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Four C's

The 4 C's are international standards for diamond grading established by the GIA. 4 C's have become the most recognized standards for the consumer to readily distinguish the qualities between different diamonds. With the knowledge of these four standards (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight), you can easily select the ideal diamond of your choice.  

Cut

The cut of a diamond is the measure of how the diamond is geometrically shaped and faceted from its rough. The ratios, proportions, angles, and placement of the facets all influence the amount of light dispersion and/or transmission within the diamond. This makes the cut perhaps the most significant factor in determining the maximum sparkle scintillation, brilliance, and fire of a diamond. Even a perfectly colorless and clear diamond will still look dull if it is poorly cut because the diamond is either cut too deep or too shallow. As a result, the diamond loses light because the light is being reflected through the sides or bottom, rather than the top. As a result, poorly cut diamonds will be less brilliant, less beautiful, and certainly less valuable. So, well cut diamonds have higher quality because they reflect light better, are more brilliant, more beautiful, and thus, more valuable. At In Style Diamonds, we supply the finest cut-grade diamonds available anywhere. Ideal Cut Diamond
Polish: The smooth, shiny finish on the facets of a diamond. Ideal or Excellent polish is critical for maximum diamond brilliance.
Facet: The flat, polished surfaces on the diamond. And Ideal diamond would have 57 facets.
Proportions: The cutting quality in relation to the depth percentage, table percentage, girdle percentage, symmetry, and crown and pavilion angle. Proportions influence light refraction and reflection within the diamond.
Ideal Cut Diamond
Symmetry: The overall uniformity of a stone's cut. The symmetrical alignment of facets makes for a more stunning diamond. The symmetry attribute of a diamond is used in order to describe the alignment and positioning of the facets or flat surfaces.
Fire: When light is refracted within the diamond, the result is multi-colored light beams emanating from the table. This phenomenon is called fire due to the resemblance to actual fire. A well-proportioned diamond will have a better fire effect.
Brilliance: The phenomenon of brilliance in diamonds occurs when white light captured from all the surfaces of the diamond is reflected upwards through the top. The most abundant brilliance is attained when a diamond is well cut, that is to say, in accurate proportions.
Scintillation: Flashes of reflected light from a diamond when it moves. Scintillation is also commonly referred to as sparkle.
Dispersion: The result of white light splitting into all the colors of the rainbow.

Ideal Cut

Many consumers have different perceptions of an ideal cut diamond. Some may want a diamond that has a bigger table making the stone appear larger or the universally known Tolkowsky Ideal Cut. The Tolkowsky Ideal Cut or simply Ideal Cut is a diamond range of proportions designed by the young mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. His theory became the commonly used basic fundamentals of Ideal Cuts.

The proportions Marcel chose produce a beautifully cut diamond. But it took more than 80 years for the diamond industry to realize that his proposition predicted a range of proportions, not just a single set of parameters. Each various combination of proportions would create a trade-off between maximum brilliance and fire (results from different combinations of crown and pavilion angles).

However, an ideally proportioned stone will have tremendous brilliance and scintillation. An exceptional Ideal Cut diamond would have a magnificent rainbow effect or fire within a stone when rocked back and forth under any type of lighting. Ideally cut diamonds are not cut to retain weight or appear larger than its actual size. Instead, they are cut to maximize the brilliance, fire, sparkle, and overall beauty of a diamond. Basic proportions for an ideally cut diamond are depth percentage range of 59-62.5%, table percentage of 53-57%, girdle thickness range of thin to slightly thick, and Excellent Cut, Polish, and Symmetry Grades.

A GIA Ideal Cut diamond has Excellent Cut, Polish, and Symmetry grades. Similar to GIA Ideal Cut, AGS uses the Triple 0, which is also a diamond with Excellent Cut, Polish, and Symmetry.

Hearts and Arrows


Hearts and Arrows or Super Ideal Cut Diamonds are a visual phenomenon that appears in the finest Ideal Cut round brilliant diamonds. Hearts and Arrow Cut diamonds can only be seen through a hearts and arrows viewer or gemscope. Hearts and Arrows is an incredibly brilliant and artistic masterpiece that is created from diamonds cut with precisely aligned and carefully shaped facets combined with optimum proportions.

