The value of a diamond will be based on a variety of factors. The most important factors when determining a diamond’s value can be referred to as the “4 C’s”. What this term corresponds to is Cut, Color, Clarity and Carats. A diamond will be given a valuation based on how well it is graded in each one of these areas. Keep in mind that because a diamond grades well in one category it still might be affected by a poor grade in another. Diamond buyers will also use other metrics to determine the value of a diamond.
Diamond 4 C’s
Not to be mistaken for the shape of a diamond, the cut is actually how proportionate a diamond is along with its symmetry and polish. The cut is graded on a scale of poor to excellent, which is based on the three criteria explained below.
Brilliance: The brightness created from light that is reflected from diamond.
Fire: The dispersion of light into colors from our visible spectrum.
Scintillation: Flashes of light and sparkles that are seen when the diamond or light source is moved.
These three criteria are all taken into consideration when evaluating the cut of a diamond. Here is the scale for grading a diamond’s cut.
Excellent – These diamonds will have the most brilliance and fire while reflecting almost all light that enters the diamond.
Very Good – Reflects a majority of the light that enters the diamond, producing superior fire and brilliance. Diamonds rate “Very Good” will appear similar to “Excellent” diamonds under normal light conditions.
Good – Reflects a majority of the light that enters the diamond, creating an above average appearance.
Fair – Reduced perceived fire and brilliance from allowing light entering the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom.
Poor – Diamond will appear dull and lifeless from allowing a majority of the light to escape from the sides or bottom.
Diamonds can be found in a wide variety of colors, with some being worth more than others. Most commonly, diamonds appear as a white color. White diamonds are graded on a scale from D – Z, with D being the whitest and diamonds with a yellow tint appearing lower on the list depending on how much of a tint they possess. Diamonds of other colors are graded on separate scales but every diamond graded on this scale is still considered to be white.
Here is the diamond color scale:
The GIA (Gemologists Institute of America) uses 11 different grades to rate the clarity of diamonds. A diamond’s clarity is based on the amount and significance inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions are internal while blemishes are external but neither should be visible to the naked eye.
Scale of clarity
Flawless (FL) – Using 10× magnification, no inclusions or blemishes can be seen by a skilled grader
Internally Flawless (IF) – Blemishes are visible to a skilled grader under 10× magnification but no inclusions
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Under 10× magnification, inclusions are difficult to see
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – A skilled grader using 10x magnification has little difficulty seeing minor inclusions
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Transparency and brilliance are affected and inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification
Carats are a unit of weight used when determining the value of a diamond. One carat is equal to .2 grams. Although the weight of a diamond is important to determining its value, the diamond must still grade highly on the cut, color and clarity scales as well, for it to be valuable. Carats are divided into 100 points and will be displayed in decimal form.