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How to Invest in a High-quality Diamond

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3Cs, not 4Cs, are the foundation of a quality diamond purchase. Surprising? Carat weight has no bearing on the quality of a diamond's cut, clarity, or color. Quality isn't affected by size, after all. The 3Cs, fluorescence, and shape all play a role in determining the quality of a diamond.

What Affects The Diamond's Quality?

A diamond's beauty is a result of both birth and upbringing. Diamond rough comes in many colors and inclusions. When cutting rough, the four Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) must be considered. Should the cutter remove most inclusions to get a high-clarity stone? Or should the cutter aim for maximum diamond size? As a result, the quality of a diamond is determined by both its origin and its polish. The 4Cs only measure a diamond's cut, color, and clarity. Contrary to popular belief, a small diamond can be as beautiful and well-crafted as a larger one. The cut is the only one of the four Cs that can be controlled by humans in natural diamonds.

What Is The Quality Of The Diamond's Shape?

The shape of round brilliant diamonds is easily assessed. Round brilliant diamonds should be round! A round brilliant diamond's shape is relatively uniform, especially if it has a very good or excellent cut grade.

Things get more complicated with fancy-cut diamonds. There are so many different shapes and cutting styles that GIA does not assign cut grades. A person's taste is also vital. Four things to look out for with fancy shapes:

  1. Length-to-Width Ratio In a fancy shape, the width is expressed as a single number. Certain proportions pique the majority's interest more than others. Popular L-to-W ratios for emerald cuts, rectangular cushion cuts, and pears are 1.50:1 and 1.75:1. Long and narrow gems are more prone to breaking, so L-to-W ratios are vital.
  2. Line SymmetryThe outline of a diamond for a heart or a pear should be the same on both sides. Each of the following diamond shapes should have the same outline on both the vertical and horizontal axes. Symmetry enhances a diamond's brilliance and makes it appear neat. A fancy cut diamond's GIA grading report does not include a cut grade, but it does include information on symmetry and polish.
  3. Smooth CurvesThe "lobes" or "shoulders" of curved shapes like hearts, pears, and ovals should be full and rounded. It is important that curves are smooth and don't have any noticeable flat spots.
  4. Defined ShapeA diamond's shape should be self-evident. A heart, for instance, should not resemble a flat pear and instead have a clearly defined cleft and crisp opposing point. The proportions of a diamond play a role in its aesthetic appeal. An oval with a low length-to-width ratio may appear to be an uneven circle.

What Is Diamond Cut Quality?

Dimensions, design, and finish of a diamond. Angles and facets of a diamond are proportioned. Weight ratio (too much or too little weight for a diamond's diameter) (the risk of damage due to vulnerable thin areas). Polish (facet surface quality) and symmetry (the arrangement and placement of facets). These facets combine to form the diamond's cut. Cut quality determines a diamond's brightness, fire, and scintillation.

Why do radiance, fire, and scintillation count?

Brightness is the white light reflected by a diamond's facets. A diamond's spectral colors appear as fire to onlookers. The diamond's sparkle and pattern of light and dark areas are seen when moved.

This trio helps a diamond shine.

The GIA can grade round brilliant diamonds but not fancy cut diamonds. Here's how to check your diamond's cut quality whether it has a cut grade or not:

  1. Look for brightness and scintillation in diffused (white) light. Does your diamond refract a lot of white light? Is it scintillating when you turn it side to side? Is there a pattern to the bright and dark areas? If yes, your diamond was well-cut.
  2. Examine your diamond's fire in incandescent light. Is your diamond ablaze with fire? You want a diamond with the most fire and color.
  3. Examine your diamond in various lights. Its appearance changes dramatically from diffused to spot lighting. What about in a restaurant, out doors, or at work? If your diamond shines in different lights, it's probably a quality diamond!

What is Diamond Color?

Except for very rare fancy white diamonds, most “white” diamonds are colorless. Most colorless diamonds have hints of yellow, gray, or brown. That's why the GIA created a D-to-Z color grading scale to show how much color a diamond has.

People prefer diamonds with the least amount of color. Only D diamonds are colorless. Except when side-by-side compared to a diamond of much higher color grade. Aside from the color grade, two other factors impact a diamond's color:

  1. CutColor is lost in brilliant cuts, especially round brilliants, due to their many facets. They appear brighter due to the white light they can reflect inside the stone and back out to the viewers' eyes. Step cuts, like emerald and Asscher cuts, have fewer and larger facets. Step cuts are valued for their elegance and gleaming effect rather than brilliance. Pears, hearts, and marquises can appear darker at the tips due to color concentration. If you're buying a step cut or a diamond with one or two facets, consider a higher color grade.
  2. SettingFor yellow or rose gold rings, get a G or lower color stone to save money. Setting a D-F color diamond in yellow or rose gold makes it appear warmer in color. If you're getting a white gold or platinum ring, go for a G-H color grade stone. Setting an I or lower color grade stone in white gold or platinum can make it appear warmer. Putting a warm stone in a yellow or rose gold setting can help hide its color.

Bonus!

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