|Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson|
Diamond Color Grading, Clarity, Carats and Flaws (Inclusions)
The color of a diamond is determined by nature. Customarily, the closer the diamond is to colorless, the more valuable it is. The less yellow within the diamond, the higher on the color scale the diamond will be graded. Color grades D, E and F are the rarest.
GIA Color Grading Scale:
Clarity is a measure of the purity of the diamond, that is, the number and extent of the flaws. Generally speaking, the fewer the flaws, the more valuable the diamond. Completely flawless diamonds are extremely rare. Barely a few hundred "FL" diamonds are produced per year worldwide.
Diamonds, being natural stones and created deep beneath the earth, almost always contain tiny traces of natural elements locked inside. These elements are called inclusions, although they may also be referred to as birthmarks, because they are formed naturally and are unique to each stone.
The GIA scale for Clarity is shown below.
Even though any scale is subjective, the GIA scale has specific criteria that are used to differentiate between the different grades:
The definition of a carat is a unit of weight for precious stones. However, it is important to know that the size of the stone has nothing to do with its weight. Two diamonds of the same weight can be very much different in size. For example, when a diamond is cut deep and narrow, it will look much smaller than another diamond of the same weight that is cut shallow and wide.
One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 points, usually when referring to a smaller diamond. So, a .75 carat diamond is the same as 75 points or 3/4 carat diamond. Diamonds are weighed on an extremely accurate digital balance.
The weight of a single stone is shown as “ct.” “ct TW” refers to the total weight of multiple stones.
The natural flaws in diamonds are called inclusions, also know as flaws. There are many different types of flaws and many cannot be seen without magnification. The most common flaws are as follows.
By far, the most common flaw is tiny light or dark crystals in diamonds that appear by themselves or in clusters. If the dark crystals are all clustered together in the stone (known as a cloud) the clarity of the diamond is effected.
Diamonds are made of carbon but they start out as carbon’s more common form, graphite. Sometimes they do not fully crystallize and therefore can contain specks of black carbon. This results in very small black blemishes on the surface of the stone. These are found less frequently than pinpoint inclusions.
These are small feather-like cracks within the stone, comparable to the look of an ice cube when it cracks. Small internal feathers do not affect the durability of the diamond, except for lessening the clarity rating of the diamond. However, large feathers can ruin a stone if they reach the surface and the diamond is accidental hit thereby cracking the stone or even splitting it apart.
Clouds are internal clusters of hazy areas, made up of small crystals. They are so small they cannot be seen individually. But in whole, they dull the diamond.
This is a small crystalline development that grows within the diamond and looks much like a small diamond within a larger diamond.
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