Choosing A Diamond

At J. J. Chambers & Co. of Atlanta, we realize that choosing the right diamond is very important. When selecting a diamond, the most important factors include the 4 "C's" – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat.

Cut – The most important thing to consider when buying a diamond, no matter what shape you choose, is how well proportioned the stone is. The accuracy with which a diamond is cut is the most critical aspect in releasing its "fire" and "brilliance." Having a well-cut stone will allow the optimum brilliance (white light) and dispersion (spectral hues) to reflect from the diamond. The cutting process can cause fifty percent of the original rough to be lost. Some diamonds are cut with more weight retention in mind, and therefore the beauty and brilliance are sacrificed for size. "Ideally cut" diamonds are a perfect balance between too deep and too shallow and enable a stone to make the best use of light reflecting from one facet to another and then dispersing through the top of the diamond.

Color – Color in diamonds results from trace elements that combine with carbon during the formation of diamond. Sometimes there are only subtle differences between hue, tone, and saturation. To evaluate a diamond's color, it is observed upside down in a "diamond grading tray" using balanced pure white light and then compared to diamonds in a "Master Set", whose actual colors have been determined by a reputable diamond grading laboratory, such as the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A).

Colorless – Diamonds with no trace of any body color are very rare and would be designated as "D" Color. The difference between color grades "D, E, and F" is considered Colorless and usually brings a very high premium.

  • Near Colorless: Color grades "G through J" are considered Near Colorless and may look very similar in the face up position.
  • Faint to Light Yellow: "K" through the end of the Color scale can range from faint to light yellow, as well as various hues of gray and brown.
  • Fancy Colored: Diamonds can form in almost any color, including blue, green, purple, and the rarest color, red. Other than colorless and near colorless, a diamond with any obvious color is referred to as a "Fancy Colored Diamond." Some of these colors can be enhanced or even completely changed by man-made procedures. The most common treatment is the process of irradiation.

Clarity – Clarity is the collection of natural identifying characteristics made up of trace elements called inclusions, (such as crystals, feathers, or clouds) or blemishes (such as naturals, cavities, or minute scratches). Nearly all diamonds have some inclusions. If none are present, the Clarity grade would be Flawless. A diamond is considered Internally Flawless if only very minor surface blemishes exist. Most diamonds will fall into one of the remaining 9 categories. These vary from extremely difficult to locate even with higher magnification, to stones that have easily seen inclusions with the unaided eye.

  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - A diamond with inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate even with magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - A diamond with minor inclusions that are difficult to see but may possibly be found with magnification.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - This category has the most variation among stones. Diamonds vary from (rarely) barely discernible to easily seen with the unaided eye (more frequent).
  • Imperfect (I1, I2, I3) - A diamond that contains inclusions that are obvious and can be easily seen in the face up position.

Carat – Carat refers to a diamond's weight and size. The word "carat" is derived from the usage of carab tree seeds that were used on a balance scale to measure different weights. One carat equals 1/5 (or 0.2 grams) and is divided into 100 points, or a fraction thereof. A diamond of 50 points would be .50ct, or one half carat. A diamond of 175 points would be a carat and three quarters, or 1.75ct. Larger diamonds are much less common than smaller stones. However, a smaller diamond of finer quality may have a higher value than a larger diamond of a lesser grade of clarity and/or color.