The Four C’s
Diamond Cut Cut describes how well the angles and proportions of a diamond have been cut to optimize its brilliance and refractive qualities. Of all the 4 C’s, it is the only one directly influenced by man; the other three are dictated by nature. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.
More About Cut
Diamond Cut, Color, Clarity Carat When a diamond is cut to proper proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed through the top of the stone. If the cut is too deep or too shallow, light escapes or leaks through the sides or the bottom of the stone, diminishing its brilliance and corresponding value. The cut or make of a diamond will dramatically influence its fire and sparkle, for it is the cutter’s skill that releases the beauty of the diamond.
Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. Diamonds are cut into a number of shapes, depending on the nature of the rough stone. The shape is largely a matter of personal preference and is only limited by the skill and imagination of the craftsman. Each shape has different parameters for cut by the analysis of its proportion, symmetry and finish. Classification grades for cut are: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Non-round shapes are referred to as “Fancies”.
Color describes the amount of color perceived by comparing a diamond to a master set of “color coded” diamonds; the diamond is graded by its relative lack of color. A totally colorless diamond allows white light to pass through effortlessly and be dispersed as rainbows of color. A diamond that is said to have “fine color” has little or no visible coloration. The less color, the higher the value.
Although the majority of gem diamonds appear to be colorless, others can contain increasing tinges of yellow. Rare stones of exceptional color – green, red, blue, pink or amber – are known as “Fancies”.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions and surface blemishes in a diamond. Almost all diamonds contain minute traces of non-crystallized carbon or small non-diamond crystals. Most are not discernible to the naked eye and require magnification to become visible.
Called inclusions, they are nature’s fingerprint and make every diamond unique. Clarity is determined by the size, number, nature, color and position of the inclusions and/or blemishes and summarized into a grade. Minute inclusions neither mar nor endanger the diamond’s beauty. However, the fewer there are, the more rare and therefore the more valuable the stone will be.
Carat refers to the weight, and therefore the size, of a diamond. A carat is a unit of measurement unique to precious gemstones, equal to 200 milligrams or 1/5 of a gram. A carat is divided into 100 “points” so that a diamond of 25 points is described as a quarter of a carat or 0.25 carats. Size is perhaps the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond, but also perhaps the most deceiving.
Two diamonds of equal size can have very unequal prices, depending on the combination of all the other determining quality factors – cut, color and clarity. High quality diamonds with exceptional beauty can be found in all sizes.