Consumers often confuse cut to be the same as a diamond’s shape. They aren’t the same thing and it doesn’t help that many jewelers use these 2 terms interchangeably.
Shape refers to the outline a diamond has(e.g. heart and cushion) while cut refers to a combined aspect of a diamond’s proportions and finishing (symmetry/polish).
The Cut is the most important factor among the 4Cs as it determines the brilliance and beauty of the diamond. I recommend that you always place your emphasis on getting the best cut possible.
Cut itself can make a diamond look bigger, improve the face up color and mask inclusions. This means you get a free boost in the other aspects of the 3Cs (color, carat and clarity) just by having a better cut!
Simplified Diagram to Show How Light Transverses Through a Diamond
In a well cut stone, a large percentage of light that enters the diamond gets reflected back into the viewer’s eyes. This gives the diamond a bright looking appearance and enhances its luster.
Did you know that the amazing play of light displayed by a diamond is actually governed by the laws of physics? The amount of sparkle and scintillation is dependent on how the light rays are refracted and reflected within the diamond. .
With less ideal cut conditions, light is lost through the sides of the diamond instead of being reflected back into the viewer’s eyes. This translates to a less brilliant and darker appearance in the diamond.
Like many others, I guess you are probably thinking why a diamond’s weight is measured in terms of carats. Isn’t the use of SI units like the kilogram or its derivatives better suited to describe the weight of something so expensive? Why not the use of ounces which we are familiar with in everyday life applications?
According to history, the word carat originates from carob; which refers to a locust tree that produced edible pods. Carob seeds, being even in weight, were used as weighing references by traders in the olden days. This was a time when high tech machines were not in existence. One carat was equal to the weight of one carob seed and trades were made based on this simple estimation only.
Diamonds are found in almost every color you can possibly imagine; grey, white, yellow, red, green and brown. And contrary to popular belief, it is actually very rare to find a diamond that doesn’t have any color at all. So, what makes a diamond’s color so important when making a purchase? It comes down to the behavior and physics of light when it passes through different mediums.
Colored diamonds (e.g. black, brown, gray) can negatively affect light absorption, and thus the sparkle of the stone that we see. That is why white (colorless) diamonds are generally more valuable and commonly used in jewelry as they have better reflective qualities. Of course, the exceptions to this rule are the rare and much sought after colors of pink, red, blue and orange.
Diamond Color Grading Chart
When it comes to grading color, GIA had devised a system of describing diamonds in the normal range with letters from D (colorless) to Z (light brown or yellow). If the depth of color in a stone is stronger than a Z, then the fancy color grading system is utilized instead.
LINE UP OF DIAMONDS FOR COMPARISON BETWEEN D – Z
Notice that the color near the tip of the cone is more saturated and shows up easily.
When the diamond is flipped around and mounted on a setting, it would be extremely difficult for untrained eyes to pick up subtle differences in color.
WHY DOESN’T THE GRADING START FROM A INSTEAD OF D?
You see, before GIA’s grading system was widely accepted by the trade, different jewelers would use “A”, “AA” or other weird nomenclatures to label their diamonds. As you could imagine, consistency was a nightmare and the terms used to depict a diamond were causing huge confusion at that point in time.
In diamond grading, the types of impurities in a stone are categorized into blemishes (external flaws like scratches and chips) and inclusions (internal flaws like pinpoints and crystals), collectively under a single terminology called clarity characteristics. The lesser amount of flaws a gemstone has, the higher the clarity grade and value it possesses.
A flawless diamond is one that doesn’t have any external blemishes or inclusions and is abbreviated as FL. The lowest clarity grade represents a severely included diamond with huge eye visible flaws and is abbreviated as I3.
What Do Each of the Various Grades Mean?
FL (Flawless) – No inclusions or visible blemishes under 10× magnification.
IF (Internally Flawless) (IF) – No inclusions. Minute blemishes are allowable (surface graining or details of polish) but barely visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
VVS1 & VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included) – Inclusions are extremely hard to be detected using 10× magnification.
VS1 & VS2 (Very Slightly Included) – Inclusions are fairly hard be detected using 10× magnification but generally do not impact the visual beauty of the diamond.
SI1 & SI2 (Slightly Included) – Inclusions are easily noticeable using 10× magnification and they are sometimes visible to the naked eye.
I1, I2, and I3 (Included) – Inclusions are very obvious using 10× magnification. Besides potential durability issues, they can also adversely impact the diamond’s transparency and brilliance.
We also have in-house Gemologists ,who will be happy to answer your queries and help you choose the right gemstone and diamond depending on your budget.