1 carat = 0.2 gram). If the diamond is the shape of a round brilliant, its weight can be estimated measuring, by eye, the diameter of the stone.
The assessment of colour is based on a colour grading. Few diamonds are coloured and very few are completely colourless. Most diamonds are slightly coloured and are graded using a system for colourless to light yellow diamonds--light yellow and some pale brown or grey.
The cut of a diamond refers not to its shape, but to the balance of proportion, symmetry and polish achieved by the cutter. The extent to how well the diamond is cut is directly related to the diamond's overall beauty. When a diamond has been well cut, the diamond's ability to reflect and refract light is greatly enhanced. By understanding the way that light moves through diamond crystals, modern diamond cutters have established a specific set of proportions and angles that are known to harness the diamond's internal brilliance and to show it in its best light.
Clarity refers to how clean or clear the diamond is with respect to natural microscopic characteristics. Internal characteristics are known as inclusions; they may be crystals of a foreign material or structural imperfections such as tiny cracks, known as feathers, which can appear whitish or cloudy. The quantity, size, colour, location, orientation, and visibility of inclusions all affect the clarity grade of a diamond. Diamonds with no or few inclusions are considered particularly rare and highly valued.
Gemologists inspect diamonds for clarity at a maximum of 10x magnification, using microscopes and loupes (small handheld magnifying lenses) to determine the size, type, and position of the inclusions. It is worthy of noting however that a lot of work determining clarity is still done with the naked eye.
Graders use magnification to identify the various characteristics and to map their location on "diamond plots." No two diamonds have the same pattern; the plots work as a form of individual identification much like a fingerprint. Beyond the use of a microscope there are no instrumental means of determining clarity.