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Helpful guidance on Diamonds

The four Cs

The commonly used phrase "The 4 Cs" refers to four characteristics describing a diamond's attributes, each beginning with the letter C.

They are Carat weight, Clarity, Colour and Cut.

The weight of a diamond is measured in Carats, a carat being a fifth of a gram, and can be divided into 100 "points". Thus, a "fifty point" diamond weights half a carat - and so on.

Clarity refers to the presence or lack of marks or "inclusions" within the stone - usually black "sooty" marks or white feathery fissures in the original rough crystal from which the diamond is cut. Clarity is described in a series of letters and numbers, starting at IF

IF - Internally Flawless

VvS - meaning Very Very Small inclusions, (sub-divided into VvS1 and VvS2)

VS1 and VS2 - representing two subgrades of Very Small inclusions

SI1 and SI2 - Small Inclusions 1 & 2

I - Included - 1, 2 & 3, sometimes called P1, P2 and P3 - the P for piqué

You need a good 10x magnification lens to see the inclusions in a diamond. You probably won't see them at all in a VVS stone, might just be able to find one or two in a VS stone and possibly be able to see some with careful inspection in an SI stone. They will be readily visible in a Piqué or "included" stone.

Colour is also graded in a scale of letters, starting with the whitest - colour "D" - and so on through the alphabet. The difference in colour between each single letter is almost impossible to discern. Colours as far as G or H are still quite white and only when you see a diamond perhaps of colour J or more certainly K, L or M will at appear tinted.

Actual so-called "coloured" diamonds - Pink, Yellow, Blue etc. - are an entirely different matter and each stone of these colours is to be considered individually.

The Cut can refer to two distinct things: the finished shape of the diamond or the grade or quality of its cutting and polishing into its various facets or sides.

Among the more commonly found shapes are

Round Brilliant - the most usual cut,

Princess-cut - a square variation of the Brilliant,

Baguette - rectangular and has very few facets,

Emerald-cut - rectangular with cut-off corners,

Marquise or Navette - oval with pointed ends

and there are available Pear-shaped (pippin), Oval, Cushion or even Heart-shaped diamonds as well as certain "special" cuts such as Asscher or Radiant - both variations of square with cut corners.

Cut as a grade is probably the most difficult to determine and is, in consequence, often omitted from the quoted grade of a diamond. Without being cut and polished, a diamond is quite dull and in our opinion, therefore, cut is the most critical of the four Cs. Whereas the colour and clarity of a stone are pre-determined by the rough crystal used, the cut is the process it undergoes to make it sparkle and it is the quality of the cutting - or "make" - which determines how well it sparkles - or "performs". Cut is graded in words, such as Excellent, Very Good, Good, etc and is quite subjective.

Basic though it may seem, Diamonds are chosen as much as for sparkly-ness - their "fire" or "brilliance" - as for their value and permanence and it is this characteristic that has endeared them to ladies and to gentlemen for so many centuries! We can show you some very fine examples...