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Diamonds for Everyone

Diamond Tutorial – 5 C’s of Diamond, Diamond Shapes, Diamond Cut, Diamond Color, Diamond Carat & Clarity

Diamond Tutorial

A Diamond is a form of carbon that crystallizes in the crystal system of highest symmetry known as the cubic system born hundreds of miles underneath the surface of the earth. It possesses a hardness far surpassing that of any other substance known in nature with 100 years in the making of it’s formation. Diamonds were formed more than 70 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today. The durability of a gem depends on both its hardness and toughness. Diamond, although highest on the scale of hardness (rated 10 on the Mohs scale), is not as tough as some gems because of its good cleavage. (Cleavage is the tendency of a diamond to split in certain directions where the carbon atoms are furthest apart.) Diamonds have a very high degree of transparency, refractivity and dis persion or ‘fire’ which gives rise in cut diamonds to a high degree of brilliancy and a display of prismatic colors. A diamond’s fiery brilliance makes it cherished above all other gemstones by the majority of people. Diamonds occupy a position of incomparable demand.

5 C’s of Diamond

5 C's of Diamond
5 C’s of Diamond – cut, carat, cost, color, clarity,

Diamond Shapes

round shape diamond
round shape diamond

Round– This is by far the most popular diamond shape and also the most optically brilliant, because of its 360-degree symmetry. The ‘ideal’ round brilliant cut was calculated by gem enthusiast and mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919, to reflect and scatter the maximum amount of light. The round silhouette works with almost every mounting, from classic solitaires to the most avant-garde designs.

Round diamonds can be set in prongs, in which they are visible from all sides, or into bezel mountings. In general, well cut round diamonds should be set with the least possible amount of metal around the stone, so that it is held securely but can still have light entering it to show off its sparkle and brilliance.

The traditional choice for all occasions and preferred by many for their personal investment portfolio. The depth percentage should range between 58 to 63 percent and the table percentage should range between 55 to 64 percent. The most desired percentages are the 60 percent, and perfectionists will look for depth of 59 through 62 percent and table of 56 through 58 percent.

oval shape diamonds
oval shape diamonds

Oval – This cut makes the most use of the sparkle of a round-brilliant cut, and combines this with an elongated outline which is particularly flattering on the hand. The oval cut diamond is based upon the traditional configuration of the round brilliant diamond and that’s why its technical name is oval modified brilliant diamond.

The oval was invented by Lazare Kaplan in the early 1960s. A length-to-width ratio of 1.5:1 is almost universally considered a pleasing shape for oval diamonds, with any variation beyond 1.4:1 or 1.6:1 beginning to be noticeable and become an aesthetic issue.

However as with all fancies, a certain degree of individual taste is always factored into the desirability of a particular diamond’s shape. Fifty-six facets are typical for oval brilliant diamonds. Over the last year or two ovals have become very popular as center diamonds for engagement rings

Generally this is cut so that the length is twice the width, but this depends, of course, on personal preference. The oval shape is very versatile, and works well in almost any setting.

princess cut diamond
princess shape diamond

Princess – This has become particularly popular over the last few years – developed in 1970, the Princess is now second only to the round in popularity. The Princess Cut Diamond is a brilliant style shape with sharp, uncut corners. This is the perfect choice for a combination between a square or rectangular outline with the brilliance of a round cut.

Brilliant style refers to vertical direction crown and pavilion facets instead of step style horizontally facets. A princess Cut Diamond generally has 76 facets, giving it more brilliance and fire than the round brilliant. The Princess Cut diamond is fast becoming one of the most popular cuts in the United States.

This gives a classic shape and beautiful sparkle. Although a square outline is largely preferred, some stones are cut in a slightly more rectangular shape. The princess cut works excellently as a solitaire, but is also particularly attractive paired with side stones such as trillions or smaller princess-cut diamonds.

Princess cut diamonds are amongst the smallest diamonds in the diamond pool. They are inverted pyramids and carry most of their weight at the bottom. Though they are small, they look electrifying.

emerald shape diamond
emerald shape diamond

Emerald -This is considered among the most classic of diamond shapes. It is always cut with blocked corners, usually to a rectangular outline, although some are cut to be more square.

Because of its simpler faceting, larger inclusions tend to be more visible to the naked eye, so diamonds cut in this shape need to be of a higher clarity. Diamond ‘purists’ love the emerald cut for its simplicity.

