You might think that bigger is better when it comes to diamonds, but that's not always the case. Every diamond is completely unique and, much like our finger prints, they each have their own characteristics. There are five different categories in which they differ, and it is these differences that make one more valuable than another. To determine quality and value every diamond is assessed for carat, clarity, colour, cut and confidence. In the jewellery trade, this collection of categories is known as the 5 C’s.
Sometimes the quality of a diamond is easy to assess, but often it requires an expert gemologist working with precision equipment to obtain an exact grading. Slight changes in colour, clarity and carat weight can have a major impact on a diamond’s value and because of this, an accurate grading of a diamond can only be achieved just before it is set.
When it comes time to choose your perfect diamond, it’s a good idea to understand these 5 C's and how they are assessed so you are able to choose the right stone for yourself or your favourite someone.
The cut refers to both the shape and style of a diamond, as well as its proportions, symmetry and finish. The cut influences how light interacts with the stone to show its brilliance and sparkle, with the best cuts bringing out the luminosity of the stone.
Diamonds range in colour from the colourless “D” rating to the light yellow “Z". This difference can be very subtle but almost all stones will have a trace of yellow, brown or grey in them. The colour is assessed by a gemologist who uses a standardised set of master diamonds to give each stone its letter grading.
The clarity of a diamond is determined by how flawless it is. Because they are generally naturally formed stones, most diamonds carry at least some minor imperfections. The number and size of these flaws is used to assess each diamond's clarity grading. Only diamonds found to have no imperfections under 10x magnification receive the Flawless grade.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats and is the most significant factor considered when assessing the value of a stone. The larger the diamond, the heavier it is. However, a big diamond that performs poorly in the other 4 C's is likely to be valued significantly lower than a small diamond that achieves high ratings in these other categories.
Confidence is the fifth - and most recent C. It refers to the diamond having a grading certificate from an independent and reputable grading laboratory which verifies its authenticity. Diamond grading certificates typically include all the unique characteristics of your diamond, as well as individual gradings for the 4 other C's - cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.