The 5Cs Of Diamonds
You traditionally hear of the 4Cs in choosing diamonds. But at Bashford Jewelry, we are advocates of 5: Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat, and Conflict Free. The combination of the 5Cs determines the quality, beauty, and value of your diamond.
Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond's cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but a diamond's cut grade is really about how well a diamond's facets interact with light. Cut is responsible for brilliance, fire, and scintillation of a diamond. An important aspect of the allure of diamonds is the way they sparkle. The sparkle is a result of how a stone is cut — its symmetry, polish, durability, and proportion of its parts — which, in turn, determines how light travels through the stone and back to your eye. Ideally, after light hits the top of a diamond, it travels through the stone and then out the top again, creating the sparkle effect. This sparkle depends on the proportions between the diamonds table size, crown angle, and pavilion depth.
Which Diamond Cut Is Best?
Many combinations can achieve the same level of sparkle, but what’s most important is how these factors work together in your particular stone to create maximum brightness. No single diamond is perfect for everyone — but whether you are eyeing a .50-carat or a 16-carat diamond, you want as much sparkle as budget allows. Of the the 5Cs (cut, color, clarity, carat, conflict free), cut has the greatest influence on a diamond’s beauty and sparkle. Even a diamond with a flawless clarity grade (no blemishes or inclusions) can look glassy or dull if the cut is too shallow or deep. When determining what diamond to buy, go with the best cut grade that you can afford.
Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. Diamond clarity is the assessment of small imperfections on the surface and within the stone. Surface flaws are called blemishes, while internal defects are known as inclusions. Just as a diamond’s color is graded on the absence of color, the diamond’s clarity is graded on the absence of inclusions and blemishes. The GIA Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided for a total of 11 specific grades.
Most are smaller than can be seen by the naked eye. And, accurate assessment is of utmost importance. So, trained diamond graders evaluate the quantity, size, relief, nature, position of these characteristics, and how they affect the appearance of the diamond. Diamonds are graded for clarity based on the finish on the outside of the diamond, and the appearance of any natural internal organic identifiers produced by nature. Look closely inside any Bashford Jewelry diamond, chosen for its exceptional clarity, and you won't notice anything other than its beautiful sparkle.
Which Diamond Clarity is the best?
According to the GIA diamond clarity is graded on the following scale:
⚫ FL (Flawless) – no inclusions and blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
⚫ IF (Internally Flawless) – no inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
⚫ VVS1, VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included) – hardly noticeable and very small inclusions visible under a gemological microscope.
⚫ VS1, VS2 (Very Slightly Included) – minor inclusions visible with effort under 10x magnification.
⚫ SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included) – easily noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification.
⚫ I1, I2 and I3 (Included) – obvious inclusions visible with the naked eye.
The color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA's D-to-Z color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones of established color value.
DEF – Colorless
GHIJ – Near Colorless
KLM – Fainted Color
NOPQR – Very Light Yellow
STUVWXY – Light Yellow
Z + - Fancy
Which Diamond Color is best?
The absence of color in a diamond is the rarest and therefore, the most expensive. While the majority choose D, E, F, color grade, many go with a beautiful near colorless grade to make the most of their budget and allocate more on the best cut that they can afford (which gives them more sparkle).
If you’re buying a diamond under 1 carat, you might consider choosing an H, I, J color diamond. Going over 1 carat? We recommend H color-grade diamonds or higher.
Carat (ct.) refers to the unique unit of weight measurement used exclusively to weigh gems and diamonds. Carat weight is often confused with visual size even though it is actually a measurement of weight. Depending on the shape and type of gemstone being weighed, the weight will visually show itself differently. For example, a 1.00 ct. round diamond will measure around 6.5mm, and a 1.00 ct. round sapphire will measure around 6.0mm. This is due to the varying density of different gemstones.
Another misperception is that a larger carat weight is always better than a smaller carat weight. While it’s true that a big rock can be a status symbol (here’s looking at you, Hollywood), carat weight is not related to sparkle. Beautiful sparkle is the result of a well-crafted cut. In fact, a high carat weight diamond with a poor cut may look smaller than a diamond with a smaller carat weight and a very good cut.
Which Diamond Carat is the best?
Because larger diamonds are more rare, the heavier the diamond, the higher the price.
Though price increases aren’t steady — they can increase exponentially with carat weight. For example, a 1 carat diamond would be valued higher than two 0.50 carat diamonds of the same quality.
Diamonds with higher carat weights are cut from larger rough crystals that are harder to source than small crystals. So, the relationship between carat weight and price depends on the rarity or availability of a rough crystal. Carat price is also a function of finding rough crystals with desirable color, and internal and external characteristics that will positively influence clarity when the diamond is cut. To learn more about all of the factors to consider when choosing the best diamond carat weight for you.
4 Things To Know About Carat
1. “Buy shy” to save money. Select a carat weight slightly below the whole and half-carat marks. For example, instead of a 2.00 carat diamond, consider buying a 1.90 carat weight. This will save a considerable amount of money, and the slight difference will never be noticed.
2. Splurge on cut. This is the most important factor because it maximizes sparkle. Even a high-carat diamond with excellent color and clarity can appear lifeless and dull if the cut is poor.
3. Fancy shapes cost less per carat. The most important thing to realize about fancy-shaped diamonds is that they are generally less expensive than an equivalent round diamond. Additionally, fancy shapes can appear larger than their actual diamond carat weight size, especially when placed in a halo setting.
4. Keep ring size in mind. The smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1.50 carat diamond solitaire looks larger on a size 6 finger than a size 8.
We obtain diamonds through strict labor and environmental standards that were mined ethically, conflict free and tracked through highly-audited processes. As such, we rely on a trusted partner for our diamonds and gems; one who mirrors our values—CanadaMark.
We use newly-mined diamonds from the Canadian Arctic that adhere to strict standards outlined by the Canadian Code of Conduct and other government authorities. They are all certified conflict-free and must be cut and polished responsibly. Employees that mine them are paid fair wages and efforts are made during the mining process to reduce the negative environmental impact. CanadaMark diamonds are:
⚫ Responsibly-Mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories
⚫ 100% Natural and Untreated
⚫ Tracked and audited from place of origin to polished stone
⚫ Cut and Polished by Exclusively-Approved Manufacturers
⚫ Guaranteed by the CanadaMark Hallmark Program through Independent Verification to ensure Canadian Origin