What is a Diamond and why should we care about the 4Cs of Diamond?
Diamond is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. Those properties determine the major industrial application of diamond in cutting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond knives and diamond anvil cells. Diamonds are used in jewellery because of its properties and characteristics. When cut by experts, it will sparkle and reflect light in an attractive way.
Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers (87 to 118 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth's surface through deep volcanic eruptions by magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Diamonds can also be produced synthetically in a HPHT method which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earth's mantle. An alternative and completely different growth technique is chemical vapor deposition (CVD).
The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek word (adámas), which means "proper", "unalterable", "unbreakable", "indestructible". Diamonds are thought to have been first recognized and mined in India, where significant alluvial deposits of the stone could be found many centuries ago along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years but most likely 6,000 years.
Now that we are aware of what a diamond is and its brief history, we need to look at the 4Cs of Diamond because these cannot be overlooked when purchasing diamond solitaires or diamond jewellery. These important characteristics of a diamond define the quality of a diamond and hence, its price. Thus, we need to understand clearly about these 4Cs of Diamond.
Bhagat Jewellers diamond education aims to answer all your questions and doubts regarding characteristics to look out for while purchasing diamond jewellery. Through this blog, we will try to throw light on these important characteristics.
The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance. Put simply, the better a diamond is cut, the more sparkle it will have. A diamond's cut grade is an objective measure of a diamond's light performance, or, what we generally think of as sparkle. When a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond (which gemologists refer to as the table). If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.
Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond's cut as shape (round, heart/oval/marquise, pear), but a diamond's cut grade is really about how well a diamond's facets interact with light.
Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond. A diamond's cut is crucial to the stone's final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.
The below diagram highlights the important proportions which come into play for deciding a diamond’s cut.
For an Ideal / Excellent cut, the above proportions have to be perfect. Generally, the diamond cut is graded as the following:
- Ideal / Excellent Cut: Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. This is an exquisite and rare cut and commands a very high value.
- Very Good Cut: Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price.
- Good Cut: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Much less expensive than a very good cut.
- Fair Cut: Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a fair cut will not be as brilliant as a good cut.
- Poor Cut: Diamonds that are generally so deep and narrow or shallow and wide that they lose most of the light out the sides and bottom. Bhagat Jewellers does not carry diamonds with cut grades of poor.
The cut of a diamond is generally understood and mixed with the shape of the diamond. Cut and shape of a diamond are completely different things. Where cut essentially means how the diamonds are cut which have a bearing on the amount of light returned on the top of the diamond, shape essentially means the shape of the diamond which can be Round Brilliant, Princess, Emerald, Marquise, Pear, Oval, Heart, etc. to name a few. All the shapes other than the Round Brilliant are generally known as Fancy shapes.
Thus, Cut and Shape are two different things and should not be used interchangeably.
A diamond's color grade refers to the lack of color. The more colorless the diamond, the higher quality grade it will receive. Color manifests itself in a diamond as a pale yellow. This is why a diamond's color grade is based on its lack of color. After cut, color is generally considered the second most important characteristic when selecting a diamond. This is because the human eye tends to detect a diamond's sparkle (light performance) first, and color second. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value.
GIA's diamond D-to-Z color-grading scale is the industry's most widely accepted grading system. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z.
Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.
Bhagat Jewellers does not carry diamonds below J color and use only absolute colorless and near colorless diamonds in our diamond jewellery manufacturing.
Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Much is spoken of a diamond's clarity, but of the Four Cs, it is the easiest to understand, and, according to many experts, generally has the least impact on a diamond's appearance. Clarity simply refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in all but the finest diamonds. Gemologists refer to these imperfections by a variety of technical names, including blemishes and inclusions, among others. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes'. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Because these imperfections tend to be microscopic, they do not generally affect a diamond's beauty in any noticeable way.
An inclusion can interfere with the light passing through the diamond. The fewer the inclusions, the more beautiful the diamond will be. Diamonds have the capability of producing more brilliance than any other gemstone. A diamond that is free of inclusions and surface blemishes is very rare… and therefore very valuable. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.
The following are the 11 categories which are used to define the clarity of a diamond.
The categories are explained as follows:
- Flawless – No inclusions (Internal Imperfections) and no blemishes (External Imperfections) visible under 10x magnification. This is very rare.
