A diamond’s value depends on four sets of characteristics – the famous 4Cs, Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carat. We would also add two further Cs to this list, Certification and Confidence.
The first two can be assessed by a skilled person using a universally acknowledged grading system created by the Gemological Institute of America.
Refers to the number of visible imperfections or ‘inclusions’ in a diamond. These can be tiny fractures or minerals trapped within the stone. When viewed through a ‘loupe’ – the 10x magnifying tool jewellers use to look at diamonds – they may appear like minute clouds, crystals or feathers. The size and position of inclusions in a diamond are important in terms of its value. If they are at the side they may be hidden by the mount and may have little effect on the stone’s beauty or brilliance. If they are at the top or in the middle of the diamond however they may impact upon the light dispersion and make the diamond less brilliant and less desirable.
Clarity is graded on a scale from Flawless (FL) to Included (I). The grading is as follows:
FL Flawless - No inclusions or surface blemishes under 10 x magnification
IF Internally Flawless – no inclusions and only insignificant surface blemishes under 10x magnification.
VVS1 – VVS2 Very, Very Small inclusions – extremely difficult to see and usually only visible on a microscope or to an experienced grader with a loupe.
VS1 – VS2 Very Small inclusions, visible with 10x magnification but should still be difficult to find.
SI1 – SI2 Slightly Included, usually easily found with a loupe but still ‘eye clean’, however the inclusions in some SI2 diamonds are visible to the unaided eye.
When viewed without magnification the difference in appearance between eye clean diamonds will be negligible.
I1 - I3 Included - inclusions visible to the naked eye (sometimes referred to as P1 – P3 or piqued). As these inclusions are becoming more visible they may affect the outward appearance of the diamond, the best I1 clarity diamonds may have an inclusion visible to the naked eye of a trained grader but not to the untrained eye and will still be very bright.
We stock diamonds of a wide range of clarity grades from Internally Flawless through to carefully select piqued but still bright and lively stones.
Refers to how ‘colourless’ a diamond is. The scale used ranges from the most-coveted colourless D to Z which describes heavily tinted brown/yellow diamonds. Most diamonds sold in the UK will fall within the D-M colour range. Colour differences are extremely subtle and to ensure like-for-like comparisons laboratories use a master set of stones and controlled lighting conditions to avoid ultraviolet light. When we appraise a diamond that is not independently certificated we use GIA certificated diamonds as comparison when establishing the colour.
We stock diamonds in a wide range of colours from D to L, as people perceive colour differently it is advisable to compare a wide range of colours.
Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond and they way in which the diamond cutter has faceted the stone from the original ‘rough’ diamond to release its fire and sparkle. Diamond cutting is an art based on scientific formulas which seek to reflect the maximum amount of light from one ‘facet’ of the diamond to another. Diamonds that are cut too deep or shallow ‘leak’ light from the sides and bottom rather reflecting through the top of the stone and are thus less brilliant. A well cut diamond of a lower colour and clarity will often ‘outshine’ a better colour and clarity diamond with a poorer cut.
A lesser cut quality is not usually a sign of a lack of skill on the part of the diamond cutter but is usually an economical decision as cutting a diamond poorly will often achieve a far higher yield from a rough diamond than cutting it well. The difference in price between the best and worse cut qualities can be as much as 40% so knowing that a diamond is well cut is vital when comparing stones. Unfortunately even on the best diamond reports the cut grades are somewhat vague and two stones achieving an the same cut grade can be very different.
Our diamond buyers are picky about cut quality and will only offer diamonds for sale that they feel are well proportioned and bright and lively. During a diamond consultation we can show you the effects of differing cut qualities.
Cut can also refer to the shape of the diamond. The most common is the round brilliant cut diamond, because its shape reflects the optimum amount of light. Other shapes include emerald, pear, marquise, princess and heart.
We stock a wide range of diamond shapes including the exclusive Phoenix cut diamond and can explain the pros and cons of each shape.
Refers to the weight of the diamond and makes no reference to the stones quality. One carat weighs 200 milligrams or a fifth of a gram. A carat can be divided into 100 ‘points’ – which means that a diamond weighing ¾ of a carat can also be termed as being '75 points', a '75 pointer' or '0.75 ct'. As diamonds increase in size the price per carat also increases because larger diamonds are rarer than smaller ones. Therefore four diamonds with a combined diamond weight of 1.00ct cost substantially less than a single diamond of the same quality weighing 1.00ct. Because diamonds increase in price per carat substantially at certain weights buying just under these weights can be a way of making huge savings or buying a far higher grade diamond.
We have diamonds in stock from under 0.01ct each to over 3.00cts including a number of diamonds just under the weights where price per carats increase.
Whilst most diamond reports or certificates that you will see use the same terminology, the standards to which each laboratory grades can vary and the difference between the most highly regarded reports and lesser reports can in our experience be as much as two grades. If we offer a diamond for sale with a certificate it will usually be from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant) or IGI (International Gemmological Institute). As non of these laboratories have a base in the UK if you would like a report to be issued on any of our non certificated diamonds we will usually use AnchorCert based in the Birmingham Assay office and this will be charged at the cost price of the certificate (usually around £40.00 -£60.00 dependant on the size of the diamond).
We have a huge range of diamonds in stock, both certificated and non certificated stones. Our gemmologists are usually harsh when grading our own stones and if they feel that a certificate has been too generous then we will tell you!
More important perhaps than any of the above you must have confidence in the person that you are buying from, that they are capable of assessing diamonds accurately and are telling you the truth. We have been serving the people of Sheffield for almost 40 years. Our customers keep coming back to us and recommending us to their friends because they trust our expertise and enjoy our shopping experience. We hope that you will too.
Could I tell the difference between a D colour diamond and an F colour diamond or an internally flawless stone and one with slight inclusions? How yellow does a J colour actually look? Will I see the difference between a well cut and a poorly proportioned diamond?
The only way to know is to actually see and handle the diamonds for yourself and this is where our diamond consultation service comes in.
We will arrange a wide selection of different sizes and qualities of diamonds to compare, all in a pre-arranged price range so you do not feel pressured to overstretch your budget and with one of our diamond experts on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Your chosen diamond can then be set in any ring or piece of jewellery from the wide range of designs that we offer or if you prefer a bespoke design can be created for you.
Best of all it doesn’t cost any more to buy your diamond this way than it does to buy the same piece ‘off the peg’ and the consultation is on a no obligation basis.
Reading all about diamond qualities is no substitute for seeing and handling diamonds for yourself. A diamond can not be judged purely on the details given on a diamond report or certificate. We have been offered many diamonds that sound fabulous on paper but when seen in real life they just don’t work.
To get a better understanding of diamonds we offer a free diamond consultation with one of our gemmologists. You will see a selection of loose diamonds with a gemmologist on hand to explain the differences and answer any questions that you may have.
If you choose to buy online you can be assured that our buyers work hard to find the best diamonds possible for any given price range, we will only offer a diamond for sale that we would be happy to call our own.
Call into the showroom, phone or e-mail to make an appointment.