The value of a diamond is based on the 4C’s. Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. This grading system was developed by the Gemological Institute of America in the 1930’s. At the time many different systems were being used to grade diamonds. Today the 4C’s system is used worldwide with many independent Laboratories grading diamonds as a service. The two Laboratories I prefer are the AGS (American Gem Society) and the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The AGS is my personal preference. I have found their standards to be extremely high and the information contained of greater value.
The Cut of the diamond is the most important factor when evaluating a diamond. Cut is not to be confused with shape. Cut refers to the angles and proportions of each facet and how it is placed. It is the only part of the puzzle that relates to brilliance and fire. Brilliance is defined as white light being returned back to the eye. Fire is defined as sparkle or the quantity and quality of spectral colors being returned to the eye. You would think that diamonds are cut correctly. Most are not. In fact, only about 3-4% are cut properly. We specialize in diamonds that are cut to the highest of all standards, the AGS “0” Hearts & Arrows cut. This diamond will dazzle your senses and amaze you with the quality of fire and brilliance. From these fine stones I select only the finest that meet my own critical standards. This means a diamond purchased from Skalet Family Jewelers is truly a cut above.
Color is the next most important. The color of the diamond refers to its “body” color or tint. Most diamonds come out of the ground with a slight yellowish tint. Only the rarest diamonds are pure white or “colorless”. Diamonds are graded on a scale of D through Z. As the grade moves towards Z more yellow is visible. The human eye can begin to see a slight tint at about “K” color. Sometimes color is very visible other times it is more subtle, it depends on the viewer and the type of setting to be used. We can show you examples of each and let your eye decide which is right for you. See chart for examples.
G-H-I: Stones in these grades will “face up” colorless (slight traces of color will not be apparent to other than the trained eye).
J-K-L: Small stones in this range will “face up” colorless when mounted but larger ones will be tinted.
M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W: Mounted stones in these grades will display a yellowish or tinted color even to the untrained eye.
X-Y-Z: Showing a moderate to dark yellow color
Clarity refers to the purity of the diamond, or the number and location of the inclusions in the crystal. An inclusion is described as an internal crystal or break in the diamond. Some of these are so small they are extremely difficult to see under a microscope, others are so large they can cause the diamond to break. The clarity grade is based on a trained observer viewing the stone under 10x magnification. The clarity grade ranges from Flawless to Imperfect. My own personal opinion on this is stones correctly grades VS1 to SI1 clarity look great to most people, and I choose every stone to be the best possible example of its given grade.
FL VVS-1 VVS-2 VS-1 VS-2 SI-1 SI-2 I-1 I-2 I-3
FLAWLESS (FL): No inclusions visible under 10X magnification.
VVS-1 TO VVS-2: Inclusions are difficult to locate or see at 10X.
VS-1 TO VS-2: Inclusions less difficult to see or locate under 10X.
SI-1 TO SI-2: Inclusions readily seen at 10X, but remain invisible to the unaided eye when the diamond is viewed face up.
I-1: One or more inclusions, or their effect, can be seen by the unaided eye.
I-2: Inclusions are so obvious that they affect both the brilliancy and beauty of the diamond.
I-3: Shattered appearance or vivid disfiguring and dangerous inclusions and surface marks.
Carat is the weight of the diamond. Diamonds are weighed on a scale to determine the Carats.
5 carats = 1 gram. Diamonds are classified in 1/100 of a carat, so a ½ carat is 0.50 carats, a ¾ carat is 0.75 carats 1 carat is 1.00 carats ect. Do not be confused, not all 1.00 carats are the same size. Depending on how well or poorly the diamond is cut (see Cut); a diamond may look large or small for its given size. No one purposely goes out to purchase a diamond that looks small and does not sparkle but millions of these are sold every year.