Learning Center

 

As the April birthstone, diamonds are the ideal gift for a loved one.  And now you have more choices than ever. Get creative and give the ultimate gift of beauty: a fancy-color diamond. Fancy-color diamonds are natural, rare and truly exotic gem of the earth.  Diamonds in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue, and green range in intensity from faint to vivid and generally the more saturated the color, the higher the value. In fact, diamonds sparkling with intense color are rare and may be priced higher than a colorless diamond of equal size.  Because fancy-color diamonds are very desirable, color is sometimes introduced in a laboratory. These are correctly called color-treated diamonds. When purchasing a fancy-color diamond, the shopper should ask if any enhancements or treatments were used to improve its color and/or clarity.


The 4C's of Diamonds

Cut

Of all the 4 Cs, cut has the greatest effect on a diamond's beauty.  In grading, cut evaluates the cutters skill in the fashioning of the diamond. 


Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently. This unique ability can be released and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy. This also requires that the cutters be willing to put forth a great deal of time and effort, adhere to some very strict geometric standards and, most important, be willing to sacrifice carat weight for superior craftsmanship. The American Gem Society Cut Grading System considers not only the proportions of a diamond, but also the craftsmanship of its overall symmetry and polish. It is unique in that it uses the latest in technology to analyze the cut’s impact on the diamond’s light performance.



Color


A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare.  Most diamonds possess varying degrees of yellow or brown and small, subtle differences in color can make a substantial difference in value. Although increasing shades of yellow can reduce the value of a diamond this does not necessarily reduce its beauty. If a diamond is well cut, the diamond's refraction and dispersion often will disguise certain degrees of coloration. Unless a diamond is a fancy color (or any color other than colorless to light yellow or brown), the American Gem Society Color Grading System places it on a 0 to 10 scale, 0 being colorless. To accurately and consistently grade color, an American Gem Society trained grader will utilize special lighting to compare the diamond being graded to a set of American Gem Society Master Color Comparison Diamonds, which have met exacting standards of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. The diamond is viewed face down and reassessed face-up for the most accurate and consistent grade.



Clarity

A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare. Most diamonds possess varying degrees of yellow or brown and small, subtle differences in color can make a substantial difference in value. Although increasing shades of yellow can reduce the value of a diamond this does not necessarily reduce its beauty. If a diamond is well cut, the diamond's refraction and dispersion often will disguise certain degrees of coloration. Unless a diamond is a fancy color (or any color other than colorless to light yellow or brown), the American Gem Society Color Grading System places it on a 0 to 10 scale, 0 being colorless. To accurately and consistently grade color, an American Gem Society trained grader will utilize special lighting to compare the diamond being graded to a set of American Gem Society Master Color Comparison Diamonds, which have met exacting standards of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. The diamond is viewed face down and reassessed face-up for the most accurate and consistent grade.



Carat Weight

Comparing the value of stones by weight is like comparing the value of paintings by size. A wall-sized canvas by an unskilled artist may be bigger than a miniature by Rembrandt, but it will not be worth more. The standard used to measure diamond weight is the carat. A carat equals 1/5 of a gram (or 1/142 of an ounce). Each carat is further divided into points, each point representing 1/100th of a carat. While weight may be the least important of the four Cs in determining value, it may be the easiest of the four Cs to gauge accurately and is the most objective. All that is required is a delicately balanced scale capable of weighting extremely small weights. Yet, despite the ease of measurement and the relative unimportance of diamond weight, there are some facts you should understand about weight and price. First, as diamonds increase in size, their cost tends to increase geometrically rather than arithmetically. Thus, a one-carat diamond may cost more than twice as much as a one-half carat stone of equal quality. Also, as previously stated, weight does not always enhance the value of a diamond. In fact, when a stone is improperly cut, added weight may serve only to reduce its brilliance. For these reasons, you should consult with an American Gem Society titleholder or individual regarding the question of carat weight, especially as it relates to the quality of the diamond's cut.