AGS Triple Ideal or GIA Triple Excellent with Hearts & Arrows are considered the ultimate diamonds. When a diamond comes with an AGS Triple Ideal Cut or GIA Triple Excellent lab report and displays a perfect Hearts & Arrows pattern, you can be assured that the cut of this particular diamond has achieved the highest standards. It is truly a stunning masterpiece of high –quality workmanship. It is the perfect integration between nature and technology.
Avoid bad patterns of hearts and arrows when looking for a true Hearts & Arrows stone. A poor Hearts and Arrows would have Hearts and Arrows that are difficult to detect and not all the Hearts and Arrows are symmetrical with one another. Some appear more visible than others.

Diamond Anatomy


Ideal Cut Diamond

Diameter: The diamond width measured from both edges of its girdle.
Table: The largest facet of a gemstone that is located at the very top.
Crown: The top section of a diamond, reaching from the girdle to the table. It is the thickest part of the stone.
Girdle: The meeting point of the crown and pavilion that defines the perimeter of the diamond. The girdle can be faceted or non-faceted and laser inscribed diamonds would have the laser inscription branded onto this part of the diamond.
Pavilion: The bottom section of a diamond, reaching from the girdle to the culet.
Culet: The facet at the bottom tip of a gemstone. It is graded None, Pointed, Very Small, Small, Medium, Slightly Large, Large, Very Large, and Extremely Large. The preferred culet is not visible with the naked eye with a grading of 'None.'
Depth: The total height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.
Depth Percentage (%): The depth percentage is the height of a diamond divided by the width. The depth percentage is used to measure whether or not a diamond is cut in the right proportions.

Color




A diamond's color can range from the colorless white range to colors as deep as brown or blue. Regular diamonds in the gemological laboratories color grading scale range from D (colorless) to Z (very light yellow). Diamonds that exceed that color scale are considered fancy colored.

The most common colored diamonds are yellow and brown. Black colored diamonds are not actually genuinely black, but rather contain numerous dark inclusions, giving the gems their dark appearance. When the color has enough of a yellow or brown saturation, the stone may be dubbed a fancy colored diamond by gem trade. Otherwise, they are graded for color in the normal color range scale of white diamonds. On the normal color range scale, diamonds are grouped into five general categories of: Colorless (D-F), Near Colorless (G-J), Faint Yellow or Brown (K-M), Very Light Yellow or Brown (N-R), and Light Yellow (S-Z). D or E colored diamonds would have virtually no tinge of color and fetches for a higher price on the consumer market because of its rarity and pureness.

Which color is right for you?

For many untrained individuals, distinguishing one color grade from the next is arduous. Although the diamond's color range is difficult to detect, the price is still drastically significant. The strict and pure consumer would choose diamonds in the D-F range. However, one could still achieve a colorless look with diamonds ranging from G-I color and an additional perk is the price reduction. And if size is an issue, one could go lower on the color scale in order to increase the size. The best option for increasing a diamond's size is a J colored diamond because it still has a near colorless appearance. Additionally, J colored stones cost much less because it is the lowest color within the near colorless group. On the other hand, if you are an individual that likes the warmer hues with a tinge of yellow, then K-Z are the perfect stones. The prices on the K-Z diamonds are also easier on the eyes.

Clarity

Ideal Cut Diamond

Diamonds are a natural stone that takes over millions of years to form within the earth’s interior. Because these stones are an all natural mineral, they commonly contain some internal flaws known as inclusions. Diamonds with no inclusions are considered flawless and are extremely rare. Flawless diamonds are highly prized and fetch for a hefty price. When taking into account a diamond's clarity, one assesses the size, quantity, location, and specific types of inclusions inside a diamond. Diamond clarity is simply a description of the stone's purity. There are two different types of clarity characteristics: inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are internal clarity characteristics that are completely enclosed in a polished gem or those extending into it from the surface. Blemishes, in contrast, are external clarity characteristics caused by wear, the cutting process of the stone, or the diamonds crystal structure. One can view a diamond's clarity under a loupe (a small portable magnifying tool used to view a diamond's clarity).

