Learn to know your diamonds

How to know if a jewelry piece you’re thinking of buying has a high-quality diamond? How to know whether you are paying a fair price for it? When it comes to diamonds, knowing what you’re buying can be tricky. After reading this, you’ll be able to tell the difference between VS and VVS diamonds and recognize the difference between a princess and a brilliant cut.

First of all, all diamonds are unique and they all have their own characteristics regarding size, shape, color and different internal characteristics. Secondly, both mined and laboratory-created diamonds are evaluated based on the exact same criteria, called the 4Cs. The 4Cs are characteristics used by diamond professionals as a diamond grading system and were created by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, in the 1950s. Each diamond’s value is based on a combination of four factors, which are

  • Clarity
  • Color
  • Cut
  • Carat Weight.

To put it simply, the more rare one of the 4Cs is, the more valuable the diamond is.

Clarity

To better understand the measure of diamond clarity, it is good to know a little how diamonds are actually created. Diamonds are 100% carbon and are born when carbon begins to crystallize due to being exposed to an enormous amount of pressure and heat appearing either below Earth’s surface or when similar conditions are created in a laboratory. This process can result in a variety of internal and external characteristics. There can be for example minerals trapped inside the diamond during growth or polish lines that have occurred during polishing.

Diamonds are graded by their clarity in five different categories, each of which includes two or three more categories. The five categories starting from the clearest and therefore from the most valuable category are flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included and included. Inclusions refer to the ‘imperfections’ observed in a diamond.

GIA clarity scale

Source: GIA

Apart from flawless, these categories are shortened to VVS, VS, SI and I. Flawless diamonds are incredibly rare and therefore expensive - they are not usually sold in traditional jewelry stores. What forms the main selection of diamonds in the retail market are VVS, VS and SI graded diamonds. Their grading of clarity depends on the number, size, and position of the observed inclusions. We have noticed that jewelry stores often sell SI graded natural diamonds, but thanks to the possibility to create diamonds in laboratories, we at KARAAT are able to offer you diamonds with much better clarity. All the diamonds used in our jewelry are in the VVS or VS category, which means clearer diamonds with a more beautiful appearance.

Color

Diamonds come in a range of colors. In fact, the normal color of a diamond varies from colorless to yellow, and from yellow to brown. The more colorless the diamond, the more rare and valuable it is. There are also colored diamonds - blue, red, yellow and so on - but for example, a ‘white’ diamond that has a yellow color is graded differently from an actual yellow diamond that is in fact quite valuable.

The color scale is again divided into five categories - each of them is further divided into 3-8 subcategories. Starting from the rarest, the categories are colorless, near colorless, faint, very light and light. The color grading of a diamond is marked with a letter between D and Z, D being the grading for a completely colorless diamond.

GIA color scale

Source: GIA

To make the color qualities of a diamond even more detailed, some diamonds emit a light called fluorescence which can alter the color appearance of a diamond and make it look more colorless in certain lights than it actually is. Fluorescence can lower the value of the diamond, which is why it is best to look for ‘None’ fluorescence grading for your diamond. Luckily, all our diamonds are rated ‘None’.

A D-colored mined diamond is very rare and therefore very valuable and expensive. Often diamonds sold in the retail market are graded somewhere between the near-colorless and faint categories. But again, thanks to the ability to create diamonds in laboratories, all KARAAT jewelry is created with diamonds with a color grade D, E or F. The three highest gradings there are.

Cut

The cut of a diamond determines very much how it will interact with light, in other words, how bright it will sparkle. Diamonds can be cut with different dimensions and thus require precise craftsmanship. For a diamond the have an excellent cut its proportions, symmetry, and polish need to be perfect. An excellent cut delivers an amazing sparkle.

There are multiple different shapes of cuts for diamonds, the classic round brilliant cut, the rectangular emerald cut, the heart-shaped heart cut, and the square princess cut to name a few. As a general rule, the higher the cut grade, the brighter the diamonds. This often means that for example, the brilliant-cut sparkles more effectively than the other cuts. And the sparklier the diamond, the more valuable it is - which is why brilliant cut is also almost always the most valuable type of cut.

Diamond cut quality is graded and can be found on your grading report as the "polish" and "symmetry" of the cut.

GIA cut scale

Source: GIA

Carat Weight

Last but not least is the carat weight, the fourth measure of a diamond’s value. All diamonds are weighed in carats, marked as ‘ct’. One carat weighs 0.2 grams.

It is self-evident that the higher the carat weight, the higher the value of the diamond. This also stems from a diamond’s rarity - large diamonds are rarer than small diamonds, which is why for example one 1-carat diamond is more valuable and expensive than four 0.25-carat diamonds.

All these four characteristics affect the quality and therefore the price of a diamond. Learning how to spot a good quality diamond that has a fair price requires some experience with and understanding how all of the qualities described here affect the diamond. All KARAAT jewelry comes with a jewelry certificate that will tell you the grading of your diamond in addition to other information about your jewelry. We guarantee that all jewelry is made with the highest quality and with the fairest price.

Questions about our diamonds and jewelry? Comment below of send us a message social media, @karaatjewelry!

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