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Throughout history, the diamond has been an enduring symbol of the powerful bond of love. Its strength, brilliance and value are as unique as the individuals who wear them. A diamond's worth is evaluated on four levels. We call these criteria the 4 C's — cut, carat weight, color and clarity. But there are other considerations as well when buying a diamond, and Ross-Simons has put together this education section to help you understand the terminology and special considerations you need to make when selecting your perfect diamond.
Depending on your preference and your budget, the combination of the elements of the 4 C's, (as well as certification) is up to you. Is clarity more important than carat? Is carat more important than color? Only you can decide what combination makes up the perfect choice for your diamond jewelry.
Our Selecting an Engagement Ring Infographic also explains the 4C's in an easy to understand visual format.
Carat weight is the standard measure of a diamond's weight. The larger the diamond, the more rare it is. A carat (equivalent to 200 milligrams) consists of 100 points. Therefore, a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats.
It is important to remember that two diamonds of equal carat weight may have dramatically different values, depending upon the stone's cut, clarity and color.
Most diamonds contain very tiny natural characteristics called "inclusions." The size, number, position, nature and color of these inclusions (as seen by the trained eye using 10 power magnification) will determine a stone's clarity grade. The smaller and less frequent the inclusions and surface blemishes, the more valuable and rare the gemstone.
In nature, diamonds are found with a wide array of color — from colorless, to faint yellow or even brown, to rare pinks, blues, greens and other colors known as "fancies." Selecting a diamond color is a matter of preference. Fancy yellow and pink diamonds make a creative and individual statement for an engagement ring. Most diamonds have at least a trace of yellow, brown or grey body color. In general, the more colorless a diamond, the greater its relative value. Diamonds that are graded D, E, and F are considered colorless. Diamonds graded G, H, and I are considered near-colorless. The color of your diamond will be reflected on your certificate.
How a diamond is cut is extremely important. In fact, it might be the most significant factor of the 4 C's. The cut determines the diamond's reflective qualities and directly influences its value. A diamond's cut affects its brilliance. The better the cut, the brighter the diamond appears.
How light enters a diamond is demonstrated in the illustration (at right). When a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table, travels to the pavilion and reflects from side-to-side, then pours out so the eye can see its fiery brilliance. Poorly cut diamonds have less fire and brilliance, because light enters through the table, hits the facets and is ultimately lost out of the diamond's sides.
A diamond's cut is sometimes confused with its shape. Shape is the actual appearance of a diamond, like round, pear, princess, oval, emerald, etc.
Many people think diamonds are indestructible, but they do require care. Diamonds are natural grease attractors, wash your diamond regularly with jewelry cleaner and dry it with a lint free cloth. For a diamond that is worn daily this should be done once per week.
Use brushes sparingly as they can damage the mounting. Chlorine can pit and dissolve gold alloys in your mounting. Do not wear your ring swimming in a pool or working with chlorine solutions. We recommend that you bring your diamond to your trusted jeweler for a periodic inspection and professional cleaning. This service is always free of charge if you purchase your diamond engagement ring at Ross-Simons.
One of the more important steps in choosing a diamond is reviewing the diamond certificate, referred to in diamond grading labs as a grading report. This report documents the characteristics of a diamond, including the 4C's. Before purchasing a diamond, review a copy of its grading report, as this is your guarantee of quality for that diamond. All loose diamonds on the Ross-Simons Website are certified.
As one of America's foremost fine jewelers, Ross-Simons shares the concern of all regarding conflict diamonds. Certainly, the hardships and military burdens faced by some of the poorest African countries require that we take the proper care when sourcing our diamonds. In that regard, we resolve that Ross-Simons will purchase diamonds only through legitimate dealers in open transactions. And in our continuing effort to provide customers with the highest quality diamonds, we will only source through legal and established diamond dealers.
Ross-Simons and its suppliers support the Kimberley Process. As part of the process, we buy diamonds from manufacturers who have documentation warranting that the merchandise was obtained through legitimate channels. Today, the US Customs Service is actively enforcing the Kimberley Process requirements as diamonds enter American ports.
Ross-Simons continues to support and promote the processes that uphold the legitimacy of our business in the diamond trade.
At Ross-Simons we want you to treasure your diamond purchase for a lifetime. As a family owned jeweler for over 60 years, we are a name that is recognized and respected nationwide for integrity, exquisite selection and exceptional value. Learn more about us.