The Four Cs

Our Crafting Stands Out

The Four Cs

The traditional Four Cs will be explained in any jewelry store. They are nearly always presented in the order of Carat Weight, Color, Clarity and finally Cut. We estimate that about 90% of jewelry professionals will touch on Cut very briefly compared to the other Cs, and most cover it incorrectly or incompletely, for reasons explained below.

With 90% of diamond professionals truly understanding only the first Three Cs it should be no surprise that diamond prices depend most heavily on those factors. Meanwhile, it's precise details of Cut which result in the all-important brightness, fire and sparkle in a diamond. But Cut is a new topic with much more complexity and less proliferation, so for the time it remains a less influential cost-factor in the USA. There is far more traditional reliance on the other Cs.

Since the basics of Carat Weight, Color and Clarity are easily found in thousands of places, we have created this page to provide additional information on those topics as it relates to consumer protection and Infinity's values. In the next pages we will give our complete attention to Cut - the youngest, yet most critical and most influential of the Four Cs.

 

Carat Weight
Carat Weight A diamond's weight is the only non-subjective C. That carat weight should be the same across all laboratories and sellers. But do not mistake carat weight for size appearance. When people ask "how big is this diamond" the answer they receive is often the carat weight. However, when diamonds are cut to retain the highest possible weight the geometry can result in less diameter as well as less brightness and sparkle.

When shopping, be sure that any diamond’s side-to-side spread is appropriate for its weight. In the most basic example, a one-carat diamond should average close to 6.50mm from side to side.

Did you know...

- A diamond with the best cut-quality can easily look 20% bigger than a stone of the same spread with medium cut-quality.
- In low light-environments, like a dimly lit restaurant, that apparent size difference can rise to 50%.
- Diamonds are sold according to weight-categories, and prices jump up an average of 25% from one weight-category to the next.
- As a result, an 0.80ct Infinity can appear just as big as stone of 1.00ct with medium cut-quality, and in the same color and clarity the smaller Infinity can be far less expensive because diamond pricing is based on stringent weight-categories.

Most diamonds are cut to retain the highest weight, but every Infinity is crafted with critical performance angles and three dimensional cut-precision facilitating better edge-to-edge performance than other diamonds. The result of this is a bigger, brighter look in any size. We regularly hear from wearers that their 0.80 and 0.90 carat Infinity Diamonds are thought to weigh more than a carat, even placed side by side with one-carat diamonds.

 

Color
Diamond Color Color in a diamond is actually a badly chosen name. For most diamonds this term describes a level of tint, generally yellow, subdivided to 23 grades ranging from D to Z. But it's not actually describing the diamond's face-up appearance: Diamonds in the D-Z scale are graded face-down, viewed through the side of the pavilion; to allow a neutral assessment of body color where the observer or grader cannot be blinded by the upward brightness of the diamond.

Did you know...

- The shorter paths rays of light take in an Infinity make it brighter and make its body tint less illuminated.
- An Infinity Diamond can look equally white as a stone of medium cut-quality, graded 2 color-grades higher.
- Prices of diamonds on average jump up 10% with every color-grade.
- As a result, an Infinity diamond of I color will look just as white as a stone of medium cut-quality, color G, and for the same weight and clarity, the Infinity will be less expensive.

Diamond color grades are subjective, meaning different labs and sellers will grade the same diamond differently. We advise consumers to make color determinations in accordance with grades from a reputable laboratory or appraiser, as well as first-hand viewing and work with a trusted specialist.

 

Clarity
Diamond Clarity Clarity refers to the extent of natural characteristics or impurities present in a diamond, and is generally graded with a loupe or microscope at 10X magnification or more. Diamond clarity grades are also subjective. Furthermore, they can have undisclosed implications relating to visual performance and durability. We advise consumers to make clarity determinations in-accordance with grading by a reputable laboratory or top appraiser. We also advise that any clarity below VS should involve first-hand viewing as well as the involvement of a gemologist with an understanding of characteristics at SI levels and below which may interfere with optics or which pose setting/wearing issues.

Did you know...

- The clarity grading-system has several grades that are all completely clean to the naked eye when observed from the top?
- The AGSL, especially, is strict in grading clarity, and that SI2-grades of AGSL in well-cut diamonds are generally eye-clean?
- Infinity is planned strategically, in order to better hide impurities from the naked eye?
- Each higher clarity-grade adds about 10% to the price?

As it relates to Infinity, we pre-screen all candidate crystals. Our reputation is paramount, so no diamond will be fashioned until all of its clarity implications are green-lighted. Also, because our goal is maximizing performance, not yield, Paul Slegers can often plan the “lay” of a grade-setting inclusion to reduce its face-up visibility. While it is not possible to omit a primary characteristic and the resulting clarity grade, Infinity can frequently orient the rough so that the grade-setting inclusion becomes transparent or invisible in grades below VS.

 

Cut
Diamond Cut Despite its preeminent importance, Cut is the least discussed and the least understood of the Cs - even among professionals. Many jewelers still explain Cut as the shape of the diamond. Others are familiar with terms like "Excellent" or "Ideal" but cannot explain the methods used to arrive at those labels. Awareness of Cut has improved since 2006 when the GIA finally introduced a cut-grade for the round brilliant. The best jewelry specialists today will seek education on Cut, but the overwhelming majority of salespeople have no real understanding of cut grading fundamentals (even though they may be experts on Color and Clarity).

Why is this?

One reason is that color and clarity grading are approached the same way at every lab (even if standards vary). But the understanding of light return and refraction requires some training in geometry and physics, and the approach each lab takes is different.

Another reason is that, by definition, 90% of diamonds fall into the bottom 90% of cut quality. An increase in education about cut and what constitutes the highest possible cutting standards would reveal the lack of quality found in average stores - and most professionals would not be anxious to advertise this about their own store.

Did you know...

- Each lab has fundamentally different systems to grade Cut, ranging from rather strict to extremely loose.
- Cut has the most influence on the brightness, fire and sparkle of a diamond, all contributing to its beauty.
- All current cut-grading systems only grade the potential brightness of the diamond, not scintillation.
- With science and knowledge evolving, the major labs have adapted their cut-grading-systems over 12 times in the past 30 years.

It is unarguable that compared to the fine, sharp and surgical divisions found in color and clarity grading, cut-grading is comparatively banged-at with a blunt hammer.

Consider:

- Q: “Will I see a difference in D and E color?”
- A: Not unless the diamonds are side by side in neutral lighting and you have superior eyesight.

- Q: “Will I see a difference between VVS1 and VVS2 clarity.”
- A: Not in a million years.

As opposed to:

- Q: “What is the top cut grade: Excellent, Ideal or H&A Ideal?”
- A: All of the above, depending on the lab.

- Q: “Will I see a difference between them?”
- A: It’s definitely possible.

- Q: “What if I just stay with Excellent?”
- A: There are visible differences in make and quality inside any lab’s top cut grade.

- Q: “Really? Why is this so confusing?”
- A: Relax. Just read the next section…

Summary
Today's diamond values are heavily based on the traditional 4 C’s with most weight going to carat weight and color. However, with cut-awareness and cut-grading evolving, the future value of a diamond will evolve to become based on new cut-criteria, with Cut having far more weight in the equation. That is why you definitely need to read our page on ‘The Future of Cut’.

 

Next Section:

 

Build your brand with INDEOMEDIA
Copyright Infinity Diamonds bvba © 2004-2017. All rights reserved.