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 GEMSTONE QUALITY (THE 4Cs)    Shop this topic
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When shopping for a diamond or other precious gemstones there are certain primary things to consider. Called the 4 C's, these four standard criteria determine market value. The thumbnail discriptions below will give you a brief introduction. Follow the links for more detailed explanations.

CUT - There is no factor that affects the brilliance of a stone more. The cut represents the craftsmanship of the diamond cutter. The proportion, perfection of facets, polish and type of cut determines how light is reflected and refracted in the gem producing the sparkle and glitter we associate with fine diamonds. The cut of a diamond should not to be confused with its "shape" such as round, heart-shaped or pear. More information.

COLOR - Clear or "colorless" diamonds often have a slight tint caused by the presence of certain minerals. These may cause varying degrees of a yellow or brown cast that may diminish the brilliance of the stone. Perfectly clear diamonds are quite rare and valuable. There are standardized criteria for evaluating the color of diamonds. On the other end of the gamut are diamonds that are so colored they fall into a category called "fancy". Some of the worlds rarest and most valuable diamonds, such as the Hope Diamond are colored. There are ways of artificially affecting the color of diamonds. More informantion.

CLARITY - Most diamonds have minute flaws such as inclusions, blemishes or other factors that may affect its brilliance. The size, location, number, and types of flaws determine its clarity grade and value. More information.

CARAT - One of the most well known but perhaps misunderstood measures of a diamond is carat. Carat strictly speaking is a measure of weight, not size. However, because of the standardization of cuts, the weight of a diamond can be determined fairly accurately by measuring its size. Because carat weight is a function of density, the size of other types of precious stones may not be the same as that of a diamond. For example, a 1 ct sapphire is smaller in size than a 1 ct diamond because it has more mass. For more information and a size chart, go here.


Sources and Resources:
About Clarity Enhanced Diamonds - About.com
About Diamond Clarity- SunJewelry.com
Clarity - GIA

Diamond Clarity - Wikipedia.org
Gemstone Flaws - NitaCreations.com
How to Choose a Wedding Ring (A delightful video)- VideoJug.com
Jewelry Lab Certificates and Appraisals - Novori.com

The Difference Between a Jewelry Appraisal and a Lab Certificate - About.com

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