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How do you know what the potential value of your diamond is worth? As a general rule of thumb, the diamond industry follows what is known as the 4 C's. Those are cut, color, clarity and carat. Those can vary greatly, changing the overall value of your diamonds and ultimately what they are worth. Let's explore why these matter so much
Generally, when shopping for a diamond you try to get as close to a colorless diamond as possible. On the grading scale, the color of a diamond ranges from D-Z. Usually, you will see color broken out in to 5 broad categories, colorless, near colorless, faint, very light and light. Colorless diamonds are considered to range from D-F on the color scale. These diamonds are the rarest and most valuable diamonds on the color scale. Near colorless diamonds range from G-J and typically cannot be detected by an untrained eye. They only way to detect it is for it to be placed face up against a white background. The value for a near colorless diamond is still extremely high. At K in the scale you can begin to see a slight hint of color in the face up position. The slight color is a great value for someone that does not mind a slight hint of color. Typically, this color will be a faint brown color.
The clarity of a diamond refers to the number of inclusions that a diamond has. The scale for diamond clarity ranges from Flawless (FL) to Inclusions (I3). If you are looking for a diamond that is going to not have any inclusions that are visible to the naked eye you don't want to go higher than a VS2. If you are able to find a good mix of cut and color to go along with a VS diamond you can find a great value that will always look great when you are showing it off to friends.
In the diamond world, the cut of a diamond can have two meanings. The first being what shape the diamond is, round, princess, oval, heart, etc. The second meaning is what lets that diamond of yours sparkle. No matter the color or the clarity, cut is ultimately what brings the brilliance out of that diamond. A well-cut diamond will have a lot of fire and brilliance to it. A poorly cut diamond will be dark and won't provide that sparkle that everyone is after. There are different levels of cut between ideal and poor cut for a diamond. A diamond can be ideal, very good, good, fair or poor. All with differing levels of brilliance. Many times, an ideal cut diamond will appear to be larger than a bigger diamond that is a poor cut.
Carat is the term that is used to refer to the weight of a diamond. When a diamond is cut and polished in to a finished diamond ready to be sold, a diamond can typically lose about 2/3 of its carat weight. As you might imagine, it is common to find a smaller diamond driving down the cost of the smaller diamonds. As the carat weight grows for a diamond, the cost will increase. In fact, the typical carat size of an engagement ring diamond sold in the US is ½ carat.