The four Cs
You may have heard people talking about the four Cs when it comes to diamonds. These are: cut, colour, clarity and carat. It is important to understand the four Cs before you look into buying a diamond so that you can better understand the quality of diamond you are purchasing. The four Cs are the basis for understanding your diamonds.
The four Cs of a diamond should be fairly easy to determine. It is common for diamonds to come with a certificate which reports the four C results and any relevant characteristics that need to be mentioned.
The cut of a diamond refers to its proportion, symmetry and finish. These three elements of the cut are important because the cut determines the overall look of the diamond. The quality of the cut comes down to each individual diamond cutter used and those who are the very best know how to use their skills to cut a diamond in a way that makes it sparkle. Sometimes people think that the cut of the diamond is linked to it’s shape but this isn’t the case, it’s more about how the diamond has been finished.
Diamonds are typically white but sometimes can be coloured. This happens when small amounts of trace elements are present in the growth phase of the diamond that produce colours in the final product. The alphabet is used to grade diamonds starting from a grade D which is completely colourless. Whilst we often think diamonds are colourless, in actual fact a true grade D diamond is incredibly rare.
Whilst a grade D diamond will be worth a lot, so will a coloured diamond. At the moment, diamonds of colour are viewed as very desirable and so are popular in the diamond sector. Strongly coloured diamonds are, pushing their desirability and value up.
When it comes to grading clarity, this is not done on an alphabet grade scale, instead the grades range from ‘flawless’ to ‘included’.
This is abbreviated and the commonly used scale is:
F – Flawless
IF – Internally flawless
VVS – Very very small
VS – Very small
SI – Small inclusions
I – Included
The clarity is referring to how many inclusions can be found in the diamond. You will get some diamonds where the inclusions can only be seen by a jeweller, and others where they can be observed with the naked eye.
Inclusions can include non-diamond material and will look like a mark of white or black colour. These inclusions are a natural part of the process and these non-diamond minerals have simply been caught up in the diamond during the process of its development.
Due to these inclusions being minerals that are caught up in the process, they will differ from country to country due to the environment being different in different locations. Different countries have different minerals in their environment and so you would expect to find differences in the diamonds.
Some believe that inclusions are a negative characteristic of the diamond but it is a perfectly natural part of the process for these inclusions to occur. You will very rarely come across diamonds without any inclusions. Inclusions should not be seen as imperfections, and instead as characteristics. Each diamond is unique meaning that every diamond your own will be exclusively yours. There will be no other diamond identical to yours.
The carat is referring to the carat weight. The weight may be displayed in carats or points but either way, it’s easy to work out.
1 carat = 100 points.
½ carat = 50 points.
If you would like to work this out in a weight you may be familiar with, half a carat of diamond weights around 1/5 of a gram.
Whilst diamonds are the hardest of minerals and are known for being near unbreakable, they can become scratched so you still need to ensure they are taken care of. It is always recommended that jewellery is removed for anything that may cause it damage. It might be that you take your jewellery off for work or for gardening. It is particularly important to be careful of your diamonds when you are using tools that may scratch or put pressure on the diamond.
You should also put your diamonds somewhere safe if you are using chemicals. If you are cleaning for example you should either take your jewellery off or ensure you are wearing a good pair of gloves to ensure no damage can be done. Bleach in particular can be very damaging to your diamonds so this should be avoided.
You should also make sure the place that you store your diamonds is designed for that specific use. You should buy a padded ring box that fits multiple rings in rather than putting them in a box together as the diamonds can actually end up scratching each other.
In terms of cleaning your diamonds, washing them in a bowl of warm water with detergent is perfectly acceptable. If you want to give it a good clean you should use something soft that won’t be damaging such as a child’s toothbrush with soft bristles. Just make sure to be careful you don’t lose your rings down the drain or misplace them whilst they are drying. If you have a tea strainer, these act as the perfect drying place for your diamonds. If you want to dry your diamonds, a soft clean cloth should be used.