Anatomy of a Diamond
The Four Cs
A diamond’s value is evaluated by four key characteristics—Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat—known as the Four Cs. Determined by nature, color, clarity, and carat all help dictate a diamond’s rarity and value. However, cut is the most important of the Cs because cut is the only characteristic that is controlled by man—the diamond cutter.
The cut of a diamond is what causes it to sparkle. A well-cut diamond will reflect light in a way that highlights its best attributes. By contrast, a poorly cut diamond may not reflect light in the proper way, making it appear smaller than it actually is. Cut also refers to the outline shape of a diamond: round, oval, marquise, princess, etc.
Most diamonds will sparkle under the professional lighting of a jewelry store. To see the true quality of its cut, take the diamond out of the jeweler’s direct lighting.
A diamond’s color actually refers to a lack of color. Color hinders a diamond’s ability to reflect light, so the closer a diamond is to colorless, the more valuable and rare it is. The diamond color scale ranges from D (no color) to Z (light yellow or brown). Colorless (D, E, and F) and Near Colorless (G, H, I, and J) diamonds will not exhibit any noticeable color to the naked eye, so they are considered acceptable choices for purchase.
Colored diamonds, such as yellow, blue, or black diamonds, are classified as “colored” or “fancy-colored” diamonds. As the intensity of these diamonds’ color increases, so does the value.
Because diamonds come from nature, each stone has its own unique marks known as clarity characteristics. Clarity refers to the absence of such marks. The higher the clarity (the less “stuff” inside the diamond), the more rare and valuable it is.
The clarity of a diamond ranges from IF (internally flawless) to I2 (obvious inclusions). In most cases, diamonds with clarity grades of SI2 or better do not have clarity characteristics visible to the naked eye.
A diamond’s carat refers to its weight, not its size, which is measured in millimeters. When considering a diamond purchase, focus on how the stone looks, not how much it weighs. Invest in what makes it beautiful, not what just adds extra weight.
Diamond Jewelry Care
Diamonds are one of the world’s hardest materials, but they aren’t indestructible. Without proper care, diamonds can chip, scratch, or even break. It is recommended that you have your diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected least once every year. It’s also recommended that you insure the diamond to protect against the event of loss or theft.
Cleaning Your Diamond
Lotions, soaps, powders, perfumes, and hairspray can all reduce a diamond’s shine. To clean your piece at home, soak it in warm water with mild, non-chlorinated detergent for 20 minutes, then gently scrub it with an extra-soft toothbrush. Never wash it over the sink, and always dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Why purchase diamonds in the Caribbean ports of call?
Beyond the incredible tax- and duty-free prices, the recommended and guaranteed stores on the Official Shopping Map offer some of the world’s most extensive selections of diamonds and jewelry. To learn more about Port Shopping, attend the Port Shopping Talks and Diamond Seminars.