ENGAGEMENT RINGS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 4C’S
How do you know the quality of a diamond engagement ring when you’re shopping?
The answer comes down to the 4C’s. The globally accepted standard for accessing the quality of a diamond.
GIA created this grading system as a way to describe the quality of a diamond, anywhere in the world.
So what exactly are they?
The 4C’s refer to the Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat of a diamond.
These factors strongly influence the price and sparkle of an engagement ring.
Every diamond is unique with distinct qualities that can be measured and graded.
An ideal diamond is pure, colourless, flawless and cut in a way that displays excellent proportions and symmetry to refract the light.
Colour refers to the subtle yellow hues that can naturally occur in white diamonds. Colourless diamonds are considered premium, purer and are able to refract the most light and sparkle!
The grading system from GIA shows that diamonds
DEF are colourless
GHIJ are near colourless
KLM show faint yellow
NOPQR show a very light yellow
STUVWXYZ show a light yellow
Some of these differences are so fine that they may be difficult to determine.
It also requires controlled lighting conditions, as colourless diamonds may also appear with a yellowish tone underneath a warm golden light.
Clarity is the measure of purity of the stone. The highest clarity, flawless, is the absence of any inclusions or marks within the diamond under a 10x magnification. This means there are no inclusions in the diamond (internal flaws), and makes these diamonds incredibly rare.
According the GIA the clarity scale
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Cut is determined by how a diamond's facets interact with light, it does not describe the shape. GIA grades cut from excellent to poor. Although round brilliant cut diamonds can achieve a triple excellent grade, fancy cuts can only achieve double excellent grades.
The cut is the most important detail of the 4C’s as it affects the overall light performance of a diamond. That is because a diamond’s cut is responsible for its sparkle.
If a diamond is cut poorly it will appear dull even if it has a high colour and clarity grade. If a diamond is cut well, it will reflect and refract light for maximum brilliance and sparkle.
Important factors to consider are
-The precision of the cut (their size and angles) and the symmetry of the cut (how precisely the facets align)
There are two main cuts, Brilliant and Step Cut
A brilliant cut is the most popular as the sparkle is impressive and beautiful.
It is made up of triangular and kite shaped facets to reflect maximum light.
Brilliant cuts include Round Brilliant, Cushion, Oval, Marquise, Pear and Heart Shaped Diamonds.
There are also Step Cut diamonds, made up on trapedzoidal facets that resemble stairs.
Step cuts include Emerald and Asscher Shaped diamonds.
Carat refers solely to the physical weight of a diamond. In metric terms, 1 carat is the equivalent to 200 milligrams. This means size measurements can subtly vary between stones.
Size is not only dependent on carats but also the shape and cut of the diamond. A more shallowly cut diamond will appear larger, as it is flatter, and a deeper cut diamond will appear smaller as it is more compact, even if two diamonds are both 1ct.
Diamond weights greater than one carat are shown in carats and decimals such as 1.5ct or 2.5ct.
Our team of diamond specialists at Janai are here to help guide you through the buying process and ensure you purchase the highest quality diamond within your budget. Click here to book an appointment and find out more.