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Diamond Education
The diamond is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones known to mankind. Its uniquely high dispersion of light, giving the diamond its characteristic sparkle and shine, makes it very desirable in jewelry. The process of choosing the right diamond can be clear and straightforward, with the right information at hand. We have summarized here the key information needed to make an informed diamond purchase.
The 4C's
The appraisal value of a diamond is determined using four key characteristics better known as “The 4C’s”: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. What follows is an explanation of each:
The diamond cut influences the amount of light return which determines the amount of fire, brilliance and sparkle. It refers to the quality of the proportions the diamond has been given when cut from the rough diamond material. A well cut diamond reflects more light outside and appears brighter and full of fire. A poorly cut diamond reflects less light outside, appears less brilliant and therefore is significantly less expensive.
Almost every natural diamond has internal inclusions, since the rough diamond material is almost never completely flawless. Diamond clarity is a measure of how flawless the diamond appears under 10x magnification. The higher the grade, the fewer flaws appear in the stone. Completely flawless diamonds are extremely rare almost to the point of being unnatural. It is claimed that the existence of tiny imperfections is the mark of a truly natural stone.
Inclusions are tiny physical flaws in the internal structure of the stone, that range from feathers to tiny black dots of crystal.
Clarity Classifications Pictured:
Clarity Classifications Described:
The highest grade we hold in the traditional diamond clarity scale is VVS (Very Very Slightly included), followed by VS (Very Slightly included), followed by SI (Slightly Included) and finally followed by I (Included).
VVS1-VVS2 "Very Very Slightly Included": This diamond is extremely clean and is virtually flawless. The barely existent inclusions are virtually undetectable, even when viewed under x10 magnification. Diamonds of this clarity are extremely rare and present the top of the clarity scale for the diamonds we hold.
VS1-VS2 "Very Slightly Included": This diamond has few, very small inclusions, which are not easy to see, even under x10 magnification. These diamonds are clean to the naked eye, and present an excellent value for money since they are typically free of visible inclusions, and are significantly less expensive than VVS-graded diamonds.
SI1-SI2 "Slightly Included": This diamond has small inclusions, which are easily visible under x10 magnification, and might also be noticeable to the naked eye. The inclusions are less evident when the diamond is set, therefore SI-graded diamonds provide an excellent value for money when chosen for jewelry.
I1 -I2 "Included": This diamond has more visible inclusions, which are noticeable to the naked eye. However the inclusions may be less evident when the diamond is set, when the overall appearance of the piece takes on more significance.
To Summarize:
FL-IF Flawless or internally flawless, with no internal imperfections under 10x magnification.
VVS1-VVS2 Imperfections are very difficult to detect under 10x magnification.
VS1-VS2 Imperfections can be seen under 10x magnifications.
SI1-SI2 Imperfections can be seen under 10x magnification and might be visible to the naked eye.
I1/SI3 Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification and to the naked eye.
I2-I3 Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification and to the naked eye.
The scale of colors traditionally ranges between D-Z, with D being the most white or colorless, and Z being the least. Color in white diamonds manifests itself as a tint of pale yellow.
D-G Colors: The highest color grades on the scale. They appear completely colorless, and noticeably whiter when placed next to almost any other diamond. For this reason, D to G color diamonds are quite rare and exquisite.
H-J Colors: The least expensive in the colorless diamond range, and therefore provide excellent value for money. They still appear colorless to the untrained eye, and only show a slight color difference when examined in proper conditions next to D to G color diamonds.
K-L Colors: The least expensive in the near-colorless range. They may not present as perfectly colorless when mounted, but to the untrained eye they may still register as white. The color tint does not diminish the brilliance of the stone. They are widely acceptable for fine jewelry and provide an excellent value for money.
M-Z Colors: Have faint yellowish or light brown tints. The lower price allows one to enjoy a better clarity or larger sized diamond, while still remaining within budget.
Carat Weight
Diamond carat weight is, as the name suggests, a measure of weight in a unit called "carat". The polished loose diamond is taken and weighed, and the number is traditionally rounded to one hundredth of a carat. One carat equals 0.2 grams, 200 milligrams or approx 0.007 ounces.
Clarity Enhanced Diamonds
Clarity enhanced diamonds are natural, 100% earth mined diamonds, that have undergone a treatment to visually improve their clarity. Only certain types of naturally occurring imperfections, called "feathers", can be clarity enhanced. The enhancement process consists of inserting a clear, materially weightless, microscopic film into the feather. The substance has the same optical properties as the diamond, allowing light to pass right through it. As a result, the imperfection can no longer be detected by the naked eye. The flaws still remain but will no longer be visible. These photos compare the appearance of a diamond, before and after treatment:
Before & After
Frequently Asked Questions from our customers about Clarity Enhanced:
What are the benefits of getting Clarity Enhanced?
Clarity enhanced diamonds typically sell for a price that is about one third less than similar looking non-enhanced diamonds. Yet they are natural and 100% earth mined, and the enhancement is permanent under normal wear and tear conditions. This allows the purchaser to enjoy a larger, better quality diamond while staying within budget.
Is the diamond graded before or after enhancement?
The diamond is always graded after enhancement.
Can anything damage the enhancement?
The enhancement is permanent under normal wear and tear conditions. The enhancement may be damaged only by acid, ammonia, or the intense heat of a torch.
How do I care for my clarity enhanced diamond jewelry?
Regular cleanings will ensure your diamonds continue to sparkle. Any cleaning process may be used on clarity enhanced diamonds as long as there are no acids or ammonia in the solution. Note that diamonds are most simply cleaned by rubbing them with a new soft toothbrush, reserved exclusively for cleanings, using mild soap and warm water.
Fancy Colored Diamonds
When it comes to diamonds, the rarer they are the more valuable. Just like colorless diamonds, which are very rare, so are diamonds in color hues that fall outside the normal range. This is especially true of pink, blue and green hues. Fancy colors result when there is a presence of additional elements, or "impurities", inside the diamond’s carbon atoms. The color blue in diamonds, which is extremely rare and valued, results when there is a presence of boron. The color yellow results when there is a presence of nitrogen.