The flat planes of the outside edges allow for a variety of side stones shapes. Typical pairings would be two or three side baguetts,two half-moons, and other smaller emeralds, but not trillions ,as their sparkle makes the center emerald cut look flat. The length-to-width ratio should be between 1.5:1 to 1.75:1.

radiant shape diamond
radiant shape diamond

Radiant -The Radiant Cut Diamond is a straight-edged rectangular or square stone with cut corners. Radiant diamonds show resemblance to emerald cut diamonds with respect to shape.

The radiant cut diamond has 62-70 facets. Radiant are principally used for important center stones primarily for rings but also for pendant. They are rarely used for earrings or as side stones because they are hard to calibrate and match.

These diamonds are also square or rectangular in shape. But they glitter more than the emerald shaped diamonds because of the difference in the number of facets. Since radiant diamonds have more number of facets than the emerald diamonds, they look more stunning.

It is cut with the combination of the step-cutting towards the culet that the princess and emerald cuts display, and some of the triangular faceting of the brilliant cut.

This is extremely effective as a solitaire but also works well in combination with other stones, particularly cut into baguettes, trillions and princesses. Usually, a radiant-cut stone is set with special prongs to ensure that the blocked corners are securely held.

heart shape diamond
heart shape diamond

Heart – The Heart Shaped Brilliant bears some similarity to the Pear Shape, except that there is a cleft at the top. In fact, often the reason cutters may choose a Heart shape over a Pear may be that the Rough Diamond contained an inclusion located in the cleft.

The skill of the cutter can make a great difference in the beauty of this cut. The “Shape Appeal” is especially important with Hearts.

Romantic perfection for the special occasions. The perfect stone for the special occasion requirements. The Heart shaped brilliant is the hit item on Valentines day. Usually the width will be 10% wider than the head-to-point length.

marquise shape diamond
marquise shape diamond

Marquise – The Marquise Cut takes its name from a legend relating to the Marquise of Pompadour. This is an elongated shape with tapering points at both ends. Its shape successfully flatters the finger, making it appear longer, so is a popular cut for gemstones in designer jewellery.

According to the legend, the Sun King desired a stone to be polished into the shape of the mouth of the Marquise.

It is important to consider that a length-to-width ratio between 1.75:1 to 2:1 is most pleasing. As with other fancy shapes, the consumer’s individual taste constitutes an element of the evaluation as well. The typical marquise diamond contains 56 facets.

This works equally well in a simple solitaire setting or with side stones, particularly baguette or trillion shapes. A marquise-cut diamond is traditionally mounted with six prongs: four positioned on the sides to hold the body of the stone securely and two V-shaped prongs to protect the points at either end.

pear shape diamond
pear shape diamond

Pear – The Pear Shaped Brilliant is a combination of a Round brilliant and a Marquise cut. Pendants looks very nice set with a Pear shape as do earrings, due to the “Teardrop” shape.

The pear shaped brilliant diamond is based upon the traditional configuration of the round brilliant diamond. More than other fancy shapes, length-to-width ratio is a matter of taste when it comes to pear shaped diamonds.

Because pears may be used for engagement rings, suites in necklaces, earrings, and integral parts of custom designs, a wide variety of shapes is considered desirable. The typical pear shaped diamond will contain 58 facets.

This feminine diamond shape, with one rounded end and a tapering point at the other, is a classic and extremely popular. A ratio of 1.5:1.0 is common, so that the length of the stone is about 1 ½ times the width of the stone.

The symmetry of a pear cut diamond is vital, as this ensures the light is evenly reflected, particularly in the point. This cut is usually mounted with five prongs – two to hold the rounded end, two to hold the curved sides of the stone and one special V-shaped prong to hold the point at the end, the most vulnerable part of the stone, securely.


Diamond Cut

Cut height is the most important factor in a diamond’s brilliance. Since it’s all about light optics and the ideal angles to produce the maximum effect the cut is critical to the beauty of the diamond. An excessively deeply cut stone will also affect the way the light passes and reflected in the mass of the diamond. A very shallow cut stone will seem dark, as the light exits the back of the stone, the angles not reflecting the light back up through the top of the stone to your eye. In a round stone you should try for 58-60 degrees in total depth, with the table at about the same for a bright diamond with fire and life.

Many people confuse Diamond cut with the shape of a diamond. Cut refers to not only the shape of the diamond, but its proportions and finish, factors which determine the sparkle of the diamond.

The cut of a Diamond is the only property which is totally dependent on man. Although often overlooked, cut is actually one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your diamond. A Diamond cutter analyzes the rough diamond, and has to determine how to extract the most beauty and most profit out of the rough stone.

