THE PERFECT STONE
Since De Beers’ infamous 1947 slogan, “A diamond is forever”, nature’s glittering gems have been gracing ring ﬁngers the world over. At Shiny Rock Polished, we understand that each stone is as unique as its wearer, so we’ve put together a guide to help you find your perfect match.
THE FOUR C’s
The 4Cs of Diamond Quality are your go-to method for assessing diamond quality. They were created by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and are used on virtually all diamonds, anywhere in the world. We take you through these properties, in order of importance.
When we think of cut, we often picture a diamond’s shape – whether it is round, emerald, pear and so on. Shape is an aesthetic choice, but cut actually refers to the way a stone is hand- chiselled to reveal its proportions, symmetry and polish.
The other C’s – colour, clarity and carat weight – occur naturally in the stone, so cut is the only way a jeweller can make a diamond more beautiful. Incredible skill goes into cutting diamonds, and the final product affects how well a stone’s facets interact with light. In other words, a diamond’s cut is what gives it its sparkle.
Cut quality is graded from excellent to poor, and looking at a stone’s sparkle is a great way to judge for yourself. Remember that cut is considered the most important of the 4 Cs.
Diamonds were formed over 3 billion years ago, deep in the Earth’s crust, and under extreme heat and pressure. Given these tough conditions and the wear and tear of time, these mystical gems all bear ‘birthmarks’ – small imperfections inside the diamond, called inclusions. The number of inclusions affects a diamond’s clarity, although a diamond’s cut will go a long way to ensuring the inclusions are not visible. As the flaws affect the way light travels through the stone, more imperfections mean a less brilliant stone.
The GIA’s 11 point diamond clarity scale ranges from flawless to heaving included. Stones that are flawless or very slightly included are virtually perfect to the naked eye. That said, inclusions can often create strikingly beautiful stones, making heavily included diamonds an interesting choice not to be disregarded.
Nature created diamonds in a rainbow of colours, and unique hues such as pinks, blues and even black are highly sought after. However, when it comes to white diamonds, its the absence of colour that is most coveted. The presence of other hues, especially yellow, lowers a white diamond’s value.
The GIA grades white diamonds on a scale of D (colourless) to Z (darkest). All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of colour, while coloured diamonds are graded on a separate scale. Grading will affect a stone’s value, but bear in mind that a flush of colour can lead to some of the most beautiful and unique stones. What’s more, a stone’s setting will vastly affect the appearance of its colour.
Most people think of carat as a stone’s size, but it actually refers to weight, with a metric carat equalling 0.2 grams. Given the extreme value of diamonds, they are measured precisely using 100 ‘points’. A 1.06 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh six carats. Very large stones are incredibly rare, as fewer than one in a million mined rough stones are large enough to produce a finished 1 carat diamond. As the size of a stone increases, its value therefore increases exponentially, with a 3 carat stone potentially costing 9 times as much as a 1 carat equal stone.
As with any precious material, a bigger stone generally means a higher value, all else equal. However, all 4 Cs are considered when evaluating a stone. The average weight for an engagement ring is 1 carat.