One of the most important things you need to understand about diamonds is that they are unique in all aspects. They display a variety of shape, color, dimensions, and many internal features. Polished diamonds are considered valuable, yet the value is allotted based on many factors. Besides, diamonds that display certain characteristics are valued even more. Therefore, professional gemologists have a way of determining the quality of diamonds, and thereby comparing them to a common scale of reference. Below is the discussion of some of the major diamond qualities.
The GIA uses four main characteristics to determine the quality of a diamond – cut, clarity, color, and carat. Among that, color is a major factor in determining the visual appeal of a diamond, thereby affecting its value greatly. Even minute variances could make huge differences in quality, which reflects in the value.
Under normal circumstances, the more colorless a diamond is, the higher is its value. This is also because they are so difficult to find. However, diamonds come in a wide range of colors too, ranging from light yellow and pink to deep brown and black. Colorless or white diamonds, being the rarest of all diamonds, determine the standard to grade the color of all diamonds.
Note that many diamonds produce fluorescence on exposure to UV light. In fact, around 35% of the gem-quality diamonds display this property. The main color seen in fluorescence is blue, although other colors like yellow, white, orange, and many more are found rarely.
Strong blue fluorescence has the power to make a yellow diamond appear colorless in the sunlight. This happens because blue and yellow are opposites and cancel out each other, thus masking the yellow color in some diamonds. This further affects the value and pricing of the diamond.
All diamonds have internal inclusions and blemishes, which get into the structure of the stone during its formation process. Clarity is defined as the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes; the diamond with the best quality in this aspect is given the tag “Flawless” by the GIA.
Note that blemishes could make slashes on the surface of the diamond, while inclusions are internal issues. There might be minute crystals or tiny diamonds trapped inside a big rock as well. These could also remain even after the diamond has been cut and polished carefully, thereby affecting the overall appearance of the diamond.
Clarity helps gemologists to separate one diamond from another. They can be called the original birthmarks of these sparkly stones, because every diamond is unique and no two diamonds have the same inclusions.
There is no arguing that a beautifully cut diamond looks stunning. The facets of a diamond are cut delicately to get the most out of the stone, and this gives the diamonds the brilliance. In other words, the cut of a diamond includes the way the gemstone interacts with incident light; the amount of light reflected back would determine the brilliance of a diamond.
There are hundreds of different proportions used in diamond, which determine the cut quality of a diamond. If the light enters through the crown and exits through the pavilion, it does not create a charming appeal, so diamond cutters make sure that maximum light bounces back from the stone. Different cuts make use of the reflective properties of diamonds in a different way though to control the amount of light.
Three main optical effects are responsible for the appearance of the diamonds – areas of light and dark (scintillation), areas of color (fire), and areas of white light reflections (brightness). The size of the diamond, the pattern used, and the contrast of the bright and dark areas are the reasons behind the beauty of various cuts.
Diamonds are weighed in the scale of metric carats abbreviated “ct”. Each metric carat is further divided into 100 points. Diamonds are measured until the thousandth (0.001) of a carat. Then they are estimated to the nearest hundredth point. Note that even a fraction of difference in the carat weight of diamonds could mean a huge difference in value.
In diamonds, the value is related to weight and rarity in surprising ways. The relationship between diamond weight and their carat may not be direct as in other commodities though. The concept is based on the fact that large diamonds are rarer than the smaller ones. This naturally pushes up the price; however, since it is diamond out of all items, the value may rise exponentially with weight.
Carat weights may have subtle difference while you buy diamond rings online, but they may show a huge difference in price. For instance, the price of a 0.98 carat diamond is much lower than that of a 1.00 carat diamond. Simply put, certain weights such as 0.75 carat and 0.50 carat could cost much higher than buying one within the range, like a 0.65 carat stone.