Diamond Shapes and Quality Grades
Every diamond is a masterful creation of both nature’s artistry and human craftsmanship. While the shape of a rough stone ultimately dictates the design of the finished product, it takes a skilled lapidary to bring out a diamond’s true brilliance and value.
The 4C’s of Diamond Quality
Diamonds are graded according to carat weight, color, clarity, and cut. These 4C’s are now the internationally accepted standard for assessing diamond quality. Educating oneself about each of these elements is an important first step toward the purchase of a diamonds jewelers in Lubbock TX.
Carat weight is, simply put, the actual weight of a diamond. A carat consists of 100 points; a quarter-carat diamond is also called a 25 point stone, and a three-quarter carat stone is a 75 point diamond. Full carat and larger diamonds are rare and more frequently sought, but a large stone is not always more valuable.
Color is graded on a scale of D to Z. A D-grade diamond is colorless with no hint of background tint, but a Z-grade stone will show a slight brown or yellow hue. (Diamonds with heavily saturated colors are known as fancy colors and are graded differently than white, or clear, stones.)
Clarity is the absence of internal or surface blemishes. Diamonds are inspected under 10X magnification and ranked according to the number, appearance, and location of any inclusions that may affect the stones’ ability to properly reflect light.
Cut is often considered the most important aspect of the 4Cs. Cut does not refer to the shape of the stone but rather how well it is proportioned, faceted and otherwise detailed for maximum brilliance.
The Shape of Things
Diamonds are cut in a myriad of shapes including: round, princess, emerald or step-cut, cushion, pear, marquise and heart. The round brilliant cut is the most common, consisting of 58 mirror-like facets shimmering deep within the stone. The princess cut combines the sparkle of the round with a classic square shape. Emerald cuts are rectangular with elongated step-like facets surrounding a large, open table. The cushion cut is also known as a pillow cut; its square shape with rounded corners is quite popular in estate-inspired jewelry. A pear shape diamond looks like a sparkling teardrop, and the marquise, or navette, cut resembles a football, rounded in the center and pointed on each end. The classic heart shape is faceted similarly to the round, beating with glittery points of light.
Diamond shapes and properties are as unique as those who wear them. Understanding the 4C’s of diamond quality will help you determine the best value for your individual tastes, be they traditional