The unique mineral diamond is one of the most admired and age old gemstones of the world. It is the hardest substance ever known to mankind. It is scratch resistant and can be cut only by using another diamond. From ancient times diamond has been widely used for making ornaments. The sparkling effect of diamond is mainly due to the quality of its cut and the polishing which follows. The shine and lustre of diamond gives a brilliant appearance to it. The value of diamond is mainly determined by the four important aspects cut, carat, clarity and colour.
The 4 C’s of Diamond
The Cut: The process that transforms the rough diamond from the mine to a shining gem stone is cutting. Only a trained and experienced person will be able to effectively make the cut. The proportion or the angles in which a diamond is cut determines the amount of glitter in it. The cutting which allows maximum reflection gives a shimmering effect to it. A shallow cut or a deep cut allows the light to escape through the bottom facet of the diamond thereby lessening its beauty.
The Carat or the Weight: Carat is the unit for measuring diamonds. The carat weight is directly proportional to the price of diamond. 100 points are there in a carat and a diamond of 50 points has a mass of .50 carats. Two diamonds with the same weight may not have the same price. Pricing is based on other characteristics like cut, colour and clarity.
Clarity: The clarity of diamond is determined by the intramural imperfections known as inclusions which are perceptible when seen under 10 x magnifications by skilled personnel. These inclusions have a negative impact on the corresponding clarity of the diamond. A diamond without these defects is considered to be pure. Only a small percentage of all diamonds mined is fit enough to be used as a gemstone.
Colour: Though an ideal diamond which is 100% carbon is one with no colour, in reality it may be affected by some impurities. Hence diamonds also appear in different colours such as pink, green, yellow or blue. Slight traces of nitrogen in the diamond give it a yellow tinge and boron a blue tint. Diamonds of red colour are scarce and are very special. The distinctions between the various colour grades are very minute and it needs a great deal of expertise in colour grading a diamond.
A certificate certifying the above four C’s from GIA or AGS is essential to buy a diamond of genuine quality.