The Four C's of Diamonds
Because diamonds are so precious and rare, we want to make certain that our criteria of comparison are exact. That is why a consumer, at the very least, must become familiar with the 4'Cs, an industry standard.
First a lesson in diamond anatomy:
Diameter: the widest portion of the stone, measured across the girdle.
Table: the very top of the stone and also the largest facet.
Crown: the upper portion of the stone, from the girdle to the table.
Girdle: the narrow band of facets around the widest part of the diamond.
Pavilion: the bottom portion of the stone, from the girdle down to the cutlet.
Cutlet: the facet at the tip of the stone, usually not visible without the use of a loupe.
Depth: the height of the stone, from the table through the cutlet.
The cut of a diamond and the proportions, polish and symmetry of the cut all affect the brilliance and sparkle of the stone.
The two main factors governing brilliance are the diameter and depth of a diamond, in fact cut is often considered the most important aspect of a stone. A stone with great color and clarity will be dull if cut poorly. The key is the depth of the diamond and width of the table compared to the diameter of the entire stone. When a stone is cut with ideal proportions light will reflect and refract within the stone and create the brilliance that we associate with a fine quality diamond.
When a stone is cut poorly, too shallow or too deep, light will be lost out of the bottom of the stone and it will appear dull. Two other key concerns when talking about cut are polish and symmetry. Polish refers to the finish and smoothness of the facets and symmetry is how well the facets align.
The color of a diamond is important because when light refracts into a diamond it acts like a prism, splitting the light into all the colors of the spectrum. This creates the fire that we associate with a beautiful diamond. The whiter a diamond is, the more fire there is and as the color moves more towards shades of yellow the diamonds fire becomes greatly diminished.
Diamond color is graded using an alphabetic scale, from D, which is the best, to Z, the worst.
D and E are quite rare, both being colorless, F is also colorless and a little more common than D or E. G, H, I and J are all near colorless and are some of the more commonly used diamonds in jewelry today.
Beyond J traces of color are much easier to see making these stones less desirable.
Finelli Designs uses F to H color in all of our rings, so you can expect your ring to be dazzling!
Most all diamonds everywhere in the world have inclusions, little imperfections, internal fissures or trace minerals that detract slightly from its natural beauty. The degree that diamonds do or do not have these imperfections is called Clarity. The rarest of diamonds are given a clarity grade of flawless or internally flawless. Here is a list of the various grades of Clarity.
F - Flawless
No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
IF - Internally Flawless
No internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included (two grades)
Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist.
VS1-VS2 - Very Slightly Included (two grades).
Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
SI1-SI2 - Slightly Included (two grades).
Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification.
Inclusions that are visible to the human eye without using any magnification. Surface imperfections and internal flaws are common.
The carat weight of a stone is the easiest to measure and also the most noticeable feature of a stone when viewing it. When choosing a center stone for your Finelli Designs ring, you will find that carat weight will be the first factor to consider when deciding on how much you would like to spend.
Diamond weights do not correspond directly to the physical size of a diamond, for example a two carat stone will not look twice as large as a one carat stone. Diamond prices work differently: as stones get larger in carat weight, the price will rise exponentially. The reason for this rapid rise in price is due to the fact that most diamonds mined today are fairly small, causing larger stones to be quite rare. It is their relative rarity that causes larger stones to cost exponentially more than smaller stones of the same quality.