The 4 C’s, Jewelry Care, and More
The 4 C’s of Buying a Diamond
Planning to buy a diamond? At Summerlin Jewelers, we understand its importance and our guide below will make your diamond buying an easier and more enjoyable experience.
The most important criteria that a jeweler uses while grading a diamond are cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. This is commonly known as the 4 C’s of a diamond. These properties will determine how much a diamond is worth.
Most often a person gets confused and thinks cut is the shape of the diamond, but it actually refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond. Diamond cut is considered the most important of the four C's, so it is important to understand how it affects the properties and values of a diamond. Diamonds that are cut either too deep or too shallow can lose or leak light through the sides and bottom, and will be less brilliant – and ultimately of less value. However, a well-cut diamond is able to handle light better, creating more scintillation and more sparkle which leads to brilliance.
Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification. Clarity ranges from flawless (perfect) to I (included). Below is the chart that certification societies have standardized for grading to describe the clarity of a diamond.
- F – Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
- IF – Internally Flawless: No internal flaws, but may have minor flaws on the outside. Very rare.
- VVS1-VVS2 – Very, Very Slight Inclusions: Have very small inclusions. It's very difficult to detect inclusions under 10 x magnifications even by a trained gemologist. VVS1 inclusions can only be seen through the pavilion. VVS2 inclusions are more visible.
- VS1-VS2 – Very Slightly Included: Inclusions can only be seen with difficulty under 10x magnification. VS1 inclusions are harder to see than VS2.
- SI1-SI2 – Slightly Included: Inclusions easy to see under 10X magnification and might be visible to the naked eye
- I1-I2-I3 – Included: Inclusions visible to the human eye.
Diamond colors generally range from D–Z for white and yellow diamonds. D is the whitest. Around Z, they become "fancy" yellow diamonds.
This is the weight of a diamond measured in carats. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Sometimes one carat is referred to as 100 "points," so that a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats. Carat weight is the easiest of the 4 C's to determine. However, two diamonds of equal weight can have very unequal value, depending on their cut, color, and clarity. Larger diamonds often cost more per carat due to their size. Diamond cost increases exponentially with an increase in weight because larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, and this rarity increases the value of a larger diamond.
At Summerlin Jewelers, we provide you with a Jewelry Care Guide that will help your jewelry last forever. There are many things you can do to prevent jewelry from getting damaged:
- It's always advisable to wait until you have applied makeup, perfume, and hairspray before putting on jewelry.
- When showering or getting in a swimming pool, make sure you have removed all of your jewelry.
- Wrap your jewelry in a tissue or cloth separately while it is being stored. Avoid using a leather case or plastic bags.
- When doing household work, always remove your jewelry.
- Cleaning your jewelry on your own is a very good idea, but make sure you never use bleach as it can destroy your jewelry. Also, never clean jewelry that is already damaged; doing so may worsen the damage. Using water and mild soap is an acceptable way to clean most jewelry.
Bring your jewelry to Summerlin Jewelers regularly to have it checked for wear to prevent further damage!