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JEWELRY 101: DIAMONDS

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DIAMONDS
BASICS:
Three Major Parts of a Diamond:
Crown- the crown is the top section of a diamondGirdle- the girdle is the middle, or the seam of a diamond in between the crown and pavilion.Pavilion- the pavilion refers to the bottom of a diamond which comes to a point.
THE FOUR Cs:
It is important to obtain a basic understanding of these four diamond grading categories when it comes to what exactly determines the cost of a diamond.  A diamond’s value is mainly reliant upon the combination of these categories.
ColorThe color grading assigned to a diamond indicates the lack of color that diamond possesses. The color scale for diamonds ranges from D to Z. These letter designations illustrate the color ranges of white/colorless diamonds to the saturation of yellow present in a diamond.  Gradings D, E and F are assigned to colorless diamonds which are the rarest occurring in nature and are hence more valuable.  Gradings of G, H and I are assigned to near colorless diamonds which exhibit a very slight presence of color. Certified gemologists who are more conservative with their grading approximations will group J colored diamonds with the letters K, L and M which show a yellow tint. Those diamonds which lie under the classifications further down this alphabetical scale display varying intensities of brown- otherwise known as “chocolate diamonds”. To understand the difference between a yellow colored diamond and a fancy yellow diamond, or to learn more about diamond color, please see The four Cs: Beyond the Basics; Color.
Clarity
The clarity of a diamond conveys just that - how clear a diamond is. Diamonds free of what are called inclusions (or natural flaws) are rarer, and therefore more valuable than those possessing inclusions. Location of inclusions, diamond shape and size are also important factors which will be discussed in The four Cs: Beyond the Basics; Clarity.An inclusion is the name given to naturally occurring flaws within the diamond or on its surface. Inclusions appear commonly in two forms: black, carbon spots, or blemishes, and fractures known as “feather inclusions”. Diamond clarity grading is determined only when the diamond is viewed under 10x magnification.The clarity scale ranges from transparent, or flawless, to heavily included. This scale describes the clarity as followed: F-IF-VVS1-VVS2-VS1-VS2-SI1-SI2-I1-I2-I3Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included 1, Very Very Slightly Included 2, Very Slightly Included 1, Very Slightly Included 2, Slightly Included 1, Slightly Included 2, and Included 1-3. With the exception of Flawless and Included categories, each tier has two levels; VVS1-2, VS1-2, SI1-2. The Included tier, or I1-I3 has three levels all of which indicate the severity and location of inclusions visible to the naked eye. Typically, diamonds with a clarity grading of SI2 or higher will have no visible inclusions unless observed under 10x magnification. It goes without saying, however, that a diamond graded as flawless or internally flawless will be clear of inclusions or flaws. Opposite, a diamond beyond the I3 grading at the very bottom of the scale is known as a black diamond. This is why you may get a funny look when asking a jeweler what the clarity on a black diamond is; a black diamond is not clear.
Carat WeightWhile the other three Cs are typically subjective in terms of where a specific diamond falls within those categories, carat weight is the most definitive. A carat is the metric used to describe the physical weight of a diamond (not referring to how big a diamond appears). Using a highly calibrated scale, jewelers and gemologists are able to determine the weight of a diamond to a thousandth of a carat. Anything under a carat is described in “points”. In other words, a one carat diamond is recorded as 1.00 Ct. while a three-quarter carat is recorded as 0.75 Ct. or 75 points. To learn more about carat weight and pricing, see A Better Understanding of the Four Cs: Beyond the Basics; Carat Weight
Cut
Not the shape.Cut is by far the most important factor in determining the scintillation or sparkle that a diamond will show. Cut does not reference the shape of a diamond (i.e. round, princess, emerald etcetera), rather, the cut references the overall polish, proportions and symmetry of a diamond. Here you will understand the foundation of what makes up the cut of a diamond, but there is a lot more to be learned and understood about this category.
A Better Understanding of the Four Cs: Beyond the Basics; Cut. A diamond’s cut is what unleashes the true beauty and potential of a diamond’s performance, scintillation, or sparkle. You may have a diamond that is flawless and colorless, but unless it cut with proper proportions, exhibits symmetry, and is polished well, the diamond could be lifeless. How well a diamond’s crown, girdle and pavilion are faceted and polished in addition to the overall proportions of the three main parts and their facets within will determine how well a diamond is cut.It is important to see the three main parts of a diamond in the following example; the crown of a diamond absorbs all of the surrounding light in a room and its table facet serves as the window in which light passes through and is to bounce around the facets of the pavilion- which if properly cut, should serve as an example of a 360 degree mirror.Only if the diamond is properly cut, all of the light will then be projected back out from the proper angle, and be projected back out through the table into the eye of the observer. This is the science behind how a diamond sparkles or performs.

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