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created a clarity scale to measure these internal imperfections. From descending order a GIA clarity scale ranges from FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and an I3. The European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) also uses a clarity scale with a slightly different grading of including an SI3. Lastly, The American Gem Society (AGS) Laboratory also has the same clarity standards as GIA, but uses a numerical grading system. An AGS clarity grading ranges from 0 (considered a FL) to 10 (considered an I3).
Flawless (FL) - contains no inclusions or blemishes when viewed under 10X magnification by a skilled grader. Flawless diamonds are the rarest diamonds that fetch for a large price. If you are the purist at heart and have the money to spend, we recommend Flawless clarity diamonds for their internal perfection. These diamonds are just the grade that'll make friends jealous.
Internally Flawless (IF) - has no inclusions, only blemishes when viewed under 10X magnification. Internally Flawless stones are also a magnificent stone. They are extremely close to being pure and are lower in price than Flawless. Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - contains minute inclusions that are difficult to view under 10X magnification. The inclusions in a VVS1 diamond are extremely difficult to see face-up or may be visible only through the pavilion. Inclusions in a VVS2 diamond are also very difficult to observe because VVS diamonds typically have a pinpoint or two. If money is no object, VVS clarity is the way to go. Inclusions are so difficult to detect with these stones. We recommend that if you purchase an emerald shaped diamond, VVS are a perfect choice because emerald diamonds have such large facets, but VVS make their inclusions practically invisible.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) -VS clarity diamonds contain minor inclusions ranging from difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) under 10X magnification. Typical inclusions in VS diamonds include small crystals, feathers, and distinct groups of pinpoints. For the more conscious buyer who is willing to pay a little more for a less included stone, we recommend purchasing a VS clarity diamond.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Diamonds of SI clarity contain noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10X magnification. Typical inclusions, such as crystals, clusters of pinpoints, and feathers, are centrally located. We think SI is a great buy because you get an eye clean stone without breaking your wallet. You can also increase in diamond size if you get an SI stone.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) - 'I' graded diamonds contain inclusions that are obvious under 10X magnification. These inclusions can often at times be visible face-up without any magnification. They can sometimes affect the stone's durability and can be so numerous or large that they affect the stone’s transparency and brilliance. We only recommend these types of diamonds for the budget-conscious who do not mind seeing some diamond imperfections.
Eye-Clean - is a diamond that has no visible inclusions seen by the naked eye when the diamond is viewed from face-up (viewed through the table) at a normal viewing distance of 10 to 12 inches. Nearly all VS clarity diamonds are eye-clean, most SI1 clarity diamonds are eye-clean, and some SI2 and even I1 clarity diamonds are eye-clean. When purchasing a diamond, eye-clean diamonds are the best choice because no one is able to see any imperfections.
Eye-visible- is in contrast to eye-clean. Eye visible stones have inclusions that are visible to the unaided eye. We prefer to purchase highly included diamonds only if you do not mind the visible imperfections and are looking for a real bargain.

Some inclusions or blemished to look for:


Abrasion - is a series of minute nicks along a facet junction.
Crystal Growth - is a small crystalline growth within a diamond. A crystal growth appears to look like a small diamond within a big diamond.
Bearded girdle - are minute feathers that extend from the girdle surface into the stone.
Cavity - is the space left when a surface-reaching crystal comes out during polishing.
Cloud - is an internal inclusion that consists of a hazy area made up of many small white crystals that cannot be observed separately. This phenomenon can also extend all through the diamond. Clouds negatively affect a diamond's brilliance.
Crystal - is another mineral crystal contained in the diamond. These crystals can include other diamonds, garnet or a host of other minerals.
Feathers (Glets) - are cracks inside a diamond which are perpendicular to the crack plane. They look similar to broken glass. Although small internal feathers pose no danger to a diamond, it still diminishes the clarity rating. Large feathers, on the other hand, risk the danger of having the crack potentially expand over time.
Indented Natural - is the original crystal surface, or skin, that dips below a polished diamond's surface.
Internal graining - is the appearance of faint lines, angles, or curves caused by crystal growth.
Knot - is an included diamond crystal that extends to the surface when polished.
Pinpoint - is a very small dot (white or black in color) internal to a diamond or on the surface of the stone. It is the most common defect that can be found on a diamond. A congregation of pinpoints is known as clusters or clouds.
Pit - is a small surface characteristic that looks like a tiny dot.
Natural - is a portion of the original skin that still remains on the diamond.
Needle - is a long, thin crystal.
Nick - is an external small chip-like characteristic.
Scratch - is a thin, dull, white line across the diamond's surface.
Twinning wisp - is a series of pinpoints, clusters, or crystals that formed in a twinned diamond's growth plane.

What clarity is best?


