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Diamonds are available in a wide variety of colours, sizes and qualities. In nature they can occur in colours ranging from very clear whites to pinks, bright yellows, greens and browns. The most common diamonds seen in today’s jewellery are white diamonds. The value of a white diamond is determined by the 4Cs. These are the Colour, Clarity, Cut and number of Carats of the diamond. The most valuable diamonds are those that possess the best of all four measurements. It is important to understand what each of the 4Cs mean before you start shopping for your diamond.

Colour

Many diamonds may appear colourless, or white, but they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that can be detected when two diamonds are compared side by side. The colour in a diamond is produced from chemical impurities contained in its composition. The more colourless the diamond, the more brilliant it will be as more light will pass through and be able to be reflected back. The diamond colour scale runs from D which are completely colourless and the most expensive through to Z which have subtle yellow and brown tones.

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Clarity

The clarity of a diamond measures the size and amount of blemishes (external flaws) or inclusions (internal flaws) that a diamond contains. Almost all diamonds contain some flaws, but most are not discernible to the naked eye and require magnification to be able to see them. Large flaws will interfere with the dispersion of light and therefore a diamond’s brilliance. The larger or more numerous the flaws, the less valuable the diamond. Conversely, the fewer the flaws, the rarer and more expensive the stone. The grading of a diamond’s clarity starts at F which is completely flawless and is extremely rare. The chart below shows the different grades of diamond clarity. VVs, Vs and SI inclusions are not visible to the naked eye, they are only visible through magnification. Clarity is even more important when buying larger diamonds or ones with large open top faces such as Emerald-cut or Princess-cut diamonds as it is easier to see inclusions in those stones.
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Carat

A carat is a unit of weight of the diamond. There are 100 points in a carat, so a half carat diamond would be equal to 50 points. The larger the diamond the more expensive per carat it will be. This is because the larger diamonds are more rare. So, a 1 carat diamond will cost a lot more than 2 half carat diamonds. The picture below is an indication of a change in carat weight compared with a change the diamond in diameter. However it is important to remember that the carat measurement is a measurement of weight and does not necessarily reflect its size or diameter - which is why cut is so important.
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Cut

The cut of a diamond determines the brilliance of a diamond’s shine. This is the characteristic of a diamond that is not controlled by nature. A diamond cut does not refer to the shape of the diamond but rather how well-proportioned the diamond cutter has created the facets on the diamond. Diamonds with a better symmetry create greater brilliance in the shine. The picture below shows how diamonds with a high cut grade reflect the light perfectly and are dazzling, whereas poorly cut diamonds can leak light and not sparkle.

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Shape of Stone

The other important decision when buying a diamond is the shape that the diamond is cut into. The most common shapes are round or brilliant cut and fancy cut diamonds such as marquise, oval, pear shape, baguette and princess cuts. The brilliant cut is most popular as it maximises the amount of light reflected, which is what makes the diamond sparkle.
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