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Diamond Diet: The Four Cís
2013-01-17 17:11:01
By James Orloff

Are you in love? Planning to propose to the love of your life? Ready to buy the engagement ring but don’t know how to go about it? Although it can seem intimidating, buying a diamond is an easy thing to do. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be a diamond buying pro in no time!

Learn the 4 C’s of Diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat. The 4 C’s are what jewelers use to measure the value of a diamond.

COLOR
A diamond can come in every color of the spectrum, but the colors that are considered the least desirable are the grays, browns and the combinations of each. On a scale, color begins at D, colorless, and darkens in color alphabetically to Z. The change in color from letter to letter is very slight and the color will drop the price of the diamond as it moves down the alphabet. Colored diamonds, such as pinks and blues, are categorized starting with fancy light, fancy, intense, vivid and deep, and jump exponentially in price with each grade.

CLARITY
The clarity of a diamond is judged based on any natural imperfections found internally (inclusions) or externally (blemishes).
Highest of clarity grade and investment value are the following: Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included to the first and second degree, as well as Very Slightly Included to the first degree. Imperfections at these levels can only be detected with 10 to 50 times magnification.

The next clarity grades, yielding a lower investment value, are Very Slightly Included to the second degree, Slightly Included to the first and second degree, and Included at the first, second, and third degree. Imperfections on these diamonds are easier to see only requiring 10 times magnification or the use of a loupe, a hand held magnification device used by jewelers. In my opinion, diamonds in the Slightly Included category have the most punch for your buck.

CUT
This is probably the most important of the 4 C’s as it has to do with the overall appearance of the diamond. It determines a diamonds fire, sparkle and brilliance, and includes five categories: shape, symmetry, polish, proportions and finish. That may seem like a lot, but here it is simplified.

• Brilliance – the total light reflected from a diamond
• Fire – the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum
• Scintillation – the light will perform in and on the diamond dictated by the angles and shapes of the facets. In short, the sparkle factor!

The five categories used to assess a diamond’s cut are pretty self-explanatory, but shape can be very important when selecting a gem for purchase. The most common shape is the standard round brilliant diamond. All others, such as pear, emerald and heart cuts are known as fancy shapes.

CARAT
This is a unit of weight like pounds, grams, kilos, etc. There are 100 points in a carat 1/100cts = 1point. 100/100 = 1carat (ct). 1/4carat .25cts are one in the same. The carat is the weight of the diamond.

Before you select your diamond, remember, the 4 C’s are merely a guideline. You need to actually see the diamond before you select it. My recommendation is to choose based on the C’s that the eye can see! The eye will only see the Carat (size) and Cut (sparkle). Ask the jeweler for a small selection and let the diamond choose you. One diamond will stand out and say, take me!

To research more on diamonds I would like to recommend the following web site: www.gia.org