The 4 Cs For Loose Diamonds – Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut
A lot of care and attention needs to go into selecting the best diamonds. When shopping around, you need to remember the 4 C’s of diamonds-carat, color, clarity, and cut. Depending on personal preferences and any limitations or special requirements you may have, the combination of the 4 C’s can have an impact on the final decision. For some people, the carat is the most important feature of the stone, while others would prefer a smaller stone if it meant getting the best color or clarity possible. Only you can decide what combination of these graded criteria mean the most in your diamond selection.
Carat is the term used for the universally accepted standard method for measuring a diamond’s weight. The higher the carat number, the larger the diamond, and the more valuable it is. Carat alone is just a basis for the value of the stone and the other criteria can either raise or lower the value. So this means it is possible to get a stone of two carats that is worth less than a one carat stone because of the color, clarity, and cut differences between the two.
In nature, the typical diamond we think of – clear and colorless – is very rare. Other colors are commonly found, some of the most common being yellow, brown, and grey shades. Other colors can occur in nature but are very rare and therefore very valuable, such as diamonds that may be red, blue, green, yellow, orange, or even black. Selecting a diamond color is a matter of preference. The brilliant and rare colors are often called fancy diamonds or fancy colors, and can be very expensive. Likewise, a typical crystal clear diamond can be very expensive, too. However, it may be easier to find an affordable stone that has a slight yellow or brown coloration but is still mostly clear.
Most diamonds are not flawless because, in nature, few things are 100% perfect. Many diamonds have small flaws and impurities in them that are called inclusions. The size, frequency and placement of these inclusions can impact the value and price of a diamond. The more inclusions there are, the less the diamond is worth and very valuable diamonds will have a near perfect clarity to them with no specks, strands, or flaws visible to the naked eye.
How a diamond ends up being cut and shaped is extremely important. Many diamond experts actually consider it to be the most important and influential of the 4 C’s. The cut establishes the diamond’s ability to reflect light, thus impacting the luster and shine, which is one of the main things people look for when selecting a diamond. The way a diamond is cut affects its brilliance and therefore its value, so the better the cut grade the diamond has, the more the valuable the diamond.
The Pear cut is a very popular style that resembles a teardrop. It is considered to be one of the traditional cuts and is widely used for necklace pendants, earrings, and other fine jewelry pieces. The cut of the angles, the depth of cuts, and the overall size of the stone all play an important role in the overall quality and brilliance of the Pear cut. As one of the beautiful diamond cuts, the color of the stone can be highlighted nicely with the intricate cuts. High quality, luxury jewelry makes wide use of diamond cuts of this style and it remains a very popular choice for many people.
A simple yet beautiful diamond cut, the Oval cut is very versatile and works well with many styles of jewelry. A well designed Oval cut stone will be almost as bright and brilliant as high quality round cut stones. With the perfect combination of angles, facets, and lines, the Oval cut creates maximum brilliance and shine in any lighting. It’s the significant angles and reflection that are present in a well cut stone that are considered the primary key to elegant beauty. Depending on the light type and source, the shine can range in color and intensity, which means every outing can be a chance to enjoy a new look and shine.
The Princess cut ranks among luxury diamond dealers and jewelry aficionados as the second most popular diamond cut. The unique cut generates a face-up shape that is best described as square or rectangular in shape and when viewed from the side, the profile of the princess cut shape is similar to an inverted pyramid that has intricately beveled sides. Its popularity is surprising considering it has only been on the mainstream market since the 1960s, though its quality has indeed made it a very popular choice. Discover the brilliance of a unique cut and elegant shine that can only be found with the Princess cut.
The Radiant cut diamond made history with its very creation as it was the first square cut developed to maximize the facets and angle cuts. Its popularity shot sky high shortly after it was first introduced in the 1980’s. The cropped corner style added to the normal square shape makes this a nice blend of square and princess cut stones, for the best of both cuts. In the longer cut diamonds of the Radiant style, a bow-tie effect can be seen within the stone. Some debate still exists as to how desirable this effect is and the presence of the bow-tie effect can be anywhere from near invisible to severe.
The stunning look of the Asscher cut diamond demonstrated the beauty and elegance that can be achieved with exquisite mastery of diamond cutting techniques. This cut has a classic squared look that relies on achieving the perfect length-to-width ratios that maximize cuts, angles, and refraction. It is usually cut with wider corners and eight sides that are perfectly angled to capture more light. The unique shape and cut also produces the widely recognized pattern of repeated squares that is wholly distinctive to this fancy cut diamond. When beauty and elegance are desired, the Asscher cut diamond is one that must be considered.
The amazing brilliance of a Cushion cut diamond exhibits unmatched light presentation for this shape. This one of a kind cut features a facet structure unlike any other. It was specifically developed in order to display a level of brilliance, shine, and color normally only seen in American Standard Cut diamonds. All Cushion cut diamonds are cut to exacting proportions. This cut is also known for its unique “hearts and arrows” which is a special light refraction pattern achieved only in the highest quality cuts. This high end luxury diamond cut is quickly becoming one of the most popular ones on the market today, and it is easy to see why.
When it comes to diamond cuts, the most popular is the brilliant Round cut. This staple cut style is also commonly referred to as the American Ideal Cut, Round Cut, or American Standard Cut. During the early years of the turn of the century, Marcel Tolkowsky, who was a distinguished member of a very powerful diamond family, worked for years to develop the perfect diamond shape. He worked tirelessly on the exact cuts and dimensions that were necessary to create a diamond shape that was superior in quality and brilliance. This diamond cut has stood the test of time and is the most common diamond style found in luxury jewelry.
As one of the most versatile and easily recognized of the cut styles, the Heart shaped diamond is available in a number of different silhouettes, ranging from narrow to fat. There is no real standard for what is a better ratio or size and that usually comes down to personal preference. What is important to remember about the Heart cut style is that it represents love, passion, and devotion and as such, the stone and cut chosen should reflect a person’s unique outlook and style. For fancy cut diamonds the Heart cut has stood the test of time and continues to be one of the most sought after cuts available from fine diamond cutters across the globe.