The Sidney Thomas Diamond Guide
Throughout history the diamond has dazzled men and women alike more than any other gemstone. Kings and queens wore diamond crowns, and knights decorated their armor with uncut diamonds. Once believed to have magical powers, the diamond gave the wearer strength. It was a symbol of fearlessness and fortune. Today, the diamond is an international emblem of love, present in many engagement rings and wedding bands. The radiance of a diamond is extraordinarily captivating, making it a choice gemstone for necklaces, bracelets and earrings, as well.
There are factors to consider when selecting diamond jewelry, often referred to as the "4C's": color, clarity, cut and carat weight. The discussion below will provide valuable information about these criteria. Buying a diamond is a very personal decision. That being said, it is up to you to decide which combination of the 4C's makes up the ideal diamond for you.
Choosing a Diamond
Carat weight is fairly straightforward. Diamonds are weighed in carats, which are made up of 100 points. For example, a three-quarter-carat stone is 0.75 carats or 75 points. The supply of high-carat diamonds is limited, therefore, as the weight of a gemstone increases so does its value. However, carat weight refers to the weight of a diamond, not the size. In other words, two differently-shaped gemstones of the same carat weight can have different dimensions and one can look larger than the other.
Most diamonds contain inclusions, or very tiny natural characteristics. Surface blemishes can also exist. A trained gemologist determines the clarity of a diamond by using 10x magnification. The size, number, position, type and color of these inclusions determines a diamond's clarity grade. Color is important because dark inclusions detract from the gemstone's beauty more than gray or white. The smaller and fewer inclusions, the more valuable the diamond. The most well-known clarity grading scale is through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Here is how diamond clarity is graded:
Flawless: No inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification
IF: Internally flawless with surface blemishes
VVS1 – VVS2: Very, very slightly included; inclusions are minute
VS1-VS 2: Very slightly included; inclusions are minor
SI1-S1 2: Slightly included: inclusions are noticeable
I1, I 2, I 3: included; inclusions are observable
White diamonds are graded on their lack of color. The GIA's diamond color grading scale has a range from D to Z. D is colorless while Z is highly colored, usually tinted yellow. D, E and F graded diamonds are considered colorless. G, H, I and J are considered near-colorless as color is unnoticeable to the untrained eye. In general, the more colorless a diamond is, the higher its value.