If you’re looking for the best synthetic diamonds – or gem-quality diamonds in general – it can be pretty difficult to figure out what you’re supposed to be looking for, especially if you’re looking at a diamond’s grading report. How big is a carat? How do I interpret the proportions of the diamond? What in the world do they mean when they say the color of the gem is the letter “F”?
Hopefully, this guide will help you not only interpret what a report is saying, but also know what to look for in one.
The first of the 4 “C”’s – Clarity
There are four main metrics to look for when buying a diamond. Those are Clarity, Color, Carat, and Cut. These are the things that are most important for the look (as well as the price) of the diamond. Let’s start with the first one: Clarity.
The clarity of a diamond is based on how many flaws and inclusions are in the stone. Ideally, you want your diamond to be as clear as possible, with nothing visible on the inside. The visibility of such flaws – and the subsequent grade of clarity – is dependent on the number, size, position, and order of imperfections. Flaws in the center impact clarity more than flaws on the sides.
This is one of the more confusing scales to understand, so bear with me here.
|Internally Flawless||Flawless||Very Very Slightly Included||Very Slightly Included||Slightly Included||Included|
They divide the scale even further by adding numbers.
Don’t worry too much about getting a flawless gem for the ring, though. Unless you’re trying to impress your jeweler, you can still get a ring with slight inclusions! Just be sure to look closely at the ring so you know it isn’t obvious to the naked eye.
The color of a diamond is important – or rather, the lack of it. Typically, the less color a diamond has, the better it is! A regular diamond that shows color will have a yellowish tinge to it, which doesn’t look great on a ring unless that’s what you’re looking for. There are, of course, exceptions – diamonds with interesting colors like blue or red will fetch a higher price, especially if the color is vibrant. On that note, if you’re looking to buy synthetic diamonds, you’re in luck! Because the entire growth process is controlled, you can actually choose the color you want your diamond to have yourself.
The story behind the grading system for color is interesting. It’s a letter-based system, going from D to Z, D being colorless and Z being light yellow. Wait, you might be saying to yourself, last time I checked, the alphabet starts with the letter “A”. The scale actually starts on D because it’s not the only system used to judge color – before the GIA made it standard, there were scales that used numbers, roman numerals, descriptions, and most importantly, the letters A through C. The makers of the new GIA scale didn’t want their scale to be confused with the one that already existed, so it avoids those letters entirely.
|D – F||G – J||K – M||N – R||S – Z|
|Colorless||Near Colorless||Faint Yellow||Very Light Yellow||Light Yellow|
For every cut of diamond, there is an ideal. A standard for excellence to which all other diamonds strive to be. The angles and ratios of the cut that this ideal diamond has are defined as “optimal diamond proportions”. The exact ratios vary depending on the kind of cut the diamond has, but generally, the point is for the diamond to be as bright in the light as possible. So, the closer any given diamond is to these optimal proportions, the higher grade it’ll get for its cut. The table is actually pretty easy to follow:
Something important to note is that the cut of the diamond is the most important C of the 4 C’s. That’s because, as I said earlier, the cut affects the brightness of the stone. It controls the way that light passes through it. You could have a massive, perfectly clear, perfectly colorless diamond on your ring, but if the cut is poor, the whole thing will just look dull. Pay attention to the cut!
Bad puns aside, the system for measuring a diamond’s carat is pretty straightforward. Carat is most often linked to size, but it’s actually a measurement of weight (which does relate back to size). The conversion rate is simple: One carat = 0.2 grams. So, for example, a 2-carat diamond weighs 0.4 grams. The price of a diamond goes up exponentially based on the carat, too – a 2-carat diamond can cost four times the price of a 1-carat diamond or more! Luckily, there is a workaround. If you’re planning on buying a diamond with a certain carat weight – for instance, 1 carat – look for a diamond that’s just slightly lower than that, like .95 or .90 carat. This will decrease the price of the ring by quite a bit without affecting how big the diamond looks much.
Now you know!
Now reading those grading reports should be a little less of a hassle. When buying a diamond, always make sure that it was graded by a quality source. I’m personally biased toward the GIA, but there are plenty of other certified appraisers you can use. So, be smart with how you shop, and above everything else we discussed today, don’t forget the most important thing: make your diamond the right pick for her.
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