Diamond Buying 101
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF CHOOSING A DIAMOND IS CHOOSING YOUR JEWELER.
When you visit Karaman Fine Jewelry to shop for a diamond, you will be served by someone who has made it his or her career to know diamonds and jewelry. Our staff has the knowledge it takes to educate you about diamonds. Each diamond expert will explain the important features of our diamonds and settings. You will see why couples have been entrusting their most important jewelry purchase to Karaman Fine Jewelry for over 30 years.
We want you to feel confident about your purchase. We have the finest selection of diamonds, an extensive selection of designer settings and outstanding service. Nobody can sell you a more beautiful diamond or offer a better value than Karaman Fine Jewelry.
How To Buy A Diamond There are four factors that determine the value of a diamond which are collectively known as the “Four C’s”. The “Four C’s” : Carat, Cut, Clarity and Color define every diamond.
Carat is the measure of a diamond’s weight. The term is derived from the carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times, since they were of similar weight. The loose diamond is weighed on a calibrated scale. (A carat equals 1/5 of a gram) 100 points equal 1.00 carat and thus 50 points equal ½ carat.
As a diamond increases in size, it becomes rarer and its cost increases geometrically: Therefore a 1.00 carat diamond will cost considerably more than twice as much as a .50 carat stone of equal quality. But carat weight can be very misleading for diamonds of equal carat weights can have huge disparities in price based on Cut, Color & Clarity.
The attribute, “Cut”, has two distinct meanings: the shape of the diamond and the quality of the cutting. The Round Brilliant cut is by far the most popular and has been the top-selling diamond shape for more than one hundred years. When cutting Round Brilliant diamonds, the cutter must adhere to a set of strict guidelines. The Round Brilliant optimizes a diamond’s unique ability to reflect light and to sparkle. Three components comprise “Cut”. They are: proportions, symmetry and polish. Recently the GIA introduced a Cut Grade that evaluates and weighs all of these components in determining the quality of the “Cut” of a Round Brilliant (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor).
Clarity is the evaluation of a diamond’s internal and external characteristics. The fewer inclusions or blemishes, the more valuable the diamond becomes. To locate most of these tiny characteristics, a jeweler will use a ten-power diamond loupe, then, evaluating the size, location, nature, number, and color of all the inclusions and blemishes, a clarity grade is assigned.
There are six main categories:
- Flawless (FL): Extremely rare with no inclusions or blemishes.
- Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions and only minor blemishes.
- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1-VVS2): Very minute inclusions seen with a 10 power loupe.
- Very Slightly Included (VS1-VS2): Minor inclusions seen with a 10 power loupe.
- Slightly Included (SI1-SI2): Noticeable inclusions seen under a 10 power loupe and a small percentage may be visible to the naked eye.
- Included (I1, I2 & I3): Obvious inclusions seen by the naked eye.
Please note that inclusions are visible to the naked eye only in the I grade. In most cases, there’s no link between clarity and beauty.
Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, but the most popular are the colorless and near colorless (D-J). Truly colorless, pure white diamonds are extremely rare and, therefore, the most costly. Laboratories, like GIA, grade stones according to how far they deviate from colorless. Colorless stones are graded D,E, or F. All three grades are considered colorless but with slightly more color. Color grading continues down through the alphabet, with each letter designating a slightly darker or warmer tint. The best way to see the true color of a diamond is by looking at it upside down against a white surface.