Most diamonds are cut round with full 58 facets, and a good cut, or make, has more scintillation, more sparkle. Although the cut of the diamond may affect the value of the diamond, the shape, is largely a matter of personal preference and does not affect the value significantly. It is the work of a master cutter that allows the diamond to be cut in such a way as to permit the maximum amount of light to be reflected through the diamond, and that’s a great reflection on you. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.

It is possible to take the same stone, and depending on which method the cutter decides to use, to either cut it into the most beautiful stone it can be despite heavy weight loss and perhaps lower monetary value. Or else, he can cut a stone to its maximum weight and monetary value, but lose some “brilliance” and “sparkle”.

The Round Brilliant

round cut diamond
round cut diamond

Cut is designed to provide maximum optics for the brilliance and scintillation, making the light seem to sparkle and dance in the light.

Fancy cut stones (Marquise, Emerald, Pear, Princess Cuts) are all ways of cutting a stone to maximize the carat weight. A rough diamond which might only yield a half carat in a Brilliant Cut might yield another 50% if cut into a pear shape or marquise. In fancy shapes it makes sense to add a few percent to correct for the shape of the stone, and transition from the optimum shape, which is the round. A fancy shape that’s shallow is not worth having, and if the stone is over 70 percent do not even consider it… A marquise should have an aspect ratio of 2:1 for the classic shape, but shorter is always better than long… Watch out for extremely thin girdles too… All the comments on the Certificate, and all those comments are important to both the value and the beauty… Many of the fancy shapes are stunning.

The most common, and most “brilliant”, diamond cut is the Brilliant Cut, a.k.a. the Round Cut, American Ideal Cut, or American Standard Cut.

The technical reasons why a brilliant cut diamond is usually the best depend on the behavior of light when it is reflected or refracted at junctions between the media it is travelling through. These media are air and diamond. The most important aspect of reflection is “total internal reflection”, and its angle.

Back at the turn of the century, Marcel Tolkowsky, a member of a large and powerful diamond family, calculated the cuts necessary to create the ideal diamond shape. As part of his PhD thesis in mathematics, Tolkowsky considered variables such as index of refraction and covalent bond angles to describe what has become known as the brilliant cut.

Modified Brilliant Cuts Most Oval, Pear, Marquise and Heart shaped diamonds are variations on the brilliant cut, in which case their facet names remain the same as for round brilliant cuts.

Marquise Cut

marquise cut diamond
marquise cut diamond

Looks something like a football, when viewed straight down from the top. Some Marquise are cut too thin and suffer from a markedly dark center (commonly called the bow tie effect). This effect is eliminated by paying attention to the depth (want lower sixties) and the crown height (want close to 14%) The light passes through the back of the stone due to the criticality of the angles needed to reflect the stone being too steep.

The ideal ratio of length to width should be about twice the length as the stone is wide. (2:1 aspect ratio) In this shape is so important that the cut not be too shallow, if the stone is flat and wide the same optical effects problems present themselves as a markedly less bright and beautiful stone… You also want to remember that with a fancy shape stone you want to keep the color up there, as only the round stone provides maximum brilliance the fancy cuts show color faster than a well cut round stone will.

Oval Cut

oval shape diamonds
oval shape diamonds

Has an elliptical shape when viewed from the top.

For both the Oval, the ratio of the length to the width should be about 1.5:1. If it is much greater then that you will see a dark area. This is commonly called a bow tie effect, “undesirable”. If the ratio is much less then 1.5:1, the stone looks like a misshapen round. A well cut oval stone can be nearly as bright as a well cut round brilliant shape, the angles are closer to ideal for the maximum optical effect that well cut diamonds can produce… Trust your eye to judge the cut, if an oval shape looks lifeless in natural light odds are it’s a very poorly cut stone…. (No fair cheating with dozens of recessed halogen lights in the retail store 🙂 Stay with lower sixties in depth for this cut.

Emerald Cut

emerald cut diamond
emerald cut diamond

The Ideal Emerald cut features additional extra facets strategically placed to dramatically improve light return and optical symmetry. This Emerald Cut Diamond retains the elegance of the traditional Emerald cut with dramatically improved brilliance.

Looks like a rectangle from the top, with truncated corners. These can be beautiful stones, with stepped facets the sheen tends to be large flashs of these stepped angles on the pavilion of the stone… With this cut I feel that color plays a very important role in the beauty off the stone, color tends to show very dramatically in emerald cut stones so stay up above “G” for a super look.

