Diamonds last forever and a diamond is a girl’s best friend – well, this might be true, or not, but none the less, good diamonds are of significant value… So what is it that determine the value of a specific diamond? Basically, it’s all about the 4 Cs…
Before we get into the 4 Cs, I’d like to give a short summery of what a diamond is. A diamond is the only gem that is made of a single element, carbon. Typically, a diamond is 99,95 percent carbon – the remaining 0,05 percent are atoms that aren’t part of a diamonds essential chemistry. Some of these atoms can influence the colour and/or shape of a diamond. Besides this, formation conditions determine the identity of a diamond. Diamonds forms under high temprature and pressure conditions that exist only under within a specific dept beneth the earth’s surface. The result is, that diamonds are so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond.
And finally… About the 4 Cs…
To determine the value of a diamond, a special set of four value factors are used to classify and describe a diamond: Clarity; Colour; Cut; and Carat weight.
Clarity – Clarity characteristics are internal features, inclusions and surface irregularities, blemishes. As blemishes are at the surface, it’s realtively easy to remove. Removing inclusions will typically cause a reduction in weight, and therefore also a reduction in value. Flawless diamonds that have no visible inclusions or blemishes when examined under a 10-power magnification are very rare and valuable.
Colour – Colourless diamonds are quite rare, most diamonds used in jewellery are nearly colourless with yellow or brown tints, often light yellow. Rare colours include red, purple and green. The brighter and purer the colour, the higher the price. Natural black diamonds get the colour as a result of graphite inclusions that take place during the formation, a black diamond is therefore less valuable in terms of quality, however, due to a high demand and rarity, the price can still be much higher than for a diamond of higher quality.
Cut – A well-cut diamond results in a perfect brilliance, fire and scintillation. Brilliance is the combination of all the white light reflections from the diamond. Fire is the flashes of colour that can be seen in a polished diamond. Scintillation is the flashes of light that is seen when the diamond or the observer moves. A cut can both increase and decrease the value of a diamond – a cut that is optimal for one stone can damage another.
Carat weight – Diamond weights are stated in metric carats, cts. One metric carat, ct., is one-fifth of a gram (0,2). The metric carat is devided into 100 points. A point, pt., is one hundreth of a carat. 1,34 cts. means one carat and 34 points.
The carat is a very important pricing factor, however, a small colourless stone with perfect clarity can be more valuable than a heavy stone with inclusions and yellow tint.