Over the years, the diamond industry has introduced marketing
and design concepts to stimulate public interest in diamond jewelry. In the
1960's, the famous phrase "a diamond is forever"
was coined (and trademarked)
Diamond Trading Company
, and even became the title of a classic James Bond
Diamond Specifications: The
of America (GIA), and other organizations, grade stones by at least four categories:
Clarity, Color, Cut and Weight (carats). These are the famous "Four C's" that
most people have heard about:
Diamond Sources: In many African countries
where diamonds are mined, slave labor and torture have been used to coerce African
diamond miners, and the revenues from the mined diamonds (so-called "conflict
diamonds" or "blood diamonds") then used to finance insurgent or
raiding armies. In November, 2002, the UN approved the
Process, which created a certification and tracking process to ensure
that conflict diamonds do not enter the mainstream rough diamond market.
The Kimberley Process was adopted in the US by presidential order in July of
2003 through the Clean Diamond Trade Act. Diamond jewelry sold by Viridian
Gold is sourced from suppliers who conform to the Kimberley Process; thus, we
do not sell jewelry containing conflict diamonds.
Diamond Clarity: All natural stones possess
imperfections in the form of inclusions. Inclusions may take the
form of dark specks, light-colored planes called "feathers", voids, general
cloudiness, and other types of imperfections. Diamonds, in particular,
are graded by clarity to designate higher value for those stones with higher
clarity. Stones are graded under 10X magnification (the common "jeweler's
loupe" magnification) so that flaws which may be invisible to the naked eye
may be seen. The following table will explain the clarity grades used
by the GIA. Also included is an example of approximate loose-diamond pricing
based on an H-color, 1-carat diamond which illustrates the extremes in value
simply based on clarity.
||Flawless, internally flawless. No visible
flaws--a very rare, and consequently valuable, condition.
||Very, very slightly included--difficult to see imperfections
even under 10X magnification.
||Very slightly included--imperfections still not
visible to the naked eye.
||Slightly included, imperfections are easily seen
with 10X magnification, but are not noticeable without this aid.
Also called "eye-clean".
|I1, I2, I3
||Inclusions visible to the naked eye, with I3 much
worse than I1. Sometimes referred to as C quality, "value"
or "promo" quality. Or, for I3, simply a dirty diamond!
Lower clarity is usually tolerated in small diamonds because they are used as accents and are often pavé set so that imperfections are less noticeable. Center and top stones should be of higher quality because of their prominence.
Diamond Color: The highest color grade
of diamond is completely clear--that is, colorless, or white. At the other
extreme, a diamond can be totally black and opaque. In between these extremes,
the color brown/yellow increases in intensity from a totally clear D to the
beginnings of a faint yellow/brown beginning with J-K grade. The yellowish
tint is less noticeable in a yellow gold setting, so one might see a slightly
lower quality color diamond set in yellow gold. The table below illustrates
the color grading system--also included is an example of approximate loose-diamond
pricing based on a one-carat SI1 quality diamond, VG cut. From these examples,
it is obvious why one sees such large price variations in diamond jewelry of
the same carat weight.
||Colorless grade. Expert graders
can detect slight color in E and F.
||Near-colorless grade--to detect, usually
requires comparison to another stone of better color.
||Faint yellow--best for yellow gold.
||Very light yellow--low quality
||Light yellow--low quality
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Weight, Cut and Polish