It’s common for aspect ratios to vary greatly in fancy shape stones, which tend to be cut to maximize the diamond crystal, so you could say that the stone “tells” the cutter what shape it wants to be to yield the largest and most precious finished stone… Stay about also in the sixty percentile range depth here, with a 1.5:1 aspect ratio for a great look.

Pear Shape Cut

pear cut diamond
pear cut diamond

The pear is another popular fancy cut it uses the base of a brilliant or round cut and extends it self to point , if well proportioned it gives a depth of scintillation to the point of the stone. A benefit in design if a longer look is required.

The pear shaped brilliant diamond is based upon the traditional configuration of the round brilliant diamond. More than other fancy shapes, length-to-width ratio is a matter of taste when it comes to pear shaped diamonds? Because pears may be used for engagement rings, suites in necklaces, dangles in earrings, and integral parts of custom designs, a wide variety of shapes is considered desirable. The typical pear shaped diamond will contain 58 facets.

A popular cut that looks like a tear drop. This is a traditional cut which is perfect for pendants, drop earrings and many applications. Here it’s a good thing to concentrate on the girdle at the point and make sure it’s not so thin that it’s unstable. You want to find a nice pear shape that is well cut, with a polished girdle ideally… Remember that really excess weight will cost you apparent size, so watch that depth percentage.

You want to make sure the stone has good depth as well, a shallow stone is not only more dangerous than a well cut stone, it’s also not nearly as bright. Once again it’s the critical angles and reflection of a well cut stone that’s the key to its beauty… Stay 61-64% here in depth, and head for that 1.5:1 aspect ratio for a great look and lively diamond. Color also shows fairly dramatically in a pear shape cut; all fancy cuts tend to show lower colors more significantly than a well cut round stone.

Optimum Shape: Length to Width ratio 1.5:1.

Acceptable are: Length to Width ratio 1.5-1.7:1

Trillion Cut

Trillion Cut
Trillion Cut

Many of these cuts are trademarked cuts. The triangle cut tends to be a stepped facet cut while the “Trillion and other variations of this more modern cut are based upon a brilliant style cut. The fire and beauty of these cuts is spectacular, they are wonderful cuts…

Trillions are basically triangular in shape, usually with truncated corners, with a variety of facets. Quadrilliants, Squarilliants, Princess Cut and such, are square when viewed from the top. Note that this pictured stone has bowed sides, so it’s not based on the straight triangle cut but tends more to follow the brilliant round’s facet style… Depth here is OK through the mid to high sixties (61-68%) but avoid deeper or shallower… Don’t be put off by seemingly huge tables, a 70% in no problem in this cut.

Princess Cuts & Specialty Cuts

princess cut diamond
princess cut diamond

There are many variations of the cuts listed above, some subtitle variations and some are extreme. Called by other names, (Squarillion, Quadrillion and others) the square cut fancies are both bright and beautiful due to the brilliant cut! Smaller rectangular cut diamonds, which look like small boxes, or like tapered boxes, are commonly called baguettes. Baguettes tend to have stepped facets, more like the emerald cut has, pictured is a princess cut stone, a melding of the brilliant cut with a square style cut yields a beautiful modern cut… Baguettes are not as bright as the brilliantine stones.

With the many various shapes, and a good working knowledge of how diamonds are graded you can use your eye to measure the over all effects of these cuts and pick the one that’s just right for you…

One Final Note about Diamond Cut

In the years since we’ve put up these tutorials, much has changed in how cut is perceived and marketed. A serious push was made to introduce systems of cut evaluation. There are many proponents of these new systems; however the technology behind it is not very impressive nor scientific.

Computer simulations that do not take into consideration many of the variables that affect light return are being used as the basis of new cut grades by the gem labs. They do not compare to having an expert looking at a cut and judging it with the naked eye.

And more importantly, cut is more subjective than the other “c”‘s. While there is a clear reason to prefer the rarer 2 carat diamond to a 1 carat diamond, or a clear preference for a D color over a G color, some people prefer diamonds to be cut different ways. Some like bigger tables. Some find different proportions more pleasing. Some prefer fire over brilliance and vice versa.


Diamond Color

The color of a diamond has the second biggest impact on its price, after carat weight. Did you know that diamonds come in every color of the rainbow?

Grading “colorless” diamonds involves deciding how closely a stone’s body color approaches colorlessness. Most diamonds have at least a trace of yellow or brown body color. The reason colorlessness is most highly valued is that diamonds in these ranges act like prisms, separating white light passing through it into a wide spectrum of colors.

