As far as jewelry is concerned, the deeper the hole it burns in a man's wallet, the more jealous his wife's friends will be. While that is one way to grade diamonds, it isn't objective enough to ideally decide if a gem is actually worth selling your car. For that, we have the GIA's official grading system.
Before the Gemology Institute of America (GIA) standardized diamond grading, the measurements were done by national standards. That made it difficult to import or export diamonds, because one country's standards may be higher or lower than another. This was especially the case with color, the problem which GIA standards solved completely.
Diamond Grading Made Simple
The value of a diamond is determined by 4 Cs:
The carat is the weight unit of a diamond. A diamond is always measured by the weight and not the size. Although the size and weight should be in direct proportion, it may not always be true as a heavily cut diamond would have a lesser carat weight than an uncut one of the same size.
But if the diamond is heavier and larger as well, its price goes up exponentially. For example, if there are two 1.5 carat diamonds, the larger one will have more value than the smaller one.
1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams and is divided into 100 points. So a diamond of 150 mg, would be 75 points or 3/4th of a carat. The heavier the diamond, the more the carats and the more it costs.
The cut is always the crowd-puller. For the customer, the cut is all about how well the diamond sparkles.
There are two types of cuts on a diamond. The first one is the actual shape of the diamond, of which there are several types. The most common types of diamond cuts are brilliant (round), princess (square), oval, marquise (eye-shaped), emerald, pear, asscher (squarish octagon), cushion, trillion and baguette (long rectangle).
These cuts define how the diamond is studded into jewelry. The princess cut and the brilliant cut are the most common types you will find. The cuts should always be perfect to refract the right amount of light through the upper surface.
The other type of cuts enhance its character. They are the smaller cuts that give a diamond its flair, which can be classified in three parts. The first is the total amount of light reflected from the diamond. The more the light, the shinier the diamond.
The second is the diamond's ability to separate light into its different colors from the spectrum. This is usually called the 'fire' of a diamond. The third is the amount of sparkle a diamond has. The more sparkling a diamond is when it moves in light, the more it costs.
The GIA's scale of measuring the quality of cut goes from poor, fair, good, very good to excellent.
This category is easy for the customer to see even without a formal grading system, but only up to a certain point. In general, the ideal diamond is supposed to be colorless. Lower quality diamonds have a yellowish tinge to them.
The diamond comes in a variety of colors from perfectly colorless to yellow. The color grading is done by letters: D being the most expensive while Z, the least expensive. The following color grading chart will explain it in more detail.
Diamond Color Grade Description
D, E, F- Colorless G, H, I, J- Near Colorless K, L, M- Faint Yellow N, O, P, Q, R- Very Light Yellow S to Z- Light Yellow to Strong Yellow
Clarity Grading and Description
Flawless (FL)- These are the best quality diamonds available. No inclusions or blemishes can be seen at 10x magnification. Internally Flawless (IF)- No inclusions and some blemishes are visible at 10x magnification. Very Very Slight Inclusions (VVS1, VVS2)- Inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification.
Very Small Inclusions (VS)- Inclusions can be spotted under 10x magnification by an expert. Small Inclusions (SI)- Small inclusions, prominent under 10x magnification. Imperfect (I1, I2 I3)- Obvious inclusions under 10x magnification.
The 4Cs of the diamond cutting industry are recognized globally. This helps you buy the diamonds you want, from any part of the world. After that, the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. That's what makes diamonds to popular; they are just too good looking to resist!