THE FOUR C'S OF DIAMOND GRADING
The weight of the diamond is measured in carats. One carat is divided into 100 “points”, so a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats. Carat weight is easy to determine, however two diamonds of equal weight can have very unequal value. All else being equal, the price per carat increases with carat weight, since larger diamonds are both rarer and more desirable for use as gemstones. Bigger is not necessarily better. In addition to size, the value of a diamond varies depending on cut, color and clarity.
Clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond. Internal imperfections are called inclusions, and surface defects are called blemishes. A clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the stone under 10x magnification. Most inclusions that are present in gem-quality diamonds do not affect the diamonds’ performance or structural integrity. However, the fewer and smaller the inclusions, the less likely it is to interfere with the passage of light through the diamond. Minor inclusions or blemishes are useful, as they can be used as unique identifying marks or fingerprints. Diamonds with higher clarity grades are more desired, with the exceedingly rare “flawless” graded diamond valued at the highest price.
A chemically pure and structurally flawless diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or color. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors; steel gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink to purple, brown, and black. Colored diamonds contain impurities or structural defects that cause the coloration. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond’s coloration, a diamond’s color can either detract from or enhance its graded value. Out of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest of all.
Diamonds are cut into a number of shapes, depending on the nature of the rough stone. When cut to good proportions, the diamond is better able to reflect light, creating more scintillation, more sparkle. New technology, notably laser cutting and computer-aided design has enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, and waste reduction were previously unthinkable. Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cut. The polish describes the smoothness of the diamond’s facets, and the symmetry refers to alignment of the facets. With poor polish, the surface of a facet can be dulled, and may create blurred or dulled sparkle. It may constantly look like it needs to be cleaned. With poor symmetry, light can be misdirected as it enters and exits the diamond.
Retaining Your Diamond's Brilliance
Caring for diamonds is best not left to trial and error. Learning proper diamond care ensures the lasting brilliance of your diamond jewelry. Between professional cleanings, there are some things you can do to keep your diamonds looking magnificent.
1. Perform at-home cleaning
Even a clean looking diamond often has a thin layer of skin oil and will shine better after a cleaning. Use a soft-bristled, non-metallic brush and a mild ammonia and water solution. Gently scrub away any grime, especially around the prongs or setting where buildup is likely. Be careful not to scrub too hastily as you may damage the setting. Avoid touching the diamond as much as possible. Afterwards rinse the jewelry with warm running water and pat dry with a soft towel.
2. Use jewelry cleaning solution
You may purchase a jewelry cleaning solution which also works really well to clean diamonds. The way to use the solution is let your diamond jewelry soak in the solution, and then use a soft toothbrush or cloth to wipe away any dirt and then rinse with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
3. Use jewelry dividers
Because diamonds can easily scratch other jewelry, even other diamonds, it is best to keep your diamond jewelry in a fabric lined jewelry case with dividers.
4. Remove diamonds prior to playing sports
It’s not wise to wear a diamond ring when doing rough work including sport activities. Your diamond may be damaged or loosened and more likely to fall out.
5. Be wary of chemical solutions
Chlorine bleach can pit and discolor the mounting. Lotions, powders, soaps and even your natural skin oils can put a film on diamonds that cut down their brilliance. But this can be easily rectified by cleaning your diamonds regularly.
6. Have your diamonds professionally cleaned
It’s advised to have Charles Fine Jewelry perform a professional cleaning at least once a year. When you bring your jewelry into our store for cleaning we will also check its condition and advise you of any repairs that may be necessary to restore its full beauty and value.