The more transparent the diamond, the wider the spectrum of colors. Chemical “impurities” in the diamond will filter out some of the colors which in turn reduce the “fire” effect when light bounces back out of the diamond and into your eyes.

Other than “fancy colors”. Colorless diamonds tend to be more valuable. Rare colors such as blue, pink, purple, or red tend to be very expensive…and very beautiful.

Describes the “yellowness” of a stone. The color scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (deep yellow). Grading color in the normal range involves deciding how closely a diamond’s body color approaches colorlessness. Most diamonds have at least a trace of yellow or brown body color. With the exception of some natural fancy colors, such as blue, pink, purple, or red, the colorless grade is the most valuable.

When discussing the topic of color in diamonds, you need to differentiate between mostly “colorless” diamonds and “fancy color” diamonds. Diamonds are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), ranging from D (colorless) to Z.


Colorless Diamonds

Colorless diamonds are extremely rare, and therefore very valuable. But there are no hard and fast rules for what color makes a diamond beautiful. The Incomparable, one of the world’s most beautiful diamonds, contains hints of brown, Smokey amber and champagne colors. To rate the level of a diamonds color, retailers and diamond experts use a scale that begins with the letter D, and progresses alphabetically.

Why not start with the letter A? It seems that when diamonds were first being graded on their colorlessness, people wanted to leave room for the possibility of a simply flawless, perfect diamond. So the best diamond known at that point was given the letter D, with A, B, and C being left in reserve for a possible marvel that might be discovered. No A, B, or C diamonds have ever been found.

The most respected system used today for evaluating diamond color was developed by the Gemological Institute of America, (GIA).

Colorless Diamonds
Colorless Diamonds

Even though there are several grades in each category, there are slight differences between the letter grades. D is the clearest and most valuable, X is a dingy yellow and least expensive. Z grade-colored diamonds are the rarest and most expensive. A diamond so saturated with nitrogen that it becomes a deep, rich yellow is as rare as a colorless diamond.

Diamonds get their coloring from mineral impurities that are found in the cells that make up their crystal structure. Technically, these are defects, but they still can be pleasing to the eye. Some of the colors that diamonds can be labeled are brown, purple to pink, green, red, yellow, orange, blue, gray, white, and black.


Proportions

The items in this category relate to the cut (or make) of the diamond:

  • Depth Percentage: The relationship between the depth and the average diameter of a diamond.
  • Table: The relationship between the table (flat, top facet) and the average diameter.
  • Girdle: Describes the variance and relative width at minimum and maximum positions. The girdle is the rim that separates the top and the bottom of the diamond.
  • Culet: The bottom facet of a diamond as viewed through the table.
  • Polish: Refers to the quality of the surface of a diamond.
  • Symmetry: General comment regarding the symmetry of the diamond.
The fixed proportions
The fixed proportions

The fixed proportions have the following reference values:

  • Crown angle = 34°
  • Pavilion angle = 40.5°
  • Table size = 56%
  • Star facet length (percentage of total distance from table to girdle) = 50%
  • Lower-girdle facet length length (percentage of total distance from girdle to culet) = 75%
  • Girdle thickness (at the thickest point) = 3%
  • Culet size = 0.5%

Ideal Parameters

  • Carat Size: 1/2 carat (.50 points) or larger
  • Color: D-H
  • Clarity: Slightly Included Two (SI2) or better
  • Depth: 56-62%
  • Table: 52-62%
  • Girdle: Minimum Variations, No Extremely Thin or Extremely Thick
  • Culet: None, Small or Medium
  • Polish and Symmetry: Good or better
  • Fluorescence: None or blue is fine. Stay away from orange, yellow, and green.

 

Diamond Carat

A carat is a unit of weight for diamonds and other gems. The metric carat of .200 grams, or 200 milligrams was adopted in the United States in 1913 and now standardized in the principle countries of the world.

If other factors are equal, the more a stone weighs, the more valuable it will be. Gemological laboratories measure carat weight when the diamond is loose (unmounted). While it is possible to estimate the weight of a mounted diamond, the lab uses ultrasensitive scales to achieve an exact weight, measured 3 decimal places, although the third decimal place is not usually mentioned at the retail level.

Here are several ways to express 1 carat:

  • 1 ct.
  • 200 milligrams
  • 1/5 gram
  • 100 points
  • 4 grainer (not often used in retail environment)
Diamond Carat
Diamond Carat

One carat (not to be confused with Karat-the measure of purity of gold) is the equivalent of 200 milligrams.

