Did you know that there is a significant variance in the range of diamond colors? When jeweler's speak of diamond color they are often referring to the presence or absence of color in a white diamond. Color is a result of the composition of the diamond and hence, never changes over time.
Diamond Color Range
Thus, a diamond color is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing that very special piece of fine jewelry. Whether you are looking to upgrade a diamond you presently own or purchase a wedding ring, engagement ring, beautiful pendant or earrings, the diamonds can range in any color level.
Diamond color has a significant impact on its overall value. When purchasing a diamond, take into consideration that it is often very difficult to detect the difference between a colorless diamond (on a scale of D-F color), and a near colorless diamond (on a scale G-J color). In addition, diamonds (on a scale of K-Z color) quite often will have a slight yellowish tint that can be visibly detected.
White diamonds have a colorless characteristic (imagine looking through a clear window) which allows more light to pass through, (opposed to a colored diamond) that allows them to reflect the brilliance of light and sparkle, which is why they are the most sought after. These white diamonds are graded on an alphabetical scale from "D" down. Hence, the whiter a diamond's color, the greater it's value.
A "D" color diamond is colorless and considered extremely rare and therefore, extremely valuable. Although the color change is less noticeable in a gold wedding or engagement ring, it becomes quite noticeable in a platinum wedding or engagement ring.
"Fancy" diamonds are those with colors such as canary yellow, blue, green and red. They are not only exotic looking, but equally beautiful in appearance. An added note: Fancy diamonds with intense color can be often more valuable than coloreless diamonds, "two-tone"effect.
A diamond's cut is considered the most important factor of the 4C's; to understand how a diamond's proportions and how the relationship between them affects its brilliance, fire and scintillation. Don't confuse diamond "cut" with diamond "shape." Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the diamond, (such as round, emerald or pear).
The cut is so important as it affects the way the diamond will ultimately sparkle, better referred to as it's "reflective qualities." A diamond gets it brilliance and scintillation by cutting and polishing the diamond facets to allow the maximum amount of light that enters through its top to be reflected and dispersed back through the diamonds top facets. And, keep in mind that the quality of the "cut" will most definately make a difference in how the diamond looks.
Diameter: The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
Table: The largest facet of a gemstone.
Crown: The top portion of a diamond extending from the girdle to the table.
Girdle: The intersection of the crown and pavilion which defines the perimeter of the diamond.
Pavilion: The bottom portion of a diamond, extending from the girdle to the culet.
Culet: The facet at the tip of a gemstone. The preferred culet is not visible with the unaided eye (graded "none" or "small").
Depth: The height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.
Which grade of cut is right for me?
Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are:
Ideal cut: Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut.
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: This includes all diamonds that do not meet the performance standards of a fair cut. These diamonds are generally deep and narrow or shallow and wide and tend to lose most of the light out the sides and bottom.
The majority of diamonds will have some flaws and "inclusions." When we speak of a diamond's clarity, we are referring its special characteristics: the stone itself will more than likely have blemishes (external flaws) and within the stone (internal flaws) some "inclusions" will be identified. These flaws or inclusions affect the diamond's clarity, or the way that light is reflected through the stone.
Inclusions can be in the form of air bubbles, cracks, a spot or line which occurred while the diamond was being formed deep in the earth, and believe it or not, most are not visible to the naked eye. Blemishes include scratches, pits and chips, which often occur during the cutting process. And, because a natural diamond develops deep in the earth, and not in a sterile factory, it is little wonder why most diamonds will have flaws.
Jewelers use a "loupe" to identify these imperfections. The less flaws or inclusions a diamond has the more valuable it is. Diamonds are graded from flawless to imperfect based on how many inclusions there are and how visible each is. For the purpose of grading diamonds, all flaws are referred to as "inclusions."
A flawless diamond can not have any inclusions that are visible to a trained eye using a 10X magnification. Therefore, flawless diamonds are indeed rare. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are obviously considered more valuable than those with less clarity, simply because they are a much rarer find.
Diamonds are graded for clarity under a 10X loupe magnification. Grades range from flawless (diamonds that are entirely free of blemishes and inclusions) to included three (diamonds which possess large, often heavy blemishes and inclusions that are most definately visible to the naked eye).
Diamond weight is measured in carats, a small unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. Each carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, a half-carat stone may be referred to as a "50-pointer" or "50-points".
Carat weight is the easiest of the 4C's for gemologists to determine because of the use of sophisticated measuring equipment.
Two diamonds of equal carat weight might vary greatly in value depending upon their cut, color and clarity. This is important because when mounted, one diamond may appear larger than the other, although they actually weigh the same. Because large diamonds are rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.
For example, the price of a two-carat stone will be several times higher than four 50-pointers of equal quality.
Also, bear in mind the width of your engagement setting. Find a carat weight that compliments the setting nicely without overpowering it, and vise versa.
But the best way to determine what size is best is by getting an idea of what she is expecting. If you plan carefully, you can get some answers without even raising her suspicions.