You have Charm, Charisma, Character and Class – but what are the four C’s that define a quality diamond?
Let's begin with ‘cut’ - referring to the visible shape of a diamond (pear, emerald, square, and round) but, like a fine wine or classic romance novel, there’s more to it than that. Cut is also about how the angles and facets sparkle off each other, the symmetry of the cut and the polish of the surface. In a nicely symmetrical diamond, more light is reflected towards your (admiring) eye but, in a poorly cut diamond light escapes through the sides and bottom, meaning a duller look.
The cut determines the value of your diamond, because in a well-cut stone the brilliance and beauty of diamond is fully achieved. Round diamonds tend to be the most brilliant, followed by square cuts. To cut a long story short, the more light a diamond reflects, the better the cut.
Clarity measures the flawlessness of a diamond. The clearer the diamond, the more valuable it is - although diamonds, like people, gain some charming character from their ‘flaws’. Diamond flaws are natural birthmarks called ‘inclusions’ if inside the diamond and ‘blemishes’ if on the surface. Experts measure clarity with a loupe, a small powerful magnifying glass, and assess five key aspects:
- The size of the inclusions/blemishes
- Their number
- Their visibility
- Placement (off to the side is less serious than a central inclusion)
- Nature–could the inclusion/blemish affect the diamond’s durability?
As a child we all have our favourite colours – perhaps you still do? When it comes to rocks, some people covet the purity of a clear, colourless diamond, while others find a yellow diamond warmer in tone. Prefer royal blue? At once, your majesty.
The differing colouration of diamonds comes down to natural chemistry. A white diamond is pure carbon but other natural elements sometimes enter the mix at source, resulting in a chemical reaction and new colouration - for instance, nitrogen (yellow) or boron (blue).
A diamond's setting can also change its appearance. A yellow gold setting makes a light yellow diamond appear whiter by contrast, but platinum or white gold setting will amplify the yellow. A colourless diamond, meanwhile, may pick up the tint of a yellow gold setting. So remember, think about both your stone and the setting that will best complement it.
Carat in diamonds has nothing to do with the ‘karat’ in gold, and means something totally different. A carat is a unit of measure for a diamond’s weight and is evaluated on a points system. One carat = 100 points and 2mg (a bigger rock); a half-carat diamond = 50 points and 1mg (smaller), and so on. Diamonds are weighed using highly sensitive electronic gem scales. One-carat diamonds are discovered less often than the smaller stones and so a single one-carat diamond will cost more than two half-carat diamonds - even if their other 3 C’s are identical.
Remember that bigger may not always be better; if you have a small hand, a smaller diamond will appear bigger – and there are sneaky ways that certain settings can also make diamonds look bigger.
The largest diamond ever found is still the Cullinan Diamond (S.A., 1905) which weighed in at a jaw-dropping 3 000+ carats (or 1.3 pounds). Cut down into smaller diamonds, some pieces of the Cullinan are now part of the British Crown Jewels, making them a Queen’s best friend.
Whatever combination of the four C’s makes up your chosen NWJ diamond, you can rely on accurate valuation and pricing – with a beautiful extra sparkle of our famous value for money.