The Clarity of a diamond refers to the number or degree of flaws, called inclusions or blemishes, existing in the stone. Inclusions are internal characteristics which typically occur naturally while the diamond is being formed in the earth. Blemishes are surface flaws which include scratches, pits, and chips, some of which might occur during the cutting process. A diamond's clarity is graded on a scale, with diamonds having no or few inclusions and blemishes are more valuable than those with less clarity because they are more rare. But a stone does not have to be flawless to be a beautiful diamond. Click here for a chart of Clarity Grades.
Cut refers to the angles and proportions that are created when a rough stone is transformed into the polished diamond. The way these facets are cut determines how much light will be reflected back to the eye. Ideally the diamond will bounce light from one facet to the other, reflecting the light through the top with sparkling results, or brilliance. If the stone is cut too deep or too shallow, the light can "leak" through the sides or bottom, reducing the brilliance, and the value.
Color or body color, is the color seen when white light travels through the diamond without being dispersed, rather than the multi-colored sparkling caused by light reflection. It is the stone's actual color, that is, the color the diamond would appear without being facetted. The best way to asses color is by viewing the stone through the side rather than through the top.
A diamond's color is graded on a letter scale ranging from D through Z. D refers to a completely colorless diamond and is the most rare and expensive. Grades E and F are also considered colorless and very high quality, but are simply not as transparent as D. While a diamond's color grade affects its value, any color in diamonds graded up to around J is difficult for the untrained eye to see. In other words, the average person will not know the difference between one of these near colorless diamonds and the more expensive colorless diamonds. Diamonds that are graded K or higher will have a more yellow appearance. In terms of cost, the more "colorless", the more expensive.
A carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. A Carat can also be divided into 100 points. Therefore, a .75-carat or 3/4-carat is the same as a 75-point diamond. Large diamonds are less common than small diamonds, so the larger the diamond, the greater the increase in price relative to its size. That is, since larger diamonds are found less frequently, a 1-carat diamond could cost much more than simply twice the cost of a 1/2-carat of the same quality. However, bigger doesn't always mean better. A large diamond could have many inclusions or have been cut badly therefore not showing the "fire" and "sparkle" you may be seeking.
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