One carat can also be divided into 100 “points.” A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or a 3/4 carat diamond.

The term carat is a derivative of the word carob. Carob seeds, which are surprisingly uniform in weight, were used as a reference for diamond weight in ancient civilizations. One carob seed equaled one carat.

It is often assumed that a 1-carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a 1/2-carat diamond. This is not the case. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, a 1-carat diamond will cost much more than twice as much as a 1/2-carat diamond, assuming color, clarity and cut remain constant.

The weight of a diamond is numerically expressed in carats

Diamond weight is subdivided further into smaller units commonly referred to as points. A point(s) is a scale of weight that is equal to .01 carat. A one carat diamond is made up of 100 points. The term point(s) does not refer to the amount of facets or individual flat surfaces a diamond possesses as its definition is sometimes incorrectly interpreted.

A diamond that weighs .50 carat or 50 points would be considered 1/2 carat in size. A diamond that weighs 1.00 carat or 100 points is considered a carat. A two carat diamond would weigh 2.00 carats, 200 points or 400 milligrams.

Diamonds of jewelry quality are still relatively rare. And large diamonds are rarer than small diamonds. The scarcer a diamond is, the greater its worth. So a larger stone doesn’t just cost more. It also costs more per carat.

Plus, there are three other factors that contribute to the diamonds price (color, cut and clarity). And although carat weight is important, like the other three Cs, no one of them is automatically more important than the others. They all have to be factored in together in assessing the true value of a diamond.

How Carat weight Affects Value

Larger diamonds are more rare and in more demand than smaller diamonds of the same quality, so they can be sold for a higher price. A one carat diamond solitaire ring is nearly always more expensive than a diamond ring made up of multiple diamonds that are similar, but smaller, even though they total one carat or more. Carat size describes the weight of a diamond. 1 carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. A carat is then divided into 100 points. Therefore, a 50 point diamond weights 100 milligrams.

Diamonds that weigh just under the next full carat are typically less expensive than diamonds passing the full-carat hurdle.

The same principle applies at the dividing line for 2 and 3 carat diamonds etc.-as the price increases in leaps with each complete and full carat unit. Price jumps for full and numerically “round” “stages” are also applied to diamonds of lesser weights, i.e., a 50 points diamond vs. a 49 points diamond is more valuable weight per weight by being a “full” 1/2 carat (there are 100 ‘points’ in one carat. Thus, e.g., 0.50 or, 1/2 carat is equal to 50 points).


Clarity

The clarity of a diamond refers to how clear, or “clean” the diamond is. The more “clean” the diamond, the higher the price. Most diamonds have “imperfections” in them. The clarity scale is a measure of the severity of those imperfections or “inclusions” as it is known in the trade.

Both of these distinguishable features together are called clarity characteristics. A clarity grade is determined by the relative absence of clarity characteristics.

The following is the GIA Diamond clarity-scale:

(FL) FLAWLESS

Shows no inclusions or blemishes of any sort under 10X magnification when observed by an experienced grader

(IF) INTERNALLY FLAWLESS

Has no inclusions when examined by an experienced grader using 10X magnification, but will have some minor blemishes

(VVS1 and VVS2) VERY VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED

Contains minute inclusions that are difficult even for experienced graders to see under 10X magnification.

(VS1 and VS2) VERY SLIGHTLY INCLUDED

Contains minute inclusions such as small crystals, clouds, or feathers when observed with effort under 10X magnification.

(SI1 and SI2) SLIGHTLY INCLUDED

Contains inclusions (clouds, included crystals, knots, cavities, and feathers) that are noticeable to an experienced grader under 10X magnification.

(I1, I2, I3) INCLUDED

Contains inclusions (possibly large feathers or large included crystals) that are obvious under 10X magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

The Clarity Enhancement Process:

During the clarity enhancement process we insert a microscopic amount of material into the imperfection. This material has the same optical refraction index as the diamond. When light travels from one medium to another, it either changes its course or reflects in a different direction. When light attempts to pass through a non-enhanced diamond that has a feather, the light hits the feather and reflects in a number of directions. That is why we see the feather, and the diamond doesn’t appear to be clean. With a Clarity Enhanced diamond, the light passes through the natural feather because the material used for the enhancement has the same optical characteristics as the diamond. This makes the enhanced imperfections invisible.

 

2 thoughts on “Diamond Tutorial – 5 C’s of Diamond, Diamond Shapes, Diamond Cut, Diamond Color, Diamond Carat & Clarity”

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