Learn About Diamonds
CHOOSING A DIAMOND
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.
When people think of cut, they often think it’s the shape of the diamond. But, it’s about how light is returned due to a diamond’s facets. Cut is responsible for brilliance, fire, and scintillation of a diamond.
Brilliance = combination of all of the white light reflected internally and externally
Fire = a scattering of light into a play of color
Scintillation = a diamond’s sparkle
For the best results, proportions of its facets, symmetry, the relationship of its weight to its diameter, girdle thickness, and quality of its polish have to come together in just the right way.
One of the most defining characteristics of a diamond is its cut. While high grades of color, clarity, and carat weight also contribute to a diamond's appeal, it's the cut that determines the symmetry of the stone's facets, its overall proportions, and its ability to reflect light. An expertly cut diamond will achieve high levels of brilliance, sparkle, and durability. Even if a diamond is graded well in other areas, a poor cut can result in a dull, muted effect.
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.
External characteristics = blemishes
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. Diamonds are one of nature's wonders, and a diamond with one of the highest clarity grades — like IF or FL — is even more incredible to see. If you are considering the balance of clarity to the other three Cs, consider that we've hand-selected diamonds that have no inclusions, that are distinguishable without magnification, even in the diamonds with the lowest clarity grade we offer. This ensures that even if you choose a diamond with SI-clarity, you will be amazed by the sparkle, not distracted by visible inclusions.
A diamond’s color is measured using the D-to-Z diamond color grading system. This system is the most widely accepted for grading. All diamonds are evaluated based on the absence of color.
GHIJ – Near Colorless
KLM – Fainted Color
NOPQR – Very Light Yellow
STUVWXY – Light Yellow
Z + - Fancy
This lack of color is measured in degrees based on comparisons with masterstones, made while viewing under controlled lighting and conditions. This means that regardless of where in the world the diamond is graded it will be under the same conditions and should receive the same grade. These color distinctions are invisible to the untrained eye and should be left to a trained diamond grader.
This grade refers to the "whiteness" of a diamond, or its lack of color. A diamond's color grade actually refers to the lack of color. In other words, diamonds that are white, containing little or no color, receive higher quality grades than those with visible color.
In addition to color, cut, and clarity, carat weight directly correlates to price of the diamond. This happens because the supply is low (larger = rarer) and demand is high (larger = more popular).
1 Carat = 200 milligrams
1 Point = 0.01 carat = 1/100 of a carat
Diamonds of equal weight are not necessarily the same size. Different proportions and depths will result in different size and weight combinations.
This is a measure of a diamond's weight and a reflection of its size. Carat weight is exactly that — a weight measurement, but carat weight does not always clearly help you determine if one diamond looks larger than the next. Consider that the carat weight of a diamond is the total weight, no matter how that weight is distributed. If a diamond is poorly cut and is tall and narrow, when viewed from the top that diamond will appear smaller than a diamond of equal weight. To eliminate this concern, at Bashford we do not offer any diamonds cut to maximize carat weight at the expense of sparkle.
At Bashford, 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