Buying a diamond is a very personal experience. Diamonds can be bought to signify love, significant accomplishments, milestones in your life or that of a gift's recipient. Unlike when you buy clothing, electronics, or cars, the features of a diamond may not seem quite so obvious to you. We would like to change that. The more you know about your diamond jewelry, the more confident you will feel when making your diamond jewelry choices. Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity are the universal language of the diamond. Understanding this language will help you understand your diamond. Take a moment to learn more about the 4Cs and find out how they play a an important role in making your diamond jewelry unique.
The shape of the diamond is often confused with the cut. Choose the shape that you like based on your style and you cannot go wrong.
The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance or sparkle. Each shape will be cut differently. Before a diamond is cut, the location of inclusions and flaws, the natural coloration, and the original shape of the rough stone are studied extensively. The stone facets are then mapped out and cut in a way that maximizes size, shape, and clarity. For optimal light performance, you will want a diamond that is cut neither too shallow nor too deep.
Diamonds are graded based on the amount of color they do or do not possess. The scale runs from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). An absolutely colorless diamond is rare and therefore very valuable.
How the diamond is set can make a difference in color too. Color is more important in rings than earrings and pendants because the diamond is usually larger.
A diamond is distinguished by its natural characteristics, just as a person would be noted for her blue eyes or his brown hair. Notated as a diamond's clarity, these characteristics can be present on the surface (blemishes) or within the stone (inclusions). The clarity is judged by the number and types of these characteristics and is designated using a scale that runs from Fl, defined as flawless, to I3, defined as inclusions visible with the naked eye. A flawless diamond is truly rare.
FL Diamonds: Flawless - No internal or external flaws
The term FL or flawless is used for diamonds in which a qualified observer, under favorable lighting conditions, cannot find internal characteristics and/or faults by thorough examination with a 10X loupe.
IF Diamonds: Internally Flawless - No internal flaws
An IF diamond has no internal characteristics but which, due to minor finish faults, is not flawless and therefore cannot be designated FL or flawless, may be called IF or internally flawless provided the finish faults are so minute that they can be removed by a gentle polishing with only an insignificant loss of weight.
VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds: Very, Very Slightly Included - Very difficult to see inclusions with 10x magnification
The term VVS is used for diamonds with internal characteristics very, very difficult for a qualified observer to find under observation conditions as described. Further, there may only be insignificant finish faults.
VS1, VS2 Diamonds: Very Slightly Included - Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye
The term VS is used for diamonds in which it is difficult for a qualified observer, under observation conditions as described, to find either a few somewhat larger internal characteristics or several very small ones.
S1, S2 Diamonds: Slightly Included - Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification to a skilled grader
The term SI is used for diamonds in which a qualified observer may, without difficulty, under observation conditions as described, find internal characteristics. Further, there may only occur single finish faults of an insignificant kind.
I1, I2, I3 Diamonds: Included - Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye.
The term I or imperfect is used for diamonds in which a qualified observer, with the naked eye, can see internal characteristics and/or in which such major faults occur, which substantially reduce the value of the stone.
Only about 2% of the world's diamonds are actually flawless. Most retail stores carry VVS as their highest grade. VS or SI are considered by most to be "fine quality" diamonds.
Diamonds often possess unique markings - either internal (known as inclusions) or external (known as blemishes). A diamond's clarity grade depends on the absence or abundance of such inclusions and blemishes.
The clarity grade of a diamond not only affects the value and price, but can also be a good indication of the diamond's vulnerability. Heavily included diamonds can be prone to breakage.
Carat weight is the easiest to understand of the 4Cs. A diamond's weight is measured in carats. The carat is subdivided into 100 equal parts called 'points'. One point equals .01 carat or 1/100 carat. A one carat diamond equals 100 points.
Carat weight is written in decimal numbers, but it is frequently expressed in fractions which are easier to understand. Diamond weight fractions are approximate and refer to ranges of weight. The chart below from The Diamond Council of America® provides a handy reference source for carat weight.
THE FIFTH C: CARE
Caring for your diamond jewelry keeps the diamonds looking their best and prevents them from being lost or damaged.
A regular, professional cleaning is recommended, usually every six months. Diamond jewelry can easily acquire a buildup of dirt, make-up and other materials that can diminish brightness, especially if it is worn every day. At Neves Jewelers we offer professional cleanings free of charge. Our licensed Gemologists will also check for loose diamonds, bent or broken prongs or loose settings. Regular professional cleaning and inspections will also ensure your diamond warranty remains in effect.
DIAMOND CARE: AT HOME
If you wear your diamond jewelry every day, you should clean it once a week. Ultrasonic cleaners are convenient and effective. However, you should avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner if your diamond has a serious crack or inclusion. The vibrations of these cleaners may enlarge such flaws.
If you choose not to use an ultrasonic cleaner, clean your diamond jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a clean liquid detergent. Rinse with fresh water and dry polish with a chamois or microfiber cloth.
DIAMOND CARE: THE DO'S AND DON'TS