Eye-clean diamonds are highly recommended because it contains no visible inclusions to the naked eye. Eye-clean diamonds have an excellent value as opposed to IF or FL clarity graded diamond because the clarity grade is lower. They typically do not contain visible inclusions that detract from the beauty of the diamond. We recommend that the lowest possible clarity grade one should go down to is of SI quality. However, it is best to look at each SI diamond to see if it is eye-clean because all diamonds are just like people, every one is different. Therefore, diamonds contain different variations of internal characteristics. If you're interested in purchasing a diamond of SI quality, feel free to call In Style Diamonds to speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable staff.

Most internet diamond dealers have the inability to give you a detailed description on their listed diamonds because these sellers usually don't personally own the stones. They don't have instant access to them and even a written description is much different from actually seeing a diamond up close. Many smart shoppers know that the best quality diamonds and deals are in the Los Angeles Jewelry District. For the budget-conscious customers that are unwilling to compromise on clarity, we recommend that you choose a diamond with a Good cut grade and G to J Color.

Carat


Carat weight is the internationally used unit to measure a diamond’s weight and size. A carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams. In large cities such as New York or Los Angeles, the ideal carat weight is 1.00 carat and above. In small Midwestern areas, the typical carat weight for a diamond is usually below a carat. However, it still depends on a person’s own budget and preference.
Since the rarity of a diamond increases substantially as carat weight increases, the value of the diamond also tends to increase exponentially in correlation to the increasing weight.
Points - are fractions of a carat. A carat is equivalent to 100 points, whereas 0.50 carat is equivalent to 50 points, and so on.

Diamond Certificate


Ideal Cut Diamond

A diamond certificate is an independent scientific grading report that provides all the information of a particular diamond. GIA is the most prestigious non-profit gemological grading laboratory in the world. In fact, a GIA diamond report is graded by three expert gemologists to give the most accurate grades possible. GIA created the ultimate diamond grading report in 2006.

Found within a scientific grading report are a diamond's grading of the Four C's: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat-Weight. In addition, some other detailed specifications are included such as a diamond's measurements, polish grade, symmetry grade, percentages, fluorescence (if any), and even a diagram of the diamond with the exact location of the diamond's inclusions.

These reports are universally recognized as the best professional opinions given. The proper quality of a diamond is imperative for determining its value. Even a slight error in diamond grading could still significantly affect the stone's perceived value. There are several trustworthy independent grading laboratories. The most well-known laboratories are the American Gemological Society (AGS), the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL).

The American Gemological Society (AGS) - The American Gemological Society was established in 1934 by a select group of independent jewelers. One of the founders was Robert M. Shipley, the founder of the prestigious school of gemology called the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The group's vision was to establish an association dedicated to setting and upholding the highest standards of business ethics and professionalism in the jewelry industry. Nowadays, AGS still maintains their commitment to upholding strong business ethics, knowledge, and consumer protection.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - is a non-profit organization established in 1931 whose functions include gemological education, research, and certification. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the world's most renowned gemological laboratory that was created for gemological research and learning. GIA is also the creator of the famous 4Cs of diamond value (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight) as well as being the corporate birthplace of the International Diamond Grading System. Today, GIA's D-Z color grading scale and GIA's Fl-I3 clarity grading scale are recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world. The institute is also recognized for having developed and patented the first modern jeweler's loupe. 

In 2006, GIA created the ultimate diamond grading report when they introduced a new cut grade based on a combination of face-up appearance, design, and craftsmanship elements that all benefit a diamond's fire and brilliance. Because the GIA cut grade is fairly recent, most GIA diamonds graded before January 1, 2006 will not have a laboratory-assigned cut grade. The GIA cut grade system ranges from: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.

The European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) - is a organization that has been providing consumers with accurate gemstone identification for over 25 years. EGL USA has four labs in North America and is one of the largest and oldest independent gemological institutions focusing on gemstone certification and research. In 1974, EGL was originally part of an international network founded in Europe, but in 1977 EGL USA opened its first U.S. lab in New York's International Diamond and Jewelry District. In 1986 EGL USA became independently owned. Today the EGL USA laboratories can be found in New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto. EGL USA is not affiliated with any other EGL labs outside North America. Every certificate issued by EGL USA lab states "A member of the EGL USA Group." Certificate numbers are preceded by either "US" or "CA," to indicate country of origin and to provide consumers the assurance that their certificate has been issued by a member of the EGL USA Group. In 1999, EGL USA initiated a Research Department and it is one of only a few labs worldwide doing advanced research in gemology.

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