- Internally Flawless – No Inclusions (Internal Imperfections) visible under 10x magnification. This is very rare.
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification even for a skilled diamond grader. An excellent quality diamond.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Imperfections are not typically visible to the naked eye. These are generally characterized as minor. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the naked eye. A good diamond value.
- Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Minor inclusions may be visible from the naked eye and might affect transparency and brilliance. Bhagat Jewellers does not carry diamonds with such clarity.
This is the term with which people are most familiar, but bear in mind that carat is specifically a measure of a diamond's weight and may not reflect a diamond’s size. A carat is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided and classified as 100 cents. Thus, a diamond weighing below 1 carat, say for example, 0.50 carat is generally defined as 50 pointer or 50 cents diamond. A diamond weighing more than 1 carat, say 1.25 carats is generally defined as a 1 carat 25 cents diamond.
As we just said that carat is just a measure of a diamond’s weight and not its size holds true in some cases because we need to consider other factors as well while talking about carat weight of a diamond. This is because a diamond’s cut grade also plays an essential role in determining how big a diamond looks when seen from the top. As we already know now that if a diamond is cut properly, the maximum amount of light is returned from the top of the diamond. Thus, a diamond will appear bigger than what’s it actually is and a poor cut diamond will look smaller than what its carat weight suggest. Thus, carat is just a measure of a diamond’s weight and not its size. However, a higher carat diamond is generally larger in size in most cases than a lower carat diamond.
Thus, a higher carat diamond commands a higher price as bigger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. Two diamonds with equal carat weight can have very different prices because of their Cut, Color and Clarity.
But there are other factors as well that we need to look into while purchasing diamond solitaires and jewellery. The most important ones are Certification, Polish and Symmetry.
Well, we would want to stress upon this and would consider this as the 5th C of diamond as it is equally important and should not be overlooked at any cost.
What is a Certificate?
A diamond certificate, also known as Diamond Grading Report or a Diamond Quality Document is a report created by a team of experienced and skilled gemologists. The diamond (s) is/are evaluated and checked for its important characteristics using various widely recognized tools by a trained certifier. Only after its thorough analysis, the diamonds are said to be certified and a certificate is produced for the same displaying the important characteristics.
Which diamond certification laboratories can we rely on?
There are a number of gemological laboratories which provide these services of diamonds certification. However, it is very important to have a Diamond Quality Document of a leading and widely recognized laboratory so as to be fully sure of the quality of the diamond (s) used in your jewellery and its actual value on the basis of its characteristics. International Gemological Institute (IGI) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are two such leading diamond certification laboratories which are worldwide recognized and their certificates are acceptable throughout the world. So, whether you are based in India or in any other country for that matter, if you have a certificate from any one of these 2 laboratories, you can be sure of the quality of the diamond that you possess.
Is Bhagat Jewellers diamond jewellery certified?
Bhagat Jewellers is proud to be 100% fully IGI certified diamond jewellery store and thus proves our commitment to achieve and provide jewellery of the utmost quality to all our patrons.
POLISH and SYMMETRY
Polish and Symmetry are the remaining two things that we need to care and look for in a diamond grading report. These are checked for by a trained grader and accounts for in the diamond certificate.
Polish refers to the overall smoothness and condition of the diamond’s surface. This is typically a result of the polishing process undertaken by the cutter. Polish is graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor based on the presence and visibility of polish features at 10x magnification.
Symmetry, on the other hand, refers to the exactness of shape, overall outline, placement and alignment of individual facets. Symmetry is graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor based on the presence and visibility of symmetry deviations at 10x magnification.
For a good quality diamond, both polish and symmetry should range from Excellent to Very Good and generally, should not be lower than these first two parameters i.e. Excellent and Very Good.
There are a number of features that are considered in the polish and symmetry assessment. However, below are a couple of examples of each so as to make you understand the importance of these two characteristics.
Examples of Polish Features
Examples of Symmetry Features
Now that we are fully aware of the characteristics of a diamond and their effect on the value of a diamond through our blog, Bhagat Jewellers would want all our viewers to take an informed decision while purchasing diamond jewellery.
Stay tuned for our next blog soon on something very interesting.