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Assessing the Value of Diamonds

Oct 11, 2007
Diamond is a pure or nearly pure form of crystallised carbon of extreme hardness and valued as a precious stone. The hardest diamonds in the world are from the New England area in New South Wales, Australia.

The most familiar usage of diamonds today is as gemstones used for adornment. Unlike many other gems, it is well-suited to daily wear because of its resistance to scratching perhaps contributing to its popularity as the preferred gem in an engagement ring or wedding ring, which are often worn every day. If you plan on obtaining a diamond because you like how it looks or if gives you or your love one pleasure then the price of a diamond may be well worth its purchase.

However it is also well worth your while to ensure that you get it properly certified.

Four characteristics, known informally as the four Cs, are now commonly used as the basic descriptors of diamonds: these are carat, cut, color, and clarity. Diamond prices (particularly among wholesalers and other industry professionals) are often quoted per carat, rather than per standard weight.

A carat is a measure of weight used for gemstones, and is equal to 200 milligrams. Weights are given to the nearest 1/100th of a carat, an amount that is called a "point." For example, a .50 carat gemstone might also be called one-half carat or a 50-point stone. The price per carat does not increase smoothly with increasing size. As distinct from carat is karat, which is the U.S., measuring system used to define how much gold an item contains.

The carats of a diamond are taken seriously in providing certification for the value of a diamond.

All diamonds are compared against an internationally accepted standard or set of master stones and ranges from totally colorless (D) to pale yellow or brown color (Z). Color grades D through F are naturally the most valuable and expensive because of their rarity. Brown diamonds darker than K color are usually described using their letter grade, and a descriptive phrase, for example M Faint Brown. Oddly enough, diamonds graded Z is also rare, and the bright yellow color is also highly valued. Diamonds with more depth of color than Z color fall into the fancy color diamond range. Colored diamonds contain impurities or structural defects that cause the coloration, while pure or nearly pure diamonds are transparent and colorless. Impurities trapped in the diamond during its formation, the crystal lattice structure of the diamond, and the exposure to radiation can all generate the wide verity of colors available in diamonds.

Generally speaking, the fewer the flaws, the more valuable the diamond. Completely flawless diamonds are extremely rare only a few hundred "FL" diamonds are produced per year worldwide. Diamonds become increasingly rare when considering higher clarity gradings. Clarity is a measure of the number and extent of the flaws in the diamond. The setting diamonds are placed in also affect the performance of light through a diamond. Clarity is determined by the number of blemishes on the surfaces of the diamond and the number of inclusions such as air bubbles, cracks, and foreign material inside of the diamond.

Today, because of the relative importance of carat weight in society, many diamonds are often intentionally cut poorly to increase carat weight. If any of these cutting factors are below standard then the appearance of the diamond will be adversely affected. The cut of a diamond describes the quality of workmanship and the angles to which a diamond is cut. Round brilliant diamonds, the most common, are guided by these specific guidelines, though fancy cut stones are not able to be as accurately guided by mathematical specifics.

Popular fancy cuts include the baguette (from the French, meaning rod or loaf of bread), marquise, princess cut (square outline), heart, briolette (a form of the rose cut), and pear cuts. These newly developed cuts are viewed by many as more of an attempt at brand differentiation by diamond sellers, than actual improvements to the state of the art. When diamonds are cut properly they will enhance any piece of jewelry. The cut of a diamond has nothing to do with the shape of the diamond. The symmetry and proportions of a diamond cut determine the life, brilliance and light dispersion.

When providing certification a jeweller will take all of these factors into account. The four Cs of diamonds carat, color, clarity and cut are vital in identifying the value of a diamond and will ensure that a buyer of diamonds has purchased a quality product.
About the Author
Amanda King is a marketer who supplies a variety of consumer products and operates an informational
fashion site Visit these sites for a range of fashion accessories. She provides certificates of
authenticity for all jewelry3 items
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