The 4 Cs

Diamond History

The name diamond comes from the ancient Greek word adamas meaning invincible and unconquerable. What is so amazing is that every diamond is unique and no two are alike.The youngest diamond is 900 million years old and the
oldest is 3.2billion years old. Since they were first mined in India 2,800 years ago they have been admired for their beauty and desired throughout the ages.

Diamonds are the hardest known substance on earth, which is how they earned their name. There are many ancient myths about diamonds. In Greek mythology, diamonds were tears of the gods; in Roman mythology, diamonds were splinters from the stars that Eros (the God of love) had made into tips for his arrows.
                      
In days gone by Kings led battles wearing heavy leather breastplates studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Diamonds were worn because they were thought to give a person strength, power, invincibility, courage, and magical powers over the dark side of life. They were believed to bring luck and success to the wearer.

Louis IX of France (1214-1270) was so captivated by the power and brilliance of diamonds he passed a law saying diamonds could only be worn by the king. Fortunately for all of us a century later diamonds could be seen in royal jewellery for both men and women and by the 18th century, the diamond represented the ultimate symbol of wealth and power.

Diamond Pricing

Many people are confused about how diamonds are priced. The best explanation is that asking for the price of a diamond is like asking for the price of a house. A real estate agent can’t quote you a price for a house without knowing its size, condition, location, etc. This process is the same one used when buying a diamond. A diamond’s beauty, rarity, and price depend on the interplay of all the 4Cs—cut, clarity, carat, and colour.

The 4Cs are used throughout the world to classify the rarity of diamonds. Diamonds with the combination of the highest 4C ratings are more rare and, consequently, more expensive. No one C is more important than another in terms of beauty and it is important to note that each of the 4Cs will not diminish in value over time.
                      
Once you have established those 4C characteristics that are most important to you, a jeweler can then begin to show you various options with quoted prices.

Carat  

(Refers to the weight of a diamond.)

Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 “points.” A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or 3/4 carat diamond.

A 1-carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a half-carat diamond, right? Wrong. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, which places them at the rarest level of the Diamond Quality Pyramid, a 1-carat diamond will cost more than twice a 1/2-carat diamond (assuming colour, clarity and cut remain constant).

Cut and mounting can make a diamond appear larger than or smaller than its actual weight. So shop around and talk to your jeweler to find the right diamond and setting to optimize the beauty of your stone.     

Clarity

(Refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond.)

Every diamond is unique. Nature ensures that each diamond is as individual as the person who wears it. Naturally-occurring features—know as inclusions—provide a special fingerprint within the stone. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.

To view inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying loupe. This tool allows jewelers to see a diamond at 10x its actual size so that inclusions are easier to see. The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable.

Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The clarity scale, ranging from F (Flawless) to Included (I), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.

Some inclusions can be hidden by a mounting, thus having little effect on the beauty of a diamond. An inclusion in the
middle or top of a diamond could impact the dispersion of light, sometimes making the diamond less brilliant.

The greater a diamond's clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and rare it is.

Colour

(Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colourless.)

Diamonds are found in almost every colour of the rainbow, but white-coloured diamonds remain most popular.

Diamonds are graded on a colour scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which ranges from D
(colourless) to Z. Warmer coloured diamonds (K–Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Icy winter whites (D–J) look stunning set in white gold or platinum.

Colour differences are very subtle and it is very difficult to see the difference between, say, an E and an F. Therefore, colours are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy.

Truly colourless stones, graded D, treasured for their rarity, are highest on the Diamond Quality Pyramid. Colour, however, ultimately comes down to personal taste. Ask a jeweler to show you a variety of colour grades next to one another to help you determine your colour preference.

Nature has also created diamonds in intense shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, pink or – rarest of all – red. These
diamonds are called ‘coloured fancies’ and are extremely rare and highly treasured.

Cut

(Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond.)

Nature determines so much about a diamond, but it takes a master cutter to reveal the stone’s true brilliance, fire and
ultimate beauty.

Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. This results in a display of brilliance and fire, thereby placing well-cut diamonds higher on the Diamond Quality Pyramid than deep or shallow-cut diamonds. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately,value.
                      
Cut also refers to shape—round, square, pear, or heart for example. Since a round diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all the light that enters, it is the most brilliant of all diamond shapes and follows specific proportional guidelines. Ask a jeweler to find out more about these guidelines.

Non-round shapes, also known as “fancy shapes,” will have their own guidelines to be considered well-cut.

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