How to Determine the Quality of a Diamond
By Francine Johnson
When it comes to diamonds, size doesn't always matter. You may have one that is the size of a hen's egg, that's not worth as much as one that's the size of a dime. This is all due to the four Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, color and carat weight.
-Cut: Most people interpret "cut" to mean the shape of the diamond, when in fact you can have many round diamonds that have been cut with different numbers of facets. Diamonds are actually cut (the mechanical act, not the appearance) into a number of traditional shapes that include round, square, oblong, "emerald" (octagonal), oval, marquise (pointed oval), and pear (half oval, half marquise).
-Color: Diamonds are most often referred to as "white", when in fact, the term that is meant, would be "colorless". Diamonds however, are rarely if ever, totally without color. In fact, many diamonds have trace amounts of yellow, brown, green and other colors. What are called "colored" diamonds, are generally those that have been enhanced by heat or other treatments.
-Clarity: This is literally the definition of how "clean" a diamond is, or how it is affected by inclusions. The highest quality diamonds have nothing inside them that will in any way interfere with the passage of light. Inclusions like pockets of gas, minute particles, or even liquids, l can cause cloudiness, or a duller appearance. Not all inclusions are visible to the eye, or even the standard power microscope used by gemologists. Thus, you may see ratings of clarity that state a diamond is: clean (no inclusions), or eye clean (no inclusions visible to the naked eye).
-Carats: This is not actually a measure of quality, but taken with the other Cs, constitutes part of the framework for determining a diamond's value. Carat is simply a weight measurement.
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